The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Japan Today

Japanese woman dies after being attacked by lion in Zimbabwe

Sunday, August 21, 2005 at 20:13 JST
JOHANNESBURG - A 50-year-old Japanese woman, traveling in Zimbabwe,
was attacked by a lion in a safari park Wednesday and died in a hospital
Friday, the Japanese Foreign Ministry has been informed.

Saemi Ono, from Kumamoto Prefecture, was attacked when she was
returning to a car after taking photos at a designated place within the park
in a western suburb of Harare, the ministry said. There were around eight
other tourists and guards but no one else was injured, it said.

----------------------------------
Reuters

Lions kill Japanese embassy worker in Zimbabwe
Sun Aug 21, 2005 11:15 AM BST

HARARE (Reuters) - A Japanese embassy worker died after she was attacked by
a pride of lions at a park near Zimbabwe's capital Harare, state media
reported on Sunday.

The woman, who was not named, had visited the popular Lion and Cheetah Park,
20 km west of the capital, with five embassy colleagues.

She entered a lion enclosure with a guide and a colleague. "One of the lions
suddenly attacked the woman as she was about to leave the lion's pen,"
police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena told the state-owned Sunday Mail.

"Other lions, whose number we were not given, also went for the helpless
woman and joined in the attack."

The group managed to drive off the lions with stones, but the woman later
died from her injuries at a local hospital.

There was no immediate comment from the Japanese embassy but the paper said
an official inquiry was expected.

Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.
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Straw calls for Zimbabwe cricket ban

Minister demands sports boycott over abuses

Gaby Hinsliff , political editor
Sunday August 21, 2005
The Observer

Zimbabwe should be kicked out of international cricket because of worsening
human rights abuses, two cabinet ministers have warned the sport's ruling
body in an unprecedented intervention.
Tessa Jowell and Jack Straw, the Culture and Foreign Secretaries, have
written jointly to the International Cricketing Council demanding a review
of whether it is 'appropriate' for matches to take place amid a brutal
crackdown on some of the country's most vulnerable citizens.

Banning fixtures would turn Robert Mugabe's regime into a sporting pariah
and send a powerful signal of international anger: he is known to value
cricket fixtures as creating a veneer of normality for Zimbabwe. Although
the government has consistently resisted pressure to intervene in world
sport, the suffering caused by Mugabe's brutal slum clearance programme -
illustrated yesterday in film footage smuggled out of the country by Amnesty
International - has persuaded them to act. 'What we are trying to do now is
ratchet up the pressure on the ICC, who have the power to act to change
their rules,' said a source at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
'The situation according to the Foreign Office is getting significantly
worse. Tessa feels it's right that government isn't seen to be sitting back
and letting this happen.' The footage released yesterday depicted a squalid
tent camp near Harare for those forced from their homes, with people
queueing for water in 'horrifying conditions', according to Amnesty.

The United Nations says Operation Murambatsvina - which translates as 'drive
out trash' - has left more than 700,000 people homeless or without jobs
after their homes were bulldozed: there were reports of two children being
crushed to death in the process. The opposition Movement for Democratic
Change claims it is being done to punish their supporters in poor areas. In
their letter, a copy of which has been obtained by The Observer, Straw and
Jowell say the crackdown has led to the deterioration of 'an already grave
human rights and humanitarian situation' in which 'thousands of homes and
livelihoods have been destroyed'. They also ask the ICC to waive fines now
levied against countries who refuse to play Zimbabwe. Kate Hoey, the former
sports minister, who recently visited the country as part of a campaign to
stop Zimbabwean asylum seekers in Britain being sent home, said Straw had
been deeply concerned when she briefed him on her findings. 'Jack Straw has
become much more high profile on this in the last few months,' she said.
'Cricket gives us an opportunity. [Banning] it sends a message out that
Zimbabwe is not a normal country in any sense.' The ICC has been highly
reluctant to turn on Zimbabwe, but international pressure is increasing,
with the governments of New Zealand and Australia launching similar appeals
to the ICC. the former is currently touring Zimbabwe, while the latter is
due to tour next year.

England's next fixtures there are not due until 2009, although the
Zimbabwean side is due to tour Britain in 2008. But Straw and Jowell believe
suspending cricket could send a crucial political message to Mugabe now, as
well as preventing a replay of the bitter row over England's trip to
Zimbabwe for a World Cup match last year.

Protests have been led by former Zimbabwean players Henry Olonga and Andy
Flower. Both wore black armbands during the World Cup matches to mourn the
'death of democracy'. Neither was chosen for the squad again.

Although the England and Wales Cricket Board insists it cannot abandon tours
because it would face massive fines, some players were highly uncomfortable
about the last tour. Yesterday the board declined to comment, saying the
letter was a matter for Straw. It is understood to be reluctant to
antagonise the ICC by getting involved in the row.

Amnesty said up to 2,000 people were believed to be living in the Hopley
Farm camp it filmed, without adequate access to food, water and sanitation
and with humanitarian groups barred.

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Mail and Guardian

Zim youth hired for 'operation clean-up'

Harare

21 August 2005 10:30

Three hundred graduates of Zimbabwe's controversial youth
training camps have been hired to work with police in Harare to help curb
"illegal businesses" in the wake of the government's clean-up campaign, the
Sunday Mail reported.

Touts and pavement vendors have flocked back to the streets of
the capital after police chased them away in May, when Operation
Murambatsvina (Shona for Operation Drive Out Rubbish) was launched.

"The city of Harare has resolved to re-engage 300 National Youth
Service graduates for the next three months at a cost of nearly Z$6-billion
(US$250 000) to ensure that illicit business activities (are) curbed and
illegal buildings destroyed during Operation Murambatsvina (Restore Order)
do not resurface," the paper said.

The youths are to be attached to the municipal police, the paper
said.

More than 18 000 youths have graduated so far from the National
Youth Service programme, which was introduced in 2001. President Robert
Mugabe's government says the programme is meant to instill discipline and
patriotism in Zimbabwe's young people, but critics say the youths are
indoctrinated in anti-opposition politics.

Operation Restore Order saw the arrest of thousands of vendors.

Their makeshift stalls were destroyed by police, along with
thousands of backyard cottages in a move that provoked international
condemnation.

But many vendors are reported to be sneaking back onto the
streets to sell their wares. With unemployment rates estimated to be at
least 70%, the vast majority of families in Zimbabwe depend upon informal
jobs to keep themselves afloat.

On Saturday it was reported that members of Zimbabwe's football
team were being rewarded for winning a regional tournament with the plots of
land cleared of township homes.

The team, known as the Warriors, won the Confederation of
Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa) Cup on Sunday with a
surprise 1-0 victory over Zambia in Mabatho, South Africa.

As a token of appreciation, the government will hand over 18
residential plots, the deputy minister of urban development, Morris
Sakabuya, said.

The plots were cleared during June and July as part of Operation
Murambatsvina in which the government demolished the homes of thousands of
poor Zimbabweans. Ironically, several members of the team were affected by
the demolitions.

A UN report charges that 700 000 people lost their homes or jobs
as a result of the campaign.

Jonathan Mashingaidze, the Zimbabwean Football Association's
chief executive, said he hoped more land would be made available for other
squad members if the team qualified for next year's African Nations Cup
finals in Egypt.

"We can't have our ambassadors living in slums and shacks," he
said.

The announcement came ahead of a visit starting on Monday by an
International Monetary Fund team which will report to a board meeting next
month during which Zimbabwe could be expelled for falling almost R2-billion
behind in its debt payments.

The Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono announced the visit in the
state-controlled Herald newspaper yesterday amid warnings of a stock market
crash and a big fall in the value of the Zimbabwe dollar.

"The nation should rededicate itself to responsible behaviour,
particularly when it comes to the setting or review of prices of goods and
services in the economy," he said.

President Robert Mugabe has blamed sanctions and boycotts for
his country's troubles, along with drought.

President Mugabe dashed hopes of political reforms on Thursday
by pressing ahead with a 22-clause bill to amend the constitution that the
opposition has denounced.

The changes would strengthen his 25-year hold on power with the
creation of a senate expected to be dominated by his Zanu-PF party.

The bill proposes cancelling freehold title to real estate and
barring those stripped of their land from appealing to the courts.
Government opponents risk being stripped of the right to travel. - Sapa,
Guardian Unlimited Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005

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Zim Online

Mugabe's policies stunting regional growth: Mbeki
Mon 22 August 2005
PRETORIA -- South African President Thabo Mbeki has warned President
Robert Mugabe his controversial policies were a stumbling block to regional
growth, reminding the veteran Zimbabwean leader that his actions had an
"impact on the rest (of the region)."

Writing in his official "Letter from the President" column on his
ruling African National Congress party's website, barely a day after a
Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit that failed to censure
the Zimbabwean leader, Mbeki said a stable and prosperous Zimbabwe was
critical to regional integration and economic growth.

"Given the potential strength of the Zimbabwe economy . it can and
must play a central role in the struggle to achieve the goals spelt out in
the SADC Treaty," wrote Mbeki whose government has offered US$500 million
bailout loan to Harare to save Zimbabwe's crisis-sapped economy from total
collapse.

In a thinly veiled reference to Mugabe and rare public show of
exasperation at the Zimbabwean leader's intransigence, Mbeki added: "As
members of SADC . . . All of us must understand that what we do in any one
of our countries has an impact on the rest. It means that as countries, we
will sink or swim together."

The cash-strapped Harare administration has not yet accepted money
from Pretoria more than three weeks after it was offered, reportedly because
it is not happy with some conditions attached to the loan, especially a
demand that it reopens dialogue with the opposition to find a democratic
solution to Zimbabwe's worst ever economic and political crisis.

Mugabe, accused of wrecking what was once one of Africa's most vibrant
economies, has said he will not talk to the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party but would rather talk to British Premier Tony
Blair who he claims is the principal behind the MDC.

Harare has also rejected an African Union attempt to broker dialogue
with the opposition. AU envoy Joaquim Chissano told the Press on the
sidelines of the SADC summit that was held in Botswana last week that Mugabe
had told him his help was not needed because dialogue between his ruling
ZANU PF party and the MDC would take place in Parliament.

Mugabe's ZANU PF, which has controversially began unilaterally
amending Zimbabwe's constitution, has absolute control of Parliament after a
landslide victory in a March election that the MDC and Western governments
say was heavily rigged in favour of the ruling party.

But SADC leaders -- long accused of standing by in the face of gross
human rights abuses by Mugabe -- did not censure the Zimbabwean leader, who
is also accused by the United Nations of violating international law when he
ordered the destruction of city backyard cottages, shantytown homes and
informal business kiosks in an urban clean-up campaign that left at least
700 000 people homeless and without income.

New SADC chairman, Botswana President Festus Mogae, told journalists
Zimbabwe was not on the agenda because its crisis was not a regional issue,
even though its problems have weakened the economy of his own country.

Zimbabwe is in its sixth year of a bitter economic recession that has
manifested itself in severe shortages of fuel, food, essential medical
drugs, electricity, hard cash and almost every other basic survival
commodity.

The troubled southern African nation's annual inflation in July shot
up to 254.8 percent from 164.3 percent the previous month. Unemployment is
conservatively estimated at around 70 percent, while a burgeoning HIV/AIDS
epidemic is killing at least 2 000 Zimbabweans every week.

Analysts say Zimbabwe's problems and SADC's failure to take robust
action against human rights abuses and lawlessness in the country were a
strong signal to sensitive foreign investors to avoid the region. -
ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Former editor breaks silence on Zimbabwe media spy saga
Monday 22 August 2005

JOHANNESBURG - Former Financial Gazette editor Francis Mdlongwa has
harshly criticised the Zimbabwe Independent and its sister South African
publication, the Mail and Guardian, over their handling of stories in which
they claim that three Zimbabwean newspapers, including the Financial
Gazette, have been taken over by the spy Central Intelligence Organisation
(CIO).

Mdlongwa, who now heads the Sol Plaatje Media Leadership Institute at
Rhodes University is particularly furious that his name has been dragged
into the whole issue which the Independent has dubbed "Mediagate" without
being contacted for his side of
the story by the two newspapers owned by journalist and businessman
Trevor Ncube.

Mdlongwa also criticises Ncube in his statement.

While emphasising that he does not know whether or not the Financial
Gazette has been taken over by the CIO as claimed since "I have no such
facts and I have had no such evidence", Mdlongwa says he finds it
astonishing that the Mail and its Harare-based sister paper, the
Independent, should report on "contestable claims" referring to him and
"seek to present these as facts or informed opinion, without bothering to
get critical comment from me."

"The dangers of this one-sided, agenda-setting journalism are clear to
all who cherish press freedom and democracy - those whose voices could spoil
a "good story that sells should be shut out," says Mdlongwa.

"It is a travesty of justice that any news media organisation should
run a campaign, however laudable, based on whispers, rumours and innuendo to
try to cajole those it names in its stories into merely reacting to its own
agenda so as either to validate
this agenda or for these people to be entrapped into the same agenda."

Contrary to claims in the Independent and the Mail and Guardian that
Mdlongwa and his Octadew consortium, which was bidding to buy the Financial
Gazette from Elias Rusike, were lent money by former Commercial Bank of
Zimbabwe (CBZ) governor Gideon Gono without agreement, the former Financial
Gazette editor-in-chief said he did in fact have an
agreement.

He dismisses the allegations in the Mail and the Independent as
"nonsensical".

Without mentioning him by name, Mdlongwa also criticises the
Independent for affording former Information Minister Jonathan Moyo
widespread coverage despite being the architect of the destruction of the
private media in Zimbabwe.

In his statement, which ZimOnline publishes in full below, Mdlongwa
presents his side of the story and perspective on why he left the Financial
Gazette. - ZimOnline

* For the record, ZimOnline, which publishes original news reports
from Zimbabwe, has not done its own investigation on the media ownership
saga.

As a rare departure to our policy, we only re-produced a story carried
on the subject by Independent Newspapers and a subsequent response by
current Financial Gazette editor Sunsley Chamunorwa, with full
accreditation. - Editor

* Please, see full statement carried in the next box .....

When journalism is turned into a campaign of innuendo
Mon 22 August 2005

GRAHAMSTOWN - For many years I have had respect for the Mail and
Guardian newspaper because, examining its news coverage, I had come to form
an impression that it tried as much as is humanely possible to present the
many, if conflicting, sides of a story.

That was until the newspaper's publication last Friday of a
story on the claimed buy-out of three Zimbabwean newspapers by that country's
security service almost four years ago.

As a former editor-in-chief of Zimbabwe's Financial Gazette, one
of the newspapers named by the Mail as having been bought by the spies and
my own name having been dragged into this story by the Mail, I would have
expected nothing more from the Mail than that it complies with the
elementary but fundamental requirements of any credible and fair journalism:
that
is to contact me for my views on its allegations.

That was never done - this despite the fact that the Mail knows
how and where I can be contacted.

It is also significant that the Zimbabwe Independent, a
Harare-based newspaper owned by Zimbabwean journalist-turned-businessman
Trevor Ncube - as is the Mail - also failed to seek comment from me when it
ran a similar story a week ago.

Whether the Financial Gazette today is, as is claimed, owned by
Zimbabwe's secret service, I do not know because I have no such facts and I
have had no such evidence. Indeed it is not my business to start speculating
on who owns that newspaper almost four years after I left it. I am sure the
newspaper's owners can speak for themselves.

All I can say is that a consortium which I and two medical
doctors formed to take over the Financial Gazette in 2001 had to quit the
following year when the consortium disagreed with other shareholders who had
joined the company.

The disagreements centred on the newspaper's editorial direction
and operational issues. My consortium, in leaving in November 2002, issued a
statement detailing its position as stated here, a statement that was
published in full by the Financial Gazette and is available to anyone with
an interest in an accurate record of history.

I find it astonishing that the Mail and its sister paper in
Harare, the Independent, should report on contestable claims - I mean those
which specifically refer to me -- and seek to present these as facts or
informed opinion, without bothering to get critical
comment from me.

The dangers of this one-sided, agenda-setting journalism are
clear to all who cherish press freedom and democracy - those whose voices
could spoil a "good story that sells" should be shut out.

It is a travesty of justice that any news media organisation
should run a campaign, however laudable, based on whispers, rumours and
innuendo to try to cajole those it names in its stories into merely reacting
to its own agenda so as either to validate
this agenda or for these people to be entrapped into the same
agenda.

I do not claim to be particularly privy to the political and
economic realignments that are now shaping troubled Zimbabwe in the wake of
its tainted general election in March, but I can tell when I see the
fingerprints of a coordinated campaign of
disinformation.

In this case, I am deeply concerned that a Johannesburg-based
publisher found it necessary to mobilise connected reporters in South Africa
into picking up the Independent story so as to give it "wider and maximum"
publicity in their own news
organisations in South Africa and abroad.

When, for some reason, the plot failed to deliver the required
results, the publisher dutifully proceeded to reassemble the stories that
had not been published -- or parts of them -- into a rehatched job that was
presented as credible journalism.

Back to the Mail last Friday, a fresh allegation was injected
into the story: that my consortium was loaned Z$200 million to buy the
Financial Gazette without having any agreement with the lender, the
Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ), nor any collateral security.

Needless to say, this claim is as nonsensical as it is without
foundation. The allegation is simply a fishing expedition: to report the
allegation as a fact first and then to seek comment later to keep an old and
dead story alive.

For the record, my consortium did have an agreement with the
CBZ, and its members used their houses and other investments as collateral.
Not that it is really necessary for me to be disclosing these highly
confidential details of a privileged business
transaction, but I have reluctantly had to do so in the interest
of truth.

And yet in the same vein and in the interest of transparency,
one wonders whether the Mail's owner would himself be thrilled to be
publicly disclosing how he negotiated the loans he secured to buy the Mail
and what collateral he gave. And what about details of other loans which he
obtained later to keep his paper going?

I am concerned about the ethical conduct of journalism which
employs Gestapo-style activities to shut out the voices of those who are
being vilified. Far from enhancing the message that is purportedly being
disseminated, these activities, at least in the eyes of an intelligent
reading public, gravely undermine the practice of honest and factual
journalism.

Such practices - be they driven by a blind pursuit of bigger
media audiences and super-profits or other agendas -- reduce an otherwise
noble profession into an instrument of systematic harassment and torture of
all who are unfortunate not to own a media outlet of their own, which would
give the latter a right of reply.

Indeed, many within and outside Zimbabwe must be surprised to
see those who only yesterday were propping up Robert Mugabe's dictatorial
regime and presided over the brutal demise of the country's private media
being embraced today as champions of democracy.

They are given acres of space in "friendly newspapers" to try to
rehabilitate themselves in the faint hope that long-suffering Zimbabweans
will have forgotten all about their crimes against humanity.

The news media, anywhere in the world, bears a heavy
responsibility and duty to inform its audiences only with accurate,
impartial and balanced information and news, and this cannot take place when
the media sets itself up as a policing authority, prosecutor and judge in
one, denying the accused a chance to be heard.

Such media, especially in the Third World, gives dictators and
other opponents of press freedom a convenient excuse to crack down on
independent journalism, as has tragically happened in Zimbabwe.

Put differently, such a media - and not governments and other
forces that are blamed as the usual suspects - itself becomes the greatest
threat to press freedom and democracy.

* Francis Mdlongwa is the head of the Sol Plaatje Media
Leadership Institute at Rhodes University in South Africa. He wrote this
article in his private capacity.

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Zim Online

Zimbabwean clergymen deplore SA deportation centre
Mon 22 August 2005

JOHANNESBURG - Seven Zimbabwean clergymen, who were on a mission to
assess the living conditions of Zimbabwean exiles in South Africa, at the
weekend launched a scathing attack on Lindela Refugee Repatriation Centre,
likening it to a "concentration camp".

Two Zimbabweans including an 18-year old pregnant woman died last
month at Lindela, which has become synonymous with failed Zimbabwean asylum
seekers.

Zimbabweans account for the highest number of immigrants arrested and
deported via the centre monthly.

The Zimbabwean churchmen from the Zimbabwe National Pastors Conference
visited Lindela to get a first-hand assessment of the situation at the
notorious centre, among other places they toured to get a thorough
understanding of the plight of Zimbabweans here.

"We believe it (Lindela) is rightly described as a psychological
torture chamber by Zimbabweans," said the priests in a statement.

"Our view as pastors is that the consular offices are psychology
torture chambers and Lindela resembles a concentration camp."

The priests said they had noted with "grave concern" that the system
of deportation through Lindela did not have a clear mechanism of appeal.

"In our view this process exposes Zimbabweans to government agents and
makes them vulnerable when they are deported."

The pastors met with the Commissioner of Police for the Gauteng
Province, Commissioner Ray Naidoo, and said they were encouraged by his
concerns for the Zimbabweans in South Africa and his awareness of their
difficult "circumstances and vulnerability".

"We take seriously the Commissioner's undertaking to create links
between the police and organisations working with Zimbabweans in Gauteng ,
and to ensure that all people are treated as human beings regardless of
their status," the statement said.

Spokesperson for the priests, Reverend Vimbai Mugwidi, from the
Methodist Church in Zimbabwe encouraged Zimbabwean exiles to file detailed
complaints of any incidents of ill-treatment with the police to make it
easier for Commissioner Naidoo to pursue their complaints.

"He (Naidoo) mentioned that some of the complaints from Zimbabweans
are too general and lack sufficient detail to enable the police to track the
culprits in the South African police," said Mugwidi.

Zimbabweans who have fled home to settle in South Africa as economic
and political refugees, often complain of victimisation by members of the
South African Police Service (SAPS) who allegedly demand bribes and sexual
favours from women in exchange for not being sent to Lindela for
deportation.

Zimbabwean exiles are also living a tough life in South Africa as most
can't get jobs because of their illegal status. Many complain they are
unfairly denied refugee permits to remain in the country legally and enable
them to work.

The priests said the "there is no war in Zimbabwe " attitude from
South African authorities was making it increasingly difficult for
Zimbabweans to get considered for refugee or asylum status.

Zimbabweans who had fled to South Africa had generally moved from the
"frying pan into the fire".

"The Zimbabweans that are living in South Africa are living in more
terror than they fled at home, more misery than they fled at home," said
Reverend Mugwidi.

She hoped the priests' visit would help in highlighting the plight of
the Zimbabweans.

"We have had an opportunity to see first hand the conditions that
Zimbabweans are living under....When we go back home, we will be able to
highlight their plight," she said. - ZimOnline

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Angry, hissy podium banging
Saturday 20th August 2005

Dear Family and Friends,
This week, again, everyone outside the country was talking about the
possibility of our two main political parties taIking about talks. The
Nigerian President appointed the ex Mozambican President to try and get
Zimbabwe to talk about talks.The South African government then denied that
they were using talks as a condition for financial aid and a few days later
said they were not going to talk about talks, or insist on talks or even
suggest talks, as it was clear that no one actually wanted to talk anyway.
It got more and more confusing by the day! Mid week some international news
stations said that it looked like talks were going to happen and those of us
at home groaned, yawned sceptically and waited for the rhetoric which we
knew was coming and sure enough followed shortly afterwards. In a couple of
angry, hissy, podium banging speeches, it was all over. It is now official,
yet again, that there are not going to be any talks between Zanu PF and the
MDC. Those of us living in Zimbabwe know that it doesn't actually matter who
asks, begs, pleads, cajoles or insists on talks between President Mugabe and
Morgan Tsvangirai, they are just not going to happen. President Mugabe
continues to insist that the MDC is a British sponsored party containing
sellouts and puppets and that he will not talk to them. It is apparently of
no consequence that Zanu PF cannot resolve the problems crippling the
country, they will be damned if they will let anyone else try, and so we
plod on.

I was going to say that after all this talking about mythical talks we would
now get back to normal but that would be nonsense because nothing is normal
here. New taxes have just been announced to raise money to rebuild the
houses that the government just knocked down. Official inflation rose to
254% in July and parliament is about to change the constitution to remove
the right of appeal from people whose land is seized. Another change being
proposed would give the government the power to refuse passports to some
people if it was in the "national interest." While all this became common
knowledge, the Botswana President Festus Mogae defended the SADC's
inactivity by saying: "The problems of Zimbabwe are not my priority. We
consult with Zimbabwe and we advise Zimbabwe in confidence. That's all we
do, that's all we can do and that's all we are prepared to do." So, there it
is, we are on our own, there will be no talks, no conditions on financial
loans and no criticism from African governments.

I end on a very sad note with something else that became common knowledge
this week. Almost a month after ordinary South African people reached out to
Zimbabweans affected by Operation Restore Order, their goodwill is still
sitting at the border. Trucks loaded with 37 tons of humanitarian aid
including blankets, maize meal, cooking oil and beans are sitting unmoving
in the sun at the border as red tape, bureaucracy and officialdom prevent it
from being allowed into Zimbabwe. I believe that when the trucks were filled
and sealed on the 1st of August, they were blessed by the South African
Anglican Archbishop but even divine intervention has not helped and so the
poorest of Zimbabwe's poor continue to suffer in silence.
Until next week, with love, cathy.
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Mail and Guardian

Zim economy in dire trouble

Fanuel Jongwe | Harare

21 August 2005 10:30

Prospects of a respite are dim for Zimbabweans as the southern
African country's currency continues to tumble and runaway inflation sends
prices of basic goods soaring.

"Prices are just going up and nothing is being done to match the
incomes with the cost of living," says Tonderai Mukeredzi, spokesperson for
the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, a price watchdog group.

The council says the food basket for a family of six has
increased by more than 200% since January.

The Zimbabwean economy, which has shrunk by 30% in the past four
years, has been battling hyperinflation and critical foreign currency
shortages.

The dollar has been in a freefall, sliding from an official rate
of 55 to the US greenback in 2001 to 17 500 announced by the central bank
last month.

But the underground market rate last week was up to 45 000,
double the rate from May when one US dollar was being unofficially traded at
22 000, indicating that the Zimbabwe dollar is far from stabilising.

"Our currency will continue on a freefall and inflation will
keep shooting up until the government comes to its senses to address the
fundamental factors causing the currency shortages and driving inflation,"
says economist Daniel Ndlela, who runs a
private consultancy firm.

The annual inflation rate soared to 254,8% at the end of July,
up from 164,3% in June, according to official statistics.

It has been climbing upwards since 2000 when it stood at 55.9%,
rising to 71 percent a year later. It reached 133.2% in 2002 before it shot
to a record 622% in 2004.

Ndlela said currency devaluation was not the answer.

"You don't devalue during a dire shortage of currency. You need
engagement with the international community and to generate foreign currency
through exports, to stabilise the currency," says Ndlela.

Economist John Robertson attributed Zimbabwe's woes to dwindling
exports.

"The economy has lost its ability to export and other problems
such as high inflation are a result of that," economist John Robertson said
saying Zimbabweans would be "lucky" if the economy stopped shrinking further
this year.

"We used to have the ability to generate our own foreign
currency and now we are borrowing. We need to revive our export sector to be
able to get back on track."

Consecutive years of drought and a land reform program launched
in 2000 in which some 4 000 white-owned commercial farms were seized and
redistributed to landless blacks have punched a gaping hole in agricultural
production, which once accounted for 40% of the economy.

Once a major exporter of tobacco, tea, coffee and beef, Zimbabwe
has seen production in those areas dwindle year after year.

Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa admitted in parliament last
week that targets for economic growth and inflation for this year would be
missed as he requested a supplementary budget to pay wages and keep the
country afloat.

Zimbabwe is also negotiating a loan of up to 500 million dollars
from South Africa to be able to make payments on a 300-million-dollar loan
from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). - Sapa-AFP

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ChinaBroadcast

Foot-and-Mouth Hits Zimbabwe's Beef Exports

2005-8-22 2:22:34 CRIENGLISH.com

Success in foot-and-mouth control will determine whether Zimbabwe can
resume beef exports to the European Union .

Cold Storage Company chief executive Ngoni Chinogaramombe said that
Zimbabwe would regain its annual 9,100 tons quota to EU.

The EU banned Zimbabwe exports in 2000 following an outbreak of
foot-and-mouth disease.

Chinogaramombe said EU requires beef suppliers to wait for 24 months
after an outbreak of the disease before they resume exports.

The vaccination of cattle in areas prone to foot-and-mouth was
underway to year end.

Livestock and Veterinary Services principal director Stuart Hargreaves
said there were adequate vaccines.

Zimbabwe received 450,000 doses under the Southern African Development
Community-Food and Agricultural Organization program for the sub-region.

Zimbabwe earned about 29 million US dollars from beef exports annually
prior to the ban.
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From ZWNews

Message from a distant planet

Part of a new occasional series presenting the evidence that the government
really does live in a far-flung corner of the universe...

From The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe), 21 August

UK in bid to scupper Zim, China deals

Sunday Mail Reporter

A top United Kingdom bank with links to the British political establishment
is seeking influence in the Bank of China through a massive US$3,1 billion
investment seen as an insidious bid to shackle Zimbabwe's chances of
securing developmental loan capital from the giant Chinese institution. The
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) reiterated last week that it was leading the
investment initiative, which would give it a 10 percent stake in China's
second biggest lender, to "gain a foothold in China's vast banking sector".
Reports said if the deal sailed through, RBS would also get a seat on the
Bank of China's board of directors. Despite scepticism amongst analysts and
RBS' shareholders that say the British bank will expose itself to China's
bad debt problems, the chief executive of Europe's second biggest lender,
Sir Fred Goodwin, said they were pressing ahead with their plans.
Coincidentally, RBS intensified efforts to buy into the Bank of China when
President Mugabe led a high-powered delegation to Beijing late last month
seeking to strengthen Sino-Zimbabwe economic ties.

RBS' move follows a string of other major deals clinched between Chinese
lenders and Western financial institutions, a development which analysts say
looks designed to make sure that Third World countries like Zimbabwe do not
get crucial lines of credit from the Far East. Last year, another UK-based
financial giant, HSBC, shelled out US$1,75 billion for a 20 percent stake in
the Bank of Communications, China's fifth biggest lender, while the Bank of
America bought nearly 10 percent shareholding in the China Construction Bank
in June this year. The deal was worth US$3 billion. Despite opposition from
mainly European investors, which saw the Edinburgh-based bank's share price
taking a knock in the past few days, the RBS board said it was going ahead
with the plans. Defending the deal, Sir Fred was last week quoted by BBC as
saying: "The deal we have announced, from Royal Bank's perspective, is low
risk." The Chinese bank, which has a network of over 11 300 branches, has
been described in the Western media as a known lender with an international
outlook, prompting the British political establishment to seek influence in
it in the wake of President Mugabe's visit to China.

Sources in London told The Sunday Mail last week that the British political
establishment could be coercing RBS into tying up the deal to give the UK
finance house more influence in the Bank of China with the ultimate aim of
hindering the extension of financial support to Zimbabwe. The sources said
Sir Fred and RBS chairman Sir George Matthewson (64), among other board
members, were known to have close ties with the British political
establishment that is at loggerheads with the Zimbabwean Government. RBS was
founded in 1727 through a royal charter and is one of the leading financial
services groups; ranking fifth in the world in terms of market
capitalisation. "Sir Fred is even the chairman of the Prince's Trust while
Sir George is also close to the regime, being the former chief executive of
the Scottish Development Agency," said one source. "While British companies
are free to invest in any country where they are welcome and while hundreds
of them have invested in China even after the handover of Hong Kong, RBS'
move to buy stock at a time when Zimbabwe is seeking capital from China
definitely raises eyebrows. It is not only Zimbabwe who must be anxious
about this move but the rest of the Third World is concerned, especially
considering that Western lenders have either been unwilling to bail out
developing countries or have, at best, been offering tied aid," added the
source.

During President Mugabe's visit to China, the two countries signed a host of
bilateral agreements in the power, telecommunications, manufacturing, mining
and aviation sectors, among others, while some financial institutions
indicated a willingness to extend lines of credit. Local analysts said moves
by RBS and other Western lenders to buy into Far Eastern banks smacked of a
conspiracy to undercut moves by Harare to secure developmental capital from
sources outside the World Bank and the IMF. "The heightened interest in
Asian banks by Western lenders at a time when the developing world is
looking East for financial support could be an attempt to make sure that all
possible avenues for funding are ultimately controlled by the West," said
one analyst. Political commentator Mr Augustine Timbe said while British
companies were free to seek investment opportunities in any part of the
world, it was foolhardy for anyone to think that they could arm-twist a
strong nation like China into taking positions that were against its
convictions. "This is not the first time that the British political
establishment had sought to sabotage economic recovery initiatives by
Zimbabwe. We had Blair trying to make friends with Colonel Gaddafi of Libya,
whom the British had considered an enemy since the Lockerbie bombing, just
to make sure that Zimbabwe could not get oil," said Mr Timbe. Under the
terms of China's admission to the powerful World Trade Organisation, the
Asian giant's financial sector must undergo restructuring which includes
opening up to foreign competition by 2007. However, the proposed RBS
investment is subject to regulatory approval by the Chinese government
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The Herald

Fuel crisis: Billionaires emerge

Herald Reporters
THE liberalisation of the fuel sector has created instant oil barons who
have made billions of dollars from importing fuel and selling it to private
companies as well as trading in fuel coupons.

Investigations by The Herald have revealed that some fuel dealers were
buying foreign currency on the black market and then buying fuel coupons for
resale to desperate motorists at double the black market rate.

Others were using their free funds to import fuel and reselling it in bulk
to private buyers at prices ranging from $35 000 to $70 000 per litre.

The liberalisation of the fuel industry to allow some filling stations to
sell fuel in foreign currency has enabled the central bank to mop up foreign
currency that was being traded on the black market without benefiting the
formal economy.

However, some enterprising dealers have hooked onto the fuel coupons, which
they have turned into a tradable commodity at values much higher than the
direct trade in black market currency.

A dealer can buy 1 000 litres of fuel coupons worth US$1 000 from either oil
companies or the central bank's designated foreign currency service stations
and resell these coupons to several buyers and make Z$70 million in a day's
trade.

The coupon system caters for local Zimbabweans with free funds, foreigners,
embassies, Zimbabweans in the Diaspora and other organisations with foreign
currency accounts.

Some petrol attendants are acting as middlemen for the dealers and sell the
coupons in Zimbabwe dollars for between $60 000 and $80 000 a litre for both
petrol and diesel to desperate motorists.

The investigations also revealed that fuel was in abundance in the country
to those who were prepared to fork to out more than the regulated pump
prices.

The foreign currency designated service stations and oil companies were
selling the coupons to anyone with foreign currency and were not tying the
coupons to specific vehicles.

When Herald reporters investigating the matter arrived at one of the
designated service stations to buy the coupons in Zimbabwe dollars,
attendants refused to entertain them at first suspecting them to be police
officers.

However, some taxi drivers parked next to the service station offered to
help the two reporters and promised that something would be arranged for the
journalists.

"I can facilitate that you get a coupon for 10 litres, but do you have the
money that is being charged for such special arrangements these days?" asked
one taxi driver with his eyes darting around.

After convincing him that they could pay $700 000 for the 10 litres he took
them to the petrol attendant who instructed the reporters to wait behind the
service station while he looked for the coupon in the offices.

The attendant later returned and signalled one of the reporters into the
back office where the money was paid and the coupon delivered.

The sale of coupons was rampant particularly on Fridays and Saturdays. It is
understood that many motorists were willing to buy coupons at any price.

Some motorists filled their tanks and had extra fuel put in containers of
between 5 and 25 litres.

It is suspected that the fuel filled in containers was finding its way onto
the black market.

A fuel attendant said an arrangement could be made to buy the coupons using
local currency from those who have access to them.

"You can arrange to buy the coupons from the people in the queues if you do
not have any foreign currency," the fuel attendant said.

Further inquiries, however, revealed that there was a dealer, particularly
in the morning, targeting desperate motorists who had no foreign currency at
one of the service stations.

There was also brisk business in the selling of South African Rands near
another of the service stations for motorists wishing to buy coupons.

A security guard at the service station pointed reporters to a dealer by the
name of Diva who was in a white Mercedes Benz parked a few metres away from
the entrance gate.

There were three occupants in the vehicle holding mobile phones indicating
that they were conducting business.

Diva was a bit perturbed when the reporters asked to talk to him.

"Ah, who are you? 'Boys' you can be shot just like that before you know what
is happening," he said as he got out of the car.

But after realising that there could be prospects of making quick money,
Diva smiled and said his friend only identified as Phiri could arrange
something.

Using the cellphone of one of the reporters he contacted his colleague who
promised something after an hour.

"Don't worry this friend of mine has relatives in the UK who deposit foreign
currency into a foreign currency account (and he gave the name) and he gets
coupons here. So he always has plenty of them," he said.

After an hour lapsed Phiri indicated he was not prepared to secure less than
50 litres worth of coupons.

"Ah 'baba' we are talking big money, 10 litres is too little we need big
orders," Phiri said before he hung up.

Other dealers were operating along Leopold Takawira Street as they openly
criss-cross the road and move between cars signaling to possible customers.

A young man in his 20s approached the reporters from the sidewalk and soon
after realising they wanted to buy fuel coupons he said: "Just wait here I
will get the coupons."

He then dashed towards Town House and shortly returned to tell the news team
that he had secured a 25-litre coupon for $1,75 million.

"You can check with me later if you need anything less than that," he said.

The following day the young man had a 10-litre coupon, which he said was
selling for $800 000.

Some oil companies were importing fuel for individuals and companies who
then resold the commodity to other motorists who waited at these service
stations to negotiate with those who were buying the commodity in bulk.
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Zim Standard

'Garikai' a scandal
By Caiphas Chimhete

"OPERATION Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle", set to cost the taxpayer a staggering $3
trillion, is open to abuse and could end up enriching corrupt officials,
investigations by The Standard reveal.

Government has set an ambitious target of 300 000 houses to be built by the
end of the year, which are supposed to benefit people who were rendered
homeless by "Operation Restore Order".
However, The Standard found that as government rushes to meet deadlines, the
system it uses to procure materials countrywide falls far short of minimum
standards that can stop corrupt officials from ending up the main
beneficiaries of the national exercise.

The Standard discovered that companies supplying building materials are
"approved" by the Tender Board without following the actual tendering
process. The Tender Board approves the companies on the basis of their
"credentials" and not on the prices of their goods or quality of service.

Officials are not prepared to say much about the "credentials".

Charles Kuwaza, Tender Board executive chairman, said he did not know the
finer details of the process and referred The Standard to the board's
principal officer, Eppie Ushewekunze.

Ushewekunze said the board came up with a list of approved companies that
can supply building materials after "vetting".

"We have a list which we came up with after a vetting exercise but I cannot
give you the details. We are not directly involved, you talk to the
implementing officer in the Ministry of Local Government, Mr (Partson)
Mbiriri," Ushewekunze said.

Mbiriri is the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Local Government,
Public Works and Urban Development.

A man who answered Mbiriri's phone at his home yesterday said the official
was out of Harare.

Ignatious Chombo, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban
Development was not immediately available for comment. For several days last
week his phone went unanswered.

However, The Standard has established that after approval, the list of
approved companies is forwarded to provincial head offices of the local
government ministry. An official at the ministry's Harare provincial offices
confirmed they do not tender but buy from companies approved by the Tender
Board.

The way the procurement system was being handled, sources told The Standard,
had caused widespread concern from officials who feared that some of these
"companies" could take advantage and inflate prices.

The sources said Central Bank Governor Gideon Gono had also expressed
concern and had been reluctant to release funds for the project until the
loopholes were closed.

They said Gono, who recently released about $235b to Chombo, feared that
some unscrupulous officials could use the opportunity to buy from firms
owned by friends and relatives at inflated prices.

The $235b is part of the $3 trillion that Gono said would be availed for the
construction of houses, factory shells and market stalls countrywide.

In a response to questions faxed to him, Gono would not confirm whether or
not he had expressed concern over the procurement process but stressed the
need for transparency and accountability in public organisations.

A fortnight ago, Chombo blamed Gono for not releasing funds on time after
failing to build the 5 000 houses by the end of July as promised at the
onset of "Operation Garikai".

He told the Zanu PF mouthpiece, The Voice recently: "However, only $135b has
so far been released for the programme. This has affected the procurement of
building materials and payment of other construction services. "The Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is still to honour its promise of disbursing a total
of $200b per week." Gono refused to comment on Chombo's statement.

"I do not wish to talk to or about my principals on an open forum, such as
the print media." Gono said.

The central bank last week released an additional $100b for the programme,
which is half of what it promised to release every week when the project
commenced

Meanwhile, the RBZ is investigating how the $2b it released to the local
government ministry in March for onwards transmission to Chitungwiza City
Council was used.
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Zim Standard

Fuel concessions fail to end shortages
By our staff

NEARLY three weeks after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) allowed
motorists to buy fuel using foreign currency, the crisis has not eased with
motorists spending days in queues waiting for delivery vehicles, still in
Beira.

A survey by The Standard at several garages in Zimbabwe's major towns
revealed that situation had not improved and the move by the RBZ had not
helped the majority of the motorists who have no foreign currency.
In Bulawayo, only vehicles with foreign registered number plates, mainly
from South Africa and Botswana, frequent Bulawayo Service Station, Bradfield
Motors and Enterprises Petroleum, where fuel is sold in hard currency.

Local motorists were shunning these garages, preferring to buy from the
parallel market.

Donald Nyahwema, a motorist said he sometimes buys fuel from the parallel
market, depending on the price that day.

"Fuel on the parallel market fluctuates so you have to constantly compare
the prices," Nyahwema said.

National University of Science and Technology (Nust) economics lecturer
Oscar Chiwira, said most motorists in Bulawayo were not buying fuel in hard
currency because it was cheaper to get it from the parallel market.

"Basically, if you compare the pump price of fuel and the parallel market
price, you will find out that the parallel market is cheaper. People are now
clever, they now do a cost verification analysis before they buy," Chiwira
said.

A litre of petrol is selling for Z$35 000 on the parallel market while the
pump price of the same quantity is US$1, which translates to Z$45 000 on the
parallel market. Officially, one US dollar is equal to Z$24 000.

In Harare, while there are no queues at garages selling fuel in foreign
currency, permanent queues form at other garages that do not sell fuel in
foreign currency.

The queues form even if there are no immediate deliveries of the scarce
commodity anticipated.

"These days motorists do not queue for a long time because you just buy your
coupon and proceed to get your fuel," said a motorist, who frequently buys
petrol from Comoil Service Station in Harare.
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Zim Standard

War veterans admit attacking MDC MP
By Savious Kwinika

BULAWAYO - Three war veterans have admitted involvement in kidnapping and
severely attacking the late MDC MP, David Mpala, during the run-up to the
2002 Presidential election, The Standard can reveal.

The MDC legislator died last year at St Luke's Hospital in Lupane as a
result of the severe injuries he sustained during the attack, according to
his family.

While Mpala's family had maintained that war veterans attacked him, the
government denied the involvement of the former freedom fighters.

Patrick Ndlovu (55), Minenkulu Ncube and Saith-Themba Jubane (49), all from
Tsholotsho district, were recently convicted of kidnapping, theft and
assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

They had all pleaded guilty to the charges before Lupane resident
magistrate, Skumbuzo Nyathi.

Two other war veterans who were jointly charged with the three, Patrick
Ndlovu (50), Raymond Gumbo (51) died before they faced trial.

The state led by Saunders Sibanda, told the court that on 13 January 2002,
the five attended a war veterans' meeting at Lupane Business Centre where
they learnt that the MDC MP was at the business centre with his wife and
mother-in-law.

They approached Mpala and force-marched him to a bushy area near Lupane
Business Centre and started assaulting him all over his body with unknown
objects.

The state further said that the war veterans then stabbed him twice at the
back with a sharp object and left him unconscious.

However, he later gained consciousness after his kidnappers had left. He was
hospitalised but his health continued to deteriorate until his died at St
Luke's Hospital last year.
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Zim Standard

Murerwa salary freeze angers civil servants

FINANCE minister, Herbert Murerwa, last week ruled out a salary increment
for civil servants, fuelling widespread disgruntlement and anger among
thousands of poorly paid government workers.

Presenting a supplementary budget on Tuesday, the minister deferred the
public service salary reviews to the 2006 budget on the basis that this
would put additional pressure on the fiscus.

But civil servants who are bearing the brunt of a record inflation rise
slammed the government saying it was insensitive to their plight and was
forcing them to engage in corruption in order to survive.

"People (civil servants) are not happy and some are even contemplating a
crippling job action. We have not heard anything from the people who are
supposed to be representing us and life has become very unbearable," said
one government officer.

The majority of the civil servants earn salaries below the poverty datum
line, currently $5.4m. The lowest paid workers earn $1.4m while teachers and
other officials in various government departments earn about $3.5m. After
deductions, many civil servants like clerks go home with less than a million
dollars.

"I think the government is not serious about us. How do they expect one to
live on a salary of just $1m -- it's very unfair," said one civil servant
working in Harare.

The Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary general Raymond
Majongwe said the announcement that government would not award an increment
to civil servants was a clear example of it's insensitivity towards the
welfare of the workers.

"Most civil servants, mostly teachers, have managed to get this far by
borrowing to make ends meet. There is no reason why they should continue to
bury themselves in debt," Majongwe said.

A basic monthly income and expenditure account for a teacher prepared by the
PTUZ shows a total monthly expenditure of $7.6m leaving a shortfall of $5.6m
for an average teacher who nets a paltry $2m.

Public Service Association acting president Maxwell Kaitano last week
refused to say how the negotiations for salary reviews were going.

"We just want to know what the proposed allowances would get us to but we
are in the middle of negotiations for the salary reviews since June and our
members would always guide us on the best way forward," Kaitano said.

Murerwa proposed $440bn for civil servant transport allowances but many
workers fear this amount would only benefit those officials who receive
transport and subsistence allowances when on field missions.

PTUZ is demanding a 150 percent cost of living adjustment, a 100 percent
increase in transport allowance and an additional 200 percent for housing.

The government had last year allocated $11.49 trillion for the public
service employment costs in the 2005 budget, with a view to improve working
conditions in the civil service.
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Zim Standard

MPs slam 'erratic' Hansard
By our staff

THE erratic printing of the Hansard by the ruling Zanu PF-owned Jongwe
Printing and Publishing Company is compromising the work of legislators in
their constituencies, Members of Parliament told The Standard last week.

The Hansard was last printed on 20 July although Parliament adjourned on the
28th of the same month for the Heroes and Defence Forces holidays. It
resumed sitting on Tuesday.

The MPs who spoke to this newspaper last week said they were no longer able
to take the Hansard, which records parliamentary debates, for distribution
in their constituencies. Some MPs use the Hansard as reference material.

In most constituencies copies of the Hansard are distributed to
Parliamentary Information Centres, public libraries and schools, where they
generate a lot of interest as people follow parliamentary debates.

Opposition Movement for Democratic Change MP for Kambuzuma, Willias
Madzimure, said the erratic printing of the Hansard was a worrying
development as it was "a handy tool" for legislators.

He said the Hansard should be produced as quickly as possible to ensure that
MPs are able to check whether their contributions were correctly recorded.
His comments were also echoed by Harare North MP, Trudy Stevenson.

But sources said Jongwe Printing and Publishing, which used to be the ruling
party's cash cow, is facing viability problems. Zanu PF spokesperson Nathan
Shamuyarira, was not immediately available for comment.

Deputy Clerk of Parliament, Helen Dingani, professed ignorance of the
Hansard printing problems.
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Zim Standard

Whitecliff: State bends the law
newsfocus by Walter Marwizi

FOR George Gapu, the mere mention of the name Whitecliff conjures up images
of the twin evils of lawlessness and hopelessness.

"That feeling is unavoidable. It's inevitable when you have nowhere else to
turn to," says Gapu, a lawyer with Scanlen and Holderness in Harare.

It's now more than four years since Gapu agreed to represent the interests
of the developer of Whitecliff farm, but he has had to contend with
disappointment at every turn.

His client, Eddies Pfugari Properties (Pvt) Ltd, the owner of Whitecliff
remains disgruntled while his farm, hogs the limelight as the focal point
for "Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle", an ambitious programme by the
government to provide housing for victims of the "Operation Restore Order".

It is not that Gapu's legal skills in court have been found wanting, but
simply that judicial authority is being disregarded in a manner that brings
the administration of justice in Zimbabwe into question.

Since 2001 when war veterans and other "landless" people invaded Whitecliff
farm, Gapu has been in and out of courts trying to seek judicial redress
fore his client who wants nothing less than the removal of the "invaders"
from the farm.

"Back then when the problems started, we obtained an eviction order to
remove the people from Whitecliff. However, the Deputy Sheriff could not
evict the people because they had the support of the government. We could
not do anything about it," he said.

The invaders who went on to put up makeshift structures, some of which were
a eyesore to behold for travellers along the busy highway, were only evicted
in May this year when government launched "Operation Murambatsvina" which
reportedly displaced an estimated 700 000 people in Zimbabwe.

Yet this did not bring any relief to the owners of the farm who have, since
2000, sold more than 700 low-density stands and transferred title to over
200 buyers. Just a few days after the blitz, Whitecliff took centre-stage
again, this time, being the launch pad of "Operation Murambatsvina's"
successor, "Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle".

Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development Minister Ignatious
Chombo announced that the government would build sample houses on the farm,
which, for five years, remained a playground for proponents of the "Third
Chimurenga" in a clear violation of a court order.

Subsequently, the government announced that it had subdivided the farm into
9 960 stands and named the beneficiaries of the stands.

Acting on Eddies Pfugari's instruction, Gapu filed for an urgent chamber
application and won a provisional Order on 21 June interdicting the minister
from "constructing sample houses or any structures without the written
consent or authority of the applicant" and "allocating stands (at
Whitecliff) without the written consent of the applicant."

The minister, who had opposed the application on the basis that government
intended to acquire the property under the Land Acquisition Act, was also
ordered to destroy structures built before the order, in 48 hours.

The order was served at the minister's offices on 30 June but in clear
violation, construction at the Whitecliff has not stopped. A few weeks ago,
acting Foreign Affairs Minister Stan Mudenge took diplomats to Whitecliff to
reassure them that the programme was in full swing.

"It is very frustrating. There is no other arm of the State which one can
use in enforcing court orders," says Gapu who on 28 July, went again to the
High Court seeking that Chombo be punished for disobeying court orders.

His fresh application implores the court to order that Chombo, who has to
put a stop to all construction activity, to be imprisoned for 30 days and
fined $20 million for contempt of court.

Until the High Court makes a ruling on the matter, Gapu and his client can
only wait, as they have done since early 2001, in the belief that orders of
the court will carry the day. In the meantime, Whitecliff will remain a
classic example of how President Mugabe's government continues to blatantly
disregard court orders with the judiciary remaining silent about it.

"When the government fails to obey court orders, then you have a situation
where ordinary people would be justified in not having faith in the rule of
law and administration of justice. It is very dangerous for the rule or law
and democracy," says a disappointed Gapu.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) says it is particularly
disturbed by how the case has unfolded. "When the legal owner sought and
indeed was allowed to stop these constructions, the court came to his rescue
with a Court Order barring the construction.

"Paradoxically the same government that said it was restoring order acted in
flagrant disregard of a Court Order by continuing with the construction of
housing units on this private property.In essence therefore the government
continues to act in unashamed and arrogant contempt of a Court of law," the
ZLHR said.

What is more worrying is the silence of the judiciary. "The judiciary is
called upon to stamp its lawful and constitutional authority as provided for
by the laws of the land to ensure that its lawful orders are obeyed by all.
ZLHR is particularly concerned at the judiciary's deafening silence in such
times when its authority is daily undermined by the executive arms of the
State."
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Zim Standard

Bulawayo council resorts to boreholes
By our staff

THE Bulawayo city council has drilled more than 40 boreholes in an attempt
to improve water supplies in a city hard hit by water rationing.

The boreholes were drilled in Mpopoma, Newton West, Cowdray Park, Magwegwe,
Sizinda, Pumula, Saurstown and Entumbane.

A department of engineering council officialconfirmed on Friday that
drilling of boreholes was underway.

"The residents will be using the underground water for washing purposes,
watering gardens and other domestic purposes but the water can be consumed.
People drink borehole water in rural areas, so why not here in town," said
the city council official.

The country's second largest city introduced water rationing last month but
the water shortage continues to haunt residents.

Suburbs worst affected by the shortages are Emakhandeni, Bellevue,
Entumbane, Emganwini and Newton West which sometimes go for days without
supplies.

Bulawayo Town Clerk, Moffat Ndlovu, attributed the water shortage to
persistent poor rains received over the past years in the catchment areas of
supply dams.

"Major Bulawayo water reservoirs such as Umzingwane and Upper Ncema have run
out of water. Whilst the remaining dams are on average 46 percent full. The
gravity mains channelling water to the water works are limited to 90 000
cubic metres a day. This is against the city's average demand of about 140
000 cubic metres a day, projected to have reduced to 90 000 cubic metres
with the introduction of the water rationing scheme.
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Zim Standard

Economy spawns rising poverty - WB
By our staff

THE World Bank, which is owed more than US$350 million by the government has
equated the country's economic crisis to a tragedy, The Standard can reveal.

The Bank says what is happening is a tragedy and that it is concerned about
the rising poverty in a country that was once the engine of growth in the
sub-region.

The international financial institution says that it is worried about the
deteriorating economic climate and rising poverty in the country.

Zimbabwe owes the World Bank more than US$350 million, the International
Monetary Fund more than US$300 million and the African Development Bank more
than US$280 million.

But the World Bank, in an interview with The Standard, said the real issues
of concern at the moment were the increasing poverty levels in the country,
the suffering of Zimbabweans and the lack of decisive policy action - both
on the economic and political front - to stop the economic decline and
achieve a normalisation in the relationship with the international
community.

It said unfortunately there was little or no positive progress in the area
of economic policy as evidenced by the continuing recent economic decline.

The World Bank's comments coincided with a report released by the Centre for
Global Development, which says: "Zimbabwe has experienced a precipitous
collapse in its economy over the past five years. The purchasing power of an
average Zimbabwean in 2005 has fallen back to the same level as in 1953.

"For people in extreme poverty, a collapse like this translates directly
into sickness and death. We conservatively estimate that persistence in the
economic shock will cost the lives of at least 3 900 Zimbabwean children per
year - about half the infant death toll from HIV and AIDS."

The international financial institution said: "The World Bank is continuing
to stay abreast of economic and social developments by carrying out
analytical work, for instance in the area of poverty monitoring and stock
taking exercises in the agricultural and infrastructure sector, as well as
assessing how the population is coping with the worsening economic
situation.

"Through this analytical work, the World Bank remains prepared to support
the people of Zimbabwe once a significantly improved economic and political
situation warrants a more active presence by the Bank."

It said that at present its assistance to Zimbabwe is limited to priority
and urgent analytical work in the areas of measuring poverty, assessing
coping mechanisms, and exploring more effective and efficient responses to
HIV and AIDS.

"In all these analytical exercises the World Bank is partnering with other
stakeholders such as non-governmental organisations and the United Nations
family. There is no active lending programme and the last project in the
World Bank's portfolio was cancelled in December 2002," it said.

While the World Bank has not lent anything to Zimbabwe for nearly three
years, unlike the International Monetary Fund, it however maintains an
official presence in Harare through its country office as well as
appropriate dialogue with the government, so that "we are prepared to be
effective if and when the situation allows".

The IMF closed its office in Zimbabwe in September last year.

The comments on Zimbabwe come in the wake of a visit to Africa by World Bank
president Paul Wolfowitz in June, which took him to South Africa. It was a
significant visit because it is his first since his recent appointment as
president of the World Bank. Wolfowitz says he has made Africa a priority
during his term.

The World Bank president met President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa but says
there was no discussion on South Africa extending a loan to Zimbabwe.

"Mr Wolfowitz and President Mbeki had a productive meeting during the brief
visit to South Africa in June. They discussed a number of issues of mutual
interest, including the situation in Zimbabwe. Following their meeting, Mr
Wolfowitz commented to the Press on his concern over policy decisions and
the deteriorating economic climate in Zimbabwe - concerns which have also
been formally conveyed to the government separately," said the Bank in
response to questions from The Standard.
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Zim Standard

Minister in court for culpable homicide
By Savious Kwinika

BULAWAYO - THE Zanu PF Politburo Member and Deputy Minister of Higher and
Tertiary Education, Sikhanyiso Duke Ndlovu, appeared in court on Thursday to
answer charges of culpable homicide after the vehicle he was driving
allegedly struck and killed a pedestrian, The Standard can reveal.

The politician briefly appeared at Tredgold Magistrates' courts before
magistrate Sibongile Msipa and was remanded out of custody to 22 August. A
key State witness in the case failed to turn up.

The State case represented by Edwin Marecha is that on 5 October 2003 at
around 8PM Ndlovu, who was driving a Honda Accord struck down a pedestrian
walking along Leopold Takawira Avenue in Bulawayo after his vehicle veered
off the road.

The pedestrian, identified as Handina Perkhams died on the spot after
sustaining multiple injuries.

The State further alleges that after knocking down Perkhams, Ndlovu drove
off but returned to the scene of the accident after suspecting that he
struck something.

According to the State outline, the pedestrian was knocked down while
walking beyond the yellow carriage markings that demarcate the end of the
road.

It is further alleged that Ndlovu was travelling at a speed which was
excessive in the circumstances and "failed to stop or act reasonably when
the accident seemed imminent".
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Zim Standard

Govt admits blunder on Hatcliffe
By Thomas Kwaramba

DESPITE feigning bravado in the face of widespread criticism, the government
backed down on the Hatcliffe Extension evictions it carried out in May
because of international pressure, The Standard can reveal.

International organisations, among them USAID, UK's Department for
International Development and the World Bank funded infrastructure at
Hatcliffe Extension.

The international organisations funded water and sewerage reticulation and
the sewerage works at Hatcliffe Extension under the Urban II Programme.

When the evictions started, the MP for Harare North, Trudy Stevenson,
remembered this fact and immediately sought meetings with representatives of
the international organisations.

Hatcliffe, which lies some 20 kilometres from the capital, was a planned
settlement. It was, however, a surprise victim of the government's
"clean-up" exercise.

Stevenson said: "I do not know what they expect government to do. You will
have to ask them directly! I imagine they would expect government to fully
compensate every person evicted, to make a serious effort to provide
'catch-up lessons' for every school child who has missed nearly two months
of school, to provide adequate replacement shelter for every family (the
four narrow asbestos sheets provided to some - not all, as far as we know -
are not sufficient to make a house!), to provide adequate remedial medical
treatment to all those withdrawn from their ARV and other medication
programmes for two months, and to guarantee security of tenure for every
family to their stand without the payment of any supplementary fee
whatsoever."

They are being charged an extra $400 000 a stand on top of the $100 000 they
paid last year for their leases.

Stevenson said: "They cannot afford that - they used every cent they had for
transport to escape the beating and burning promised by the police! Never
mind the extra school fees, new uniforms, extra bus fares, loss of income
from vending...the list is practically endless."

Sources at USAID confirmed to The Standard that they wrote to the government
over destruction of property at Hatcliffe, which was built with funds from
international organisations, a decade ago.

Stevenson said: "This was supposed to be a bilateral agreement with
government, with the City of Harare as the implementing agent in this case."

She met the World Bank's acting country manager, Sudhir Chitale, very early
on after the launch of "Operation Murambatsvina".

She added: "He said that, while it is a pity that government destroys a
project the Bank had funded, the contract period was over and there was not
much the Bank could do legally - but it would not go unnoticed, for future
funding requests.

"He also pointed out that the amount of arrears owed by government to the
Bank is a much more serious matter than the relatively small amount put into
Hatcliffe Extension infrastructure - hence our suspension from Bank funding,
which has had a devastating effect to other international donor funding."

The Hatcliffe Extension infrastructure included sewage treatment works,
mechanical, civil and electrical engineering contracts as well as a water
reservoir which started in July 1997 and was completed by the Chinese
contractor, Hualong, in March 1998 at a cost of $5,6 million and water main
and pump station.

The Hatcliffe BNR sewage treatment works constructed by R Davis & Company
started in September 1996 and was completed in December 1998 at a cost of
$38.5 million.

The water main and pump station was also constructed by R Davis & Company.
Work on it started in December 1997 and was completed in June 1999 at a cost
of $33 million.

USAID was involved in the planning of Hatcliffe Extension new stands
site-and-service scheme in conjunction with the Ministry of Local
Government. They were not impressed.

Records show that in 1992, US committed $600 million in support of
low-income housing, under which housing co-operatives qualified for funding.
The records also show that in March 1994 the World Bank made available $21
million for housing development, which was released to local authorities
under the Urban II Housing programme.

The DFID is understood to have funded projects in Hatcliffe. However, the
British Embassy last week said: "The British Ambassador has made
representations to a number of senior government members about our concerns
over Operation Murambatsvina.

The British government's primary concern is for the people of Zimbabwe. We
are working both to facilitate and to contribute to an international
response to the humanitarian needs of the people of Zimbabwe... "

Jack Straw, the British Foreign Secretary, in June raised the Zimbabwe issue
during the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council, saying the UK
and international partners were exerting pressure on Zimbabwe to end the
brutality of "Operation Murambatsvina", while discussing human rights abuses
in Zimbabwe with neighbouring African states and regional African bodies."

The UK has already provided one million pounds in humanitarian assistance,
channeled though United Nations agencies and non-governmental organisations,
in the form of food, blankets, medicines and other immediate help to the
most vulnerable families made homeless as a result of the operation across
the country, according to the Embassy.

"It is crucial that the government of Zimbabwe agrees to allow humanitarian
access to the UN agencies and NGOs who are willing to provide assistance,"
Embassy said.

The government started returning thousands of families to Hatcliffe ruins
after buckling under international pressure.

Hatcliffe residents who were initially taken to Caledonia holding camp
attacked the government over what they described as a lack of a clear
policy.

"I have been moving all my life, In 1994 I lived at Porta Farm and was moved
to this place, then to Caledonia and now I am back (Hatcliffe)", said Maidei
Maphosa, a young mother, who says she has never lived in a respectable home.

Maidei narrated the hardships they faced at the Caledonia camp, which has
hitherto remained closed to the outside world.

"We lived in plastic tents and were mixed with streets kids and even people
with mental conditions. On several occasions my child was down with flu.
There was an endless flu bug in the camp," she said.

Albert Tasarira said the images of the camp, which were shown to the outside
world, portrayed a false picture. "We were living crammed like rats, the
tents were inhabited by the police and not just anybody", he said.

Victims of the unpopular exercise said they were no schools, resulting in
hundreds of pupils dropping out.

The operation has impacted heavily on the pupils who were forced to drop out
of school after the displacement of their parents.

Joyce Charehwa, a 13-year-old girl who was in Grade VII told The Standard
that she missed school but was however consoled by the fact that most of her
friends were also affected.

"I really do miss school and am looking forward to going back," she said.

The Minister of Health and Child Welfare, David Parirenyatwa, recently
addressed some of the returning residents who were waiting for roofing
sheets and said pupils should register at their old schools so that they
could start attending lessons.

Most of the people said the government was not helping them when they were
at the transit camp. "We got all aid from the United Nations", said Terrence
Kamba, who said he was sleeping in the open with his wife and three children
since their return to Hatcliffe.

The Minister of Local Government, public Works and Urban Development,
Ignatious Chombo, visited the camp only once, they said.
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Zim Standard

Comment

State intransigence counterproductive

NATIONS and organisations that have chosen to stand by Zimbabwe deserve to
be commended. It is time we started reciprocating the goodwill being shown
towards us by demonstrating willingness to accommodate advice and views from
the few remaining friends.

Elsewhere in this paper we carry a report indicating that the current
economic crisis is so deep that it has set the country back more than half a
century. In yet another report, the World Bank which is owed more than
US$350 million by the government, says its primary concern is the rising
poverty rather than the amount Zimbabwe owes. The two reports recommend
decisive policy action, politically and economically in order to stop the
economic decline and achieve a normalisation in relationship with the
international community.

What is critical for Zimbabwe is to realise that the path it has chosen
during the past five years has an enormous cost and that no country with
genuine interests and welfare of its citizens can continue the way things
have been for the past half decade. Not everyone, who reminds us of the
consequences of the route we have taken, is driven by dark motives.

In June, the executive director of the World Food Programme visited Zimbabwe
on behalf of the United Nations Secretary-General. His visit was able to
establish that there is need for emergency food aid and that in the case of
Zimbabwe in particular, more than 4 million people were at risk.

Since that visit the government chose not to capitalise on it and launch an
international appeal for food. Instead, it elected to prevent any food aid
coming into the country. The rationale for this action by the government is
perplexing, to say the least. Could a government, professing to serve the
interests of its people reject or stall the flow of food aid intended for
vulnerable populations, when it clearly does not have the resources to go it
alone? Why is the government afraid of saving its own people from
starvation, when it always claims credit for sourcing and enabling
international aid flows?

Efforts by the South African Council of Churches to bring in food to
alleviate the domestic shortages have met obstacles. The United States has
also complained that thousands of tonnes of food aid are being held up
because of bureaucratic paper work. This is not the conduct of a government
reciprocating gestures of goodwill towards its starving populations. Canada,
like others, has gone further by seeking to empower rural people so that
they are better prepared to overcome future food crises. But that is the
future. We have a crisis right now and it requires immediate responses and
solutions. Would the government rather it had starving people - genocide?
Whatever its differences with neighbours or the international community -
perceived or real - it should not cloud the issues. It must begin to act as
a representative of the people, demonstrating concern for its citizens.

The government clearly has no resources for the multitude of Zimbabwe's
needs. The cancer has been allowed to fester for too long and the response
does not lie in ad hoc measures. If a hungry person is an angry person, it
is in the interests of the government to begin to deal with removing the
cause of anger that could come from food shortages, by allowing all people
of goodwill, including its friends to weigh in with assistance. Let's stop
being paranoid.

The World Bank, for example, says that it remains prepared to support the
people of Zimbabwe once a significantly improved economic and political
situation warrants a more active presence by the Bank and points out that it
is for this reason that it continues to maintain an office in Harare. Let's
make the work of the few remaining friends that much easier for them.

The Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review, presented to Parliament last week and
ironically titled Restoring Confidence in all Sectors exposed the magnitude
of the problems Zimbabwe is facing. It is clear the government does not have
the resources, on its own, to begin to go about the task of restoring
confidence in all sectors in this country.

Buying food on the international market requires foreign currency not the
Zimbabwe dollar. We do not have the hard currency or the capacity to
generate foreign currency to meet all the country's food requirements. That
has been evident to the government for a long time.

The problem extends beyond the immediate. It is clear that the forthcoming
agricultural season will be affected by the unavailability of inputs that
have to be imported - seed, fertilisers and chemicals. Even if there is a
good rainy season the unavailability of inputs at a time they are required
will be another major set back, likely to impact negatively on food
availability next year.

Those coming to our assistance are not seeking to impose themselves on us.
They do so out of a realisation of the government's limitations.
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Zim Standard

Gloom pervades Zim economy
By our correspondent

KEY economic stakeholders have painted a gloomy outlook of the country's
economic fortunes after both the mid-term fiscal and monetary policies
announced recently failed to tackle headlong the country's economic slump.

Speaker after speaker at a breakfast seminar organised by the Zimbabwe
National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) said the crisis-wrecked economy would
continue sinking into the doldrums in the absence of drastic measures to
arrest the haemorrhaging economy.

ZNCC president Luxon Zembe said that there was need to remove the
distortions in the economy and synchronise policies.

"We need to have a single economy rather than the current prices for
different sectors of the economy. Right now we have price for fuel for
farmers, people with foreign currency, parastatals and also the general
public buying in local currency," Zembe said.

John Robertson, economic consultant at Robertson Economic Information
Services, said that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would this year fall by 2%
and a further 1% next year unless a miracle happens to stop the decline in
the country's economic sectors.

He also predicted that the budget deficit will worsen to more than 8.7% of
the GDP as announced by Minister of Finance Herbert Murerwa last Tuesday.

"Companies affected by high taxes will decrease production and prices will
go up. People will, as a result, have less purchasing power and this will
further shrink government revenues," Robertson said.

According to Robertson Economic Information Services goods in the country
are now costing 1 000 times more than they were in 1995 and the
manufacturing sector will further decline this year.

Witness Chinyama, an economist at Kingdom Financial Holdings, ruled out any
recovery prospects unless the country re-engaged international development
partners to attract foreign direct investment.

He also bemoaned the fact that the country was spending more on recurrent
expenditure at the expense of capital expenditure through allocation of more
resources to "social ministries" and sacrificing productive ministries like
agriculture and energy.

Davy Matyanga of the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe said the harsh economic
environment in the country was causing acute viability problems to the
mining sector.

The viability problems were being fuelled by shortage of inputs,
unfavourable exchange rate, high cost of available inputs and a very
restrictive exchange control environment.

He said as a result of these numerous problems, the sector was now only
projected to grow by 7.6%, down from an initial forecast of 16.2%.

Production in minerals like coal, gold, nickel and phosphate went down while
asbestos and platinum registered some growth.

"Most of the measures announced by government will increase the cost of
doing business in Zimbabwe. Also the country's investment front measures
were inconsistent with international standards and this will make the
country less attractive to international investors," Matyanga said.

The Commercial Farmers' Union revealed that there was little land
preparation taking place due to insufficient funds allocated for
agriculture. The union said the open market financing of agriculture was
unsustainable due to the country's high interest rates.

Chief Fortune Charumbira, who sits in the Parliament's budget committee,
said that business and government should stop being in denial and should
start admitting their failures for the country to solve its problems.

Joseph Kunyetu, ZNCC vice president, said the fiscal policy announcement was
going to create an even more difficult platform for companies because of the
high tax regime. Murerwa increased the rate of the value added tax (VAT)
from 15% to 17.5%.
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Zim Standard

Interesting twist to Zesa power problems

I read in The Standard that failure of the electricity supply in Zimbabwe is
due to lack of coal for the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority.

How interesting, especially, since President Robert Mugabe, that great
critic of white imperialism, has seen fit to facilitate a large chunk of the
ownership of Hwange into the hands of one Nicholas van Hoogstraten, who is a
white businessman and a Brit to boot.

Martin Udwin

Cardiff University

Wales
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Zim Standard

Save Zambuko School for Hatcliffe Extension

I WRITE in a state of shock, having seen the recent demolition of Hatcliffe
Extension Clinic and the first signs of attack on adjacent Zambuko School.

Zambuko School was established by government to cater for the children of
Hatcliffe Extension, and had an enrolment of 1 100 pupils from Grade I -
grade VI before it was forced to close under Operation Murambatsvina in June
this year. The school started as a community effort, long before it was
adopted by government. Ten years ago, it had six unqualified teachers and a
couple of wooden sheds, and was just behind the now-demolished clinic.

Soon it had an establishment of qualified and accredited teachers, a
proactive headmaster seconded from Hatcliffe Two Primary, and many
benefactors who built toilet blocks, a soup kitchen, community library,
classroom blocks, boreholes, etc, etc.

More than 100 pupils were Aids orphans supported by the BEAM programme,
Batsirai group and other donors. It was a model example of what a community
can do for itself, given a bit of encouragement.

Zambuko School is now showing the first signs of destruction. Window panes
are broken, classrooms are in disarray, and the roofing is being torn off
the main hall. The soup kitchen has been entirely destroyed, and the swings
and jungle jims have disappeared.

The caretaker hangs laundry on the fence, and there are various vehicles
around the yard, but it looks like a "first come, first served" scenario,
whereby the pickings are ripe for whoever arrives first.

The new farmer next door, Nyasha Chikwinya, who has taken over Pioneers Rust
Farm from the Turner family, who donated the Church/School Hall to the
Hatcliffe Extension community, declares that Zambuko School is on her
property. She insists that it does not belong to Hatcliffe Extension.

It is plain that Zambuko School is under threat. I therefore appeal on
behalf of the 1 100 pupils and their parents to everyone with any influence
whatsoever to help us save Zambuko School! We do not want all the investment
in this school to be destroyed. Parents, teachers, development partners and
children have worked hard to make Zambuko a shining example of community
development.

Please help us to save Zambuko School, and avoid having to spend more
billions erecting a replacement school six months or so down the line. We
don't have those extra billions, and we know that nothing will ever replace
Zambuko.

Save Zambuko School!

Trudy Stevenson MP

Harare North Constituency
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Zim Standard

Public hearings on Amendment Bill were a mockery of democracy

THE National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) would like to dismiss as a
non-event, and as mockery of democratic consultation processes, the Public
Hearing on Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 17) Bill as the inputs to
be made will not be of any significance.

The same Parliamentary committee has ignored representations made to it
previously such as those for pre-election reforms.

The NCA strongly believes that Parliament and the Zanu PF politburo have
neither the mandate, nor moral authority to undertake constitutional reform
by themselves. This is the sovereign right of Zimbabweans as a whole. The
process has congenital defects stemming from the strictures of an
undemocratic constitution whose perfunctory consultative processes are
impotent.

The sinister purposes of the Bill are to re-introduce a Senate which will
accommodates President Robert Mugabe's cronies in order to shamelessly
whittle down an already emaciated Declaration of Rights by attacking the
judiciary and limiting freedoms of movement and rights to own property.

It is the height of hypocrisy and abuse of power for a government that has
claimed for the past five years, that constitutional reform is not a
priority; to turn around and fast-track self-serving constitutional
amendments.

This comes at a time when the people are suffering at the hands of the
regime - from shortages of food, fuel, transport and the destruction of
people's livelihoods through the notorious "Operation Murambatsvina".

Instead of addressing these problems, the regime proposes to increase the
number of MPs from 150 to 216 and Mugabe's appointees from 30 to 46.

The moribund economy cannot sustain the increase of MPs from 150.

Just as we rejected an imposed constitution in 2000, so do we now reject
dictated and piece-meal constitutional reform.

Jessie Manjome

NCA National

Spokesperson
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Zim Standard

Are Mugabe's supporters crazy lunatics?
American notes with Ken Mufuka

I MUST confess that when I heard that President Robert Mugabe was getting
some support among some black groups, my Eurocentric black mind jumped to
the conclusion that the supporters were lunatics or more mad (black
English).

Secondly, evidence had been all around me for a long time, and I had ignored
it - until recently. I was returning to the United States, via South Africa.

I visited a black professor and his wife who had lived all their lives in
England. On returning to South Africa, they were disappointed by President
Thabo Mbeki ignorant policies on AIDS, on Zimbabwe, and on the selfish get
rich quick tendencies of the South African leadership.

"Some things are plain wrong," he said referring to Mbeki's policy on
Zimbabwe. "How can he even think of securing Zimbabwe's loans at the
International Moneary Fund? This is madness!" In fact, as I found out,
President Mugabe is regarded as a hero in South Africa. President Mbeki's as
well as most African leaders, have a genuine admiration for Mugabe.

A Zulu man explained it simply. "Is it right for 4,000 whites to own seventy
percent of the land, far away from their own country?" The argument that
those 4 000 white farmers were citizens only made the Zulu man more angrier
(black American English). "Who gave them that power, to own that much of the
economy in a foreign country?"

It opened my eyes to the fact that in a Euroecentric world, it is all right
for a few men to own all the means of production and to dominate the
economy. To the Zulu and perhaps the Africans I met, it is plain wrong, even
stupid. Everything else is academic. I was amazed to find that white farmers
whether born in Zimbabwe or not, were regarded as Europeans, and therefore
not entitled to protection under the law.

Let us turn to President Mbeki, or former President Bakili Muluzi of Malawi
or former President Sam Nujoma of Namibia. A white couple from New Zealand
enlightened me on a topic I was perhaps overly sensitive about, racial
solidarity. The couple, the wife a medical doctor and the husband an
environmentalist, were very informed about world politics. Black
nationalists resent white domination intuitively, and these presidents
mentioned above share that resentment. The cause of white farmers in
Zimbabwe is seen as a smokescreen to perpetuate imperialist domination of
black economies through a surrogate population that owes allegiance to the
motherland.

In that sense, Mugabe has done what circumstances or cowardice prevented
them from doing. "Ah," I said, remembering Professor Levy Bruhl, "Africans
are illogical. This hatred of the white man consumes them and subsumes
economic thinking and planning."

Returning to the United States further enlightened me on this issue of race
solidarity. Randall Robinson was leading a defence of Mugabe policies.
Because of my Eurocentric mindset, I had to check his biography three times
to make sure that he was not more mad (black English). Robinson's
credentials are impeccable. A law graduate of Harvard, he founded
TransAfrica, a movement that was devoted to the liberation of South Africa.
His is credited with forcing Congress to face up to white racism by passing
the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act, 1984 after twenty years of struggle.
But Robinson was cheated of his victory. When Nelson Mandela left prison,
Robinson's group was snubbed because Mandela had been advised to keep away
from communist organizations. Mandela feigned an illness and was unable to
speak to TransAfrica. Frustrated by the realization that even in victory,
the imperialists now wearing new clothes, and their ideology reborn and
predicated on democracy, liberation of women and regime changes in Iraq and
Haiti, sweet victory had been snatched from his mouth. "Whites don't give a
... (bad word) about what we think, never did, never will," he wrote in his
biography, Quitting America.

Robinson is supported by probably the majority of US blacks. He says that
whites use double standards in judging Mugabe. In 1991, during the
Commonwealth Conference, 30 000 Zimbabweans were kicked out of their shacks
and hidden in some remote "keeps" so the Queen would not see their unsightly
shacks. And dirty faces. He says American Indians and his black ancestors
were murdered, enslaved and kicked out of their lands to make way for
European immigrants to America. These Christians, he says, swore that God
created all men equal while in the same breadth they held his ancestors as
slaves.

He says that in Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa, the same people now
complaining about "Mugabe land grab" kicked Africans out of their land.
Hypocrites, he calls them.

What about those blacks that are opposed to Mugabe land grab? I seem to
glean through his numerous writings that the answer to that is very simple.
Look at the paymasters to these blacks. Brother Robinson may have gone too
far here. His TransAfrica group received money from Ford Foundation and many
other imperialist devils. I have found a white man, Anders G Lewis of
FrontPage Magazine (3 August) who calls Brother Robinson a black racist.
Robinson's reply is that he (Robinson) is yet to receive compensation for
the labour his slave ancestors. Robinson has denounced his US Citizenship
and is hiding out in the Caribbean island of St Kitts.

What about the economy? The answer seems to be, the land is the economy,
stupid. With friends like these, why do we need enemies?
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Zim Standard

Zimbabweans can not afford to die
Sunday opinion with Marko Phiri

ZIMBABWE'S near esoteric inflation is being felt within spheres which a few
years ago were issues which would not give anybody sleepless nights.

Only the event caused migraines, but otherwise the attendant processes were
done with relative ease.

Merchants of death - the pun is intendeacad - who sprouted after HIV and
Aids hit these shores and are raking in millions if not billions in revenue
as Zimbabwe's ailing economy continues destroying the little ubuntu there is
left in us.

While it is true communities need funeral parlours and other service
providers within the business of death that families now have to deal with
not only their grief but also worry about where they will get finance to
give relatives a decent send-off has become the norm in our increasingly
abnormal society.

In 2002, a family struggled to hire a bus to ferry mourners to the local
cemetery. The price then was only $22 000. There was no fuel crisis then,
but pooling together meagre resources proved one hell of a headache.

A month ago a colleague went to hire a bus to carry mourners, and was told
to fork out $1.5 million. A few weeks later he was back looking for a bus,
again to ferry mourners to the local cemetery. The asking price - $2.5
million! Then somebody quipped, leli lizwe lamanga. Wabona ngaphi into
ekhwela nge $1 million? (Loosely translated - this is a "false" country.
Where in the world have you seen anything being increased by a million
dollars?).

It is these seemingly small and distant occasions which ought to run
smoothly to ease the emotional and psychological burden of death which bring
to the fore the bad turn of events here.

While others debate the technicalities of the position Zimbabwe finds itself
in, the stories that remain to be told are not only of those families
deprived of roofs and livelihood, but also those for whom death itself is
not "merely" about the passing of a loved one. For them the real sorrow
begins when they have to debate how they will bury the deceased considering
the exponential rise of those traditional funeral expenses.

It is an accepted part of township lore that no burial occurs without one or
two buses finding their way among the funeral cortege. But now with the fuel
seemingly only being found at the price of an arm and leg from the
streetwise traders that hoard it from neighbouring Botswana, the buses are
slowly disappearing. Unless, of course, one still has very deep pockets, or
by some other obligation they want locals to bid farewell to one who once
lived among them, only then will there be such a rare sighting.

"Look, a bus," the people on the roadside whisper as if Michael Jackson was
in town. Still, alongside the bus, the family has to worry about feeding
mourners.

Is not death itself tormenting enough without families having to worry about
feeding mourners, hiring buses and other things? These are issues which only
a few years ago, although the bad economic and political situation was
already with us, families could still not afford something like $22 000. It
is from these experiences in the townships that the reality of the cruelty
of the rulers is felt.

And then the people are told all this suffering is because somebody they
have never seen or heard of before in their lives is actually responsible
for the expensive buses to carry mourners!

From the days when the people would gladly take a relative who died in the
city for burial at their rural home, so much has altered the way people here
mourn. Now, instead of being buried at your homestead, the expense involved
has meant people are buried in the city, not where they would have loved -
among their patriarchs and matriarchs. Dying has become an expensive affair,
and who can afford it considering the circumstances?

It is interesting to realise then that bad governance has also affected
people's socio-cultural order of doing things.

It is important to debate issues about economic turnaround, but what is
equally important would be recording history to give those economic
hardships a face and show how those economic woes have affected the people
whose story would not make the headlines. What becomes increasingly shocking
then is the patent arrogance of the rulers who seem to firmly believe that
the people's "belly aching" is inspired by very fertile imaginations.

All is well here so what the heck are you complaining about? Walk on the
wild side comrades, the mean streets of Zimbabwe's townships; places where
death no longer comes like a thief at night, but is seen coming and still,
owing to meagre wages that cannot pay the hospital bills thus die of
treatable ailments - nothing is done. Attend a local funeral then you will
see the face of hardship. Perhaps if you have a soul, you might just quit
politics.
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Zim Standard

Celebrating to keep Freedonia's hopes alive
By Dumisani Mpofu

IN traditional Freedonia society, the post-harvest period was a season of
feasting. Until the onset of the rainy season, this was one long period of
festivities.

Now the council of traditional leaders had declared that for the first time
since Freedonia wrested its independence from the oppressors, they would
host the mother-of-all traditional festivals.

In traditional society such festivities served several functions. One, among
them, was a libation - a thanksgiving occasion to the Heavens and the dear
departed ancestors for safeguarding the living and for providing for their
needs, especially in the area of good harvests. The other was to invoke the
Heavens and the spirit of the ancestors to ensure a good agricultural
season.

Yet another was to pray for rain.

Freedonia was suffering from a serious food deficit, but also after the
great victory over the oppressors, many traditionalists had argued that the
proper way of welcoming the new order should have been to host one such huge
traditional ceremony to thank the great spirit mediums and the ancestors for
guiding the revolutionaries and the freedom fighters through many years of
the armed struggle.

Other people who expressed reservations about such things were swiftly
lectured on the extent of their assimilation and reminded that one great
power in the world held a "Thanks-giving Day" each year. There was,
therefore, nothing primitive about Freedonia getting back to its roots.

The council of traditional leaders also suggested that there be a
Pfumvudza/Spring festival, a celebration of life during which the
countryside was a riot of colours, a marvel to admire, and thank the
ancestors for the promises that came with such seasons.

The traditional leaders wanted this period to be observed annually,
nationwide, in addition to the mother-of-all-traditional festival they had
decreed.

It was not just these two festivals that had become a major preoccupation of
the leadership in Freedonia. Every month, if there was no reason for a
festival, the traditional leaders recommended that there should be such
events. It was argued that this was one way of bonding the nation's
citizens, and thus guard against external influences meant to turn them
against their own revolutionary country and its consistent revolutionary
leadership.

In this venture, they found support in one historian - he also liked to pass
himself off as an educationist - who had recommended to the government that
Freedonia's educational system be restructured to emphasise the equality of
all its students, who would be required to don uniforms depicting the
national flag, whose colours bore historical, political and economic
significance.

In recent times Freedonia's foreign policy shifted significantly. In some of
the countries which it now looked up to, some would say, for inspiration,
mentoring and role modelling, societies and even governments were guided by
religious leaders. Freedonia appeared intent on following this path of
guided societies.

"Something was introduced to the water that Freedonians drank and this
explains their willingness to welcome the changes being introduced by the
revolutionary leadership," was all the old man of Freedonia could think of.

With such a scenario outcome realised, the Don of Freedonia's revolution
could elect to "step down". But Freedonia's revolutionary party would hear
of no such a thing. The other revolutionaries would rush legislation through
the two houses and extend the Don's reign. It would be up to the Don to
decide his next move.

The multitude of "palace analysts, researchers and scholars" suggested that
if such an outcome was realised the Don would be destined for immortality.
That was the light at the end of Freedonia's long dark tunnel. Keep hope
alive.
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