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Mugabe deploys state agents to bully striking doctors

Zim Online

Thursday 25 January 2007

††††† BULAWAYO - The Zimbabwe government has called in its feared spy
Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) to intimidate striking doctors to
return to work or face unspecified but "dire consequences", authoritative
sources told ZimOnline.

††††† The sources, who are senior officers in the police and the CIO, said
while the government had every desire to end a strike that has paralysed
state hospitals, its major concern however was that the opposition could
seize on the doctors' strike to ferment a general strike by workers that
could easily turn into mass revolt against the government.

††††† Political tensions remain charged in Zimbabwe especially after the
Morgan Tsvangirai-led opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
last week repeated threats to mount a "vigorous campaign" to block plans by
President Robert Mugabe to extend by two more years his term which was due
to end in 2008.

††††† "Our superiors believe that there could be a hidden hand and agenda
behind the strike that is why we have been deployed at the hospitals to get
information about who initiated the strike and to push the doctors to call
off the strike," said a senior CIO agent, who declined to be named for
professional reasons.

††††† Teams comprising CIO agents and undercover police have since last week
deployed at major state hospitals in Bulawayo, Harare and other major
centres, the sources said.

††††† The CIO on Wednesday refused to take questions on the matter saying it
never discusses its work with the Press as a matter of policy.

††††† Deputy police spokesman Oliver Mandipaka would not specifically
confirm or deny whether police and the CIO were on a mission to intimidate
doctors back to work.

††††† But he insisted that it was routine for the police to monitor strikes
because some politicians he did not name always wanted take advantage of
such situations to destabilise the country.

††††† Mandipaka said: "The police are there (at hospitals) to gather
evidence on what really is happening and there is nothing sinister about
that. Remember there are usually some politicians who take advantage of such
situations to try and de-stabilise the country and that is what we want to
counter."

††††† But doctors in Bulawayo said state security agents were not just
monitoring the situation at hospitals but were stalking them, following them
to their homes and threatening them with harm if they did not return to
work.

††††† A doctor at Mpilo hospital in the city said: "They (CIO and police)
came here on Tuesday morning and began harassing us, accusing us of working
together with the MDC to try and incite people to rise against the
government. They said our grievances would not be addressed if we did not
return to work."

††††† The doctor, who declined to be named for fear of victimisation, said
the state security agents recorded the names, telephone numbers and physical
addresses of doctors who were supposed to be on duty on the day but had not
turned up because they were on strike.

††††† A doctor at the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) said undercover police
visited him last Thursday at his home in the city's Entumbane suburb.

††††† "They told me that they knew where I live and that I would face dire
consequences if I did not go back to work .. I am contemplating changing my
residence because I no longer feel safe," said the doctor, who also declined
to be named.

††††† The Hospital Doctors Association that represents striking doctors said
some of its members had reported that they were being harassed and
threatened by state security agents.

††††† "I have heard of such threats against doctors, especially those based
in Harare and Bulawayo, but that will not deter us," association president
Kudakwashe Nyamutukwa said. "This is not a political matter and we will not
be bullied by anyone into throwing away the purpose of our struggle," he
added.

††††† Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi, temporarily in charge of the
health department, was not immediately available for comment on the matter.

††††† Conditions have deteriorated at state hospitals with scores of
patients reportedly dying of diseases that could otherwise be treated since
doctors downed tools last month.

††††† Nurses at various hospitals have since joined the strike leaving
patients in the care of young student nurses.

††††† The latest doctors' strike, coming hardly two months after another
paralysing work boycott at the government-owned Mpilo hospital in Bulawayo
last November, only highlights the rot in Zimbabwe's public health delivery
system that was once lauded as one of the best in Africa but has virtually
crumbled due to years of under-funding and mismanagement. - ZimOnline


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No pay for striking doctors

Zim Online

Thursday 25 January 2007

HARARE - The Zimbabwean government has frozen salaries of 50 striking
doctors at Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare in what the doctors say was a
clear case of victimization against the doctors.

Hospital Doctors' Association President Kuda Nyamutukwa said although most
of the 350 doctors had received their new salaries for January, the 50 had
not received their pay after the government accused them of spearheading the
strike.

"I can confirm that at least 50 doctors from Parirenyatwa Hospital have
failed to access their money. We know it's a way of trying to kill off the
strike.

"The government is trying to fight fire with fire. But it is not going to
work," said Nyamutukwa.

Zimbabwean doctors downed their tools last December demanding that the
government increase their salaries from Z$56 000 to Z$5 million a month.

Although Health Minister David Parirenyatwa had earlier this month promised
to significantly hike their salaries, the doctors say they were not happy
when the government only increased the salaries by 320 percent.

The lowest paid medical doctor now earns Z$239 000, an amount the doctors
say is still way below their minimum salary demands.

Nyamutukwa yesterday said the doctors would press on with the strike until
their demands for more pay and better working conditions were met.

The strike has had a heavy toll on long-suffering Zimbabweans with reports
that many were dying of diseases that could otherwise be treated if doctors
were at work.

Zimbabwe's health delivery system, once lauded as one of the best in Africa,
has virtually collapsed after years of under-funding and mismanagement.

An acute economic crisis now in its eighth year running has only helped
worsen the situation with the government short of cash to import essential
medicines and equipment, while the country has suffered the worst brain
drain of doctors, nurses and other professionals seeking better
opportunities abroad. - ZimOnline


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Bulawayo left with only two weeks' water supply

Zim Online

Thursday 25 January 2007

BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe's second largest city of Bulawayo is left with only two
weeks' water supply and the situation could deteriorate further if there are
no significant inflows into city dams within the next two weeks, city
authorities said on Wednesday.

City engineering services director Simela Dube said water levels in the
three dams that supply water to the city were at their lowest ever and
warned residents - who like everyone else in Zimbabwe are already grappling
with shortages of food and other basics - to prepare for prolonged water
cuts as the city conserved the little water available.

Dube said: "If we do not receive any rains in two weeks time we would not be
able to supply the residents with water."

The city's supply dams were holding a combined total of five million cubic
metres of water compared to the to 40 million cubic metres they hold when
full, said Dube after touring water facilities with the media.

Bulawayo, which is a bastion of opposition to President Robert Mugabe's
rule, is tucked at the heart of the drought prone Matabeleland region in
south-western Zimbabwe.

It has routinely faced water shortages but Mugabe's government has stalled
on building a pipeline to draw water from the mighty Zambezi River down to
Bulawayo, leading many of the city's residents to wonder whether they are
not being punished for regularly voting against Mugabe at every important
election held since independence from Britain in 1980.

The government, which routinely raises the pipeline project at every
election time in an apparent attempt to catch votes, says it has not been
able to build the pipeline solely because of a shortage of funds.

Water cuts could only help drive to the ground more of Bulawayo's industries
that also have to grapple with persistent power cuts, hyperinflation,
shortages of hard cash and raw materials. - ZimOnline


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Group protests against Mugabe's 2010 plans

Zim Online

Wednesday 24 January 2007

HARARE - Business briefly came to a halt in Harare as members of the Save
Zimbabwe Campaign protested in the city centre against plans by the
government to extend President Robert Mugabe's term by two years.

Mugabe's term ends in 2008 but his ruling ZANU PF party, which has absolute
majority in Parliament, has said it wants to amend the Constitution to allow
him to remain in office until 2010.

Save Zimbabwe, a coalition of opposition parties, churches, civic society
groups, the student and labour movements, is mobilising Zimbabweans to
resist the move to keep Mugabe in office after the expiry of his elected
term.

Coalition members went around Harare's First Street pedestrian mall
distributing fliers condemning plans to postpone the presidential poll.
Other activists blew whistles while motorists were hooting, in what protest
organisers described as the "Sounds of Freedom".

The protest which took place during lunch hour lasted for about 10 minutes.

Although ZimOnline reporters saw police chasing after the protesters, there
were no immediate reports of anyone arrested.

Zimbabwe's tough Public Order and Security Act bans citizens from marching
or gathering in groups of more than three without prior permission from the
police. The law has been used exclusively to ban any public show of
dissension against the government.

The members of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign said the protests would take place
every Wednesday for 10 minutes during the lunch hour.

Zimbabwe is in the grip of an acute economic crisis that has spawned the
world's highest inflation of 1 281.1 percent, shortages of food,
electricity, essential medicines, fuel and just about every basic survival
commodity.

Critics blame the crisis on repression and wrong policies by Mugabe and say
two more years with the veteran President at the helm would only delay
Zimbabwe's economic recovery. - ZimOnline


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Harare Heavyweight Steps In To Resolve Strike By Hospital Doctors

VOA

††††† By Carole Gombakomba
††††† Washington
††††† 24 January 2007

Zimbabwean Acting Health Minister Sydney Sekeramai on Wednesday engaged
striking junior and senior hospital residents in a bid to end a crippling
labor action now in its fifth week, representatives of the striking
physicians said.

Dr. Sekeremai, also minister of defense and ruling party secretary for
health, asked the doctors to put their grievances and demands in writing,
sources said, adding that the residents had already submitted that
information to Sekeremai. The ruling party heavyweight stepped in this week
to take over handling of the crisis from Health Minister David Parirenyatwa,
who abruptly left on leave early this week.

Dr. Douglas Gwatidzo, chairman of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for
Human Rights, said Dr. Sekeremai's move was positive because it was the
first sign that the government was prepared to deal directly with the
striking doctors.

After the strike started on December 21, health minister Parirenyatwa held
discussions only with hospital consulting physicians rather than with the
striking doctors. Last week the Ministry of Health ordered the doctors to go
back to work or be dismissed, saying it had come up with a pay deal but
refusing to disclose what the terms were.

Meanwhile, Parirenyatwa Hospital residents said they have not been paid
though their colleagues at Harare Hospital and in Bulawayo at Mpilo Hospital
and United Bulawayo Hospital said they have been paid their monthly
salaries. They said their pay included the 300% increase which Harare
granted this month to all civil servants.

Meanwhile, nurses at Parirenyatwa Hospital said they had gone on strike.
Some of the nurses said they decided to strike after receiving salaries
ranging from Z$120,000 to Z$195,000 (US$28 to US$46 at the parallel exchange
rate in wide use) when they were hoping to see increases to Z$3 million to
Z$4 million (US$715-US$950).

A† nurse at Parirenyatwa Hospital who gave his name only as Gerald told
reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that nurses at the
institution, named for the health minister's father, feel betrayed by the
system they serve.

Studio seven was unable to reach senior officials at the Ministry of Health
to confirm details of the ongoing negotiations and obtain comment on the
situation.


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Early But Uneven Zimbabwe Rains Bode Disappointing Maize Harvest

VOA

††††† By Patience Rusere
††††† Washington
††††† 24 January 2007

The U.S.-based Famine Early Warning System issued a warning this week saying
that despite an early start to Zimbabwe's rainy season the maize crop may
turn out "below average" because rains were unevenly distributed and may not
last the season.

"Rains began up to six weeks early, before many farmers were prepared for
planting," FEWSNET said. "In some areas, the early start (of rains) was a
false one, followed by dry periods of up to 20 days, and farmers had to wait
for rains to resume in order to replant." The organization said rainfall
"was not well timed or well distributed," and added that the forecast for
the remainder of the season "is not favorable."

FEWSNET also said the winter wheat crop harvest, after being delayed by
shortages of fuel and the early rains, could fall short of expectations. It
said the wheat harvest probably wouldn't exceed 135,000 metric tonnes, and
that Zimbabwe thus might be obliged to import some 265,000 tonnes to meet
its annual requirements.

The food security monitoring organization said some 1.4 million Zimbabweans
living in rural areas were in a situation of food insecurity during the
current "hunger season," while many living in the cities cannot afford maize
meal though it is available.

Agriculture spokesman Renson Gasela of the Movement for Democratic Change
faction led by Arthur Mutambara told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the food crisis is only likely to deepen this
year.


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Zimbabwe Opposition Will Lobby AU Against Mugabe Term Extension

VOA

††††† By Blessing Zulu
††††† Washington
††††† 24 January 2007

The branch of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change headed by
Morgan Tsvangirai, backed by non-governmental organizations, said Wednesday
it will be urging African Union leaders meeting in summit in Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia, to object to Harare's plan to postpone the presidential election
due next year.

Zimbabwe is not on the agenda of the AU summit, but opposition officials
will lobby on the sidelines of the summit. AU foreign ministers meet
Thursday and heads of state will come together on Monday. Opposition sources
said the MDC delegation would include Grace Kwinjeh, the faction's deputy
secretary for international relations, and Sekai Holland, the opposition
grouping's secretary for policy and research.

Chairwoman Eileen Sawyer of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum said her own
group has dispatched a delegation led by lawyer Tafadzwa Mapfumo.

Most provincial organizations of the ruling ZANU-PF party have backed the
so-called "harmonization" of ballots under which the 2008 presidential
ballot would be put off to 2010 to coincide with a general election,
extending the term of President Robert Mugabe. Mr. Mugabe, 82, has ruled
Zimbabwe since independence in 1980.

The political opposition and civil society groups have vowed to resist any
attempt to amend the constitution to authorize a change in the national
election schedule.

Libya has already come out in support of the so-called "harmonization" of
elections in Zimbabwe. Its position was stated recently in Harare by Imshaya
Ali, a special envoy of Colonel Muamar Gaddafi, who has been in power in
Tripoli since 1969.

Senior researcher Chris Maroleng of the Institute of Security Studies in
Pretoria, South Africa, told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for
Zimbabwe that the AU has been found wanting on previous occasions in dealing
with Harare.

Political analyst John Makumbe of the University of Zimbabwe said that
although the AU has been reluctant to confront Harare, opposition forces
must keep lobbying.


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Commonwealth chief hopes Zimbabwe cleans house, rejoins bloc

Yahoo News

Wed Jan 24, 2:24 PM ET

KIKUYU, Kenya (AFP) - Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon voiced
disappointed at Zimbabwe's worsening political crisis and hoped the southern
African nation would eventually rejoin the bloc.

"We are very sad about the situation in Zimbabwe, we hope they will uphold
standards of human rights and they will come back and join the
Commonwealth," McKinnon said at a high school outside the capital Nairobi.
Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth in 2003 following the previous
year's presidential elections that extended the mandate of President Robert
Mugabe, despite widespread irregularities.

Angry at a Commonwealth decision to indefinitely prolong Zimbabwe's
suspension from the bloc's ruling councils at a 2004 summit in Nigeria,
Mugabe pulled his country out of the club of mainly former British colonies
and vowed never to return.

"I regret to say that Zimbabwe did not wish to come back. I believe they
will come back some day," McKinnon said after holding talks with Kenyan
President Mwai Kibaki.

Zimbabwe currently faces four-digit inflation, massive joblessness, and
growing poverty.

Once a regional breadbasket, the country has increasingly relied on food aid
and imports since 2000 when the government launched controversial land
reforms evicting white farmers to make way for landless blacks.

McKinnon is scheduled to travel to Tanzania before proceeding to Ethiopia to
participate in an African Union summit.


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Zimbabwe power firm hamstrung by cash crunch, low supplies

Yahoo News

Wed Jan 24, 5:12 AM ET

HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe's state-run electricity provider is battling a
serious financial crunch and a widening supply shortfall which has let to
increasing power cuts, a state daily has reported.

The acting chairman of the Zimbabwe Electicity Supply Authority (ZESA)
Christopher Chetsanga said Wednesday the utility had run up a
105-billion-Zimbabwe-dollar (420-million-US) debt which he blamed on low
tariffs.
"The electricity bills customers are paying are sub-economic," Chetsanga was
quoted by The Herald newspaper as saying Wednesday. "It costs 90 Zimbabwe
dollars to produce a kilowatt and the same kilowatt is sold for five
dollars."

"The utility imports power at two US cents per kilowatt and sells at 0.2
cents per kilowatt, meaning Zimbabwe provides the cheapest electricity in
the region."

"Government is being engaged with a view to finding a solution to this
matter which is killing our financial base."

Power supplies are becoming increasingly erratic in Zimbabwe, which is in
the throes of a meltdown with four-digit inflation and shortages of foreign
currency and basic commodities.

Families in cities are turning to firewood for cooking and heating because
of outages.

Chetsanga said suppliers from nearby countries had only offered 150
megawatts to ZESA instead of the 600 megawatts it had requested, adding:
"That is what is also leading ZESA to go into load-shedding."

The southern African nation imports 40 percent of its power needs -- 100
megawatts a month from the Democratic Republic of Congo, 200 megawatts from
Mozambique and up to 450 and 300 megawatts from South Africa and Zambia
respectively.

Chetsanga said ZESA had not succeeded in raising 30 million US dollars for
repairs at four of its six generators at Hwange power station which broke
down last year.


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Zimbabwe power company to make 600 workers redundant

The Raw Story

dpa German Press Agency
Published: Wednesday January 24, 2007

Harare- Zimbabwe's cash-strapped power company plans to make 600 workers
redundant in the next few weeks as it battles to remain viable, reports said
Wednesday. The redundancies are due to be effected by March and will cost
ZESA Holdings 2 billion Zimbabwe dollars (8 million US dollars), said the
state-controlled Herald newspaper.

We have reduced 600 posts and we think we have trimmed ZESA enough and the
money spent on salaries would be utilized elsewhere, said acting ZESA
Holdings chairman Christopher Chetsanga, who admitted the power utility was
broke.

Earlier this month ZESA workers went on strike to press for a wage hike from
a minimum of 23,000 Zimbabwe dollars to 300,000 Zimbabwe dollars.

The strike was declared illegal, and 135 workers were suspended.

Meanwhile, 2007 is going to be a bad year for Zimbabweans, already reeling
from black-outs that have lasted for several weeks in some suburbs of
Harare, Chetsanga warned.

In comments broadcast on state television, Chetsanga said the low tariffs
ZESA was forced to charge had resulted in the power company registering a
loss of 34 billion Zimbabwe dollars (136 million US dollars) last year.

He warned the blackouts would be worse than those previously experienced in
Zimbabwe. The power crisis will be exacerbated by shortages of electricity
in southern Africa.

Zimbabwe, which is facing a shortfall of more than 700 megawatts of power,
has only been guaranteed 150 megawatts of power by traditional suppliers
such as South Africa, said the acting ZESA Holdings chairman.

© 2006 dpa German Press Agency


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Zimbabwe power utility warns of more shortages

Reuters

Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:04 AM GMT

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe could experience extended and more serious power
outages this year because the state power utility is broke and cannot
provide enough electricity to meet demand, an official said on Wednesday.

The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) warned the power cuts that
have plagued the southern African nation as a result of a deepening economic
crisis marked by chronic shortages of fuel and food would worsen.

Christopher Chetsanga, acting chairman of ZESA, told state media that
Zimbabwe's two main power stations were operating at about half capacity due
to broken generators.

He added that the utility's ability to bridge the gap by importing power was
limited by a foreign currency crunch and a shortage of excess capacity in
the southern Africa region.

During the last few years, Zimbabwe has been importing up to 40 percent of
its power supply from South Africa, Mozambique and Democratic Republic of
Congo, but Chetsanga said a regional energy shortage had left Zesa only able
to import 150 megawatts of the 650 megawatts it requires, the Herald
newspaper reported.

"Chetsanga revealed that the power utility was broke, and facing a slew of
challenges, especially foreign currency shortages and sub-economic tariffs,"
it said, adding that ZESA was also burdened by huge debts and a big wage
bill that has forced it retrench hundreds of workers.

Chetsanga said the country's electricity struggles were going to be worse
than last year, casting a cloud over prospects to revive an ailing economy
in which many industries are operating at half capacity.

But he said he hoped Zimbabwe would be able to replace its broken
electricity generators and that President Robert Mugabe's government would
obtain the millions of dollars required to expand power supply.


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Land reform efforts in SA and Zimbabwe slated at global forum

The Star

January 24, 2007 Edition 1

Christelle Terreblanche

Nairobi - South Africa and Zimbabwe's land reform programmes have come under
attack at the World Social Forum here, where a Global Campaign for Agrarian
Reform was launched.

Activists gathering at the annual leftist world forum said yesterday the
market-based land reform policies adopted by the South African government
meant that many poor people were not yet free to access livelihoods and that
more-radical reforms were necessary. African landless movements were urged
by their South American counterparts to follow their successful "attacks" on
those who resisted land reform.

The comments arose as a number of grassroots organisations from across the
globe launched the Global Campaign at a two-day WSF workshop on food
security and "food sovereignty".

The seminar was among more than a thousand events staged at the annual WSF,
set up in 2001 in Brazil, to protest over what activists call the anti-poor
economic strategies that emerge from the World Economic Forum. This is held
every January in Davos, Switzerland, and is attended by the rich
multinational companies and finance ministers. This year's WEF was due to
start today and will be attended by President Thabo Mbeki.

Food, land and water security was high on this year's WSF agenda, held for
the first time in its entirety in Africa.

Through the global campaign, African and Asian activists yesterday linked
their struggles for food security with La Via Campesina, a South American
social movement that has had considerable success with pressing governments
to fast-track land and agrarian reform.

It claims to have the backing of new leftist Bolivian President Evo Morales
and his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chavez. Both are proponents of radical
land reform.

"In the past two decades we have seen in Southern Africa a massive struggle
that embroiled the entire region. Today we find that the situation has not
changed for rural people," said Mercia Andrews, Cape Town-based activist of
the Trust for Community Outreach and Education (TCOE).

"The vast majority remain landless. Those who have land continue to struggle
to make a living. Despite (President Robert) Mugabe, little has changed in
Zimbabwe for small farmers. In South Africa, the government has no food
sovereignty policy.

"Food sovereignty" is a new concept referring to small farmers' ability to
control their land, seeds, water and other means of production in the face
of efforts by multinational companies to control it.

Eastern Cape TCOE member Mthumthum Bozo said he had not seen any agrarian
reform and that he could not plough his fields because of a lack of fencing
and equipment.

"We have land. We cannot use it," he told The Star. "We have not ploughed
since 2001." He said appeals for help to the provincial government and
municipality had been in vain.

The international co-ordinator of Via Campesina ("the peasant way"), Rafael
Alegria, said the global campaign was born out of the multi-nationals'
increased efforts to control all farming and the trade in production through
the World Trade Organisation, "the mother organisation of capitalism".

He said the main focus of the campaign was to help those struggling for
land, such as landless people's movements worldwide; to make it heard in
international forums such as the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation; and
"to attack organisations such as the World Bank, which has this insane idea
that the poor should access land through the market".

In many South American countries, the Via Campesina is moving "from
resistance to power. History has showed that real agrarian reform is not
possible without the political will to break the strong links to the
(undemocratic) past," said Alegria.

"Now we have governments in Latin America who are no longer talking agrarian
reform but agrarian revolution. We have basically changed the map to be much
more favourable for food security."

He added that in order to win the struggles worldwide, alliances must be
build with other sectors such as unions, NGOs and churches, and that
governments should be forced to participate.


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Interview Part 1: Morgan Tsvangirai

New Zimbabwe

SW Radio Africa's Violet Gonda talks with opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) faction leader Morgan Tsvangirai. This is the first of two parts of the interview:

Last updated: 01/25/2007 09:28:27 Last updated: 01/24/2007 10:38:43
Broadcast on Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Violet Gonda: Opposition leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai is the guest on the programme ĎHot Seatí. Welcome on the programme Mr Tsvangirai

Morgan Tsvangirai: Thank you.

Violet: Now Mr Tsvangirai Mugabe and his Zanu PF party plan to harmonise the Presidential election and the Parliamentary election and move the Presidential poll from 2008 to 2010. The opposition has said it will resist this and launch a campaign for the 2008 Presidential election. First of all, how are you going to do that exactly?

Morgan Tsvangirai: Well, we as MDC have clear objectives as far as that proposal is concerned. Our first objective is to ensure that we as a party go on a campaign country-wide against such a proposal by mobilising the people to understand what this implies. The second objective is to ensure that together with the broad civic society we are able also to broaden the campaign to include our colleagues and partners in civic society. And thirdly, to insist that there shall be an election in 2008 under a new constitution remains our rallying cry for the nation to ensure that this crisis is not postponed by another three years.

Violet: Now, some agree that elections should be combined but they say that they should be extended from 2008 to 2010 to give people more time. Now, as the opposition, will you be ready if the elections are held next year as scheduled?

Morgan Tsvangirai: Violet, we will be more than ready. We have been ready since the formation of the party. Thatís why we beat Mugabe in the 2002 Presidential election, thatís why we beat him in the 2005 Parliamentary election. What is only required is not the readiness of the opposition, what is required is the conditions under which these elections are being held. The free and fairness, the democratic control of national institutions like the electoral management systems, the police and the military. All that will ensure that the outcome is not pre-determined.

Violet: But still, again I ask, is there enough time for all these things to happen? You know, to fight for a new constitution and the opening up of the democratic space, because, the harmonisation process needs to be accompanied by serious reforms, as youíve just said. Now, Zanu PF and Mugabe in particular has made it clear that elections will be held in 2010. What is your concrete strategy, to ensure that this wonít happen?

Morgan Tsvangirai: Well the defiance is characteristic of Mugabe, we have heard him before, but, when there is sufficient mobilisation of the people like in 2002 or at the time of the campaign for a new national constitution, he will succumb. There is no way he can continue to defy his own people and the people at large because we know this 2010 project has no support within his own party. And so is the nation. The nation is saying we face such a critical colossal crisis that delaying to resolve this issue by a free and fair election will only mean that we have condemned the people by another three years.

Violet: But Mr Tsvangirai, the flawed electoral process has been a major complaint of the opposition since the parliamentary election in 2000 and subsequent elections after that. Some say Mugabe can easily turn around and say Ďfine, letís have these elections as scheduledí, how will you stop these next elections from being rigged?

Morgan Tsvangirai: Well the point is that I underlined the fact that we need an election under a new constitution and under a new electoral management system that will ensure that the vote is free and fair. It obviously poses a very critical question to the opposition to say at the right time do you participate in an election which is already pre-determined, or you insist that the election shall be conducted in a manner that is accepted internationally. This is the predicament, the dilemma that we face as a country. We want an election but we donít want an election under the current conditions because it will just mean that they will be rigged. So, it is a dilemma that we need to deal with and the people, I think, would insist, that in conditions where it is obvious that Mugabe has the full control of the rules and regulations, itís a futile exercise.

Violet: And, is it not prudent for your party or your parliamentarians to begin pushing in parliament for electoral reforms and use Zanu PFís denial in Parliament to launch mass action, thatís what others would ask.

Morgan Tsvangirai: Well, the problem is that parliament has proven to be a worthless exercise in so far as you can make noise but Mugabe ensured that he had his two thirds in March last year, in 2005, and so the debate by the opposition is just merely an exercise in futility.

Violet: So others would then ask why you continue to participate in an ineffective Parliament that Zanu PF uses to railroad through draconian legislation. What is the point then, is this not a contradiction?

Morgan Tsvangirai: Well I think itís like participating in an election; what you do is you give some semblance of legitimacy to that process. But certainly, I have full confidence that that institution is working to the fullest benefit of the people other than just a conveyor belt of Mugabeís wishes.

Violet: You know, this is exactly the question that people keep asking. How is that institution working for the benefit of the people because Parliament is seen as ineffective and that the opposition should stop participating in Parliament? Just like they say you should stop participating in elections under what you say is an undemocratic constitution

Morgan Tsvangirai: Well, I think that what one has to understand is that from time to time this position is reviewed by the MDC as a tactical question and not as a matter of principle. As a matter of principle we would like to participate in elections but on a tactical basis itís no use going into an exercise in futility like I have said earlier which you know has no effect, you can make as much noise as you want but still the ruling party is in defiance and in denial as to what are the real issues that the parliament should be doing.

Violet: Now itís been reported that some Zanu PF moderates want Robert Mugabe to go early, so what is your party doing to build consensus with these so called reformers in Zanu PF?

Morgan Tsvangirai: Well, we have extended our patriotic hand to say that all patriots must come together now at this critical juncture in the history of the country, to have one common purpose, which is one common purpose in so far as ensuring that the elections are conducted as scheduled. And, to put the country first beyond the partyís interests and the individualís interest. I think this call has sympathies in Zanu PF and we would certainly be in a position of finding means and ways of working with those people in Zanu PF who want to see this thing be resolved.

Violet: Have you actually been able to talk to these so-called reformers in Zanu PF?

Morgan Tsvangirai: Not in a formalised way but in an indirect way, we know the feelings in Zanu PF are just as strong as within MDC about Ö

Violet: What aboutÖ Sorry?

Morgan Tsvangirai: about this 2010 project.

Violet: What about the issue of getting people to participate. Who is working on getting rid of voter apathy because itís been said, that Zanu PF strategy to suppress, thatís Zanu PFís strategy to suppress voter turn-out, so what is happening about that?

Morgan Tsvangirai: Well, Iím sure that occasionally, depending on the peopleís interpretation, certain elections they tend to be apathetic. But Iím sure that the people of Zimbabwe are ready for the Presidential election, were ready to participate in the Parliamentary election. So it depends on how the people interpret an election as useful or not. So whilst there is this conclusion that there is apathy, I donít think that come certain elections the people of Zimbabwe will wake up and interpret that their vote will make a difference.

Violet: But, is it not a fact that people right now feel despondent. As the opposition leadership how do you get rid of that feeling especially as it has taken six years to get people on the streets?

Morgan Tsvangirai: Well, the thing is itís not about just going and getting people on the streets. I think that thereís romanticism about this Ďget people on the streetsí pre-occupation. What is important is to what extent are people themselves realising that they are in a struggle against a dictatorship. It takes a lot of education, it takes a lot of mobilisation, and thatís what we have been working at with limited resources. As you know resources equal results; we are not as endowed as the Zanu PF government with all the resources, the communication and all the monopoly of communication at its disposal. We donít have that. We have to come up with a strategy that is going to be ensuring that our structures on the ground, our education on the ground, our message on the ground has to resonate with the feelings of the people. So the despondency may appear artificial and academic, but the people on the ground are not despondent. They know that they have to tackle the dictatorship and unless they themselves are involved, nothing will happen.

Violet: But as the opposition, how come you are failing to use the energy of all those people who attend your rallies, to protest? Why are they not marching on the streets if they can attend rallies in their thousands?

Morgan Tsvangirai: Itís a million dollar question. It also depends on the response of the State, which has been brutal, and, you can understand that fear is endemic in the people, and itís how to get rid of that fear, how to get rid of this regime which is totally carrion and which is controlling all their lives. That will make a difference. For us, fear is a slow process; itís a process that you engage in for people to remove fear. But, itís generally fear; nothing else.

Violet: But you know, many ordinary Zimbabweans we speak to, you know, they donít see any practical options that the opposition has, that you can possibly take to dislodge Mugabe because they say everything you have said, or you are saying even now, you have said before. In Parliament you are outnumbered, when you call for stay-aways or mass action people donít participate. So how do you believe you will do it this time?

Morgan Tsvangirai: No, itís not about this time. You know the problem is that people believe that there is a time in a struggle. Just go back to your history and see that there was an armed struggle that started in 1963. Itís only up to 1980 that that stage of that struggle was an armed struggle. So, one, there are phases in a struggle and there are moments in that struggle that can be exploited. Right now, at the moment we have this issue that can mobilise all Zimbabweans; the issue of the 2010. And itís just a question of what are the issues that can mobilise people. But to say you have tried this, it has failed, you have tried this, therefore it is a permanent failure, I donít think so.

Violet: But you know, sorry to go back to the same issue , everyone knows that Mugabe is holding on to power; you know he has militarised the State, he has refused dialogue because if there was any dialogue we would have seen some progress in the country and there is no progress right now. And then the Government has made it clear that those who participate in mass action would be dealt by force. So what is your plan for dislodging Zanu PF given these circumstances?

Morgan Tsvangirai: I think that itís a strategic question Ďwhat is your planí, Iím sure it would be naive to say that you would be able to articulate a plan and say we are going to do one, two, three things without necessarily having Zanu PF also having a counter-plan. What Iím saying here is pure and simple. The people of Zimbabwe must realise they are in a struggle for freedom, and that this regime is not convincingly on the side of being a perpetual dictator for ever. What Iím seeing is that it can be defeated. It can only be defeated by the people of Zimbabwe.

The right to be on the right side of history is to do the right thing, and thatís what the MDC and all the democratic forces are doing. And, eventually the people shall prevail. I canít give a timeframe; I can only rely on our experiences on the ground, our ability and capacity on the ground to overcome some of the obstacles that Zanu PF places in the way. One of the things is we cannot follow Zanu PFís agenda, we have to design an agenda for ourselves as I have outlined in the objectives earlier on and thatís what we have to work on.

Violet: But you know right know on the ground in Zimbabwe it seems like there has been a lot of fragmented activism; WOZA are doing their thing, NCA is doing their thing, but you know there doesnít seem to be a spark to unite these forces and it seems one Ö

Morgan Tsvangirai: No there is, there is already a forum, there is already a platform where all the political parties in the opposition and the civic society are working together under the ĎSave Zimbabweí campaign, and we have a programme for the whole year that we have outlined together. There will be no fragmentation as you say, but a united campaign with a specific programme co-ordinated by the ĎSave Zimbabweí campaign.

Violet: But as we speak, we hear WOZA demonstrating, we hear NCA demonstrating, but no MDC, no Save Zimbabwe Coalition?

Morgan Tsvangirai: Well the fact that we have a Save Zimbabwe Coalition does not mean that individual organisations cannot engage in protracted actions according to their own individual effort. But, at the end of the day when we co-ordinate the whole effort together, I am sure that it will have more impact.

Violet: And how would you answer people who say you promise things but they never materialise? You promised ĎThe Final Pushí, ĎThe Winter of Discontentí, and at one point you said the MDC would not participate in future elections but you continue to participate in what you say is a flawed process. How do you respond to these statements?

Morgan Tsvangirai: Those are armchair critics. I donít promise anything. The fact that we said that there is a winter of discontent does not mean that the next day the action is there. Iím saying that as a programme this is where we are focusing on according to our agenda of the Congress. A winter of discontent can be a metaphor but itís being interpreted literally to mean that winter is from May to June therefore something must happen within that period. So I think that those are just people who are outside the sphere of the struggle who believe that things will come on a silver platter. Itís not about what I say, itís about what we do.

Violet: OK, you said it was the agenda of the Congress, and one example was the Winter of Discontent, these are the timelines that you give as the Opposition, so Ö

Morgan Tsvangirai: It was not a timeline, thatís where you made a mistake. It was not a timeline, it was a metaphor making sure that people are mobilised as discontent but not on a time-frame as to say that because winter is June to May therefore it should happen during that period. I said as a programme of action the democratic resistance of the MDC will start immediately as we finished our Congress in March and itís an on-going programme and we havenít abandoned that.

Violet: But itís a year now since you said those things. When are we going to see the programme of action?

Morgan Tsvangirai: Well you wait and see, itís going to happen.

Violet: Are people in your party preventing mass action from taking place?

Morgan Tsvangirai: What is happening is that mass action or popular resistance takes various forms and popular resistance cannot be defined in a particular action, one activity. It is the on-going pressure that you apply on the regime and it takes various organisational and resource needs on the ground.

Violet: The reason Iím asking this Mr Tsvangirai is because people would then ask, what is causing the delay, because it would be understandable if there was a divergence of reaction in the party.

Morgan Tsvangirai: Well there was no divergence, there is no divergence. I mean we are all agreed. We adopted as one of the party programmes that the only game in town was a democratic resistance programme. The delay assumes various constraints that the Party has. For people in Europe to go on those massive revolutions that have taken place over the last two, three years, there was massive resource input in that. We donít have that advantage. We suffer limitations; sometimes a programme is limited because there are no adequate resources. You know it takes a lot of organisational input throughout the country to have that impact. Itís not that the people of Zimbabwe have never acted in the past.

Violet Gonda: MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai. Tune in next Tuesday for the final segment.

Audio interview can be heard on SW Radio Africaís Hot Seat programme. Comments and feedback can be emailed to violet@swradioafrica.com


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Chihuri faces quiz over Willowvale tender

New Zimbabwe

By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 01/24/2007 11:41:42
A ZIMBABWEAN parliamentary committee Tuesday ordered Police Commissioner
Augustine Chihuri to explain why he misrepresented to it the number of
vehicles that the force purchased from a local car dealer in a controversial
deal.

The demands where made during a hearing in which top police officers who
were led by Acting Police Commissioner Godwin Matanga and Home Affairs
Permanent Secretary Melusi Matshiya were grilled by members of the Defence
and Home Affairs committee chaired by Zanu PF Bikita West MP, Rtd Colonel
Claudius Makova.

Chihuri is currently on leave.

During a hearing last year, Chihuri told the MPs that the police had bought
400 vehicles from Willowvale Mazda Motor Industry and the company was
failing to deliver the vehicles, prompting the committee to summon the
company.

MPs heard that the vehicles were purchased without going to tender.

Willowvale also produced documentation that showed that the Zimbabwe
Republic Police had purchased only 120 vehicles from the company and not 400
as alleged by Chihuri, forcing MPs to smell a rat.

The committee also established that in some cases, there had been verbal
correspondence between the police and Willowvale leading to the purchase.

To add to the controversy, at Tuesday's hearing, top police officers gave
contradicting figures to those availed by Chihuri and the motor company.

During the hearing MDC Bulawayo North East MP Welshman Ncube said Chihuri
should be recalled to Parliament to explain the Willowvale claims.

A letter from Willowvale read by Mabvuku MP MDC Timothy Mubhawu during the
hearing said: "The flow of information between the two parties has certainly
been much higher... that it has overshadowed the importance of
documentation."

On Chihuri, Ncube said: "We had the police commissioner giving evidence. He
was unequivocal: 'we ordered 400 vehicles from Willowvale'.

"It cannot be dismissed... he did not say we ordered over four years. He
said we ordered in 2006. We need an explanation."

Makova said Ncube's sentiments were the position of the committee.

The MDC secretary general said the police needed to come up with a detailed
summation of the money paid to Willowvale, correct number of vehicles
received and how much of the force's money was with Willovale.

He added that unknown to the police; the MPs hearing with Willowvale had
established that the company had in its coffers money deposited by the
police.

As such Ncube directed them to establish the amount of that money and its
interest.

Tempers nearly flared when Matshiya complained that the committee had
bombarded him "with a barrage of questions" without affording him an
opportunity to respond but when told that the committee was affording him
the time, he said he had forgotten some of the questions.

Matshiya said he would be prepared to come back after two weeks to
Parliament to address its concerns.

Acting Police Commissioner Matanga said he agreed that the deal was
improper.

"We need to go back and say this is not proper," he said.


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Devaluation talk hits Harare

Business Day

Brian Latham

--------------------------------------------------------------------

††††††††††† Bloomberg

††††††††††† HARARE - Zimbabwe's dollar plunged 40% on the black market this
week amid speculation that the central bank was set to devalue the currency,
said John Robertson, an economist.

††††††††††† The currency, officially pegged at 250 against the US dollar,
sold for as much as 4200 a dollar on the streets of Harare yesterday,
compared with 3000 on Saturday, money traders said. The central bank might
devalue the currency "any time soon," Robertson said.

††††††††††† "Exporters have been pushing the central bank governor to
devalue the Zimbabwe dollar," he said. "They believe it should be worth
between 1000 and 1750 to the US dollar."

††††††††††† Zimbabwe, where more than half the population lives on less than
one US dollar a day, devalued its currency 60% on July 31 in an effort to
pull the economy out of a recession triggered by President Robert Mugabe's
seizure of white-owned farms. The country is in its ninth year of recession
and has the highest inflation rate of 61 countries tracked by Bloomberg.

††††††††††† Money traders were reluctant to trade US dollars and South
African rands today in anticipation of a possibly currency devaluation.

††††††††††† "We're buying, not selling," said Kephas Saidi, who deals
illegally in foreign currency in Harare's Avenues district. "I won't sell US
dollars or rand until after there is news of an official devaluation."

††††††††††† Zimbabwean inflation, which accelerated to 1281% last month,
might surge to more than 4000% this year if current monetary policies were
maintained, the International Monetary Fund said on September 16.

††††††††††† "Inevitably that will drag our currency down further," Robertson
said.

††††††††††† Last year the southern African country knocked three zeros off
its currency after inflation rendered bank computers unable to cope with
transactions in trillions of Zimbabwe dollars.

††††††††††† Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono traditionally made
his annual monetary speech in January, Robertson said.

††††††††††† A date for this month's monetary policy statement had not yet
been set, said Elizabeth Sibanda, an assistant in the bank's public
relations office, yesterday.


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Civil Society ZESN Debate on Elections

Zimbabwe Elections Supervisory Network (ZESN) Panel Discussion
on Harmonization of Elections 2008/2010

Yet another important step was taken to bring Zimbabweans together across
the political divide this evening, by civil society. ZESN Chairperson Dr
Reginald Matchaba Hove, presented a panel of speakers; Dr Eldred
Masunungure, University of Zimbabwe (UZ), Professor Jonathan Moyo, former
Minister of Information in Mugabe cabinet, now Independent Member of
Parliament for Tsholotsho, in Matebeleland North, Gabriel Chaibva, Secretary
for Information, replaced advertised speaker Professor Welshman Ncube,
Secretary General of Mutambara led group and MDC Secretary General Tendai
Biti, Member of Parliament for Harare East.

The room was filled to capacity within a short time. Many were unable to
enter the room. Even diplomats got only standing room. Dr Hove called the
meeting to order, appealed to all present to respect one another, as we were
here to have discourse and enrich ourselves. Calmly he read a letter from
scheduled ruling party speaker Dr Nathan Shamuyarira, who was unable to
attend he said, as he had meetings with visitors from the Middle East.

The First speaker Professor Eldred Masunungure built up a case for 2010
elections in a well thought out, scintillating, sometimes humorous academic
delivery. He began by explaining that the word 'harmonization' was
inappropriate. Better words to apply were 'synchronized' and 'rationalized'
elections. The harmonization project is zanu/pf.† It is an admission of
guilt that dis-harmonized elections all these years were wrong, a positive
move that the ruling party may now be open to admitting past errors.

Dr Masunungure stated that the harmonization project has dis-harmonized the
ruling party internally more than any other since the one party issue post
1990. The number of factions was now three. There is a consensus among
Zimbabweans that elections should be synchronized. The Mass Public Opinion
did a study, which concluded that 68% wanted elections rationalized. They
wanted to have the Presidential elections in 2000 instead of 2002 with
Parliamentary elections.† Because zanu/pf rarely does anything in good
faith, the public is suspicious of why zanu/pf is rationalizing elections
this time. While synchronization is popular, the issue of Mugabe wanting to
prolong his stay in power is unpopular even within zanu/pf.

Dr Masunungure demonstrated difficulties of a five - way election in cities,
if 'harmonization' happened. These would be; Presidential, Members of
Parliament, Senators, Mayors and Councilors. Voters would all need to vote
simultaneously for all candidates. To even get to that stage there would
have to be a lot of work done to get the voters roll cleaned up, updated and
in order, boxes, voter education, delimitation necessary for each of the 5
elections and many other preparations. The rural elections would be four way
as there are no mayors. Those would be difficult to prepare for. zanu/pf
will have multiple opportunities to cheat and rig all the ongoing elections.

The question would be why would we want to harmonize bad/defective things.
What Zimbabweans want now is 'quality elections' where their vote has value,
where every vote counts, and each vote counts equally. Nothing short of that
will be acceptable to Zimbabweans. Dr Masunungure felt that Zimbabweans need
a 2 year cooling off period. It would be ideal to have a 2 year transitional
period after Mugabe steps down in 2008, for the country to prepare for a new
people driven constitution and free and fair 2010 elections.

Professor Jonathan Moyo gave some surprising insights on the workings of the
ruling party and of Mugabe. Moyo declared that he was for 2008 elections.
2010 he said was a Zanu/pf triviality to divert attention from† pressing
issues facing Zimbabweans, threatening to take power away from the ruling
party. We were gathered to debate a Zanu/pf agenda with no policy, economic
or constitutional value. The issue was brought deceitfully. It is not in the
manifesto, has come out of the blue and does not address people's suffering.
Whenever elections are held will not change the condition of Zimbabwe. The
state is duty bound to fund elections.

Moyo said that elections should not be harmonized. It is good for democracy
to have ongoing elections all the time! Zimbabweans are being asked a false
question. Our constitution was designed for a 1 party state.† Harmonization
strengthens the 1 party mode. Mugabe is dealing with structural defects. In
2002 Presidential election, he stood alone. Even Nathan Shamuyarira left the
country. Ruling party members told people to distance themselves from Mugabe's
2002 election. He does not wish to experience that isolation again.
Harmonization forces ruling party candidates for Parliament, Senate, Mayoral
and Councils to go on the campaign trail with Mugabe. He declared that
harmonization was his brainchild. It was put forward as coming from the 8
provinces who only got to know about it at Goromonzi, rejected it leaving it
unresolved.

Moyo explained that Mugabe always wanted to be a life president. This dream
materialized in the constitutional change bestowing him as President with
executive powers. This gave him immunity. Separate elections at that time
were good. He was not mixing with little boys in elections. When he failed
to legislate for a one party state, he faced two problems. One is that he
now has 5 successors while he is alive, the second is that the issue of
immunity has erupted again as Zimbabweans speak out.

Mugabe does not believe that Zanu/pf will survive after he goes. He also
does not believe that the 5 contenders, Gideon Gono, Joyce Mujuru, Emmerson
Munangagwa, Sydney Sekeramai, John Nkomo and Simba Makoni can succeed him.
He believes they are incompetent and are probably corrupt. He also fears
that they will do a Mwanawasa on him, so he does not believe in 2008 or
2010. He also sees Charles Taylor in the Hague.

He exposed the thinking of securocrats and bureaucrats around Mugabe. They
see zanu/pf as dirty water in which a beautiful but sickly child sits. Some
are now negotiating with the 6 ruling party factions for a new deal.
Mashonaland East Province, host of the ruling party congress at Goromonzi
has 14 MPs, 3 support Mugabe. The other 11 are against his agenda. It is too
late for Mugabe to bring consensus to all 6 six factions since at least one
of them wants to throw away the 'dirty water' to save Zimbabwe. What we
should be doing is to recognize that elections will be in 2008. We should
organize for that eventuality. He told the meeting that when Zanu/pf flies a
kite they do not tell you when they decide to abandon it.

Gabriel Chaibva spoke next. He pointed out that he had shared platforms with
colleagues at the table in the past. He read from the ZESN study on the 2002
Presidential elections quoting Prof Moyo speaking glowingly on Mugabe's 2002
victory. The audience told Chaibva to go on topic. He said† his party was
for free and fair elections with a new people driven constitution.† Section
63 sub section 2, he explained, empowers the President to harmonise
elections and call for elections. He asked whether if Mugabe did that we
were ready to vote. He said that Tobias Mudede the Registrar General has
already made sure that there is no ink and no forms for youths to take out
IDs to register to vote. This means that these youths will not be able to
vote.†† This means that 400 000 school leavers reaching 18 are part of those
to be disenfranchised for the 2008election. Chaibva appealed to the meeting
that we come out with a common strategy to the situation we face.

MDC, SG Tendai Biti spoke last. His speech was hard hitting and to the
point. He explained that the harmonization project was an illusion to hide
the Zanu/pf project to permanently retain power and reproduce itself. The
ruling party requires symbols of legality such as regular elections. Zanu/pf
does not exist anymore. It collapsed itself into the state. Kraal heads,
chiefs, VIDCOs are now Zanu/pf. Regular elections bestow legitimacy. 1980 is
not referred to anymore. It is that they went to war, which they talk about.
The country is paying a price that these people went to war. They have a
problem. Zanu/pf has been privatized. It is at war within itself. There are
ongoing civil wars internally which Mugabe keeps from erupting, hence his
shenanigans of harmonization.

The SG pointed out that Zanu/pf's destruction of the Zimbabwe economy is
unprecedented in world history. Elections will not help them get the economy
right. He gave statistics, which woke everyone up. Europe for example never
with 2 bad wars got into our situation today. Zimbabwe is working at 15% of
the economy while Somalia without a state is at 40%. We have 30%
hyperinflation each month now, never experienced even when Latin American
states were at their worst. Our life expectancy is now 34 while 1 in 4 are
HIV positive. 80% live under the poverty datum line. The impact of the
economy on what Zanu/pf is trying to do is that elections will never change
the condition today.

Biti stated that one issue binds us together. It is the demand for a people
driven constitution. The healing period gives us an opportunity to remove
bad laws, dismantle militias. To achieve these things we must together
confront Zanu/pf. Harmonization does not deal the problems of 1979. There
are dangers Mugabe can pose for us. MDC wants to deal with the National
Question.

The process of constitution making is more important than the product. This
was so in the 1999 referendum. Zimbabweans must continue to demand their
Right, obligation and duty to make a constitution. He detailed anomalies by
Mugabe to prolong his rule and retain power, such as the land grab,
Operation Murambatsvina and numerous others. Zanu/pf must be put on its back
foot again and start reacting to the MDC agenda as they did before with the
above atrocities against the people. It was Zanu/pf's reaction against its
own people. He asked if we had thought about the recent headline in the
government media about the deserting soldiers and about those who have not
done so.

The SG reminded us that however hard they fight the ruling party will come
together and agree that they retain power at any cost. He concluded by
articulating how he saw things unraveling. He thought that there would be an
attempt to have elections in 2008 under the same conditions.† Mugabe would
get another 6 years and pass Amendment 18, along the USA constitution lines,
that if a President dies the Deputy takes over and completes the term.
He called on those present to speak with one voice and do what we all failed
to do last year. We had to go into the streets and make our message clear.
2007 must see us emulate NCA and WOZA. It is only that strategy that will
defeat Zanu'pf and Mugabe.

Question time was to the point. The Chairperson was steady, in control and
averted disaster when the audience could have gone out of control, when
those asking questions and one speaker were deemed to go out of topic. The
speakers were asked to give their last remarks, and respond to questions
put. They did so briefly and to the point. The meeting ended with an
improved environment. There was consensus that such meetings should
continue. ZESN has meetings scheduled. The next is in Bulawayo at the end of
this month. Debate in Zimbabwe is paramount to find our way -forward
together as a nation.

Sekai Holland
Harare
24 January 2007


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Zimbabwe cricket boss faces charges

Zimbabwejournalists.com

By a Correspondent

Ozius Bvute, managing director of Zimabwe Cricket, is to be tried in
February for supposedly violating foreign currency laws.

Bvute is alleged to have made some off-shore payments without the approval
of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe or his board of directors.

He is said to have failed to take back to Zimbabwe US$6 293 917 earned from
the sale of television rights for cricket matches in the United Kingdom
between November 2004 and October 2005.

The cricket boss is set to be charged as well for using part of those
earnings to purchase an outside broadcasting van, which would have required
the central bank's clearanace.

Zimbabwe Cricket was recently convicted by a Harare magistrate's court for
breaching the country's stiff foreign exchange laws.

The cricket body, represented by the association's accountant Anesu Kafesu,
pleaded guilty to making unauthorised payments to a foreign television
company without the go-ahead from the central bank.

The southern African country, reeling under record inflation and a serious
shortage of essential goods, fuel and foreign currency, has introduced
strict laws on foreign payments which need central bank approval.

State prosecutor Obi Mabahwana said between November 2004 and September last
year the body had paid Britain-based television production company Octagon
CSI $US1.3 million ($1.65 million) for advertising and marketing services.

Mabahwana said in the second charge ZC sold advertising space at Harare
sports club to 7Cs, a South Africa-based company, in May 2005.

For unspecified reasons, it cancelled the contract with the firm and entered
into another deal with Gameplan Limited, based in India, and agreed to pay
$US75,000 ($95,135) to 7Cs for breach of contract without the permission of
the exchange control authority.

The association is also accused of paying $US42,930 ($54,455) in college
fees for three cricket players and a manager's daughter who were pursuing
studies overseas.

The cricket body's lawyer, Wilson Manase, said it breached the law
unknowingly.

The case was adjourned for sentencing.


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Zimbabwe sugar price surges

The Raw Story

dpa German Press Agency
Published: Wednesday January 24, 2007

Harare- Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's government has
hiked the price of scarce sugar by 117 per cent in a bid to improve
availability, the official Herald newspaper reported on Wednesday.
The price of sugar is fixed by the authorities. Like milk, the
staple maize meal, flour and cooking oil, sugar has been almost
unavailable in shops since Christmas.

Bags of sugar have been selling on the black market at nearly 10
times the official price.

A ruling party official blamed the sugar shortage partly on the
industry and trade minister, who went away on leave in December
before approving new sugar prices.

Enock Porusingazi, who chairs a parliamentary committee on foreign
affairs, industry and international trade, said a 117-per-cent price
hike had been agreed on between industry players and an official
pricing committee back in November.

But Trade Minister Obert Mpofu went on leave before approving the
new sugar price, according to the Herald.

Mpofu only returned to work on Monday.

The committee took great exception to the delay by the ministry in
approving the new sugar prices, the Herald said.

"Sometimes we say Pasi neblack market (down with the black market)
but we are the ones who are creating it," Porusingazi was quoted as
saying.

Sugar is now selling at 1,247 Zimbabwe dollars (5 US dollars) per
2 kilograms, up from 570 dollars (2.28 US dollars). The price is
still way below the black-market selling price.

Sugar farmers complain that their industry is under threat because
of Zimbabwe's soaring inflation rate and the government's insistence
on setting prices.

© 2006 - dpa German Press Agency


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Zimbabwe to send trade attaches to Middle East

People's Daily

Zimbabwe is considering deploying trade attaches to the Middle East to
increase commercial exchanges, Wednesday's The Chronicle reported.

Industry and International Trade Minister Obert Mpofu was quoted as saying
that there is some consideration to send trade attaches to the Middle East
and consultations with relevant parties are in progress.

The attaches would have the main responsibility of marketing the country's
products and services in the Middle East, he said.

Source: Xinhua


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Hwange Making Loss By Selling Coal for a Song



The Herald (Harare)

January 24, 2007
Posted to the web January 24, 2007

Peter Matambanadzo
Harare

HWANGE Colliery Company Limited is losing $6 000 per tonne of coal it
produces as a result of under-pricing.

HCCL public relations manager Mr Clifford Nkomo yesterday confirmed that the
country's leading coal producer was selling the commodity at $2 000 per
tonne against the cost $8 000 to produce a tonne.

This means that the colliery is subsidising its clients including major coal
consumers Zesa Holdings and Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company, plunging the
firm into viability problems.

"What is of great concern is the price of coal. We produce a tonne of the
commodity at $8 000, but at the end of the day we are selling at $2 000. So
there is need to review the prices in line with production costs," said Mr
Nkomo.

He said although submissions had already been made to the relevant
authorities, they were taking long to review the price.

Although prices for the general coal industry were last adjusted in
December, prices charged to Zesa Holdings and Zisco have not been reviewed
over the past year.

Mr Nkomo also said the pricing issue was also discussed at length when
Minister of Mines and Mining Development Mr

Amos Midzi toured Hwange to assess the situation following a major breakdown
of the secondary crushing plant and conveyor belt system.

The revelations also come amid reports that HCCL is not fulfilling its
supply contracts with organisations such as the Tobacco Industry and
Marketing Board.

HCCL came under fire last week after it failed to deliver at least 100 000
tonnes of coal paid for in advance, thereby adversely affecting tobacco
curing.

Coal is essential for the curing of Virginia tobacco in barns for at least
seven days immediately after leaves have been picked at harvesting, failure
of which the quality will rapidly deteriorate.

TIMB said it had only received 6 540 tonnes with the bulk still outstanding.

On the other had, Zesa Holdings, one of the biggest coal consumers in the
country, also complained that it was not getting enough supplies but HCCL
said the failure to meet demand was a result of major breakdowns of
machinery, among other operational constraints.

Last week, HCCL revealed that Zesa Holdings and Zisco were failing to
service their coal debts amounting to nearly $3 billion and this was
exacerbating the string of problems being faced by the company.

Zesa Holdings owes HCCL $2 billion while Zisco is yet to pay the colliery
$800 million since October last year, although the two consumers are still
getting supplies.


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If You Can Survive in Zimbabwe, You Can Survive Anywhere

opednews

by Charles Rukuni

"If you can survive in Zimbabwe, you can survive anywhere in the world."
This is the popular feeling in this troubled Southern African country which
currently has the highest inflation in the world and is in its eighth
successive year of recession.

It has lost half its national wealth but continues to defy all odds.
Analysts have predicted an economic collapse for more than a decade, but the
country teeters on, rudderless perhaps, but it is refusing to get to its
knees.

With annual inflation at 1,281 percent, the majority of its citizens are now
so hard-pressed that one is left wondering how they make ends meet.

Children think in millions. Most American television programmes do not make
sense to them. Take the television series, Judge Judy. Someone takes a
colleague to court over a debt of US$1 000. In Zimbabwe Z$1 000 only buys a
loaf of bread. It is not even enough for a one-way trip to court.

Some programmes even give tips on how to save money. In Zimbabwe saving
money is throwing it down the drain. As a senior journalist I earned Z$5
million a month two years ago. It was equivalent to US$1 000. My salary has
increased 80-fold but in real terms I am now earning just over US$100. Put
simply, you must be crazy to put your money in the bank.

What is even more amazing is how people make ends meet. When my salary was
Z$5 million, I could afford to pay a term's school fees for my three
children then attending a fairly expensive private school from just a
month's salary. Now I need six months' salary to pay for just two, because
the other has since graduated. Our school year has three terms.

A graduate school teacher does not even qualify for a loan to buy a bed on
higher purchase. A teacher's starting salary is only $84 000 a month
(US$23.33, half a day's minimum wage in the US). The bed costs more than
five times that.

In January last year a family of six, the average family size in Zimbabwe,
needed only Z$21 000 to survive. It now needs Z$351 630.

The situation is so bad that a quarter of the population -some three million
people- has left the country. South Africa and Botswana are paying dearly
for their sound economies as they have to deport thousands of Zimbabweans
every month only to see them flock back.

The International Organisation for Migration says South Africa deported
80,000 illegal Zimbabweans between May and December last year, 950 of them
unaccompanied minors.

Botswana said it spent P600 000 (about US$132 000) on repatriating illegal
immigrants last year.

When one asks how those who have remained in the country survive, the answer
is often: "inokorera payakasungirirwa"- Shona, the majority language, for a
cow gets fat by grazing around the area where it is tied. Sometimes cattle
are tied to a tree to prevent them from straying to neighbours' fields, or
to keep them close by in case they are needed for an urgent chore.

In plain language, this means most people are stealing from their employer.
This could be either cash, products, time or resources. Most have resorted
to moonlighting, or they depend on their relatives in the diaspora.

There is even a joke about a couple that was querying why its phone bill at
home was so high. The husband said he made most of his calls at work. The
wife said the same thing. Their domestic worker chipped in: "I also make all
my calls at work."

Sanctions imposed by the West to force a regime change in Zimbabwe only seem
to be hurting the ordinary person and not those targeted. President Robert
Mugabe may have been barred from travelling to New York, London or Paris,
but he hardly spends more than two weeks at a stretch in the country.

One of his cronies, Philip Chiyangwa, even built an 18 bed roomed house with
25 lounges, 15 carports, nine servants' quarters and three heliports when he
does not own any helicopter.

Lord Howell of Guildford aptly put it on January 8 when he told the British
House of Lords that the so-called targeted sanctions were not very effective
in hitting the right target.

"It appears on the contrary that, while the ruling tyranny in Zimbabwe is
maintaining its position and even strengthening it, more women and children
are dying..... Should we not try to refocus the whole of our operation
vis-ŗ-vis Zimbabwe in ways which hit the criminals who are ruling the
country and not hit the poor people who are starving in very large numbers
and longing for greater help?" he asked.

That is the question Zimbabweans ask everyday. Why is the West hurting the
poor rather than the targeted politicians?

The answer is simple. The West does not care about the average Zimbabwean.
It is more worried about its business interests in Zimbabwe.

The British have more than 400 companies in the country. There is no record
that the number has dropped over the past five years that Zimbabwe has
officially been under European Union targeted sanctions. British Airways now
dominates international flights from Harare.

American investors own 20 percent of Impala Platinum (Implats), the world's
second largest producer of the precious metal. Implats is on record as
saying its future growth is hinged on Zimbabwe.

So when push comes to shove, the average Zimbabwean is fodder for the local
politician who continues to thrive under the present chaos and the Western
investor who is waiting by the fence for better times to come.

John Perkins sums it nicely it in his book: "Confession of an Economic Hit
Man". Corporatocracy has taken over in the United States and is increasingly
exerting itself as the single major influence on world economies and
politics. "Words like democracy, socialism and capitalism (are) becoming
almost obsolete," he says.

http://www.insiderzim.com

Rukuni is currently the Bulawayo Bureau chief of the Financial Gazette , a
weekly paper. He has freelanced extensively for The Voice (South Africa),
Gemini News Service (London) , Africa Magazine (London), The Daily Nation
(Kenya), Radio Netherlands, Radio Deutsche Welle, South-North News Service
(Hanover, NH), Africa Analysis and Africa Confidential (London). He was a
fellow of the World Press Institute (St Paul MN) in 1983 and Poynter
Institute ( Fl) in 2000.


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Politicians probed for illicit diamond trade

IOL

January 24 2007 at 04:09PM

††††† Johannesburg - Zimbabwe's Parliamentary Committee on Mines, Energy and
the Environment is to investigate 'some powerful politicians' for engaging
in illicit diamond and gold deals, says chairman Joel Gabuza, reported in
the World Diamond Council's January 23 Antwerp Facets.

††††† "Attention has focused on ordinary villagers doing illegal freelance
mining of diamonds and gold, but in reality they are just a small part of
the problem," Gabuza said.

††††† Zimbabwe stands accused of trade in conflict diamonds and is under
investigation by the Council of the Kimberley Process.

††††† Chairman Eli Izhakoff had expressed concern that rough diamonds from
Zimbabwe were being smuggled into South Africa and called for the suspension
of all Zimbabwe trade in rough diamonds until the matter was resolved.

††††† Two of the mines allegedly involved are under the control of
government supporters.

††††† The Kimberley Process is a UN and industry-backed set of regulations
designed by diamond producers and marketing organisations to prevent trade
in 'conflict diamonds' - gems mined and traded to fund conflict in Africa. -
Sapa


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Zimbabwe: majority under pressure

New Zimbabwe

By Arnold Mutaviri
Last updated: 01/25/2007 04:10:28
IS Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe government legitimate? Yes, it is. Does it have
credibility? No, it does not. Is the official opposition legitimate? Yes, it
is. Does it have credibility? No, it does not. Is the ''international
community'' legitimate? No!

Under the circumstances, the majority in Zimbabwe is under relentless
economic, social and political pressure. What is really and truly under
pressure is democracy. Can the majority contribute meaningfully to the
development of their country if they are under such immense pressure?
Majority is therefore not ruling as power should freely flow from the people
to their chosen leaders in a democracy. So who is ruling and with what
power? From where?

Who is responsible for the illness of democracy in Zimbabwe? I believe it's
the Majority.

The majority is responsible for the unhealthy democratic situation we have
today. From 1980 to the present day minority groups suffered at the hands of
the majority as democratic space was continuously denied them. Houses were
burnt; activists were beaten and sometimes killed in broad day light.
Majority assumed that by denying the minority democratic space it would
automatically increase its own. Co-existence guarantees the joy and survival
of both parties and democracy. Minor political parties were treated as
traitors, lacking both credibility and legitimacy.

Rev. Ndabaningi Sithole and Bishop Abel Muzorewa entered into the leadership
race with a traitor tag on them. Their performance was ''embarrassing''.
Instead of glorying in the fact that the two Zimbabweans represented a
different view and sought legitimately to offer that view to fellow
Zimbabweans for consideration, the majority and their leaders sought to
humiliate the two men and those who supported them. They eventually left the
country and settled in the United States for a very long time. They were
under pressure and the majority was not bothered. It is important to state
at this juncture that some of the ''democratic forces'' of today were part
of the majority of 1980 upwards and may have participated in the heinous
crimes stated above.

Joshua Nkomo and his party represented a minority (dominantly concentrated
in Matabeleland). He did not come from the right tribe and therefore did not
have the right name. The majority refused to give him the mandate to rule
Zimbabwe. His party suffered (mentally and physically) at the hands of the
majority and he eventually gave in and joined them. The Unity Accord signed
by Zanu PF and PF Zapu averted more deaths and more suffering. The story is
an open book. Thereafter, majority felt very secure and Zimbabweans
witnessed relative peace even though some individuals still lived in fear of
harassment and disappearance for one reason or another.

From 1980 (and 100 years before that) to about 1995 it was democracy which
was at stake. It was under pressure as the majority constantly and
consistently denied others the right to assemble, freely vote, freedom of
and after speech, associate and move.

What we are witnessing now is that the majority is now the one under
pressure. Could this be punishment for past sins? Their cries are going
right up to the heavens, but unheard. I am sure God is waiting for the right
moment as the majority still needs to appreciate the beauty of democracy by
living once more in an undemocratic state. The majority needs to understand
that the rights of the minority must be protected by all costs in a
democracy. So are basic rights such as freedom of the press, assembly, right
to freely vote and the right to dissent from the majority opinion. The
latter right is the one fellow Zimbabweans need to understand more.

There is a dangerous and false doctrine of ''presidential infallibility'' in
Zanu PF which reared its ugly head in the MDC. Any man who is made to feel
and understand that he is not capable of making mistakes is bound to believe
it and act that way. Mugabe was treated that way and now he believes he has
a divine right to rule Zimbabwe until ''the second coming''.

Morgan Tsvangirayi is another. I think it is typical of people who find
themselves in desperate situations. Ian Smith made normal living almost
impossible and the majority found their saviour in Mugabe. Now the majority
feel the need for change and they want it now. Morgan Tsvangirai has been
identified by a substantial number of people as their appointed saviour.

Some 160 years ago prophet Joseph Smith penned these words in Doctrine and
Covenants 121 verse 23: "It has come as a sad experience to note that it is
the nature and disposition of almost all men that as soon as they get a
little authority as they suppose they begin to exercise unrighteous
dominion, hence many are called but few are chosen."

It is a truth that when Zimbabweans go to the polls, their choice of a
parliamentary candidate or party is influenced more by the man standing as
the presidential candidate than on the issues of the day. Mugabe is Zanu PF.
Tsvangirai is MDC. The departure of these two men heralds the death of their
parties. They have been made ''institutions unto themselves''. This is a
serious threat to democracy as it does not reflect power flowing from
'demos' (populace). Power is flowing from 'kratia' (ruler). Without the
ruler (Mugabe/Tsvangirai) people have no power. The ruler should not have
power without the people! Unfortunately, the opposite is true in Zimbabwe. I
do not blame the two men. It is the people (majority) to blame.

So where do we stand as far as change is concerned? The MDC presidential
candidate went into the presidential race with three problems, namely
allegations that he had handlers in some Western capitals, a lack of clarity
on the land question and that he turned his back on the liberation struggle
in Mozambique when the first shot was fired. This last point puts him in the
same class with Muzorewa and Sithole if proved true. I advise him to explain
the circumstances of his departure 'from the front' at a time when many sons
and daughters of Zimbabwe were fighting for our cherished freedom from
oppression and apartheid (ideally before the next presidential election).

History will surely repeat itself if he does not take this kind advise. He
must not blame the illiteracy of the rural population for his failure to sit
where Mugabe is sitting today. In an effort to explain the MDC's shock loss
at the polls, the rural population has been branded an uninformed lot,
illiterate and living under the fear of the chief. It is true that there is
some level of illiteracy and l suggest Tsvangirai looks into this if (not
when) he takes over power and government.

It is not true, however, that the rural population is so illiterate that
they cannot read the situation and make an informed decision. It is not true
that the villagers are not aware of inflation and their environment. These
people are as sensitive to inflation as their urban colleagues. They may not
discuss inflation the way you and l discuss it but it is inflation anyway.
They do not even give it the name inflation but it is inflation anyway.
Theft in a different language is still theft. The rural population does not
need newspapers to know things. Word moves faster in rural areas in some
cases than it does in urban areas. Most things are done in groups. There is
a lot of interaction and reason to meet and assemble in villages than in
towns. This enables them to engage and share notes.

Robert Mugabe may have fooled the international community in 1980 by
declaring publicly the policy of national reconciliation but those who held
different views on issues were persecuted and harassed. The villages and
towns were not habitable for people who belonged to Rev Sithole and Bishop
Muzorewa during the early years of independence. I submit that these humble
and simple Zimbabweans suffered more than what we are witnessing MDC
followers going through today.

Hundreds of families relocated to areas where their political affiliation
was unknown only to move again when discovered. People in Bulawayo can give
us many testimonies. Where was the international press and the international
community in those difficult years? I read Enos Nkala's letter to Mugabe
recently and it was very informative. We thank him for that but we also
kindly say to him that nothing short of apologising for what he personally
did will pacify our feelings. He should learn to say sorry to Zimbabwe for
at least his contribution to what happened. He cannot exonerate himself.
Since he told us he held the position of Treasurer General he should also
tell us what happened to the millions of dollars donated to the comrades by
China, Russia, Cuba, Tanzania, Zambia, Lybia, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Korea
and other countries. Did all these monies go towards the liberation of
Zimbabwe or were some channelled somewhere?

I am not accusing him but we noted that some 'comrades' bought farms, low
density houses, hotels and other businesses during and immediately after the
liberation struggle. Our interest stems from the fact that the money was
sourced under the pretext that it was for the freedom of Zimbabwe and l
therefore submit that it belongs to all Zimbabweans. Since Zanu PF/PF Zapu
was a government in waiting, the balance of the donated money should really
have gone to Government after independence. Some informed academics may want
to probe this issue further and try to quantify money which was sourced in
my name and yours.

Arnold Mutaviri is a political analyst and writes from Zimbabwe. He can be
contacted at: arnold@zol.co.zw


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From turning pages to downloading them

From IPS, 23 January

Wilson Johwa

Johannesburg - Piles of fast-selling newspapers on many a street corner,
with early morning queues of commuters killing time reading and discussing
the day's top stories... This scene from the 1980s and 1990s in Zimbabwe is
now a distant memory, recognisable only to older urbanites. Workers who
formed the queues have since become a rare breed, thanks to a six-year
economic crisis that has wreaked havoc on the country's productive capacity,
and pushed unemployment to 80 percent, according to government figures.
Politics, on the other hand, has led to a muffling of independent voices,
with four privately-owned newspapers being shut down since 2003. Only two
independent publications survive - The Zimbabwe Independent and The
Standard - alongside various government-controlled papers like The Herald,
The Sunday Mail and The Chronicle. One privately-owned media house is no
longer regarded as independent, having reportedly been infiltrated, and
subsequently taken over by the state intelligence agency.

However, press freedom is making a stand elsewhere. Zimbabwe's harsh
business environment, coupled with restrictive media legislation, has led to
the creation of a stream of news websites focusing on events in the Southern
African country. Some online material also finds its way onto the three
foreign-based radio stations that deal with Zimbabwean affairs. Voice of
America broadcasts a news bulletin from Washington DC via AM while SW Radio
Africa and Voice of the People both relay their own separate bulletins from
Britain and South Africa, respectively. However, accused of representing
interests inimical to the "Zimbabwean national interest", all three stations
operate as renegade news outlets. Despite being at a considerable distance
from sources and audiences alike, the radio stations have come to be key
providers of independent news and analysis for people in Zimbabwe. However,
the channels have recently reported having their signals jammed, allegedly
by the government.

To date, at least 10 Zimbabwe-focused news websites have been established.
Some carry original material; others, such as zimbabwesituation.com and
zwnews.com, repackage news about Zimbabwe that has already featured in other
publications around the world. Zimbabwesituation.com was launched in April
2000, just after the land invasions of white-owned farms started, "initially
to keep friends and family abroad aware of what was happening in Zimbabwe,"
says Australia-based co-founder Barbara Goss. The site has an average of
"80,000 page views per week, while hundreds subscribe to its e-mail
newsletter", according to Goss. Many of the sites were founded by exiled
journalists, and are typically maintained from abroad. They include
newzimbabwe.com, set up in 2003 in Britain. It carries provocative
commentary from some of Zimbabwe's best-known personalities - and offers
readers the opportunity for debate and feedback on its articles. In 2005,
newzimbabwe.com claimed to be the most popular website in Zimbabwe, rating
higher than even the 100-year-old government-controlled daily, The Herald.
This followed a ranking of global sites in terms of traffic volume by Alexa
Web Search, a U.S.-based search platform which reportedly placed
newzimbabwe.com at position 38,154, higher than The Herald at 41,874.

"With draconian media laws continuing to throttle the life of publishing and
broadcasting in Zimbabwe, these (online) agencies have become an
increasingly important source of alternative information for many
Zimbabweans who can access them," says the donor-funded Media Monitoring
Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ), which recently began including online news
platforms in its weekly reports of press freedom and media bias in the
country. What may be driving the growth of the online publications is that,
according to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, about a quarter of the country's
12 million people now live outside the country, in places where they are
assumed to have some access to the Internet. But, while many Zimbabweans can
log onto the web, there are more who can't. The International
Telecommunication Union, a Geneva-based international organisation through
which governments and the private sector coordinate global telecom networks
and services, says only 6.7 percent of Zimbabweans in the country were
connected in 2005. Furthermore, internet cafťs have become "outrageously
priced beyond the reach of many", while in the capital of Harare access is
also hampered by regular power cuts, explains a report by the African Media
Barometer.

This is a system for analysing national media environments that was started
in 2005 by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, a German-based cultural non-profit
institution committed to the ideas and basic values of social democracy and
the labour movement, and the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) a
non-governmental organisation with members in 11 of the 14 Southern Africa
Development Community (SADC) countries. But concerns about Internet access
did not stop Geoff Nyarota, the founder of the banned Daily News - formerly
Zimbabwe's only independent daily - from setting up another online
publication in October 2006, thezimbabwetimes.com. "We are elated that we
are able to join and to complement the effort of the growing family of
independent internet-based Zimbabwean publications, all contributing in
their own way to the crusade to keep Zimbabweans well-informed as is their
democratic right," the website announced. While the foreign-based websites
are serving a useful function, the fact that few have any advertising and
some are donor-supported has led to questions around whose interests they
serve. Many have been criticised by communications academics for being
anti-government "soap boxes" that are not well-placed to engage in fair and
balanced reporting. But London-based Gerry Jackson, whose SW Radio Africa
offers audio streaming through its website, says the Zimbabwe story provides
little scope for balance. "It is primarily a story of a government
oppressing its people," she argues.

Another criticism is that the foreign-based news websites operate far from
the local reality, making them prone to telling only part of the story while
being detached and largely unaccountable to the society they serve. In
addition, the MMPZ has noticed a trend towards "cut-and-paste" journalism
driven by the pressure to satisfy audiences with content that is regularly
updated, even though most of the sites do not have the resources to do the
original reporting required. Some have weakened their credibility by
"carrying stories that are evidently inaccurate and biased, or rely far too
heavily on unidentified sources," according to the MMPZ. In many ways such
stories are an excuse for the government's stranglehold on news and
information, says Foster Dongozi, secretary general of the Zimbabwe Union of
Journalists. But Francis Mdlongwa, former editor of an independent weekly,
The Financial Gazette, (which in recent months was reported to have been
taken over by the present governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and
personal banker to President Robert Mugabe) feels that some of these
websites strive for professionalism under difficult conditions. He notes
that, as with most commercial news operations, they face immense pressure to
be "first with the news", a practice which at times leads to sensational or
inaccurate reportage. More controversial stories have included an article
about the alleged lover of First Lady Grace, which was broken by
Johannesburg-based zimonline.com when it debuted in July 2004.

Most sites are not "dedicated online publications carrying real-time news as
events unfold," adds Mdlongwa who now heads the Sol Plaatje Institute for
Media Leadership at South Africa's Rhodes University. On a lighter note:
"Some of the websites... find time to run 'brights' -- humorous stories --†
in the midst of Zimbabwe's accelerating economic and political
difficulties," he says. Until recently, the government had largely turned a
blind eye towards these online publications. But African Media Barometer
says a proposed new law, the Interception of Communications Bill, will
"definitely affect online publications", placing them at risk of "being
filtered out by the internet service providers". Yet media expert Tawana
Kupe adds that the government's intention might be merely to engender
self-censorship by giving the impression that monitoring is taking place.
Since 2000, Zimbabwe's once-prosperous economy has been on a downhill spiral
triggered by the appropriation of land owned by minority white farmers. Many
blame President Mugabe for playing the race card as he faced the prospect of
losing power to a strong opposition party for the first time since coming to
power in 1980. Accused of rigging three general elections in the past six
years, the government has become associated with wanton human rights abuses
and failing to stem the collapse of national institutions. Poverty levels
have escalated, worsened by the world's highest inflation rate of 1,200
percent, together with shortages of fuel and basic commodities.


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Jag Open Letter Forum No.462

Email: jag@mango.zw : justiceforagriculture@zol.co.zw

JAG Hotlines: +263 (011) 610 073,† +263 (04) 799 410.† If you are in trouble
or need advice, please don't hesitate to contact us - we're here to help!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Letter 1 - Jane High

Dear JAG

Best wishes to every Zimbabwean† both in Zim and those longing for home....I
thought you may be interested in a short report back from a† December visit
to Chimanimani - while it is current.

Myself and Dee Schafer arrived in Chimanimani on December 6th† 2006 and left
again January 3rd† 2007.† Whilst I know that our experience as "holiday
makers"† is of limited value to those living permanently in Zimbabwe, there
were some† notable things which have changed since our previous visit last
year. For instance we were driving a SA registered vehicle and the welcome
we received† from local people was very much warmer this year.

When we arrived there was no electricity in the village and our stand (Frog
& Fern Cottages) had been without a water supply for three weeks and more.
But, unlike in previous years† when any offer of practical assistance† was
spurned, this time it was welcomed. We arranged for the council pump to be
repaired and within a couple of days water was flowing again.† The power
cuts appeared to be less random - happening between 6 - 8pm daily and there
was a constant trickle of visitors (all Zimbabweans) through our cottages.

Yes, inflation continues to devastate every positive business move. As for
the prospects for Tourism -† shortage of unleaded fuel will keep the self
drive South Africans away and I noticed a "quick buck" mentality creeping in
to the Travel Agents† - for instance our (then) Bed night charge of† ZW$ 10
000pppn was, on one occasion, matched by a commission of† ZW$ 10
00.00pppn.† -† 100% commission...interesting.

However - the month spent in Chimanimani† was sheer heaven. Walking, birding
and playing golf - yes, the golf course is still looking good - thanks to
continued mighty efforts from Mike Gratwick, Shane Kidd and† the van de Ruit
families (Hennie and Doug). Since February 1994 we have kept a bird list for
Frog &† Fern and have waited ten years to add Rufous Bellied Tit -† this was
the year!† We also saw Blue Swallows in the Eland Sanctuary.

Back at work†† in South Africa† I am continually asked "Would you go back to
Zim?" And the answer is† "if one could make some sort of a living - YES."
To those Zimbabweans who have work and have made up their minds to stay but
some days ask themselves if they have done the right thing....believe me,
there is no better place and there are no better people.

Jane High

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Letter 2 - Stu Taylor

Dear JAG

Here's one for Cathy Buckle - be happy that you are alive - we all have
problems, why make them worse by not finding an alternative - you can always
go and live in Dzivaresekwa if you don't like Marondera. Or come and live in
the Eastern Highlands where the water is nice and pure and the Flame Lilies
gorgeous!!† Go well.

†Stu Taylor.

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All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions of
the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice for
Agriculture.


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JAG Classifieds dated 23 January 2007

As a JAG member or JAG Associate member, please send any classified adverts
for publication in this newsletter to:

JAG Classifieds: jagma@mango.zw

JAG Job Opportunities: jag@mango.zw

Rules for Advertising:

Send all adverts in word document as short as possible (no tables, spread
sheets, pictures, etc.) and quote your subscription receipt number or
membership number.

Notify the JAG Office when Advert is no longer needed, either by phone or
email.

Adverts are published for 2 weeks only, for a longer period please notify
the JAG office, by resending via email the entire advert asking for the
advert to be re-inserted.

Please send your adverts by Tuesdays 11.00am (Adverts will not appear until
payment is received.). Cheques to be made out to JAGMA.

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1.† For Sale Items

2.† Wanted Items

3.† Accommodation

4.† Recreation

5.† Specialist Services

6.† Pets Corner

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1. OFFERED FOR SALE

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1.1 PLANT & MACHINERY (Ad inserted 16/01/07)

Generator - 50kva hawker siddeley (British) - powered by 100hp perkins P6
engine C/W switch box and meters - ready for use - suitable to power 5-6
tobacco bulk curer's or similar use - very neat - excellent condition.

For any further enquiries contact Doug or Tracy on - Ph/Fax: 068-22463 -
Cel: 011212454 - tracspray@zol.co.zw

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1.2 For Sale (Ad inserted 23/01/07)

So Far and No further! Rhodesia's Bid for Independence during the Retreat
from Empire 1959-1965
by J.R.T. Wood

533 pages; quality trade paperback; pub. Trafford ISBN 1-4120-4952-0
Southern African edition, pub. 30 Degrees South : ISBN 0-9584890-2-5

This definitive account traces Rhodesia's attempt to secure independence
during the retreat from Empire after 1959. Based on unique research, it
reveals why Rhodesia defied the world from 1965.

Representing Volume One of three volumes, Two and Three are in preparation
and will take us to Tiger and thence to 1980;

To purchase:

Zimbabwean buyers contact Trish Broderick: pbroderick@mango.zw

RSA buyers: WWW. 30 degreessouth.co.za or Exclusives Books

Overseas buyers see: http://www.jrtwood.com
and a link to Trafford Publishing http://www.trafford.com/04-2760

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1.3 THE WEAVERY

Super gift ideas for local and overseas friends and family.Hand woven
articles which are light, easy to pack, and send, and fully washable.
Contact Anne on 332851 or
011212424.Or email joannew@zol.co.zw

Crocheted oven gloves--$13,000.
Cotton oven gloves--$9,000.
Small woven bags--$8,000.
Large woven bags--$12,000.
Crocheted bags--$15,000.

Queen(approx.250x240cms) size bedcover--$105,000.
Other sizes to order.
Single Duvet cushions(open into a duvet)--$60,000.
Other sizes to order.
2x1 meter Throw--52,000.
Baby Blanket(1x1meter)--$30,000.

3 piece toilet set--$25,000.
Bath mat--$15,000.

Decorated cushion covers--$11,000.

Table runner--$9,000.
Set(4)Bordered table mats + serviettes--$26,000.
Set(6)Bordered table mats + serviettes--$39,000.
Set(4) crocheted table mats only--$18,000.
Set(6)fringed table mats + serviettes--$32,000.
Lots of other combinations.

Small(approx.105x52cms) plain cotton rug--$15,000.
Medium(approx.120x65cms) plain cotton rug--$23,000
Large(approx.150x75cms) plain cotton rug--$30,000.
Ex.Large(approx.230x130cms) plain cotton rug--$75,000.
Small patterned cotton rug--$23,000.
Small rag rug--$15,000.
Medium patterned cotton rug--$30,000.
Large patterned cotton rug--$53,000
Ex.Large patterned cotton rug--$90,000.
Small patterned mohair rug--$53,000.
Medium patterned mohair rug--$68,000
Large patterned mohair rug--$82,000.
Ex. Large patterned mohair rug--$150,000.

Lots of other articles. PLEASE be aware that prices may change without
notice.

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1.4 For Sale (Ad inserted 23/01/07)

Course Salt - Z$ 33,500†† PER†† 50 KG†† BAG - DELIVERED†† HARARE.

Children's†† Coloured†† Chairs†† Z$ 30,000

Lady's†† Slip-On†† Buffalo Hide†† Slippers†† Z$ 36,000.

APPLY:† mnmilbank@zol.co.zw

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2. WANTED

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2.1 Wanted (Ad inserted 23/01/07)

"fence-post hole digger". Please contact 884361.

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3. ACCOMMODATION WANTED AND OFFERED

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3.1 Accommodation Available (Ad inserted 16/01/07)

We have a furnished open-plan granny cottage to let in Emerald Hill

tel 304492 or 091 247 141, email trudys@zol.co.zw

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3.2 Accommodation Wanted (Ad inserted 23/01/07)

We are looking for a 3 - 4 bed roomed house, Kitchen must be a fair size,
needs to be secure with staff quarters, pool is optional.

Area - Avondale, Strathaven, Mabelreign, Marlborough, Kensington but we will
look at other areas.

We are very house proud and love a neat and tidy garden so you can be
assured that we would look after your home as if it were our own. We have
two jack Russell's and a cat.† We also would prefer a long lease if
possible.

If you have anything for us to look at please contact

Rob And Sue: Phone (04) 309051

Mobile 011 601 885 or†† 023 824 896

Emails†† havill@zol.co.zw†† or†† macgyver@zol.co.zw

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3.3 Accommodation Wanted (Ad inserted 23/01/07)

Looking for a 3 bed roomed house or garden flat for a single woman.

Contact Debbie on 091 830 953.

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3.4 Accommodation Offered (Ad inserted 23/01/07)

Secure single accommodation available in a private home in the Avondale area
from February, 2007.

If interested please ring 011 231 541

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4. RECREATION

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4.1 OLD CHAPLIN ASSOCIATION ~2007 REUNION~ (Ad inserted 23/01/07)

Saturday 3th February, 6,30 pm at Round Table Centre,
Second Street Extension, behind Reps at northern end of East Road

Form††† +BRING AND BRAAI--Bring your own boerewors etc, plates, flask etc
and if possible, folding chair

Bar†††††††††††† Cash bar, club prices

Parking Guarded but at owner-s risk

Dress†††††††††† Smart informal- to suit occasion

Publicity:†††††† Please help by letting your Chaplin family and friends
know. We
can only afford to contact a few. If possible put this notice on your Club
notice board

Charge NIL

Donations†††††† To cover costs of hire of the hall, firewood, postages etc
and
to keep the O.C.A going donations will be much appreciated. Please hand in
at
the door.

Contacts††††††† George Alers-Tel 884282†††††††† Dorothy Vahey- Tel 336078

Postal George Alers 26 Blue Kerry, 30 Steppes Rd, Chisipite, Harare

~HOPE TO SEE YOU ALL THERE~

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4.2 NEED A BREAK? (Ad inserted 23/01/07)

Getaway and enjoy peace and fresh air at GUINEA FOWLS REST.

Only 80 kms from Harare, Self-catering guest house, Sleeps 10 people

Fishing 2 kms, Bird watching, Various species of wildlife, DSTV

REGRET: No day visitors, No boats or dogs allowed.

Contact DAVE 011 600 770 or ANNETTE 011 600 769 / 091 255 653

or email dapayne@zol.co.zw

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4.3 Savuli Safari (Ad inserted 23/01/07)

Self catering chalets in the heart of the Save Valley Conservancy. Game
watching, fishing, horse riding, canoeing, walking trails and 4x4 hire. Camp
fully kitted including cook and fridges, Just bring your food,† drinks and
relax.††† Best value for money. U12 are 1/2† price

Contact John : savuli@mweb.co.zw or Phone 091 631 556

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4.4 Imire Safari Ranch (Ad inserted 23/01/07)

What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone man would die
from great loneliness of spirit..For what ever happens to the beasts soon
happens to man......All are connected.††† Chief Seattle.

Imire Safari Ranch wish you all peace this coming year.

Our phone systems have been appalling and we would like to apologize if you
have been unable to get through to us.† Contact numbers....... 022 2094, 022
2054 or 022 22257

email......imiregp@zol.zw or www.imiresafariranch.co.zw

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4.5 Hippo Pools Wilderness Camp (Ad inserted 23/01/07)

Need a break from your hectic everyday life, for a relaxing weekend or
midweek getaway Hippo Pools Wilderness Camp is the place to go.† For details
phone Tracy on 747929 or email mailto:wildernessafrica@zol.co.zw "

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5. SPECIALIST SERVICES

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5.1 Oxford IT (Ad inserted 16/01/07)

CFU Office Block, Agriculture House, Cnr. Adylinn Road and Marlborough
Drive, Marlborough, Harare, Zimbabwe, AFRICA

Tel (Direct):††††††††††† + 263 4 309274
Tel (Switchboard)† + 263 4 309855-60 (Ext. 23)
Fax:††††††††††††††††††††††† + 263 4 309351
Cell:††††††††††††††††††††††† + 263 11 231 917
Email:†††††††††††††††††††† sarah@oxfordit.co.zw

Oxford IT can help you construct your cv and give you interview guidance.
Oxford IT also now recruits in the NON-IT sector. Give us a call today to
secure top calibre positions/personnel; we thank you for choosing Oxford IT.
E & OE.

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5.2 MULTI-LINK (Pvt) Ltd (Ad inserted 23/01/07)

Two positions to be filled.† However we would require that they would be
able to learn both fields, to enable back up for each other.

Post Title:†††††† Receptionist/Debtors Controller

Responsibilities:

Front Office Management,†† Receptionist, Accounts Queries, Dealing with
Clients, Debtors, Invoicing, Receipting, Handling Cash, Banking, General
Secretarial Duties, Debt Collections

Post Title:†††††† Wages Clerk/Debtors Assistant

Responsibilities:

Wages for 65 employees, Debtors, Entering Invoices/Receipts, Vat Returns,
NEC, NSSA etc Returns, Handling Petty Cash, Cash Book Knowledge,
Internet/Email.

Computer literacy in Pastel Version 8 and Belina Payroll System

Previous experience in these fields would be advantageous.† Only basic
fields covered, it entails various other duties.

Personality Traits:

Efficient, Hard Working, Pleasant, Must be Self-Motivated to be-able to
perform duties without constant supervision, Honest and Trustworthy.

Dress Code:††††††††††††† Smart.

Salary:††††††††††††††††††††††† Salary / Package to be discussed.

Please contact:† 737688, 705021, 708310 or email: multilink@mweb.co.zw

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5.3† (Ad inserted 23/01/07)

MAGNA PLUMBING AND ELECTRICAL

MAGNA MULTI CONTRACTING PVT LTD

We offer professional and prompt service for the following :-

A.††††††† Electrical Repairs and Installations

B.††††††† Plumbing Repairs and Installations

C.††††††† Home & Office Repairs and Renovations

D.††††††† Extensions and Buildings

E.††††††† Painting, Carpentry, Glazing, Etc

F.††††††† Patios and Driveways

All our work is carried out professionally and promptly to the customer's
requirement.† We thank you in advance and look forward to doing business
with you.

Contact Details:† Rob and Sue - Phone (04) 309051

Mobiles†† 011 601 885 or†† 023 824 896

Emails havill@zol.co.zw†† or macgyver@zol.co.zw

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5.4 Mr. Handy Man (Ad inserted 23/01/07)

For general Handy repairs in and around the house!

For all those jobs you don't have the time for!

Moving into a new place and need help putting up pictures and other annoying
little jobs?

Can't seem to get the right person to fix things in your house?

Call: 011 211 852, 495078 / E- mail lloyd@pcpitstop.co.zw

Mr. Handy Man Can!!!

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5.5 (Ad inserted 23/01/07)

Do you have a problem with flies, fleas, cockroaches, rats?

We will get rid of these nasties for you safely and effectively at a
reasonable cost.† Contact Debbie on 091 830 953

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5.6 FOR ALL YOUR HOTEL GUEST AMMENTIES (Ad inserted 23/01/07)

Are you tired of ordering bulk guest amenities for your hotel or guest room
to have your logo on your product which sits on your shelves for years?

Are you tired of settling for second best advertising material because the
actual artwork you require can't be done?

Let us take a photo of your hotel, lodge or guest house and incorporate it
on your labels.

Yes, with our digital printer scanner, this is now possible!!!

Your requirements are our priority!!!

Contact Debbie on 091 830 953

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6. PETS CORNER

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6.1 Home Wanted (Ad inserted 23/01/07)

'ZEE' magnificent jet black staffy male looking for kind and loving home. 6
years, wonderful nature, used to living with other dogs. Please help,
abandoned by owners who have left the country. Tel Michelle on 884294 or
e-mail gandami@mweb.co.zw

'TARA' spayed black/white Jack Russell/Fox Terrier x and her friend 'DANDY'
male Fox Terrier dog, owners moving into flat at end of January. If no home
found, they will be put to sleep. Tel Michelle on 884294 or e-mail
gandami@mweb.co.zw

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6.2 Looking For a Home (Ad inserted 23/01/07)

'Dandy' super little Fox Terrier dog, black and white and 'Tara' adorable
Jack RussellxFox Terrier spayed bitch are looking for a new home as their
owner is moving into a flat. They get on well with other dogs but chase
cats. If you can help Tel: Michelle on 884294 or 011602903 or e-mail
gandami@mweb.co.zw

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JAG Hotlines: +263 (011) 610 073, +263 (04) 799 410.† If you are in trouble
or need advice, please don't hesitate to contact us - we're here to help!

To advertise (JAG Members): Please email classifieds to: jagma@mango.zw
with subject "Classifieds".


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CIO revolt looming

The Zimbabwean

(24-01-07)
† By Trick Mupondagarwe

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's dreaded storm troopers, the Central Intelligence
Organisation are reportedly frustrated over their minuscle salaries at a
time when they are battling dissenting voices against Mugabe and keeping him
out of harms way.

Intelligence sources told The Zimbabwean that a rebellion was in the brew as
the intelligence officers mostly junior want their salaries and allowances
reviewed in line with the breadline currently pegged at above $300 000 per
month for a family of six. Investigations by this paper reveal that the
lowest paid CIO agent earns a paltry $120 000 which is easily chewed up by
transport costs alone.

"There is a growing chorus of disdain among the low ranking officers,"
sources said. 'Their concern is that they're earning peanuts, as compared to
the senior officers who rake anything between $2-$5million. Apart from that
the top brass enjoys numerous benefits such as cheap car loan schemes and
travelling with the presidential party for overseas trips while sidelining
the junior or new recruit officers." The CIO has been known to be ruthless
and merciless towards staunch critics of Mugabe's iron-feast rule. One of
the most feared operative is Joseph Mwale who to date walks scott-free
despite brutally murdering an opposition activist two years ago.

The CIO is also now pervading bereaucratic institutions thus becoming a law
unto itself. Their presence in Zimbabwe's governmental institutions
continues to grow, with an agent planted at every key organisation. Effort
to seek comment from CIO minister, Didymus Mutasa proved fruitless as he
kept ignoring his phone.

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