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Published 23rd January 2004

Vol 45 No 2


Banking breakdowns

Financial and political casualties mount as the struggle to succeed President Mugabe intensifies

Political kingpin Phillip Chiyangwa has plenty of enemies but his arrest on 10 January on charges of obstructing a police probe into banking corruption has rocked the political establishment. Member of Parliament for Chinhoyi, a member of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front's nomenklatura and an ally of presidential contender Emmerson Mnangagwa, Chiyangwa had paraded himself as a black-empowerment activist as well as an anti-corruption campaigner in pursuit of business people and opposition supporters, such as Strive Masiyiwa and Nigel Chanikira. Chiyangwa's status as a distant relative of President Robert Gabriel Mugabe and also ZANU-PF Chairperson in Mugabe's Mashonaland West Province seem to have convinced him he was untouchable. Senior ZANU-PF officials have seized on his arrest as proof that the government won't protect its own in its efforts to crack down on corruption. This follows several embarrassing revelations about cronyism in the land resettlement programme (AC Vol 44 Nos 4 & 22) and signs that more than a third of banks are near to collapse. According to the government's land audit last year, Chiyangwa had quarrelled with Mashonaland West Governor Peter Chanetsa (whose retirement was announced last month and whose household was reported by the Utete Committee to own nine farms) and Minister of Local Government Ignatius Chombo over the allocation of 90 farms, which caused them to remain idle for two years.

Black gold flows

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If the powerful can get their hands on oil money, why bother about reform?

Economic prospects are booming in post-war Angola but only for those in the oil industry and the tiny minority who get oil money. Three big new oil-fields will be producing by the ...

From Russia with debt

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One of Angola's murkier debt deals was an intricate agreement for rescheduling US$5 billion owed, mostly since the Cold War, to Russia. After hefty repayments, the then Finance Min...

Spot the difference

President Muluzi's legacy looks sadly like the late Dr Hastings Banda's

Facing polls in May, President Bakili Muluzi's United Democratic Front (UDF) is accused of the same offences as its autocratic predecessor under the late Kamuzu Hastings Banda (AC ...

Cart before horse

An offer of aid may tempt the last rebel movement in from the cold

The Bujumbura government and the international donors in the Forum for Burundi may have put the cart before the horse. In Brussels on 13-14 January, they put together US$1.32 billi...

More petro-nairas

The unions lose another battle to Obasanjo's campaign to open up the oil business

Another round in the battle to liberalise the oil business goes to President Olusegun Obasanjo after the once mighty Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) backed down from its campaign to ...


Gun law

Belgian-based Groupe George Forrest has energetically rejected reports by a United Nations panel of experts and international human rights groups criticising its mining operations ...

Compassion fatigue

In 1984 BBC journalist Michael Buerk made a powerful television film of Ethiopia's 'biblical famine'. In an anniversary film this month, Buerk concluded things had not improved &sh...

Succession rumble

General Gnassingbé Eyadéma has not appeared in public since the Liberation Day celebrations on 13 January, date of President Sylvanus Olympio's murder and Eyadé...

No mistake

Khartoum's surprise announcement of a month's break in the peace talks worries Washington. It had expected a peace deal for President George Bush to celebrate in his State of the U...