By Catherine Maddux
14 September 2006
Zimbabwe is in the midst of an unprecedented economic and political free
fall. With skyrocketing inflation rates, declining agricultural production
and repressive political and media policies, Zimbabwe is a nation in crisis.
One long-time Zimbabwe watcher has proposed a plan to help put the nation,
once proudly known as Africa's "breadbasket," on the road toward economic
and political recovery.
Todd Moss, senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, says the
story of Zimbabwe's decline is tragic. He says the nation began its
post-British-colonial era with a measure of true economic strength.
"At independence in 1980, Zimbabwe had a fairly diversified economy," he
said. "In fact, it was a very robust economy that had just survived an
extended period of trauma, and, at independence, was in a very good position
to lead Africa as a kind of model going forward."
Speaking at a recent forum at the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced
International Studies, Moss said independent Zimbabwe, formerly Rhodesia,
had achieved political stability, despite lingering racial tensions.
"Politically, it was sort of a model of racial reconciliation," he added.
"Obviously, there were racial tensions during the colonial period, but for
the most part, the previous white Rhodesians - white Zimbabweans - largely
withdrew from politics. But politically, it was also somewhat of a success
All that good fortune began to erode in the early 1990s, says Moss, when
Zimbabwe's economy cooled, and official corruption rose along with the
nations' debt level.
Moss says the point of no return for Zimbabwe began six years ago, when the
first credible opposition movement was formed, the Movement for Democratic
Change. Perhaps more important to the country's decline, he says, was the
land reform program instituted by President Robert Mugabe, the country's
only leader since independence.
Zimbabwe's land reform program was designed to redistribute white-owned
commercial farms to poor, landless blacks.
Moss says the implementation of the program, often violent and used to
reward President Mugabe's political friends, has been devastating.
Thousands of farmers have been forcibly evicted, and, in their absence,
tracks of once highly productive land have stalled, amid a combination of
bad policy and a withering drought.
The Zimbabwean ambassador to the United States, Machivenyika Mapuranga,
attended Moss's seminar, and he strongly defended land reform. He called it
successful, and a much needed redress from the British colonial era that has
now created racial equity.
"Eighty percent of Zimbabweans are peasants," he explained. "Getting them
out of the reservations and giving them productive land. [And now] 320,000
families have been resettled. You cannot call them cronies of Mugabe! We
are talking about a substantial part of the peasant population. Where you
used to have just a handful of black farmers in commercial farming business,
now you have 40,000. This is the equity that we were fighting for."
Moss questioned the ambassador's numbers, calling them highly doubtful. In
response, the ambassador angrily walked out of the forum.
Moss went on to propose steps the international community could take to help
restore prosperity in Zimbabwe.
They include tightening sanctions, exposing the government's propaganda,
pushing to get Zimbabwe expelled from the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
and applying more U.S. diplomatic pressure.
The focus, Moss says, should be on the future, when President Mugabe is no
longer in power.
"While all these short terms things are kind of pushing around the margins,
there's a more important thing that the West can do to help Zimbabwe. And
this is really to think ahead, and to do some contingency planning, for the
transition is coming at some point," he noted.
By transition, Moss means the inevitable end of the 26-year rule of the
At that time, Moss says, Zimbabwe should be thought of by donors as what he
calls a "post-conflict" situation.
"We have had political violence and social trauma. There are militias. There
have been gross human rights violations. There has obviously been an
economic collapse; not only on the scale of a war zone, but worse," he
added. "Maize, the staple crop, is now down to a fraction of what Zimbabwe
can produce. They are importing food. The infrastructure is collapsing.
And really, unfortunately, the country is past the point of a quick
He says international donors must be ready and willing to respond quickly.
"One example of this is, they put in a lot of money upfront to try to steer
the country, to get it on a recovery path early, rather than sitting back
and waiting," he said. "In terms of political support, there could be an
international effort to smooth the transition, depending on how it unfolds.
There would definitely have to be some kind of security forces reform. That
will have to be dealt with, and, actually, the U.S., in particular, has a
pretty good record on helping reform the security sector."
Another key element to help rebuild Zimbabwe, according to Moss, is the
creation of a truth and reconciliation commission, or a war crimes tribunal
to address the issue of severe human rights abuses.
And, there should be an immediate effort to deal with humanitarian needs
among poor Zimbabweans suffering under a shattered economy. Among them are
hundreds-of-thousands of people made homeless last year, when the government
destroyed homes and businesses as part of an urban rationalization scheme.
Finally, Moss says, there must be a deliberate effort to court private
investors, especially highly skilled Zimbabweans who have left the country,
amid its collapse.
The United States has condemned human rights abuses in Zimbabwe and imposed
some sanctions. However, the U.S. continues to provide humanitarian
assistance to Zimbabwe.
By Blessing Zulu, Patience Rusere and Thomas Chiripasi
Washington and Harare
14 September 2006
Zimbabwean authorities continued to crack down on opposition elements
Thursday in Harare and other cities after stifling attempts a day earlier by
the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions to protest the decline of living
standards for the country's workers.
Police made dozens of arrests in Harare and other cities in an apparent
effort to make sure there would be no follow-up by organized labor or the
Thomas Chiripasi of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reported from the capital.
Meanwhile, the lawyer representing detained ZCTU leaders said police at the
Harare Central Station declined to accept custody of the prisoners when they
were sent there from Matapi, a suburb of the capital. Lawyer Alec
Muchadehama said police sent him back to Matapi once they had seen the
injuries the trade unionists had sustained.
Acting Information Minister Paul Mangwana said, on the one handm that
Wednseday's protests failed, adding on the other that the government was
justified in using force to suppress the attempted protests. Mangwana
asserted in an interview with reporter Blessing Zulu that workers had not
heeded the call to protest against Harare.
Secretary General Tendai Biti of the MDC faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai,
said the tough response by authorities will not deter protests planned by
Assessing the impact of the union protests, political analyst and human
rights lawyer Brian Kagoro, based in Nairobi, Kenya, said history has shown
that state use of force is often counter-productive as it creates outrage
and mobilizes resistance.
Later Thursday, civil society group met in Harare to plan their response to
what they characterized as government brutality against the arrested labor
Crisis In Zimbabwe Coalition Advocacy Officer Itayi Zimunya said civic
groups, most of them participants in the Save Zimbabwe campaign, were
revising plans based on the lessons learned in Wednesday's rout of labor
demonstrators. Save Zimbabwe is a loose coalition of about 25 church, civic
groups and opposition parties.
Zimunya said some civic activists formed groups to help those held by
police, while others moved to build capacity to help those caught up in
future mass actions.
Civic groups expected to take to the streets in the near future include the
National Constitutional Assembly, the Zimbabwe National Students Union, and
the MDC faction led by founding president Morgan Tsvangirai.
Crisis Coalition spokesman Zimunya told reporter Patience Rusere that he
sees the situation as one of continuing struggle pursued by all patriotic
The youth wing of Tsvangirai's faction of the MDC said it would protest the
alleged official brutality. Organizers said that besides the widely reported
beatings of union officials, youth leaders Thamsanqa Mahlangu and Amos
Chibaya were assaulted by ruling party youth militia. MDC Youth Wing
National Secretary Solomon Madzore told Carole Gombakomba that official
violence could not be leftr unchallenged.
Administration spokesman William Nhara, also a senior ZANU-PF official for
Harare province, said the allegations were unfounded. He said ruling party
youth activists were ordered not to wear party regalia and to avoid
opposition demonstrators. He suggested the MDC youth might have been
assaulted by rival faction members.
Elsewhere, 99 members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise, an opposition activist
group, appeared in magistrate's court Thursday, three days after their
arrest during a protest in Harare over high water bills and deteriorating
Lawyer Tafadzwa Mugabe, said 94 women were released on free bail on
condition they not interfere with witnesses and remain at their present
addresses. Five were sent back to the cells because of problems with their
LAWYERS representing detained trade union and opposition
activists say their clients were viciously assaulted by police while in
detention with several sustaining broken bones and other injuries.
Armed police swooped on the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
(ZCTU) leadership on Wednesday as they prepared to march to present a
petition to the Finance minister and the offices of the Employers
Confederation of Zimbabwe.
Thirty-four people were arrested in Harare alone with 15
detained at Matapi police station in Mbare while the remainder were taken to
Lawyers representing those arrested said what they saw at Matapi
police station shocked them.
Lawyer Alec Muchadehama of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
said it was evident his clients had been attacked by police.
"From the look of it they were attacked by the police as soon as
they were herded into cells," Muchadehama said.
"Some have broken limbs. The attacks appeared sadistic because
some of the people cannot get up on their own. We have been grappling with
the police to get them released so that they can receive immediate medical
attention since Wednesday but the police have been dilly-dallying. We
believe this is out of fear that releasing them will expose their
brutality," Muchadehama said.
Late last night Muchadehama said those detained at Matapi police
station had been transferred to Harare Central.
"We have reached a compromise that they be taken to hospital,
but they will be under police guard," the lawyer said.
"We hope they will appear in court tomorrow (today)."
Meanwhile, the Movement for Democratic Change said it was
appalled by the extent of the physical assaults on their supporters while in
"The police have engaged in a flagrant violation of the rights
of those arrested," a statement by the party secretary-general, Tendai Biti
"They were called two at a time into a cell at Matapi police
station where five state security agents brutally assaulted them. They are
in a sorry state. It was a brutal assault," Biti said.
Lawyers who visited the detained said Lucia Matibenga, the
ZCTUvice-president and MDC women's assembly chairperson, was badly assaulted
with batons and sustained a fractured arm. They said she was bleeding
through the ears.
They said Matibenga was having difficulty in hearing and
breathing while Wellington Chibebe, the ZCTU secretary-general, sustained a
suspected fracture and a visible crack to the head.
ZCTU president Lovemore Matombo was suspected to have fractured
both arms. The lawyers said he was immobilised with pain from the brutal
assault and needed urgent medical attention.
Others in need of urgent medical attention included Ian Makone
(MDC national executive member), Moses Ngondo (activist), Toendepi Shonhe
(MDC deputy organising secretary), Dennis Chiwara (activist), Tererai Todini
(youth chairperson, MDC Mbare district), Tonderai Nyahunzvi (activist),
Tichaona Basket, Stephen Mutasa Mutsipa, James Gumbi, Nqobizitha Khumalo,
and Rwapedza Chigwengwa.
Biti said the whereabouts of MDC national executive members
Grace Kwinje and Kerry Kay remained unknown, although they were last seen at
Harare central police station.
He bemoaned the situation of those injured saying lives could be
lost if no urgent medical attention was provided.
"As if that is not enough, there are clearly no moves to take
those arrested to the remand court."
The lawyers have since filed an urgent application in the courts
seeking access to their clients, medical help and an order to have their
clients placed on remand. "We are hopeful the application will be heard,"
Biti said late yesterday.
JUSTICE minister Patrick Chinamasa is yet to get out of trouble
as it emerged this week that the Attorney-General's office is considering
appealing against his acquittal on charges of attempting to defeat the
course of justice.
Sources at the AG's office yesterday said they were scrutinising
a judgement exonerating Chinamasa arrived at by retired magistrate Phenias
In his judgement Chipopoteke said the state had failed to prove
its case beyond reasonable doubt.
The state, led by Levison Chikafu, had said Chinamasa approached
a key state witness James Kaunye and pressurised him to withdraw public
violence charges faced by National Security minister Didymus Mutasa's
Kaunye, a war veteran who was attacked for challenging Mutasa in
Zanu PF Makoni North primary elections in 2004, went on to become the state's
key witness in Chinamasa's trial.
Chinamasa mounted a political defence saying he was "caught in a
crossfire" in a battle which he described in court as a "take-take, which in
military terms means hand-to-hand combat using bayonets" between Kaunye and
The magistrate said Kaunye's version of the story could not be
relied on saying at times he was evasive and answered questions by firing
questions at the defence team. He ruled that Kaunye was being treated as a
single witness as no other person had heard Chinamasa persuading him to drop
the charges. Under such circumstances the law stipulated that evidence from
one witness had to be treated with caution.
During the trial, Chikafu said Mutasa would soon be taken to
court to answer charges of public violence that resulted in 16 of his
supporters being jailed for three years.
At one time Chinamasa's prosecution suffered a setback when
magistrates refused to try the Justice minister saying they had been
intimidated by Mutasa.
The minister has since denied the allegations and threatened to
sue Rusape magistrate Loice Mukunyadzi who made the damning claim in an open
CONTROVERSIAL tycoon John Bredenkamp was yesterday acquitted on
charges of holding two passports.
However, the future of his business empire in Zimbabwe is under
threat as warring Zanu PF camps battle to secure his backing in their bid to
succeed President Robert Mugabe.
Bredenkamp was arrested two months ago on charges of possessing
a South African passport that he acquired in 2001.
Bredenkamp's lawyer, Advocate Eric Matinenga, said his client
had been acquitted on the basis that he had never used his South African
passport to leave or enter Zimbabwe and that the country's laws could not
apply outside the country.
"The section under which Bredenkamp was charged does not have
extra-territorial applications," Matinenga said.
Sources in the farming community said Zanu PF had set its eyes
on taking over Bredenkamp's highly mechanised Thetford Estate as punishment
for his "intransigence".
Bredenkamp appears to have rubbed the ruling elite up the wrong
way when he was suspected to be linked to one of Zanu PF's factions battling
to win a long-running succession struggle.
He was cited as a financier of his erstwhile ally Emmerson
Mnangagwa in a report allegedly compiled for President Mugabe by former
State Security minister Nicholas Goche in the wake of the Tsholotsho meeting
in November 2004.
It was alleged that he had provided billions of dollars to fund
Mnangagwa's campaign to become vice-president and eventually to succeed
Bredenkamp has denied the claims but senior Zanu PF officials,
in particular the faction led by retired army commander, General Solomon
Mujuru, continue to view him with suspicion.
Thetford Estate is now under threat. It is understood to have
been subdivided into plots for A2 farmers.
Breco Holdings corporate affairs director, Costa Pafitis,
refused to comment on renewed efforts by government to seize Bredenkamp's
"I have no comment on the issue," Pafitis said.
"When we are prepared to comment on any developments here we
will call you."
Breco Holding is Bredenkamp's investment vehicle with diverse
economic interests in a number of countries.
Thetford Estate, a 1 300-hectare holding in the Mazowe Valley,
is a densely stocked wildlife paradise and a registered conservancy,
breeding a variety of wildlife species, though numbers have been dwindling
since the launch of the land reform programme in 2000.
Bredenkamp bought Thetford Estate from the Gulliver family in
1999 after obtaining a certificate of no interest from government. In
September 2000 the farm received a Section 5 order, which was withdrawn in
October of that year after representations from Bredenkamp that the farm did
not qualify for resettlement because it was highly industrialised and had
huge investments on it.
In March 2002 the farm was again listed and since then war
veterans have often disrupted operations.
Out of the 1 300 hectares, 40 hectares are arable and the rest
is used as a game park. Bredenkamp is understood to be leasing a farm next
to Thetford for his horticulture venture.
CENTRAL bank governor Gideon Gono's associate at the central
bank of Russia, Andrei Kozlov, died yesterday after he was shot on Wednesday
evening in Moscow in a suspected assassination.
Kozlov, who was deputy chairman of the Russian central bank, was
Gono's key contact during his trips to Russia to negotiate lines of credit
Gono yesterday confirmed his relationship with Kozlov whom he
described as "a professional acquaintance full of energy and determination .
and a source of inspiration to any central bank governor to get things
Gono however declined to spell out the nature of the business
discussions he had with Kozlov. This year alone Gono has visited Russia
three times while officials from the central bank have visited the East
European country six times. There have also been visits by delegations from
the local business community.
Gono said the death of Kozlov was an occupational hazard linked
to fighting corruption. Recent press reports said there had been a threat to
Gono's life after the introduction of new bearer cheques amid a 21-day
period to harvest old notes.
The reports said strangers had visited Gono's horticulture plot
in the Enterprise area while fire had allegedly destroyed a maize crop at
his farm in Norton. Since then security has been stepped up around the
Agency reports yesterday said Kozlov (41) was attacked near the
capital's Spartak football arena at around 9 pm on Wednesday. His driver was
CNN yesterday reported that authorities were looking at the
possibility of criminals involved in money laundering being behind the
Russian deputy prime minister Alexander Zhukov told Associated
Press the assassination was likely linked to Kozlov's duties, and suggested
the possibility of a connection with the central bank's revocation of
licences of unreliable commercial banks.
Kozlov had been responsible for banking supervision and had
overseen an ambitious scheme to reduce criminality and money laundering in
the banking system.
Gono yesterday said the deal between Zimbabwe and Russia would
however continue although he refused to disclose the nature of the
investment deal under negotiation.
He however revealed that a "very large" Russian business
delegation would be visiting Zimbabwe very soon to explore investment
opportunities in mining, power generation, manufacturing, horticulture,
telecommunications and infrastructure development. - CNN/AP/Staff Writer.
PUBLIC servants are bracing themselves for tough negotiations
with government with a core demand to benchmark their salaries on the
poverty datum level which stands at $96 000 a month for the lowest paid.
Teachers and civil servants' representatives say they have put
forward proposals for salary increments, and transport and housing
allowances to government ahead of the National Joint Negotiation Council
meeting on Monday.
Association of Principal and Executive Officers
secretary-general, Wilson Nasho, said his team was fighting for civil
servants to be allowed to form or join trade unions which are governed by
the Labour Act for them to derive maximum benefits.
"While we are seeking improvement of civil servants' working
conditions and that they be given freedom to join trade unions, we have not
lost sight of the fact that they are some of the lowest paid," Nasho said.
"Salaries are so woefully inadequate that it has forced a lot of
the workers into corrupt deals despite the existence of the Anti-Corruption
Commission," he said.
President of the Civil Service Employees Association, Masimba
Kadzimu, said government had to do something about the salaries of his
members. Its members occupy the lowest rung on the salary scale.
"We have some of our members who are failing to return home
after work and have to put up in offices. Some have turned to prostitution
to make ends meet while others live a life of borrowing from Peter to pay
Kadzimu said government could be taking advantage of the high
unemployment where there is a pool of jobless people willing to fill the
vacuum left if its workers went on strike to demand higher pay.
"Government takes its time to reach decisions. They do not treat
us as partners in the negotiations and need to change such attitudes," he
"If they knew we represent people, they would respond
immediately," he said adding that standards of service provision in
government offices would greatly improve when people are adequately
Civil servants got a blanket salary hike in March this year but
the benefits have been whittled down by galloping inflation.
FORMER Information minister and Tsholotsho MP, Jonathan Moyo,
has filed papers in the Bulawayo High Court revising his claims against Zanu
PF national chairman John Nkomo and politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa to $200
million from the $2 million he was demanding from each of the defendants.
The papers were filed by his lawyer, Job Sibanda of Job Sibanda
& Associates, at the Bulawayo High Court last Wednesday.
The revising of the amount by Moyo makes the lawsuit one of the
biggest in Zimbabwe in terms of the amounts involved.
Moyo said the revision was necessitated by the revaluing of the
currency and the spiralling rate of inflation.
"The amendment of the claim should replace the old claim by
deleting the figure $2 billion whenever it appears in the summons and the
declaration and replace it with $200 million," the papers say.
Moyo is suing Dabengwa and Nkomo for defamation arising from
statements the two politicians allegedly made against him in 2004.
Moyo says the two senior Zanu PF officials told a party meeting
that he had plotted a coup to topple President Mugabe from power.
Moyo further claims that the two alleged that he had
"instigated, funded and led the hatching of a coup plot against President
Mugabe and others in the top leadership of the party".
Moyo said that Dabengwa and Nkomo claimed he received funding
from hostile nations.
The two deny the charges and claim they never uttered statements
to that effect.
Moyo, testifying in the High Court before Justice Francis Bere
in May when the case opened, said the statements uttered by the two
politicians in Matabeleland caused him much pain before his unceremonious
exit from government.
The case will resume on November 28 when the defence team is
expected to bring witnesses to testify against Moyo.
Senior party members and ministers who include Patrick
Chinamasa, Abednico Ncube, Andrew Langa, Francis Nhema, Flora Bhuka, July
Moyo and war veterans leader Joseph Chinotimba have been lined up to testify
in the case. - Staff Writer.
THE European Union parliament is putting pressure on China over
the Zimbabwe crisis, urging it to stop arms sales to Harare. It has also
pressed China to allow moves to place Zimbabwe on the agenda of the United
Nations Security Council in which the Asian country holds a veto.
In a resolution adopted last week at a session in Strasbourg in
France, the EU parliament also called on President Robert Mugabe to stand
down "sooner rather than later", a development the legislators described as
the "largest single step possible towards reviving Zimbabwean society".
The EU parliament urged the Security Council "to report on the
human rights and political situation in Zimbabwe as a matter of urgency".
It said it wanted "China and other countries that continue to
supply weaponry and other support to the Mugabe regime to desist from doing
so and join the international community in its efforts to bring about change
for the better in Zimbabwe".
It said whereas the United Nations was appealing for US$257
million in humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe, the government had completed a
US$240 million deal to procure 12 K-8 military aircraft from China, with the
army purchasing 127 vehicles for senior officers and another 194 expected
Three proposed laws, the Interception of Communications Bill,
the Supression of Terrorism Bill and the Non-Governmental Organisations
Bill, also came under the spotlight, with government being urged to drop
Fears were expressed that Zanu PF would politicise food aid
through its reported takeover of the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society.
"(The EU) expresses great consternation at the Mugabe regime's
covert attempts to take control of the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society by
forcibly recommending the employment of regime members and supporters. It is
fearful that this move will herald the use of ZRC's food support as a
political weapon," it added.
On another issue, South Africa as the host nation of the 2010
World Cup as well as Fifa were called upon to exclude Zimbabwe from
participating in pre-World Cup matches, holding international friendly games
or hosting national teams involved in the event.
"The Mugabe regime must derive absolutely no financial benefit
or propaganda value from either the run-up to the 2010 World Cup or the
tournament itself," it said.
The MEPs called on the bloc's council to expand the scope of
sanctions and to enlarge the list of individuals - which currently stands at
120 - to cover more government ministers, their deputies and governors, Zanu
PF members, supporters and workers, in addition to family members,
businessmen and other prominent individuals associated with Zanu PF.
THE troubled Cold Storage Company (CSC) which has failed to pay
its workforce for the past five months has laid off most of its employees in
a bid to cut down on its wage bill.
Authoritative sources indicated that close to 100 workers in the
canning department were recently laid off by CSC due to zero production
leaving the department with only 19 workers.
"Most workers in the canning department have been laid off
because there is absolutely no work to do. Workers have lost faith in the
management and are just going to work to fulfill their contractual
arrangements," a worker speaking on condition of anonymity said.
Another said: "Workers have gone for five months without getting
their monthly wages. The management is mum about the whole issue and this
has irked workers who have families to take care of. Schools have since
opened and the workers have to pay school fees for their children."
Repeated efforts to get a comment from the company failed as
public relations manager, Patience Madambe did not respond to questions
faxed to her by the time of going to press.
The country's largest meat processing and beef marketing
company, which is in the grips of a financial squeeze, is operating at below
20% capacity due to viability problems.
Parastatals have been in the firing line in recent months from
government officials who accuse them of failing to meet their economic
The central bank last year released $10 billion under the
Parastatals and Local Authorities Reorientation Programme to revive
collapsing parastatals. - Staff Writer.
THE Zanu PF succession struggle took centre stage at a party
meeting in Lupane when over 50 women from the Women's League staged a
demonstration on Saturday against Minister of Industry and Trade, Obert
Mpofu, allegedly at the instigation of two senior members of the party who
are front runners in the race.
Mpofu, together with Zanu PF national chairman John Nkomo,
Dumiso Dabengwa, and Simon Khaya Moyo, are seen as front runners to replace
Vice-President Joseph Msika when he retires.
Jockeying for the position has intensified with hostile camps
emerging in Matabeleland where two senior party leaders have teamed up
against potential contenders for the position.
Just last week State Security minister Didymus Mutasa was
dispatched to Matabeleland to solve a brewing crisis over the allocation of
land to white commercial farmers as it emerged that political heavyweights
were doing so to spite their opponents.
However, the issue blew up on Saturday when a group of Zanu PF
women staged a protest against Mpofu after he allegedly challenged the
return of land to white commercial farmers in his constituency only to
discover that the farmers were backed by two senior politicians.
The demonstration occurred just before a planned Zanu PF
provincial co-coordinating committee meeting in Lupane in Matabeleland
The women stormed the meeting and started singing songs
denouncing Mpofu whom they accused of undermining senior political leaders
and party members in the province.
Mpofu, who is the Minister of Industry and International Trade
and also MP for Bubi-Umguza, was not present when the demonstration took
place as he was said to be in China on business.
Zanu PF party members, including Bubi-Umguza senator Lot Mbambo,
left the venue of the meeting when the demonstration began.
A Zanu PF member, Timothy Mnkandla, who witnessed the
demonstration, told the Zimbabwe Independent that the situation was brought
under control by the provincial chairman, Headman Moyo, who called for a
closed meeting to discuss the women's concerns.
"The situation in Matabeleland has become tense as there is
jockeying for Msika's position and there are serious smear campaigns going
on currently," Mnkandla said.
Among the demonstrating women were senators for Tsholotsho,
Josephine Moyo and Hwange East Grace Dube.
A source in Zanu PF said there was a serious plot against Mpofu
in the province and alleged that the women were acting on the instructions
of two senior politicians who are front runners to succeed Msika when he
"Senior party leaders in the province have vowed that Mpofu
should never be a replacement for Msika since he was no longer a PF-Zapu
member when the Unity Accord was signed in 1987," said the source.
"The situation is tense as other people who include Matabeleland
North governor, Sithokozile Mathuthu, have been drawn in the battle against
Mpofu," the source said.
Mathuthu scoffed at the allegations that she was against anybody
in the province when she was not present when the demonstration against
"Frankly speaking I have no agenda against anyone and I cannot
comment on the demonstration in Lupane since I arrived when the women were
demonstrating and you should ask the women what they were demonstrating
about," Mathuthu said.
Mpofu was reportedly out of the country at the time of going to
AGRICULTURE minister Joseph Made has for the first time admitted
that Zimbabwe is facing serious grain shortages and that the country has
been importing the commodity to bridge the gap.
Responding to questions in parliament last Wednesday, Made
confessed that government had been having problems in providing maize to
millers. "Indeed, we have been having a problem of supplying grain to the
millers," Made said in response to a question by Harare North MP Trudy
"We have been balancing the distribution between what we have
already collected and what we have imported. We have now given authority to
the GMB to make sure that our stocks now meet the shortfall on importation
on a weekly basis."
Made attributed part of the shortages to transport problems
caused by fuel unavailability, saying there had been "some marginal
movements in the supply of the grain but it has not been enough".
"The issue has been that when we tell the millers to collect,
let us say from Aspindale, everybody will be going there because it will be
much cheaper than going to Concession in terms of transportation costs," he
Made also partly blamed millers for the shortages, saying they
should mill and deliver mealie-meal as soon as they receive the grain.
"We know that at times, millers will tend to hold on to some
mealie-meal. There have been issues that there will be price movements and
so on but I would want to say that there is nothing like that at the
moment," he said.
GOVERNMENT will maintain its stranglehold on the media through
the Media and Information Commission (MIC) until media practitioners form a
voluntary media complaints council to police "media recklessness", acting
Information minister, Paul Mangwana, said last Friday.
Mangwana said the Zimbabwe Union of Journalist (ZUJ) could not
claim to represent the media in Zimbabwe as it comprised "employees".
Instead, he said, ZUJ should realise that it is just part of a
facet of an industry that comprises publishers, editors, advertisers and
Government, he said, had no qualms about self-regulatory bodies
pertaining to an industry.
ZUJ has been supporting a Misa initiative, backed by other
stakeholders such as the Zimbabwe National Editors Forum, to form a
voluntary media council. The MIC is widely viewed as a government agency
tasked to muzzle the independent media.
Mangwana said the MIC was established to cover the vacuum
created by a media industry that could not regulate itself.
"You make and unmake reputations, you make or unmake politics,
you make and unmake governments.
Government cannot be blamed for reading political conspiracy in
demands that seek to compromise the sovereignty and interest of this
country," Mangwana said. - Staff Writer.
AS the agricultural sector continues to be rocked by
lawlessness, evictions and uncertainty, the Zimbabwe Independent's
political reporter Augustine Mukaro (AM) spoke to Commercial Farmers Union
(CFU) president Doug Taylor-Freeme (DTF) about the prospects of normalising
the sector and improving productivity.
AM: What is the current membership of the CFU?
DTF: We have a broad base of membership, both black and white
farmers. Amongst the white farmers, we have a non-farming group interested
in getting compensation and others seeking an opportunity to go back to the
farms and start afresh once the fundamentals are addressed. We also have
large, medium and small-scale farmers as
well as those farming out of the country.
AM: Does government and farmers, especially the dispossessed,
have confidence in the CFU as the body necessary in resolving the land issue
and leading the recovery of agriculture?
DTF: It's very unfortunate that Zimbabwean authorities don't
want to recognise the vast potential and capacity we have to turn around the
fortunes of this country. But confidence in our skills and potential is
tremendous in Sadc and the international community. I have been elected as
the vice-president of the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural
Unions which represents several Sadc countries. I was also seconded to sit
on the board of International Federation of Agriculture Producers as the
The organisation represents over six million farmers throughout
the world. These appointments show that the world is confident that
Zimbabwean farmers have the capacity to add value to agriculture. We have
the capacity to turn around agriculture in this country within six months.
AM: How many farmers have been compensated and are they happy
with the amounts offered?
DTF: Compensation is ongoing and to date around 300 farmers have
been compensated. The money being offered ranges between 3 to 10% of the
value of the improvements on a farm resulting in farmers turning the offers
down. Elderly and frail farmers are accepting the compensation since it is
their only source of income and government appears to be targeting those
AM: Have you tabled any proposals before government on how to
resolve the land issue?
DTF: There have been many proposals including the Zimbabwe Joint
Resettlement Initiative of 2001, but for any proposal to work, government
has to put in place sound policies that create a balance between large-scale
commercial agriculture and small-scale (including) fundamentals such as rule
of law, security of tenure that guarantees protection of property and a
climate friendly to investment.
For example, equipment in the country no longer has the capacity
to till the expected hectarage because it is old and dilapidated, but there
is no one prepared to invest in new equipment because of the prohibitive
equipment law which bars farmers from moving their equipment once the farm
AM. You have been advising your members to apply for land to
government. Are they going to accept any farm or do they target specific
farms? How many have been given offer letters?
DTF: In our many meetings with (Lands) minister (Didymus)
Mutasa, we were advised that if we wanted to farm, we had to apply for land.
As such, we recommended to our farmers to apply. Our farmers are applying to
have their farms back. This strategy would reduce compensation on the part
of government, take away conflict with the former owners and even quicken
the recovery processes since the farmer would have an understanding of his
farm, soils and environment he previously worked in.
Our problem as a sector is access to land, so by applying for
land we are trying to legitimise and promote agriculture within the
frameworks of the land reform programme which CFU has always supported.
AM: Some of your members and the top CFU leadership have been
accused of getting into deals with powerful politicians to retain their
farms. What's your comment?
DTF: There may be 1% of such deals happening but the majority of
the farmers still on the land have offered one farm to keep another. In most
cases these arrangements were done through courts but government is often
reneging on the matter and farmers are being evicted every day. CFU
leadership are no exception to the harassment, threats of eviction or even
losing land. I have already lost 70% of my land holding and for the past
four years have been going through courts to get the right to continue
farming. My other vice-president Trevor Gifford has been reduced to a mere
seven hectares. What we are doing is to try and manage the situation and
keep skills on the farms, giving people hope for better times.
AM: Does government listen to your proposals and do you foresee
a resolution anytime soon?
DTF: There are two groups of people in the government: the
economically minded group wants the land issue resolved yesterday but they
are drawn back by the political radicals. For as long as we are not pulling
in one direction, disruptions and uncertainty will prevail, eroding investor
confidence and undermining potential to produce. Banks continue to be
twitchy because of lack of security and disruptions. In fact agriculture is
not legitimate anymore.
AN exceedingly liquid market kept interest rates in a tailspin,
with indications the drift was likely to continue in the course of heavy
treasury bill (TB) maturities expected to hit a record $82 billion in
The bulk of the maturities will be for interest payments on
government debt for 91-day TBs issued at yields of between 510% and 525%.
The slide in rates has put pressure on investors who had shunned
long-dated paper in anticipation of a policy shift by an unpredictable
central bank that brought rates down considerably in August.
Market expectation of inflation topping 1 000% year-on-year for
August was increasing concern that the low interest on long-term money
market instruments would translate into sub-inflation earnings.
But with huge treasury bill (TB) maturities ruling the market,
investors were beginning to lose hope of any sudden shift in policy by the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) in favour of a high interest rate regime,
especially considering that record maturities of $150 billion, or $150
trillion under the recently abolished currency system, were due for
redemption this month and in October.
This month's maturities will amount to a notable $68 billion.
Most major commercial banks were shunning the TB auctions since
the central bank's policy review on July 31, hoping the interest rates would
shortly be reviewed in line with the inflation outlook.
The banks had been parking their funds in penal 7-day
non-interest earning instruments.
The central bank scrapped the contentious two-year TB paper,
replacing it with a "special sweeping accounts" for all clearing banks into
which surplus funds after settlement are transferred and kept at 0% interest
for seven days.
Last week, the central bank issued 365-day TBs at 300%. Dealers
said there was active participation on the tenders, but this had weakened
yesterday when the central bank came to the market with fresh 365-day
instruments at an average rate of 237,43% in the morning tender, a
significant drop from last week's rate.
The rate was expected to decline further in the afternoon
The 181-day TBs, the major money market instrument by the
central bank since its policy review last month, had an average rate of 250%
during the last 181-day TB tender on Tuesday last week, but the rate on the
instrument had plunged to 199% on this week's Tuesday afternoon tender
before taking crashing further to 143,44% in Wednesday's afternoon auction.
THE combative central bank governor Gideon Gono has missed this
year's annual general meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and
the World Bank in Singapore, an event that he attended last year.
It was widely expected that Gono would use the event to charm
IMF executives and persuade them to restore Zimbabwe's voting rights and put
the country on a path to restoration of relations with the international
But it has now emerged that Gono will not be attending the
Bretton Woods annual meeting in Singapore scheduled for today.
Businessdigest understands that Gono, who was scheduled to
attend the meeting together with Finance minister Herbert Murerwa, had
withdrawn under unclear circumstances.
Murerwa left for the meeting on Wednesday.
Reports swirling in the market yesterday indicated that Gono was
frustrated by what he earlier this year alleged to be the politicisation of
the IMF when its board refused to restore the country's voting rights
despite payment of outstanding arrears under the IMF General Resources
Gono, a key figure in the country's economic revival project and
now a point man for the IMF on key economic policy issues, had received
unfavourable remarks from the Bretton Woods institution over currency
reforms Murerwa said had been undertaken without his knowledge.
Murerwa is part of a delegation of finance ministers guiding the
IMF executives on important policy issues.
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) mopped up $35 trillion of the
phased-out bearer cheques under an operation meant to nab speculators,
blamed for ruining the country's economy, information from the central bank
The cash returned to the central bank amounts to 78% of the $45
trillion that had been in circulation, indicating that dealers and
speculators could have been left holding $10 trillion that remained
unaccounted for when the old family of bearer cheques was phased out on
August 21 to make way for new currency.
In a public notice, central bank governor Gideon Gono said the
$10 trillion had "been trapped into the wilderness of underground markets
either inside the country or doing business overtime outside our boarders.
This represents 22% of our currency that is missing from our radar".
Gono declared during his July 31 monetary policy review that
August 1 marked the dawn of a new era in the fight against inflation,
launching currency reforms he said would inhibit speculation and bring the
country "some stability and convenience".
"All of us would like the sun to set on the dark, speculative
world of trading, cash hoarding and skyrocketing inflation so many of us
have been conditioned to," Gono said during his monetary policy review on
He set August 1 to 21 as the transition period for the phasing
out of the old bearer cheques, setting out tough conditions for deposits
that were aimed at flushing out speculators holding huge sums of money which
they could not account for..
The old bearer cheques were phased out under currency reforms
entailing the replacement of old bearer cheques, an equivalent of bank
notes, with new bearer cheques with three zeros removed.
Gono has warned that the central bank will soon introduce a new
currency and little notice will be given in phasing out bearer cheques in
In his public notice reflecting on the project, Gono said police
and the central bank had "netted a total of 9 320 cases with a value of $1,4
trillion whose owners could not satisfactorily account for" funds they were
either moving or trying to deposit into the banking system.
"Anti-money laundering laws will be involved and those unable to
acquit themselves will face the full wrath of the law," Gono said.
Economists said while the amount of money that failed to come
back into the system was significant, it was unlikely this would have any
effect on money supply levels.
By Admire Mavolwane
RECENTLY published results from the banking sector not only
belie what the sector went through in the first six months of the year but
also raise eyebrows over whether the playing field is level or not. In a way
the numbers also usher in a new era where some of the indigenous
institutions are obviously creaming it whilst the big five appear to be
scrambling for crumbs.
Unlike the manufacturing industry and exporters banks have never
been publicly called "cry babies" but towards the end of March this year the
Bankers Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ) rather uncharacteristically wrote an
epistle to the Reserve Bank expressing concern about the precarious position
that the sector found itself in following the tightening of the monetary
The point underscored in the letter was that each of the largest
five banks - presumably based on asset and deposit size - was borrowing in
excess of $1 trillion (old currency) from the central bank on a daily basis
and in so doing incurring interest expenses in excess of $20,5 billion
daily. It was noted that such a situation was unsustainable even for the
The smaller banks, although borrowing less, were in a similar
position, with viability under serious threat. It was further mentioned that
because the accommodation rate was 750% per annum and the average yield on
treasury bills was much lower such that the banks were carrying the treasury
at a huge cost and actually at their own expense.
The final point was to emphasise that, should the situation not
be rectified, the sector was unlikely to achieve the September 30
The central bank took time to respond with a reprieve not coming
until towards mid-May. So, as from February right up to early May the banks
were haemorrhaging. The central bank first responded by introducing 365-day
CPI linked bonds with a bi-annual coupon.
Secondly, the 91-day Treasury Bill yield was reduced from 525%
to 200%, which indirectly reduced the funding costs for the banks. In June,
the central bank further lightened the burden on the sector by reducing the
statutory reserve ratios. The banks were then able to breathe comfortably
again. Thus the sector's latest results for the six months to June 2006
exhibit an extraordinary recovery. It would be wonderful if the same was to
happen to the whole economy.
Agribank, long thought of as a basket case of the sector lacking
in entrepreneurialship and dependent on annual injections of funds from the
fiscus stole the limelight - from CBZ - with some spectacular figures. On
the other hand, banking behemoth, Barclays left many wondering whether there
had not been a typing error or an interchange of the numbers with those of
After convincing themselves that it really was Barclays'
results, the next step was to check on the reporting currency. Barclays
recorded interest income of $8,5 trillion (old currency), which was an
increase of 1 041% on prior period. Interest expenses at $8,5 trillion were
aberrantly high resulting in a net interest income of just $168 billion. An
increase in fees and commission income of 1 291%, to $1,3 trillion, added to
inflows from foreign currency trading, dividend and profits on disposal of
assets of $286 billion, $5 billion and $9 billion, respectively, saw the
bank recording total income of $1,8 trillion.
Of this income, $1,3 trillion went towards meeting the cost of
running the bank, $106 billion was the provisioning for impairment losses on
loans and advances and $170 was a provision for the taxman leaving
shareholders with only $284 billion to share amongst themselves.
Notwithstanding the embarrassing performance, Barclays still
commands a lot of respect as far as depositors are concerned. The bank
remained in third place with roughly $17 trillion in deposits, closely
following CBZ Bank with $18,2, trillion whilst Stanchart and Stanbic are in
pole and fourth position with liabilities to the public of $24,5 trillion
and $15,2, trillion respectively. Zimbank, the perennial underperformer,
which basically suffers from a similar ailment to Barclays, that of high
funding costs, commands fifth position owing $15,5 trillion to the masses.
The latter's bottom line for the six months was a mere $141 billion.
Another institution to pull a huge surprise was Interfin
Merchant Bank, an accepting house which during the heady days of 2002-3 made
the likes of FBC, MBCA and others look like small boys. Merchant banks have
since, the tide turned in 2004, been forced to find new sources of
sustenance. Foreign currency trading inflows have dried up in a big way and
the advisory field now seems to be dominated by boutiques.
Consequently, heavy reliance is now being placed on the
wholesale money market and structured finance. The wholesale money market,
however, burnt Interfin as it recorded negative interest income of $231
billion. Salvation came from non-funded income of $445 billion which, after
deducting operating expenses, provisions for bad and doubtful debts and
taxation, saw only $22 billion remaining in the kitty. This result in no way
compares with compatriots, Renaissance, ABC Zimbabwe and Premier who
achieved profits after tax of $784 billion, $693 billion and $1,2 trillion,
The board chairman of Interfin was sincere in his concluding
remarks thanking clients, staff, management and fellow board members for
having persevered and supported the bank in the particularly painful and
stressful period just completed.
Agribank recorded net interest growth of 2 925% to $4,8
trillion, with the good performance having hinged on increased RBZ funded
agricultural development loans in the form of Aspef and PSIP and, to a
lesser extent treasury bills and money market placements. We understand the
margin for the bank on these RBZ facilities was nearly 34%, which was above
the 29% average for the whole sector. Total advances amounted to $7 trillion
and only $382, 4 billion was provided for bad debts, not unexpected really
given that the bulk of the funds were "rolled" over anyway upon expiry of
the facilities. With such a top line performance, profits after tax were no
doubt going to be something to remember with $2,4 trillion being realised,
outshining some of the sectors' beacons such as Stanchart, CBZ and Barclays.
ZIMBABWEANS fleeing a devastating economic crisis are setting up
businesses in neighbouring Zambia, bolstering the Zambian economy whose
agricultural sector has been turned around by white farmers displaced during
the country's muddled land reform programme.
The Zambia Investment Centre (ZIC) said Zimbabweans have so far
made business commitments amounting to US$135 million in the past six years.
The head of ZIC's marketing department, Sharon Sichilongo, said
113 151 jobs had been created as a result of the investments.
"Over 112 investment projects from Zimbabwe worth US$134,5
million have been registered over the past six years creating 13 151 jobs,"
Sichilongo told businessdigest on the telephone from Lusaka. "The investment
climate is attractive and the stability of our economic policies is
contributing (to increased investment by Zimbabweans)," she said.
The ZIC is an autonomous statutory body formed by an Act of
parliament with a clear mandate to promote and facilitate both local and
foreign investment in the country.
Zambia's economy, once one of the worst performers in the
region, has rebounded significantly, recording growth figures while the
Zimbabwean economy has been haemorrhaging from a six-year recession.
Nearly 150 commercial farmers displaced in Zimbabwe have moved
to Zambia, turning around the country's agricultural sector from a net
importer of agricultural produce to a net exporter.
Zimbabwe, once the region's breadbasket, is going through its
worst economic crisis characterised by acute food shortages as well as
foreign currency and fuel shortages that have disrupted the normal
functioning of the country's economy which has contracted by a cumulative
30% since 2000. - Staff Writer.
INVESTORS last week jostled for $500 million housing bills, with
dealers saying interest in the money market instrument had been bolstered by
the bills' prescribed asset status.
Government floated the housing bills last week to raise cash to
finance the construction of houses for public servants.
The housing bills were oversubscribed, with a total allotment of
$845,1 million at an average rate of 199,4% out of the floated $500 million.
Bids amounting to $4,9 billion were far higher than the amount
on offer, indicating overwhelming interest from the market.
"There is a shortage of prescribed assets," a dealer said this
week, explaining the reason for the huge interest. "It's mainly the pension
funds and insurance companies as well as market makers hoping to sell the
Pension and insurance firms are compelled by law to have a
certain portion of their portfolios in prescribed assets.
The housing bills, issued through Genesis Investment Bank, were
issued by government in partnership with the private sector through the
Public Private Partnership.
The partners have established the Public Servants Housing
Development Company (PSHDC), a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to mobilise the
appropriate financial and technical resources for the development of houses
for public servants.
The bills have a prescribed asset status, irrevocable Government
of Zimbabwe guarantee and are tradable on the secondary market.
They also have a tax-exempt status granted by the Ministry of
Indications had earlier been that the bills were a risky
investment, with analysts predicting poor take-up by the market.
The huge interest in the bills was therefore surprising.
The fear had been that government, battling serious cash
constraints, could default on repayments on maturity of the bills, forcing
it to roll them over.
"This can lead to liquidity risk for investors," a banking
sector analyst said.
Dealers said a liquid market had also bolstered the prospects
for success of the housing bills tender, but discounted this as the major
factor in the overwhelming support level.
"Yes, the high liquidity position on the market during the week
was a factor, but I wouldn't give that a higher weighting; it's the appetite
for prescribed assets," a dealer told businessdigest.
The market remained vastly liquid last week, but dealers said
the liquidity situation had significantly increased on Thursday due to the
maturing of the non-negotiable seven-day paper that would have been rolled
over the previous week.
As a result, liquidity that averaged $5 billion during the first
four days of the week shot up to $27,8 billion on Thursday and closed less
liquid at $7,6 billion as the money was rolled over again, an analyst with
Kingdom Stockbrokers said.
"We expect the same trend to happen every week with Mondays
closing tighter due to statutory reserve payments and becoming easier as the
week progresses until Thursday and the cycle starts again."
By Beatrice Mtetwa
THE recent prosecutions of high-powered ministers and their
close allies has raised a number of issues, including the need for
uniformity on whether these "accused" should retain their positions while
their cases await adjudication.
In most democratic countries, it is normal for a high-ranking
person who is charged with a criminal offence to be suspended pending a
determination of their case. This is a procedure that is generally taken for
granted in respect of employees as it is enshrined in the Labour Act and
codes of conduct which provide that where an employee is suspended, with or
without pay, pending the holding of disciplinary proceedings or the
finalisation of their case. It is not difficult to understand and
appreciate the rationale behind this rule.
The presence of the accused person in his/her position while
he/she is on trial can be extremely awkward for colleagues and all those who
might be involved in the proceedings.
For those who will be witnesses, the discomfort of having to
interact on a daily basis while the proceedings are on-going can clearly
interfere with the course of the proceedings. This is particularly so where
the accused holds a senior and influential position and can therefore make
or break the career of a potential witness or participant in the
When former Finance minister Christopher Kuruneri was arrested,
he was held in custody for a long time and this probably made it easier for
those involved in his trial to perform their duties without the fear that
would be present if he had remained in office.
The cabinet reshuffle which followed his arrest also clearly
made it easier to deal with his case. It was also probably for this reason
that South Africa's former deputy president Jacob Zuma was relieved of his
position when it became clear that he would be prosecuted, and why he stood
down as deputy president while the prosecution in the rape case was
Does Zimbabwe have any uniform position in this respect? And
how does this impact on the administration of justice?
The prosecution and conviction of Charles Nherera remains fresh
in our minds. While he was being prosecuted, he continued to hold his
positions as vice-chancellor of the Chinhoyi University of Technology and as
chairperson of the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) board of
The influence Nherera held in both organisations therefore
continued right up to the time of his conviction. That he remained at the
helm of these organisations whilst he was being prosecuted in my view
impacted on both organisations and also on the administration of justice.
Questions that immediately come to mind include how the
professor would have dealt with an employee in either of these organisations
who was facing disciplinary or criminal charges. Would he have advocated
such a person's suspension pending the finalisation of the proceedings when
he continued enjoying the benefits of his positions while being prosecuted
for what was clearly a serious offence which has led to his imprisonment?
It has already been reported in the press that Zupco footed the
bill for his legal costs during the criminal trial and there can be no doubt
that this was so as he remained in control of the Zupco board and therefore
continued to wield considerable influence over it right up to the time of
Other board members who might have been uncomfortable with this
situation could not raise the issue while their chairman was there. This is
particularly so given the fact that appointments to parastatal boards are
based mainly on patronage and board members normally have close ties with
the ruling elite and are unlikely to question their benefactor's actions.
The finance director at Zupco is therefore unlikely to have
refused to pay the chairman's legal costs when the board had not questioned
this and public funds have therefore been used to pay the legal costs in a
prosecution where the chairman was guilty of abusing his position.
He was therefore financially rewarded for having abused his
position in circumstances where he was seeking to unlawfully enrich himself.
Had he been suspended or removed from his powerful position on the board as
soon as the prosecution commenced, the board probably would not have
sanctioned the payment of legal fees for its errant chairman.
That a chairman of a board in a company in which the taxpayer is
the shareholder should walk out of the dock into the boardroom when it is
that very position he abused is most disconcerting and gives the impression
that the government's so-called fight against corruption is not serious.
This is particularly so given the fact that the deputy
chairperson of the Anti-Corruption Commission, Johannes Tomana, testified in
the same trial on behalf of the accused in a clear conflict of interest. An
Anti-Corruption Commission deputy chairperson who testifies on behalf of an
accused person who is facing a corruption-related charge is basically saying
the exact opposite of what his mandate ought to be.
In any normal democracy where corruption is being taken
seriously, such a person would have testified for the state in aggravation
with a clear message that the commission had zero-tolerance for corruption,
particularly at a level as high as that of Nherera, who held a position in a
company in which the taxpayer has an interest.
This brings to the fore the recently concluded prosecution of
the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa,
on a charge related to the administration of justice. The minister remained
in office throughout his prosecution which was being handled by his ministry
and by personnel under him who would come out of the courtroom and look to
the minister for any advancement within the system.
That the magistrates in Rusape declined to be involved in the
prosecution is therefore clearly understandable as one's career in the
ministry could be affected in one way or another, depending on how the trial
That the administration of justice is affected by an incumbent
Minister of Justice being prosecuted in his own courts cannot be denied and
those involved in the prosecution are already being intimidated through
lawsuits that will most likely be determined by judges who owe their
appointments to the very same minister.
In my view, it is absolutely crucial that a government minister
who is being prosecuted for a serious offence be out of the system while the
prosecution is underway. Allowing powerful government ministers to remain in
office while they are being prosecuted undermines the justice administration
system as it allows for special dispensations that are not normally enjoyed
by other accused persons. This is particularly so where the accused is the
minister responsible for justice.
If the fight against corruption is serious at all, it is hoped
that the Anti-Corruption Commission will develop a holistic approach that
will be seen as truly fighting corruption instead of aiding and abetting
corrupt practices. It is the commission's duty to develop rules and
regulations for dealing with persons charged with criminal offences who do
not fall under provisions of the Labour Act.
It is absolutely crucial that influential persons facing
criminal charges which impact on their positions be suspended pending the
finalisation of their cases so that justice is not only done but is seen to
The ordinary person in the street is entitled to know that the
rules that they are subjected to as and when they are accused equally apply
to those in power and authority. That the Anti-Corruption Commission has
made its presence felt in testimony that negates its mandate is most
unfortunate and has reinforced civil society's misgivings on the appointment
processes that were employed in deciding who should be on such a commission.
It is for this reason that civil society is concerned that the
proposed Human Rights Commission will suffer the same fate if the government
is allowed to appoint commissioners through a process that might be totally
lacking in transparency and which might result in human rights abusers being
appointed as commissioners.
The testimony of the deputy chairman of the Anti-Corruption
Commission on behalf of an accused who was subsequently convicted of a
corruption-related charge puts into question the seriousness of the
commission in the fight against corruption.
The payment of the convict's legal bills by Zupco is a clear
corrupt practice that would merit investigation by the Anti-Corruption
Commission as this was an apparent abuse of public funds. Given the deputy
chairperson's alignment with the convicted professor, it is unlikely that
this abuse will be investigated at all.
The prosecution of the Justice minister has also brought to the
fore the need to have an independent prosecution authority separate from the
ministry. The cabinet must of necessity expedite the tabling and passing
into law of the Bill that will give autonomy to the Attorney-General.
This would help avoid the current undercurrents where the
Attorney-General and his staff are put in the invidious position of
prosecuting the minister upon whom they rely for the effective operations of
If necessary, the Anti-Corruption Commission should push for
this separation and it should itself have its own budget which is not
controlled by a government minister who might be subject to corruption
investigations at some stage. Would the commission seriously investigate
corruption in the ministry under which it falls? The Anti-Corruption
Commission should be seen to be at the forefront in the fight against
corruption and it should seek to cleanse itself of the unfortunate stigma of
having testified for and on behalf of a corruption convict, instead of
testifying against any corrupt practices wheresoever they rear their ugly
* Beatrice Mtetwa is an award-winning human rights lawyer.
By Tinashe Chimedza
THE recent deplorable action, in Mutare and Harare, by the
police to arrest, harass and detain members of the Zimbabwe National
Students Union (Zinasu) is an action by a regime that is against the wall.
It is an act that will hasten the fall of this cantankerous regime.
This action represents a very calculated and deliberate attack
on the rights of every citizen which has become the business of this
government. It is common knowledge that the strategy of government has been
to hunt and haunt student leaders but it is not working. The members and
current leadership of the national students union must be commended for
mobilising at a time when government has developed and sharpened its tools
Zinasu has remained a steadfast and radical student union,
challenging and exposing the current regime for what it is, a vampire regime
which is in a murderous discord with the values and principles that informed
our liberation struggle. It is on public record that the government has
tried to liquidate the students' movement by infiltrations, forming splinter
unions, exiling other student leaders and expelling others. The government
and the intelligence have sponsored splinter unions like the Zimbabwe
Progressive Students Union and the Nationalist Students Union but they have
fallen by the way side because they lacked the support and idealism which
are the cornerstones of a progressive student movement.
The students remain alert, focused and mobilising for a decisive
and definitive fight with this regime. Many students continue to rally
behind the national students union because they are fulfilling an obvious
duty which is to be the vanguard for a new and better Zimbabwe where
prosperity, democracy and opportunities are open to all. After years of
cracking down on Zinasu the government must be shocked by the number of
students who continue to answer the call by the students union to national
The reason why Zinasu continues in the good fight is because the
students union is a serious organisation. There is no time for empty
slogans. From time to time there may be brilliant leaders but democratic
processes demand that when their term is up they go. One shudders to imagine
what would happen at a student union congress if one were to suggest that
their terms of office be renewed because "we are not in power"! It would be
a dead motion.
There are lessons to be learned from the Zimbabwean students'
movement. When your term is up, you might prevaricate, refuse to call
congress or even postpone it via an intricate web of lies but the dictates
of the constitution will bury such ambitions. The students union is filled
with young men and women of great fortitude and diligence who are carrying
out the most needed national service in defence of the right to education
and a better life for all in Zimbabwe.
Over the years Zinasu has been accused of being "too political"
and being "partisan", including being dismissed by Prof Jonathan Moyo as "a
bunch of hooligans". At one time we sat in his offices at Munhumutapa as he
told us that if we wanted to meet Robert Mugabe we must come through the
party structures. We sat there, shocked that this professor of political
science was suggesting that the only way to change government policy was by
making Zinasu an appendage of Zanu PF, buy party cards and pay homage to the
The fact that the students' movement has become heavily involved
in the democratisation struggle is not a coincidence; it was a consequence
of debate and resolution. When such decisions were made the timorous exited.
The students union has never hidden the fact that it is a
political movement, because primarily it defends and acts in the interests
of its constituency, the students. That process always involves questions of
resources and policy, how then can the national students' movement be
The decision to join the National Constitutional Assembly, for
example, was as a consequence of the fact that student rights, like any
other citizen's rights, were being trampled upon by the regime. A democratic
constitution, it is still hoped, will provide the right to education and
this is what Zinasu has been fighting for through the NCA and other groups
like the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition.
In 2001, when Zinasu was awarded the International Students
Peace Prize, in the witness of Nobel Prize Laureate and now Prime Minister
of East Timor, Jose Manuel Ramos Horta, it was because of the union's
relentless commitment to "the right of ordinary students to be able to
access higher education and that the universities still be an arena of free
discussion and opinion-making".
That commitment has not wavered; that is the reason why the
current Zinasu wrote an open letter to Mugabe in May this year, commenting
that "to increase public education fees well beyond the reach of most
Zimbabweans at this time is to punish the economically weakest members of
As such Zinasu is deliberately a political creature, a creation
of consensus which acts to enhance the national interest by making sure that
the education sector is guided by suitable policies. This remains the
guiding principle of the students union; that the political, social,
cultural and economic leadership of the country is too important a matter to
be left in the hands of Zanu PF alone.
The student movement has sought to increase access to education
in Zimbabwe and to ensure that it does not become a preserve of the elite.
In 1997 when the UZ was closed it was because students had refused to accept
50% fees increases. In June 2001 when there were continuous protests in over
30 colleges the sticking point was the same - that education must be
accessed by all. Education, research and innovation are the bedrock of any
country and they drive economic transformation.
By arresting the students and their leaders government is only
accelerating its own downfall. That arrest is another word on the epitaph of
this callous regime.
The renewal of the Zimbabwe struggle will always be in its
youths and students who refuse to be witnesses to the destruction of their
birthright. This is why in small print the national student union motto
reads "struggle is our birthright". By supporting the ZCTU mass action the
students are doing a national duty in the interest of resolving the national
crisis and they deserve our support.
* Chimedza is a member of the International Youth Parliament
THE proposed Interception of Communications Bill currently
before parliament is a law that will strip Zimbabweans of every form of
privacy and lead to the collapse of some companies, particularly those in
the communications industry, analysts have warned.
In the light of an earlier move by the government to snoop into
people's communications that collapsed in 2004 after a constitutional appeal
lodged by the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ), the Bill shows the government's
determination to circumvent court rulings.
A further attempt to scrutinise people's conversations during
the same year was abandoned. No reasons were given.
In the court case, the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional
Sections 98 and 103 of the Postal and Telecommunications Act following a
constitutional appeal by the LSZ.
The Act provided for the interception of communications through
directives to service providers by President Robert Mugabe "in the interests
of national security or the maintenance of law and order".
The court made a finding to the effect that the measures
violated Sections 18 and 20 of the Constitution with regard to the right of
an accused person to have a fair trial, especially considering the
lawyer/client privilege as well as the right to freedom of expression.
Also in 2004 government proposed a draft amendment to the
franchise agreement between Internet service providers and Tel*One requiring
it to block what it termed "objectionable, obscene, unauthorised"
Service providers were also required to "provide, without delay,
all the tracing facilities of the nuisance or malicious messages or
communications . . . to authorised officers of Tel*One and Government of
Zimbabwe. when such information is required for investigations of crimes or
in the interest of national security".
The government did not follow up the matter.
Delivering his speech during the opening of the fifth session of
the Fifth Parliament of Zimbabwe on July 20 2004, Mugabe referred to the
drafting of spying legislation that he termed a "Security of Communications
Bill meant to bolster the security of our nation".
After almost two years of silence on the issue the current Bill
was gazetted on May 26 this year.
The Bill says its purpose is to "establish an interception of
communications monitoring centre and for the appointment of persons to that
centre whose function shall be to monitor and intercept certain
communications in the course of their transmission through a
telecommunication, postal or any other related service system".
It is, however, silent on the use of the intercepted material
although analysts have said it may be used as evidence in criminal
The proposed law also empowers the Transport and Communications
minister to issue warrants for the interception of communications on
application by the Chief of Defence Intelligence, the Director-General of
the President's Department of National Security (the CIO), the Commissioner
of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Commissioner-General of the Zimbabwe
These applications can be written or oral.
The said warrants may be issued where the minister has
reasonable grounds to believe that "a serious offence has been or is being
or will probably be committed or that there is a threat to the safety or
national security of the country" or that "the interests of the country's
international relations or obligation(s) are threatened".
In a written submission to parliament, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for
Human Rights (ZLHR) said it did not dispute the fact that many countries had
legislated for the interception of communications.
"However, this is no excuse to pass legislation which is badly
drafted, self-destructive and disrespectful of the fundamental rights and
freedoms of the populace," it said.
ZLHR said of most concern with these provisions was the fact
that there was no judicial control or oversight in the process with powers
vested in the minister.
"Allegations made by an applicant for communications
interception must be examined in a court of law to ensure that they raise
genuine concerns as to the 'national security', 'public safety' and national
economic interest," the human rights lawyers said.
The judiciary must issue a warrant of interception. This is the
position in various other jurisdictions including South Africa, the US, the
United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia.
"The minister is a member of the legislature, implementing the
policy of the executive, and therefore is clearly an interested party who
should play no role in the interception process," the lawyers said.
ZLHR argued that the Bill gave the minister "unlimited and
"The provision allowing for an oral warrant is particularly
toxic in that the minister is given free rein and is completely immune to
checks and balances.
"In the context of Zimbabwe today, and the anarchy
characterising what should be lawful processes and oversight, it is a
virtual certainty that there will be a higher amount of oral applications
than written ones," it said.
The organisation also condemned Section 6 (3) of the Bill which
allows the minister to issue "any other directive" to a service provider.
ZLHR said it was ironic that Section 8 of the Bill sought to
ensure that in prosecutions, courts would be forced to use information
obtained under this legislation when they never had a stake in deciding
whether the collection of that information had been reasonable or necessary.
"There is complete usurpation of the court's powers and it risks
being constrained to use information that was quite clearly obtained
unfairly and unreasonably," ZLHR said.
Under the Bill, Internet service providers (ISPs) are required
to install at their own cost hardware and software facilities and devices to
enable interception of communications.
In addition, ISPs are required to store communications-related
information to establish connections to the monitoring centre to route the
intercepted communications and also to store detailed identity information
on all their customers while prohibited from disclosing any information
about warrants they receive and communications intercepted except to
The proposed legislation stipulates penalties of a fine or jail
sentence ranging from three years to five years for those who fail to comply
with its provisions.
In relation to these provisions, a submission made to parliament
earlier this month by the Zimbabwe Internet service providers (Zispa)
contends the Bill saddles them with huge financial and technical
"Service providers are going to have to bear the potentially
extremely high capital and forex costs of the necessary hardware and
software. By contrast, under South African legislation, there is provision
for the state to bear the cost of purchase of equipment that is placed in a
pool from which it is then issued to specific providers when a warrant is
issued," Zispa said.
The organisation added that each operator needs an estimated
over US$1 million for the required equipment, figures it said would push
members out of business even if the foreign currency necessary is available
On lack of judicial overview, Zispa noted that in China
legislation was recently passed stipulating that judges must first approve
all surveillance operations. The service providers added that it would be
impossible to assure clients that normal personal and business
communications would be free from interception to the detriment of secure
financial transactions or at worst advise them on what must not be
communicated for one not to fall prey to the provisions of the Bill.
WITH inflation nearly 1 000%, unemployment more than 80% and
about a third of the population in desperate need of food, Zimbabweans could
do with a decent opposition to Robert Mugabe's catastrophic tyranny.
Sadly, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) have proved unequal to the task.
The MDC has split into two factions, headed by Morgan
Tsvangirai, who stood against Mugabe in the 2002 presidential election, and
This week, after its leaders had been arrested, the ZCTU
abandoned plans to stage anti-government protests.
In South Africa and Zambia, organised labour plays an important
political role. The same applied to Zimbabwe in the 1990s, but today the
ZCTU, through which Tsvangirai emerged to prominence, is a busted flush.
The same goes for the MDC. Mugabe's determination to retain
power, buttressed by the repressive mechanisms of the state, has proved far
stronger than his opponents' will to wrest it from him.
With the opposition crushed at home, South Africa is best placed
to put pressure on Mugabe. However, President Thabo Mbeki's attempts to
facilitate the drafting of a more liberal constitution and to open a credit
line in return for reforms have come to naught; the ruling Zanu PF and the
MDC fell out over the proposed constitution, and Mugabe simply printed more
money to pay off IMF arrears.
The main focus of interest between now and Mugabe's departure,
possibly in 2008, will be the jockeying for succession within Zanu PF.
The party is as split as the MDC: one faction is led by retired
general Solomon Mujuru, whose wife, Joice, has her eye on the presidency,
the other by Emmerson Mnangagwa.
If it is any solace to the opposition, controlling all the
levers of power will not necessarily guarantee a handover to the old
dictator's liking. - The Telegraph.
GOVERNMENT this week went hysterical about a seemingly innocuous
event by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) to hand over petitions
to parliament and to employers.
It implausibly upgraded the planned two-hour lunchtime marches
to "strikes", then to "mass action" and finally an attempt by the labour
union to effect "regime change". Meanwhile, since last week, state security
agencies were issuing threats and warnings to the ZCTU leadership that the
marches would degenerate into an orgy of looting and destruction of
property. By Wednesday they were on full red alert.
Government spin-doctors and thought police were unrelenting in
trying to recruit employers into the state camp where the malleable and
suborned Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions was putting up a shoddy show to
convince the workers that their welfare was not as grave as the ZCTU was
averring and that government was addressing their problems.
Any labour body that defends state repression of workers is a
disgrace to trade unionism.
There was all the evidence of an elaborate plan to deal with
civil unrest that was only manifest in the insecure minds of paranoid
On the ground in Harare on Wednesday, police closed off roads
and turned away vehicles trying to drive into the city centre. There were
roadblocks on most roads leading into the centre of the capital. Police
patrolled the streets ready to deal with mass action that never took place.
It was all an exercise in futility. The frantic activity by
government and the police regarding the ZCTU march attracted more
international media attention than the supposed event. Several of the
reports referred to the presence of the ruling party's youth militia.
But not to be outdone, state papers yesterday carried
celebratory headlines on the flopped mass action employing their favourite
expression: a "damp squib". The enemy had been defeated because the workers
had heeded government's call to ignore the mass action.
But this was a pyrrhic victory for the state. If anything, the
ZCTU succeeded in laying bare the Zanu PF government's insecurity and its
mortal fear of "what might just happen".
The state has over the past five years adopted a laager
mentality in which it has tried to close off potential channels of dissent.
The psyche of President Mugabe's government has been tuned to achieve
conformity and deal ruthlessly with balking sections of society, hence the
enactment of draconian laws like Posa and Aippa.
The strong-arm tactics and fixation with regime change have been
monumental public relations faux pas by the state. The mobilisation of
security agents to deal with workers trying to hand over mere petitions
containing their grievances, the deportation of a South African delegation
and the arrest of labour leaders painted a picture of a dictatorship wracked
with fear of opposition shadows.
The Zanu PF government has over the past two weeks worked
enthusiastically to show the world that it does not uphold the basic tenets
of good governance like citizens' right to hold demonstrations or petition
the state. Members of Woza were on Tuesday rounded up, beaten and detained
at Harare Central for demonstrating against poor service delivery by the
Harare Commission. That's the kind of news that puts off tourists and
Any investor will tell you that a government that does not
tolerate dissent from workers will not stomach protestations from business
either. As we have always said, the Zanu PF government is the architect of
our misery and not the media recording the facts on the ground.
The ZCTU lunchtime marches were therefore a success in as far as
they advertised our rulers' ingrained fear of their compatriots. A
government in this mode is a danger to development because it feels bound to
invest in its own security at the expense of spending on employment creation
and poverty alleviation.
As a motion before the European parliament noted last week, the
amount the government is appealing for (US$257 million) in its United
Nations-sponsored humanitarian appeal is not so far removed from the $240
million it has spent on Chinese warplanes.
A government obsessed by fear of its own people voicing their
concerns loses its legitimacy to govern. That is the story of the Zanu PF
WHY does the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists insist on inviting to
its opening ceremony ministers who insult media workers by trotting out
tired and puerile accusations of "working with the country's enemies to
effect regime change"?
Acting Information minister Paul Mangwana is generally a
likeable fellow. We were however surprised that the sickness that afflicts
all Zanu PF leaders is catching up with him, the belief that journalists are
unpatriotic if they report what is inconvenient to an overweening
He said the "public" was getting worried by the deteriorating
media standards where some journalists had "dedicated their careers" to
working with the country's enemies.
We get very worried when government officials start talking
about the public. More often than not it is some control freak or a small
clique in government that sees itself as the public and must decide what
people can or cannot read. It's hardly ever the public in the ordinary
meaning of that term.
Then there is the ambiguity of the country's enemies. Surely if
Mangwana and his oppressive regime have created enemies for themselves those
can't be everybody's enemies too. That is why despite all the posturing
about the "Look East" policy very few Zimbabweans consider travelling to or
working in China one of their priorities. In short President Mugabe's
friends are not necessarily the nation's friends. It's a personal choice and
he will have to live with it.
On Aippa, Mangwana said the law became necessary after
journalists failed to regulate themselves through a formally constituted
Media Council. Lack of self-regulation caused a lot of suffering among the
people, Mangwana suggested, while employers "reaped fabulous profits" and
journalists won awards.
We don't know about fabulous profits that can be wrung from such
a fast-shrinking economy except perhaps by Zanu PF fuel fraudsters. Mangwana
didn't say in what way Aippa had improved the standards of reporting apart
from the persecution of journalists. Does he recall a single case in which a
journalist has been convicted in a competent court of law for recklessness?
Aippa is no more than a self-serving instrument of the state to
criminalise a profession that has become government's gadfly.
"We continue to read and listen to self-opinionated stories
devoid of fact and truth continuously attacking the establishment and
championing external political agendas," Mangwana said.
Did ZUJ president Matthew Takaona respond to any of this in a
robust way? We recall him standing silently next to the late Tichaona
Jokonya while the minister delivered a vicious attack on the independent
media accusing it of betrayal.
This is the standard Zanu PF line and it needs a forcible
rebuttal which it is evidently not going to get from ZUJ.
Firstly, Zanu PF's idea of a patriotic media is one that hides
their trail of corruption and repression. They have an entire media industry
on their side which parrots the facile mantras of ministers while masking
the plunder of the nation's resources such as we saw in the War Victims
Compensation Fund, the VIP housing scheme, and the diversion of DDF
equipment to ministerial farms.
None of those things would have seen the light of day without an
outspoken independent media. And it is not remotely patriotic for newspapers
to repeat Zanu PF's childish conspiracy theories which seek to explain their
misrule by dishonestly blaming others for the country's decline.
What national interest is served by the pillage of hitherto
productive farms, Mangwana should have been asked? How do false crop
forecasts and fake GDP figures serve the national interest?
It is not journalistic ethics that have been sacrificed on the
altar of expediency but ministerial integrity. And Mangwana should stop
pretending that the public are "worried about the deteriorating standards of
journalism". We heard the same claim from Tafataona Mahoso at the time his
Media Ethics Committee was undertaking its "research". Needless to say,
nobody swallowed it then and only Takaona seems to now.
What we want to see, he should have said in response to the
minister's address, is greater ministerial honesty, less attempts to
hoodwink the public, and an end to Zanu PF's waste and mismanagement. How
can Mangwana lecture journalists on the need for ethics and self-regulation
when Zanu PF abandoned its leadership code 20 years ago?
Journalists should start defending themselves instead of putting
up with "self-opinionated" politicians who long ago lost the nation's
ZUJ should be equally concerned with government public relations
officers masquerading as journalists. The Sunday Mail's Munyaradzi Huni was
last weekend having a go at independent newspapers, unoriginally branding
them "weapons of mass deception", going "all out to create the false
impression that Zimbabweans were in the mood to join the circus" of ZCTU/MDC
"Instead of thinking of mass protests," Huni claimed, "the
people of Zimbabwe are busy trying to find means of survival, and slowly
most of them are finding solutions to their hardships".
We recall Huni being thoroughly humiliated by a previous
Information minister who rewarded his abject loyalty by publicly roasting
him for incompetent reporting. Undaunted he seeks to serve new masters with
his disingenuous claims.
"Of course, there was a time when the public was angered by the
rise in inflation and price hikes, but that was before people understood
that the source of their hardships were the sanctions imposed on their
country," Huni opined. "And that was before the people realised that the
government was doing all it could to revive the economy."
Now that's what we call massively deceptive!
The Harare commission is already working on another budget for
the residents of the capital. The commission's deputy chair, Tendai Savanhu,
said this time around there would be wide consultations with stakeholders.
In fact he spoke of a "people-oriented" budget where people's views would be
considered. In the event that people raised objections, said Savanhu, the
proposals would be reviewed.
As usual he promised improved service delivery, including refuse
collection, filling in of potholes on the city's roads and repairing of
All we can say is that we wish we could believe him. A number of
high density suburbs have not seen a single garbage collection truck since
before the launch of Operation Murambatsvina in May last year. Residents
have resorted to burning refuse in the open which sometimes causes a huge
pall of smoke and an unhealthy stench for residents.
Incidentally, Muckraker has been told that whenever the
commission collects garbage from Kuwadzana 4 shopping centre, it is dumped
in front of the unfinished and collapsing city library less than 100 metres
away. Is the library perhaps the new dumping site?
We particularly enjoyed the bit where Savanhu said the days of
"imposed" budgets were over. It can't be coming from an imposed commission.
That should be the residents' first objection.
Then there was Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono proposing a new
approach to budgetary planning because of the "guerilla warfare" the country
was engaged in. He said orthodox budgetary frameworks did not work under the
current hyperinflationary environment.
"We need a change of approach," warned Gono while giving oral
evidence to the parliamentary portfolio committee on Budget and Finance,
"otherwise what we do remains totally academic. We need a framework that
allows regular reviews of budgets."
After being told of economic turnarounds, that failure is not an
option, and of falling inflation we thought perhaps we should soon be out of
the woods. Is the need for change a tacit admission that we are in this
guerilla warfare for the long haul we wonder?
We had a good chuckle at the Sunday Mail's cartoonist Musapenda's
impression of the interior of No 10 Downing St. He seems to think Tony Blair's
office looks like one in Mkwati Building. The little mouse, which appears to
inhabit these offices, is saying "Your days are numbered".
Ironic isn't it, that President Mugabe and Blair now have
something in common: Everybody is asking when they are going.
By far the funniest comment in the government media last week
came from George Charamba who, responding to a report in the Standard on
Arda and its former boss Joseph Made assisting the "First Family" with their
farming endeavours, said: "The relationship between Arda and the First
Family is a typical one between the parastatal and any new needy farmer."
So the "First Family" is now "needy"!
Meanwhile Made, "himself an agricultural expert", had "freely
assisted the First Family in certain specialised agricultural activities",
we were told.
So that's all OK then. But wouldn't it have been more accurate
to describe Made as "himself an agricultural disaster"?
Why has the regime been so terrified of the ZCTU's planned
protests this week? They have done everything conceivable to undermine the
organisation's capacity to operate effectively including prosecutions of its
leadership on trumped up charges. They have also set up a rival outfit whose
job is to pretend all is well and that the government is "solving the
Then we saw a full page ad by the rival ZFTU and a group calling
itself the "Concerned ZCTU affiliates" who were opposed to strike action. It
came as no surprise that none of these affiliates was named. And their ad
looked suspiciously as if it had been crafted by people who were not
workers, as did the ZFTU ad. This was evidently not Joseph Chinotimba's
The ZCTU should adopt a more robust position in response to
state persecution and quisling collaborators. There can be no participation
in the Tripartite Negotiating Forum so long as Zanu PF continues to harass
trade unionists, sabotage the economy and destroy workers' jobs.
Meanwhile, Didymus Mutasa should take a break from waving his
fists at the ZCTU. He only advertises to the world how insecure the regime
feels at the prospect of a handful of workers exercising their right to
strike. Do his silly threats speak of a government secure in the hearts of
In the same vein, we would appeal to Emcoz's Mike Bimha, the CZI's
Callisto Jokonya, and ZNCC's Mara Hativagone to avoid lending themselves to
the state's agenda by making gullible remarks to state newspapers. Can you
imagine Hativagone saying "the government is trying its best" to revive the
economy? What planet is she living on?
SW Radio Africa reports that armed riot police descended on a
workshop organised by the Zimbabwe National Students Union and arrested
eight student leaders in Harare on Tuesday. The student leaders were holding
a strategic workshop ahead of protests scheduled by the ZCTU and Zinasu.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) Rapid Reaction Unit lawyer Tafadzwa
Mugabe was denied access to his clients all day.
"The ZLHR said the police threatened the lawyer saying they were
going to throw him out of the police station and warned that further
unspecified action would follow," the radio station reported.
"The human rights body said upon the attendance of a further
lawyer from their Public Interest Litigation Unit, Lawrence Chibwe, and
insistence by the two lawyers that their clients' rights were being
violated, a police officer from the Police District Intelligence Office told
the lawyers: 'We have been violating your clients' rights since this
morning, and we will continue doing so. We are also violating your right to
see your clients.'"
Please tell Muckraker that this is a misunderstanding and that
no such statement was made. It is difficult to believe that despite the
emergence of a police state, officers would be so brazen knowing their
statements would be reported.
Where's Wayne when you need him?
Have you noticed that by saying "there was nothing sinister
about it", a number of questionable actions become justified?
So there was "nothing sinister" about council assisting people
with their water problems, according to suspended town clerk Nomutsa Chideya
in evidence to a government-appointed committee of inquiry. When Ignatious
Chombo summoned Chideya to his office to hear how Harare Commission deputy
chair Tendai Savanhu
needed water at his residence, Chideya felt obliged to assist.
"What could we do?" Chideya said wringing his hands. After all there was
"nothing sinister" about it.
Meanwhile, thousands of other residents continued to be
waterless. Sekesai Makwavarara received her water supply from the Fire
Brigade, we gather. Was this a service available to all residents?
Savanhu was "associated with very powerful politicians", we were
told in Chideya's testimony.
Chideya was told to get rid of certain heads of department.
"The minister said these were not our people and they were to be
removed from council and Ms Makwavarara concurred."
Chideya said it was his understanding that they were perhaps
people seen "as not belonging to Zanu PF".
What a fascinating insight into the way the party does business.
Herald municipal reporter Michael Padera was allocated a flat in Trafalgar
Court after Chideya had written to the director of housing. There was of
course "nothing sinister" about him getting accommodation "like everybody
Perhaps he meant everybody else at the Herald!
Nairobi, September 26 - LADIES and gentlemen, we gather here in
Nairobi to share ideas and experiences on how to improve our cities which
are the cornerstones of development on the continent. As mayor of the
capital city of a country struggling under illegal sanctions from the West,
I would like to congratulate the organisers of this conference for bringing
together African local government authorities to brainstorm and solve their
Ladies and gentlemen, my city was once called the Sunshine City
before illegal sanctions were imposed by countries which are opposed to our
land reform programme. By the way, I am a beneficiary of this programme. To
show my commitment to farming, I have successfully employed council manpower
and equipment on the farm. Remember cities have a crucial role in rural
I am sure you will excuse this small diversion. I have this
passion for farming and my heart bleeds when I see other countries failing
to correct this colonial legacy.
Back to the issue of sanctions, the city of Munich in Germany
which was twinned to my city in the 1980s severed ties with us. They have
cut technical and financial assistance over a small political issue
regarding an opposition mayor whom they supported.
The mayor was fired by my Minister of Local Government in 2003
after a disastrous stint during which he only managed to tar a few roads and
clean the park. Being deputy mayor at the time and also belonging to same
party with the disgraced mayor, I was duly appointed acting mayor. I then
ditched the opposition party and joined my minister's party. He dissolved
the council and appointed a commission in 2004 which I am currently
This brief background is important, ladies and gentlemen, to
illustrate that elected councils are not always the best to run major
cities, especially when the opposition wins polls. Local authorities work
much better when they are operated by governments through commissions like
the one I currently chair. To demonstrate the efficiency of my commission,
my minister has renewed my tenure as an unelected local authority head a
record four times.
Despite a few problems emanating from the town clerk who is
refusing to be fired, the city has made great strides under a difficult
environment. I cannot say much about the issue because it is sub-judice.
May I remind you that the illegal sanctions are our major drawback. But our
people have over the years slowly accepted the sad adversities emanating
from these sanctions. They have learnt to live without running water, they
are coping well with uncollected rubbish and a sewerage system working in
But we have not let areas dry out completely. Fire tenders are
always on standby to deliver emergency water to desperate cases, especially
senior council officials who can't appear in public without a bath. (Pause,
audience should laugh)
Ladies and gentlemen, you might be aware that the Sadc region is
facing a critical power shortage which is likely to get worse in the next
few years. We have already started to conserve power by not repairing and
replacing street lights. It is amazing how much electricity we are
conserving through this exercise.
Despite these small set backs, my commission is committed to
achieving Millennium Development Goals especially in housing. You might have
already read about our noble initiative in May last year to destroy illegal
structures to instil order in the capital and to fight crime. No country on
the continent has carried out an exercise of this magnitude and we are
available to offer technical assistance to countries intending to carry out
the task. Our people congratulated us for carrying out the exercise and we
have started to construct homes to accommodate those affected by the
clean-up exercise. We also have urged those who have still not secured
alternative accommodation to apply for resettlement under our successful
land reform programme.
My city, like many African urban areas, is worried about lack of
employment opportunities and increasing poverty.
Health and educational facilities have always remained
inadequate while building stock and service infrastructure have continued to
deteriorate. These are areas of great concern to us, especially now when
funds are scarce.
But our resolve to spruce up the image of the city remains
unshakable. The commission has spent a considerable amount of money
decorating and furnishing the mayoral mansion. Remember charity begins at
home. I hope ladies and gentleman we will use the plenary to discuss
strategies of dealing with opposition councillors, approving budgets without
involving residents and removing the impediments to improving the welfare of
mayors who need groceries, entertainment etc.
I thank you all.
THE debate on the so-called European apology to Africa is
getting interesting. The reactions are what you would call a mixed bag.
After reading some of the responses, you would imagine that when
head of the Europe-Africa Reconciliation Process Chris Seaton landed in
Africa he declared belligerently: "With love from Her Majesty, I bring you
back Cecil John Rhodes."
Interestingly, those accepting the apology and those rejecting
it seem to believe it wasn't enough - as if they had demanded and expected
Those for the apology believe it gives Africa the moral right to
demand more aid from Europeans for the sins of their forefathers. It is
underpinned by the "white guilt" mindset that caused the fracas in
parliament two years ago when Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa called Roy
Bennett's ancestors thieves who stole our land and cattle more than a
This group says apologies are not enough to atone for a past of
slavery, colonialism and the plunder of African resources. Given leeway,
this is a group that would demand reparations, "something tangible", from
Europe. This would perhaps lift the African from his dungeon of
underdevelopment as explained by Walter Rodney.
But they are wrong. The apology is getting a lot of people
preoccupied with irrelevancies for a continent ravaged by civil wars,
hunger, irresponsible political leaders, corruption, ignorance and
superstition long after the end of colonial rule.
Political leaders here have admitted to the abundance of mineral
wealth in Zimbabwe, much of it still to be tapped. For all its abominable
acts, colonial rule left us with a solid infrastructure in the form of
roads, railway lines, buildings and an agricultural base without parallel on
the continent outside South Africa.
Moreover, we had all the liberty to build on the foundation of
education already laid by the colonial government. There is enough wealth to
move our country forward.
For all the enormity of the Land Apportionment Act and the Land
Husbandry Act which caused the so-called injustices in land ownership, I don't
believe we needed to reinvent the wheel or to ruin all the farming
infrastructure to get it back. After all, we haven't rejected other European
inventions like vehicles which we have turned into status symbols and don't
regard as bonds of servitude to our colonial past.
Those crying for immediate material benefits from Europe must
think again. We cannot build a sustainable economy on the basis of foreign
aid simply because we are too lazy to plan or fear to hold our leaders
accountable for their actions. There are enormous resources to carry us on
from where colonial rulers left off provided we are ready to exercise our
political independence with responsibility.
On the other hand, there is the radical school that views Seaton's
act of expiation as the spearhead of an insidious, fresh crusade by
pacifists seeking to lull a third world that is bracing itself for a
revolutionary confrontation with the white empire. For this school,
Europeans should keep to Europe and leave Africans, Asians, Latin Americans
and Arabs to use or abuse their resources the way they want.
While this ideological position sounds appealing, I am sceptical
of its sinister designation of every religious expression as a mailed fist
for an impending imperialist onslaught. This is because we then try to deny
the existence of good white men or evil black persons simply because we were
at one time victims of racism and slavery. It also seeks to deny that man is
a relatively free moral agent who can act contrary to the wishes of his or
This school ultimately seeks to deny the possibility of
individual penance and forgiveness and can envisage only Armageddon between
the North and South in the end. Unfortunately this is the view that made the
policy of reconciliation here in Zimbabwe such a sham because it didn't
entail mutual forgiveness but sought to impose the will of a conquering army
on those who had lost the war or were deemed to have surrendered.
The biggest danger posed by this camp is its preoccupation with
self-fulfilling conspiracy theories and the mindset that we in the third
world are permanent victims of outside forces who cause all our woes.
According to them, black political leaders are never wrong. The
bad guys are those who criticise them - business leaders who propose
alternative economic policies and the media who expose corruption and other
acts of malfeasance.
Its most distinguishing trait is hypocrisy and
double-standards - they would rather talk about the squalor of Harlem in the
US than the plight of people dumped by their own government in Hatcliffe
Extension, Hopley and Whitecliff farms; they prefer talking about Abu Ghraib
and Guantanamo detainees than Zimbabwe's deplorable prison conditions and
the high HIV infection rates. They have even tried to find someone to blame
for the disastrous land reform that has forced Zimbabwe to import maize
produced by hated white farmers in South Africa.
South Africans have been less cynical in their response to a
similar gesture. I found Reverend Frank Chikane's reaction the most typical
and very edifying.
He said when former apartheid police minister Adriaan Vlok
proposed the symbolic "washing of his feet" his first instinct was to
refuse. But he later relented, "having understood that my refusal would
deprive him of his liberation and his psychological torture".
This spirit has characterised the South African political
leadership since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission because they have
not just allowed time to move on but have moved with time by accepting that
there is nothing they can do to alter the ugly reality of their past. The
message to the rest of society has been invaluable if slow to percolate. By
contrast we have been saddled with a petty, fist-waving, mean-spirited
leadership inextricably wedded to a past that has become a convenient refuge
for all economic policy failures. That leadership and its apologists have
become the heaviest burden of our time.
By Eric Bloch
THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) on Wednesday
pursued protests to government and employers, its national protest campaign
being titled "Operation Tatambura Usaderere Mushandi" or "Operation
Sesihluppekile Isisebenzi." Very understandably, and most commendably, ZCTU
is concerned about the wellbeing of Zimbabwe's workers, and of their
families. Equally creditworthy is its concern at the magnitude of
discomforts and suffering of many, if not - in fact - most, of the families
and other dependants of those workers.
It is undeniable that immense poverty and consequential
hardships prevail in Zimbabwe. Although authoritative current data is not
available thereon, it is estimated that in excess of 80% of the population
struggle to subsist on incomes below the Poverty Datum Line (PDL).
Even worse, estimates place the numbers that are faced with
under-nourishment and malnutrition, and consequential endangerment of life,
at almost 60%, incomes being less that the food datum line (FDL), being the
minimum income required to fund food essentials. Vast numbers of Zimbabweans
are homeless, others live in near untenable conditions of gross
overcrowding, many cannot afford access to health services or cannot
purchase essential medications, and cannot pay the school fees and attendant
costs for their children. Hardships, wretchedness, misery, starvation and
pronounced despondency and dejection are the tragic lot of ever-greater
numbers of Zimbabweans, including very many workers and their families.
In such circumstances, the ZCTU is right to be concerned as to
the welfare of its members, and to seek to reverse the prevailing
circumstances, and bring about improved lives for its members.
Unfortunately, however, it has misguided and misdirected itself, to a very
great degree, as to the causes of the unacceptable conditions existing in
Zimbabwe. Moreover, if certain of the ZCTU demands were to be fulfilled,
those conditions would inevitably deteriorate very markedly, compounding the
distress of the populace, instead of reducing and progressively eliminating
In its recent press advertisements, the ZCTU demonstrates
irrefutably that it attributes the dismal and repellent circumstances wholly
to government and employers. Its by-line for its protests is "Breaking the
Chains of Oppression and Exploitation", and states the intent of the
protests is "to show government and employers that the workers have gone
this far with their suffering and cannot go any further." ZCTU contends
that "Now is the time to SAY NO!"
Few can credibly deny that the appalling economic conditions
that have characterised Zimbabwe for all too long are primarily due to
government. It has been the manner of government's pursuit of land reform,
and its gross mismanagement of agriculture, that has destroyed the
foundation of principles of democracy, justice, human rights, preservation
of law and order, and for good and sound market-force- driven economic
principles, that has alienated most of the international investor community,
the world's monetary bodies, and an overwhelming majority of the countries
in the world as would otherwise be sources of developmental support,
economic assistance and trade.
These acts of commission and omission on the part of government
have halted all economic growth and caused a more than 40% contraction of
the economy since the Millennium, with concomitant closures of business and
losses of employment, rampant inflation unmatched by per capita income
growth, and virtually all Zimbabwe's other economic ills.
It can also not be denied that there has been some very
significant oppression in Zimbabwe, and that that continues, to some extent,
at the present time.
Prime examples include the unauthorised invasions of farms by
war veterans and others, involving violence, abuse, vandalisation,
victimisation and theft, the sufferers being not only the former farmers
and their families, but also the farm workers, their families and
dependants. Another prime example was the dismal and abysmal, near
genocidal, Operation Murambatsvina, wherein the supposed guardians of law
and order, aided and abetted by the arms of government, pursued
fundamentally justifiable objectives in the most abusive, inhumane ways
possible, causing irreversible suffering for hundreds of thousands of
More recently, there are numerous reports of excessive
authoritarianism and corruption at many of the road blocks and other
security checks associated with the introduction of new currency, and
phasing out of the old.
If ZCTU's protests were directed at change to government's
policies and its actions that are destructive to the economy, those protests
would be well-justified (if pursued vigorously and peacefully, and without
causing further economic collapse).
But that is only very partially so. The ZCTU states assertively
that it demands that:
* Minimum wages and salaries be linked to the PDL;
* The maximum rate of Income Tax be 30%, with workers earning
below the PDL not being taxed;
* Full availability and Free Access to Anti-Retrovirals;
* Stabilisation of prices of basic commodities and;
* A stop to harassment of informal economy workers by local
authority police and the police.
It is obviously desirable that there be a direct linkage between
the minimum wage and the PDL. However, if it is beyond the means of the
employer to pay minimum wages at the level sought by the ZCTU, then an
obligation to do so can only bring about the liquidation of the employer's
business, with consequential unemployment for all its workers, who would
therefore be even worse off than if employed, albeit at an inadequate wage.
The ZCTU recurrently disregards this critical consideration (and
hence the breakdown at the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF), when private
enterprise was prepared to accept PDL wage linkage, subject to the
qualification of ability to pay, rejected by ZCTU).
Moreover, any negotiated linkage must recognise that PDL is
cited in respect of a family of six, and in such a family there are
generally two or more income earners, albeit the non-principal income
earners. ZCTU must, in its members' best interest, rationalise it's demands
so as not to occasion more unemployment and further economic decline.
The demand that workers earning less than the PDL should not be
subject to income taxes, on the face of it is reasonable, for such taxation
only intensifies hardships. However, again, regard must be had to family
units having more that one income earner, and the demand should pertain to
all in the population, and not only to workers.
However, it is difficult to justify an income tax rate of 30% at
a time when, even if government exercised maximum fiscal probity (which it
does not!), the state does not have sufficient revenues to meet the
sociological needs of a distressed populace, critical necessary
infrastructural development, and legitimate costs of government. Instead,
tax bands should be realistically adjusted upwards so as to ensure that the
rates of tax applicable for persons with income levels that cannot be
considered affluent and opulent are not excessively burdensome. There is,
however, no reason why the very well-endowed should, not, as the world-over,
contribute to the needs of society.
Stabilisation of prices is clearly desirable, but this most not
be procured by price controls, for they can only undermine the economy
further, with all consequential ills, including further unemployment,
increased scarcities, and a more virile black market. Price stabilisation
must be achieved through increased productivity, greater competition, and
economic deregulation. Key factors to achieve productivity include
governmentally - facilitated increased foreign exchange inflows, enabling
increased, reliable availability of manufacturing and agricultural inputs,
at more stable exchange rates, and requires that government takes all the
actions (long overdue) to contain inflation.
The need for a sufficient, continuous availability of AVRs
cannot be justly refuted, but free distribution thereof should be to those
unable to afford them, whilst other should not expect society to bear the
costs. The ZCTU are also right in demanding a cessation of informal sector
harassment, provided that it does not expect the informal sector to have a
blatant disregard for law and order, or to be allowed to engage in
activities against the best interests of society, and especially so insofar
as health, security and morals is concerned. If appropriately modified,
peacefully and lawfully pursued, and without being economically destructive,
there is much that will be right with Operation Tatambura. If, not, the
wrongs outweigh the rights, cannot be justified, and must not be supported.
Mutasa's view of democracy warped
SECURITY and Lands minister Didymus Mutasa last week issued a
statement to the media attacking the Zimbabwe Independent for what he called
its false reporting on his alleged beating of a war veteran, James Kaunye.
The statement was naturally and uncritically given space by the
Daily Mirror and the Herald.
A look at what Mutasa calls himself betrays the false
consciousness of his "importance" to Zimbabwe. A critical analysis of the
words he uses to describe himself and his alleged terror campaign in
Manicaland is not only laughable but also leads one to feel sorry for the
minister in charge of state security and intelligence.
In his statement, Mutasa says: "The allegations are false and a
threat to 'our democracy'". This means the beating up of people is not only
condoned but seen as part of preserving "this democracy."
It's astonishing how the Herald and the Daily Mirror, even in
this state of cognitive paralysis that they are in, also bought into this
"our democracy" nonsense where people, in this case a war veteran, are
beaten to a pulp for simply seeking to challenge the "paragon of democracy"
in a parliamentary election.
Mutasa thinks that we are part of his democracy, hence the words
"our". No minister, it is your democracy since not many of us share such a
warped view of democracy.
In his statement the minister fails to explain why and how his
campaign manager finds himself in prison for beating political opponents,
which is the root of the allegations against him.
Instead of attacking the Independent, Mutasa owes an explanation
to the victims of the violence perpetrated by his campaign manager, his
threats to judicial officers and his alleged looting of farm equipment at
The likes of Mutasa, who think democracy means beating up your
political opponents, are the last thing that this country needs.
In Mutasa's world, security and intelligence have a totally
different meaning. He thinks it is his security that should be preserved and
indeed intelligence is for seeking out his enemies, who will receive a
thorough beating all in the name of preserving "our democracy".
Shame on you.
Tsvangirai cannot go it alone
THE battle to normalise Zimbabwe cannot be left to the MDC
and Morgan Tsvangirai alone as some quarters think.
If we leave that task to them, we will continue
complaining in kombis, lifts, buses, supermarkets, shops, the diaspora and
bars and no change will ever visit us. We have allowed Zanu PF to cow us
into submission. We have taken a back seat when it comes to action yet we
want Tsvangirai to lead the way. When we are called to act, we let him down.
For him, trying to fight for a new Zimbabwe is a waste of time because he
faces the enemy alone.
It now appears even leaders in all opposition ranks have
noticed that and are now in politics so that they can survive unemployment.
It is now the way they can keep themselves occupied. It is not their fault,
we have let them down.
We the people should act and leave behind those we think
are not helping the cause. I have seen how a bus full of people is harassed
by one hwindi (tout) even to the extent of being told to disembark from the
bus. I have seen how five Zanu PF youths have terrorised 100 vendors who are
trying to earn an honest living. We are cowards. We should remember that
bravery is not the absence of fear but the courage to act in the presence of
Let us all unite, gather courage and confront this
monster. It cannot be achieved by an individual or a party. A national
crisis requires a national approach.
Winter's gone, Tsvangirai
I AM glad I did not hold my breath when MDC
president Morgan Tsvangirai promised "a winter of discontent" way back in
After pledging to lead from the front in
demonstrations and a series of nationwide rallies to "consult the
grassroots", nothing has been forthcoming besides the end of winter.
While I appreciate the consequences of mass
demonstrations in Zimbabwe, Tsvangirai must desist from acting the macho-man
as his hot-air rhetoric gives people high expectations. Moreover, Tsvangirai
has put his credibility and integrity on the line.
Did he possibly mean winter in the coming year? I
No chance of MDC unity
I DON'T think there can be any chance of unity
between the Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara camps of the split
Movement for Democratic Change.
The problem is that those in the pro-senate
camp are making some reckless statements that can sow seeds of hate within
the majority of suffering Zimbabweans.
What we need is a way forward. We need a
political party that is able to deliver us to the land of Canaan, not those
who are power-hungry tribalists and regionalists.
If those in the Mutambara faction are not
willing to share views with those in Tsvangirai's, why don't they
concentrate on their so-called democratic principles other than to continue
attacking the camp? Why don't they say anything about Zanu PF instead?
Better keep your money
ODDS offered by Mashonaland Tote do not
appear to be very beneficial to its patrons.
On September 9, I decided to have a small
bet on a horse called "The Last Drop", which was running in the St Ledger at
York. The English bookmakers, Ladbrokes, were offering a price of 66-1: the
horse was the least fancied in the race, and started at 50-1.
Since I was unable to avail myself of these
odds, I decided to have a place bet with Mashonaland Turf Club (MTC), and
wagered $4 000. Happily, the horse ran second but, on arrival at MTC, I was
astonished to be paid only $4 400.
The on-course tote paid out £8 for a £1
place bet, ie odds of 7-1 against. The MTC odds were 10-1 on - that is to
say you were required to wager $10 to win $1 when backing the least-favoured
When remonstrating with the staff, who were
very helpful and pleasant, I was shown that indeed there was no mistake in
their calculation. Anyone else who is tempted would be well advised to put
their money in their pocket and enjoy a beer, while awaiting the result!
N R Huntley-Walker,
Will we ever get forex?
MY daughter is attending university in South
Africa and I have traditionally applied for forex through my commercial bank
to cover her tuition, living and accommodation expenses.
On July 6, I submitted the usual
documentation and managed to get the forex for her tuition and was advised
by my commercial bank that they were making an effort to source the balance
of the forex (living and accommodation expenses). We are now in September
and nothing has transpired!
As part of the recently announced monetary
policy, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has taken over the responsibility
of the allocation of forex for overseas students. I have been following up
with my commercial bank but they have no knowledge as to when the forex will
I have attempted to phone the RBZ but I am
continuing to hit a brick wall.
My daughter and many of her colleagues are
in dire straits! They are having to borrow money from well-to-do students
who happen to have forex from other sources.
She has been threatened, on several
occasions, with eviction by the landlord and I have been appealing on her
behalf for an extension.
Some of the students have turned to immoral
activities in order to survive and, as a parent, this is a very serious
concern. As one can imagine, the students are psychologically affected as
this is affecting their wellbeing and studies.
Could someone please shed some light? Is
forex going to be made available or should I recall my daughter?
Don't give up the fight
IT is shameful the Zimbabwean government is
even scared of ordinary South African youths.
The deportation of Buti Manamela and his
team is disgraceful in the face of Sadc. Unfortunately not even one of the
regional leaders could boldly condemn such barbaric behaviour by the Mugabe
We, as Concerned Zimbabweans Abroad, condemn
such inhuman behaviour by a sitting government of a so-called sovereign
To Buti and his team, we say you are true
heroes of Africa. You have shown true African brotherhood. Do not give up
the fight for what is right.
The effects of the Zimbabwean crisis is
affecting all of you directly. The suffering of your fellow youths up north
cannot go unchallenged and we hope all the other youths in the region will
follow in your footsteps.
On behalf of all peace-loving people of
Zimbabwe, we apologise for the barbaric reception you received in our
country. You are not enemies of Zimbabwe and you are not prohibited
immigrants in our country.
Jay Jay Sibanda,
MDC is just like Zanu PF
I WOULD like to comment on an article
(Independent, September 1) by the MDC Secretary for Information and
Publicity, Nelson Chamisa titled "Corruption blitz netting only small fish".
The MDC is not any better than GMB's Samuel
Muvuti. The party needs to be given a chance and it will do exactly the same
thing. Who does Chamisa think he fools when he says "MDC believes in a
transparent and accountable government"? What a nonsensical joke.
The violence, the split, the scheming of
would-be parliamentarians and under-hands at Harvest House are just enough
to show people that indeed MDC equals Zanu without a PF for they both thrive
on public ignorance.
More to September 12
ON the main ZTV news of September 12, the
broadcaster ran a story about the occupation of the country on that date by
the whites in 1890.
September 12 should also and more relevantly
be remembered for the formation in 1957 of the ANC, uniting the old Southern
Rhodesian ANC and the City Youth League.
This important event is seen as the
precursor to the formation of the NDP, Zapu and Zanu.
However, there does not seem to be any
mention of this in the official media.
I salute Justice Sandura
AS an ordinary person, I am writing this
short article to praise Justice Wilson Sandura's dissenting judgement in Roy
Bennett's appeal case.
This reflects to us the povo that we still
have a judge who is not afraid to deliver the right verdict in such cases.
I salute you Justice Sandura. Stick to your
Keep It Up,
We stand by ZCTU
WE the Zimbabwe National Students Union
(Zinasu) would like to make an unequivocal statement against the rampant
human rights abuses which we experienced during the Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions (ZCTU) demonstrations on Wednesday.
We condenm the attack on and arrest of ZCTU
president Lovemore Matombo, deputy president Lucia Matibenga, secretary
general Wellington Chibebe, Grace Kwinje, and the enitre ZCTU membership
that were detained by the police in holding cells unfit for human
We are dissappointed to note that the
government is prepared to silence the people's cries of hunger and
starvation emanating from meagre salaries that are far below the poverty
Zinasu would like to inform the nation that
we stand firm on principle and in total support of the ZCTU protests. One
day the people will triumph over evil.
We say to ZCTU, we hear your cries, we
salute your courage and we will share your victory.
IMPORTANT: FREE HELP, OPPORTUNITY FOR THE FARMING COMMUNITY
The following correspondence relates to a great opportunity being offered of
professional help for our community. The below mentioned workshop is
targeted at all those who have suffered stress and trauma over the past six
years through dispossession and deprivation of rights and all those
suffering stress and trauma as a result of trying to survive during these
extremely difficult times. The workshop is not confined to helping only
those in the farming community, anyone will be welcome. This workshop is
also extremely important for those in our community who are engaged in
dealing with and helping stressed and traumatised people.
For the purpose of managing the two days it is important that you phone in
and enrol with the JAG office on 04-799410. There is absolutely no charge
for this workshop.
The JAG Team.
Herewith details of the workshop on Stress Burnout, Psychological trauma and
supporting people affected by Trauma.
Patrick Strong has a wealth of experience and is an excellent communicator.
I am sure that this day will be of immense help to many of your members and
There will be no charge for the day. Lunch can be ordered as a takeaway from
Food court, or bring along your own packed lunch. Teas will be by donation.
Please can you circulate this as widely as possible, a second day on the
26th can be organised if there is demand for it.
Best wishes, Ben Gilpin
Greetings from Zimbabwe.
Sr Patricia Walsh has informed us of your forth-coming visit and suggested
that you would be prepared to speak to a group of mostly farmers, who have
been adversely affected by the on going, often violent, "land reform" in
Many of these people have been very traumatized and continue to live under
We have been advised that you will be available on the 21st September and
again on the 26th, if there is demand. I have suggested three sessions
devoted to: stress and burnout, psychological trauma and assisting people
who have been traumatized.
Thank you for considering us and we look forward to meeting you. Trust that
your visit to Zimbabwe will be both memorable and rewarding.
Ben and Sue Purcell Gilpin
Workshop on Stress, Burnout and Psychological Trauma: Thursday 21st
September 2006 at : Dominican Convent: Entry Via Selous Gate: 08:30 for
Morning Session: Stress and Burnout
Late Morning: Psychological trauma
Early Afternoon: Supporting people affected by trauma
This workshop will be conducted by Mr Patrick Strong,
Patrick Strong was educated by the Christian Brothers in Ireland. He
graduated from the Open University with a BA degree in Education and Social
Sciences and from Wolverhampton University with an MSc degree in
Occupational Psychology. The topic for his dissertation was stress
After qualifying and practicing as a psychiatric nurse he held various posts
in the English Health Service including education and management.
For the past twelve years he has worked as an independent training
Consultant. In this role he has been mainly involved in designing and
running various training programmes in human resource management and change
management. In addition he holds workshops on stress management, mental
health, disaster management and spirituality.
His main area of work is Eastern Europe and the Causasus with the newly
He has also worked on refugee relief projects in Somalia and Albania
following the Kosovo crisis.
Patrick has a special interest in the interface between psychology,
spirituality and counselling. He has taught in the Major Seminary of Christ
the King in Nyeri, Kenya and regularly contributes to the Redemptorist
Renewal Course at Hawkstone Hall near Shrewsbury, Central England where he
lives. He is also visitng lecturer in the Venerable English College in
A second date can be arranged if there is demand on the Tuesday 26th
Please could anyone, interested in attending this highly beneficial
workshop, enrol with the JAG office on 04-799410.
By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 09/15/2006 09:51:28
ZIMBABWE'S resort town of Victoria Falls faces possible delisting as a world
heritage site after being placed on the agenda of the Wold Heritage
Committee, an official said Thursday.
The director of Zimbabwe National Museums and Monuments Gerald Mahachi said
the Unesco-recognised site would be discussed at the committee's meeting to
be held early next year in New Zealand.
He said: "The committee says there are some problems that include building
actitities that could force them to consider delisting it."
He would not say whether the problems were confined to Zimbabwe's side only
or it also applied to the Zambian side.
Victoria Falls is Zimbabwe's premier resort site, followed by the Zimbabwe
Ruins in Masvingo, but bad publicity caused by the government's human rights
record has seen tourist arrivals plummetting.
South Africa is racking in millions of dollars yearly by advertising the
Victoria Falls in its tourist brochures with messages such as "visit South
Africa and see the Victoria Falls".