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

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Zim Online

Mugabe hounding independent judges, says suspended High Court judge
Tue 23 August 2005

HARARE - The lawyer for suspended Zimbabwe High Court Judge Benjamin
Paradza on Monday told a Harare court that the taping by police of his
conversation with a fellow judge was illegal according to the country's
telecommunications laws.

And Paradza, arrested last year on allegations of interfering in the
trial of a business partner and obstructing the course of justice, in his
defence outline told the court that three other judges lined up to testify
against him had succumbed to pressure to "build cases" against independent
members of the bench.

Paradza, who has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him,
becomes the first judge to stand trial in Zimbabwe .

The matter is being heard before Justice Simpson Mutambanengwe, a
Zimbabwean on the Namibian Supreme Court bench, after Harare Judge
Chinembiri Bhunu, recused himself last November saying he could not preside
over the trial of a judicial colleague alongside whom he fought during
Zimbabwe's 1970's war of independence.

On Monday, Superintendent Raphael Nyathi told the court that he had
been instructed by the then Senior Assistant Commissioner commanding
Bulawayo Province Albert Mandizha to tape a conversation between Bulawayo
High Court judge Mafios Cheda and Paradza using a Dictaphone.

Mandizha has since left the police force and now works for the
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.

Paradza's lawyer Jeremy Gauntlett however said that the taping of the
conversation was illegal under the country's Postal and Telecommunications
laws, which forbid anyone from taping wireless (cellphone) and telephone
conversations without a presidential directive.

"Only the President can authorise a minister who has to make a
directive which has to be in writing. Did you receive such a directive
Superintendent Nyathi?" Gauntlett asked, to which the police officer
answered no.

In February, the government suspended Paradza from the bench to enable
an international tribunal to investigate charges that he attempted to
influence Cheda to release the passport of his business partner Russell
Lubuschagne, who was charged with murder and was later convicted of the
offence.

The tribunal is still to release its findings and Paradza is suing
President Robert Mugabe's government for wrongful arrest and over a
"humiliating" night spent in a lice-infested jail, which he said was an
assault on judicial independence.

Half of Zimbabwe 's High Court judges condemned Paradza's detention.

In his defence outline, Paradza claimed that Cheda and two other
judges who will testify against him "may have succumbed to pressure to
'build' cases against certain judicial officers who are perceived to have
handed down judgments unfavourable to government."

Paradza's lawyers have previously said the state charges are
politically motivated, designed to punish him for embarrassing the
government last year when he freed then Harare executive mayor Elias
Mudzuri, an opposition Movement for Democratic Change member, who had been
arrested for holding an illegal political rally. The government denies the
charges against Paradza are politically motivated.

Zimbabwe 's Supreme Court ruled in September 2003 that Paradza's
detention was unconstitutional. It said the state could still pursue the
charges after first subjecting Paradza to a judicial inquiry. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Zimbabwe faces more food shortages amid fertilizer crisis
Tue 23 August 2005

HARARE - Zimbabwe 's biggest fertilizer manufacturer could close down
in two weeks time because of foreign currency shortages, a development that
would compound problems for farmers already facing severe shortages of seed
barely two months before the onset of the rainy season.

Describing the situation as "sad and serious", Andy Humphreys, who is
managing director of fertilizer maker, Windmill, said the firm had only two
weeks supply of imported raw materials in stock and that it would have to
close shop once supplies are exhausted.

"There is very little foreign currency and we have virtually exhausted
our supply of raw material. We are going to produce for another two weeks
and then we will stop production, it is a very serious and sad situation,"
said Humphreys.

The company, one of two that produces fertilizer in Zimbabwe ,
requires at least US$6 million to import raw materials and avert closure.

Zimbabwe is in the grip of its worst ever foreign currency crisis
which began six years ago after the International Monetary Fund withdrew
balance-of-payments support to the country after disagreeing with President
Robert Mugabe over fiscal policies and other governance issues.

The forex crisis worsened after Mugabe seized productive farms from
white farmers five years ago destabilising the agricultural sector, the
country's biggest hard cash earner.

Food, fuel, essential medical drugs, electricity and almost every
other basic commodity is in short supply because there is no hard cash to
pay foreign suppliers.

Seed producers warned last week that they were only able to raise
about 40 000 tonnes of seed maize compared to 100 000 required per season
citing poor rains last farming season as well as the fact that black
peasants resettled by Mugabe on former white-owned seed growing farms lack
experience or resources to maintain production.

Zimbabwe 's rainy season begins around November and the mounting
problems in the supply of seed and fertilizer could ensure the country faces
food shortages again next year even if it receives good rains.

A US$500 million bailout loan Zimbabwe is negotiating with South
Africa could however help save the 2005/2006 farming season with part of the
money reportedly earmarked for the importation of fertilizer and other farm
inputs to ensure the country produces adequate food. - ZimOnline

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ICC to ignore pleas for boycott

Paul Kelso
Tuesday August 23, 2005
The Guardian

The ICC will this week ignore a plea from Jack Straw and Tessa Jowell to
boycott Zimbabwe and endorse a match programme that will commit all
Test-playing nations to visit the controversial African state at least once
betweeen 2006 and 2012.
The chief executives of the Test-playing nations meet in Dubai this week to
discuss the International Cricket Council's future tours programme, and are
likely to recommend a six-year cycle during which every nation will have to
play each other home and away at least once.

The British foreign secretary and the culture minister have written to ICC
president Ehsan Mani and Malcolm Speed, the chief executive, urging the body
to take sanctions against Zimbabwe following a slum clearance program by the
Mugabe regime which has left tens of thousands of people homeless.

The letter was sent in support of similar pleas from the Australian and New
Zealand governments. New Zealand are in Zimbabwe for a Test and one-day
series that was the subject of huge controversy domestically before it
began. Meanwhile Australia have an outstanding commitment to play Test and
one-day games there.

ICC officials said yesterday that Mani and Speed had not seen the letter and
would not be in a position to comment until they had, but it is understood
that the British government's intervention will not force discussion of a
boycott on to the agenda.

The chief executives will discuss potential schedules for two days before
formally meeting to consider extending the future tour cycle from five to
six years - a move favoured by the ECB because it will allow it to schedule
more lucrative series with major drawcards such as South Africa, the West
Indies and Australia.

The Guardian understands there is no appetite for reassessing ICC
regulations last tested when the England and Wales Cricket board was
contemplating the consequences of pulling out of England's four match
one-day tour last December.

Without a clear government instruction not to tour governing bodies face
fines and possible suspension from international cricket (unless the two
parties agree to suitable compensation), if they do not play as planned.

The ECB met its commitment to a one-day series last year but agreed to pay
Zimbabwe Cricket 250,000 in compensation for pulling out of two Test
matches postponed because Zimbabwe's Test status was suspended.

England are not due to return to Zimbabwe until at least 2009.
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The Telegraph

We will sink or swim together, impatient Mbeki warns Mugabe
By David Blair in Johannesburg
(Filed: 23/08/2005)

President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa warned President Robert Mugabe
yesterday that "we sink or swim together" and that economic collapse in
Zimbabwe affected the whole region.

Delivering rare words of censure to his Zimbabwean counterpart, he urged Mr
Mugabe to "understand" that his actions had "an impact" on his neighbours.
He has refrained from criticising Mr Mugabe in the past, arguing that he
could best influence his behaviour behind the scenes. By issuing this stern
public warning, he sent a strong signal that he had lost patience and that
South Africa was toughening its policy towards its troublesome neighbour.

The rebuke coincided with a milestone in Zimbabwe's worsening economic
crisis. The International Monetary Fund will soon decide whether to cast Mr
Mugabe into isolation by expelling Zimbabwe, a step not taken against any
member in 50 years. A team of IMF officials arrived in Harare before a board
meeting on Sept 9 that will decide Zimbabwe's future.

Mr Mugabe's regime, unable to import essential food and fuel, owes the IMF
about 175 million. The country's inflation rate of 254 per cent is Africa's
highest and a third of the economy has been wiped out in five years. A slump
on such a scale usually occurs only in countries hit by civil war or natural
disaster.

Mr Mugabe has had to turn to South Africa for a rescue package. But Mr
Mbeki, writing in ANC Today, the internal newsletter of the ruling African
National Congress, said that "a stable and prosperous Zimbabwe is critical",
adding: "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."

Talks between South Africa and Zimbabwe on a proposed rescue package have
dragged on for more than a month. Mr Mbeki has agreed in principle to save
Zimbabwe from expulsion from the IMF by paying off some or all of its debts
to the organisation.

An agreement on a loan for Zimbabwe, likely to run into hundreds of millions
of pounds, is believed to have been reached by Trevor Manuel, South Africa's
finance minister, and Herbert Murerwa, his Zimbabwean opposite number. But
the proposed deal still needs Mr Mugabe's endorsement. South Africa is
believed to have insisted on tough conditions, focusing on major economic
reforms.

Aziz Pahad, South Africa's deputy foreign minister, has spoken of the danger
of a "failed state on our doorstep" and has called for "fundamental changes"
in Mr Mugabe's economic policies.

Zimbabwe's crisis has caused millions of its citizens to flee to
neighbouring countries. Official figures issued in Harare suggest that about
3.4 million people - a quarter of the population - are living abroad. Some
1.2 million have fled to South Africa, more than any other country, and Mr
Mbeki fears that if the collapse continues the numbers of migrants will
climb further.

But Mr Mugabe is deeply reluctant to accept any conditions from abroad and
has spurned calls for talks with the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change.

He is pushing a series of repressive laws through parliament, including a
measure that ignores reform altogether and makes the freehold ownership of
land illegal.
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The Telegraph

Bailing out Mugabe
(Filed: 23/08/2005)

In 1963, the year that Robert Mugabe became secretary general of the
Zimbabwean African National Union (Zanu), Thabo Mbeki enrolled at Sussex
University. One man spent most of the next 20 years fighting and behind
bars; the other spent them on international diplomatic postings for the ANC.

This helps explain the extraordinary complaisance which Mr Mbeki has shown
towards Mr Mugabe's behaviour in recent years. In African politics the
armchair general defers to the bush guerrilla, the younger man defers to the
elder, and leaders stick together in the face of "post-colonial" pressure.

Now Mr Mbeki has informed Mr Mugabe that they will "sink or swim together".
Interestingly, however, this is not a restatement of fraternal affection,
but a reminder that the prosperity of South Africa is bound up with that of
Zimbabwe. Indeed, Mr Mugabe has caused a quarter of all Zimbabweans to flee
their country, most to South Africa. It is not surprising that Mr Mbeki is
getting that sinking feeling.

Facing the unprecedented prospect of expulsion from the International
Monetary Fund for the small matter of an outstanding debt of 175 million,
Mr Mugabe has turned to Mr Mbeki for help. Sure enough, help is forthcoming:
South Africa has agreed in principle to pay off the debt. But, commendably,
Mr Mbeki is insisting on significant economic reforms in return for the
cash. We await Mr Mugabe's response to the man he regards as his junior in
the liberation struggle. The omens are not good: already he is trying to
pass a law effectively nationalising the soil of Zimbabwe by making freehold
ownership illegal. Tougher action than this might be necessary.

Back in the 1970s, John Vorster of South Africa forced Ian Smith to the
negotiating table by cutting off his supply of oil. Today, Zimbabwe gets a
sizeable proportion of its electricity from South Africa. If Mr Mbeki were
serious about preventing what one of his ministers has called "a failed
state on our doorstep", he would simply threaten to switch off the lights
and leave Mr Mugabe alone in the dark.
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New Zimbabwe

Third Way or no way out of misery

By Oscar Nkala
Last updated: 08/23/2005 13:14:03
IT HAS been a few weeks since the debate on the Third Way -- a new political
alternative which Zimbabweans are being rightly or wrongly asked to believe
in -- started.

In its short time of existence, the Third Way, promulgated by Professor
Jonathan Moyo among others, has been called all sorts of supportive and
derogatory names - a dead force in some quarters, and an obscure tribally
inspired plot as the editor of a beleaguered weekly said last week in an
editorial aimed at denying allegations that Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) owns the paper and pays his salary.

The debates around the Third Way have given a new impetus to our national
situation and therefore renewed interest as to where Zimbabwe is going.

There is no argument about the need for a new beginning in our country but
it is my view that the debate around an alternative to the failures we have
in Zanu PF and MDC has been so personalized as too concentrate on
personalities and trivial personal histories premised on hear-say.

Instead of debating the Third Way and seeing beyond personalities, many
so-called eminent political (actually media) scientists, vendetta driven
activists and unknown persons from consultancies with no history in the long
struggle for Zimbabwe have taken the PHD (Pull Him Down) syndrome so far
that they would rather character assassinate Professor Moyo to a point that
the debate itself ceases to be audible.

Professor Moyo admitted his complicity in drawing up and defending
un-democratic legislation and we cannot afford to lock ourselves in history
and hold him accountable forever as if he was heading military junta in
Zimbabwe. He admits that his time in Zanu PF set the democratic struggle
back by some years. We have had too much anti-Jonathan invective, voluminous
apologies by the Third Way critics on behalf of the MDC, as if anyone denies
the party's contribution to democratization and chaos in the last five
years. The problem is that like Zanu PF, the MDC has entered a tunnel where
no lights are allowed, yet they still seek light at the end of an ever
darkening tunnel.

In simple terms we cannot moan and groan around the failure of MDC and Zanu
PF as if they were the only parties given brains to think out solutions and
work with Zimbabweans in pulling us out of Mugabe's 25 years of misrule. I
am sure that in the disgruntled ranks of Zanu PF and the MDC we still have
clear-minded people with one experience or another, which this country
needs. Critics who stoop to tearing down personalities and leaving real
issues begging are no different from backbiters, an unnecessary burden in
any struggle. The diversity of opinion in the country can also be seen in
its political dynamics and one does not need to join the MDC in order to be
seen as a democrat. In the same way we should not allow anyone to appoint
themselves the giver or taker of democratic credentials, which is exactly
what some critics have vainly sought to do.

Without mentioning names, I would like to refer to one article, which said
the Third Way, if it came to a government, would fizzle out and become worse
than Mugabe and Zanu PF. We are asked to believe this is so because members
of the ruling coalition in Kenya came from various different parties to form
the shaky Rainbow Coalition that is now busy tearing itself apart. I
disagree totally with anyone who says the stupidity of Kenyan politicians in
Nairobi can manifest itself and be allowed to fester in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe is a unique country and we can do things different if we put our
correct senses in order and remember not to fall into the pits that
swallowed many an African revolutionary. I agree 100% that Zimbabwe needs a
solution outside the MDC and Zanu PF, which are both so internally weak at
the moment that they cannot be relied upon to be outwardly effective.

Any opposition party that fails to take advantage of suffering on the scale
of Murambatsvina is a sad loss and an abject failure. Just as any ruling
party that fails to take advantage of an opposition in disarray to sort its
own mess is a sad story. The personalities behind any political idea can be
just interesting. If Jonathan Moyo is to be fried with his coat on for being
a former member of Zanu PF, what should we do to Morgan Tsvangirai who
remained a card holding member of Zanu PF even after taking the leadership
of the MDC?

What of all those Zanu PF turned MDC turn-coats who became champions of
democracy simply by proclaiming that they had thrown away Zanu PF cards?
Zanu PF and the MDC are legal entities and every Zimbabwean is entitled to
join as fast and leave as soon as they start feeling the stink. As
Zimbabweans, we have for years said we are resisting the traps Mugabe has
been laying to warp our thinking. It is sad to note that a lot of our
activists yearn for freedom when they apply for donor funding but are
defeatist enough to go on and proclaim that Mugabe is invincible. It is
unfortunate that the Third Way debate has been reduced to a summer slam of
personalities, being battered by people who cannot even offer a way out for
Zimbabwe apart from telling us those very old stories about MDC achievements
five years backwards.

To all the critics of the Third Way: If the Third Way is not a way of the
Zimbabwe debacle, then what is?

Do we have to find only politicians who have never been members of Zanu PF
or the MDC (both failed parties) before we can debate the future? The MDC is
made up of more former Zanu PF officials and members than the Third Way can
ever hope to gain and I wonder why those who see Moyo's past association
with Zanu PF as tainting do not see and say the same of the MDC leadership.
Is this vociferous crowd not the same that gave Edison Zvobgo, author of the
executive presidency, a hero's burial? Is it not the case he had been
allowed to reform, and to re-emerge as a champion of the free press when he
tore Aippa apart ?

We go on to discuss the crumbling of the Rainbow Coalition in Kenya as if
the MDC, our own coalition of coalitions, designed today to govern tomorrow,
is not falling apart because of unmitigated greed, power hunger and other
distinctly personal reasons. Some prophets see a leadership rising yet they
cannot even give it a name and say where it comes from.

I am sure the Third Way will evolve into a better idea than Zanu PF and the
MDC. The problem is that as Zimbabweans, we already know the unknown and yet
continue to fear it. We are so personal and some so devoid of ideas that
they see tribal schemes each time an idea rises from the south-west. As a
matter of fact, it is a silly and outright rabid lie that the future of
Zimbabwe is woven around the little fingers of the MDC leadership.

Anyone can lead Zimbabwe as long as they are collective enough and put the
country first, unlike Zanu PF, which rates Mugabe's survival as paramount.
If the Third Way can find us an accountable, people-driven leadership, why
wait until MDC grows beyond its ferocious internal struggles? Why wait for
Zanu PF to regain its long lost senses if another viable option is in the
offing?

We have heard enough now to know that the Third Way is a political process
aimed at uniting people across the established, bitter political divide for
the cause of freeing Zimbabwe. Ironically, many in the so-called
pro-democracy lobby are beneficiaries of Mugabe's tribally determined and
skewed policies. Lastly, the editor of one weekly paper I used to respect
until recently showed in his indirect contribution to the Third Way debate
that his mind is still trapped in the feudal days of Sekuru Kaguvi and King
Lobengula in thinking that tribalism still has a place in Zimbabwean
politics.

To say the Third Way is 'tribalist' and accuse those who give Professor Moyo
media coverage of being journalist co-conspirators probably explains why the
CIO did not find it difficult to buy the paper in question without the
editor noticing!! Let us debate the idea, not personalities or the tribal
origins of the proponents.
Oscar Nkala is a Zimbabwe journalist based in South Africa. Views expressed
here do not represent those of the organisation he works for. He can be
contacted at: osmoroka1@hotmail.com

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Cape Times

No buyers for three days on Zimbabwe's stock exchange
August 23, 2005

Harare: For the third trading day in a row Zimbabwe's stock exchange
has been paralysed because there are no buyers for the deluge of shares on
offer.

Meanwhile, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation is in
Zimbabwe for meetings with the government and private sector ahead of its
executive board meeting on September 9 when Zimbabwe's expulsion will be
considered.

Zimbabwe's stock market has 82 publicly listed companies. Since last
Thursday stockbrokers have been unable to sell any shares on offer.

Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa announced a 10% capital gains tax on
traded shares in a supplementary budget on Thursday, up by 7.5%.

Other new taxes were also announced because, Murerwa said, the
government was critically short of money.

The economy is in danger of meltdown, economists say.

No one in Zimbabwe is able to say with any certainty whether South
Africa has paid off some of Harare's debt of nearly US$300 million to the
IMF to try to prevent its expulsion.

Interest rates have soared to more than 200% and on Friday the central
bank devalued the Zimbabwe dollar by a further 23%, which means the currency
has lost 75% in three months.

Stockbrokers estimate they will have to sell three trillion shares to
cover the new tax.

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Cape Times

EDITORIAL

A hungry man is an angry man
August 23, 2005

By the Editor

A team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) yesterday started a
week-long visit to Zimbabwe ahead of a board meeting in September that may
yet turn out to be a defining moment for the country's future.

When Zimbabwe defaulted last year on debt repayments to the IMF (its
arrears now stand at US$295 million), President Robert Mugabe defiantly
spluttered: "To hell with the IMF."

Since then, his country's economic fortunes have taken an even greater
downturn. It is now reeling under an inflation rate of 47%, and the
unemployment rate is already over 70%.

The IMF visit also comes amid new warnings of a possible stock market
crash and a further fall in the value of the Zimbabwe dollar.
The potential consequences are frightening: the deprivation and
hardship this would inevitably cause may trigger off widespread conflict and
instability.

Which would, in turn, weaken Zimbabwe's economy even further. And
then, of course, lead to more anger and frustration.

This dangerous cycle will be broken only if there is a political
resolution to the crisis in Zimbabwe. As South Africa well knows, brute
force cannot indefinitely stifle resistance.

So far, however, there is no indication of the ruling Zanu-PF's
ability or willingness to recognise this basic truth. Last Saturday, for
instance, police arrested another 318 people as part of the "clean-up" in
central Harare.

When Zimbabwe's economy implodes, as it surely will, the
short-sightedness and futility of this mean-spirited behaviour will be
exposed.

The fear generated by such jackboot tactics may delay a negotiated
compromise with Zanu-PF's political opponents. But there is no way it can
avoid that day for ever.

Zimbabwe's poor and hungry will ensure that.

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The Star

Zimbabwe bank officials frustrated
August 23, 2005

By Basildon Peta

A draft agreement between South Africa and Zimbabwe on a $470-million
(about R3-billion) rescue package is gathering dust on President Robert
Mugabe's desk because he is uncomfortable with political conditions attached
to the deal.

The agreement was hammered out between Finance Minister Trevor Manuel,
South African Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni and their Zimbabwean
counterparts Herbert Murerwa and Gideon Gono nearly three weeks ago.

But the deal stalled when Murerwa and Gono presented Mugabe with the
draft agreement for approval.

He is opposed to some of the political conditions attached,
particularly SA's call for an all-inclusive process of constitutional reform
instead of Zanu-PF's preferred route of railroading repressive
constitutional amendments using its majority in parliament.

The draft agreement has been drawn up to avoid any mention of Mugabe's
arch foe, the Movement for Democratic Change, and its leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, authoritative sources say.

Impeccable Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) sources say a sense of
frustration has now gripped senior central bank officials who have been
working overnight to avoid Zimbabwe's expulsion from the International
Monetary Fund.

An IMF delegation is visiting Harare ahead of a crucial meeting in two
weeks' time during which Zimbabwe's continued membership will be considered.

The sources felt the deal with South Africa drawn up after the
"agreement in principle" by President Thabo Mbeki's cabinet to rescue
Zimbabwe offered the best prospects to avoid expulsion from the IMF.

But Mugabe has told Gono to keep trying to raise loans from other
countries such as China, Malaysia and Iran.

"It seems Mugabe does not care whether or not we get expelled from the
IMF," said one official in the RBZ.

"He does not think it (the IMF) will resume lending money to Zimbabwe
anyway even if all arrears are liquidated and expulsion avoided. He is
keeping the institution out of the equation," added the official, who asked
not to be named.

One senior government official speculated that the arrival of the IMF
mission could force Mugabe to act. It was to be expected that the mission
would issue yet another negative report on Zimbabwe and its inability to
cope without external help.

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Park Still Open After Japanese Woman Death

The Herald (Harare)

August 22, 2005
Posted to the web August 22, 2005

Harare

THE Lion and Cheetah Park was still open yesterday pending the outcome of
police investigations after a Japanese woman was killed by lions.

Visitors could be seen trickling into the park unshaken by the recent
incident.

"The police want to do their own investigations. I was with them this
morning and they told us that if anyone wants anything (information about
the case) we should refer them to the Japanese Embassy," said Mr Biggie
Madonoro, one of the managers at the park.

The Japanese woman was in the company of five other embassy staff when she
was attacked.

The Japanese ambassador to Zimbabwe could not be reached for comment.

Preliminary police reports show that when the first two embassy staff went
into an enclosure for lions at the park in the company of a guide, they
emerged unharmed but things turned tragic

all of a sudden when the same guide accompanied the woman and another
embassy official into the pen.

Lions pounced on the woman as she was

about to leave the pen and the guide and embassy staff had to stone the
lions to free the woman who had sustained serious injuries from the
attacking lions.

"The woman had sustained serious injuries by the time the lions were finally
restrained," a police spokesman was quoted as saying.

"She was immediately rushed to Parirenyatwa Hospital where she was admitted
but died on Friday."

Lion and Cheetah Park near Harare in the Lake Chivero area is a popular
resort spot for both local and foreign tourists.

It is a favourite spot for schools who may want students to learn more about
wild animals and their habitat.

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Police Sued Over Impounded Fuel

The Herald (Harare)

August 22, 2005
Posted to the web August 22, 2005

Harare

A HARARE woman, Ms Patricia Magaya, has filed a legal suit against Police
Commissioner Cde Augustine Chihuri and three other police officers in
Chitungwiza for confiscating fuel she had imported from Botswana.

In her affidavit Ms Magaya indicated that the Chitungwiza Police Station
Officer-in-Charge, and Constables identified as Moyo and Mariga acted
improperly when they confiscated her fuel. The woman said in the affidavit
that on July 21 this year, she crossed the Zimbabwe-Botswana Plumtree Border
Post in the company of Mr Nyasha Nyamhanza.

"I had arranged, through my father who works in Botswana, to purchase a
210-litre drum of petrol which was declared to the Zimbabwe Revenue
Authority under Nyasha Nyamhanza's name and in respect of which duty was
paid in the sum of $61 558,70," Ms Magaya wrote in her affidavit.

Government, through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, recently announced that
individuals with free funds could import fuel.She said after crossing the
border, she managed to travel to Chitungwiza past several police roadblocks
without being arrested for importing the fuel.

"On arrival in Harare, we took the drum to Unit O on July 23 as I live in a
flat. On that Saturday (July 23), I was advised that the police wanted the
owner of the fuel and I accordingly presented myself to the police.

The police first inquired where and how she had acquired the fuel and after
she showed them the documents they preferred charges of selling fuel without
a licence against her.

She said she showed them the sealed fuel container and said nothing had been
sold and the police changed the charge and alleged that the fuel was
improperly stored.

"I pointed out that I had travelled hundreds of kilometres with the fuel in
a drum and had passed many roadblocks with the fuel without any query about
safety of the petrol.

"In essence I denied the charge and was then locked up for the weekend," she
wrote in the affidavit.

She stated that her father, who was anxious for her release paid an
admission of guilt fine on her behalf.

"Sergeant Mariga, the fourth respondent, immediately advised that the entire
drum of fuel would be confiscated as I had admitted and we would receive
half of the contents as had been previously intimated to my father," she
wrote.

She said the same sergeant told her that the matter had been finalised and
she would not get anything since she had paid an admission of guilt fine.

"I reiterated that my position had remained the same throughout, hence my
detention in that I wanted my matter taken to court as my father's payment
of the deposit fine on false information did not constitute an admission of
guilt by myself," she stated.
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Fuel Industry Mulls Price Hike

The Herald (Harare)

August 21, 2005
Posted to the web August 22, 2005

Morris Mkwate
Harare

THE local oil industry, in consultation with the Government, is expected to
soon review fuel prices in the wake of rising oil prices on the
international market and adjustments in the foreign currency exchange rate,
an official said yesterday.

The Secretary for Energy and Power Development, Mr Justin Mupamhanga, told
The Sunday Mail last night that Government and stakeholders in the oil
industry were currently deliberating on a price structure commensurate with
the recent developments.

Although he could not be drawn to reveal the figures stakeholders were
proposing, Mr Mupamhanga conceded that local oil prices had become
unsustainable in light of a major leap in international fuel prices over the
past few months.

He said Zimbabwe needed to urgently introduce a new price structure, adding
that stakeholders were expected to come up with a final position on the
proposals soon.

Though the immediate effect the price review was likely to have on fuel
availability is still unclear, it was earlier expected that a price hike
would help release the strain on the country's limited foreign currency
resources.

It would also be considered whether the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe
(Noczim) would receive subsidies in light of the impending price review,
said Mr Mupamhanga.

"The current prices prevailing on the local market are not sustainable given
the adjustment in the exchange rate and the escalating cost of oil on the
international market. Obviously, there should be a reaction to these
determinant factors by the local industry.

"The industry has, however, consulted the ministry over price adjustments
and deliberations on the issue are still under way. Although the figures are
yet to be finalised, stakeholders expect to come up with the new price
structure soon. This has to be done quickly in light of the prevailing push
factors," said Mr Mupamhanga, declining to shed more light on the issue.

International oil prices rose in recent months, increasing from US$26 a
barrel at the beginning of the year to over US$66, a situation that has
partly been attributed to the instability believed to be restricting oil
movement from the Middle East.

The situation, which has had ripple effects on economies in different parts
of the world, has left Zimbabwe, which was already reeling under heavy fuel
shortages in the last few months, seeking ways of realigning itself with
international trends.

Although the prevailing fuel shortages were largely attributed to the
foreign currency shortages the country is experiencing, recent changes in
the country's exchange rate have meant Zimbabwe needed to pump out more of
the scarce foreign currency in its reserves to make purchases.

Just last week, the Zimbabwe dollar fell from $18 000 to about$24 000
against the US dollar.

Last month, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) adjusted the exchange rate to
$17 500 against the greenback, up from $10 800.

The last price review was effected in June this year when the oil industry
hiked prices by 300 percent with petrol increasing to $10 000 per litre, up
from $3 600 while diesel was reviewed to $9 600 up from $3 800. However, the
review was not expected to result in a drastic change in the fuel supply
situation given prevailing constraints, including foreign currency
shortages, induced by competing demands.

Oil industry officials say the adjustment in the exchange rate and the
escalating international oil prices had affected local supply given that the
industry would have to contend with increased charges throughout the supply
chain.

An official pointed out that duty and transportation charges would be
factored into the final cost build-up of the product, bringing the total
charge per litre to higher levels when the product is brought into the
country.

"The international oil price increase is quite significant as it directly
impacts on the local industry's ability to bring in the product.

"For instance, if oil is brought in through Beira, the price would increase
because of factors such as duty and pipeline charges," said the official.

Zimbabwe has over the past few months been experiencing critical fuel
shortages, which have largely been blamed on the country's limited foreign
currency resources.

The situation has resulted in motorists spending nights at filling stations
while public transport and business have also been affected. Efforts are,
however, being made to address the situation.

Recently, the Ministry of Energy and Power Development granted five filling
stations in Harare and Bulawayo the right to sell fuel in foreign currency
at an initial price of US$1 per litre.

More foreign currency has also been availed to Noczim because of its
strategic position as a distributor of oil to Government departments,
industry, the public transport and agricultural sectors.

Other measures include allowing individuals with access to foreign currency
to import fuel for personal use rather than for resale.

In spite of these measures, several calls have been made for motorists to
conserve the little fuel available by engaging in various measures such as
self-restricted use of vehicles. Proponents of fuel conservation have also
suggested the purchase of smaller cars that usually consume less fuel,
arguing that the country's roads are dominated by fuel guzzlers.
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New Tax Measures Make Life More Difficult

The Herald (Harare)

OPINION
August 21, 2005
Posted to the web August 22, 2005

Elias Mazhindu
Harare

The cocktail of policy measures designed to widen Government's revenue base
enunciated in the Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review Statement presented in
Parliament by Finance Minister Dr Herbert Murerwa last Tuesday and the
annual inflation rate of 254,8 percent in July conspire to further
marginalise the ordinary person who is already struggling.

The record high annual inflation rate of 254,8 percent meant that the prices
of goods and services were slightly above three-and-a half times as
expensive in July this year as they had been in July last year.

Thanks to the tight monetary policy adopted by the central bank in December
2003, Zimbabwe seemed to be winning the inflation battle when the figure
progressively declined from 623 percent in January 2004 to 124 percent in
March this year before the spiral that began in April when the annual rate
increased to 129 percent.

The high inflation, low investments, crippling foreign currency exchange
shortages, rising unemployment, tumbling industrial production, chronic
shortages of basic commodities and a contracting economy are some of the
challenges dogging the country which Reserve Bank Governor Dr Gideon Gono's
Mid-Term Monetary Policy Review last month and Dr Murerwa's Mid-Term Fiscal
Policy Review continue to grapple with.

In his Mid-Term Monetary Policy Review Statement, Dr Gono cautioned that the
resurgence in inflationary pressures was expected to continue until
September before declining in the last quarter of the year.

He attributed the resurgent inflationary pressures to a combination of
factors, in particular the corrective fuel price adjustments, the
drought-induced shocks on food pricing, wage and salary increases and the
increases in school fees, rents and rates.

Arguably, the record highest inflation rate of 254,8 percent since January
last year and Dr Murerwa's $6,6 trillion supplementary budget, buttressed by
various tax adjustments made by Government, are expected to bite deeper into
the individual taxpayer's pocket as businesses are set to pass on the burden
to the consumer.

It is now a common sight in some supermarkets to find piles of abandoned
goods at till points left by disgruntled shoppers who would have failed to
pay for them.

Clearly, this is because some retailers, long since addicted to their old
habits of profiteering, continually hike prices of most basic commodities in
disregard of those stipulated by Government and at the expense of consumers
who are now restricting their buying to purely basic necessities.

Be that as it may, I appreciate the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor's
call, urging the nation not to despair but to rededicate itself to
responsible behaviour, particularly when it comes to setting or reviewing of
prices of goods and services in the economy.

Equally, I find it difficult for most low-income households not to "scream"
or despair at the laissez-faire attitude of some retailers and service
providers who, despite appeals by Government and consumers alike, continue
to indiscriminately increase their prices by unwarranted margins, further
fuelling inflation.

It should, therefore, be no surprise that the relentless increases in the
cost of most goods, particularly basic food items such as bread, sugar,
meat, mealie meal, milk and cooking oil, has resulted in some families
changing their spending patterns, with many in the low-income bracket having
to cut down on the number of meals they consume per day.

"We used to have three meals a day. Instead of tea and bread in the morning,
we have now resorted to a breakfast of porridge without sugar in the
mid-morning that also serves as early lunch, and then supper.

"It's not out of choice, but simply because the cost of basic commodities is
beyond our reach. My last-born son, who is nine years old, has already lost
weight because of the reduced number of meals," said Ms Varaidzo Mirirai of
Kuwadzana.

Regrettably, Government, through the Ministry of Industry and International
Trade, last week announced a 174 percent increase in wholesale, retail and
producer prices of various basic commodities at the behest of the sliding
Zimbabwe dollar against the greenback.

Despite the now regular price increases, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe
public relations manager, Mr Tonderai Mukeredzi, lamented the disappearance
of goods whose prices are controlled from the market.

"Manufacturers are now focusing more on producing the expensive refined
supplementary products which are not controlled but beyond the reach of many
consumers.

"With the incomes most people are getting, they are forced to buy the basic
commodities on the black market where they are found in abundance," he said.

Some manufacturers are reportedly working in cahoots with retailers to
produce in large quantities basic commodities that are not controlled as a
way of circumventing the recommended prices. A case in point is cooking oil,
which is being packaged in 500-millilitre, one-litre and two-litre
containers which are not price-controlled.

Many people are concerned about the packaging loopholes being taken
advantage of by some manufacturers to avoid the gazetted prices and call on
the Government to act quickly and effectively.

"The Government should find ways to counter the devices and tricks being
used by manufacturers to evade the gazetted prices because this is not
helping us in any way.

"All the controlled basic commodities have disappeared. All you find are
products which are not controlled and the retailers are not giving us valid
explanations or convincing answers," said Mr Davies Tivapasi of Greendale.

In the current hullabaloo about runaway prices against contracting real
incomes, while the poor and defenceless consumer is forced to take it or
leave it, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe appears to be moribund as a
pressure group in effectively articulating the grievances of the
disadvantaged ordinary consumer.

According to the Central Statistical Office, prices of goods and services
rose by an average of 47 percent for the month of July, the highest increase
ever recorded in Zimbabwe.

This huge monthly jump in the cost of living means that a person would have
needed a pay rise of 47 percent in July just to cover that single month's
jump, let alone the above average inflation of the previous two months. If
they spent $5 million on food, rent and the like in June, then they would
have needed to spend $7,35 million in July to retain the same standard of
living.

Most companies in the private sector reportedly raised salaries last month
while some, such as banks, gave significant increases, others offered less
than 40 percent, meaning that their workers were worse off at the end of the
month despite the rise in salaries and face further harsh drops in their
standard of living over the next few months.

The 45 percent jump and the high figures for May and June also make it
mathematically impossible for Zimbabwe to achieve the target set by Reserve
Bank governor Dr Gono of 80 percent year-on-year inflation by the end of
this year unless prices actually fall over the rest of the year.

In the run-up to Dr Murerwa's Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review, undoubtedly
many had envisaged a statement that would be sympathetic to the hard-pressed
worker, through realistic tax concessions such as Dr Murerwa had generously
offered in the past.

The only tax measure that seemed positive was the token adjustment of the
tax-free threshold from $1 million to $1,5 million, which is clearly out of
sync with reality on the ground. An average family of six now needs at least
$7,4 million a month to buy its basic requirements - not to mention clothing
and footwear! As if that was not enough, the increase in the Value Added Tax
rate from 15 percent to 17,5 percent and a special VAT rate of 22,5 percent
on mobile phone airtime is largely expected to result in upward adjustments
of prices of goods and services.

The presumptive tax on commuter omnibuses, taxi cabs and increased surtax on
second-hand vehicles and "non-essential" imports will all combine to make
life even more unbearable for the average Zimbabwean.

While it is plausible that Dr Murerwa's Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review and
various tax adjustments seek to widen Government's revenue base, the pain
this will entail could considerably outweigh the anticipated gains.

Certainly, the minister admitted that he was aware of the difficulties
induced by the new tax measures but was caught in a Catch-22 situation.

"I am aware of the social implications of introducing additional levies on
already over-burdened taxpayers and, in particular, on low-income earners
whose real wages continue to be eroded by inflation," he said.

It is equally depressing to most workers that Pay As You Earn concessions
could not be entertained until next year's budget. Employees will have to
wait till then in the forlorn hope that there will be something for them. In
the meantime, however, the majority of the low-income earner is looking for
some tax relief now.

Besides, the writing is on the wall that most households cannot afford to
have a decent livelihood on their current salaries or incomes which have
long since been eroded by the soaring inflation.

It is also unfortunate that the majority of companies have already submitted
that they will not be able to afford hefty salary increases adjusted to the
prevailing inflationary trends as they are operating below capacity.

Regrettably, the Government has also conceded that it will not award salary
increases for civil servants - most of whom are barely managing to get by -
although it has set aside $440 billion for their transport allowances. I
agree that the obtaining situation begs for collective action by Government,
labour and business on the way forward.

Be that as it may, certainly another round of price adjustments is expected
shortly to factor in the new taxes and the record high inflation rate but
this calls for sober decisions to save the situation from further
deteriorating as to cause undue alarm.

Last, but not least, I believe that the successful implementation of the
proposed tax adjustments in tandem with the monetary policy measures put in
place to salvage the economy in the best interests of Zimbabwe and its
people will as much depend on the wisdom and perceptive forward planning of
the decision makers as on the quality of professional advice that will be
made available to them. No one doubts that from now on, in the wake of the
inflationary new high compounded by the scissors effects of the recurrent
price hikes, the going will be a lot rougher for the ordinary person!

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Government to Finalise Land Acquisition Process

The Herald (Harare)

August 21, 2005
Posted to the web August 22, 2005

Harare

THE Land Reform Programme, initiated to correct the uneven distribution of
land in Zimbabwe, will create over 500 000 new land owners if the
legislature passes provisions to amend the country's Constitution,
Parliament heard on Thursday.

As part of initial steps to facilitate this move, the Constitution of
Zimbabwe Amendment Bill, which, among other provisions, seeks to confirm the
acquisition of land under the programme and future acquisitions, was read
for the first time.

The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Cde Patrick
Chinamasa, said it was Government's intention to "democratise land rights
and access to land by opening up property to the majority".

He pointed out that the Government hoped, through the proposed amendments,
to gain room to plan agricultural settlements and re-organise communal areas
in different parts of the country.

Said Cde Chinamasa: "With the passage of this amendment, the armed struggle
will thus become the true fountain of all land rights in Zimbabwe. We would
have succeeded in democratising land rights and access to land.

"Where ownership of land has for the past 90 years up to 1980 been the
preserve of a few white people, around 4 000 in 2000, the Land Reform
Programme will, when it is completed, have created in excess of 500 000 new
property rights."

Land ownership in Zimbabwe has for many years been the preserve of
beneficiaries of the imbalances that were created by colonialism, which gave
privileges to a few while sidelining the majority of Zimbabweans. Although
earlier arrangements were made to compensate landowners under the Lancaster
House Agreement, Zimbabwe embarked on the land reform programme after former
colonisers Britain were adjudged to have breached terms of the agreement.

Moves are now being made through legislative means to conclude the exercise
and facilitate future property acquisitions while Government still expects
Britain to provide compensation for the acquisitions.

According to Section 16B of the Bill, all agricultural land that was
identified on or before July 8 this year under Section 5 (1) of the Land
Acquisition Act (Chapter 20:10) and that identified afterwards will become
State property with effect from the period provided for in the proposed law.

The State, through the acquiring authority, would not pay compensation for
the acquired land but only for improvements made on the property prior to
its acquisition.

A person with "any right or interest" in the property would not be obliged
to challenge the acquisition in court while the courts would in turn be
barred from hearing such challenges.

An interested party would, however, be entitled to challenge the amount of
compensation equivalent to the cost of improvements made on a particular
property prior to its acquisition.

Cde Chinamasa said prospective property right owners should occupy a
particular piece of land after receiving lawful authority from the Ministry
of Lands and Resettlement or relevant authority, adding that legislation
would be introduced with a view to prosecuting offenders.

The minister highlighted that the Government sought to conclude the land
acquisition process and "settle the land question once and for all", a move
that would enable authorities to direct resources towards the resurveying
and repegging of new boundaries.

Land allocations would also be rationalised while leases would be issued to
beneficiaries and land tenure instruments approved.

Cde Chinamasa emphasised the need to finalise the land reform programme with
a view to concentrating on boosting agricultural productivity. He indicated
that the implementation of the programme had been stalling in different
parts of the country owing to the challenges that some former commercial
farmers were making through the courts.

According to the minister, Government had only legally acquired over 1 000
farms out of the 6 240, measuring 11 million hectares, while numerous other
cases, in which many people were already allocated and settled, are still
pending before the courts.

"Despite the appointment of eight presidents of the Administrative Court who
are dedicated to dealing with the land acquisition cases, progress has been
painfully slow because in 99 percent of the cases, the farm owners have been
objecting not out of any expectation by white farmers that they would
succeed, but in order to politically harass and delay the process through
clogging the court system," said Cde Chinamasa.

In light of the proposed law, many property owners have raised concern that
its provisions would infringe upon their rights.

They also argue that the courts should be allowed to perform their set
duties without restriction.

Cde Chinamasa, however, reiterated that there was need to "remove conflict
from the land issue", adding that limited access to land in Zimbabwe was
stifling prospects of economic advancement.

"I want to underscore the point that the land provisions of the
Constitutional Amendments are epoch-making and of historic significance not
only in Zimbabwe but in the sub-region and internationally.

"We are trail-blazers in showing that the way to fight poverty is through
regaining political sovereignty over our natural resources.

"There is no way this country can advance economically when the bulk of its
citizens are denied the right of access to land and other natural resources
that God gave to this nation.

"The land provisions are therefore a major landmark in our protracted
struggle for political and economic independence," he said.
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The Herald

Plane's overhaul set to cost Air Zimbabwe US$500 000

Herald Reporter
THE national airline, Air Zimbabwe needs at least US$500 000 to complete a
two month C check on one of its two Boeing 767-200ER planes.

The airline chief executive officer Dr Tendai Mahachi said the money would
be used to buy spare parts.

The overhaul was detailed as it encompassed stripping the plane to check its
structures' integrity and ensure it was mechanically sound.

"The C class-check is done after a period of 18 months. It is done to make
sure that we adhere to the highest safety standards and we estimate that
about US$500 000 is needed for the maintenance," he said.

The maintenance also involves checking the effects of corrosion on its body,
engine and whether the plane could continue flying.

The overhauling of the Boeing 767-200 plane compelled Air Zimbabwe to lease
a larger Boeing 767-300 from Thailand, to service routes to Asia and the
Middle East.

The leased Boeing 767-300 is expected to make some 10 flights during the two
months the Airzim plane would be undergoing refurbishment.

The grounding of the national airline plane has impelled it to reschedule,
with immediate effect, the Beijing-Bangkok-Dubai-Harare and
Harare-Dubai-Bangkok-Beijing flights.

Dr Mahachi could not reveal how much they were paying for leasing the plane
from Thailand except saying, "it was viable".

However, it is understood that Air Zimbabwe would pay in excess of US$2
million for the two months it was leasing the plane from Thailand.

"Despite the air fare increases, business is going on as usual. In fact the
load factors are greater, they are actually more than 79 percent. Most of
our flights are always full to capacity especially the Harare-Johannesburg
and Harare-London routes," he added.

Besides the two 767-200ERs, which can fly 14-hour flights depending on the
load, Air Zimbabwe owns three smaller Boeing 737-200s and two MA60 bought
from China.
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