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Wednesday, December 12th, 2012



Thursday, December 6th, 2012

This review used to be a collection of statistics neatly divided into topics such as finance, cost of living, agriculture, industry and trade. Statistics are so scarce that this has become difficult. The Central Statistical Office has begun publishing cost of living figures again, pitiably little information compared to what they produced ten years ago, and at the exorbitant price of $2 per page. ZimTrade last updated their database in February 2007, the Reserve Bank stopped publishing their monthly review of the economy in February 2008 and don’t even publish weekly domestic debt figures now. Both of these agencies have disabled their websites. Neither the Ministry of Small Enterprises nor the association set up by people working in these enterprises know how many people depend on the informal sector. LEDRIZ had detailed figures for recommended wage levels, but even they have no idea how many people are in formal employment. This lack of information can be blamed on the general collapse of the economy, but it is very convenient for those elements who still hold on to positions in government despite their rejection by the electorate three times in the past decade. The extent of their ownership of the means of production is relevant to this study; how they use what they own is even more relevant.
This review will therefore depend on what can be gleaned from a laborious search of the press and from much easier observation on the streets, which may give a broad impression.
The state of the economy continues, however, to be a matter of crucial concern, not only for the present and future livelihoods of the people, but also as the rarely-expressed key to our political stand-off. Key ZANU ideologues were well aware from the early 1970s that political power was the short way to economic power throughout Africa. That has meant personal economic power and great wealth for some while the majority live in the world’s ‘second most failed state’ after Somalia. That assessment may be optimistic. Somalia never had the impressive industrial infrastructure Zimbabwe still possessed as late as 1989. Nor did Somalia, until the foreign military interventions of the past decade or so, suffer the wide-ranging disruption of traditional social structures inflicted on this country since 1890.
But why is Zimbabwe in so much worse shape today than Botswana, which has a stable one-party state built on the ruling party’s control of the economy and can even afford comparatively free media and elections? Independent Zimbabwe’s rulers did not see beyond seizing the wealth and productive resources, so we had the destructive land grab and now a push for complete ‘indigenisation’ of what remains of commerce and industry (although a Ghanaian or Ethiopian with the right party card is ‘indigenous’ while a fourth-generation Zimbabwe-born person of European or Indian ancestry is not. Nigerians, of course, are a case on their own.) None of the grabbers saw beyond seizing possession. They don’t understand, even now, that lasting wealth can only be produced by work. Botswana’s rulers, on the other hand, had first to build a productive modern economy and a more or less adequate welfare system, which they have done reasonably well on a limited range of resources. People who are fed in drought years and who have access to education and health services will often tolerate government by patronage. Zimbabwe’s rulers never grasped the idea that if you want to milk your cow you need to feed it.
Zimbabwe needs to restore its destroyed productive capacity. This means loosening the grip of those who have lived by looting for the past thirty years and inflicted destruction and death to retain their grip on what is left of the nation’s wealth in Gukurahundi, Murambatsvina and the election violence of the past decade. This is essential if we are to see any economic or social progress The aim would be twofold:
1)stop looting and restart production;
2)stop the diverting of state revenue into ZANU-PF coffers.
There can be no political solution at all until looting stops. And the world economy won’t engage with us until we get our politics sorted out. Mugabe must be regretting now that he accepted a man as smart as Tendai Biti as Finance Minister. Some looting has stopped.
The abandoning of the Zimbabwe dollar cut the ground from under the feet of Gideon Gono, the main supplier of foreign currency to Mugabe’s cohorts. For at least two years, the Reserve Bank had been printing duplicates of nearly every Z$ banknote, making all of them counterfeiti. When two notes of the same value exist with the same serial number, one is counterfeit. If they were printed on the same paper, with the same ink on the same press, then, being indistinguishable, they must both be counterfeit and the ZANU leadership got every duplicate banknote printed.
Controlling other leakage into the hands and pockets of opposition elements within that pantomime horse that calls itself an inclusive government remains Biti’s biggest challenge. Two obvious sources we are now all aware of are Chiadzwa diamonds and the government salaries going to ghost workers. Thousands of unauthorised workers have been identified: we don’t know how many more remain to be rooted out. The February 2010 civil servants’ strike was another ZANU-PF’s counter-move, as is made obvious by the coercion applied to teachers, in some areas, such as Masvingo, by the CIO, to make them join the strike. This must be the first strike since independence that has the whole-hearted support of the government media. This is not surprising, since the civil service has been ZANU-ised over the years.

Continued in this freely available PDF document: Zimbabwe Economy 2009

Previous Zimbabwe Economy Reports:

Zimbabwe Economy 2007

Zimbabwe Economy 2006

Zimbabwe Economy 2005

Zimbabwe Economy 2004

RULE 1: DOG DOESN’T EAT DOG – by Magari Mandebvu, with permission

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

After last week, I may need to emphasise that I am not interested in punishing anybody, however great their crimes. Punishment is far too close to revenge and revenge is reserved for God. Nobody else can balance the demands of justice and revenge. If the person punished cannot see the punishment is just, he will in return seek revenge, which goes on in a never-ending cycle.
On the other hand, we cannit expect others to forgive our offences against them if we don’t make some kind of reparation. We can never undo all the damage we have done, but if someone tries sincerely they can be forgiven. If we are ever to restore peace, we must convince those who have persecuted us that seeking forgiveness, even this late, is better continuing on the destructive path they have been following.
For example, local leaders of ZANU’s violent campaigns don’t have much of a future to look forward to if they stay on the track they have followed so far.
If the top leaders plan another election as violent and bloody as the last one (which God forbid) they surely have a “Plan B” for the very likely event that they don’t succeed in holding power that way. They are surely ready, in that case, to seek foreign refuge where they have stashed most of their illgotten money, diamonds and gold. That’s OK for the biggest fish, but I doubt whether anyone below the top ranks in the ZANU war machine has a luxury retirement home waiting for him on a beach in Malaysia or even Equatorial Guinea. Plan B means leaving them to face the music. If they are lucky, that will mean a trial before the International Criminal Court and spending the rest of their lives in a more comfortable prison than we can provide under present circumstances here in Zimbabwe.
But in the unlikely event that our military-security complex can stage a successful coup (everyone below the rank of army general or police superintendent would have to be crazy to play along with that), a successful Plan A doesn’t spell much joy for the local commanders whom we have all seen in action.
A military regime would have a difficult job getting any government in the world to recognise them. Remember Julius Malema is not the government of South Africa and Comrade King Kim 3rd of North Korea has enough problems of his own, even if he didn’t have embarassing allies who would make his life more difficult. No, our guys would need to clean up their act a bit. To be accepted as respectable people to do business with, they have to produce a few scapegoats to carry all the blame for the nastiness we’ve had to suffer, and sacrifice them. The international business community, the big bankers and their military friends, are a bunch of hypocrites, so they won’t ask any awkward questions about why General Y, the butcher of Matebeleland and Minister X, hero of Murambavanhu, aren’t among the scapegoats. There is, after all, a certain solidarity among the thieves who run this world. Their first rule is “Dog doesn’t eat dog” and they don’t need to sniff very closely to recognise that our comrades-turned-billionaires are dogs of the same breed as themselves, dogs with rougher manners and less scruples about getting blood on their hands maybe, but still dogs and not to be eaten. Jim Kunaka and his opposite number in Mudzi, on the other hand, are only scapegoats.
Those expendable scapegoats will be very lucky if they get as far as the comfortable cells of the International Criminal Court. They know too much, and they aren’t real goats, which can’t talk. Unfortunately human scapegoats can be very talkative. My guess is that we would see a few scapegoats chosen and then conveniently “shot while resisting arrest” because dead men tell no dangerous tales.
Isn’t it better to jump ship now than to wait till they throw you to the sharks?
Published in The Zimbabwean, 22 November 2012


Saturday, March 17th, 2012

Brian MacGarry
As the political obstacles to people’s aspirations remain, even though they may be moving
detectably at the time this is being written, the real question is ownership of the economy. In the hands of those who hold it now, that is only ‘economic power’ to do no more than destroy and to hold on to enough power to prevent anyone from interfering with that. There can be no meaningful change in the country unless their stranglehold can be loosened. That grip is in an interdependent relationship with the corruption that permeates every level of society, but especially the public sector. It is not a question of dealing with a few corrupt individuals, but a system of corruption from top to bottom.
Reading all at once about the mountain of corrupt tricks that have become daily life for so
many should be a depressing task, but in preparing this review I was struck, not only by the depth of cunning shown by our multiple economic parasites, but also the astuteness and dogged determination with which some of the new ministers in the ‘inclusive’ government have unearthed details of so many rackets and with which they pursue their aim of root and branch reform. Naming names would be invidious – at least in an introduction.
There has been some growth, after a decade of decline, but it has begun to slow for lack of the political will to make fundamental changes. Finance minister Tendai Biti has revised the country’s growth prospects this year from 7 percent to 4.5 percent.
The economy registered its first growth in a decade last year after President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s power-sharing government implemented measures, including the adoption of multiple currencies that doused hyperinflation.
However economic experts as well as the IMF maintain that economy recovery remains fragile because of the government’s heavy dependence on imports and increasing wage demands at a time when the country’s shaky economy, and especially the government budget, cannot satisfy these demands.
The IMF and other multi-lateral lenders have refused to provide fresh loans until Harare clears outstanding debts, while rich Western nations are also reluctant to provide soft loans and grants, insisting the government must first step up the pace of democratic reforms, do more to uphold human rights and the rule of law.

Wages and cost of living
Average wages as negotiated between trade unions and employers are shown in the table below.
Table 1: Trade Union Average Wages (US$)  2010      2009
Tobacco                                                231.00   150.00
Baking                                                   213.00   127.00
Agriculture                                             32.00    32.00
Domestic                                                70.00    46.00
ZEWU                                                  315.00   315.00
Food Processing                                  231.00  125.00
Meat, Fish,Poultry & Abattoirs         160.00  133.00
Soft Drinks Mfg                                    186.00  120.00
Detergent, Edible Fats & Oils             240.00   101.50
Catering                                                 150.00    85.00
Security                                                 150.00    90.00
Shoe & Leather                                     198.00  137.98
Travel & Canvas                                   198.00 100.00
Clothing                                                  132.00    80.00
Communication & AlliedServices        200.00  150.00
Textile                                                    150.00   150.00
Civil Service                                           122.00   100.00
Plastics Mfg                                           197.00   144.00
Engineering                                           200.00  150.00
Graphical                                               183.00   130.00
Urban Council                                        301.29    301.29
Construction                                           170.00   150.00
RAYOS                                                    282.79    282.79
Commercial                                            200.00   150.00
ZARWU                                                   225.00   125.00
Cement and Lime                                  220.00    125.00

In most industries there has been an improvement in wages, The next table shows how minimum wages compare with the official poverty datum line. ZimStats and LEDRIZ give a ‘food poverty line’ which seems arbitrarily chosen. It is included here but will be discussed below.
Table 2: wage and cost of living comparisons Source: LEDRIZ
Minimum wage compared to cost of living, by month
Month         Min Wage   CSO PDL   CSO FPL Min.wage/PDL  Min.wage/FPL

Jan’10           $183             $453           $134                 40%             137%
Feb’10           $183             $468          $140                  39%             131%
Mar’10          $183              $463           $141                 40%            130%
Apr’10           $195              $494          $151                  39%            129%
May’10          $195             $503          $154                   39%           127%
June’10         $200             $517           $158                   39%           127%
July’10          $200             $462          $154                   43%           130%
Aug’10          $210              $477           $146                   44%           144%
Sept’10          $210             $482           $142                   44%          148%
Oct’10            $226             $489           $137                   46%           165%
Nov’ 10          $226             $499           $143                   45%          158%
Dec’10            $226             $500          $144                   45%           157%

The Poverty Reduction Forum1 published a November 2010 survey of the cost of a basic needs basket in ten Harare suburbs, which at US$482.64 averaged across Harare, agrees fairly well with the CSO figure above.
The “Food Poverty Line” above now looks as if it was calculated on the cost of food, which is an improvement on allocating it an arbitrary percentage of the whole basic needs basket.
The Poverty Reduction Forum report with great concern that rent and municipal rates require a disproportionate 56% of the average family’s expenditure.
They hope to be able to produce updates regularly.
Cost of shopping has been forced up, especially for those who make smaller and more frequent purchases, by retailers’ reluctance to handle coins.2 They are reluctant to trade US dollars for rand coins, although the banks had been importing and stockpiling the coins. Most formal sector retailers refused to accept the coins at face value (around R7 = $1 for most of the year) because they have got used to using a rate of 10:1. Informal traders and commuter omnibus operators switched happily to 8:1 as soon as the dollar dropped below that level.

Food & agriculture
Finance Minister Biti said agricultural production was expected to have grown in 2010 by
18.8%, compared to 14.9% in 2009. This was mainly driven by tobacco, up to about 119
million kg from 55.6 million kg. “Horticulture production in 2010 is projected to register growth, rising to 43,000 tonnes against last year’s 35,000 tonnes. There is still much more investment to be undertaken before production levels rise to levels above 60,000 tonnes experienced previously,” Biti said.
He said depressed prices and financing constraints in 2009 undermined cotton production,
which decreased from 246,000 tonnes in 2009 to 172,000 tonnes in 2010. Sugar production during 2010 was also projected to decline below last year’s levels.
Harassment of the estimated 400 remaining white commercial farmers continued. They are now so few that the impact on overall production may not be significant.
Maize and grain supply
As usual, the CFU (voice of the remaining white farmers) and ZCFU disagree over the size of the 2010 crop 3. The CFU President, Deon Theron, said the country would have to import 800,000 tonnes to meet national demand of about 2 million tonnes, at a cost of around US$136 million, as it was being imported at between US$160-US$180/t, Theron said. The ZCFU president, William Nyabonda, said at the annual congress their final maize and small grains estimate for the 2009/2010 season was 1.5 million tonnes, with maize contributing 1.2 million tonnes. Allowing for approximately 300,000 tonnes “carried over from last season due to lack of reliable markets,” he saw no real need for grain imports. “What is required is to move grain from grain surplus areas to grain deficit areas and therefore it is essential that the GMB buys this grain from farmers,” Nyabonda said.
In September FAO reported a slight increase in maize output from 1.2 million tonnes in the
2008/09 season to 1.3 million tonnes in 2009/10. Farmers said in October there was a mistaken belief that enough maize had been produced because of better than average rains. ZCFU blame the shortages of recent years on lack or late distribution of inputs.
SeedCo said in mid-October they had distributed 10,000t of maize seed and had 14,000t in stock for the 2010/1 season.
Government increased the maize producer price by US$10 to US$275/t with effect from April 1, 2010.[4]
Labour and Social Services Deputy Minister Mrs Tracy Mutinhiri[5] said more than 1,3 million Zimbabweans would need food aid between January and March 2011, according to the May 2010 vulnerability assessment.
This year’s national target planting was set at 60,000ha. The actual total was about 12,367ha.
The greatest challenge farmers faced was unreliable power supply that seriously affected
irrigation schedules. Also, most farmers do not have anything to offer as security and this is
worsened by the liquidity problems affecting the country in general, said Theron. This year
some farmers who had been producing wheat for years shifted to barley under contract
farming because of the guarantee of early inputs and ready market[6].
Wheat farmers had by 18 July only collected a total of 84 tonnes of seed and 2,015t of
compound D fertilizer provided by Government against available stocks of 720 tonnes of seed and 14,414t of compound D fertilizer[7].
In early September, government set the winter wheat producer price for this year’s marketing season at US$466 per tonne in a bid to stimulate more deliveries to the GMB. Last season’s price was US$4008.
Farmers complain of private hire combine harvester charges of US$85/ha, which they say are too high.
The CFU predicted the 2010 winter cropping season would be a disaster with yields as low as 10,000 tonnes. From the available figures, the total crop was probably nearer to 30,000t, against a requirement of over 300,000t. GMB received 21,152t from farmers by the end of the year.[9]
As the buying season approached, merchants were offering producers US 31c/kg, a price
growers rejected. Growers withheld their crop, prompting Government to intervene, proposing minimum producer prices of 42 US cents for grade A cotton, US 39c for grade B, US36c for grade C and US33c for grade D. Farmers have however, rejected the price arguing that the crop should fetch more to cushion them against high production costs.
Government proposed new minimum cotton producer prices at the end of June: grade A being sold for at least US$0,50/kg grade B US$0,46, grade C US$0,39 and grade D US$0,35 per kg[10].
The cotton crop totalled only 176,000 tonnes of seed cotton down from 246,000t the previous season as farmers opted out due to low prices. Top cotton prices were US30c/kg in 2009.
The Cotton Ginners’ Association raised concerns that Sino-Zimbabwe Cotton company were buying cotton from growers who already had contracts with other companies that had supplied their inputs on loan. They took their complaints to court, but lost their appeal to block Sino-Zimbabwe Cotton from buying cotton seed from farmers contracted to them and to stop Sino-Zim from selling cotton seed both in Zimbabwe and abroad pending determination of the case.
Judge President George Chiweshe on 30 July threw out the application to the High Court saying “the applicant has brought its case to the wrong forum”.
Sino-Zim were able to pay higher cash prices because they had not invested in inputs. They were assisted by politically highly-placed people. Among those named in the CGAZ court papers were Minister of Indigenisation Saviour Kasukuwere, Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Nicholas Goche, Zanu PF Mashonaland Central provincial chairman and MP for Mt Darwin North Dickson Mafios, and Police Assistant Commissioner Martin Kwainona.
CGAZ director-general Godfrey Burumbo-Buka said Sino-Zimbabwe Holdings was operating in Gokwe, Kadoma, Mhangura, Mount Darwin, Bindura, Guruve, Mutoko and Raffingora. An annexure to CGAZ court papers alleges that Sino-Zimbabwe Holdings “invaded” Cotton Company of Zimbabwe’s Bindura business unit on July 4 with the help of politicians.[11]
Cottco managing director Mr David Machingaidze said in September preparations for the next production season were well advanced. He said that there was potential for an increase on yield on dry land cotton farming from about 800 kg/ha to 3000 kg. “Contractors should play their part by providing a complete package of inputs to farmers ‘timeously’ and [farmers] should . . shun side marketing,” he said.[12]
Table 3: Progress of tobacco sales through the season:
Tobacco sold (million kg) By date: Earnings (US$ million)
contract auction total                       contract auction Total
35.4         29.9     65,3     10/06/10 112.25    87.01 199.26
46.6         34.4    81.06    24/06/10 146.05     96.6  242.7
55.4         36.8     92.2      12/07/10 172.4      101.4 273.8
100.81    21/07/10                            297.11
116.9      28/08/10                            341.01
Sources: daily newspapers
The bulk of the crop so far has been sold under contract system, where 78,689,429kg worth US$239,259,428 were sold. A total of 42,466,566kg were sold at the other two auction floors – the Tobacco Sales Floor and Zimbabwe Industry Tobacco Auction Centre.[13]
Growers are, however, concerned about the prices being offered at the auction floors, as they are low – averaging US$2,40/kg at the auction floors compared to US$3/kg at the contract market.
According to official figures, over 40,000 small-scale black farmers produced 70% of the
tobacco crop. The remainder was from large-scale commercial farmers[14]

53,065 farmers registered by 2 August to grow tobacco in the 2010/11 season, said the
Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board, a total of 25,051 A1; 15,488 communal; 5,969 smallscale; 3,428 A2; and 1,893 commercial farmers had registered. Of these, 51,551 have
registered to grow flue-cured tobacco; 659 for burley; 85 for Oriental; and 110 have opted for dark fire. Growers are concentrated mainly in Mashonaland West (16,385) and Central (15,251) and Manicaland (10,406). Only 17,000 farmers had registered to grow tobacco in the 2009-10 season by November. Agritex has said it projects next season’s tobacco output to reach 150 million kg.[15]
TIMB latest statistics show that by August 11 a total of 581,242g of tobacco seed had been
sold, enough for 96,872ha, compared to the 349,165g sold by same period in 2009, enough to plant more than 58,000ha.
Tobacco looks like a success story, though there have been complaints of congestion at the
auction floors, which the merchants blamed on farmers who arrived expecting to make a sale without booking. Some growers urge the buyers to decentralise, as cotton growers have done, not only providing inputs but going out to the growers and buying from them, freeing them from the burden of carrying their crop to a central market.
season ended               yield (t)
01/03/09                     298,000
01/03/10                     259,000
Sugar crop
Hippo Valley Estates, said Zimbabwe’s sugar output for April 2009 to March 2010 had fallen 13% from the previous year. “Cane yields for the period were adversely affected by the limited and delayed application of fertilisers and herbicides,” Hippo Valley said.[16]
Hippo Valley said Zimbabwe had exported 146,000 tonnes of raw sugar to the EU and the
United States under preferential market access, which the country enjoys.
Many Lowveld A2 farmers under the Commercial Sugar Cane Farmers’ Association of Zimbabwe have pledged to donate over 3,500ha of land to Government for a winter maize project, which is planned to take 5,000ha.

Bank lending
Some banks resumed consumer lending at the end of the year, at an interest rate of 28%/year. Bank charges are still so high that most people shun the banks.
Government income and expenditure:
The civil service audit, promised by August 2010, appeared in February 2011. It reported that, out of 188,019 civil servants detected, 75,273 do not have the minimum qualifications for the posts they hold. The designations of another 17,088 do not appear in the Detailed
Establishment Tables. About 1,315 are working without designation, and there is no information on the qualifications of another 8,723. No information at all could be found for 2,191. Thus, the position of half those on the civil service payroll is, to say the least, irregular. Among them are 10,000 ‘youth officers’ posted to every district of the country ‘in preparation for the elections’,clearly members of the ZANU-PF militias. One ministry (unnamed) employed 6,861 new workers in one day.
Balancing the budget
The first problem facing the Minister of Finance is clear enough from the table below.
revenue & grants    surplus(deficit)            need
Jan/10]                                    -250.0                          400.0
Feb/10]Total                         -250.0                          400.0
Mar/10]( 6 months)             -250.0                          400.0
Apr/10 ] = 900                      -250.0                          400.0
May/10]                                  -250.0                          400.0
Jun/10 ]                                  -250.0                           400.0
Jul/10                  183.1           -216.9                           400.0
Aug/10                144.4           -255.6                           400.0
Table 5: government income & expenditure, January – August 2010
The depth of the problem appears on both sides of the “Micawber equation”: income and
Income: a lot of revenue is either not collected or goes astray. In July Biti said $30 million
worth of diamonds had disappeared; early in 2011 he was talking about $300 million in
government revenue not having been delivered. In both cases, he was met with denial by the ZANU-PF Mines Minister, Obert Mpofu17. The army still control access to large areas of the Chiadzwa diamond fields and are brutalising the inhabitants18; they are allegedly selling diamonds[19] to buy arms, such as the mysterious shipment of several containers that passed through the border at Mutare in May 2011 under military guard and without Customs inspection.
Zimbabwe’s generals are accumulating a secret slush fund from diamond sales, Global Witness campaign group claims. The military’s control over the Marange fields – the source of a quarter of the world’s diamonds – has become an important factor in the future of Zimbabwe. The Joint Operational Command earns revenues from the mines through the control of companies.
Among those alleged to have earned many millions from diamond sales are factions headed by the Defence Minster, Emmerson Mnangagwa, and Solomon Mujuru.
Alan Martin, who compiled a report on the military’s role in Marange for the pressure group Partnership Africa Canada, said Mr Mujuru and Mr Mnangagwa, were preparing for the death of Mr Mugabe. ”Undoubtedly, they are building up their war chests,” he said. ”None of them will make a move until he dies but there will be a succession fight after his death.”
Zimbabwe has stockpiled more than 4.5 million carats of rough diamonds between January and August 2010, which officials say could fetch the country up to $1.7 billion, nearly 80% of government’s $2.2 billion budget for the year[20].
Revenue due to ZIMRA from NOCZIM has, at best, been tardily transferred.
Parastatals and district councils are paying their executives $11-15,000/month or more while ordinary workers get no more than $170. The rule that 70% of district council revenues should go to providing services and no more than 30% to paying staff is a dead letter. Salaries often take 70% of income.
The Ministry of State Enterprises and Parastatals, in a joint operation with the Zimbabwe
Revenue Authority (Zimra), began investigating reports that some parastatals have two
payrolls which they are using to siphon public funds amid a growing furore over the staggering salaries being paid to bosses of the bankrupt state companies[21].
MPs, given cars by the Reserve Bank in 2008, are holding on to them although they now have other vehicles under a parliamentary loan scheme[22]
An audit of the civil service, supposed to present results by November, did give a report in
February 2011. It found about 77,000 workers who seemed to have been irregularly employed.
The Ministry of Youth Development that was singled out as the worst case of abusing
government recruitment procedures when it employed 10,277 youths between May 2008 and June 2008 without having posts for them in the ministry’s establishment[23]
Harare City Council in December 2009 announced plans to make a human resources audit to flush out ghost workers and unqualified employees who were employed illegally during the era of commissions led by Zanu PF sympathisers. Local Government minister Ignatious Chombo interfered with the audit processes and twice halted the exercise. In September Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda announced the audit was complete and added that council would hire professionals to validate the exercise. The audit established that Harare employed 9,500 workers and an additional 500 casual labourers. Council did not say how many were irregularly appointed. Masunda said council would not be retrenching anyone but would instead rely on death and retirement to rationalise its workforce[24].
The longer COPAC, the parliamentary committee on the constitution, sits, the more money it eats up for allowances, accommodation in expensive hotels and much else. By May 2011,
senior MDC and ZANU-PF members of COPAC were complaining that progress was so slow they were being paid for doing nothing[25]
If an election were to be held in 2011, which now seems mercifully unlikely, Biti told journalists on 31 August it would cost $200 million: $100 million each for presidential and parliamentary polls[26].
About 30% of the nation’s schoolteachers could not be paid in September.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs cannot maintain all its embassies and consulates. An outstanding example is the Cape Town consulate, taken over by that city council for persistent non-payment of rates.
Frequent overseas trips by Mugabe and his family, which can involve diverting a long-distance airliner from its scheduled flight, carry much of the blame for the near-bankruptcy of Air Zimbabwe[27].
Police bribes and foreign currency allocations to officials sold for private profit add to the
Toll-gate funds
The largest amounts of money from toll-gate fees collected nationwide, went to where Mugabe and his closest cronies hail from. Most of the money disbursed by the Zimbabwe National Road Authority (Zinara) by July to different districts for the maintenance of the country’s road network went to Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central. Zvimba and Bindura got the highest sums disbursed[28].
The top six beneficiary districts for the US$15 million paid out were:
Bindura (Mashonaland Central) with US$2,6 million
Zvimba (Mashonaland West) slightly more than US$2 million
Mhondoro-Ngezi (Mashonaland West) US$1,8 million
Chaminuka (Mashonaland East) US$510,000
Mazowe (Mashonaland Central) US$190,000
and Pfura (Mashonaland Central) US$137,655 .
The Reserve Bank
RBZ is retrenching 85% of its 2,000-plus staff29.
Finance minister Biti is demanding accountability for the RBZ debt before a settlement plan is executed. Speaking at the inaugural Independent Dialogue on 8 September, he said some ministers were opposed to his push for an inquiry into the central bank debt. He said the proposed RBZ debt settlement plan had torn cabinet apart, with ministers divided on how to pay the debts incurred by RBZ governor Gideon Gono’s quasi-fiscal activities.
Gono in July 2010 said RBZ contributed US$1,2 billion of the country’s US$6,4 billion external debt and payment arrears.
Biti proposed creating a special purpose vehicle able to take all the debt and also to its credit take the quasi-fiscal assets of the bank. This was blocked by some ministers who wanted government to take over this debt without asking any questions. Biti insisted government should follow due process that determines the amount of debt and requires another “legal instrument” to legitimise the central bank debt.
Biti said government should appoint an administrator who can “prove and approve” claims
made by central bank debtors for government to inject funds into this vehicle. The debtors, Biti said, will be rated accordingly. “I would reckon that class A would be your sovereign creditors like Afrexim Bank, PTA Bank. Class B could be domestic creditors – people who woke up in the morning and found their monies gone. Class C could be risk-takers – those who took a risk with the bank and took quasi-fiscal activities, not having read the provisions of the Reserve Bank Act,” said Biti.
The Reserve Bank debts arising from quasi-fiscal activities include:
owed to        amount, US$mio
statutory reserves              83
corporations                         80
NGOs                                     20
Equatorial Guinea (for oil) 222
Reserve Bank of SA              10
Malawi central bank             20
CFU                                         20
Table 6
In addition, RBZ repaid $184 million arrears to IMF and gave $200 million in farm
mechanisation loans that have mostly not been repaid30. Some of the corporate debtors are Zimplats (US$34 million), the CFU and other mining companies that were at year-end yet to benefit from an underfunded special bond set up in April to settle the debt.
Carslone Enterprises, a subsidiary of the RBZ, entered into a joint venture for extraction and processing of diamonds and gold with Gweru farmer Magiel Casper Jovner, who owns Kleimpton Farm, in 2007 to carry out mining activities at his Mangwe Mine claim 24 for a three year period up to June 2010. The deal turned sour and the matter is now before the courts.[31]
To help settle the RBZ debt, the Reserve Bank apparently, through its investment vehicle
Finance Trust of Zimbabwe, was aiming in December to sell its 64% shareholding in Cairns, 65% interest in Astra and 62% stake in Tractive Power.[32]
The Zimbabwe Farmers Union was compiling in September a list of its members whose money is with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe under the foreign currency retention facility of the 2007/8 seasons. In 2007, tobacco growers were entitled to 20% of their sales proceeds in foreign currency. The retention levels were increased to 25% during the 2008 selling season. By April 2009, the central bank owed tobacco growers US$18 million and many said they were still to be paid.
This list does not completely explain the $1.2 billion.
Government has already categorised public entities into three broad categories – those to be commercialised, those to be privatised and those to be restructured although it remains tightlipped on which enterprises would be affected[33].
Minister Biti said the focus of the budget would be to refine and define the refocusing,
regeneration and rebuilding of the economy within the context of all factors required to achieve a developmental state.[34]
External debt at 31 December 2010 was US$6,929 million, of which 57% was owed by
government, 35% by parastatals and 8% by private companies. This total debt compares with a government budget of $2,700 million and amounts to 103% of GDP (however that may be estimated)
At the end of June, Zimbabwe’s total debt to the IMF, the African Development Bank and the World Bank was $1.4 billion. In September, debt to AfDB was $400 million and to the IMF $134.85 million, leaving the WB debt at about $865 million. Repayments during the year were negligible, but Zimbabwe’s payments to the IMF in January – September 2010 of $1.3 million exceeded new obligations falling due for the period and the authorities’ commitment to quarterly payments to the Fund of about US$100,000. In February this year the country’s IMF voting rights were restored. Biti reported that Zimbabwe’s debt was accruing US$300m interest annually.
In the 2010 budget, Government was expecting about US$810 million from donors. But just under US$250 million found its way into the country.
Between January and June, government authorised companies to retrench nearly 3,000
employees, with the banking and textile sectors mostly affected.
Activity in the informal sector has picked up during the year.
Stock exchange
By mid-February 2011 trade on the ZSE was between $1 and $2 million per day. This is low, which could exaggerate price fluctuations in the table below.
Table 7: Stock market indexes 2010
industrial mining
06/01/10  142.88    185.72
13/01/10   166.95   201.28
20/01/10   159.09   208.32
03/03/10   133.37   172.55
17/03/10   131.51    138.44
24/03/10   155.73    161.17
21/04/10   133.19    185.13
12/05/10   139.57    164.50
07/07/10   122.91    132.36
14/07/10   121.29     132.63
04/08/10   132.16    139.34
01/09/10   132.67     132.28
08/09/10   132.89    134.32
15/09/10   130.24    142.87
22/09/10   131.33     170.89
06/10/10   135.73     157.76
17/11/10     157.13     223.97
08/12/10    149.46     233.69
15/12/10    147.77      223.49
29/12/10    148.84     207.25
Source: ZimInd
ZSE has lost about a billion dollars in value between March and August, due to fears raised by the indigenisation regulations, out of a total capitalisation of about $4 billion.
Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Zimbabwe totalled US$60 million in 2009, an increase of $8 million from the $52 million recorded last year, according to the World Investment Report released by UNCTAD on 22 July 2010.
Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Minister Minister Tapiwa Mashakada said government are considering a new Investment Promotion and Protection Act, Prospects seem doubtful while indigenisation Minister Kasukuwere sings a different tune – loudly.
By 27 July The Zimbabwe Investment Authority has approved projects worth US$120 million.[35]
The Herald on 27 September reported that 51 Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (BIPPAs) were at various stages of completion. Zimbabwe has ratified agreements with China, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Swiss Federation, Yugoslavia and South Africa. Agreements with Iran, India, Kuwait, Opec Fund and Singapore are in line for ratification.
They reported a Zimbabwe/Botswana BIPPA was in an advanced stage of negotiation, but in June the Zimbabwe Independent reported this was stalled as Botswana negotiators didn’t see how it squared with the Indigenisation regulations.

Manufacturing production
Problems constraining production, estimated by the Minister at 15% of GDP in July, include shortage of capital, frequent electric power cuts and uncertainty caused by ZANU-PF’s rhetoric about indigenisation and what that might mean in practice.

The search for an investor to revive ZISCOsteel seems not to have reached a conclusion. ZANU-PF had wanted a Chinese or south-east Asian firm, but one Chinese investor has already pulled out of a prospective deal citing interference by government officials. After Jindal Steel of India and South Africa’s Arcelor-Mittal were rejected, another Indian company came forward but seem to have withdrawn from the deal.
Generators at Hwange and Kariba have been refurbished, but mining and timber companies are trying to import electricity directly. ZESA is trying to involve private investors in reviving the small thermal stations in Harare, Bulawayo and Munyati and talking of small private hydro plants that could add 200Mw to total power generation.
Zimbabwe is currently importing between 50MW and 300MW. Financial constraints at ZESA mean the local power utility cannot secure supply contracts from the Southern Africa Power Pool surplus of 900MW.
Other energy
Stoat Mining, a subsidiary of the BMC Engineering Group, has commissioned the second unit of its coke oven battery in Hwange, under a Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (Boot) agreement with China’s Taiyuan Sanxing Coal Gasification Company and Hwange Colliery Company. BMC chairman Dr Cephas Msipa Jnr said in June the plant, being built at a cost of US$150 million will produce 40,000 tonnes of coking coal per month once complete and fully operational.[36]
We hear talk of a Chisumbanje ethanol-for fuel project, but no mention is made of the earlier Triangle plant. A bio-diesl project using jatropha as feedstuff, a brainchild of Gideon Gono, has gone the way of most of his schemes.
Air Zimbabwe has suffered an on-off pilots’ strike on top of near-bankruptcy from Mugabe’s habit of commandeering planes. When it was announced that they were trying to buy two new long-haul Airbus planes for $400 million, the only conclusion was that someone was trying to get the usual kickbacks on such sales.[37]
NRZ is run down, with most of its locomotives out of action and extensive theft of cables on the electrified stretch of track, Harare-Gweru.
Sub-Sahara Africa Buses, a new local company has begun assembling buses, with a capacity of 15-20 buses/month.
Mobile phone ownership has increased from 30 per 100 of population in January to 49 in
September, according to POTRAZ. Other observers put the number of lines higher; 3 million lines were suspended for non-registration, but even if these were not quickly registered, there are probably about 6 million lines in use, providing one of the requirements for economic growth.

Table 8: production of major minerals, 2009-10
mineral            production (t)                   value US$mn
2009    2010      increase  2009      2010
platinum            7         8.6          26%        409
gold                   4.9      9.6           96%       157          380
ferrochrome 72,223 154,336   114%      135
coal        1,662,500 2,660,000 60%          97
nickel           4,858     6,133        26%
ALL MINERALS                                      672         1380
Source: Chamber of Mines
The Herald, on 28 June, 2010 reported data released by the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe, responsible for marketing all minerals except gold and silver: a total of 426,359 tonnes of various minerals valued at about US$403 million were exported in the first five months of 2010, up from US$191,9 million during the same period of the previous year. The table above shows a rise in the rest of the year, that is modest and credible, allowing that MMCZ figures don’t include gold.
Power cuts, labour disputes, loss of skilled workers and inadequate working capital are among factors that slowed growth of the mining industry. The uncertainty has also been worsened by the promulgation of the indigenisation law.
Production may be higher than recorded here, as this year’s biggest export, for the second year running, is ‘Stamp-impressed paper, banknotes and bond certificates’, which is unlikely but could plausibly conceal gold exports. However you reckon it, this ‘paper’ and recorded gold exports amount to more than the 10t/year needed to restore our membership of the London Bullion Market Association, so one wonders what the problem is there.
Anglo Platinum’s Unki mine shipped its first consignment of concentrates at the end of March 2011.
Government revenue from diamonds was US$35 million, which does not fairly represent the volume of either production or exports. Minister Biti claims it should have been $300 million more.
The disputed Kimberley Process certification allowed two semi-private sales of diamonds before the end of the year. Before that, RioZim Murowa Mines and River Ranch already had Kimberly process clearance, but Government suspended diamond exports arguing it was in accordance with the WTO rules on non-discrimination in trade because the other mining houses were awaiting Kimberly Process export clearance.
Focus has also shifted to diamonds from Chiadzwa. Zimbabwean has stock piles of more than six million carats worth about US$2 billion.[38]
LonZim is investing $300 million in a diamond processing plant at Marowa and one of the
companies brought into Marange, Canadile is also building processing capacity
has disappeared off the screen since control of Shabanie Mashaba Mines was siezed from Mutumwa Mawere. Workers are not being paid, production is at a standstill but senior executives are still paying themselves fat salaries. Shabanie posted a loss of US$18.6 million last year. It is said to have reserves enough for 17 years production.

Zimbabwe’s official imports totalled $3,754,314,461 and exports amounted to $1,946,390,609, giving a balance of -$1,807,923,852.
Trade by principal countries:
Table 9: 2010 Imports; 10 biggest suppliers of imports (US$), all products:
Imports    Exports             balance        exp/imp,%    Export rank
South Africa 2,041,956,480 1,450,797,339 -591,159,141     71.0%               1
Kuwait               251,938,851      0                    -251938851      0.0%                –
China                 228,590,322    166,940,137   -61,650,185      73.0%               3
UAE                   136,853,084     276,645,797   139,792,713   202.1%               2
GB                       97,928,244        72,520,876   -25,407,368     74.1%                6
Botswana            93,853,515     102,529,860       8,676,345    109.2%               5
Mozambique       91,796,373        71,130,466   -20,665,907      77.5%               7
Zambia                90,576,168      125,348,970     34,772,802    138.4%               4
Mauritius            59,247,974           3,821,547   -55,426,427         6.5%             33
India                     47,266,040         2,553,265   -44,712,775         5.4%              38
Source: ZimTrade/Zimstats
The top 10 markets for for Zimbabwe’s exports included these not shown in the
table above:
imports          exports         balance        Exp/imp,% Import rank
Italy         15,731,866   61,304,441   45,572,575       389.7%           26
Germany 43,564,330  38,015,297   -5,549,033         87.3%           12
Belgium    12,951,800  35,739,642    22,787,842       275.9%          28
Source: ZimTrade/Zimstats

Table 10: Principal Zimbabwe imports, by category, in US$:
HS4 imports
2710 PETROLEUM OILS & OILS OBTAINED FROM BITUMINOUS MINERALS,OTHE                                                                                                    781,373,093
8517 ELECTRICAL APPARATUS FOR LINE TELEPHONY OR LINE TELEGRAPHY                                                                                                             192,649,383
1001 WHEAT AND MESLIN                                                                                     165,751,581
8704 MOTOR VEHICLES FOR THE TRANSPORT OF GOODS                         105,093,857,
2203 BEER MADE FROM MALT                                                                              100,253,748
1512 SUNFLOWER-SEED, SAFFLOWER OR COTTON-SEED OIL AND THEIR FRACTIONS                                                                                                                     86,463,788
7501 NICKEL MATTES, OXIDE SINTERS AND OTHER PRODUCTS OF NICKEL METAL                                                                                                                              68,851,338
1101 WHEAT OR MESLIN FLOUR                                                                             67,348,954
3102 MINERAL OR CHEMICAL FERTILIZERS, NITROGENOUS                      64,293,896
3401 SOAP; ORGANIC SURFACE-ACTIVE PRODUCTS IN BARS, ETC; PAPER WI                                                                                                                                       57,735,929
-accounting for 38.9% of import value Source: ZimTrade/Zimstats
Mining has picked up and the imports of electrical equipment, mostly for mobile phone
networks, shows there is growth, mainly of infrastructure for further growth. However, large imports of vegetable oil, soaps and clear beer point to the weakness of agriculture. Local fertiliser production remains inadequate for even the low demand of recent years.
Imports of unprocessed or partly-processed nickel ore suggest that it undergoes some
processing in Zimbabwe. The large amount of nickel ores and mattes exported (see table
below) show that we need to do more processing of our minerals.
Table 11: Principal exports, by category, inUS$:
HS4 exports
FORMS                                                                                                          521,877,202
7501 NICKEL MATTES, OXIDE SINTERS AND OTHER PRODUCTS OF NICKEL METAL                                                                                                           407,709,914
2401 UNMANUFACTURED TOBACCO; TOBACCO REFUSE              385,927,555
7102 DIAMONDS, NOT MOUNTED OR SET                                           323,088,643
7108 GOLD, UNWROUGHT OR IN SEMI-MANUFACTURED FORMS, OR IN POWDER                                                                                                          303,441,511
2604 NICKEL ORES AND CONCENTRATES                                            244,513,383
7202 FERRO-ALLOYS                                                                                  183,664,868
2523 PORTLAND CEMENT, ALUMINOUS CEMENT, PERSULPHATE CEMENT, ETC                                                                                                                   157,960,920
5201 COTTON, NOT CARDED OR COMBED                                            123,962,915
2610 CHROMIUM ORES AND CONCENTRATES                                     42,233,456
-accounting for 81.9% of export value. Source: ZimTrade/Zimstats
The mysterious and unlikely item “unused postage or revenue stamps, stamp-impressed paper, cheque forms” has grown dramatically since the previous year. In 2010, it was divided into monthly amounts between $200million and $700 million.
Remembering that the possible source of this kind of paper would be the RBZ’s printing subsidiary, Fidelity Printers, who also were the country’s licensed gold exporter, the picture becomes clear. There were no exports in this category in 2007 or 2008. In the years 1999-2006, they only once exceeded a million dollars.
Platinum exports don’t appear near the top of ZimTrade’s lists for the year, although import of ‘platinum in unwrought or semi-manufactured form or powder’ for $23,396 is recorded. Where did the $409 million worth produced in 2010 go to?
The diamond exports listed here represent proceeds from the two known sales. Diamonds and arms are widely believed to be traded by the army to preserve their hold on power.[39]
The UK Sunday Times reported in January 2011 that the Zimbabwe government transferred arms to the Ivory Coast’s decade-long ruler Laurent Gbagbo’s administration. The transfer was allegedly facilitated by the state-owned Zimbabwe Defence Industries (ZDI)as part of an armsfor-oil exchange agreement with the Gbagbo regime.
Tourist figures reported a three percent growth in 2009, the first in a decade. In Victoria Falls, tourism reportedly grew by 70% in the first quarter of 2010. This probably indicates that visiting the country is considered less of a security risk than it seemed a few years ago.
Continuing poaching by people who seem to enjoy impunity still affects wildlife as an
advertisable tourist attraction adversely. So would the much publicised dispute over the
construction of a restaurant in the small and ecologically-sensitive Victoria Falls rain forest.
Some detected cases showed that there are still ‘hunting safaris’ that exceed sustainable
levels. This makes a few fat pockets fatter now at the expense of the whole community and
future generations. That is how Zimbabwe is today.
The overall picture indicates a moderate revival of mining and agriculture. The prospects for a restoration of the industrial base the country still had twenty years ago are less certain. World trends, including the rise of new industrial and commercial powers, China in particular, are likely to leave us condemned to being a consumer market for manufactures and a producer of valuable primary products at low cost.
The continuing existence of a ruling clique with very limited understanding of, or interest in how a productive economy might work makes that gloomy prospect more certain, and shaking their grip is going to be a far bigger job than getting a few signed agreements and a free election.
Published in Zimbabwe Review 11/3, BZS, Oxford, August 2011
1 Poverty Reduction Forum Trust, 59 Mendel Road, Avondale, Harare: Phone: +263 777 340 370; Email:
2 Munyaradzi Mugowo/Tarisai Tahungai – Jul 23 2010
3 The Zimbabwean, 7 October 2010
4 Herald, 23 June, 2010
5 Herald, 11 October 2010
6 The Independent, 29 July 2010 (Harare)
7 Herald, 19 July 2010; Herald, 11 June 2010
8 Herald, 10 September 2010
9 Herald, 31 December 2010
10 Herald, 30 June, 2010
11 Herald, 4 August 2010
12 Herald, 16 September 2010
13 Herald 20 August
14 Herald 17 September
15 Herald, 10 August 2010
16 Reuters, 2 June 2010
17 Zimonline, 10 August 2010
18 Daily News, 26 May 2011
19 & Daily Telegraph, London, 21/9/10
20 10 August 2010
21 5 August 2010
22 The Herald, 9 September 2010
23, 14 October 2010
24, 22 August 2010
25 The Zimbabwean, 26 May 2011
26 Herald, 1 September, 2010
27 Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, London,, in The Zimbabwean 19/9/10
28 The Zimbabwean, 22 July 2010
29, 29 Aug, 2010
30, 30/12/2010
31 http://www.theindep, 3 September 2010
32 Herald, 30 December 2010
33, 20 August 2010
34 Herald, 1 September 2010
35, 27/07/2010
36 Sunday Mail, 6 June, 2010
37 Daily News, 23 May 2011
38 Herald, 2 August 2010
39 e.g. Daily News, 18 May 2011


Saturday, February 18th, 2012

I will call him Tawanda. That’s not the name he told me, and I’d bet $1,000 the name he told me is not the one his mother gave him, so his identity is safe.
You have probably met him. If you ever catch a bus at Mbare Musika, he and his colleagues (or competitors) will have tried to hustle you on to a bus toMasvingo when you wanted to go to Karoi, or as you dismounted from a bus with luggage you could carry better without help, he may have rushed up with a handcart.
He is trying to help – and to make a few dollars for himself in a harsh economic environment. He and his friends (or competitors) are friendly, helpful people. But my dutiful daughter, Mai Panashe, is not happy to see me chatting with Tawanda and his friends (or competitors). “Those guys are dangerous” she says.
But surely anyone who is friendly deserves a friendly reply? Of course, they will often ask for something to drink or smoke, and if I have something less dangerous than Zed or their favourite weed, I will oblige. But I won’t give them money. If they have had a good day, they will quite likely offer to share what they are smoking or drinking.
One day recently, I needed a smoke after a hard day, bought two cigarettes for a rand, and then I met Tawanda. He asked for the last puff on my cigarette. I gave him the second cigarette, and his gratitude was boundless. I seemed to have made him my friend for life. Then I remembered Mai Panashe’s warning.
These guys are not only bus touts and luggage porters. They are the first candidates for employment when the local warriors of the third, fourth, fifth or whatever Chimurenga want a bit of jambanja. I asked myself how much they would pay him if they wanted me dead.
I asked one or two friends. None of us could imagine a price higher than a packet of cigarettes or a small handful of mbanje.
Now don’t get me wrong. Tawanda really is a friendly character. Left to himself, he’d rather offer you his bottle to empty than smash the bottle in your face. But he’s not left to himself. Those guys know how to approach him when he’s had a bad day, and they won’t waste resources by offering him any more than the minimum price.
I know all this. I knew it when Mai Panashe was not even a twinkle in her mother’s eye, so I know Tawanda may be as much a victim as anyone he beats up. If I offer him a cigarette or a share of a scud, that’s not a bribe. There are days when a few friendly words from someone who doesn’t despise him mean more to him than enough mbanje to keep him stoned for a week. Maybe I help him to think. I wish I could do more to get him out of the trap he is in.

by Magari Mandebvu, with permission

published in The Zimbabwean on Sunday, in UK and South Africa 11 September 2011


a scud is a 2-litre plastic bottle of Chibuku, a commercially produced traditional African beer

Zed is a near-lethal cheap cane spirit

Mbanje is marijuana

Jambanja is politically motivated violence

Mbare Musika (=market) is also the main long-distance bus terminus. Karoi is 200km NW of Harare, Masvingo 300km S.

it is always politer to refer to any adult woman as “mother of so-and-so”, hence Mai Panashe; Panashe is her youngest son

Chimurenga: liberation war. The First was fought against Rhodes’ settlers in 1896-8, the second against Ian Smith’s gang approx 1972-80, the land grabs of year 2000 were dubbed the Third, so people aiming to grab mines and busnesses may talk about a Fourth.

Saturday, September 17th, 2011


Monday, December 13th, 2010

Brian MacGarry
When I used to write regularly for a local magazinei, I needed a press card. It is not only at government functionsthat a press card helps you to get in and get interviews. The card says you are registered and people have a right to expect you to present credentials of this sort. But who should give the credentials?
I was always puzzled by a significant difference between my Zimbabwe press card and my father’s last British press card, which I still keep. He was a journalist for nearly fifty years. He started his career in the traditional way, as tea-boyii in a small-town newspaper office. That was how they learned the trade then; make tea and carry messages for the editor; if you look bright enough, he’d start sending you to report on the church fete and suchlike. If you passed this test, he’d slowly give you more serious assignments. My father passed these tests until he got a job on the London Daily Express. That was a right-wing paper, but its owner, Lord Beaverbrook, had a habit of employing good journalists with left-wing leanings and trying to corrupt them to agree with him. I am not going to criticise my father’s decision to accept a job which enabled him to earn enough to support his family by doing what he was good at and enjoyed doing – as long as he could resist the boss and keep his independence. My father was rather proud that he did keep his independence.
He wanted to go to Kenya to report on the independence celebrations in 1961, but Lord Beaverbrook personally vetoed that. He is reported to have said “We couldn’t possibly send MacGarry. Last time he was there, he was far too friendly with the natives.” The last time my father was in Kenya was in 1953, at the height of Mau Mau activity; not the best time for a white visitor to make friends among the local people, but if a journalist can’t go into a country and meet people who can tell him all sides of any story he wants to write, then it isn’t worth sending him there. If Lord Beaverbrook or the colonial governor didn’t agree with that, that was their problem not the journalist’s.
That illustrates how a journalist must preserve his independence. It also shows that it is not always easy.
Government registration doesn’t help
That brings me back to the question of registration. My father needed a press card when an emerging politician invited him to the Pumwani Market, where uninvited white visitors had been killed, so that he could prove to anyone that he was a journalist, not a farmer or a police spy or any other kind of undesirable person. The card would not have helped if it said he had government permission to operate: the government was the problem.
So I come back to examining my last Zimbabwe press card and my father’s. I was always puzzled why I needed to register with the Ministry oif Information. My fatrher’s card wasn’t issued by any British ministry, or any other government, but by the British National Union of Journalists. That is a good enough guarantee that the bearer was a genuine professional journalist. The real question on this issue in Zimbabwe always was not the legitimacy of the government, but whether a journalist needs to be registered by government at all.
Professions register their own
If you want the services of a medical doctor, an architect or an accountant (to name only three professions) you want to be assured that the person you choose is a genuine, properly trained and honest member of his or her profession. You judge this by the certificates he or she displays on the wall of their office: academic qualifications where these are appropriate and registration as a member of their professional association. Doctors, architects or accountants are the best judges of the person’s copmpetence and professional integrity. It is right that their professional association should be the authority that registers them. So the National Union of Journalists is an appropriate body to register and guarantee a journalist. The government is not.
When the established members of a profession give approval for their members to practice, they recognise that they are putting the reputation of their profession at stake. That means their own reputations, so they are careful only to approve those who maintain professional standards. For a journalist, that means he or she is honest, fearless in telling the truth and careful tpo check that what he or she writes is true. Checking sources is important. So is knowing when a source can be named and when not.
If we let even the most liberal government register journalists, they will be very tempted to use registration as a method of control. If we give government that kind of power, we will logically end up, sooner or later, where we are now, with a minister who sees himself as high-class government public relations officer, paid to ensure that nothing is published that he doesn’t approve. Or we end up with a board to license journalists headed by a well-known apologist for everything the government does and is given power to deny journalists the right to work in their profession.
The problem is not a certain professoriii or a lectureriv whose columns in a government-owned newspaper are so predictable that we never need to read them to know what he will say about current issues. It is our own complacency in the past. We should never have agreed to register with a government ministry, because we should never have been asked to do so.

– Published in the Daily News, Harare, 27 July 2002
and in a collection of newspaper opinion pieces by different authors, Pamberi neZimbabwe, edited by Magari Mandebvu and published by Matsimba aMukanya Publications, Harare, 2005.
Because the issues treated in that booklet are still topical, Shona and Ndebele versions of the booklet were published in June 2010.
For anyone who is interested, the Shona and Ndebele translations, from that collection follow below. The translations were done by friends who prefer to remain anonymous in our present situation here in Zimbabwe. For proofreading, I was able to co-operate fully with Matimba eMukanya’s staff; for the Ndebele, I had to trust that their proofreader knows her job, though what I could follow of the process suggests that trust was not misplaced.

Shona text, from Pamberi neZimbabwe (Shona version):
naBrian MacGarry

Pandaisimbonyorera kumagazine remuno nguva nenguva, ndaida (press card) chitupa chekutapa nekunyora nhau. Chitupa ichi hachingoshandi paungano dzehurumende chete kuti ukwanise kupinda kana kutapa nhau. Chitupa ichi ndicho chinoti wakanyoreeswa kuti uri munyori kana mutapi wenhau saka vanhu vanokutarisira kuti uve neumbowo uhwu. Asi ndiani anofanira kupa zvitupa izvi?

Ndaigaroshamiswa nemusiyano mukuru uripapress card rangu nerababa vangu rekuBritain iro randichiri kuchengeta. Vaiva mutapi wenhau kwemakore angangosvika makumi mashanu. Vakatanga basa ravo semubiki weputugadzike kumahofisi epepanhau diki. Ndiko kudzidza kwavakaita basa ravo: vaibika putugadzike nekutakura nhau kumupepeti: kana wairatidza ungwaru, aitanga kukutuma kunotapa nhau kumachechi nedzimwewo ungano. Kana uchinge wagona izvi waitanga kupiwa mamwe mabasa akadzama. Baba vangu vakagona izvi kusvikira vazowana basa kuLondon ‘Daily Express’. Iri raiva pepanhau rerimwe bato, asi muridzi waro, Lord Beaverbrook avo vaive neudzvanyiriri, vaiva netsika yekupinza basa vatapi avo vaigona, vakarerekera kune rimwe bato vachiedza kuvashandura kuti vatevedze bato rake. Handisi kuzo- shoropodza pfungwa dzababa vangu dzekubvuma basa raisavapa muhoro unokwana kuriritira mhuri nekuita zvavaigona uye zvichivanakidza – chero vaikwanisa kuramba kufurirwa nemukuru wavo uye vachichengetedza rusununguko rwavo. Baba vangu vakazvirova dundundu nekuti vakakwanisa kuramba vakazvimiririra.

Vaida kuenda kuKenya kunotapa nhau pamhemberero dzerusununguko muna 1961, asi Lord Beaverbrook vakazviramba. Vanonzi vakati: ‘Hatina kukwanisa kutuma MacGarry. Paakapedzisira kuenda ikoko, akanga ava neushamwari wakanyanya nevanhu veikoko’. Baba vangu pavakapedzisira kuenda kuKenya muna 1953, panguva yechiitiko che Mau Mau, iyo yakanga isiri nguva yakanaka kuti vachena vashamwaridzane nevanhu veko, asi kana mutapi asingakwanisi kuenda munyika onosangana nevanhu vanokwanisa kumuudza mativi ese enyaya yaanoda kunyora nezvayo, hazvibatsire kumutuma ikoko. Dai Lord Beaverbrook kana mutungamiri wevapambi vaisabvumirana nazvo, iro raiva dambudziko ravo, kwete remutapi.

Izvi zvinotitaridza zvinofanira kuitwa nemutapi wenhau kuti achengetedze rusununguko rwake. Zvinotitaridza uyezve kuti hazvisi nyore nguva dzose.

Kunyoresa kwehurumende hakubatsiri
Izvi zvinondidzosera kunyaya yangu iya yekunyoreswa kwevatapi venhau. Baba vangu vaida press card apo mumwe aive achangotanga kuita zvematongerwo enyika akamukoka kuPumwani Market, uko vachena vaive vasina kukokwa vakanga vaurawa, kuti vakwanise kutaridza kuti vaiva mutapi wenhau, kwete mutengesi, murimi kana mumwe wevanhu anga asingadiwe. Press card haraibatsira kana aive apiwa mvumo nehurumende: hurumende ndiro raiva dambudziko.

Saka ndinodzoka pakuongorora press card rangu rekupedzisira remuZimbabwe nerababa vangu. Ndaigaro- katyamadzwa kuti sei ndaifanira kunyoresa kuMinistry of Information. Press card rababa vangu rakanga risina kupiwa nehurumende yeBritain kana nerimwewo bato rayo, asi neBritish National Union of Journalists. Izvi zvairatidza kuti muridzi wepress card iri akanga akanyatsodzidzira basa rake reutapi. Mubvunzo mukuru weZimbabwe waiva wekuti hurumende ndiyo here yaifanira kunyoresa vatapi.

Mamwe mabasa anozvinyoresa
Kana uchida rubatsiro rwachiremba, anoona nezve kuvaka kana wezvemari unoda chokwadi chekuti munhu wawasarudza anonyatsoziva uye akanyatsodzidzira basa rake, zvakare akavimbika pariri. Izvi unokwanisa kuzviona nezvitupa zvedzidzo zvinenge zvakaiswa pamadziro emuhofisi make: uye nekunyoresa kwaanenge akaita kubato rinoona nezve basa rake. Vamwe vakadzidzira basa rake ndivo vangakwanisa kuona kana kududzira kuti munhu uyu anonyatsoziva basa rake. Zvakanaka kuti bato rinoona nezve basa ravo rive iro rinopa mvumo kana zvitupa zvemabasa. Saka National Union of Journalists ndiyo yakafanira kunyoresa nekupa mvumo kuvatapi. Hurumende handiyo.

Kana nhengo dzava neunyanzvi mubasa dzichipa mukana kune dzimwe nhengo kuti dziite basa iri, dzinofanira kuziva kuti dziri kuisa basa radzo patambo. Izvi zvinoreva kuti naivowo vava patambo, saka vanofanirwa kungwarira vopa mukana kune vanonyatsoziva basa iri. Kuvatapi izvi zvinoreva kuti anofanira kuvimbika, kusatya kutaura chokwadi uye kungwarira kuti zvaanonyora zvose ndezve chokwadi. Naizvozvo kuongorora kwaanoona nhau kwakakosha. Uyezve kuziva pekuisa kana kusaisa zita rekwabva nhau.

Kana tikatendera kunyangwe hurumende isina tsvete kuti inyorese vatapi venhau, vanoedzwa kuti vashandise izvi senzira yekuti zvido zvavo zviitwe. Kana tikapa hurumende simba rakadai, tinogumisira, tave patiri parizvino, apo gurukota rinozviona semukuru weyanano muhurumende, richibhadharwa kuti rione kuti hapana chinobuda mumapepanhau risina kutendera. Kana kuti tinopedzisira tave nechimbwasungata chehurumende, chinopiwa simba rekurambidza vatapi kodzero yavo yekushanda basa ravo.

Dambudziko harisi remumwe muzvinafundo kana murairidzi anonyorera kune pepanhau rehurumende, zvekuti zvanonyora zviri pachena zvokuti hautodi kuzviverenga kuti uzvizive. Kuzvininipisa kwedu. Hataifanira kunge takabvuma kunyoreswa nebato rehurumende, nekuti hataimbofanirwa kukumbirwa kuti tinyorese.

Ndebele text, from Phambili ngeZimbabwe, Matsimba eMukanya Publications, Harare, 2010:

Brian MacGarry

Ngesikhathi ngisalobela elinye lamabhuku akuleli, kwakumele ngibe lesithupa sokuba ngunozindaba. Akusikho emidlalweni kahulumunde kuphela lapho ongena khona ngalisi sithupha ukuze uthole indaba. Isithupha lesi sitsho ukuba ungunozindaba obhalisiweyo njalo labantu balelungelo lokubona ukuba ulemvumo yokuba ngunozindaba. Kodwa ngubani okumele aphe lawamandla?

Ngangihlala ngilokumangala ngomehluko wesithupha sami sokubangunozindaba we Zimbabwe lesikababa esama British, engilokhe ngilaso lalamuhlanje. Wayengunozindaba phose okweminyaka engamatshumi amahlanu. Waqalisa umsebenzi lo engopheka itiye kwenye inkampani yamaphepha ndaba. Lokhu kwaba yindlela afunda ngayo, epheka itiye njalo enguye ohambisa imibiko kumhlolisisi wezindaba. Wayethi angakubona ukhaliphile wayekuthuma ukuba uyethapha indaba zamabandla enkolo zesikristu lokunye nje. Nxa uthe wenilisa lowo mhloliso, wayeqala ukunika eminye imisebenzi eqakathekileyo kancanekancane. Ubaba waphumelela kule mihloliso waze wathola umsebenzi e London Daily Express. Leli kwakuliphepha ndaba elalilobudlelwano lohulumende, kodwa umnini walo uLord Beaverbrook, wayelomkhuba wokuqhatsha onozindaba ababe ngababengahambelani lohulumende ezema ukubaguqula ukuba bavumelane lemicabango yakhe. Angimsoli ubaba ngokuthatha lomsebenzi, owamenza wenelisa ukuthi aselele imuli yakhe, njalo lokweza ayekuthanda lanxa wayesala ukulalela omkhulu wakhe ekhetha ukwenza akufunayo. Ubaba wayeziqhenya ngokwenza akuthandayo.

Wayefisa ukuya eKenya ukuyathatha indaba kumbuthano wokuthakazelela uzibuse ngo1961 kodwa uLord Beaverbrook wamalela. Kubikwa wathi: “Besingezake sathumela uMacGarry. Ngesikathi esedlulayo ekhonale, waba lobudlelwano labantu beKenya.”
Ubaba wacina eKenya ngo1953, ngesikhathi sika Mau Mau; okwakungesiso sikhathi esihle sokuthi isethekeli sabamhlope sibe lobungane labantu bakulelo, nxa unozindaba engenelisi ukungena elizweni ahlangane labantu abangamupha indaba zonke angabe ezidinga ukuthi abhale ngazo, akusizi ukuthi athunyelwe khona.

Aluba uLord Beaverbrook akakuvumanga, uhlupho lwaluzakuba ngolwakhe hatshi onozindaba. Lokhu kuchaza ukuthi onozindaba kumele bagcine inkululeko yabo emsebenzini.njalo kutshengisa ukuba akulula ngaso sonke isikhathi.

Ukubhaliswa kwabonozindaba nguhulumende akusizi
Lokhu kungibuyisela emuva kumbuzo wokubhaliswa kwabonozindaba. Ubaba kwakumele abelesithupa sokuba ngunozinda lapho wayethe wamenywa ngomunye wezombangazwe omutsha ukuba aye ePumweni Market, lapho okwakubulewe khona abamhlophe ababenganxuswanga, lesi sithupha sasizakhomba ukuba ungunozindaba, hatshi umcuphi wendaba wamopholisa, umlimi kumbe umuntu ongafunakaliyo. Lesi sithupa sasingazake sasebenza aluba sasikhomba ukuba ulemvumo kahulumende ukuba abe ngunozindaba, ngoba uhulumende nguye owayeluhlupho.

Yikho ngahlolisisa esami isithupha sokuba ngonozindaba eZimbabwe lesikababa. Ngangihlala ngibuza ukuthi kungani kumele ngibhalise kuMinistry of Information. Ubaba kazange aphiwe isithupha yiBritish Ministry ingabe nguwuphi uhulumende, kodwa wasiphiwa yinhlanganiso ye British National Union of Journalists eyinhlanganiso yabonozindaba. Lokho kwakwenele ukutsho ukuthi lowo ophethe leso sithupha ngunozindaba ngeqiniso. Umbuzo yikuthi eZimbabwe akusikho ukuthi uhulumende uyahlonitshwa, kodwa kuyikuthi unozindaba kumele abhaliswe nguhulumende yini? Ingathi ezinye ingatsha ezifundisayo ziyabhalisa zodwa abantu. Uma ufuna uncedo lukadokotela kumbe umuntu obona ngezokhuphathwa kwemali, umuntu ulakho ukudinga ukwazi ukuthi umuntu amkhethayo nguye ngeqiniso, ufundiswe kuhle, njalo uthembakele na emsebenzini wakhe. Ubona lokhu ngesithupha sake asilengise emdulwini wehofisi lakhe; ukuqeqetsha kwakhe njalo lokuba lilunga laleyonhlanganiso. Abanye odokotela, kumbe ababona ngezokuphathwa kwemali yibo abalakho ukubona ukuthi lowo othi ufisa ukuba lilunga lalenhlanganiso uyawazi yini umsebanzi wakhe. Yikhoke kulungile ukuba inhlanganiso ibe yiyo elemvumo yokubhalisa abangamalunga ayo. Inhlanganiso yeNational Union of Journalists yiyo kuphela elelungelo lokubhalisa onozindaba hatshi uhulumende.

Nxa labo abangamalunga alenhlanganiso besipha omunye ukuba abelilunga, bayakunanzelela ukuthi bafaka umsebenzi wabo phambili. Lokhu kutsho ukuthi umsebenzi wabo kumele uhlale umuhle, yikho bayananzelela ukuthi banika umuntu ozawuphatha kuhle njalo wawufundela ngokugcweleyo. Kubonozindaba, kutsho ukuthi lowomuntu uthembekile, akesabi ukubika iqiniso. Kuqakathekile ukwazi okuvelakhona indaba obhala ngayo. Kusitsho ukuthi uzakwazi lapho sokufanele ukuthi ibizo lomuntu okubhalwa ngaye likhitshwa sokutheni.

Singekela yiloba nguhulumende olungileyo ebhalisa onozindaba, uhulumende lo ulakho ukusebenzisa ukubhalisa lokhu ukuthi atshele onozinadaba okokwenza. Singanika uhulumende amandla anjengalawo, silakho ukuzibona sesilapha esikhona lamhlanje, lapho umthungameli wogatsha lukahulumende ezibona ephezulu ehofisini likahulumende elibona ngokukhulumisana lozulu, obhadalwa imali yokuthi abone ukuba akuladaba oluphuma kumaphephandaba lungelamvumo yakhe. Kumbe sizacina silequla elizakupha imvumo onozindaba likhokhelwa ngumuntu ohlala evikela uhulumende kukho konke akwenzayo, njalo owaphiwa amandla okwalela ukubhalisa abanye onozindaba.

Uhlupho kalukho kolowo oqeqetshe okungaphezula kumbe ofundisayo njalo kunguye obhalela iphephandaba likahulumende ukuthi sithi akudingeki ukubhala udaba lwakhe ngoba sizazi azakutsho ngalokho okuyabe kuthe kwenzakala. Aluba savela sala ukubhaliswa kwabonozindaba lugatsha lukahulumende, ngoba kungamelanga size sicelwe ukuba siphikisane lohulumende.

Art Foundation – Final Show

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Zimbabwe Pics and Economy

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

School styles, grade 1, term 1.

Men must play . . . .

PDF: Review of Zimbabwe Economy 2008

Belfast reflection – Frank MacGarry, 1971

Monday, April 12th, 2010

In 1926, just five years after the Northern Ireland state had been set up, the 1st battalion of the Sussex Regiment which had been on garrison duty in Londonderry sailed home taking with them 150 Irish brides they had found in the city.

They were given a uproariously friendly traditional Irish farewell. Five years before, on 22nd June 1921, that simple and good man, King George V, who played a large part in establishing peace between the peoples of the two islands over which he ruled, pleaded at the Sate Opening of the Northern Ireland parliament:
“I speak with a full heart . . . I appeal to all Irishmen to pause, to stretch out the hand of forbearance and conciliation, to forgive and forget, and to join in making for the land which they love a new era of peace, contentment and good will.

Today, just half a century after the king’s appeal there’s less than little light or heavy romance for the British soldier in Londonderry, Belfast or half a dozen other lesser towns. For him, few Irish eyes are smiling and sentiment in this reputedly most personally sentimental of countries has nothing personal about it and is purely communal, Catholic for Catholic and Protestant for Protestant.

I went to Belfast on a strictly personal sentimental journey.

Just over sixty years ago my father and mother married in Belfast and lived in a street called Harrybrooke which is, though they were Catholics, a Protestant street. As long as they lived they spoke with affection and respect for their Protestant neighbours.

I tried to find the house in which they lived but Harrybrooke Street did not really want to know me. They would cautiously half open a door, listen to my tale, say, no, they didn’t know anyone old enough to remember, ask me in what church my parents were married and promptly shut the door.

In the Falls Road area, where as a young member of the Royal Irish Constabulary my father had patrolled, my co-religionists do not open their doors to strangers and in a pu blic house I was told it was a `quare’ accent I had got. A pug-faced looking young man said “It’s a spy y’are for the British army”, and another echoed “So y’are” and a third in a more kindly way advised me to go. This man had told me that years back policemen could walk the beat in the Falls Road and even be treated as a friend.
So many years and so many centuries back.

Memory is as communal a sentiment and both sides dig themselves into ghetto types which are labelled Orange and Green, Protestant and Catholic, which may have something to do with sectarianism but have nothing at all with real religion.

Responsible liberal Protestantism, of which this province once had a great tradition, has lost its control to Paisley extremism and a determined Marxist communism has taken the domination of the Catholic nationalism away from the Roman Catholic hierarchy.

There are men of good will and reasonable mind on both sides, men such as Mr.David Bleakley, Minister for Communal Relations and a member of the Northern Ireland cabinet.

This Protestant Socialist told me “Mine is the newest Ministry. It should have been the oldest. My post exists by a personal act of Prime Minister Brian Faulkner which as born of desperation. We are fundamentally two tribes, one of them broadly Scottish Protestant, the other Catholic Irish. One tribe wants to weep on the shoulder of Dublin and the other on the shoulder of Westminster. Neither wants us. We are on our own. In Dublin I was asked `Why should we take on a million and a half mad Irishmen?’ and why should London or Westminster take us in? We can’t behave ourselves.”

He added; ” I am a short term pessimist and a long term optimist. I am getting supper across the religious spectrum. I must hope it is possible to build a society free from tribalism”.

But in Belfast people are condemned to tribalism from birth because of sectarianism. The Rev.Ian Paisley alarmed because the Catholic school population equals the Protestant though Catholics are only 1/3 of the population, has urged Protestants to produce more children as a patriotic duty. The Catholics didn’t need urging; it is part of their Faith.

I left Northern Ireland in a state of deep depression and on this fiftieth anniversary the only men there to whom I am prepared to lift an anniversary hat, apart from the sadly scant scattering of Bleakleys, are those incredibly patient, courageous and suffering the English, Scottish and welsh soldiers.

If the British soldier is not to be stationed in Ulster for another half-century, if his patience and that of the British people lasts that long, there must, in my view, be these progressive steps towards 20th century reality by all the people of Northern Ireland.
– An end of the baring of backsides to each other and the burning of all sashes, Orange and Green.
– An end to religious segregation in education by taking religion out of the schools. Perhaps if children can play together they can one day even pray together.
– A re-united Ireland on a federal basis which would enable the fears, and there are real and justified ones of the Northern Protestant community, to be set at rest, and the return of Southern Ireland to the British Commonwealth in the creation of which Irishmen, North and South, played a great part. The surrender of sovereignty would be much less than that which Dublin is prepared to face to join the Common Market.

Maybe then I’ll be able to find out just where in Harrybrooke Street my mother and father lived.