Amnesty International (AI)
Date: 08 Sep 2006
AI Index: AFR 46/015/2006 (Public)
News Service No: 226
Amnesty International today condemned the Zimbabwean government's much
publicised housing programme set up ostensibly to help the victims of
Operation Murambatsvina, a programme of mass forced evictions which left
hundreds of thousands homeless.
Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle (Better Life) was launched in June 2005,
with the government claiming that it would provide better housing to those
who lost homes during Operation Murambatsvina.
One year after the mass forced evictions, Amnesty International returned to
Zimbabwe to investigate what, if any, action had been taken by the
Zimbabwean government to restore the human rights of the hundreds of
thousands of victims of Operation Murambatsvina.
The findings, contained in two reports released today, reveal that contrary
to government statements almost none of the victims of Operation
Murambatsvina have benefited from the rebuilding, with only some 3,325
houses constructed -- compared to the 92,460 homes destroyed during
Operation Murambatsvina -- and construction has ground to a halt in many
Moreover, although the government has presented Operation Garikai/Hlalani
Kuhle as a programme under which houses are built by government for victims
of Operation Murambatsvina, in reality many people are being allocated small
bare plots of land, often without access to water and sanitation, on which
they have to build their own homes with no assistance.
Satellite images of just four sites in Zimbabwe show more than 5,000 houses
destroyed -- demonstrating that the government's much-publicised rebuilding
programme has produced fewer houses nationwide than were destroyed in just a
fraction of the country.
"Operation Garikai is a wholly inadequate response to the mass violations of
2005, and in reality has achieved very little," said Kolawole Olaniyan,
Amnesty International's Africa Programme Director. "Hundreds of thousands of
people evicted during Operation Murambatsvina have been left to find their
own solutions to their homelessness. Very few houses have been constructed.
The majority of those designated as 'built' are incomplete -- lacking doors,
windows, floors and even roofs. They also do not have access to adequate
water or sanitation facilities."
"Many of the few houses that have been built are not only uninhabited, but
Furthermore, in most sites visited by Amnesty International researchers,
houses and land plots were allocated to people who had not been forcibly
evicted during Operation Murambatsvina. Researchers found that in most parts
of the country, no assessment has ever been carried out to identify the
victims of Operation Murambatsvina or to establish where they are now. In
addition, government officials have made it clear that at least 20 percent
of the housing will go to civil servants, police officers and soldiers --
rather than those whose homes were demolished in Operation Murambatsvina.
Tens of thousands of people -- mainly poor women -- lost their livelihoods
as informal traders and vendors during Operation Murambatsvina, as well as
their homes. Despite having destroyed their only source of income, the
government expects the few victims of the mass evictions to whom houses or
unserviced land plots are "available" to pay for them.
"The Zimbabwean government has attempted to cover up mass human rights
violations with a public relations exercise," said Kolawole Olaniyan. "The
victims of Operation Murambatsvina were amongst the poorest people in
Zimbabwe. The evictions and demolition of their homes drove them into even
deeper poverty -- losing what little they had, such as clothes, furniture
and even food. Now the Zimbabwean government is unabashedly asking them to
pay for incomplete and sub-standard structures -- or for the stands on which
to build a home -- at prices that would have been well beyond their reach
even before their homes and livelihoods were destroyed last year."
A widow whose rental accommodation was destroyed described to Amnesty
International how she and her son now live in a bathroom in a house shared
by three families. In Victoria Falls, researchers found a man living in a
room intended to be a toilet; his rental cottage was destroyed last year.
Several thousand people remain living in the open, under makeshift shelters.
Currently, 83 percent of the population of Zimbabwe survives on less than
the UN income poverty line of US $2 dollars a day. The unemployment rate
stands at about 80 percent.
Amnesty International called for Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle to be
subjected to an urgent and comprehensive review to bring it in line with the
Zimbabwean government's human rights obligations. It also called on the
government of Zimbabwe to seek international assistance to address the
immediate housing and humanitarian needs of its population if it cannot do
"Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle is a total failure as a remedy," said
Kolawole Olaniyan. "Moreover, in its execution it has resulted not in
remedies but in further violations of human rights."
For more information please call Amnesty International's press office in
London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566
Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW. web:
For latest human rights news view http://news.amnesty.org
NATIONAL Security minister Didymus Mutasa was last week charged
by the police over the assault on war veteran James Kaunye in 2004 - an
incident that resulted in 16 of his supporters being jailed for three years
earlier this year.
Sources said police recorded a warned and cautioned statement
from Mutasa last week. This came shortly before Justice minister Patrick
Chinamasa was acquitted on related charges.
Chinamasa faced allegations of pressuring Kaunye to drop charges
against Mutasa's supporters, among them the minister's campaign manager and
Makoni North chairman, Albert Nyakuedzwa, who is currently serving a
Sources said witnesses had also made statements to the police
and what remained was a trial date for the case.
Kaunye was attacked and left unconscious and had title deeds to
his house in Vengere township, Rusape, seized after declaring his intention
to challenge Mutasa in Zanu PF primary elections in 2004.
In an interview on Tuesday, Police Commissioner Augustine
Chihuri said he could not comment on the issue but said any lawbreaker would
answer for his deeds regardless of his status in society. In 2004 police
said Mutasa had a case to answer.
Chihuri added that he wanted more time to check on the latest
development, but efforts to reach him later were fruitless as he was said to
be in meetings.
No official could confirm the latest developments.
Police spokesman, Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena,
yesterday said: "I have found nothing."
On Wednesday Mutasa said: "What is Chihuri saying on the issue?
I will not comment if you do not tell me the name of the policeman who told
you that. I will only comment if they arrest me."
His lawyer, Gerald Mlotshwa, yesterday said: "I do not know
During Chinamasa's trial Manicaland prosecutor Levison Chikafu
said the fact that Mutasa had not been taken to court "does not mean that he
is not coming". Chikafu also said the Zanu PF secretary for administration's
wings "must be clipped to the greatest extent" leading to Mutasa threatening
During the trial of Mutasa's supporters in January, prominent
Mutare lawyer Amon Toto made an application for the court to indict the
minister after accusing the state of selective prosecution by leaving out
Mutasa whom he termed the main perpetrator.
A MAJOR shake-up is looming in the state security agency, the
Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), amid revelations that the
organisation's powerful Director-Internal was recently forced out under
Intelligence sources said there could be an overhaul of the CIO
after the departure two weeks ago of one of its veteran officers, Sydney
Nyanungo, amid claims of corruption in his department and a polarised
It is understood Nyanungo has since been replaced by former
Counter-Intelligence head Andrew Muzonzini, who is a younger brother of
ex-CIO Director-General, retired Brigadier Elisha Muzonzini. Sources said
there could also be changes in positions of CIO deputy Director-General
Mernard Muzariri and administration director Victor Mlambo.
Muzariri and Mlambo are also very experienced senior
Sources said Nyanungo left the CIO in the last week of August in
a manner that raised more questions than answers with allegations of graft
in his department flying around. The allegations ranged from blackmail to
extortion in the department that is widely seen as the most crucial in terms
of operations in the organisation.
Former CIO deputy Director-General Lovemore Mukandi and several
other officers were seven years ago accused of defrauding the spy agency of
millions of dollars through a scam involving the construction of five safe
Mukandi and his boss, Shadreck Chipanga, now Zanu PF MP for
Makoni East, were dismissed in 1999 after repeated clashes at work.
Sources say the CIO - publicly funded through taxpayers' money -
has rival camps divided along political lines in the fractured Zanu PF. It
is generally acknowledged there are CIO officers aligned to Zanu PF factions
led by retired army commander Solomon General Solomon Mujuru and party
bigwig Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Nyanungo was not able to comment yesterday, saying he was in a
meeting. "I'm in a meeting at work at the moment," Nyanungo said before his
cellular phone went off. Telephoned again, he said: "I'm in a meeting my
friend, you are now disturbing me."
State Security minister Didymus Mutasa was also unable to shed
light on the matter. "I don't know anything about that," he said. Mutasa was
unable to discuss the issue further, saying he was also in a meeting.
Nyanungo became the Director-Internal in 2002 when the last
major reshuffle was made. Prior to that he was counter-intelligence head.
The CIO internal department gathers, evaluates and analyses
domestic intelligence, while counter-intelligence prevents rival spy
agencies from obtaining classified information and spreading disinformation.
IN a major climbdown, the government has withdrawn the first
version of the repressive Suppression of Foreign and International Terrorism
Bill after conceding that some of its clauses are unconstitutional.
A revised version has since been sent to the printers, the
Zimbabwe Independent gathered this week.
The about-turn followed a meeting the Parliamentary Legal
Committee (PLC) held with Attorney-General Sobusa Gula-Ndebele and Minister
of Home Affairs Kembo Mohadi, who was sponsoring the Bill.
Critics said the Bill was aimed at cracking down on government's
opponents using the spurious excuse of fighting terrorism.
On Wednesday the chairman of the Parliamentary Legal Committee
Welshman Ncube confirmed the development.
"The committee held a meeting with the Minister of Home Affairs
and the Attorney-General," Ncube said.
"We discussed our objections in terms of clauses that were
unconstitutional. They conceded that there were some problems.
"There was an agreement that they were going to make certain
amendments to the extent that it was unconstitutional," Ncube, a lawyer,
Ncube said he had not yet seen the new version of the proposed
legislation. He said a new version would either be gazetted or introduced in
parliament at the stage the old version had reached.
The Bill was gazetted on March 24 and subsequently tabled in
parliament where it was referred to the PLC on May 9.
The PLC had intended to pass an adverse report saying the
proposed law violated the right to freedom of assembly and association as
well as the right to protection before the law.
The committee found clauses 8 (2) (b) and 10(a) (3) to be ultra
vires sections 18 and 21 of the Constitution.
The committee said Section 18 provided that every person who is
charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed to be innocent until
proven guilty but clause 8 (2) (b) of the Terrorism Bill violated that. -
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.
Loughty Dube/Ray Matikinye
THE Morgan Tsvangirai faction of the Movement for Democratic
Change will not join the mass action planned by the Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions (ZCTU) because the workers' programme is different from the
opposition party's aspirations, it has been learnt.
Both the MDC and the ZCTU have warned of nationwide
demonstrations against President Robert Mugabe's government.
The ZCTU says it will stage protests to demand better wages for
workers while the MDC wants an end to the national crisis.
MDC spokesperson, Nelson Chamisa, however said the programme the
workers were embarking on was different to that of the MDC.
Chamisa told the Zimbabwe Independent that the planned
demonstrations by the workers were in response to problems afflicting
workers in Zimbabwe while the MDC was responding to a national crisis.
When questioned on why the two groups could not join hands and
stage a combined demonstration, Chamisa said the workers had a right to
express themselves without being influenced by politicians.
"We respect the response taken by the workers but the planned
stayaway by the workers is not the same programme that the MDC would embark
on. The workers should express themselves without interference from
politicians even though the reasons for the demonstrations are similar,"
He said while the MDC sympathised with the ZCTU, the party has
its own programme of action.
"We do support and understand the ZCTU's position, the ZCTU
represents the majority of people, as we have many workers in the country.
But we have a broader programme that we are pursuing and we cannot at this
time stage combined demonstrations with the ZCTU," Chamisa said.
Last week Tsvangirai, accompanied by about a hundred party
supporters, led a march to parliament.
ZCTU president Lovemore Matombo said the ZCTU demonstrations
were a labour issue and that it was important to differentiate who was doing
what on the ground.
"The planned demonstration is purely a labour issue, the MDC is
seeking power while the ZCTU is looking after the survival and welfare of
the worker," Matombo said.
"The workers will be protesting solely on labour issues but the
issues are not different from issues being raised by the MDC and other civic
LEADER of the fractured Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
Morgan Tsvangirai, has abandoned his 2002 presidential poll petition
prompting President Robert Mugabe's lawyer to urge him to push on until the
case is finalised.
In a letter dated September 1 written by Mugabe's lawyer
Terrence Hussein and addressed to the opposition leader's attorney Bryant
Elliot, Mugabe enquired when Tsvangirai would resume the inspection of
ballot boxes his party suspended in December last year.
When the exercise was suspended the then MDC's secretary for
legal affairs David Coltart said the legal teams were breaking for Christmas
and would resume in January, but the matter was not pursued.
The letter written to Tsvangirai's lawyer reads: "You will
recall that you filed a notice of appeal against the decision of Justice
Hlatshwayo, dismissing the legal challenge to the election.
"We note that you have not paid any security costs, nor taken
steps to prepare the record of appeal. Please take the necessary steps to
ensure that the appeal is heard so that the petition, which your client
filed, is finalised."
Hussein wrote that he wanted to place it on record that the
stalled verification exercise and Tsvangirai's failure to follow up the
appeal were causing delays in finalising the matter.
"You will recall that you initially indicated that you would
continue the (inspection) exercise in January 2006. This date was then moved
to February 2006 by yourselves. In February 2006, you then indicated that
you (had) stopped the exercise indefinitely.
"So that the matter may progress, please indicate to us and the
Registrar (of the High Court) whether you intend to proceed with the
verification exercise which you suspended," the letter added.
On Wednesday the Tsvangirai faction's legal affairs secretary
Innocent Gonese said: "The matter was in the hands of our lawyer Bryant
THE ownership wrangle of the lucrative Matetsi Unit 3 Concession
in Matabeleland North has taken another twist following the failure by the
highest bidder of last month's auction to honour his $710 million bid.
Klaudius Hove, the proprietor of Kanetuta Safaris, failed to pay
the $710 million for his winning bid within the stipulated seven days. He
also lost $20 million non-refundable deposit he had paid to the National
Parks and Wildlife Authority.
The concession, formerly run by Jacob Mudenda for a decade, went
under the hammer in August after the expiry of his lease agreement with the
Mudenda, chairman of the Safari Operators Association of
Zimbabwe, had launched an appeal with the Supreme Court to block the
auctioning of the concession pending the outcome of a High Court ruling on
an ownership wrangle of the property. However, the auction went ahead
resulting in Hove outclassing the other bidders.
Parks public relations manager, Retired Major Edward Mbewe,
confirmed the latest developments, saying the concession was to be offered
to the second highest bidder.
"I can confirm that Klaudius Hove failed to pay the money within
the stipulated seven days but at the moment I am not in a position to
disclose the name of the second highest bidder who has since been awarded
the tender," confirmed Mbewe.
Mudenda's lawyer, Fanuel Piki of IEG Musimbe & Partners,
expressed confidence in the outcome of the court ruling.
"We have just finished putting together our record of appeal and
we have since received the management authority's plea and we are waiting
for the minister's plea. I can say boldly that we are confident of winning
"The management authority is saying that it did not concur with
the minister when they auctioned the concession. The Act clearly stipulates
that there must be concurrence with the minister in every case handled. That
is an in-house problem; it must not affect my client. We therefore expect
the Supreme Court to grant us the concession," said Piki. However, Mbewe
de-fended the authority using the same Act referred to by Piki.
"The former lease-holder made an appeal to the court but
unfortunately an appeal cannot change the ruling of the court. We cannot
stop conducting our business because of the appeal."
THE Bulawayo City Council's bid to raise $4,8 billion and US$3,4
million to finance various water projects has flopped as last week's donors
conference managed to raise only $96 000.
The money raised is not enough to sink a single borehole. The
city fathers however spent $634 000 hosting the donors conference.
The council has resolved to hold more donor conferences in
Harare and beyond the country's borders to raise the funds for the water
The city needs the cash to sink and rehabilitate boreholes at
the Nyamandlovu aquifer, link up two supply dams, set up a booster station
and to commence work on the long awaited Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project.
As if to spite the council, a day after the failed water
conference, the government through the Reserve Bank, released $890 million
towards the Zambezi water project.
The Bulawayo executive mayor, Japhet Ndabeni Ncube, this week
told the Zimbabwe Independent that the council will hold more donor
conferences in a bid to raise more funds.
"We will hold more donor conferences in Harare and other
centres. Currently we are reconciling what the donors gave us and more are
still coming forward with pledges," Ncube said.
Bulawayo faces serious water shortages and the city has
announced that if the situation continues to deteriorate, it would recycle
water for domestic use.
The European Union (EU) together with the South African and
Kuwait embassies have promised unspecified aid towards the project.
Among some of the projects the city intends to embark on is the
linking up of Mtshabezi Dam to other supply dams and the rehabilitation of
boreholes at Epping Forest.
The council in a report on deliberations of the Future Water
Supplies and Water Action Committee said the supply dams were only 41,56 %
full, with a total of 150 720 million cubic metres of water.
CONTROVERSY over former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa's
purported role as a mediator in Zimbabwe deepened this week after it emerged
Southern African Development Community (Sadc) leaders were misled by Harare
into endorsing his mission during their recent summit in Lesotho.
Sources said President Robert Mugabe and his delegation to the
summit in Maseru, carried the same message which they fed to delegates on
the sidelines of the African Union meeting in July that Mkapa was now the
intermediary between Zimbabwe and Britain over a claimed bilateral dispute
dividing the two countries.
The sources said the Harare mantra that Mkapa was now the
mediator was hawked to Sadc leaders behind the scenes in Maseru who then
bought into it, leading to the group's acknowledgement of the initiative.
As a result on August 22 after the Sadc summit, Lesotho Prime
Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, the new Sadc chairman, announced Mkapa had been
appointed mediator on Zimbabwe.
South African Deputy Foreign minister Aziz Pahad confirmed this
at a press briefing in Pretoria a week later.
Last week Sadc executive secretary Tomaz Augusto Salomao was
quoted as saying through his spokesperson Leefa Martin, that Mkapa was still
However, further information gleaned from Harare-based diplomats'
confidential briefing notes shows Mkapa is not a mediator at all between
Zimbabwe and Britain. The notes suggest Mkapa is actually becoming
increasingly irritated by the claim.
Although efforts to contact Mkapa were unsuccessful, information
to hand indicates that he has made his position clear on the issue to
several interested parties in recent weeks.
Diplomatic notes show Mkapa was approached to mediate but
declined, saying he was busy with party business and other engagements.
Mkapa was first brought into the Zimbabwe issue by former
Tanzanian ambassador to Harare, Brigadier-General Hashim Mbita, and the late
Information minister Tichaona Jokonya. He was later approached by United
Nations officials on the matter but turned down the offer to intervene.
Sources said Tanzania allowed Sadc leaders in Lesotho to
acknowledge Mkapa as mediator when it knew the correct position because the
issue was never formalised between Dar-es-Salaam and Harare. It had largely
remained an informal matter driven by Mbita and Jokonya.
The adoption of Mkapa as mediator by United Nations
secretary-general Kofi Annan and Sadc, sources said, may well mean they have
misled the world on the issue and continue to do so.
After the AU summit in Banjul, the Gambia, in July, Annan said
he had met with Mugabe who had told him that Mkapa had been appointed as a
Mugabe was cited by Annan as the source of the claim in Banjul
that Mkapa is now the mediator and sources say Zimbabwean officials repeated
the same line in Maseru. This means Annan and Sadc leaders were misled in
view of Mkapa's position - at least as of early this month - that he was not
a mediator between Zimbabwe and Britain.
THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) has postponed to a later
date a scheduled board meeting to discuss Zimbabwe's overdue financial
obligations after failing to secure a date for its fact-finding mission to
Harare this month, sources said this week.
Central bank sources told businessdigest last week that an IMF
mission was coming to the country mid month, but investigations this week
revealed that a conflict over policy issues between the Reserve Bank
governor Gideon Gono and Finance minister Herbert Murerwa had scuttled
prospects of an early visit.
Businessdigest reported earlier that the Bretton Woods
institution was expected to schedule its meeting to Zimbabwe to September, a
move that was expected to open another anxious chapter in Zimbabwe's
relationship with the IMF after the country survived expulsion from the
Bretton Woods institution when it settled its overdue financial obligations
to the IMF's General Resources Account (GRA) in February.
Government and central bank authorities had been informed of the
pending review, initially expected to take place exactly six months after an
IMF board meeting that maintained censure on the country after payment of
arrears to the GRA.
Speculation deepened in the market that Murerwa was making
frenetic moves to block an IMF team into the country around the same month
for a routine Article IV consultation.
There were indications that Murerwa was, however, willing to
have the team in the country in September, but Gono, who is leading the
economic reforms, had preferred a later date and had overruled Murerwa.
Gono and Murerwa have clashed over policy issues, with Gono at
one time writing to Murerwa that he did not know "whether we are working for
the same government".
The sharp differences between the two were further highlighted
by Murerwa's attack on Gono's monetary policy during a politfolio committee
meeting at which he alleged he had not been consulted when Gono introduced a
new currency system slashing three zeros from the country's currency.
The mission's findings, together with any attempts by the
country to clear outstanding arrears, are meant to establish Zimbabwe's
cooperation with the Bretton Woods institution's demands for an overhaul of
economic and structural policies.
However, sources indicated that the board meeting was unlikely
to take place this month in the absence of an Article 1V consultative
meeting report from an IMF mission into the country.
Consequently, the IMF had moved a scheduled board meeting on
Zimbabwe to a date yet to be announced at the end of the year.
The mission had also now been scheduled to make its visit for
the article IV consultations, which are routine for all IMF members, in
An IMF spokesperson told businessdigest from Washington: "The
Article IV mission is expected to take place towards the end of the year.
The next board review is expected to take place in early November."
She said "no precise dates" had been agreed between the IMF and
authorities in Harare.
The IMF, which upheld a decision to keep Zimbabwe's voting
rights suspended during its board meeting in March, had said it would meet
again in September to review the country's outstanding arrears.
There were indications that recent economic policies had failed
to win the support of the IMF, suggesting that fresh measures could be taken
against Zimbabwe for non-cooperation with the multilateral institution's
demands for broader market-related reforms to take the country out of its
economic morass. Article IV consultations are routinely conducted on IMF
members, but Zimbabwe had been understood to be digging in its heels on the
planned visit, insisting its membership to the fund is only nominal.
Zimbabwe cleared its overdue financial obligations to the IMF's
GRA but still remained with substantial arrears amounting to US$119 million
under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF)-Exogenous Shocks
Facility Trust (ESF).
ZIMBABWE'S currency reforms have failed to win the backing of
the International Monetary Fund (IMF), further deepening anxiety over the
country's fate when the Bretton Woods institution's board meets to review
the country's membership in November.
An IMF spokesperson told businessdigest from Washington that
Zimbabwe's currency reforms, undertaken as part of broad-based measures to
curb hyperinflation, fell far short of addressing fundamental causes of the
country's economic woes.
"The fund has repeatedly urged the Zimbabwean authorities to
urgently adopt a comprehensive policy package to address Zimbabwe's economic
crisis," said an IMF spokesperson.
"The introduction of a new currency in itself does not address
the underlying problem. The fund has also called on the government to
provide adequate social safety nets and food security to vulnerable groups,"
The unfavourable view of the currency reforms by the IMF
underline government and the central bank's apprehension over a planned
mission to the country by an IMF team, whose visit was scheduled for early
September before a board meeting to review Zimbabwe's compliance with the
institution's recommendations over the comprehensive policy package to
kick-start the economy's revival.
Both the board meeting and the IMF mission have been moved to
Independent economic analyst, John Robertson, said the IMF
response to the currency reforms was an indictment of half-hearted
government and central bank policies on economic reforms.
"Policy choices made by government have damaged the economy and
we can't ask for assistance in our current economic state," said Robertson.
"We won't be deserving support until we change policies
affecting us. It's easy to focus on land and agriculture but every sector
has suffered," Robertson said.
Robertson said the IMF "is not going to take us seriously until
we deal with our bad economic policies".
The IMF has had a cat-and-mouse relationship with Zimbabwe's
government, which has failed to adopt comprehensive economic policies to
take the country out of a seven-year economic recession.
By Admire Mavolwane
POLITICIANS and economists both within and outside government
circles of whatever form or shape agree on one basic tenet; agriculture is
central to the Zimbabwean economy. It is thus obvious that the smooth
functioning of major institutions - both private and public - in this sector
is of critical importance.
The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) is one such institution which
has the legislated and sole mandate of ensuring that the country has
sufficient stocks of its staple diet. Furthermore, following the move to
government funded agriculture the parastatal has the responsibility of
distributing inputs to farmers. With such an important role to play the lead
story of Wednesday's Herald reads like fiction - for lack of a better word.
It is said that the GMB has, since 2004, been operating without a functional
board and that the title "acting" is as ubiquitous as air at the company's
head office. Seventeen top managers, including the chief executive,
financial director, and operations director, are all in an acting capacity.
Not only is everyone "acting", but the books have not undergone any recent
scrutiny. Out of the 83 depots, only 10 are reported to have been audited
and at one depot the computer system has not been functioning for over a
year. These insights into the operation of the GMB somehow intuitively
explain the lack of accurate maize and wheat production figures.
After reading the story, we could not wait for yesterday's
edition of the paper as we, perhaps naively, expected an erratum message and
apology tucked somewhere in a corner retracting the story or correcting some
of the contents. Many were also expecting at least a statement from GMB's
"acting" spokesperson explaining the true state of affairs at Dura House, or
at least a damage-limitation exercise from some of the stakeholders closer
to the scene. The waiting has turned from hours to days, which leads many to
grudgingly reach some sort of conclusion. Thereafter, the question that is
asked is whether these revelations are not just the tip of the iceberg.
We now turn to some lighter stuff focusing on the interim
results from the short-term insurance sector. The sector is uniquely
composed of two short-term insurance companies both with double-barrelled
names Nicozdiamond and Zimnat Lion. Both companies were borne out of the
merger of two previously separate companies each going by the fore and
surname of the new entities. Prior to the merger of Zimnat Lion with AIG
Zimbabwe last year, some suggested tongue in cheek that the new entity
should be called Zimnat Lion AIG.
The overall insurance sector, including the life assurance
companies First Mutual and Fidelity as well as ZHL, has for a long time now
struggled to convince the market that it is as glitzy as its cousin, the
banking sector. The market is still to be convinced with three out of four
players being both in the penny stock and speculators' havens territory much
to the disenchantment of management.
The fact that the counters have for a long time failed to
attract the attention of "serious" investors, that is excluding obviously
the major shareholders, has been a bitter pill to swallow. It pains the CEOs
in the sector that they have to compete for the loose change from an
investor's pocket as it were. Having been unsuccessful in the quest to
change sentiment towards the sector, attention has now turned towards
convincing the market that for those seeking an exposure to investment
income based earnings, one company is better than the other.
First Mutual has moved out of the penny stock range largely as a
result of its "stature" and presumed underlying potential which many feel
has not been fully exploited. Now that the dust seems to have settled as far
as shareholder issues are concerned it remains to be seen whether the entity
can live up to expectations. The counter in a way runs the danger of being
another value trap after ZHL, which shed the penny stock cloak a few years
back, but is still to actively compete with the rest of the market for the
We digress. Back to the financials, Nicoz's gross written
premium grew by 891% to $1, 9 trillion with the growth driven by the
inflationary revaluation of assets. Outflows in the form of administration
expenses and claims' costs grew at a slower pace of 827% to $1,1 trillion,
which after accounting for re-assurance costs of $685 billion ensured that
an underwriting profit of $73,1 billion as compared to a loss of $1,9
billion was recorded.
Zimnat, on the other hand, managed to grow the gross premiums
written by 1 085%, to $1,2 trillion, after adopting a "deliberate strategy
to retain and attract only the profitable business". As has become the norm,
outflows of administration, reassurance and claim costs exceeded revenues
and consequently a $38 billion underwriting loss was recorded.
On the basis of gross written premium, Nicoz is the bigger of
the two, whilst at core business level of underwriting risks, Nicoz again
gets the better of Zimnat. The new man directing operations at Zimnat's
parent company, TA, has been at pains to explain how the insurer always
manages to lose money at this level. He has, if we remember correctly,
promised to rectify the situation by the end of this year. As such the
market cannot wait for March 2007.
For investment income, Nicoz booked in $1,4 trillion, of which
$1 trillion was in the form of property revaluations, whilst Zimnat only
chalked in $554,2 billion, mainly from the gains in equities. The latter
does not revalue properties at half year. Stripping off the properties, then
the investment incomes look almost identical, with Zimnat appearing to have
Because of the different treatment of investment properties by
the two rivals, the bottom lines are poles apart, with Nicoz showing
attributable earnings of $1,1 trillion compared with Zimnat's $338,9
Lastly for those who follow both the stock market and local
football, the blue and green corporate colours of the two companies easily
bring to mind the two Harare-based soccer clubs Dynamos and Caps United. At
this stage, however, we are not sure whether the analysis can be taken any
further than that.
RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono says his
quasi-fiscal operations have been made "to defend the country's
In a letter to David Butau, the chairman of the parliamentary
portfolio committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development, Gono said
his quasi-fiscal interventions had saved the country's infrastructure
networks "from total collapse due to inadequacy of traditional fiscal
In his letter to Butau, sent a day after his presentation to the
committee on Monday, Gono said he had fully discussed "the growing incidence
of some parastatals, such as Zesa and Air Zimbabwe, claiming for foreign
currency and getting allocations from the Reserve Bank without paying the
corresponding local currency".
Gono has come under fire from certain quarters of government who
allege his quasi-fiscal operations have encroached into ministerial
territory, undermining the powers of cabinet ministers and often turning
ministries into Reserve Bank subsidiaries.
In his reflections on the country's relationship with the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) in May, Gono said the Reserve Bank Act
mandated the central bank to undertake quasi-fiscal interventions, saying
these had the tacit approval of the Ministry of Finance.
The central bank this year came under fire from the IMF which
took Gono to task over quasi-fiscal operations on projects they said should
have been funded by the Ministry of Finance through the budget.
The central bank had provided resources for dam construction,
irrigation systems and infrastructure development, among others.
In his submissions to parliament, Gono said infrastructure
network saved from collapse through his interventions included the railways
network, power generation plants, water reticulations and irrigation
systems, coal mines, telecommunication networks, iron and steel production
plants as well as others related to the health delivery system and Air
Zimbabwe. - Staff Writer.
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) this week ordered Time Bank
to stop repayments to depositors, threatening to unleash the police on the
bank's directors if they continue the exercise.
The directive and threats came soon after Time Bank started
repaying depositors whose money locked in the bank when it was placed under
curatorship by the RBZ two years ago.
Sources this week told businessdigest that the RBZ's Registrar
of Banks, Norman Mataruka, wrote to the directors of the bank instructing
them to stop the repayments which started at Hellenic Sports Club on
Mataruka demanded that the directors also stop placing
advertisements in the media using the name Time Bank because the institution's
licence had been cancelled. The letter, sources said, also warned that the
central bank would seek legal intervention if they continued using the name
The letter has set the stage for what might be a protracted
legal battle, with revelations yesterday that Time directors had since
appealed against the directive and wowed to continue with the repayments as
scheduled in public notices to depositors.
The shareholders said the RBZ no longer had the power to make
decisions about Time Bank after the purported cancellation of its licence.
Time has since appointed a company called Chadford Investments
to make the repayments on its behalf.
"We got the letter but we have appealed against the directive.
In the meantime we will continue to repay our depositors as planed," said
one director who requested anonymity.
"It's a shocking threat. We believe they want to disrupt our
repayment plan and then push the institution into liquidation where
depositors and creditors will be paid far less than what they deserve."
THE Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (PTA
Bank) has earmarked more than US$30 million for Zimbabwe, the bank's
president revealed to businessdigest this week.
The money will be targeted at projects and trade facilities.
The money will be availed to local banking institutions in the
form of a credit line, Michael Gondwe, the PTA Bank president, said.
"Last year, the bank provided US$30 million for projects and
trade facilities in this country. We expect this figure to go up further
this year, as we enhance our support for the local business community," said
He refused to say exactly how much the bank was committing to
the country this year, but indicated arrangements had already been made to
extend the credit lines under the facility to local banks.
This week Gondwe presented a US$5 million short-term line of
credit to the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group, for use by exporters in
financially viable post-shipment transactions in the agro-processing,
manufacturing, mining and other export-oriented transactions.
"We fully support business growth in Zimbabwe and want to
surpass what we did last year. I cannot say which banks we will be working
with but we are doing our best not only in Zimbabwe but in the eastern and
southern African sub-region," Gondwe told businessdigest.
PTA Bank is a developmental institution whose role is to
financing development projects in east and southern Africa.
"This post-shipment facility basically caters for the export
sector taking into account the need to grow foreign exchange generation
capability," said Gondwe.
Zimbabwe has over the past five years been experiencing acute
foreign currency shortages.
During the year to December 2005, foreign exchange inflows into
the formal market amounted to US$1,70 billion, compared to US$1,71 billion
in 2004, representing a decline of 0,46%.
Underperformance in export was compensated for by increased
short-term facilities. Total export shipments last year amounted to US$1,43
billion, a decline of 9,04% from US$1,58 achieved the same period in 2004.
ZIMBABWE'S foreign currency market remained strapped for cash a
month after the central bank introduced a semi-liberal regime allowing
exporters to retain a huge chunk of their export receipts in foreign
currency accounts (FCAs), dealers said this week.
Dealers said exporters were holding on to hard currency under
the new system, and were even unwilling to enter into twin arrangements with
importers as provided for under the new exchange control regime.
"We're still to see the fruition of the refined system as it has
so far failed to induce inflows into the system," a dealer told
"The only money coming in is from NGOs (non-governmental
organisations) but they are now complaining about the exchange rate," said
The central bank, which devalued the local currency to $250 to
the greenback, allowed gold miners and exporters to retain 70% of their
foreign currency earnings in foreign currency for an indefinite period.
Exporters were previously only allowed to retain 70% of export
receipts in FCAs for up to 30 days, after which they were obliged to
liquidate any unused balances into the interbank market.
Gold producers retained about 40% of their earnings in FCAs. The
central bank, through subsidiary Fidelity Printers, is the sole buyer of
gold in the country.
RBZ governor Gideon Gono said the exporters, who include
horticultural producers, would "keep their FCA balances without fear of
forced liquidation by either the central bank or the authorised dealers".
In a later notice sent to authorised dealers, the central bank
said exporters could trade funds in their FCAs to importers on a
willing-seller, willing-buyer basis for the purposes of financing exchange
control approved transactions.
But dealers said both exporters and importers were unwilling to
trade under these measures, described as twinning arrangements, because of
the disclosure requirements under the system.
"Both exporters and importers are also unwilling to get into the
twinning arrangements because they fear the requirement to declare their
relationships could open them up to scrutiny for any previous deals," the
Under the twinning arrangement, an importer identifies an
exporter with excess FCA balances. The exporter declares excess funds to an
authorised dealer, upon which both exporter and importer are compelled to
provide certain declarations to the central bank.
Dealers said there was still huge demand for foreign currency on
the market, hinting that the bulk of foreign currency transactions ware
still taking place on the parallel market where the greenback was selling
for a higher rate than that on the official market.
"The rate for the greenback is between $700 and $800 for volume
movers. Cash transactions are going for between $600 and $650 for the
greenback," a dealer said.
Gono said in his monetary policy statement in July that the new
measures would enable exporters "to smoothly plan their cashflows, build up
resources for larger requirements in future as well as create the necessary
conditions for a vibrant interbank foreign exchange trading market".
"We now call upon exporters to now play a more prominent role in
building this economy and to stop being cry-babies anymore..it is time to
get on with your core business of exporting," Gono said.
By Rashweat Mukundu
THE latest legislative offering by the government, the
Interception of Communications Bill, should be seen in its wider context as
yet another assault on the rights of the people of Zimbabwe.
The Bill, whose movers have so far failed to justify beyond
mumbles of protecting national sovereignty and clamping down on criminal
activity, is part of a grand and long-term strategy to silence citizens and
extend the shadow of fear to the very heart of our lives.
This is so because personal communication - be it via mobile,
the Internet or post - is still personal communication and such
communication is the most important and fundamental of all forms of freedom
of expression. It is this form of communication that archaic and repressive
laws such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the
Public Order and Security Act have so far failed to stop.
The people of Zimbabwe continue to talk either through word of
mouth, the Internet, mobile and wireless telephony or indeed through the
remaining independent newspapers.
Far from appreciating the need to encourage and promote social
discussion, the latest proposed law is a sign of growing paranoia within the
higher echelons of power. This paranoia borders on wanting to know exactly
what the people are saying because this is a government which knows very
well that it has done nothing for its own people except bringing and
presiding over misery in its abundance.
All this government can do is hang on to power for
self-aggrandisement and the people have become its enemy hence this proposed
Submissions to parliament by state organs of repression -
including the Posts and Telecommunications Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz),
the Media and Information Commission (MIC) as well as the army - say they
are all for the snooping on people's communications. So far no convincing
arguments have been proffered on how this snooping is to benefit society.
The army talks of protecting national sovereignty and security
and that there are threats to the sovereignty of Zimbabwe from all over.
This military argument, as would be expected of any military which ventures
into public and civilian matters, lacks any substantiation apart from
raising fear as a means of justifying further repression.
The army so far knows the enemy who threatens Zimbabwe: MIC
chairman Tafataona Mahoso and Potraz as well as their handlers alone.
This is an army well-known for beating civilians at bus stations
and in beerhalls and is under orders from its commander-in-chief to shoot
citizens who dare demonstrate peacefully against bad governance, now
championing the protection of sovereignty and national interests.
It is clear that in the eyes of this army the sovereign is Zanu
PF and its leadership, and when this elite feels threatened by the rightful,
genuine and well-meaning talk of citizens that their lives are more than
miserable, the army indeed has to move in to protect the "sovereign".
This is an army led by farmers, businesspersons and politicians
whose hold on us is simply because they hold the gun in their hands and are
more than ready to use it. Indeed this is an army whose fate lies square
with that of its handlers.
Should the reason for the new Bill be to protect national
interest and security, the law then cannot, in all fairness, target all
citizens in a random and indiscriminate manner as is provided so far. Any
well-meaning law should be very clear in its objectives and be clear on how
it relates to citizens so that ordinary people can know how to regulate
their own conduct.
As things stand the police chief can simply ask by word of mouth
that he desires to snoop on this and that person and the minister
responsible for this law can by word of mouth give his/her consent. Those
who have snatched girlfriends from the police chief, intelligence and
military gurus and indeed those who challenge the political dominance of
this government are hereby warned.
Sovereignty in Zanu PF jargon means quite a lot indeed.
Other arguments for this Bill were provided by Mahoso.
Mahoso is well-known for his failure to talk about anything
without displaying his ever-present colonial hangover that anything about
Zimbabwe has to be seen in relation to the West. Far from preaching a gospel
of moving Zimbabwe away from what he calls the neo-colons, Mahoso cannot
survive without talking of the West. He has nothing to say besides
criticising the West which gave him an education.
Mahoso talks of the West as monitoring and watching Zimbabwe
through the Internet and so forth and, to him, Zimbabwe has to hit back by
watching the West. How? We are not told.
This Bill, Mahoso should be told, is not about watching the West
but watching ordinary Zimbabweans in their day-to-day activities, and indeed
about watching which faction in Zanu PF does Mahoso belong to.
Mahoso and Potraz argue further that other countries have
similar laws - the United States, Britain and Canada, among others. And in
typical Mahoso confused thinking, if the West is monitoring its people's
communications that should be good for Zimbabwe - all this from a man who
purports to have a radical thinking from the West.
The fact that the US government or any other government for that
matter monitors its citizens legally or illegally is inconsequential to the
citizens of Zimbabwe, because the argument against this Bill remains that
such monitoring is a violation of our rights.
Indeed the courts in the US have in the past few weeks ruled
such activities illegal. At least in that part of the word, the "sovereigns"
can be reined in. In our part of the world, the word of the "sovereign" and
their wishes are indeed the command of "our" judiciary.
Mahoso argues further that the Internet originated from the
military, hence its intention must be sinister and Zimbabwe, if he has his
way, should just ban the Internet for, in his thinking, a missile aimed at
Harare might just be fired from the Internet.
The Internet might have originated in the military, yes, as
Mahoso told parliamentarians, but like anything that originated in the
military - from medical research to many other inventions - the Internet has
since moved to civilian use and it has made more impact in civilian life
that Mahoso and team are only happy to see regress in Zimbabwe.
Should this law be about monitoring criminal activities, then it
cannot have a blanket and open-ended berth to monitor all citizens in what
amounts to a fishing expedition by the army, the police, intelligence and
the minister responsible.
Far from protecting the rights of the people of Zimbabwe, this
law in fact creates a cyber fascist concentration camp for all citizens of
Zimbabwe. All in the name of protecting the sovereign Zanu PF leadership.
Where Ian Smith created mini-concentration camps in Rhodesia,
where rural people were herded like cattle, Zanu PF has simply perfected the
art and is creating a virtual concentration camp where we are all stripped
naked, and all our communications snooped on by the military, intelligence
and the police.
The message is very clear: the "sovereign" is watching you and
be very afraid, very afraid.
* Rashweat Mukundu is Misa-Zimbabwe director.
By Bill Saidi
IN the Middle East, in Europe, the United States and even in
Africa, suicide bombers have blown up buses, cars, trains, holiday resorts
and even flown aircraft into skyscrapers, killing thousands of people.
The body count in Zimbabwe comes nowhere near that. Yet our
record of the carnage in road and train accidents has reached alarming
If you add the number of people killed by the police, in the
pursuit of criminals or innocent by-standers, then you may wonder what kind
of "monster" is stalking the people.
The tendency is to conclude that it is the consequence of an
economy on its last legs, or a political system so steeped in duplicity and
mendacity that most people are not sure where they are going from one moment
to the next.
Yet, in the midst of all this carnage, there are government
officials who seem to be genuinely disturbed by the possibility of this
country as the target of terrorism.
This is not terrorism confined to the occasional bank robbery in
the middle of First Street in Harare or Fort Street in Bulawayo. This is a
full-scale terrorist attack by suicide bombers, such as we have seen in
countries perceived, rightly or wrongly, to be aiding and abetting the
"enemies of Islam".
These government officials seem to spend sleepless nights
worrying, not about the rising death toll on our roads, railway network or
at the hands of trigger-happy police officers. Instead, they are busy
studying huge volumes on how to protect the country against an invasion by
terrorists of one kind or another.
Ideologically, Zimbabwe's foreign policy is now dictated by what
one might call unenlightened self-interest. In essence, this is a policy
anchored on a wishy-washy anti-Western stance, laced liberally with the
accusation that this bloc has imposed "illegal" sanctions on the country to
avenge the murderous seizure by the government of President Robert Mugabe of
huge commercial farms formerly owned by a few hundred white farmers.
The accusations are becoming more strident and more frequent as
the land reform programme seems to be plagued by corruption in high places
and the clueless bungling of the "new farmers", on whose shoulders the food
security of the country now rests.
Once in a while, a government official makes a public
pronouncement that debunks this official line. Last week, Health and Child
Welfare deputy minister Edwin Muguti was reported by the Herald, the
government's loudest official mouthpiece, as having "denied that the problem
of radiotherapy machines was a result of illegal sanctions imposed on
Typically, there was no attempt to elaborate on his statement.
Had someone - the reporter, perhaps - tried to tempt him into blaming the
problem on the "usual suspects", the Western countries?
Muguti is one member of the government whose refreshing candour
on such ticklish issues must be giving someone higher up a few sleepless
Another one is the governor for Mashonaland East, Ray Kaukonde,
who continues to berate both political and government leaders in his area of
jurisdiction over their incompetence and laziness.
The same could be said of Tinaye Chigudu, the Manicaland
governor. He too has refused to throw around meaningless platitudes which
tend to give civil servants and politicians the impression that whatever it
is they are doing - for most of them this amounts to little more than
sleeping on the job - is fine with him.
One man who sees his job as being that of protecting the country
against foreign ideologies and even foreign enemies is Tafataona Mahoso. He
is the chairman of the Media and Information Commission, the enforcer of the
notorious Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa).
His forte is, it now turns out, not the media and information
sector, but security. At the first hearing of the Interception of
Communications Bill in Harare last week, he held forth for a long time on
the perils Zimbabwe faced if it did not pass this law.
Mahoso has studied his subject closely. You had the impression
he really loves the subject, perhaps more than he loves any idea that
without freedom of expression, no country is secure, that people will defend
their country with their lives if its freedom is threatened by an alien
Mahoso spoke with a chilling self-assurance, as if he was
convinced that this country is headed for apocalypse if it doesn't pass into
law the Interception of Communications Bill.
As I listened to him, I gained the distinct impression that, for
Mahoso and people of his ideological ilk, freedom of expression, the
liberalisation of the economy, openness in government, and handling people
with dignity and respect were not priorities.
The No l priority was the security of the government, not even
necessarily that of the country. Mahoso reminded me of an old film called Dr
Strangelove, which starred Peter Sellers as this mad scientist who loved the
The calmness and the deadly seriousness with which he spoke made
me wonder if this man would ever be in the proper frame of mind to embrace
the concept of freedom of expression as understood in the Bill of Rights of
our Constitution or in Article 19 of the United Nations Universal
Declaration of Human Rights.
I was chilled by his seemingly unshakeable conviction that
freedom of expression, as understood throughout the free world, was totally
anathema to the security of all nations.
If you juxtapose this position with the consequences of the
economic meltdown brought about by the decline in agricultural productivity
since 2000, you begin to wonder if this government is ready to sacrifice
many innocent lives until the West comes to Harare on bended knees to seek
Mugabe has said publicly that "Zimbabwe will soldier on" in
spite of the crisis it is facing. This could translate into letting the
economy sink as long as the West does not confess that it is to blame for
everything and seeks his forgiveness.
A group of Christians from the United Kingdom did exactly that
last week. They asked for forgiveness on behalf of their ancestors who
plundered Africa after they decided to share its spoils.
There were pertinent questions after these confessions: Chief
Fortune Charumbira, a deputy minister of the government, asked if the
Christians would return to Britain to ask their government to drop the
sanctions because the land reform programme had been implemented to right
the wrongs of the past.
A number of African countries have had their huge debts
cancelled by the West with little to show for it. Zimbabwe has not been one
of them. Although it has virtually begged the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) to revise its status with the financial institution,there are still
nagging questions to be resolved.
By and large, the IMF would like to be assured that Zimbabwe
will respect private property and assure foreign investors that if they sink
their money into the country, they can be guaranteed security of tenure.
There is very little chance that the people of Europe, in
general, would agree to a blanket programme of compensation for Africa for
the exploitation of its natural resources and the enslavement of its people.
Yet there is a measure of merit in the African case. What may be
problematical is this: if everything, including debt, is forgiven, what
guarantee can there be that the African people themselves, not just their
leaders, will enjoy the fruits of that grand gesture?
* Bill Saidi is editor of the banned Daily News on Sunday
News Analysis with Dumisani Ndlela
THE situation is disheartening. Just days after the old family
of bearer cheques was phased out from the market under Project Sunrise - a
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe initiative heralding the dawn of a new era -
inflationary pressures remain relentlessly entrenched in the country's
Central bank governor Gideon Gono in July launched currency
reforms aimed at discontinuing speculative activities which he blames as the
major cause of the country's inflationary woes.
But while the new bearer cheque system has brought convenience
to business transactions, it has done little to stop the sharp hikes in
prices and create stability in the crisis-sapped economy.
Inflation touched an all-time high of close to 1 200% in May
although it subsided slightly over the past two months to 993,6%
year-on-year for July.
But analysts predict a resurgence to about 1 200% before the
year is out. Commodity prices have increased significantly over the past two
months, putting pressure on incomes.
The currency reforms entailed the replacement of old bearer
cheques, an equivalent of bank notes, with new bearer cheques with three
Gono set a three-week transition period from August 1 to 21 for
the phasing out of the old bearer cheques, setting out tough conditions for
deposits that were aimed at flushing out speculators.
He warned that the central bank would soon introduce a new
currency and little notice would be given in phasing out bearer cheques in
Consumers who went shopping after their month-end salaries would
have bought a five-litre jug of cooking oil for $3 500 during the five days
to August 31.
This week, the price for the same product went up 36% to $4 750.
This rate of price increases for basic food commodities has, regrettably,
become the norm since Gono announced the package of currency reforms aimed
at rescuing the country from hyperinflation.
"We will persuade the various arms of government to pursue those
who cheat consumers," Gono threatened this week.
For those that will go back to the supermarkets to restock
groceries at the end of this month, the bad news is that prices might have
trebled. And a weekly visit to the shops might be helpful to keep track of
the price changes to avoid the proverbial shock of a lifetime.
Industrialists said a foreign currency crunch was driving prices
up. The devaluation of the local unit on the foreign exchange market meant
that the import costs for inputs had increased, and this had consequently
led to price increases since Gono's new measures were announced.
For example, they said, the soya beans in the cooking oil, as
well as material used in the production of the plastic containers, were
"If an industry is buying its foreign currency from the official
market, then they have to factor in the devaluation effected by Gono. If
they are sourcing the foreign currency from the parallel market, they have
to factor in the daily movement of the currency on the parallel market,
which might mean daily or weekly reviews on pricing," an industry player
told the Zimbabwe Independent.
Gono declared 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
Analysts said Gono's policy measures had failed to receive
backing from business, resulting in continued price hikes that were
militating against his efforts.
However, business was not increasing prices to frustrate Gono's
policies; they were doing so to remain in business and avoid job losses
because of company closures, they said.
But a sizeable number of cabinet ministers, sources said, had
raised muffled disapproval of the governor's measures and were not
supportive of his policies despite public pronouncements of support.
More significantly, most of the government ministers and ruling
party elites were the major beneficiaries of the crisis but Gono had
unwittingly aided them through cheap funds and subsidised fuel for their
projects, analyst said.
Demand for cash has escalated, not abated, and analysts said the
same old problem faced under the old currency system - people and corporate
institutions not re-depositing cash back into the banks - was likely to
become more pronounced because of the rate at which commodity prices were
"He did not address the issues that were causing people not to
deposit their money in the banks," said economic analyst John Robertson.
Gono, currently on a whirlwind tour of the country's remote
areas where the majority of people remain stuck with the old notes due to
inaccessibility of banking facilities, said he would introduce new forms of
bearer cheques for big "cash movers".
"To ensure that GMB, Cottco and other buyers of agricultural
products do not continue to flood the market with cash, I have proposed that
a special, transferable bearer instrument be designed for use by these large
cash movers in the economy," Gono said.
Robertson said the cost of Gono's venture was huge, and the
governor could have recognised that he could not continue to bear the burden
of printing huge volumes of bearer cheques to meet increasing demand.
The move to allow the GMB and other large cash movers was
therefore a way of evading "the enormous costs of printing" bearer cheques,
By Renson Gasela
THE decision by government to collect undelivered maize cannot
be allowed to go unchallenged.
The Herald, on September 4, reports secretary for Lands and
Agriculture Simon Pazvakavambwa as having told the parliamentary portfolio
committee on Lands, Agriculture, Resettlement and Rural Resources and Water
that there was a lot of maize that was still to be collected.
He is said to have told the committee that the Grain Marketing
Board (GMB)'s intelligence section had been dispatched to establish the
actual situation on the ground.
"What we are simply trying to avoid is the situation like what
happened last year in which we sent trucks but some of them came back
empty," he was quoted as saying.
There are several issues that arise from this very bad
Firstly, there is clear contradiction in Pazvakavambwa's
evidence to the committee. He says there was a lot of maize but then says
they are sending intelligence teams to ostensibly ascertain that there is,
in fact, a lot of maize. Who told the GMB that there was a lot of maize?
The second point is the term "collect undelivered maize". Whose
maize is it?
Farmers surely grow maize for their own use and sell surplus.
How does government simply collect somebody's maize because it has not been
I buy my own inputs, grow maize and government decides to
There is a shortage of mealie-meal as reported by the Herald on
September 5. Why not allow Blue Ribbon Foods and other millers to go and
buy maize directly from the farmers?
The GMB has no money to pay the farmers; so government decides
to "collect". Such callous behaviour can only be done by a government that
is completely uncaring.
Thirdly, all this confirms what we have said all along - that
only about 800 000 tonnes of maize was produced this year and that the GMB
will not buy more than 300 000 tonnes.
We have been told that production this year is 1,8 million
tonnes. If that kind of maize had been produced there would be queues and
queues of trucks delivering to GMB depots.
* Renson Gasela is MDC secretary for lands and agriculture.
PRESIDENT Festus Mogae's spokesman Jeff Ramsay in his weekly
bulletin on Monday said the recent visit by the Batswana leader to Zimbabwe,
at the invitation of President Mugabe, was an opportunity for the two
leaders to reaffirm their commitment to build upon longstanding fraternal
The two leaders, together with their Zambian counterpart Levy
Mwanawasa, signed a memorandum of understanding to construct a bridge across
the Zambezi River at Kazungula. Ramsay said when completed the bridge would
benefit not only the three countries, but the entire Sadc region and beyond.
Of most significance in the presidential spokesman's bulletin
was this statement: "It is for this reason that the initiative has also been
listed as a priority project of the New Partnership for Africa's Development
That the Kazungula bridge undertaking is a priority project
under Nepad was conveniently omitted in official announcements during Mogae's
visit here. This is not surprising given President Mugabe's views that Nepad
is a front for Western imperialism and his refusal to subject himself to its
peer review mechanism.
"Our position is that this is a voluntary and individual choice
by some African countries," said Herbert Murerwa in an interview with this
paper in 2003. "And we have chosen not to be reviewed. We are not prepared.
It will be a government decision. When the government decides the time is
ripe we will volunteer for review."
We have no record of a revision of this position. If anything
the government is more ardent than before to keep the door shut on anyone
trying to pry into its affairs. Yet President Mugabe's government has of
late participated in Nepad projects in the name of pan-Africanism and to
advertise to the world that he is not as isolated as the world would like to
President Mugabe's government would like to have it both ways.
It is basking in the glow of Nepad projects but has failed to adhere to
principles of the plan. Worse still, fellow African countries that have
embraced the Nepad guidelines and principles pretend that the situation in
Zimbabwe is normal hence there is no need for censure.
This blindness remains the biggest threat to Nepad.
It should be noted that the first blow to Nepad came with
Zimbabwe's rigged elections in 2000. Africa's leading democracy, South
Africa, failed to condemn the Zimbabwe poll. The only African leader to do
so was Senegal's Abdoulaye Wade, obviously in an attempt to save Nepad.
Western leaders' interest in Nepad dropped significantly as the
upcoming "new partnership" had demonstrated it would not move against
undemocratic leaders. One pillar was lost.
Despite clear evidence of failure, African leaders will talk
endlessly about review mechanisms, regional infrastructure development and
the link between poverty and democracy. These are the statesmen who will
damn any western leader who criticises African despotism, yet demand a share
of the developed world's tax revenues.
They have backed Mugabe all the way along his six-year tramp
into the heart of political darkness.
These are the same countries that are reaping a grim feast from
Zimbabwe's demise. Zimbabwe's participation in regional infrastructure
development under the current environment is most likely to benefit its
neighbours and not necessarily us.
If we are to ask, do Zimbabweans today need a bridge across the
Zambezi in the remote corner of Kazungula or investment in power generation?
But in the quest for camaraderie, rational thinking has been replaced by
self-fulfilling antics which have nothing to do with national development.
It is also important to note that the Sadc Protocol on Finance
and Investment - which Zimbabwe is yet to sign - has a clause which provides
for the setting up of a peer review panel, which will act as a regional
macroeconomic monitoring and surveillance body. The panel will comprise the
ministers of finance from member states as well as all governors of central
banks from the region.
This is a good initiative which is bound to be sabotaged in its
infancy by countries which systematically subvert the rule of law and show
no respect for property rights. We do not see Sadc states standing up to
challenge President Mugabe's failed policies as long as they regard
fraternal bonds as more important than good governance. And so long as that
remains the case Nepad is bound to fail.
THERE are times when one is tempted to believe perhaps violence
and force is the only language that Zimbabweans understand. I am talking
about Zimbabwean drivers. I hate violence and there is no contradiction in
what I have just said. Just wait.
In the past we used to worry about kombi drivers. They were
virtually a law unto themselves on the country's roads. People complained
about how they all seemed to behave the same. The kombis posed the most
serious threat to other drivers.
You had to be very vigilant if you were driving close to one.
All the kombi driver needed to cut into your lane was an indication using an
extended arm or by simply poking his head out of the window.
Your response was not important to him. His wish was your
command if you wanted to avoid an incident and did not want to spend hours
in an altercation as you waited for a police officer to come and record a
The mottos on the backs of most kombis said it all: "No Fear",
"Not Guilty", "It's My Life" or "Keep Clear, I Can Stop Anytime". Often they
did, with nasty consequences.
However, the Zanu PF government's staggering ineptitude has
taken care of that unruly breed. Few of those kombis remain on the roads to
cause a menace. There is either no fuel or no spare parts. The majority of
them can be seen parked at empty service stations at High Glen, Houghton
Park and other designated places where they get subsidised fuel.
While this is a relief to road users, I sometimes wonder how we
hope to achieve an economic turnaround when so many people spend so many
man-hours sitting idle in empty kombis while workers are stranded by the
roadside because there is no transport.
But the kombi drivers have been replaced by another breed
consisting of ordinary drivers.
I have not read the Highway Code, Zimbabwe's premier manual on
road driving, in a long time, but I doubt that it could have been affected
by our agrarian revolution. Back then, the Code was explicit on a number of
You had to be cautious when passing near a school because of
children. On the road a vehicle was supposed to be parked 7,5m from a corner
and you had to maintain a distance of at least five cars between yourself
and the vehicle in front of you if you were travelling at 75km/h, etc.
Most of these rules don't seem to apply anymore. It is not
uncommon to see a driver breathing down your boot at 80 km/h at night while
his lights are on full beam. It is a very serious risk to try and warn him
about this dangerous behaviour.
But back to the Highway Code and the drivers who drive me mad.
It was mandatory back then that you give way to a fire tender or an
ambulance sounding its siren. It was equally mandatory to give way when the
presidential motorcade was coming.
In Zimbabwe drivers now respond only to the presidential
An ambulance and a fire tender are emergency vehicles whether
they are sounding their sirens or merely flashing their revolving lights.
Property might be on fire and human life in danger. There might be a road
accident with people trapped in a burning vehicle or a house on fire.
From our offices in town I have the privilege of watching fire
tenders and Mars ambulances blaring their sirens up and down Rotten Row on a
daily basis. I have watched in horror as drivers race these essential
service vehicles to the traffic lights on Samora Machel and make every
effort to block their path.
Others are not so callous, but their behaviour is no better.
They will simply stop in the path of the ambulance or the fire tender and
hope that the driver will see what he can do.
But the time wasted while the ambulance driver tries to see what
he can do could cost lives. It is the most selfish kind of behaviour one can
So far as I have observed, the presidential motorcade appears to
have the best magic to unscramble the most intractable traffic snarl-up
imaginable. It doesn't matter what time of the day it is or the amount of
traffic at the robot or that the traffic signals are not functioning.
The moment drivers observe those epithet-spitting,
vicious-looking, finger-wagging presidential outriders they all want to
scurry for safety. I have observed drivers driving the wrong way up a
one-way or driving over the kerb to safety. In a matter of seconds the
normally clogged intersection of Samora Machel and Rotten Row becomes a
thoroughfare for the president's motorcade with its stacato of blazing amber
and blue lights.
What worries me is the lack of sense of civic duty on the part
of our drivers. They will scramble out of the road out of fear when they see
the presidential motorcade but race an ambulance to the robot.
There is the real possibility of being shot dead not just for
racing the presidential motorcade but for failing to stop or clear the way.
In other words we respond better to bullying and fear than to our
Few ever imagine that the SOS could save their child or their
house. This says a lot about the bad driving standards on Zimbabwe's roads
and the carnage too. It is not the rules and good manners that matter but
the fear of immediate consequences that will induce people to observe road
So far it is only the president who reminds people of the
Highway Code because you ignore the motorcade at your own peril. Zimbabwean
drivers can understand only the language of force and violence.
And, as if to prove the point that we have become a nation of
heartless brutes, yesterday morning somebody laid a mat of gravel stones
over 200m along Samora Machel in the city centre without a care about the
danger the loose stones posed to fellow drivers.
MOST Zimbabweans would have been profoundly unimpressed by the
theatrical performance of a group of Christian ministers apologising for
crimes committed during the slave trade. They should apologise for their
gullibility and playing into the partisan hands of their hosts.
Why did they not apologise for the role of West African warlords
who sold their captives into slavery? And what of Arab slave traders who
depopulated the East African coast including Mozambique?
Luckily former President Joaquim Chissano picked up on these
obvious omissions when he said: "I wish I had the mandate to ask for
forgiveness as well because most of the sins committed by Europeans were not
committed by them alone."
None of the European Christian "leaders" who took part in this
charade are household names which suggests their mandate was less than
comprehensive. Who exactly are Roger Mitchell and Chris Seaton? Had anybody
heard of them before last week?
While Chissano complained that Africa's critics were pointing to
bad governance and corruption as the reasons for the continent's
backwardness, there will understandably be doubts about a movement that
seeks to sweep these things under the carpet while focusing our attention on
something that happened in 1884. Britons did indeed cheat King Lobengula
then, but who is cheating Zimbabweans now?
Mitchell and Seaton fall into the same category as Obi Egbuna
whose copy looks exactly as if it had been written in the President's
Office. Having run out of local propagandists, Zanu PF is now importing
them. Our question is: Who is paying "pan-Africanists" like Egbuna to tell
Zimbabweans what to think about events in their own country?
In this same context state propagandists, having received their
marching orders for the week, persist with the now threadbare claim that
Kofi Annan said he wants to see sanctions against Zimbabwe scrapped.
This is one of several fictions being propagated in the state
media surrounding Annan's talks with President Mugabe in Banjul. Why doesn't
somebody at the Herald call Annan's office in New York and ask him whether
he said that? It could be enlightening.
We were interested to see Didymus Mutasa's comments on the
presidential succession debate. Contrary to reports that the ruling party
was reluctant to discuss the issue, they were in fact talking about it, but
only in places "where the press will not be". The debate was "hot, hot,
hot", Mutasa confessed. And in a particularly revealing remark he said that
while some saw Joice Mujuru as the successor, others were proposing
"I am not necessarily saying the position of those who think
Amai Mujuru is the successor is the correct one, or that is what will
happen, but that is how the discussion is taking place," he said.
We think he may have said too much!
Meanwhile, we have our own question for Mutasa: As you aspire to
high office yourself, how could you be so ignorant as to suppose you can sue
a public prosecutor for remarks made in court and a newspaper for publishing
those remarks? But you were dead right in predicting that no prosecution
against Patrick Chinamasa would ever stick. How did you know?
We would have loved the state media to say it. They didn't, so
we will have to say that Zimbabwe scored another first last week when it
elevated its traditional healers to the level of professional medical
From the little knowledge we have of these people, they operate
from their homes, are very poor and claim to be guided by their ancestors on
what leaves or roots cure what ailment. They have no formal training of any
sort except their own personal claims to what they know.
Last week Deputy Health minister Edwin Muguti announced that
these traditional medical practitioners would now be allowed to prescribe
off days for their patients.
Even stranger than fiction, Dr Muguti said a patient could tell
his medical doctor that he wanted to consult a traditional healer if there
was no improvement in his condition.
"The medical doctor should even be in a position to refer their
patients to the n'anga and muporofita (faith healer) when they realise that
there is nothing new they can offer them," Muguti advised.
He gave Aids, BP and asthma, which he said had no cure, as
examples of why medical doctors were no better equipped than witchdoctors
whose arcane practices can only be revealed to a select few by benevolent
This in a way endorses dangerous claims by a lot of mountebanks
who say they can cure Aids. Some have told their patients to rape infants as
a prescription to cure Aids while a couple of faith healers are serving time
in prison after they raped their patients as a form of treatment for various
It really doesn't matter that the so-called traditional medical
practitioners are registered or not, this is a clear admission of
institutional failure by a government that has forced most of the skilled
workers and professionals into the diaspora. Desperate poor people who can't
afford private doctors are therefore being given false hope that they can
have their problems solved by hungry crooks with no certificate of
competence in any known field of human endeavour. Is there no end to this
government's bag of tricks?
Curiously, will these voodoo medical practitioners accept our
medical aid society cards as payment or do we need a new family of cards
administered by a new council? We shudder to think of ambulances rushing to
vleis and kopjes to deposit patients at open air "surgeries".
We thought there was enough circus coming out of South Africa
with Health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang vending her garlic and
beetroot as Aids cures. She evidently has her admirers in Zimbabwe.
With the shambles at the Ministry of Health, it is not
surprising that ambulances have been turned into kombis. Could Muguti tell
Muckraker why the driver of ambulance GHCW 0642 was collecting money from
about a dozen "patients" emerging from the critical care vehicle at Mbare
Musika on Wednesday.
Muckraker would like to apologise for getting Muguti's name
wrong last week. A typographical error crept in and we ended up with Muvuti.
Which is definitely not healthy!
A sign spotted outside a Moscow bar recently: "All day happy
hour. Pay two, get one."
We can't help but feel these Russkies still haven't quite
grasped the rudiments of capitalism!
Meanwhile, is it true Zanu PF has a secret committee with the
mandate to cause maximum disruption to people's lives? You can imagine the
scene: "Comrades, what can we do this week to keep the nation on its toes?
Why don't we change the number plates again so everybody will be thoroughly
inconvenienced? And let's make sure our own companies benefit with exclusive
"What about the new bearer cheques. Can't we phase them out with
only 24 hours notice and bring in new notes? That should see the populace
jumping. Christmas would be a good time."
"And what about Operation Murambatsvina? Isn't it time we
conducted another sweep through the MDC townships? There are reports people
are returning to their old sites."
"Newspaper vendors must definitely be taxed. That will hurt our
enemies in the press. And provide new revenue flows."
If anybody had any remaining doubts about the bona fides of the
Human Rights Commission the government proposes to set up, those doubts will
have been confirmed by an article in the Herald of August 4 by Susan
Chipanga. She makes it abundantly clear that the task of this new body will
be to "rein in" NGOs. These organisations have been falsifying Zimbabwe's
human rights record, Chipanga claims, drawing on statements by Patrick
"The damage inflicted by such fabricated reports has been
immeasurable," she says. Investors and tourists might think there was
anarchy in the country.
And what of the cases that the state has not contested such as
those involving Gabriel Shumba and Tonderayi Macharidza? Were they
fabricated? What of Joseph Mwale's record? What can Chipanga tell us about
Nothing could be more damaging to a country's reputation than
the impression that law enforcement agencies literally get away with murder.
As bad as this is the view that gullible journalists betray their profession
and serve the state by masking its record of misrule.
Something that fascinates us about government newspapers is that
one of them will state something as fact and the rest will blindly follow.
Last week there was a reference in the Herald to Bilateral
Investment Protection Agreements which it called Bipas. The rest of the pack
followed without looking to see whether these were not in fact Bippas,
Bilateral Protection and Promotion Agreements. Will somebody please clarify.
We were interested to read about Zanu PF's Information secretary
Nathan Shamuyarira urging journalists to have a "clear ideological position"
for them to be consistent on matters of principle. He said lack of an
ideological position was responsible for a lot of confusion among reporters.
Zanu PF, he told a publicity workshop in Kadoma, had won the war
against colonialism because of a clear ideology among cadres.
We understand that ideology to have been informed by
Marxism-Leninism but wonder if his party is still keen on the spirit of
selflessness and personal sacrifice for one's country.
Going by the charges of corruption and malfeasance in the
political leadership, we doubt if that is what the party's ideology was
We also liked Shamuyarira's observation that the nation could
"only benefit and develop in the right direction" if journalists discharged
their duty with "honesty and integrity".
That should include telling each other the truth about the
causes of our national malaise instead of trying to find non-existent
scapegoats in foreign lands as practised in the official media. Telling lies
about Tony Blair or what Annan pledged to do for Zimbabwe is unlikely to
lead the nation in the right direction. We are busy fooling ourselves and
hoping that by some quirk of nature our problems will vanish just because we
choose to call them challenges.
It is interesting that only mandarins obsessed with thought
control found any merit in the Interception of Communications Bill. During a
public hearing last week, a fervent supporter of the Bill was Tafataona
Mahoso who said the law was necessary to counter espionage and terrorism in
the global village "because we are under surveillance all the time".
He didn't say who had put him under surveillance and how that
necessitated putting every Zimbabwean under the daily observation of the
nation's securocrats. The Bill was attacked for vesting too much power in
the minister who is given carte blanche to decide who to put under
surveillance without any legal oversight by the courts.
It's patently ridiculous that an aggrieved party can only seek
redress from the same minister who is persecuting him. It replicates the
same totalitarian Big Brother mentality in Aippa where an aggrieved party
can only appeal to the same minister who has denied him information in the
first place. Why does a mere minister need to exercise so much power over
the daily lives of ordinary citizens?
By Eric Bloch
IN the days of carnivals and funfairs, an extremely popular
sideshow was one where a pretty girl, and an angelically-looking young man,
a clown, or some other individual, would be seated on a plank a metre or
more above a large tank of water. The public would be invited to pay an
amount which would accord them the right to throw three balls at a target
mounted above the person seated on the plank and, if the thrower could
successfully hit the target's bulls-eye, the plank would automatically tilt,
thrusting its occupant into a forceful plunge into the tank of water.
It was incomprehensible to many that so very many of the
carnival visitors would gleefully part with their monies in order to try to
inflict discomfort and embarrassment upon the plank-seated victim, but those
willing to spend in order to have the dubious pleasure of forcing a
drenching upon another, who had done them no ill, far outnumbered those who
pondered the motivation for doing so.
The same holds good in Zimbabwe when it comes to economic
issues, and the handling of those issues by the authorities. Whilst,
admittedly, more often than not, the authorities have demonstrated a gross
lack of will, and/or an immense inability, to address Zimbabwean economic
ills and needs effectively, nevertheless, there are occasions when they do
Moreover, there are instances when their motivations and
intentions are well-founded, but the results of their actions fail to meet
expectations, either because they were ill-advised, and were not aware
thereof, or because the efficacy of their actions was undermined and
counteracted by ill-considered, destructive actions by others in authority.
However, as with the carnival and fun fair patrons, many in
Zimbabwe gain so much Machiavellian glee and self-satisfaction from casting
scathing criticism at the authorities, that they do so even when the
measures taken were economically beneficial (even if only in certain
targeted respects and not pertaining to the economy as a whole), and also
when the measures are unsuccessful, or only partially successful, contrary
to the expectations of the authorities.
They are vociferous in their castigation of those who promote or
initiate the economic measures of which they disapprove, irrespective of the
underlying reasons for those measures, and irrespective of the actual
outcome of the implementation of those measures.
Of course, those outspoken critics do not only vent their ire
against the authorities, but also against any who have the temerity to have
views at variance to those of the critics or, even worse, who see fit to
speak favourably of such authorities. They are dubbed to be duped
praise-singers, or are alleged to be pursuing a self-centred hidden agenda
(and that notwithstanding the number of times that they have been equally
critical of, and outspoken against, the same authorities that they, on a
particular occasion, commend. That such commentators may be striving to be
balanced and equitable in their judgements, praising that which they
perceive to be good, and condemning that which, in their view, is bad, is
This columnist has oft been the recipient of such allegations,
and of pronounced condemnation, and will undoubtedly continue to be so. But
that shall not deter me from criticising government, the Reserve Bank, or
others, when such criticism appears to me to be merited, or from commenting
favourably when, for right or for wrong, policies or actions appearing to be
deserving thereof. As Zimbabwe now rarely has carnivals or funfairs whereat
those who wish to can vent their spleen, recourse to letters to the editor
remains available to them.
One of the greatest recipients of floods of criticism, since
shortly after his appointment, is governor of the Reserve Bank, Gideon Gono.
When he was appointed, government created an overwhelming crisis
of expectation, using its very extensive state-controlled media to herald
him as the economic saviour, as the miracle-worker who would, almost
single-handedly, reverse the economic devastation which, although not
acknowledged, had been inflicted upon Zimbabwe by its government. The
propaganda machine, and its intense trumpet-blowing, intentionally
disregarded the incontrovertible fact that no central bank, and no governor
of a central bank, can wholly assure a country's economic wellbeing unless
the state's policies in general, and its fiscal policies in particular, are
aligned with the monetary policies of the central bank.
Thus, there was no possibility that the RBZ, or its governor,
could achieve an economic turnaround, unless contemporaneously with its
policies and actions government would pursue compatible, effective policies
(which, to date, has not been the case). Until government does so, at best
the RBZ and its governor can strive to minimise and counter economic ills,
endeavour to create an enabling environment, and to such extent as permitted
to do so, to advise government, notwithstanding that, all too often, such
advice goes unheeded.
The recent redenomination of Zimbabwe's currrency was a case in
point. Thanks to the cataclysmic governmental mismanagement of the economy
since 1997, hyperinflation became endemic in Zimbabwe. The magnitude of that
hyperinflation rendered the structure of Zimbabwe's currency wholly unsuited
to the economic environment.
Very few computer programmes in use in Zimbabwe could process
transactions quantified in hundreds of millions, billions, or trillions, of
dollars. The information technology (IT) environment was increasingly
becoming operationally hampered and incapable of coping. In like manner, the
cash registers in supermarkets could not process a normal trolley-load of
groceries and household requirements, and no petrol pump metre could reflect
the sale price of a tank-full of petrol (even when such petrol was rarely
available). Desk calculators with capacities of less than 12 to 16 digits
became virtually useless. In like manner, the handling of currency became
almost unmanageable. A shopper undertaking a weekly visit to a supermarket,
if not possessed of a high-value credit or cheque card, had to carry a sack
full of bearer cheques and bank notes to be able to pay for the contents of
a routine shopping list.
In turn, the supermarket either had to expend considerable
amounts on note-counters, or allow an intense accumulation of customers in
queues, whilst cashiers laboriously counted hundreds of notes tendered in
payment by each customer. Security hazards intensified for shoppers carrying
bags of money, for shopkeepers who had to hold in their premises, and
transport to their banks, vast volumes of currency. Similarly, businesses
and individuals faced intensified security hazards in withdrawing funds from
banks and building societies.
All these, and other circumstances, stimulated commerce and
industry in general, the IT industry and the finance sector in particular,
and many of the populace, to urge RBZ to address the problems. That resulted
in a decision to slash three zeros from Zimbabwe's currency, as had been
successfully done, in like circumstances, by Mocambique, Italy, Turkey,
Bolivia, Serbia, Brazil, Argentina, Israel, and many others. The
redenomination of currency became effective on August 1.
Inevitably, despite very intensive efforts to anticipate any and
all problems, and to apply measures to prevent or minimise such problems,
some would occur, and did occur, and especially so in rural areas and for
those not active in the formalised financial sector.
But, a little more than a month later, commerce and industry is
functioning with the newly-denominated currency far more effectively than it
was able at the end of the life of the former currency. Most IT problems
have been overcome, security problems have markedly reduced, and almost all
the targeted objectives of the currency redenomination have been achieved.
However, with the exception of the commendations of the banking,
IT, and commercial sectors, the RBZ and its governor have been widely and
loudly criticised and condemned. Focus has been upon the transition
difficulties, instead of upon needs and results, and in the case of those
seeking to gain political mileage, upon the fact that the currency
redenomination has done naught to stem inflation, create employment,
stimulate investment, and to address a myriad other economic issues. That
the redenomination was neither intended, or designed, to address such
issues, and that other measures are needed to deal with them (and especially
so of government), has been ignored, and the unjustified criticisms loudly
The RBZ and its governor do not, and cannot, do everything
right, and Gono has demonstrated a ready and commendable willingness to
acknowledge error, when error occurs but, were it not for the vigorous
efforts driven by him to address those economic issues as he is able and
empowered to do, the appalling state of the Zimbabwean economy would be even
The outcome of the currency redenomination exercise proves that
the results justified the means, no matter what the critics may say.
LAST week's edition of The Economist magazine carried a special
report that should have stirred awe and horror in the minds of print media
entrepreneurs and newspaper journalists.
The report said in the rich world, "newspapers are now an
endangered species" due to the advent of the Internet. The report quotes
Philip Meyers' book The Vanishing Newspaper as predicting that at the
current rate of decline "the first quarter of 2043 will be the moment when
newsprint dies in America as the last exhausted reader tosses aside the last
To buttress this point The Economist included in the article
statistics of falling readership of newspapers, an 18% decline in the number
of people employed in the industry in America between 1990 and 2004 and
tumbling share prices of listed newspaper publishing houses.
It also reported that Britons aged 15 to 24 now spend 30% less
time reading newspapers as they are hooked on the Internet which expanded
the oversight role of the media through news aggregation sites such as
Google news, Yahoo news and so on. There is also a new genre of e-news in
the form of blog spots which has opened journalism to anyone with Internet
The article pointed out that the print media would lose a
quarter of their share of advertising revenue to Internet-based publications
in the next 10 years. Newspaper organisations that will survive, the report
says, are those that will reinvent themselves and migrate onto new media
platforms such as mobile phones and portable electronic devices.
The tragedy of the print industry has been that huge profits
achieved during the fat years have not been invested in research and
development. The print media is now trying to play catch-up to counter the
advancing Internet wave. The article is however clear that this is the state
of affairs in the developed world and those of us in the third world, where
the print media is actually growing, can feel safe, at least for now.
A 2005 report by the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) says
circulation sales were up 1,7% in Asia over the previous year, 3,7% in South
America, 0,2% in Africa, but down 0,24% in Europe and 2,5% in North America.
Other studies have shown that newspapers in Africa are safe from
Internet intrusion because of poor telephone connectivity on the continent.
There is also a large rural population - a potential new market -- which is
yet to be introduced to more basic media such as newspapers and radio. Then
there is hunger for news by communities demanding greater accountability
from corrupt and inefficient rulers. Papers in the third world, including
Zimbabwe, appear to have time on their side largely due to the enveloping
Media magnate Rupert Murdoch last year described this slothful
grasp of changes in the industry as "remarkably, unaccountably complacent".
The same complacency was evident when cellphone technology started to make
inroads on the continent. The little gadget was regarded as a preserve of
the rich and the largely rural communities had nothing to do with it. Just
10 years since its introduction, there are four times more cellphone users
in rural areas in Zimbabwe than those connected to fixed lines and the
demand is growing.
In our preoccupation with survival in an environment dominated
by egregious media legislation and a government that does not believe in
press freedom, we have become servants of convention. Media owners have been
slow to invest in research and development to prepare for an eventual
makeover of the
We do not expect Dr Tafataona Mahoso's Media and Information
Commission to lead the charge in ensuring local media evolves in tandem with
the rest of the world. The MIC has become a key appendage of the government
machinery to hamstring technological advancement - a prerequisite for the
growth of new media - in the name of sovereignty and patriotism.
Can the MIC do something positive for once - like initiating
research in e-newspapers and other forms of new media? The findings of the
research unfortunately will most likely be that Zimbabweans don't need this
globalisation "evil". Not surprising, since Mahoso believes Zimbabweans said
they wanted government to enact Aippa!
Politicians must give others chances in civil society
REGARDING the two responses to my recent article on politics and
civil society from Pedzisai Ruhanya and Frank Matandirotya, I am pleased
that the expression "political incest" attracted the outrage of both
writers. This makes for healthy debate, so sadly lacking in Zimbabwe today.
It is sad, however, that both responses come from the
comparative comfort and safety of the UK and South Africa. I suggest that
both writers come home and re-join the struggle. They may even be elected
to a post in one of the civil society organisations, if current incumbents
are gracious enough to give way and open the field to others.
For the record, I resigned from the National Constitutional
Assembly National Task Force on election to the MDC national executive in
February 2000, and I have never represented CHRA at any major forum since my
election to Parliament, remaining (at their request) simply chairperson of
the legal committee until early this year.
My court case against the Chanakira Commission was most famous
for my "wearing too many hats", according to Justice Hlatshwayo, as
Matandirotya will surely remember. That was that I was a resident of Harare,
a member of CHRA and a Harare MP. The Supreme Court (where my appeal was
successful) ruled that I had sufficient locus standi as an individual
resident, and did not need to stand on the other two platforms - so I was
not "standing on the back of CHRA".
That said, I am very proud that I was instrumental during the 90' - long before the formation of the MDC - in building CHRA up to the
formidable civic organisation it is today.
My point was simply that politicians should not be greedy, but
should allow others to take top positions in civil society organisations
once they are elected to political office. That way civil society will grow
and be strong and healthy.
Chombo's puppets have failed the city
THE state of the City of Harare is a clear indication of
mismanagement and wastage of city resources.
It is common knowledge that Sekesai Makwavarara, Tendai
Savanhu, Jameson Kurasha, Prisca Mupfumira, Musavaya Reza, Noel Muzuva and
Richard Mahachi have failed to turn around the fortunes of Harare as was
widely publicised by the state media when these reputable failures were
imposed on Harare residents.
Their terms of office have been renewed on four occasions,
without any proof on the ground to show that they are doing anything at all.
The other councillors of shame - Tapfumanei Jaja,
Grandmore Hakata, Francis Marisi, Joseph Madzudzu, Oscar Pemhiwa and Trymore
Magamu - are still being paid allowances by the municipality as rewards for
selling the struggle of residents.
Considering the failure of the commission, the only
logical thing to do on the part of Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo
was to remove them from office and allow the residents of Harare to exercise
their democratic rights through mayoral and council elections. But the
overzealous minister reappointed the inefficient commission despite the
apparent deterioration of service delivery in the city.
Residents have made it clear that they are tired of
Makwavarara and her fellow puppet commissioners because they have failed to
deliver. We expected and still expect the minister to respect our opinions
and complaints. He has turned a deaf ear to the cries of the people.
Potholed roads, which have made a large contribution to
the many accidents that the city is experiencing, "decorate" Harare.
Tightening road regulations is not a solution to the problem of road
accidents. Addressing symptoms of decay is just as good as applying lipstick
to a frog.
These roads are in serious need of urgent repairs so that
they can be safe for motoring and pedestrian traffic.
Most streetlights have not been working for months and we
wonder where the ratepayers' money is going.
Lately, the state media has been torturing both our ears
and eyes with reports and pictures of Harare municipal workers cutting down
trees which they regard as unsafe for road users.
May I remind the illegal commissioner, Makwavarara, that
those are unnecessary and cosmetic developments that will contribute nothing
to the improvement of service delivery.
The focus should rather be on removing piles of refuse
that have become a health menace to residents. There are a lot of burst
sewer pipes that have been left unattended for months on end.
It is surprising and very disappointing to note the City
of Harare still has the audacity to demand rates from residents. As if that
is not enough, the commission continues to increase rates to unaffordable
and unreasonable amounts.
Water services in Harare should improve.
Residents want Town House to clarify the role of the
Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) in the water affairs of Harare.
All we know about Zinwa is that the water body has increased water charges
to residents in an opaque deal that smacks of corruption.
Water has not been flowing in most taps in residential and
industrial areas. The quality of the water we are forced to drink leaves a
lot to be desired.
Furthermore, Zinwa has not invested any cent in the water
infrastructure of Harare. According to my knowledge, it was put in place by
the ratepayers' money.
What then is the basis on which Zinwa has imposed
exorbitant water charges on us? As far as we know, Zinwa has done nothing
but reduce the water services in Harare to a pathetic state.
I got the shock of my life on July 29 when I attended a
public meeting organised by the residents of Mufakose in conjunction with
the Combined Harare Residents Association.
The district officer's representative who attended the
meeting was not ashamed to dodge the questions that were fired at him by the
disgruntled residents. He kept on referring them to the different
departments at Town House including the department of "water services". What
is the use of that department when there is Zinwa?
Makwavarara and Chombo are taking us for a ride. Residents
should be the ones to conduct job evaluations of the illegal commission
because they are the ones "receiving services" from Town House.
Chombo has no right whatsoever to tell us that Makwavarara
has done a "good job" because he has no idea of what residents have been
going through under her inefficient management at Town House.
He does not have the constitutional right to impose
political nuisances on residents. We want to elect our own mayor and
council. It is our constitutional right.
Who owns water meters?
RECENTLY, for two rented properties, we received
letters from the Harare City Council saying that "your water meter is stuck"
and that we must replace them with new ones and pay a penalty of $3 000
each. This has a lot of implications which I doubt the council has thought
about in its headlong rush to extort money from us.
Firstly, who actually owns these water meters? Are
they owned by the council or by the consumer? If the council owns them then
why is the consumer being penalised for their poor state of condition and
why does he have to replace a meter that is not his? How legal is this if he
is not the owner?
Secondly, if a new meter is purchased by the
consumer, as is demanded by the council, who will own this new meter? And
who becomes the owner of the old replaced meter?
To prevent a recurrence of the same problem the
consumer will probably declare his rights and take his new meter with him
when he changes address thus leaving the previous address without a meter!
When you consider that people changing addresses happen several hundred
times monthly in Harare there could be real chaos in the making.
Thirdly, I have always understood that there is a
very strict requirement that meters, being council property, are strictly
not to be tampered with. Now they seem to be asking all and sundry to remove
and install their own meters. Will this seriously work?
Fourthly, faulty meters can be repaired for about $9
000 whereas a new one costs in the region of $27 000.
Obviously if you are the owner of the meter you have
the right of the cheaper option. So what gives the council the right to
demand that you supply a new meter?
On top of that they also threaten us with penalties
if we do not comply with this totally illegal, in my view, demand.
Basically the council needs to make very clear who
owns the meters, old and new, thereby determining who is responsible for
their maintenance and, if necessary, replacement. In order to prevent a lot
of disputes and confusion it is abundantly clear that the council should
own, maintain and replace the meters and the cost of this should be covered
in the cost of the water.
Alternatively, the council could levy all consumers
and keep a separate fund to maintain all water meters.
Has the council really put any thought into this or
it is so broke it just has to try anything to get money out of us which is
really to pay for its own incompetence?
Is this the real reason why the council has got no
money to pay for an obvious requirement like maintaining water meters?
People, not leaders must rise to the occasion
THERE was a note of desperation in Vincent
Kahiya's Editor's Memo titled "Let's see you rise to the occasion"
(Independent, August 25) call to MDC leaders.
Kahiya was critical of the MDC's past and
present performance because the party lacked quality leaders.
As a people we believe only our political
leaders have the answer to our problems and we, the ordinary people, are
powerless and helpless. Even when there is overwhelming evidence to the
contrary we have turned to our leaders again and again.
For the last three decades, we have turned to
President Mugabe and Zanu PF for answers. The economic mess we are in speaks
volumes of their leadership credentials.
They have failed dismally but they are so
wrapped up in their own greed and self-importance they do not see it, hence
President Mugabe's efforts to stay in power despite his pathetic record.
Now it seems we are placing all our national
hope for economic recovery and freedom in the MDC. The MDC's performance to
date, few people will disagree, has been very disappointing. Indeed MDC
leaders are Zanu PF by another name as regards their lack of leadership
qualities, lack of vision and lack of democratic values.
We have a failed ruling party and an
opposition party that has failed to hold them to account. The solution is
that the people should hold both to account.
Our challenge in 1980 was to safeguard our
basic human rights and freedoms and ensure our leaders remained accountable
to us, the people. We failed dismally at that. We are paying dearly for it.
The cost of our economic failure is now paid in human lives. Life expectancy
in Zimbabwe has dropped from 64 years to 34.
This tragic trend will continue and get worse
with each passing day until we, the people, stand up and demand our rights,
freedom and finally hold our leaders accountable to us, the people. Let's
see the people of Zimbabwe rise to the occasion.
Tsvangirai did something
WHEN the fuel crisis started Morgan
Tsvangirai mingled with stranded citizens who use paraffin as a source of
energy. During Operation Murambatsvina he walked from his home to work.
No member of the then MDC executive joined
him, worst still the ordinary Zimbabweans ignored him and Joram Nyathi in
last week's Memo (Independent, September 1) wants us to think the opposition
We the ordinary Zimbabweans are just a
Playing by Bob's rules
THE International Crisis Group (ICG)'s
recent report, Zimbabwe - an opposition strategy (August 24), regrettably
advises that Zimbabweans should risk life and limb confronting President
Robert Mugabe's storm-troopers in peaceful demonstrations, because the
international community is otherwise unable to impose a real (non-rigged)
election on Mugabe and on Zanu PF in 2008.
The ICG is recommending a strategy which has
been tried and has been found not to work in the Zimbabwe context, for
various reasons which are not necessary to discuss here.
With modern technology, it is now possible
for the international community to run the next Zimbabwean election with
minimal presence of foreigners and with a 100%-guaranteed non-rigged result.
Such an election will result in less than
20% of the vote for Zanu PF if Mugabe is still in power, and at best a 30%
result if the most attractive or least-repellent non-Mugabe Zanu PF
candidate is fielded.
Therefore the whole question of whether
Mugabe is eased out as a presidential candidate or not becomes irrelevant -
since with Mugabe in place an even greater overwhelmingly crushing defeat
for Zanu PF is guaranteed.
Let Sadc, other African countries and
leaders, South Africa, Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, the People's Republic of
China, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the international community
ensure that Zimbabwe's next election is tamper-proof.
Since Mugabe is adamant that no Zanu PF or
government cheating ever goes on in the elections which underpin his
president-for-life strategy, then let him prove his critics and detractors
wrong by winning a rig-free election and by soundly beating off opposition
of all political colours. That will surely be of great advantage to Zimbabwe's
In fact, in order to reverse Zimbabwe's
present rapid economic decline, let Mugabe bring forward the 2008 election
to 2007, with the caveat that a massive international economic rescue
programme will follow that election regardless of who wins. This would be
truly a great triumph for the Zimbabwean people.
Price sharks shameless
IT takes two to tango, but it seems that the
business community cannot decipher the mood of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ)'s zero-tolerance on the zeros that had been appended to our currency
for the past three years.
Alas! Our supermarkets, shops and various
stores are all engaged full throttle to torpedo every effort by RBZ governor
Gideon Gono to make Zimbabwe manageable - at least economically.
There is gross malfeasance in the retail
business because economic saboteurs in this sector have developed a
stupendous desire to run the cogs of our nation aground.
For them a better Zimbabwean economy is here
and now where there is confusion as they can only reap more by dictating
prices of all consumer goods, from foodstuffs to fuel.
They have reached their Holy Grail. Sadly
for the rest of the lawful citizens, we always wake up in search of a better
Economic saboteurs cannot countenance the
mere fact that Gono is trying to create a virtuous circle by breaking the
vicious cycle that they have unnecessary forced on us as a nation.
Gono now needs an army of faithful followers
to join his national service crusade, who would want the sun to shine on
But I still wonder why some among us want to
continue doing the Indian dance of one step forward two steps backwards. Why
do these economic saboteurs have an aversion to a better life for all?
For instance, instead of simply striking off
the zeros and maintaining the first three or four figures on every price of
any product, the price sharks conspired to increase the prices unilaterally.
The retailers want to force Gono into
accepting that our situation is untenable. Was not the removal of the zeros
warning enough for them to stop their speculative businesses?
Surely the 320 price monitoring officers
must be eagle-eyed and move in swiftly to bring to book all saboteurs.
The coming of the new currency despite
minimal hiccups was meant to bring gallant smiles of victory, as it was
intended to benefit every Jim and Jack, not just the retail business
community who have a knack of overcharging on virtually all products.
FROM THE ZIMBABWE VIGIL
The Zimbabwe Vigil is joining forces with the MDC UK to stage a
demonstration outside Zimbabwe House from 12.00 - 15.00 hours on Wednesday,
The demonstration is in solidarity with countrywide protests called for that
day by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU). The ZCTU have called
this Operation Tatambura (we have suffered) and says it is the beginning of
a campaign of protests. They want to force the government and employers to
improve living standards of workers and to accept linking pay to inflation.
Demonstrations are planned in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare, Chinhoyi and
The Zimbabwe National Students' Union is joining forces, pressing for
reduced fees and improved conditions.
The National Constitutional Assembly (the civic alliance) is also to support
the demonstrations, as well as the MDC. Last week the MDC leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, led a march from Party Headquarters in Harare to Parliament to
present their "Road-map" document, a set of proposals to unlock Zimbabwe's
six-year old political and economic crisis.
PLEASE COME AND SHOW SOLIDARITY WITH THE BRAVE PEOPLE BACK HOME WHO MAY WELL
BRING POSTERS AND BANNERS.
Venue: outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London.
Nearest stations: Charing Cross and Embankment.
Vigil spokesperson: Julius Mutyambizi-Dewa: 07984 254 830
MDC UK Information and Publicity Secretary: Matthew Nyashanu: 07877 489 443
Vigil Co-ordinator: Rose Benton: 07970 996 003
The vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturdays from 14.00 - 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk.
By Jonga Kandemiiri
07 September 2006
Interview with Seiso Moyo
Listen to Interview with Seiso Moyo
With the winter wheat harvest picking up in some parts of the country, the
government has yet to announce a new producer price, forcing farmers to hold
on to their crop.
Agriculture Minister Joseph Made told parliament yesterday that the price is
likely to be raised by 17% to 23%. Officials project a wheat crop of 220,000
metric tonnes, a little more than half the 400,000 tonnes the country needs
But agricultural policy spokesman Seiso Moyo of the opposition faction led
by Morgan Tsvangirai told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for
Zimbabwe that he is expecting a much smaller harvest as many farmers lost
crops to winter frost.
By Ian Nhuka
BULAWAYO - THE ever-rising cost of education has propelled the cost of
living for a standard family of six to nearly Zd$100 000 (formerly Zd$100
million) in August, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) has said.
Statistics made available by the consumer watchdog yesterday show that
despite the much-touted progressive decline in inflation, the cost of living
in the country remains paradoxically on the rise.
The CCZ said the consumer basket for a family of six rose from the
July figure of $75 439 to $96 326 last month, registering a 27,7 increase.
According to the statistics, education, which went up by 89, 9 percent was
the biggest driver of the consumer basket because most schools increased
school fees as the new term started.
Transport costs, which soared by 50 percent, have also contributed to
the increase as operators respond to spiralling fuel and other running
The average cost of meat rose by 36,4 percent, washing powder by 40,4
percent and rice by 38,5 percent. Cooking oil prices rose by 32 percent
while bread and margarine shot up by 28,4 and 75,9 percent respectively.
The CCZ criticised transport operators for increasing fares despite
receiving subsidised fuel from the National Oil Company Zimbabwe. Many
workers are now walking to walk due to the high transport costs.
The consumer watchdog also had no kind words for some retailers whom,
it claims are taking advantage of the removal of zeros from the currency, to
scale up prices much to the disadvantage of the ordinary person.
To ensure that such chaotic pricing systems are curbed, the CCZ again
urged the government, labour and industry to expedite discussions towards
the signing of a Prices and Incomes Stabilisation Protocol.
Negotiations towards the agreement remain stalled after major
differences over whether or not to peg salaries in relation to the Consumer
Price Index (CPI) which has been on a steady increase in sympathy with
Labour wanted employers to peg salaries in line with the CPI but the
employers argued to the contrary. Inflation has over the past few months,
declined yet prices of goods and services are rising, prompting analysts to
question the accuracy of the official statistics.
From a high of about 1 200 percent around May, inflation went down to
993 percent in July. The Central Statistical Office defended the
decline saying that was because of improved availability of food in response
to the good harvest that slashed the food import bill.
By a Correspondent
THE London-based independent broadcasting station, SW Radio Africa,
has reported the Zimbabwe government seems to have gone a notch higher in
jamming its frequencies to the southern African country ahead of planned
mass action by civic groups next week.
Station manager, Gerry Jackson, yesterday deplored the fact that the
Zimbabwe government continues to spend scarce resources to support its quest
to maintain a stranglehold on power when the people were evidently against
Robert Mugabe's rule.
"Recently our medium wave transmissions were jammed and we returned to
shortwave - but after a few weeks this has also been jammed. It would appear
that our news bulletin is being specifically targeted," Jackson said.
"This is clearly because a program of organised, peaceful resistance
has begun in Zimbabwe and is also ahead of the advertised protests by the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, scheduled to begin on 13th September."
She said Zimbabwe would be a prosperous and wonderful place to live
once again if the Zanu PF government invested all its efforts in trying to
deal with the political and economic crisis affecting the country.
"We deplore the fact that government believes it can hold on to power
by blocking access to freedom of information and _expression," said Jackson.
THE Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ) recently reported the
government seemed to be jamming not only SW Radio Africa but also
frequencies for the Voice of America's Studio 7 programme to Zimbabwe.
Equipment sourced from China is being used to stop the independent
broadcasting stations from beaming back into Zimbabwe from their foreign
bases in London, Washington and Madagascar in the case of Radio Voice of the
"If government's threats to stifle what it considers to be illegal
broadcasting have anything to do with this development, MMPZ is again
obliged to condemn it as a cynical interference with the public's
constitutional right to freedom of expression and their right to access
information without hindrance," said the media monitoring organisation.
Studio 7 and SW Radio Africa emerged precisely because of ZBH's
illegal de facto monopoly of the airwaves and serve as vital alternative
sources of credible news for information-starved Zimbabweans who have to
endure the blatant propagandist output of the government-controlled national
public broadcaster, said the MMPZ.
The MMPZ said the government should speed up the process of licensing
local independent broadcasters instead of wasting resources investing in
equipment to shut down alternative sources of information.
By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 09/08/2006 11:45:10
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's official spokesman has accused two newspapers of
defaming the 82-year-old leader and his wife, Grace.
A tough-speaking George Charamba, in a statement Thursday, fingered the
privately-owned Standard newspaper and the Financial Gazette for severe
criticism over their handling of two unrelated stories on Mugabe and his
The Standard reported Sunday that Agriculture Minister Joseph Made was
involved in the diversion of State resources to facilitate agricultural
production on three farms linked to President Mugabe's family.
The paper, quoting unnamed Zanu PF officials, said Made had ordered staff
from the state-run Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda) to
move to the three farms to provide "agricultural expertise".
And in a report Thursday, the Financial Gazette said First Lady Grace Mugabe
had ordered the Harare City Council to allocate two stands to two gospel
musicians who are regulars at State House functions, Mercy Mutsvene and
Charamba sought to dismiss both stories as a fabrication, and demanded that
the two papers should apologise. He, however, did admit that Arda officials
were on the three farms, two linked to Mugabe and one confirmed as his.
"Both reports are false and unfounded, and seem motivated by a malicious
desire to besmirch the First Family," Charamba railed. "This cannot be
allowed to go on in the name of journalism, or of the freedoms it claims for
itself as a profession.
"At no point has she (Grace) sought to influence allocation of stands to the
two artists mentioned, who in any event should be able to access residential
stands in their own right, both as citizens of Zimbabwe and as residents of
"She thus decries any defamatory suggestions linking her to the alleged
Mugabe's wordsmith did, however, admit that Arda officials had been deployed
at Gushungo Farm, formerly Foyle Dairy Farm, Iron Mask and Mugabe's
Highfield Farm in Norton.
Charamba said there was nothing irregular with Arda officials assisting a
"needy farmer", since it was part of its mission.
Charamba said: "The relationship between Arda and the First Family is a
typical one between the parastatal and any new, needy farmer. The First
Family enlisted Arda's expertise in its general cropping programmes and in
identifying competent managers to underpin its farming activities.
"Such persons to have been identified with the assistance of Arda have
joined the First Family as its full employees.
"The Minister of Agriculture, Dr Joseph Made, himself an agricultural expert
has, as and when he has found free time, freely assisted the First Family in
certain specialised agricultural activities and areas.
"This expression of goodwill on his part is neither untoward nor a crime. It
will continue to come the First Family way for as long as the minister has
the free time and will to give it.
"In both false reports, as indeed in any piece of journalism, common sense
and decency bids respectable and responsible newspapers to first seek
clarification from the affected party before rushing to publish.
"The First Family and the Office of the President and Cabinet expect no less
from the two papers involved in these two malicious cases."
No comment could be obtained from both newspapers last night.
The relationship between the President, his family and the media is a
strained one following the closure of several critical newspapers, including
the top selling privately-owned Daily News.
A government-appointed media regulatory body, the Media and Information
Commission, has been accused of wrecking The Daily News' chances of getting
back to the news stands by taking instructions from ministers not to
re-register the paper.
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Ad inserted 24 August 2006
Virginia tobacco Marondera North ±12O Ha with irrigation.
200 Ha Maize some dry some irrigated. Looking for self motivated good labour
Phone early mornings 091295736
Ad inserted 24 August 2006
Looking for a manager for a highly productive unit. Few hundred sow. Will
be up to slaughter level. Person must be self motivated,dedicated, have good
labour relations and have record and administration skills.
Phone early mornings 091295736
Ad inserted 24 August 2006
Willowmead Junction is looking for a Receiving Manager.
The position is available immediately and would suite a retired Farmer.
Working hours will be 7.30am to 3pm Mon - Friday & 7.30am to 11am on
Please contact Leanne at Willowmead Junction for further details. Phone:
870976 - 850293 - 850291 - 850290
Or alternatively, send you CV through to firstname.lastname@example.org
Ad inserted 24 August 2006
Management Staff Job Description
Job Title: Country Manager FMDEA Ltd. Tanzania
Job Holder: John Constantinesco
Reports to: General Manager FMDEA
Responsible to General Manager for achieving the following objectives: -
· To ensure customer satisfaction in so far that it is dependent upon
product sales achieved through honest, open customer relations, and are in
line with Massey Ferguson tractor product sales guidelines.
· To produce and achieve an annual budget and profit objective in
conjunction with other senior managers. A critical aspect of the profit
contribution will be the ability to control the inventory flow of product
available for achieving your budget sales and profit objectives. This
product inventory stock holding must be in line with the long term
strategies and objectives that senior management and the board of directors
set as targets that are vital for the long term sustainability of the
· To administer direct and controllable sales department expenses and
to constantly monitor and manage these expenses
· To implement effective product marketing programmes on a consistent
basis that target the untapped market potential while broadening the company
's current market share.
· To set up procedures in conjunction with the credit control
department that ensures an agreed and sustainable recovery on cash
collections from product sales.
· To advise and consult with senior management of any major
deviations from the budget and propose corrective action if necessary.
· To be responsible for issuing product retail price lists to all
relevant company staff and dealers within TZ. To establish a TZ product
price list base line with a standard discount structure that can be used by
both the company and the company's dealers.
· To be responsible for monitoring the actual average cost associated
with each importation of whole goods and any impact the moving average costs
may have on the standard cost base that is used to formulate the retail
pricing structure and to take any corrective actions to the standard cost
base that may from time to time be required to be implemented.
In order to achieve these objectives the General Manager has the following
· To maintain a high standard of product knowledge of all equipment
sold by the company and also of the range of equipment available from our
· To maintain up to date sales literature libraries, so that sales
information, including product specifications and features can readily be
provided to customers and company staff.
· To ensure that branches and dealers maintain appropriate levels of
· To maintain a flow of readily understandable technical information
to all mechanics and parts people in the network.
· To ensure that he is always fully informed of any service or parts
supply problems within the company's territory and where necessary passes
information to or seeks support from our principles.
· To have a clear understanding of the principle's whole goods
ordering procedures and develop excellent working relationships with the key
sales people of our principles.
· To have a sound understanding and up to date knowledge of all the
associated importation costs.
· To be able to analysis and identify key market segments and to
implement actions that will exploit any potential.
· To be able to identify key competitors, their pricing, their range
of products, their credit terms and implement action programmes that can
address these competitive pressures.
· To be able to identify why potential customers purchase tractors
and implements from our competitors and to work with other senior managers
to development marketing strategies that can persuade potential customers to
purchase the companies product.
· To assist in the recruitment and selection of suitably motivated
and qualified sales staff.
· To evaluate regularly the performance of his sales staff and to
implement appropriate sales commission incentives and bonus programmes that
will ensure he meets his budget and profit objectives.
· In conjunction with our principles, ensure that his sale staff have
a sound product knowledge and are technically competent to close deals.
· To ensure adequate training programmes are planned to meet high
standards of customer satisfaction.
· To monitor the standard of work by the service department and to
work with the After Sales Product Support Manager in ensuring that all
equipment sold by the company throughout East Africa is assembled, PDI'd,
and installed in line with our principle's guidelines and that all free
services are performed.
· To ensure that all tractor and implement factory registration cards
of newly sold tractors and implements are completed and forwarded to the
relevant principles from warranty registration that the relevant information
is entered into the companies customer database and that the service
department are advised of the sale and registration.
· To ensure that the customer database is up to date so that it can
be used for targeting effective marketing programmes. The customer database
and the development of it's potential in exploiting future sales potential
must be maintained by the sales department for all other departments to be
able to exploit.
· To be pro-active in developing sales marketing programmes with the
sales staff that promotes the company's product and keeps the name of the
company in the fore front of the customer.
· To implement and ensure efficient and correct practice of the
company's sales documentation systems that have been worked out in
conjunction with the accounts and administration departments and that enable
the documentation to be utilised for management purposes and for the
business like administration of the sales departments at Head office with
the company's computer system and at branches within TZ, which are not
linked to the company's mainframe computer in Nakuru.
· To ensure that there is excellent liaison between the product
support and sales departments in order to ensure adequate parts availability
and any required service training is planned with regard to the introduction
of new models.
· To have a sound understanding of the relevant sales and prospecting
modules of the company's computer systems and to ensure that his staff have
the knowledge and necessary training to be able to use these modules for the
benefit of his department and the company.
E) The Public Image of the Company
· To actively ensure that a first class image of the company's sales
team is projected at all times to our customer base.
· To ensure that all customer sales enquiries are discussed expertly
and courteously with customers so as to maintain the highest standard of
Please email pdh@FMDEA.com
Ad inserted 24 August 2006
Mature Male or Female Domestic/Caretaker etc. Worker required for small over
night accommodation set up in Greendale Area. Duties include: Greeting
guests, cleaning, washing, ironing, possibly some cooking etc. This person
must be able to speak English and have a pleasant disposition. Traceable
references a must. Semi furnished accommodation for one is supplied on the
property, as well as Zesa and Water. Salary negotiable. Please contact TEL:
Ad inserted 31 August 2006
Our client is looking for a Receptionist/Helpdesk Assistant based in
Marlborough. The candidate must be: -
Be able to deal with engineers at all levels
Have experience in: -
Helpdesk, although not a must
The client is looking for a retired or young lady who can deal with
engineers, which will need a firm but approachable personality. The fuel
allocation is dependant on residential location and own transport/shared use
of a vehicle is a must with this vacancy. Hours are 8am - 4:30pm Monday to
Please email your cv to email@example.com. On the subject of the email
please put Receptionist and in the body of the email please include your
current position/salary/benefits and notice period.
Closing date for cvs to be accepted for this vacancy is Friday 15th
September 2006. Interviewing of the short listed candidates will be from
the 20th September.
Ad inserted 31 August 2006
GOOD EXPERIENCED BOOKKEEPER
Can be an ideal position for a parent or retiree who wants half-day job or
school holidays or can be a full-time job for someone wanting to be involved
in an exciting Christian Africa office for front-line work across the
If you are interested, please send you CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ad inserted 31 August 2006
GOOD EXPERIENCED BOOK-KEEPER/ACCOUNTANT/FUND RAISER
For Christian Charity - can be half-time or full-time.
If you are interested, send your CV to email@example.com
Ad inserted 31 August 2006
If you are interested in working in the Middle East and seek an environment
that provides challenging opportunities for learning and personal growth
within a world-class international hotel chain, please send your C.V. and
recent photograph to the HR Manager.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or
Fax: +974 425 6660
Ad inserted 31 August 2006
Wanted Experienced Childminder to look after two small girls. References
preferred. Please contact Kerry on 309448w 335934 a/h or 011 231 728.
Ad inserted 7 September 2006
Wanted for very small household:- competent cook with some domestic work
included. Male or female with refs. please.
Phone Harare 776298.
Ad inserted 7 September 2006
Farm Manager required for mixed horticultural and dairy enterprise situated
within 30kms of Harare. Salary based on basic and incentives.
Interested persons to please send CV's and contact details to
email@example.com, or contact The Advertiser on 091 - 350 047/011802908/04 -
Ad inserted 7 September 2006
A vacancy has arisen at Haigar Tyre & Fitment Centre with immediate effect.
The position offered will suit a semi-retired person with mechanical
knowledge. The position entails the overseer of a small workshop,
invoicing, sourcing of
commodities and liaisoning with companies.
Persons interested should contact 331726 / 305812 cell: 011 220606
Ad inserted 7 September 2006
Our client is looking for an Accounts Assistant/Clerk based in Marlborough.
The candidate must have just graduated or about to finish a professional
course and must possess good A Levels especially in Maths/Economics.
Due to the nature of the position, the client is seeking an individual no
older than 25 or a first jobber. Hours are 8-4:30pm Monday to Friday.
Please email your cv to firstname.lastname@example.org and put 'Accounts
Assistant/Clerk' on subject of the email. Please include current
position/salary/benefits/notice period. Closing date for cvs is Friday 15th
September 2006. Interviews for short-listed candidates will be from the 20th
Ad inserted 7 September 2006
Australia - Refrigeration
Qualified refrigerator mechanic; Australia. Apply to e-mail address
Employer sponsorship possible for suitable person.
Ad inserted 10 August 2006
Just sold my private business /catering/ in Harare. I am 50-year-old man in
perfect health. I have MSc in Engineering Geology from Imperial College
London and was working as senior geologist and manager of Construction
Company for 20 years all over the world. Fluent in English and French, ZW
permanent resident. Looking for the manager position in various fields.
Contacts: 882384; 091 775544 Email: email@example.com
Ad inserted 10 August 2006
Recently retired manager with extensive experience in workshop management
and transport tracking and control. Looking for part time, five mornings or
four days a week, employment. Computer literate and has own transport.
Contact 302702 or 091-609078.
Ad inserted 10 August 2006
Ex Farmer/Consultant and Agronomist for Alliance One Tobacco aged 50 years
living in Zimbabwe with 23 years experience in growing tobacco, maize, seed
maize, horticulture, beef cattle, pigs, chickens.
Excellent management, administration and communication skills, computer
literate, full clean drivers licence. Was runner up' Tobacco Grower of the
Year' in 1985. Spent last 2 years consulting for Imperial Tobacco Group in
Madagascar on the
production of flue-cured tobacco.
AVAILABLE IMMEDIATELY. CONTACT Jack Readings: 011 600 636; 011 602 538 or
04 701170/3 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Can send CV if necessary.
Ad inserted 17 August 2006
Workshop, Parts Manager, Age 49, Qualified Motor Mechanic, Knowledge of
Panel Beating& Spray Painting Computer Literate, Avail 1/9/2006 Contact Don
on 091 772473 or 011732084 (evenings please)
Ad inserted 24 August 2006
Heavy diesel plant fitter seeking position -experienced in running workshop.
Light & heavy vehicles repairs and maintenance, transport and earthmoving.
Please call 091 865 666 or email email@example.com
Ad inserted 24 August 2006
Mature lady seeks position as a Person Friday/PA.
Typing skills, Clerical work, some computer experience i.e. Email.
Reliable, Honest. Available immediately, has own transport.
Prefers not to deal with any figure work or money.
Areas: Workington, Light industrial Sites, Msasa, Newlands and Southerton.
Contact Add: Phone H J DON on 571737 or Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ad inserted 24 August 2006
My name is Andrew Nyamangara and I am 50 years old. I am looking for a job
as a Receptionist/Administration Clerk/ Bookkeeper. I have Intermediate
Bookkeeping and Accounts and have trained to operate Interconnect 200
I also have my O levels in Principles of Accounts, English Language and Comm
I have worked for Civil and Planning Group for 13 years and was made
redundant in June 2006.
I can be contacted on this email address or landline 494144.
Ad inserted 31 August 2006
Administrative Bookkeeper post
I can do books to Balance sheet including Income tax Computations, salaries
and company secretarial work
Qualifications: Associate ship of Institute of Certified Bookkeepers
Experience: 21 years
Computer literacy: Microsoft Office. Pastel Version 4 to 7, Solution 6,
Belina Payroll, Paywell.payroll
I would take up employment in any environment including farm. Very
Please contact Andrew on 740233
Ad inserted 7 September 2006
I am a highly experienced individual with a varied background and a tertial
education. I am seeking a position in sales and marketing, advertising,
shipping or similar areas. Please call Cheryl on 776 875 or 011
For the latest listings of accommodation available for farmers, contact
email@example.com (updated 7 September 2006)