The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Zim hospitals, schools hike fees by 600 percent

Zim Online

by Nqobizitha Khumalo Saturday 05 January 2008

BULAWAYO – Zimbabweans began the new year on a sad note this week after
hospitals and schools increased medical and school fees by between 300 and
600 percent worsening the plight of millions of people battling a severe
eight-year economic crisis.

The new medical and school fees came during the same week that the National
Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), that the majority of Zimbabweans rely on for
cheap transport, increased fares for urban passenger trains from Z$150 000
to $400 000.

The latest round of price increases will impact heavily on millions of
Zimbabweans who are battling record inflation of over 8 000 percent, massive
food shortages and unemployment.

Consultation fees at government-run hospitals where the majority of the poor
access health services were this week increased from Z$1 000 to $10 million
while private doctors have increased consultation fees from $7 million to
$20 million.

An average Zimbabwean worker is earning about $40 million, way below the
poverty datum line that last November stood at $65 million a month for an
average family of five.

Those admitted at government hospitals will fork out $4.5 million a night
while children will pay $4 million per night, up from $211 that was
previously charged for overnight admission.

A survey in the second biggest city of Bulawayo showed that private medical
practitioners were now charging as high as $25 million in consultation fees,
a fortune for most Zimbabweans.

Health and Child Welfare Minister David Parirenyatwa said the government had
approved the new fees to allow the health sector to stay afloat as the
previous fees were “ridiculously too low”.

“We had to bring the fees to reasonable levels as the level they were before
was ridiculously too low . . . the health sector has to sustain itself,”
Parirenyatwa said.

NRZ acting public relations officer Zephaniah Taruvinga confirmed that they
had increased fares with immediate effect.

“Despite the fact that we want to provide an affordable service, we have no
option but to increase fares to cover our costs,” said Taruvinga.

A passenger train from Harare to Bulawayo in the standard coach now costs $4
million, up from $2.5 million while passengers in the more comfortable
sleeper section will part with $8 million up from $4 million.

Zimbabwe is in the grip of a debilitating political and economic crisis that
is marked by hyperinflation, a rapidly contracting GDP, the fastest for a
country not at war according to the World Bank and shortages of foreign
currency, food and fuel. - ZimOnline


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

CIO Killed Christmas Reveller Over Alleged MDC Link



SW Radio Africa (London)

4 January 2008
Posted to the web 4 January 2008

Lance Guma

A well-known state security agent in Chimanimani allegedly beat to death a
Christmas reveller, after accusing him of showing off with 'MDC money.'

Brighton Mashopeka Muchuwa, a sidekick of wanted murderer and fellow CIO
Joseph Mwale, assaulted Charles Sigauke and his father at their home on
Christmas Eve. Sigauke worked in South Africa and had come back to spend the
holidays with his dad. He died the day after the beating, on Christmas day.
Muchuwa accused Sigauke of being an MDC member and was spending money given
to him by the MDC.

MDC Manicaland spokesman Pishai Muchauraya confirmed to Newsreel that one of
their members was beaten to death in Chimanimani. He says Sigauke was
brutally assaulted. Witnesses say at one point Muchuwa lifted Sigauke and
slammed him onto the bonnet of a nearby vehicle. Some reports say Muchuwa
was arrested, detained by police, but then released. Muchaurayi says the
police are reluctant to pursue the matter further given the accused is from
the CIO.

Both Sigauke and his father were hospitalized in Chimanimani before the son
succumbed to his injuries. Post-mortem results confirm he died from internal
bleeding. He was buried in the Birchenough Bridge area on New Years day. MDC
officials have accused Muchuwa of trying to buy his way out of the crime by
paying for the funeral expenses. The same strategy was used by the family of
Finance Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi after his wife Selina hired soldiers
that beat to death a villager in Mupandawana who supported the MDC. Vice
President Joseph Msika negotiated an out of court settlement between the two
families.

Rogue state agent Joseph Mwale remains accused of murdering MDC activists
Talent Mabika and Tichaona Chiminya in the run up to the 2000 parliamentary
election. Police have continued to ignore demands by prosecutors for him to
be brought to justice. For his troubles Mwale was promoted within the CIO
and given a posh car to use. He has virtual freedom to do as he pleases in
areas like Chimanimani, with the police clearly aware of his status as an
'untouchable.'


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Floods Cause Havoc Across the Country



SW Radio Africa (London)

4 January 2008
Posted to the web 4 January 2008

Torrential rains have caused havoc across much of the country, leaving
thousands of villagers in low-lying areas homeless after floods destroyed
their homes.

The incessant rains over the past four weeks have destroyed crops and
damaged roads and bridges. The worst affected areas are in Muzarabani
district in the north and the Lowveld area in the southeast. At least twelve
people have died so far while thousands more have been forced to abandon
their homes. Many are still unable to return.

In the Southeast rivers, including the mighty Save, have burst their banks
and floodwaters have submerged thousands of hectares of maize fields and
destroyed hundreds of houses.

In Chipinge there are reports that most of the livestock has been swept away
by swollen rivers, according to MDC spokesman for Manicaland province Pishai
Muchauraya. He said flood defences erected by villagers four years ago
following similar floods, have collapsed allowing water to flood through
into their homes.

'We visited areas in Gumira, Masimbe, Maronga, Chibuwe and some of them are
quite close to the Save river. Most rivers that flow into the Save have also
breached their banks and water is everywhere. We estimate that about 400
families from this area have been left homeless.

Getting assistance to the flood victims has been a nightmare after several
roads and bridges were washed away. Muchauraya said because of the country's
limited resources, little could be done for most victims until the rain
stops.

While government has issued half-hearted appeals for assistance, Muchauraya
told us the situation was becoming desperate for most of the victims who
have gone for days without fresh drinking water, food or shelter.

'While it is not surprising that the government has not asked for
international help, the grim situation on the ground demands an
international aid flow. I think with the elections just around the corner, I
suspect the government would be reluctant to let aid agencies flood the
country because they see them as enemies working against them,' Muchauraya
said.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

The Great Food Trek

www.cathybuckle.com

Saturday 5th January 2008

Dear Family and Friends,
Zimbabwe has limped into another year with almost all aspects of normal life
completely gone. Every day has become incredibly tough with an ever growing
demand for an increasingly dwindling supply of food, bank notes, electricity
and water. Many thousands of Zimbabweans have used the Christmas and school
holidays to pour out of the country in search of mental relief and in order
to procure precious essential supplies. How absurd it is that a so called
land revolution has left us scouring shops across our borders in all four
directions to get basic supplies that Zimbabwe not only produced but
exported just a decade ago. This great food trek must surely be cause for
monumental shame and embarrassment to the party that have ruled the country
for the last 27 years. For the past seven years they have found one
scapegoat after another to blame our hunger and poverty on, but the facts
out there on the roads leading to the border towns cannot not be spun - no
matter how clever the propaganda.

Gone are the days when you could take a break at a lay-by on a road journey.
Now all these stopping places within 150 kilometres of border posts are
fully occupied, some of them on an apparently permanent basis by Zimbabwe's
mobile population. Draped over the remains of fences and hanging on shrubs
are tattered grey blankets. Shirtless men sit around in groups tending fires
in the lay-by's. Some are cooking pots of maize porridge, others are just
keeping the fires burning - ready to warm the people who will be coming,
waiting, and then moving on to cross the border under cover of darkness. In
some lay-by's women and children are already waiting, their bags piled and
ready for the transport that will come in the dark to carry them to the
border. At other lay-by's the people traders are so established that they
have erected small structures within sight of the road - sticks and plastic
providing primitive shelter and protection from the weather.

With stopping at lay-by's not advised and stopping at garages and shops
pointless as there is neither fuel nor food and refreshments to buy, the
journey into and out of Zimbabwe is long and gruelling. The roads are fast
falling into a state of collapse as a result of the incessant stream of
trucks and transporters pounding the tarmac as they haul food and fuel into
our once rich country. In many places along the main roads the edges have
become seriously cut away and eroded making pulling over or stopping very
dangerous. Road markings are rare, signs and warnings of hazards are non
existent and all in all it is a shocking advertisement to tourists and
visitors to the country. For at least two hundred kilometres on the road
approaching the border post into South Africa, the highway is strewn with
enormous potholes, some are many centimetres deep and two metres wide. There
are many places on the road where these holes are unavoidable and everywhere
you see people stopped, repairing punctures, changing wheels or waiting for
help.

To exacerbate the situation is a season of very heavy rains and although it
is good to see rivers filling and flowing, the impact of so much water on a
crumbling infrastructure is devastating. Water, water everywhere but not a
drop to drink - a well known saying which is more appropriate today in many
parts of Zimbabwe than ever before. We've not had a drop of water in my home
town for the past three days and so we are collecting rain water in buckets
for drinking, washing, cleaning and cooking. It is a grim way to begin 2008
and we hope and pray that this is the last year we ever to have endure such
deprivation because of politics.
Until next week, thanks for reading, love cathy.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe sees sharp drop in gold output

Zim Online

by Lizwe Sebatha Saturday 05 January 2008

BULAWAYO – Zimbabwe gold production dropped 34 percent in 2007 due to rising
production costs and foreign currency shortages worsened by delays by the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to pay miners for gold deliveries.

Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines chief executive officer Douglas Verden said
production of the precious mineral that is a major foreign currency earner
for the hard cash strapped country last year plummeted to 7.5 tonnes from 11
tonnes in 2006.

Verden said the RBZ, authorized sole buyer of gold in Zimbabwe, owed its
mining firms over US$20 million for gold deliveries. The central bank pays
65 percent of gold deliveries in foreign currency while 35 percent is paid
in local currency.

“Gold production in 2007 closed at 7.5 tonnes, a 34 percent decline compared
to 2006 due to foreign currency shortages as the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) continues delaying payments to miners,” said Verden.

Gold production stood at 29 tonnes in 1999 before Zimbabwe’s political and
economic crisis worsened.

RBZ spokesman Kumbirai Nhongo was not immediately available for comment on
the matter.

Verden said payment delays had dented efforts to spur gold production, with
the RBZ owing gold miners “a rolling debt in excess of US$20 million” with
some of the money owing since last March.

He added that an arrangement for gold miners to pay power bills to the
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) in foreign currency to ensure
uninterrupted power supplies did little to help because most mining firms
failed to raise hard cash after the RBZ delayed paying them.

Zimbabwe’s once vibrant mining sector is victim to an acute economic
meltdown gripping the southern African nation and that is seen in
hyperinflation, a rapidly contracting GDP, the fastest for a country not at
war according to the World Bank and shortages of foreign currency, food and
fuel.

The mining sector also faces an uncertain future as President Robert Mugabe’s
prepares to enact new legislation to force foreign-owned mining firms to
transfer shareholding to the government and indigenous blacks.

Under the proposed Mines and Minerals Act Amendment Bill, the government
will take over 51 percent of firms mining strategic minerals such as coal
and coal-bed methane, with the state taking 25 percent of that stake free of
charge.

The government will also take 25 percent shareholding in firms mining
precious minerals such as gold, diamond and platinum while another 26
percent will go to local blacks, according to the law that Mugabe says is
necessary to ensure blacks also have a share of the country’s lucrative
mineral wealth. - ZimOnline


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

A letter from the diaspora

www.cathybuckle.com

4th January 2008

Dear Friends.
Kenya has overtaken Pakistan at the top of the foreign news this week with
comment from all sides of the political spectrum about the state of African
democracy. Comment ranges from the usual Eurocentric tut-tuttery about
Africa's alleged inability to govern itself democratically right through to
the politically correct post-colonial guilt that sees the whole problem as a
consequence of Europe's colonial history in Africa.

Listening to the British Foreign Secretary's remarks about Kenya broadcast
on the BBC, I was struck by one particular comment. Mr Milliband remarked
that events in Kenya would have a profound effect on forthcoming elections
in Africa this year. He mentioned Malawi and Angola where elections are due
but interestingly made no mention of Zimbabwe. The omission was surely no
accident. Perhaps Gordon Brown's non-attendance at the AU/EU Summit in
Lisbon last year was a signal that the UK is not prepared to do anything
publicly about the Zimbabwean problem? Whether that is the case or not, the
fact is that there has been no mention at ministerial level or in the
British media of the absolute chaos in Zimbabwe's banking sector over the
past few weeks or of the forthcoming elections and the impossibility of
those elections being free and fair in the current climate in Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, the level of suffering amongst ordinary people rises in direct
proportion to the callous incompetence of the Zanu PF regime, yet the
British government and the British media remain silent.

There had been repeated phonecalls, Mr Milliband revealed in his BBC
interview, to President Kibaki and the opposition leader, Raila Odinga,
urging the two men to respect democracy and get together and talk about the
way forward. It's hard to see what that way forward might be when the
election in Kenya was so clearly stolen as the figures in at least two
constituencies show. The fact that no African state has congratulated Kibaki
on his victory would seem to suggest that even the AU is unhappy with the
result; indeed they have already announced the dispatch of an AU delegation
to Nairobi to see for themselves the reality on the ground. Meanwhile, there
is continuing violence on the streets and the western media, always ready to
label unrest in Africa as 'tribal', is making comparisons with Ruanda and
suggesting that this is the start of ethnic cleansing on genocidal lines. I
do not believe that to be the case. Yes, Kenyan politicians from all sides
are probably inciting the violence for their own ends but the truth is that
if the people did not feel so strongly that the election had been stolen
from them they would not be in such an angry and volatile mood. Stolen
elections are bound to produce this result; it all sounds very familiar to
Zimbabweans, accustomed as we are to rigged elections and police clampdowns
on all forms of democratic expression.

Writing in The Guardian this week Simon Jenkins, a respected journalist with
a left-wing perspective argues that the state of Britain's own democracy is
too flawed for it to 'lecture' the developing world about democracy. With
the examples of Pakistan and Kenya very much in mind, Jenkins contends that
democracy is in a sad state in this New Year but as he remarks, 'it depends
what you mean by democracy'. Elections every five or six years are not the
only requirement for a functioning democracy, supporting structures and
institutions need to be in place for a democracy to be considered as the
valid expression of the people's will. There are, as Jenkins points out
local cultural and historical influences that will affect the way democracy
operates in different parts of the world but students of politics are taught
that there are certain key tests that can be applied to determine whether a
democracy is in a healthy state:
* Are there free and fair elections.
* Can the franchise turn a regime out of office
* Are there supporting institutions such as an open parliament, security of
public assembly, elected local government, a free media, the rule of law?

The whole thrust of Simon Jenkins' article is that Britain has no right to
'lecture' less-developed states about the health or otherwise of their
democracy since Britain itself has in many instance set up the very
conditions of aid and trade together with support for tyrants which make the
practice of democracy difficult if not impossible.

Simon Jenkins is right when he says that Britain has no right to 'lecture'
the rest of the world about democracy when British democracy itself is so
flawed but, and it is a very big but, what alternative does he offer? Should
Britain remain silent as it has done very largely about the Zimbabwean
problem? The silence and lack of action from Britain on the Zimbabwean
question, is, I would argue, a denial of its moral responsibility for the
former colony. Having exploited Zimbabwe and its resources, natural and
human, for close on a century of colonial rule should not the British
government now take a more positive role in assisting the Zimbabwean people
in their passionate desire for democracy? Silence, after all, implies
consent.
Will Britain and the rest of the world wait in paralysed inaction – as they
did with Ruanda – until there is blood running in the streets of Harare and
a million lives are lost? Whatever Britain and the west may say, however
objectionable their hectoring tone may be, the undeniable truth remains that
African people themselves yearn to participate in the democratic process. It
is corrupt and power-hungry African leaders, too often kept in power by
western governments, who overturn the results and deny the people their
rightful place in the democratic process. Whatever definition of democracy
we use, it surely must not exclude the will of the people?
Yours in the struggle. PH


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ICC warns England over Zimbabwe exclusion



Cricinfo staff

January 5, 2008

England's plans to host the ICC World Twenty20 in 2009 would be threatened
if the UK government imposes a ban on the Zimbabwe side entering the
country.

Malcolm Speed, the ICC chief executive, told the BBC that it was a condition
of hosting an ICC event that all member teams would be able to play.

"We haven't yet had to deal with a situation whereby a country isn't allowed
by the host nation's government to take part in an ICC event. If that
happens, the board would have to meet and take whatever action it deems
necessary.

"However, at the moment all we have are media reports, so I would say that
all this remains speculative. The board next meets in March so to suggest
what action might be taken would be premature."

A source close to the ICC told Cricinfo that it was inconceivable that the
competition would proceed without Zimbabwe and that contingency measures
would be drawn up to enable the tournament to be switched should the need
arise.

Cricinfo


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Politics Before Wicket

The Times
January 5, 2008

The smarter move would be to allow Zimbabwe’s cricketers to tour England
The Government’s clear signal to English cricket’s governing body that it
does not want Zimbabwe’s scheduled cricket tour to go ahead next year looks
like a heavy-handed attempt at gesture politics. A spokesman for Gordon
Brown has confirmed that it wants to hold talks with the England and Wales
Cricket Board (ECB) on a possible ban to prevent the Zimbabwe team arriving
in Britain, where they are scheduled to play two Tests and three one-day
internationals in mid2009. Downing Street is attempting to portray this as
clarification of its position in response to a request for guidance, and
suggests that it is seeking a ban to shelter the ECB from the fine it would
have to pay to the sport’s governing body, the International Cricket
Council, were it to decide unilaterally to call off the visit. In fact, the
Prime Minister sees the cricket tour as an easy way of demonstrating his
revulsion at Robert Mugabe’s regime, without necessarily taking any
concomitant political or economic steps.

There are many who would support a ban, including several former Zimbabwe
players. They argue that sport, especially at international level, cannot be
separated from politics and that Britain needs to reinforce its opposition
to the abuses in Zimbabwe by scrapping a tour that could be used by
President Mugabe as propaganda at home and abroad. They point to the
international sporting boycott of South Africa, which, they argue, hurt
Afrikaner pride, visibly underlined the country’s isolation and may have
helped to end apartheid. They would agree that sanctions on sporting
contacts are symbolic rather than economically damaging, but say that
gestures of disapproval do not preclude tougher measures to force change.

Attractive though such arguments are, especially to those arguing that more
forceful measures against Zimbabwe would only reinforce resentment of the
former colonial power, the assumptions are wrong. It is naive to see
Zimbabwe’s team as an extension of Mr Mugabe’s circle of patronage. Most
Zimbabweans understand that their cricketers are among the few independent
national bodies in which they can take pride. And, though their cricketing
ability and standing have fallen rapidly, the players still curry excitement
and carry hopes that would be quashed if they were shut out of international
competition. The analogy with apartheid South Africa is false: race does not
dominate the selection of the team, nor does the ruling clique see sporting
success as vindication of its ideology. And selective boycotts, such as the
patchy sanctions against the Moscow Olympics, usually backfire. Mr Mugabe
would exploit antiBritish resentment far more effectively if the cricketers
were refused visas than if they were welcomed here next year.

But an invitation should not include any government officials or those
linked to the ruling party. And the arrival of the tourists should be a
chance to call attention to the plight of ordinary Zimbabweans. The problem
is that the issue flickers to life only in symbolism, such as Mr Brown’s
Lisbon summit boycott. The presence of brave beleaguered cricketers here is
very different from the implied endorsement of the Harare regime by sending
England to Zimbabwe. The ECB has no wish to become embroiled in the
bitterness of boycotts. It does, however, want to keep open one of the few
channels of communication with a nation that is being cruelly abused. It
must be allowed to do so.

a.. Commnets
Your premise is false. The Mugabe government dominates cricket as it does
every other aspect of Zimbabwean existence. He will gloat if the tour goes
ahead.

Faustino, Brisbane, Australia

The smarter move would be to recognise that man's inhumanity to man is
demonstrated constantly in what is left of a once great african country.
Cricket is only a game, it does not - and should not - have any bearing on
the real issues of barbarism.

Mike Poulsen, Reading, Berkshire


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Brown is not in charge



Duncan Mackay
Sunday January 6, 2008
Guardian Unlimited

Gordon Brown was warned last night that the Government will be powerless to
dictate whether Zimbabwe is allowed to compete at the Olympics in London in
2012 because they do not issue the invitations. The responsibility of
whether a country is invited to compete or not in 2012 rests with the
International Olympic Committee.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the leading Government agency
on the Olympics, admitted last night there was nothing that could be done to
prevent Zimbabwe from competing at London in 2012. 'London's host city
contract with the International Olympic Committee makes it clear that all
National Olympic Committees recognised by the IOC are entitled to
participate in the 2012 Games,' said a spokesperson for the DCMS.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Flooding Cuts Beira-Zimbabwe Road



Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)

5 January 2008
Posted to the web 5 January 2008

Maputo

The flood waters of the Pungue river on Friday surged across the main road
from the central Mozambican port of Beira to Zimbabwe.

The road was cut in five separate places between Mutua and Tica in the
districts of Dondo and Nhamatanda. As a result, using this stretch of the
road is hazardous, and queues of vehicles built up on either side of the
flooded areas, notably trucks carrying goods to or from the landlocked
countries of Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi.

On Friday morning, the Pungue at the Mafambisse sugar plantation was
measured at 8.25 metres, massively above the flood alert level of six
metres. The situation could easily worsen if it continues raining in
Zimbabwe, and further water is funneled into the Pungue valley.

Cited in Saturday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias", Paulo Zucula,
director of Mozambique's relief agency, the National Disaster Management
Institute (INGC), said that, if the authorities do ban vehicles from
attempting to use the flooded stretch, then, just as happened during the
last significant Pungue flood, six years ago, trains can be used to carry
vehicles and bypass the flooded area, (The Beira-Zimbabwe railway is not
under threat from the flood).

On Friday, according to the statistics from the National Water Board (DNA),
the Zambezi river at Tete city was measured at 5.25 metres, going above the
flood alert level of five metres for the first time this rainy season. This
means that from Tete all the way to the river's mouth, some 500 kilometres
to the east, the Zambezi is in flood. This is a repetition of last year's
scenario on the Zambezi - with the significant difference that major
flooding has happened a couple of weeks earlier than in 2007.

At Caia, on the lower Zambezi, the river was 6.72 metres high on Friday and
still rising - flood alert level at Caia is five metres.

On the north bank of the river, in Zambezia province, 10,000 people remain
at risk in the flood-prone areas of Chinde district. They are refusing to
move, despite appeals from the provincial government to learn from the past,
and avoid risking their lives.

The DNA reports continued heavy inflows of water into the Cahora Bassa lake
from Zambia and Zimbabwe. Despite this, the management of the Cahora Bassa
dam has not increased its discharges into the Zambezi, which have remained
steady at 5,100 cubic metres a second.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Water Woes Produce Outbreaks Of Diarrheal Disease In Harare Suburbs

VOA

By Ntungamili Nkomo
Washington DC
04 January 2008

Some of the populous high-density suburbs or townships of the Zimbabwean
capital of Harare have been stricken with outbreaks of diarrheal disease in
recent weeks which authorities blamed on chronic water shortages and the
accumulation of refuse.

More than 400 people are reported to have come down with diarrheal disease
in the densely populated suburbs of Tafara and Mabvuku in the past two
weeks, according to the state-run Herald newspaper. The paper identified
uncollected garbage, sewage backups and deficient water supplies as the
causes of the outbreaks.

City authorities say they have been unable to collect garbage for some time
because fuel is in short supply, while a lack of hard currency has prevented
the city from buying new pipes to repair breaks in sewer lines.

Authorities at Harare’s Parirenyatwa Hospital said, however, that they had
not linked the outbreak with any deaths.

Executive Director Itai Rusike of the Community Working Group on Health told
reporter Ntungamili Nkomo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that cholera could
break out with potential loss of life if immediate steps were not taken to
control the situation.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Cash Crisis Seen Lasting With Too Little Cash In Circulation

VOA

By Patience Rusere
Washington
04 January 2008

Shortages of cash continued in Harare, Bulawayo and other Zimbabwean cities
Friday and the crisis did not seem likely to end soon according to central
bank sources who said there are simply not enough bank notes in circulation
to meet consumer and business demand which has been pumped up by
hyperinflation.

The central bank sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Zimbabwe
needs some Z$700 trillion cash in circulation - but even with recent
infusions by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe the primary money supply is not
far over Z$100 trillion.

The government stopped issuing inflation data several months ago, but
independent estimates range up to a 12-month inflation rate of 100,000%. A
loaf of bread costs between Z$1 million and Z$1.5 million in parallel market
food dealings.

There were long queues at banks in Harare and Bulawayo today with the
maximum amount of cash disbursed to customers varying by institution.

Sources in Bulawayo said Kingdom Bank, Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe and
Beverly Building Society were limiting customers to withdrawals of $20
million .

In Chinhoyi, northwest of the capital, local sources said the only banks
with cash were Barclays, Zimbank and Standard Chartered, with no functioning
ATMs in the city.

Many caught in the queues at banks are bracing for worse as shopping for
clothing and supplies for the forthcoming post-holiday school term picks up.

Correspondent Thomas Chiripasi told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio
7 for Zimbabwe that only a handful of banks were disbursing cash in the
capital.

Meanwhile, nearly two weeks after the introduction of new bank notes, some
shops in rural areas of the country have been refusing to accept the new
notes because they have not received word of their issuance by the Reserve
Bank.

When RBZ Governor Gideon Gono announced the issuance of bearer cheques for
Z$250,000, Z$500,000 and Z$750 000, he said teams from the central bank
would fan out into rural areas to distribute the new notes and take in the
Z$200,000 notes initially scheduled to expire December 31 but reprieved
earlier this week.

Rural sources said central bank teams have been spotted in Mashonaland and
the Midlands, but Matabeleland villagers haven't seen any central bank
officials.

Villager Siyabonga Malandu Ncube of Insiza, Matabeleland South, said
thousands of rural dwellers were unaware of the currency changes due to poor
communications.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Pessimism And Hope For Zimbabwe Mingle In Forecasts For 2008

VOA

By Carole Gombakomba
Washington
04 January 2008

As the year 2008 begins, many Zimbabweans are wondering whether it will
bring any significant changes on the political, economic and human rights
fronts.

With South African-brokered crisis resolution talks between the ruling party
and opposition stalled, observers say the results of the negotiations so far
do not suggest they have created a level playing field for national
elections slated for March.

Human rights activists, health authorities, labor organizers and economists
expressed pessimism that the problems which plagued Zimbabwe in 2007 will be
resolved in 2008, given the policy failures they say have plunged the nation
into turmoil.

To consider the outlook for 2008, reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio
7 for Zimbabwe spoke with Norman Mlambo, an analyst with the Africa
Institute of South Africa in Pretoria, who expressed optimism that the
Southern African Development Community process could pay off in a free and
fair election this year.

But human rights lawyer Irene Petras said that if the situation is to get
better this year, a complete overhaul of the country's electoral framework
and policies is needed.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabweans told they cannot stay

Walsall Advertiser, UK

GEORGE MAKIN

10:30 - 03 January 2008

More than 100 Zimbabweans living in Walsall face deportation back to their
home country after a court found it is safe to return 'non-political' asylum
seekers - despite evidence of torture and killings.

The news has shocked the borough's small Zimbabwean community, who have
spent months awaiting the decision of the HS case; a legal challenge by the
Home Office to an earlier ruling which found it was too dangerous to send
people back.The news has dismayed Tendayi Goneso, chairman of the Walsall
branch of the Movement for Democratic Change - the political opposition to
Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party.

The 34-year-old former accountant fled Zimbabwe in 2002 after being beaten
up and threatened by President Robert Mugabe's supporters after he helped
their political opponents.

He left behind a string of successful businesses and his wife Chiedza, who
ran his companies and looked after their three children.

A year later she was beaten to death by members of Zanu-PF.

Tendayi, whose claim for asylum was rejected last year, says the legal
ruling means Zimbabweans face being detained and deported.

"Each of us must now prove that we face the possibility of being tortured
because of political activity if we are returned," he said.

"The British Government has said that there are human rights abuses and has
condemned Mugabe but it still wants to send people back."

He added Zimbabweans in the borough were now supporting the Movement for
Democratic Change as much as they can in presidential elections being held
this year.

He added that Home Office rules that prevent asylum seekers working while
their cases are decided meant many were so poor they could not afford the
airfare home even if President Mugabe loses the election.

The Home Office won the High Court case despite accepting political
opponents have been tortured.

A spokeswoman for the Home Office said: "The Government has grave concerns
about the appalling human rights situation in Zimbabwe. We will continue to
protect those who have a genuine fear of persecution. However, not every
Zimbabwean in the UK needs asylum."

Back to the Top
Back to Index