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Zimbabwe publisher gets back passport

Zim Online

Wed 14 December 2005

HARARE - Zimbabwe immigration authorities have released the passport
of newspaper publisher, Trevor Ncube, to his lawyer after conceding that it
was illegal for them to impound the travel document.

Ncube's passport was last Thursday seized by immigration officials who
told him that they were taking the passport because his name was on a
government list of citizens whose travel documents must be seized to prevent
them from travelling abroad.

The newspaper publisher earlier this week appealed to the High Court
seeking the court to direct the state to return his passport.

Sources had told ZimOnline on Tuesday that Attorney General Sobuza
Gula-Ndebele had advised the immigration department to return Ncube's
passport saying it was illegal to impound it in the absence of an Act of
Parliament empowering the state to withdraw citizens' travel documents.

Harare lawyer Sternford Moyo, representing Ncube in the matter,
confirmed that his client's passport had been handed back to him.

Moyo said: "I have got Ncube's passport here with me. The civil
division of the Attorney General's office called me and advised me that the
passport had been released. So I sent one of our lawyers to pick it up."

President Robert Mugabe's government last August controversially
amended Zimbabwe's constitution to allow it to withdraw passports from
citizens it deems may harm the "national interest" if allowed to travel
abroad.

Political analysts and human rights lawyers warned that the
constitutional amendment was aimed at barring leaders of the main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party and other government critics from
travelling abroad to mobilise international pressure against Mugabe and his
ruling ZANU PF party.

But the government has however not yet enacted a law in Parliament
enabling it to exercise powers granted it under the constitutional amendment
to withdraw citizens' travel documents.

It was not clear whether top MDC politician Paul Themba Nyathi, whose
passport was also seized a day after Ncube's was taken by the immigration
department, had also been given back his passport.

His lawyer Nicholas Mathonsi said he had not yet spoken to Nyathi. He
however added that he expected his client to get back his travel document as
the circumstance under which it was seized were similar to Ncube's case.

Analysts have said the seizure of passports of critics and political
opponents suggested Mugabe and ZANU PF, who boosted their hold on power with
a landslide victory in a controversial election last month, were panicking
in the face of swelling public discontent because of worsening economic
hardships. - ZimOnline


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Zimbabwe information minister threatens fresh crackdown against Press

Zim Online

Thu 15 December 2005

HARARE - Zimbabwe Information Minister Tichaona Jokonya has threatened
to take tougher measures against the country's small but vibrant independent
media which he said had become "tools of the country's detractors".

Jokonya - a former ambassador of Zimbabwe to the United Nations who on
his appointment as information minister earlier this year called for a less
poisoned relationship between the government and the Press - accused the
independent media of being bribed by "enemies of the people" to tarnish the
image of President Robert Mugabe's government.

The information minister who was speaking at a ceremony hosted on
Tuesday by the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe ironically to honour journalists
said the independent media had become " tools or shall we say victims of the
country's detractors . . . some journalists have . . . to use a much abused
terminology, become weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

"In their service to the foreign interests they (journalists) apply
strategies of blending half-truths and outright lies. These journalists
masquerade as independent journalists despite the fact that we all know that
they are paid by the enemies of the people."

Jokonya, who through the state Media and Information Commission (MIC)
that he controls could easily order the closure of newspapers or ban
individual journalists from practising, did not divulge the extra punitive
measures he may be considering against Zimbabwe's journalists and
newspapers, already some of the worst restricted in the world.

Under the government's Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act (AIPPA), journalists and newspaper companies must be registered with the
MIC to practise or publish in Zimbabwe. The government can cancel the
registration of a journalist or newspaper company it deems to be erring.

Reporters face up to two years in jail for practising without being
registered with the government commission while newspapers that breach the
registration law will be forcibly closed and their equipment seized by the
state.

Journalists also face up to two years in jail under the government's
Public Order and Security Act for criticising Mugabe in their stories.

More than a hundred journalists have been arrested over the past five
years for breaching the tough media regulations.

Zimbabwe's then biggest and non-government owned daily newspaper, the
Daily News, was forcibly shut down in 2003 and its equipment seized by armed
police because it was not registered with the government commission.

The MIC has since rejected an application by the Daily News and its
stable mate, the Daily News on Sunday, also shut down in 2003, to be
registered. The two papers have appealed to the courts against the
commission's refusal to register them. The Administrative Court is still to
hear the matter.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists ranks Zimbabwe
among the three most dangerous places for journalists in the world. The
other two countries hostile to the media are Iran and the former Soviet
republic of Uzbekistan. - ZimOnline


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Confusion in Harare as trade unionist's passport is seized

Zim Online

Thu 15 December 2005

HARARE - Zimbabwe immigration officials on Wednesday afternoon seized
the passport of trade union leader Raymond Majongwe, just hours after the
Attorney General (AG) Sobuza Gula-Ndebele admitted that it is illegal for
the state to withdraw citizens' passport.

Majongwe, who is secretary general of the Progressive Teachers Union
of Zimbabwe, had just arrived at Harare airport from Nigeria where he was
attending an International Labour Organisation conference when immigration
officials impounded his passport saying they were acting on orders from
"higher authorities".

He told ZimOnline: "They (immigration officials) took my passport soon
after my arrival from Abuja but they did not tell me the reasons but simply
said they were acting on instructions from higher authorities . . . it shows
the state's naked aggression towards its citizens."

However in a show of apparent confusion within the Government, Ndebele
had earlier in the day ordered the release of newspaper publisher Trevor
Ncube's passport which immigration officials seized from him last Thursday.

Ncube, who publishes the Zimbabwe Independent and the Standard
newspapers from Harare and the Mail and Guardian from Johannesburg, earlier
this week appealed to the High Court seeking the court to direct the state
to return his passport.

The AG's office is said to have refused to face Ncube in court
apparently after realising it could not justify the passport seizure when
there is no Act of Parliament empowering the state to withdraw citizens'
travel documents.

President Robert Mugabe's government last August controversially
amended Zimbabwe's constitution to allow it to withdraw passports from
citizens it deems may harm the "national interest" if allowed to travel
abroad.

Political analysts and human rights lawyers warned that the
constitutional amendment was aimed at barring leaders of the main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party and other government critics from
travelling abroad to mobilise international pressure against Mugabe and his
ruling ZANU PF party.

But the government has however not yet enacted a law in Parliament
enabling it to exercise powers granted it under the constitutional amendment
to withdraw citizens' travel documents.

Analysts have said the seizure of passports of critics and political
opponents suggested Mugabe and ZANU PF, who boosted their hold on power with
a landslide victory in a controversial election last month, were panicking
in the face of swelling public discontent because of worsening economic
hardships. - ZimOnline


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Zimbabwe opposition to push for rates boycott in cities

Zim Online

Thu 15 December 2005

HARARE - Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) party says it will mobilise for a rates boycott in the country's major
towns to protest against the government's interference in opposition-run
councils.

In a statement issued after Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo
extended the term of a commission he appointed to run Harare after he fired
the capital's opposition-led council, MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa, said
that his party would rally urban residents to boycott the payment of rates.

All major cities are strongholds of the MDC and elected the opposition
party into council ahead of President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party.
But Mugabe and his government have retained control in Harare after firing
MDC mayor Elias Mudzuri and his council accusing them of mismanaging the
city.

Chombo has said he will appoint another commission to run the eastern
border city of Mutare where he has removed MDC mayor Misheck Kagurabadza
from office. Chombo has also threatened to fire or suspend the mayors of
Bulawayo and Chitungwiza cities, who are both members of the MDC.

Chamisa said: "MDC councils have been doing a wonderful job running
the cities and towns. Elias Mudzuri (the fired MDC Harare mayor) had a
record of success, yet Mugabe's minions, appointed as commissioners
progressively failed to provide services to residents.

"It is time Mugabe's antics are resisted and we will now not hesitate
to call for a rates boycott countrywide. We have had enough of this
dictatorial squeeze. We must determine our own destiny. We must reclaim
Harare."

Chombo was not immediately available for comment on the matter
yesterday

The Harare commission headed by Sekesai Makwavarara is accused of
running down the capital which is overflowing with uncollected garbage while
residents in some parts of the city have gone for weeks without water
because the commission is unable to repair broken water pumps and pipes. -
ZimOnline


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Evicted Zimbabweans sleep in the open in Jo'burg

Zim Online

Thu 15 December 2005

JOHANNESBURG - About 200 foreigners, the majority of them Zimbabweans,
are sleeping in the open at Park Station in Johannesburg after they were
forcibly evicted from their run-down apartments in the poor suburb of
Hillbrow on Sunday.

The latest evictions come barely a month after South Africa's
municipal police carried out similar evictions of people who had taken over
some run-down buildings in a bid to revamp the city.

South African police media officer Kariban Naidoo confirmed the
three-day evictions which ended on Sunday but denied the police were
targeting Zimbabweans.

Naidoo said: "I can confirm that many families have been evacuated
from dilapidated buildings around Johannesburg . . . we are not targeting
Zimbabweans or foreigners. This is a joint operation comprising the police
and the city council.

"What we want is for the residents to abide by the city's by-laws and
they should expect more of this as this is an on-going process to clear up
the city."

But one of the Zimbabweans who was evicted from Hillbrow, Ntombizidwa
Siziba, 38, accused the police of targeting flats accommodating foreigners.

"This move is only meant to harass foreigners and is highly
xenophobic. Now we are displaced and we have nowhere to go. We were paying
R500 and we can't afford to move to leafy areas of the city where they
charge about R1 500 per room," she said.

There are at least three million Zimbabweans, a quarter of the
country's 12 million people, who are living outside the country the majority
of them in South Africa after fleeing political persecution and hunger in
Zimbabwe. - ZimOnline


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Senators to walk away with Z$14.7 million each in salaries

Zim Online

Thu 15 December 2005

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's government, which is battling a
severe economic crisis, will fork out Z$9.7 billion in monthly salaries
alone to 66 senators who were elected in a controversial election last
month, documents in the possession of ZimOnline show.

The senators will each get salaries of $14.7 million as well as a
housing allowance of $2.7 million. Civil servants in Zimbabwe earn Z$3
million per month, way below the $11.9 million the state-funded consumer
rights body the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe says an average family of two
parents and four children need every month to survive.

The senators will also travel in style after they were each promised
an all-terrain four-wheel drive vehicle. Car dealers in Harare say a brand
new four wheel drive vehicle costs about Z$2.8 billion.

At an induction meeting on Tuesday, the senators flatly turned down
the government's offers to buy them smaller cars insisting on the four-wheel
drive vehicles which they said were suitable for their larger
constituencies.

A senator will also claim an allowance of $500 000 for holding
meetings in their constituencies as well as hotel allowances when they come
for senatorial business in Harare.

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai and civic
groups have all criticised Mugabe's reintroduction of the senate which was
abolished in 1990. They say the senate is a waste of resources for a country
that should be focusing its energies to fighting hunger stalking three
million people or a quarter of the 12 million Zimbabweans. - ZimOnline


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Viet Nam's PM meets Zimbabwe's President

Vietnam News Agency

12/14/2005 -- 22:29(GMT+7)

Kuala Lumpur, Dec. 14 (VNA)- Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe,
during his visit to Malaysia, had a meeting with Prime Minister Phan Van
Khai in Kuala Lumpur on Dec.14.

President Mugabe expressed his pleasure at the ever-increasing
development of relations between Viet Nam and Zimbabwe in recent years. He
expressed his admiration for Viet Nam's achievements in the renewal process
and his hope that Viet Nam would help Zimbabwe to develop.

President Mugabe extended an invitation to Prime Minister Khai to
visit Zimbabwe.

Prime Minister Khai said that Viet Nam is willing to share experiences
and cooperate with Zimbabwe. Relevant agencies of Viet Nam will support
Zimbabwe's partners in the fields in which Viet Nam has strength. He said he
believed that the Zimbabwe people will make great achievements in developing
their country.

The Vietnamese delegation, led by Prime Minister Khai, on the
afternoon of Dec.14, left Kuala Lumpur for Ha Noi, concluding its mission in
Malaysia.-Enditem


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Zimbabwe government travel ban policy in shambles



By Violet Gonda and Lance Guma
14 December 2005

The controversial passport seizures by Zimbabwean authorities reached
new heights on Wednesday. On one hand they returned passports to leading
newspaper publisher Trevor Ncube and opposition politician Paul Themba
Nyathi, and on the other they confiscated that of outspoken trade unionist
Raymond Majongwe as he arrived at Harare International Airport from an AIDS
conference in Abuja, Nigeria.

Trevor Ncube had filed an urgent High Court application challenging
the seizure of his passport as unlawful. However his passport was returned
before the courts considered the matter. Passports are being seized under
constitutional amendment number 17, which allows the state to bar travel for
perceived critics of the Mugabe regime.

Ncube told Newsreel the Attorney General's Office had called his
lawyers on Tuesday to collect his passport, thereby conceding that the
seizure was unlawful. Nyathi on the other hand says he received a phone call
from immigration authorities advising him that his passport would be
returned to him.

Human Rights Lawyer Arnold Tsunga said the seizures are illegal, as
amendment 17 is being implemented without an operational regulatory
framework in place for this draconian legislation.

The legal expert said it is obvious that the seizures of the passports
violate fundamental principles of natural justice, and this is why the
Attorney General's office returned Ncube's passport. The seizure was not a
defendable case in court.

Tsunga said the latest action concerning Majongwe shows that the
system of government has lost control over organs of the state in the sense
that "the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing." He implied
that this is the work of overzealous state security agents who continue to
implement this action on the basis of a list that was compiled by the
Registrar General's Office.

Raymond Majongwe is the Secretary General of the militant Progressive
Teachers Union of Zimbabwe. A former University of Zimbabwe student leader
who has also produced poetry and protest music, Majongwe has been a thorn in
the flesh for the government having led several demonstrations against them.
Briggs Bomba from the International Socialist Organisation (ISO) told
Newsreel they had tried to mobilize civic society leaders to go to the
airport and protest the seizure of Majongwe's passport. The effort proved a
logistical nightmare, as they only knew of Majongwe's arrival at the airport
close to the time he got there.

Immigration officials did not bother to tell Majongwe why they were
taking his passport. Majongwe, according to his colleagues, was also aware
he was on a special targeted list and knew his passport would probably be
confiscated upon arrival. He told AFP "This whole exercise is to intimidate
and mellow down people who want to take the ZANU-PF government head-on.I am
not intimidated by this. In fact I am inspired by the fact that the
government regards me as an influential figure in the democratisation
process."

Trevor Ncube said: "People should not relax. It's time for civil
society to mobilise around this issue. We cannot have legislation that
allows the government to use the passport as a way of punishing people that
criticise it. It is very uncivilised to behave in this manner."

Widespread condemnation at home and abroad fell on deaf ears as the
repressive sanctions were welcomed at the ZANU PF national congress this
past weekend. Speaking at the conference, Robert Mugabe vowed to take "stern
action" against non-governmental organisations and critics of his
government. Mugabe's party recommended on Saturday that the government act
against hostile rights groups and asked security forces to draw up a list of
people whose passports should be taken.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


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Institute for War and Peace Reporting



Zimbabwe: Newspaper Chief says Army Runs the Country
A leading journalist and publisher, whose passport has been confiscated by
the intelligence services, claims Mugabe no longer holds the reins of power.

By Chipo Chinemberi in Harare (Africa Reports No 48, 13-Dec-05)

Trevor Ncube, chairman of the Africa board of the Institute for War and
Peace Reporting, has hit out fiercely at Zimbabwe's ruling elite, alleging
that the deeply troubled southern African state is now effectively being
ruled by the military and the intelligence agencies rather than by President
Robert Mugabe.

The Zimbabwe passport of Ncube, a distinguished journalist and publisher,
was confiscated by the much-feared Central Intelligence Organisation, CIO,
when he arrived in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city, from Johannesburg on
December 7.

It appears Ncube's name was one of 60 on a list compiled by the Zimbabwean
government to have their travel documents confiscated as they passed through
passport control on their way either to or from Zimbabwe.

"The seizure of my passport reminds me that I am not living in a normal
society," said Ncube said in a lengthy interview with IWPR. "As someone who
has been declared an enemy of the state, I am aware anything can happen. I
have been receiving mysterious phone calls, which are quite worrying."

Ncube has filed an urgent appeal in Zimbabwe's High Court challenging the
seizure of his passport by the state.

Ncube publishes the Zimbabwe Independent and the Standard newspapers, both
weeklies and the country's last two truly independent titles, while from
Johannesburg he publishes the legendary Mail and Guardian, which was a thorn
in the side of the apartheid and is now a trenchant critic of the ruling
African National Congress.

"It has become clear Mugabe is not running the country," said the publisher.
"Remember after Operation Murambatsvina. It was revealed that it was the
Central Intelligence Organisation that was behind it." Operation
Murambatsvina, which translates into Shona as "Operation Drive Out The
Rubbish", resulted in somewhere between 750,000 and 2.3 million Zimbabweans
being made homeless when police, soldiers and militias of the ruling ZANU PF
party moved into working class suburbs in the cities and towns, hotbeds of
support for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, and razed
many thousands of homes with bulldozers and sledgehammers.

"Mugabe has no intention to leave [the presidency], and in fulfilment of
that he now relies more and more on the military," continued Ncube. "In
other words we have a military dictatorship in place.

"This [passport seizure] operation, it's dictated by the 'securocrats', who
are the real people running this country. They include (Registrar General)
Tobaiwa Mudede and (Immigration Director) Elasto Mugwadi - but the people
pulling the strings are military men.

"Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba, 24 hours after the seizure of my
passport, was adamant nothing like that could happen in Zimbabwe. Attorney
General SobhuzaGula-Ndebele himself was also in the dark: he said it could
not happen because there is no legislation in place to allow the state to
seize people's passports.

"You see, when civil structures fail to deliver the military and the
intelligence agencies take over. That is why Army Commander Constantine
Chiwengwa is now being touted as a possible presidential successor."

Asked if he feared that the next step by the intelligence services and the
military would be to detain him, Ncube said the picture was much bigger than
that. "They want my newspapers," he said. "They want the Zimbabwe
Independent and The Standard.

"They have been unable to do with us what they have done with Ibbo Mandaza's
Mirror newspapers and what they have done with the Financial Gazette, namely
to control them through the CIO buying into them through the back door.

"They know I stand to lose a lot if I am unable to return to South Africa.
They think I will leave the country illegally so they can have something to
pin on me. Then they will specify me and my newspapers [for criminal
offences] and that way take over my business."

Asked if he felt physically safe, Ncube replied in the negative but went on,
"I feel watched and listened to but I am a highly spiritual person who
believes strongly that God has my life in his hands. But that is no reason
to be careless and foolish. I won't walk into just any pub, nor will I walk
in dark alleys nor drive at odd hours of the night."

Ncube said it was now clear to him that there was no future for either ZANU
PF or the opposition MDC in a future Zimbabwe. So, he was asked, what then
is to be done?

"I have talked [and written] about a third way," said the 43-year-old
newspaperman. "It [the future] belongs to us, the younger generation. We
should find the middle ground - that is, we should find the good people in
Zanu PF and good people in the MDC. We should find good people from across
the board to speed up our nation's aspirations. Let's start afresh. Mugabe
and his generation delivered us independence but they had no vision to take
the country into the 21stcentury.

"It needs principled people. Unfortunately Zimbabweans are short on
principles. They are easily bought. We need to redefine who we are and move
forward. We need to establish the principle that never again will we allow
conditions that would raise another Mugabe, a situation where the national
constitution is trashed and our country ruined."

But how, Ncube was asked, has President Mugabe been allowed to get away with
ruining a once prosperous country, where inflation is more than 500 per cent
and rising, the highest in the world, and where the gross domestic product
has declined absolutely each year for the past seven years?

"Mugabe is highly intelligent, a shrewd schemer, a real political fox," said
Ncube. He has played factions off against one another - workers pitted
against employers; students manipulated; the general populace manipulated
against "first gays and lesbians and then white commercial farmers . He has
surrounded himself with the greatest bootlickers when it was necessary to
get really intelligent and robust people to move the country forward".

Turning to the international community's response to the Zimbabwe crisis and
the widespread abuse of human rights, Ncube singled out South Africa for
particular criticism, asserting that its president, Thabo Mbeki, had let
down the ordinary people of Zimbabwe. "If Mbeki had refused to endorse the
clearly stolen 2000 parliamentary election, I don't think Zimbabwe would be
in the fine mess it finds itself in right now," he said. The crucial 2000
election, which the MDC lost only narrowly, was widely condemned as rigged
by most non-African countries and human rights organisations, but endorsed
by most African leaders.

"The British miscalculated in thinking insulting Mugabe would shake him," he
said. "No one can beat Mugabe at insults."

And, Ncube asserted, in combating Mugabe the rest of the world had to take
into account the paradox that beyond Zimbabwe he is an idol to downtrodden
Africans, "He is a hero of a Third World short-changed by the West."

Ncube said a tipping point would eventually come against the security
establishment, Mugabe and ZANU PF, although it was unlikely to be sudden -
more an accumulation of events. "However, a most unexpected little thing can
ignite it," he added. "The general Zimbabwean has lost his self-respect and
become docile and controllable. But even zombies can be unpredictable."

Chipo Chinemberi is the pseudonym of a journalist in Zimbabwe.


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Hopes, fears rise as China quickens Africa push

Reuters

Wed Dec 14, 2005 8:18 AM GMT

By Andrew Quinn

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - At Johannesburg's bustling Oriental Plaza, the
Chinese are ruffling feathers.

Established under apartheid for South Africa's Indian traders, Oriental
Plaza has in recent months seen an influx of Chinese businessmen selling
goods so cheap that long-established shops cannot compete.

About 3,000 km (1,900 miles) away in the oil-rich seas off Angola, the
Chinese are busy bidding for concessions to power their economic boom, while
Chinese-made jet fighters swoop over Zimbabwe in exercises that are a
reminder of Beijing's support for President Robert Mugabe.

Across Africa, China's economic and diplomatic presence is expanding in an
accelerating push that is raising both hopes and hackles far beyond African
shores.

Since China's President Hu Jintao used a visit to Gabon last year to
announce a new drive to strengthen relations with Africa, the Chinese have
been working to cement the gains of the past several years.

Chinese diplomats feature at African summits, flying the flag of Third World
friendship and offers to cancel some $1.3 billion in bilateral debt.

Chinese businessmen snap up commodities, while Chinese doctors treat
Africa's sick under assistance programmes that win friends among people
often forgotten by the rest of the world.

"China's move into Africa is displacing traditional Anglo-French and U.S.
interests on the continent," said Martyn Davies, director of the Centre for
Chinese Studies at South Africa's Stellenbosch University.

"The United States, and the British, are particularly concerned about
increased Chinese movements."

OLD FRIENDS, NEW PARTNERS

Reminders of China's ties to Africa stand in many African capitals where
Chinese-built stadiums echo an era from the 1950s and 1960s when Chairman
Mao's engineers forged anti-Imperialist solidarity with Africa's
independence leaders.

But the current Sino-African business boom is unprecedented, driven by
China's increasing hunger for raw materials to power a market-driven economy
growing at over 9 percent per year.

In 2004, China's total exports to Africa hit $13.82 billion, up 36 percent
over the previous year while imports -- largely raw materials -- surged 81
percent to $15.65 billion, according to Chinese statistics.

Chinese diplomats, while recognising African concerns over competition that
has all but destroyed some low-tech industries such as textiles, say the two
are ideal partners.

"China now finds herself in a position to offer what African countries need,
namely, sophisticated technology appropriate to African conditions at
relative low cost," Liang Guixuan, an economic expert at China's embassy in
South Africa, said at a recent trade meeting.

OIL HUNGER

Beneath the diplomatic veneer, however, it is clear that China's immediate
interest in Africa is oil and Chinese state companies are moving fast to sew
up deals in key producers such as Angola, Nigeria, Sudan and Congo.

In Angola, China stepped in with a $2 billion credit line secured by future
oil deliveries to upgrade war-damaged Angolan infrastructure after talks
between Luanda and western lenders stalled over issues of transparency.

China has since displaced the United States as Angola's biggest oil
customer -- buying an estimated 323,000 barrels per day in 2004 against
306,000 barrels per day in U.S. sales -- and close political ties promise an
increasing flow.

"Angola needs China for its reconstruction efforts. When donors and the IMF
were turning their backs, China was the only way for Angola to get funding
to rebuild the country," one Luanda-based energy source said.

China has also become a key supporter of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe,
who has increasingly highlighted his government's "Look East" policy after
Western powers imposed sanctions on his government.

Davies of Stellenbosch University said China's activities in Angola and
Sudan, where China has ignored concerns over atrocities in lawless Darfur to
become the biggest foreign investor with $4 billion in projects, showed
Beijing was adept at exploiting political openings.

"In key countries, China is becoming the new IMF of Africa without the
strings, or at least only with strings that tied to Chinese national
commercial interests," he said.

China's deep-pocket strategy is showing political pay-offs for Beijing by
limiting the activities of their rivals on Nationalist-ruled Taiwan. Senegal
in October switched diplomatic recognition to China, reportedly with the
curt reminder to Taipei that "states have no friends, they have only
interests".

MOVING DEEPER

But China's influence in Africa extends beyond oil fields, and is moving
deeper into the continent.

China is busy improving one of its 1960s era political gifts to Africa --
the Zambia-Tanzania railway -- which is now proving useful as a conduit for
Zambian copper that China uses to make telephone lines, electronics and
construction materials.

Chinese tourism to Africa is a fast-growing market, while environmentalists
blame China's appetite for ivory for a new round of elephant poaching across
the continent.

Peter Draper, a trade analyst at South Africa's Institute for International
Affairs, said Chinese competition was visible across Africa, particularly in
construction projects as Chinese firms win key contracts for everything from
Rwandan roads to an Algerian airport terminal.

"From a long term perspective, if we engage China the potential for them to
become partners increases. If we confront them, we will probably come off
second best," he said.


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Hospital Goes Without Doctor for Six Months



The Herald (Harare)

December 13, 2005
Posted to the web December 14, 2005

Harare

BINGA Rural District Hospital has been without a medical doctor for more
than six months, forcing thousands of patients to travel as far as
Bulawayo -- about 450 kilometres away -- for specialised treatment.

In an interview yesterday, Binga district administrator Mr Cephas Mutale
said the situation was further compounded by a critical shortage of
qualified nurses at clinics throughout the remote district.

"People are having to travel long distances to get medical attention from
doctors. Our clinics are being manned by unqualified nurses, mainly school
leavers, who are elevated to nurse aides after some time," said Mr Mutale.

The situation is particularly difficult for women as they often develop
complications during pregnancy.

However, Health and Child Welfare Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa last week
said Government would ensure that Binga got at least two medical doctors
soon.

"We are fighting to have at least two doctors in this district so that
people do not travel long distances to health institutions.

"It pains us as Government to have such a situation, but we are trying our
best to address the situation," said Dr Parirenyatwa.

He said Government was working tirelessly to promote the health of women,
especially those in a state of pregnancy because of their susceptibility to
illness.

Binga, alongside Lupane, Kariba, Hwange and Chiredzi, is among areas worst
hit by malaria.

The situation has been exacerbated by constant breakdown of the two
ambulances, which service a population of about 300 000 people, coupled with
lack of transport.


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Operation Murambatsvina victims return to informal settlements

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

Click here to enlarge image
IRIN

Displaced still waiting for formal housing

BULAWAYO, 14 Dec 2005 (IRIN) - Many of those affected by the Zimbabwe government's controversial Operation Murambatsvina clean-up campaign are still waiting for the new houses the state promised them.

Among them is Munetsi Takadini, 57, whose two-roomed shack in Bulawayo's oldest suburb, Makokoba, where he had lived with his family of eight for over 20 years, was demolished during the campaign.

Five of his school-going children have had to drop out due to distance and financial constraints since he lost the income from his backyard shoe-repair business when such informal enterprises were also outlawed by the government during the clean-up campaign.

Two weeks ago Takadini watched from his tent in Cowdry Park, west of Bulawayo, as the government handed over completed houses and stands to other victims of the clean-up campaign. So far 5,000 people have been allocated stands and houses under the reconstruction programme.

"We were told that we would be the first to be given houses. I have been on the housing waiting list for over 12 years, but my name is not on the list of beneficiaries of the housing scheme because I can't afford the deposit," he complained.

The deposit ranges from Zim $600,000 (US $8) to $7 million ($93), depending on the size of the house.

Dubbed 'Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle' (Shona and Ndebele for live well), the government reconstruction initiative aims to roll out 1.2 million houses a year, with 4,900 being built within a few months.

But its criteria for the allocation of houses, which include payment of the initial deposit, proof of formal employment and a specified salary, have made them unaffordable to people displaced by Operation Murambatsvina, like Takadini.

As a result, four of Bulawayo's old informal settlements have slowly come back to life.

At the Methodist Church in Bulawayo's central business district, Nokuthula Mpofu, a mother of four, waited to receive her monthly allocation of maize-meal and beans sourced by 150 pastors under the Churches of Bulawayo banner, which has been assisting displaced people.

"I have been on the housing list for many years, but when I realised that I wasn't one of the beneficiaries and could not afford the deposit, I returned to the squatter camp," she told IRIN.

Mpofu was one of many residents who returned to Matseumhlophe informal settlement, which was deserted for three months after being destroyed during Operation Murambatsvina.

Martha Nyakuni of the Zimbabwe Homeless People's Federation said a large proportion of those displaced by the clean-up campaign had not been accommodated in the first phase of Operation Garikai.

"These people were staying in shacks - not because they wanted to, but because they could not afford the rental in decent houses," she pointed out.

Nyakuni added that the implication was that the 5,000 beneficiaries of the first phase of Operation Garikai were gainfully employed and had not been affected by the demolitions.

The government required all urban councils to produce lists of intended beneficiaries for housing so that it could "vet the names in terms of ability to pay, which includes earning a government-scale salary".

A Human Rights Watch report, 'Evicted and Forsaken', highlighted the plight of the people displaced by Operation Murambatsvina in December.

It said Operation Garikai had little to do with a humanitarian relief effort, as the vast majority of the internally displaced would not be among its beneficiaries because they were unlikely to meet the criteria for ownership of the new houses.

The report also said the number of houses being built was "negligible" compared to the hundreds of thousands of people rendered homeless by the evictions; a concern echoed by UN Humanitarian Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland during his recent visit to the country.

Addressing Parliament last week, President Robert Mugabe said his government was committed to providing decent houses to those displaced by the clean-up campaign.

Although the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Ignatius Chombo, admitted that many displaced people were yet to be included in the government's housing scheme, he was confident that the government would be able to accommodate them.

"We never said we would accommodate everyone at once - this programme is moving in phases," Chombo told IRIN. "Of course, it is true that some deserving cases are still without accommodation, but they should not worry because the next phase is theirs. We hope to be through with the reconstruction programme by May next year."


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MDC to launch fresh bid to suspend leader

IOL

December 14 2005 at 08:31PM

Harare - Members of Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party said Wednesday they would launch fresh bid to win legal
backing for their decision to suspend party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

High court judge Yunus Omerjee on Friday dismissed an application by
MDC deputy secretary-general Gift Chimanikire who asked him to enforce a
decision taken three weeks ago by a party disciplinary committee to suspend
Tsvangirai.

"We will appeal against the court ruling or resubmit the application,"
the MDC's vice-president Gibson Sibanda told journalists after a meeting of
the party's national council.

"The judge ruled on technical issues such as Mr Chimanikire's legal
standing in the matter. He (judge Omerjee) did not look at the substance of
the court application."

The meeting scoffed at a suspension by a faction of six top party
officials two weeks ago on charges of abandoning their official party while
leading a clique opposed to Tsvangirai's leadership.

"The entity that seeks to carry out the suspensions is
unconstitutional," Sibanda said of the committee that suspended him and five
other party officials including secretary-general Welshman Ncube and
treasurer Fletcher Dulini Ncube.

"The said officers should not co-operate with or appear before the
bogus disciplinary committee."

Sibanda accused Tsvangirai of hiring thugs to bar members of his
faction from entering the party's headquarters in Harare.

Once a major political force challenging President Robert Mugabe's
grip on power, the MDC has been bogged down in infighting over Tsvangirai's
decision to call a boycott of the November 26 elections.

Tsvangirai maintained that the elections were a waste of money at a
time when the country was facing severe food shortages, but his opponents
within the MDC contended that voters should be given a choice at the ballot
box.

Tsvangirai had dismissed the suspension as unlawful and defied the
committee's ban on holding rallies, making public statements, visiting party
offices or using party property.

Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) won
43 of the 50 contested seats, while the MDC picked up seven seats in the
elections that were marred by poor turnout. - Sapa-AFP


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Disciplinary hearing for Sibanda & others to take place at the weekend

MDC PRESS

14 December 2005
It is becoming clearer to all reasonable men and women in Zimbabwe and
elsewhere that the dispute in MDC had nothing to do with the Senate
elections but was a calculated albeit unsuccessful agenda by a few among us
to usurp the people's power through the back door by ostracising the
President of the MDC who was elected at our National People's congress in
2000.

The rebels have once again shown their true colours by organizing a bogus
and clandestine meeting of losing candidates of the recently concluded
Senate elections masquerading as National Council members. The meeting must
be dismissed with the scorn it deserves for being both politically nave and
unconstitutional.
In terms of the MDC constitution all National Council meetings are chaired
by the National chairman Isaac Matongo. Matongo is still the legitimate
Chairman and he did not chair that meeting and neither was he invited.
Again in terms of the constitution, the only officer of the party who
reports to the National Council is the President who was neither invited nor
attended that meeting.
No amount of chicanery by the rebels will bring the people behind them. With
respect to the Disciplinary hearing, the rebels asked for a postponement to
December 17, 2005 through their lawyers, Coglan and Welsh in Bulawayo and
were granted the postponement in the interests of the principles of natural
justice. The hearing as far as the party is concerned is proceeding as per
the agreed date between the National Disciplinary Committee and the accused
members.

It is sad to note that only two weeks ago, Paul Themba Nyathi was saying
their group was taking the matter to court because they believed in the rule
of law. Now that Justice Yunus Omerjee ruled against them, they suddenly do
not respect the rule of law. One would have thought that since they had a
professor of law among them in the name of Welshman Ncube, he would advise
his colleagues in this rag-tag grouping of rebels against the kind of
actions they have embarked upon.

Nelson Chamisa
Secretary for information and Publicity


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Crocs top elephants as biggest threat to Zimbabweans

CNN

Wednesday, December 14, 2005; Posted: 10:19 a.m. EST (15:19 GMT)

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- Crocodiles took a narrow lead over elephants as the
most dangerous animal to man in Zimbabwe this year, a conservation group
reported Wednesday.

Crocodiles dragged away 13 people -- including children -- and ate them in
the first 10 months of 2005, according to the Communal Areas Management
Program for Indigenous Resources, known as Campfire.

Elephants charged and trampled 12 others, including some villagers trying to
protect their crops from the giant herbivores who eat an average 300
kilograms (660 pounds) of fodder a day as adults, the group said in its
annual report.

Buffaloes and hippopotamuses, also considered among Africa's most dangerous
animals, killed one person apiece bringing the total to 27.

Lions are reported to have killed 17 cattle belonging to a traditional
leader in western Zimbabwe in November, but there were no fatal attacks on
humans. Rogue lions who acquire a taste for human prey are usually hunted
down.

The Campfire group was founded after independence from Britain in 1980 to
promote the management of wildlife and use of wildlife products in sparsely
populated areas. The report is part of its efforts to educate remote
communities about the dangers of animal attacks.

"Most of the time there is no recognition of that fact, that communities are
always on the front line of the battle between man and beast," said Campfire
director Charles Jonga.

Crocodiles prey on villagers who fish and wash in rivers and lakes,
conservationists say. Elephants can become enraged when confronted by
people, or when females are separated from their young. Buffalos and hippos
can also attack when disturbed.


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Masvingo police ordered to return stolen farm equipment



By Tererai Karimakwenda
14 December 2005

On Tuesday, white commercial farmers in Masvingo won a court battle in
which they were fighting the illegal seizure of equipment from their
properties. According to the Commercial Farmers Union, 7 of its members had
successfully petitioned the courts to force the Masvingo Farm Equipment and
Materials Committee to return all equipment taken illegally. The group, led
by Assistant commissioner Mrs. Ndanga and consisting of police, war vets and
CIO agents, has been taking equipment illegally from farmers in the Lowveld
area.

Our contact in Chiredzi, farmer and manager Gerry Whitehead, was one
of the victims. He lost equipment that belongs to Whitro Engineering, which
has nothing to do with his farming operation, and does not fall under the
farm equipment category. Whitehead estimated its value at about 5 billion
Zimbabwe dollars.

We have reports that some of the stolen equipment had already been
auctioned, and it is not clear what will happen in those cases. It also
remains to be seen whether the police will comply with the court order or
ignore it, as they ignored an earlier order to stop taking the equipment in
the first place.

With pressure growing on the farming community to produce, the police
may find it difficult to escape this time. Again, it all depends on whether
Robert Mugabe takes Gideon Gono's advice and finally take steps to save
agriculture in Zimbabwe. Enforcing the court order would be an appropriate
first step, followed by the prosecution of anyone who interrupts farming
activities.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


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SA and UK major trading partners for Zimbabw

e

By Lance Guma
14 December 2005

Zimbabwe's hypocrisy in its economic dealings came to the fore when
its very own Central Statistical Office (CSO) admitted South Africa and
Britain remain its major trading partners. Government has been at the
forefront of promoting a "look east" policy, and going by Robert Mugabe's
vitriolic attacks on Britain, the fact Zimbabwe relies heavily on the UK for
business exposes the double standards.

The Acting Director of the CSO, Moffat Nyoni, told a recent press
conference South Africa supplied 57,49% of imports with the United Kingdom
accounting for 37%. Much talked about China contributed only 3,95% of
imports, with Mozambique providing 3,15%. The look east policy started three
years ago but the country is still relying on its traditional markets. 81,37
percent of Zimbabwe's exports were going to Africa and Europe.

Zimbabwe exported US$ 801million worth of goods in the first 6 months
of this year, with US$323 million (about 40,25%) of that going to Europe.
The country still has business dealings with the United States (US$ 22
million), while Australia and Canada import goods worth a combined US$
2,3million. The CSO says the country earned US$ 1,7 billion from trading
with both Africa and Europe last year but blames a rise in imports for the
lack of foreign currency in the country. Economic analysts however blame the
country's problems on political meddling in the running of the economy.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


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Yo Zimbabwe . . . Listen up! Enter Studio 7's exciting Christmas Promotion . . .

----- Original Message -----
From: Studio 7
Sent: Wednesday, December 14, 2005 7:00 PM
Subject: Yo Zimbabwe . . . Listen up! Enter Studio 7's exciting Christmas Promotion . . .

VOA's Studio 7 - news for Zimbabweans by Zimbabweans - has an exciting Christmas Promotion where we'll be giving away lots of radios. All you need to do is tune in to Studio 7 tonight (and for the rest of the week) at 7pm to find out more! Please make sure to tell your friends and colleagues. And don't forget to tell your relatives all over the country as well!

The promotion is open to one and all: share the news, share the excitement.

Studio 7 has been a reliable source of objective and balanced radio news for the people of Zimbabwe since 2003. Studio 7 reaches listeners in southern Africa every Monday through Friday evening in Shona, Ndebele and English from 7 to 8:30pm. Studio 7 radio offers stories about Zimbabwe, Africa and the world as well as features about Zimbabwe's people, society, economy, culture, sports, and music.

You can get information on our Christmas Promotion by listening to Studio 7 on the 14th, 15th, 16th and 19th December at 7pm - be a winner and listen to Studio 7!

Tune in on 909 Medium Wave or 4930, 9830, 12080 and 17785 kilohertz Short Wave at 7pm.

Visit: www.voanews.com/english/africa/zimbabwe/



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Zimplats says to double underground ore production

Reuters

Wed Dec 14, 2005 9:07 AM GMT

NGEZI, Zimbabwe (Reuters) - Zimplats Holdings Ltd will more than double
underground ore production next year as it gradually phases out its open
cast mine ahead of total closure two years from now, officials said on
Tuesday.

Zimplats, majority owned by South Africa's Impala Platinum Holdings
(Implats), will ramp up underground ore output at its Ngezi mine to 787,800
tonnes next year from 311,054 tonnes by the end of 2005.

Ore production at the open cast mine will be reduced by 379,164 tonnes to
1.45 million tonnes ahead of a total shutdown by December 2007.

Officials said major expansion plans were still on hold awaiting
clarification on the government's empowerment policy.

Implats targets most of its growth in Zimbabwe, which has some of the
richest platinum group metal (PGM) ore deposits outside of South Africa.
Zimplats, 83 percent owned by Implats, is due to eventually increase output
by about 70 percent to 145,000 ounces of platinum per year.

"There are certain political restrictions we have to overcome to grow," Jack
Murehwa, Zimplats corporate services executive, told journalists during a
tour of the company's Ngezi mine southwest of capital Harare.

Murehwa was referring to planned legislation by the government on black
ownership, which has been in the pipeline for the past year and a constant
source of speculation.

He also referred to a statement by President Robert Mugabe last week saying
the government had started negotiations with Zimplats to give up some of its
properties for joint ventures between a Zimbabwe state firm and Chinese
investors.

Murehwa said Zimplats had not engaged in any negotiations with the Chinese,
but said there had been "inconclusive talks" with state mining firm Zimbabwe
Mineral Development Corporation.

"The discussions centred on the possibility of giving possible ground to
ZMDC for their own use and it was a commercial discussion which we have no
reason to refuse," Murehwa said.


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Zimbabwe Government Returns Seized Passports

VOA

By Tendai Maphosa
Harare
14 December 2005

Zimbabwean authorities say an independent newspaper publisher and an
opposition party official whose passports had been seized may have them
back. But, another government critic has had his passport seized.

Trevor Ncube's passport was released before an application for its return
lodged by his lawyer was heard by the High Court.

Mr. Ncube's lawyer, Stanford Moyo, told VOA the attorney general's office is
not contesting his application to the court and he could collect his
client's passport.

Mr. Ncube is on a list of 64 Zimbabweans whom the government wants to stop
from traveling abroad. It says their travel harms the national, defense or
economic interests of the state.

A constitutional amendment approved earlier this year allows the government
to seize the passports. But Mr. Moyo says the change to the constitution
does not make passport seizures legal.

"Constitutional amendment number 17 does not remove the right to freedom of
movement. It purports to modify the right to freedom of movement, but the
right to freedom of movement remains in section 22 of our constitution," he
said. "The right to freedom of movement includes the right to leave one's
country, the right to re-enter one's country, the right to enter other
countries where one is allowed to enter."

Mr. Moyo said Zimbabwe is also bound by a number of international agreements
guaranteeing the freedom of movement of its citizens. He added that the
government's action was illegal as they took his client's passport without
giving him a chance to defend himself.

Paul Themba-Nyathi, an official of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change, was also asked to collect his passport. It was seized on his return
from a trip last week to South Africa.

But as the two men were celebrating getting their passports back, another
government critic, Raymond Majongwe, who is the secretary general of a
teachers union, had his withdrawn. It was seized at Harare International
Airport on Mr. Majongwe's return from a trip abroad.

Attempts to get some clarification from the relevant government officials
were unsuccessful.


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UN agency meets donors on shelter recovery in Pakistan and Zimbabwe

UN News Centre

14 December 2005 - In a bid to raise funds to provide shelter for
Zimbabweans who have been evicted from their homes and Pakistanis who have
been displaced by the massive earthquake that struck in October, the United
Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) met with donors today in
Nairobi, Kenya.

The President of UN-HABITAT's Governing Council, Ambassador Wojciech
Jasinski of Poland, together with the Chair of UN-HABITAT's Committee of
Permanent Representatives, Petr Kopriva, symbolically kick-started the
consultation by pledging personal funds to build houses in Zimbabwe and
Pakistan.

Opening the consultation, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Envoy on
Human Settlements Issues to Zimbabwe, Anna Tibaijuka, cited an "urgent need
to stabilize the shelter conditions of the poor people who were evicted and
who have now been living out in the cold and in the open for almost six
months."

In addition, Mrs. Tibaijuka, who is also UN-HABITAT's Executive Director,
pointed to the "desperate need to meet the shelter demands of those affected
by the earthquake in Pakistan especially now that winter has set in."

UN-HABITAT has a number of proposals to help victims of the earthquake,
which rendered more than 3 million people homeless, including one involving
a special winterized shelter that incorporates materials that can be reused
in the construction of permanent housing in the spring.

Similar materials are being used in Zimbabwe, where the Government has
approved a UN shelter programme. UN-HABITAT said the initiative will not
only help resolve the humanitarian crisis caused by operation Murambatsvina
that led to large numbers of people still living in the open or in
transition shelters but will also be critical in the distribution of other
humanitarian assistance, including providing for the chronically sick and
those with HIV/AIDS.


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Three-card trickery

From The Financial Mail (SA), 9 December

By Tony Hawkins

Harare - Zimbabwean finance minister Herbert Murerwa's 2006 budget is
getting a better press than it deserves, with some local analysts claiming
the sharp reduction in the budget deficit reflects an underlying economic
recovery. This is not true. In his August mini-budget, Murerwa announced a
budget deficit for the first half of the year of Z$ 5,7 trillion (about
US$80m at current exchange rates), partly because revenue at Z$9,7 trillion
was well below forecast. This forced him to increase Vat from 15% to 17,5%
from September 1. But in the second half of the year, revenue is estimated
at almost Z$20 trillion - double the first-half inflow. Why? In a word,
inflation. Prices rose 150% in the first half of 2005, but with inflation
reaching 411% in October and projected to top 500% by year-end, it will
average at least 350% in the latter half of the year. This explains the
surge in revenue, which allowed Murerwa to reduce VAT to its original 15%
with effect from January 1. Government spending increased by only a third
while revenue was doubling, as a result of which the first-half deficit of
Z$5,7 trillion is projected to decline to less than Z$3 trillion by
December, giving an annual budget deficit of 3% of GDP - less than half the
7,3% estimated earlier.

Indeed, Zimbabwe is turning economic theory on its head. Normally a large
budget deficit translates into high inflation. In Zimbabwe, however, a
negative relation has developed, so that as inflation rises, the deficit
falls and vice versa. How come? Part of the explanation is that inflation is
being driven, not by the budget deficit, but by the so-called quasi-official
deficit, which is public spending financed not by the ministry but by the
central bank. In other words, the real deficit is much larger than Murerwa's
figures because it is being financed off-balance sheet by the central bank
and simply does not show in the estimates approved by parliament. In 2006,
Murerwa will try to pull the same three-card trick. Spending and revenue
will both increase by nearly 300%, taking the national budget next year to
Z$124 trillion (US$1,75bn) or about 41% of GDP. Revenue will grow over 270%,
leaving a budget deficit of Z$13,9 trillion or 4,6% of GDP. With government
forecasting real GDP growth of 2%-3,5% - the first positive growth since
1998 - the assumption is that prices must rise 250% for revenue to increase
270%. But the official inflation forecast is 80% by the end of 2006, which
looks to be mathematically impossible.

Murerwa's forecasts bear little resemblance to those in his budget a year
ago. He blames drought for this, whereas the IMF puts it down to the
"effective destruction" of commercial agriculture. Government admits real
GDP will fall 3% in 2005 - about half the IMF forecast of minus 7%.
Agriculture, targeted to grow almost 30% in 2005, actually declined 12,8%,
while mining was down 5,7% and manufacturing 3%. Next year, however, all the
main sectors, including tourism, will turn around, with farm output up 14%,
mining production 27% and industry growth 3%. "More money for the people"
was the headline in the state-owned Herald newspaper - a reference to the
reduction in VAT and the increase in the tax threshold from Z$1,5m/month to
Z$7m, meaning that families earning less than Z$7m/month will pay no tax.
Government's improbable claim that people will be better off as a result of
this budget was spoilt somewhat by the publication of the Zimbabwe Consumer
Council's minimum subsistence budget for an average-sized family. It comes
to Z$12,9m/month, prompting the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions to demand
that the tax threshold be raised to this poverty datum line level. There is
nothing in this chewing gum and sticky tape budget to suggest government has
a strategic plan for overcoming the economic and social crisis. It is
looking to donors to bail it out. After months of argument, the UN's World
Food Programme has resumed food aid shipments to Zimbabwe, feeding an
estimated 2m people in November. It plans to supply 300 000 t of food over
the next year, mostly funded by President Robert Mugabe's "enemies" in
Washington, Brussels and London. Harare also hopes this week's visit by UN
emergency relief co-ordinator Jan Egeland will result in US$276m in UN aid
for some of the 700 000 people evicted in June from their homes and
businesses during Operation Clean Up.

Western donors are reluctant to back any UN assistance, partly because they
are funding food aid, but also because they believe it sets an unfortunate
precedent to finance the rebuilding of homes destroyed by government when
there are so many demands globally for humanitarian assistance due to
natural, not man-made, disasters. As if the picture were not bleak enough,
the outcome of last week's senate elections, in which the ruling Zanu PF
party won 43 of the elected 50 seats in a 19,5% poll, appears to have
deepened the split in the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
The pro- senate faction, now in effect expelled from the party, expected to
win far more seats than it did. Indeed, even in the MDC heartland of
Matabeleland where it won seats, the turnout was less than 10%, suggesting
its supporters, like party leader Morgan Tsvangirai, see little point in
contesting skewed elections. Signs are that Tsvangirai will emerge as the
winner from the split, but with a more militant stance. None of this bodes
well for the future, or for President Thabo Mbeki's efforts to revive
political dialogue in Zimbabwe.


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The Sandmonkey is now Ranting - please keep voting!

----- Original Message -----
From: "Sokwanele" <info@sokwanele.com>
Sent: Thursday, December 15, 2005 4:46 AM

Title: The Sandmonkey is now Ranting - please keep voting!

Dear Zimbabwe Situation readers

Depending on where you are in the world, today, 15th December, is the last
possible day for voting for 'This is Zimbabwe' - Sokwanele's blog - in the
2005 Weblog Awards (Aussies have a little extra time on the 16th because of
time differences).

Please click on the flashing icon in the top left column on Zimbabwe
Situation to vote, or visit this link:
http://weblogawards.org/2005/12/best_middle_east_or_africa_blo.php

We had a great response to our call for votes yesterday (see our appeal here
on Zimbabwe Situation at this link:
http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/dec14a_2005.html#Z12 ).

When we sent out our email yesterday, our votes stood at 514. The current
totals at the time of writing this email show that we increased our votes by
a whopping 275 votes overnight! (Current totals are the figures in brackets,
followed by yesterday's score).

Iraq the Model (2352) --- 1540
Regime Change Iran (2089) --- 1536
This is Zimbabwe (789) --- 514
Rantings of a Sandmonkey (766) --- 661
Israelly Cool (375) --- 344
The Religious Policeman (265) --- 231
6000 Miles from Civilisation (174) --- 150
Secret Dubai (70) --- 65
Timbuktu Chronicles (55) --- 50
The Fishbowl (37) --- 35
360 Degrees of Sky (36) --- 33
Voice in the Desert (34) --- 29
Digital Africa (10) --- 8
Mission Safari (9) --- 8
Jared's Mozambique (8) --- 7

Yesterday we asked if you could help us to become the top African blog in a
category that we share with the Middle East (Best Middle East or Africa
blog). Our closest competitor comes from Egypt - Rantings of a Sandmonkey.

Well, we've now moved past the Sandmonkey - and the Sandmonkey is really
ranting! Here's what he posted on his blog a shortwhile ago!

*****

Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Please vote for the angels' sake!

There is only 2 days left and Zimbabwe is gaining on me. I don't know how
they manage to pull 150 votes a day, but I am guessing they must be using
some zimbabwean internet Voodo rituals or something. In case you didn't
know, using internet vodoo rituals gives angels cancer. Show them that you
oppose Vodoo and giving angelscancer and vote for me. I figure a good 300
vote margin should send them Vodoo-using-angel-cancer-giving-zimbabweans a
message that says loud and clear that "Giving Angels Cancer is not cool!" by
you. Otherwise, what would the children say? That you allowed angels to get
cancer when you could've stopped it because you were too lazy to vote for
the sandmonkey? What a great role model you are being. SHAME!

Stop Vodoo Voting now and vote for me. Do it for the angels. Ohh and the
Children. Don't forget the children!

*****

"Vodoo-using-angel-cancer-giving-zimbabweans" .... Come on guys, let's show
the Sandmonkey that he has a lot more to ranting to do.

Please vote for us again today! You can vote once a day until voting closes.
The polling site will tell you if you have voted within the last 24 hours.
But please don't give up. Please try again later. We can't sit back and let
a sandmonkey accuse us of voodoo rituals and not react!

We had an email today from someone who is walking around his office and
asking his colleagues all to vote for us. He pointed out that this should be
called - 'One computer, one vote, once a day'. It's great getting those
votes, but even more fantastic that, through this competition, more people
are learning about what is happening in Zimbabwe.

Here's a reminder of when voting closes:

Voting officially closes at this time: 11:59:00 p.m. Thursday December 15,
2005 USA - Eastern time

This means that voting closes at the following times in other cities around
the world:

07:00:00 a.m. Friday December 16, 2005 in Africa/Harare
05:00:00 a.m. Friday December 16, 2005 in Europe/London
04:00:00 p.m. Friday December 16, 2005 in Australia/Sydney

Our thanks to all of you
Sokwanele

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SOKWANELE - ZVAKWANA - ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

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