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Harare suspends release of inflation data

Zim Online

Saturday 14 July 2007

By Hendricks Chizhanje

HARARE - The Zimbabwe government on Friday said it had temporarily stopped
publishing inflation figures, a move observers said was meant to draw
attention away from runaway inflation which has come to symbolise the
country's unprecedented economic meltdown.

Acting director of the government's Central Statistical Office (CSO), Moffat
Nyoni, told ZimOnline that new inflation figures could only be available
after completion of survey to determine what items should be included in the
consumer basket.

He said: "There is a survey going on to determine the items used in the
basket. So we are still assessing whether to work (inflation figures) from
the old or new basket."

Nyoni, who had previously told ZimOnline that new inflation figures were
delayed after a virus affected computers at the CSO, did not say when
exactly the state data department hoped to complete its survey.

The CSO has regularly released the latest inflation figures on the 10th day
of each month but has failed to release figures for the months of May and
June.

"It seems pretty obvious that the government sees no political sense in
continuing to advertise its own failure to turn around the economy by
releasing those astronomical inflation figures," said an investment analyst
with a leading Harare bank, who declined to be named.

Inflation is the most visible sign of Zimbabwe's deep economic recession
that has left more than 80 percent of the labour force without jobs and
shortages of food, fuel and foreign currency.

President Robert Mugabe's government has branded inflation Zimbabwe's number
one enemy and last month ordered manufacturers and retailers to slash prices
by 50 percent, in a desperate attempt to stem inflation, which at more than
4 500 percent is the highest in the world.

Soldiers and police have raided several shops in Harare and Bulawayo to
force owners to lower prices and yesterday extended the price crackdown to
rural areas that are a bastion of government support.

Police on Thursday said they had arrested more than 2 000 company owners and
executives for failing to reduce prices as directed by the government.

While the lower price bonanza has been a welcome relief to a majority of
long suffering consumers used to daily increases, it has brought new
problems with basic goods, such as soap, sugar and cooking oil, no longer
available except only on the illegal black market where prices are
extortionate.

Analysts say the government's latest effort to keep a lid on prices was
meant to pacify angry workers ahead of next year's polls but would come at a
heavy cost as this could force companies to shut down and could bring
Zimbabwe's severely weakened economy to a complete halt. - ZimOnline


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Britain says will block Mugabe invitation to EU-Africa summit

Zim Online

Saturday 14 July 2007

By Tsungai Murandu

HARARE - Britain says it will do all in its power to block the controversial
invitation of President Robert Mugabe to this year's European Union
(EU)-Africa summit scheduled for Portugal in December.

The Under Secretary in the United Kingdom's Commonwealth and Foreign Office,
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon said the British government has recently
increased diplomatic initiatives in Europe aimed at securing the scrapping
of Mugabe's name from the list of invitees.

New British Prime Gordon Brown recently spoke to Portuguese Prime Minister
over the matter.

†"The government's position is absolutely clear: we do not believe that Mr
Mugabe should attend. We are doing everything possible," said Baroness
Royall during debate on Zimbabwe in the UK House of Lords.

The 83-year-old Mugabe appeared to have won the right to attend the crucial
summit after fellow African leaders endorsed his attendance during this
month's African Union summit in Ghana.

But Baroness Royall said December was still far away and that "a lot of
things could happen before then".

The British legislators also wanted their government to draft a rescue
package for Zimbabwe in the event that there was a total collapse of the
country's economy under the weight of Mugabe's ill-conceived policies.

Zimbabwe's once-boisterous economy is currently under siege from a
government onslaught on prices, which has seen several businesses on the
verge of closing and shop shelves being cleaned of goods by panicky
consumers.

Mugabe has during the past two weeks ordered producers to slash prices by 50
percent in a move seen by his critics as a political gimmick aimed at
placating a restive populace ahead of next year's elections. - ZimOnline


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Police arrest top executive of US-controlled firm

Zim Online

Saturday 14 July 2007

††††† By Hendricks Chizhanje

††††† HARARE - Zimbabwe police on Friday arrested a top executive of a
United States (US)-controlled food and consumer goods maker, Olivine
Holdings, for allegedly defying a government order to halve prices.

††††† Olivine, which is one of Zimbabwe's two biggest manufacturers of
cooking oil and other household goods, is 51 percent owned by US
conglomerate H J Heinz and 49 percent owned by President Robert Mugabe's
government.

††††† Officials at the manufacturing firm told ZimOnline that commercial
director Phineas Chingono was picked up by the police on Friday for
allegedly flouting government price controls. He was still in police custody
by late yesterday afternoon.

††††† "He (Chingono) is not yet back at work. They (police) took him away in
the morning," said an official, who asked not to be named because she is not
authorised to speak on behalf of the company.

††††† Police spokesperson Oliver Mandipaka was not immediately available for
comment on the matter.

††††† Chingono joins a growing list of business executives arrested and
fined for flouting a government order to roll back prices of commodities to
June 18 levels. More than 2 700 company executives and managers have to date
been arrested in the crackdown.

††††† The Harare administration two weeks ago imposed a blanket freeze on
prices, charging that manufacturers and retailers were unjustifiably hiking
prices to foment public anger and incite revolt against Mugabe and his
ruling ZANU PF party.

††††† Police announced on Friday that they had to date arrested more than 2
700 company executives and managers.

††††† Analysts have warned that the government's unusual attempt to keep a
lid on prices is likely to force more companies to shut down and could bring
Zimbabwe's severely weakened economy to a complete halt.

††††† H J Heinz announced early this year that it will dispose of its
majority interest in Olivine after relations between the US conglomerate and
the government soured over Harare's refusal to lift a price ceiling on
edible oils. - ZimOnline


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Zimbabwe police impound taxi cabs

Independent, UK

By Angus Shaw, Associated Press Writer
Published: 14 July 2007

Harare police have impounded minibus taxis and fined drivers who had not
complied with government orders to cut fares, stranding commuters on the way
to work.

At least 100 taxis had been impounded since Wednesday, state radio said, in
the latest crackdown since the government ordered price cuts of about 50
percent in response to the country's rampant inflation. Since the order was
issued on 25 June, consumers have wrestled over sudden bargains, staples
have disappeared from grocery shelves, and chief executives have been hauled
into court for failing to cut prices.

Minibus taxi drivers have been taken to court and fined between 400,000
Zimbabwe dollars (US$27 at official rate; US$3 at the black-market rate) and
800,000 Zimbabwe dollars.

Police spokesman Oliver Mandipaka said drivers argued they were still buying
gasoline at inflated prices on the illegal black market. "That, of course,
is not a defence," Mandipaka said.

Drivers interviewed on state television said they could not get
state-subsidized fuel. Gas stations designated to sell cheap fuel to
licensed transporters either ran out of gasoline subsidized to half the
importation cost or were besieged by long and chaotic lines of minibuses.

Workers at one bus terminus said a routine 30-minute trip into the city took
up to four hours of waiting in impatient and volatile crowds for buses at
township bus stops. Many hitched rides on trucks and in private cars, but
general traffic into the city also diminished as acute gas shortages took a
toll.

Shelves in stores across the country remained bare of cornmeal, bread, meat
and other staples.

Riot police were called Thursday to a wholesale store to control a stampede
of shoppers gathering up reduced goods. Extra police were posted at downtown
clothing and shoe stores.

Earlier in the week, the government withdrew the licenses of all private
slaughterhouses, accusing them of defying orders to reduce meat prices.

Restaurants and fast food outlets were also ordered to slash their prices.
Police told one restaurant owner to "redesign the menu," to eliminate more
expensive gourmet dishes.

In several restaurants, steak was out of stock, waiters said.

Police even shut down the canteen at the Harare law courts, used by court
officials, magistrates and police themselves, for failing to comply with the
price order, state media reported Friday.

Butcheries, stores, factories and gas stations were unable to replace
materials sold at below the original cost since the prices edict.

The Zimbabwe Independent newspaper, a respected privately owned business and
political weekly, on Friday reported that central bank governor Gideon Gono
expressed concerns over the prices crackdown, saying it likely would lead to
widescale closures of businesses.

Gono also likened the crackdown to the U.S. military campaign in Iraq that
was "launched into dangerous territory without an exit strategy," the paper
reported.

State radio on Friday quoted Simon Khaya Moyo, Zimbabwe's ambassador in
neighboring South Africa, dismissing media reports there predicting a total
collapse of the economy, bringing with it the downfall of longtime ruler
President Robert Mugabe.

He repeated government allegations businesses deliberately raised prices to
create runaway inflation in a political and economic campaign government
opponents hoped would lead to regime change.

Official inflation is running at 4,500 percent, the highest in the world,
though independent financial institutions estimate real inflation is closer
to 9,000 percent.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change described the price cuts as a
political gimmick to shore up support for Mugabe's party.


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Shops stripped bare as Mugabe's price curbs lead to panic buying

The Times
July 14, 2007

Jan Raath in Harare
Zimbabwe's descent into chaos gathered pace yesterday as many shops ran out
of food and thousands of workers were left stranded when bus drivers were
arrested for allegedly overcharging.

State-imposed price controls that force retailers to sell goods for a
fraction of their value have left supermarket shelves bereft of groceries.

The crisis deepened when the Government closed all private abbatoirs in an
attempt to take control of the supply of meat. By yesterday meat products
had vanished from sale around the country after the Government cancelled the
licences of the private slaughterhouses because they had stopped delivering
meat they had been ordered to sell at half price.

Last night workers jostled at bus stops to squeeze into open trucks to
return home after police arrested more than 100 drivers who refused to cut
fares. The drivers claim that they cannot afford to buy petrol, which is
mainly acquired on the black market because state-regulated petrol stations
have run out of supplies.

Wide-ranging price controls were imposed by President Mugabe two weeks ago
in an attempt to control Zimbabwe's hyperinflation, which now exceeds 4,500
per cent. The controls, which have been rigorously enforced, have resulted
in the arrest of more than 2,000 businessmen, including executives from the
country's biggest retailers, for refusing to cut their prices. The
executives also stand accused of conspiring to bring down the Government in
cohorts with the United States and Britain.
The Government's intervention has exacerbated an already acute shortage of
essential goods. Many basic commodities that have disappeared from
supermarket shelves have reappeared in street markets, even more expensive
than they were before.

The Government has also banned the commercial import of groceries without a
permit from the end of the month. The move will end business for thousands
of informal traders who flock to neighbouring South Africa and Botswana for
cheap goods for resale in Zimbabwe.

Mr Mugabe says that the clamp-down is to restore the people's right to an
affordable cost of living. But on Thursday it was men in smart suits and
women with expensive hairstyles who had to be controlled by riot police when
they stormed Makro, a discount store. "It was like a plague of locusts,"
said an onlooker. "They grabbed everything they could."

Inside they loaded trolleys with goods, like fashionable shoes cut to about
25p, and television sets for £12, which they loaded into their 4X4s
abandoned in the road outside Makro in their rush to beat the queue.

Thomson Marwire, who sells cell-phone cards on the street, said that he had
not joined the rush. "I have no money," he said.

"This is not going to last," said one company executive. "Fuel is going to
run out and there will be no deliveries, no services. The people who are
benefiting from this legalised looting will be the same people throwing
stones in a few weeks."

Decline and fall

500,000 Zimbabwe's estimated agricultural production this year in tonnes

44% Decrease in last year's production levels 4m Zimbabweans expected to go
hungry next year

£196m Value of cereal exported by Zimbabwe ten years ago

Source: United Nations Regional InterAgency Coordination and Support Office


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Zimbabwe bank chief appeals for dialogue over price blitz

africasia.com

HARARE, July 14 (AFP)

Zimbabwe's central bank chief has urged the government, business and labour
to reconvene talks to come up with a solution over the recent crackdown on
prices by authorities, reports said Saturday.

"It's not too late for us to go back to the framework of understanding, a
framework of tolerance, a framework of accountability to one another as
espoused in the Protocol on Pricing and Incomes Stabilisation," the
state-run Herald quoted central bank governor Gideon Gono as saying.

On June 1, government, business and labour signed three protocols on pricing
and incomes stabilisation, productivity enhancement and foreign currency
mobilisation, but these are yet to be implemented with the three parties
counter-accusing each other of reneging on the commitments made.

"There is need to reconvene soonest, take stock of what has happened and as
partners, recommit ourselves to it by observing and following the elements
of the protocols signed with each partner being in full control of their
constituency," he said.

Supermarkets are running empty, scores of commuter buses have been impounded
and more than 2,700 bosses arrested in the past fortnight since the
government deployed inspectors to ensure compliance with an order to slash
prices.

Launching the crackdown, Industry Minister Obert Mpofu accused some firms of
profiteering and colluding with President Robert Mugabe's foes in the west
to plot his downfall by igniting popular revolts by hungry Zimbabweans.

But Gono, said retailers and manufacturers must learn that "no business can
ever thrive and make profit in an environment of antagonism with
government," adding that "no government can hope to fulfil the aspirations
of its citzens... in an environment of serious conflict such it has with the
business community."

He added that when government and business are fighting, it is the worker
who suffers.


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Who Will Save the Citizens?


New Vision (Kampala)

EDITORIAL
13 July 2007
Posted to the web 13 July 2007

Kampala

President Robert Mugabe has unleashed thousands of policemen on the business
community to enforce price controls. Desperate to contain rising inflation,
the highest in the world at 4,500%, Mugabe ordered a freeze on prices of
bread, milk, cooking oil and other consumer items.

This is ridiculous because every nation has gone for market-economy, and
Mugabe is unable to provide incentives to producers and businesses. Already
shops and food stores are empty and there is no ray of hope for supplies.

Zimbabwe has more problems.

There is no respect for human rights and freedom of expression. Newspapers
critical of the government, such as The Daily News, were forced to close in
violent circumstances. The BBC and CNN have also been banned from filming or
reporting from Zimbabwe. And the public broadcaster (ZBC) is used as a state
propaganda tool.

The problems started with Zimbabwe's involvement in the DRC war
(1998-2002)which drained the treasury. Mugabe had no justifiable cause to
intervene given that Zimbabwe does not share a border with the DRC.

And land reform is not a problem per se, but Mugabe's wish to cling to
power. Otherwise why has South Africa, with similar land problems, not
collapsed economically?

Unlike South Africa, Mugabe rushed land reforms because he had no other way
to win elections, having lost popularity tremendously.

Still, elections have become a joke, and the latest one in 2002 was
characterised by vote-rigging, intimidation and fraud. Yet

Mugabe is currently trying to amend the constitution in an attempt to bypass
the 2008 scheduled elections and stay in power until 2010.

Zimbabweans are angry, hungry and in desperate need of help. May the African
brothers and sisters help.


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Who gives a damn about Zimbabwe?

Taipei Times

Editorial

Saturday, Jul 14, 2007
With Minister of Foreign Affairs James Huang (???) and Vice President
Annette Lu (???) taking simultaneous trips to Africa and Central America to
consolidate ties with the nation's allies, one might have expected no
shortage of faux pas for critics to seize on -- and rhetoric-by-numbers that
would make even supporters wince.

Yet the trips have proceeded smoothly. Instead, this week it was the Holy
See, Taiwan's sole European ally, that continued to provide lessons in
anti-diplomacy by sending hostile signals to its own rivals: moderate
Catholics, Muslims, Jews and, thanks to Pope Benedict's most recent
broadside, Protestants and Orthodox Christians.

For all of its platitudes on peace, the Vatican is in a fighting mood. Such
a shame, then, that it could not be more aggressive in combating genuine
tyranny. One would have thought that failing states and dictators -- such as
Zimbabwe and President Robert Mugabe -- might be more deserving of a papal
campaign than the devout on the other side of the fence.

Apparently not.

Zimbabwe, a former economic success story, is close to collapse now that the
government has sunk to the point of arresting shopowners who heed inflation.
A lot of innocent lives are on the line. But few governments seem to be
taking the situation seriously to the extent that they would act.

Among others, South African President Thabo Mbeki deserves contempt for
giving years of solace to a sociopath who has torn his country apart. South
Africa, for one, may yet rue the consequences of this moral outrage and
tactical stupidity.

Indeed, the Zimbabwe debacle teaches us a number of lessons about this part
of Africa. Perhaps the most fundamental is that obvious omens for the
ruination of a country -- co-opting of the courts by the government, an
unhinged military and police force, xenophobic economic policy, rigged
elections -- can stare neighboring countries in the face for years with nary
a complaint. Evicting whites from farms and other locations seemed at the
time to be a political tactic to appeal to the moronic element and even to
other governments; in retrospect, it seems to have been the only tactic
available to a man who would prefer destroying his country to relinquishing
power.

Second, Zimbabwe is another example of just how fanciful the idea of a
United States of Africa is -- with or without the likes of Libyan leader
Muammar Qaddafi at the helm.

Third is the culpability of the UN. This organization continues to shield
tyrants such as Mugabe from meaningful pressure because of the pervasive
influence of despotic regimes -- in this case, the presence of a primary
Mugabe benefactor, China, on the UN Security Council. Only a few years ago
we heard top UN officials sighing that more should have been done in Rwanda
to save the lives of the victims of genocide. But those people's successors
in today's UN bureaucracy are silent on Zimbabwe as it prepares to commit
suicide.

Yet there is one courageous Catholic, Archbishop Pius Ncube, who has shown
himself to have the stuff of heroes -- unlike his religious masters and most
of the rest of the world's governments -- by putting his life on the line in
calling for international intervention to remove Mugabe and his thugs from
power.

If Taiwan can learn anything from this disgraceful saga and from such
people, it is that commitment and honor offer hope and inspiration in the
shadow of the worst oppression. Faced with violence and terror, the good,
wise man speaks the truth and speaks firmly, while carefully preparing for
the consequences.


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Photojournalist arrested

From ZimbabweJournalists (UK), 13 July

By Nyasha Nyakunu

Harare - A photojournalist with the independent Standard newspaper, Boldwin
Hungwe, was arrested by the police Thursday while taking pictures as people
scrambled for goods at the South African-owned Makro shop after an invasion
by the crack price control police team. The Editor of the newspaper, Davison
Maruziva, told MISA-Zimbabwe that Hungwe was arrested at the shop in the
afternoon while on duty. Hungwe was arrested by two police officers who
seized his camera. Maruziva informed MISA-Zimbabwe that the police were
incensed by the taking of photos as they battled to contain a scramble at
the shop resulting in police dogs being unleashed on prospective customers.
Tens of people were injured in the process including soldiers and police
officers who had a separate queue to buy goods from that of the general
public. Maruziva informed MISA-Zimbabwe that he rushed to Makro and tried to
negotiate the release of Hungwe without success. Hungwe was eventually taken
and detained at the Harare Central Police Station for an hour before being
released on the instructions of the Police Spokesperson Oliver Mandipaka.
His camera was returned back.


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US envoy leaves Zimbabwe a disappointed man, radio reports

Monsters and Critics

Jul 14, 2007, 17:03 GMT

Harare - Zimbabwe claimed Saturday US Ambassador Christopher Dell left the
country a disappointed man because controversial leader Robert Mugabe had
not been ousted.

Dell refused to talk to reporters as he left Zimbabwe at the end of a
three-year tour of duty, state radio, which is closely controlled by the
Zimbabwe government, claimed.

The radio said Dell had come to the southern African nation as a man on a
mission to overthrow the Mugabe regime, in power in Zimbabwe since
independence in 1980.

But three years down the line, the 83-year-old president is still in place.

During his Zimbabwe posting, Dell was an outspoken critic of alleged rights
abuses by Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF party, earning himself the wrath of
the authorities and the respect of local opposition parties and civic
groups.

Mugabe once famously told Dell to go to hell.

The US envoy left Zimbabwe without bidding the Zimbabwe president an
official farewell.

Dell recently predicted that Zimbabwe's ballooning inflation rate would
reach 1.5 million per cent and that Mugabe could be ousted within six
months.

© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur


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Zimbabweans keep money in forex

The Zimbabwean

(14-07-07)
†By Silas Nkala
Many people in Zimbabwe now resorting to keeping their money in form of
forex in efforts to protect it from being eroded by the have been ever
running away inflation.
A snap survey done by this paper in Bulawayo established that many people
here have been converting their cash into either Botswana pulas or South
African rands in order to protect it from losing value owing to the ever
escalating costs of goods and services. The prices of goods and services
have been escalating to unaffordable levels while workers salaries remained
stagnat for quite a long time, a situation that has led many people in the
country surviving from hand to mouth.However, many people said they are
nolonger keeping their money in the banks as they fear that it will lose
value before they use it.
"I have withdran all my money from the bank and converted it into rands so
that it remains valuable. The situation has been so bad that keeping money
in local currency mayresult to it failing to buy anything with itas it loses
value any time" said Monica Phiri of Mzilikazi in Bulawayo.
Some burial societies also echoed the same sentments as members said they
have also closed thewir accounts with the banks owing to the crisis, as what
they could offer to bereved members could not even accomplish quarter of the
burial costs.
"We have closed our account with the Intermarket Bank after noticing that
our money could be eroded by inflation while at the bank as prices og goods
were keeping on escalating. So far our members are contributing in form of
rands" said Sithu Dube a burial society treasurer in Pumula South Bulawayo.
Illega foriegn currency dealers are currently faced by a bleak future in
their business considering that their major deals were for the rands, as
revelations here indicate that many people now have rands at their disposal
and can also deal in rands as well.
A currency dealer, Mrs Gumede said their business looks bleak this time due
to much availability of rands in the black market and in individuals.
"Our competition is now very stiff as many people have rands with them and
can deal in them from their residence. As i speak i have a lot of rands with
me† but no where to change them. i do not even have the local money to feed
my children" said Mrs Gumede.
For the past two months the rand has been skyrocketing to very unaffordle
level against the local dollar, and had reached $ 2 million mark for hundred
rands by the end of June. But due to its large abandence and the currenct
enforced prices slash, at the beginning of July it started tumbling down and
at the time of goping to press it had reached $700 000 for a R100. The
currency dealers attributed their stalled business to the ever escalating
costs and† the much availability of the rand in the black markert and
individuals, as people are saisd to be favouring keeping their money in
rands for security reasons.
Zimbabwean governemnt recently appointed an incomes and pricing commission
that is entittle to monitor the prices and workers incomes nation wide. The
Minister of Idustry and International trade Mr Obert Mpofu chairs the task
force on prices and incomes stabilisation.
Economic analysts here said governemnt shopuld have considered that most
companies get foriegn currency from the black market as the banks dont have
the currency.
"This alone puts the governemnt's ideal of prices slashing out if the
production and supply of goods has to be maintained. Definately this has led
to many companies to be out of business as they can not afford operational
costs through the slashed prices. In this case it has resultd to rampant
shortages especially of the basic goods hence that means the suffering of
the innocent people on the streets. There is a rampant shortage of goods in
Bulawayo prompting people to spend most of their time on queues to buy the
scarce goods. So far the governemnt through its police force and national
youth brigade has pounced on several shops to enforce the prices slash
crippling the once has been normal businness although the good were
expensive.
President Mugabe recently threatened companies that are defient to his
orders that their companies will be taken if the continue to defy the
directives, describing them as aimed at discrediting his government is
support of the western countries.


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SA companies pull out of Zimbabwe

SABC

July 14, 2007, 11:00

Vic van Vuuren, the Business Unity South Africa chief executive officer,
says most small South African businesses have pulled out of Zimbabwe and
large companies are now also heading out.

Van Vuuren says foreign direct investors are also very reluctant to move
their businesses into Zimbabwe. However, Van Vuuren says there is an urgent
need to establish meaningful dialogue between Government and business.

Van Vuuren said: "One small positive sign has been the Zimbabwe Chamber of
Commerce being able to get together and make a proposal to Government. What
we have done from South Africa is we have engaged our government to say look
we would like to send a high power delegation across to Zimbabwe.

"We would like to go engage and to see what suggestion and proposals we can
come up with in some form of compromise position."


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17 MDC Activists Still in Prison Without Trial, 4 Months On



SW Radio Africa (London)

13 July 2007
Posted to the web 13 July 2007

Violet Gonda

17 political detainees who have been in remand prison since the 26th of
March have still not received a trial date from the state. Most of them are
in custody on charges of receiving insurgency training in South Africa. The
detained, who include Glen View Member of Parliament Paul Madzore, were
arrested shortly after the government embarked on a vicious campaign against
the opposition four months ago. The MDC says these are trumped up charges
and this is nothing more than a ploy to cripple the opposition ahead of the
elections.

Defence lawyer Alec Muchadehama said his clients are being treated like
bandits and terrorists. He said: "There is no evidence to link the accused
persons, this is why they are unable to be tried by the state and the state
is simply forgetting them because they know that they are in custody and
they want them to suffer like that in a sadistic way."

Rights groups and the opposition have said the political detainees were
severely tortured whilst in police custody. This resulted in one of the
accused, an MDC National Executive Member, Morgan Komichi being hospitalised
in jail. Muchadehama confirmed this saying: "He is still in hospital prison,
and today he was unable to attend the remand proceeding because he is still
unwell." They were further remanded in custody to 10 August.

Initially, 32 opposition activists were arrested on terrorist charges. 15
people were released after police dropped those charges due to lack of
evidence. They had spent more than 60 days in police custody.

17 remain in custody facing various allegations. They have been put into
categories in terms of how they are going to be charged. Muchadehama said
Ishmael Kauzani is facing allegations of petrol bombing places in and
outside Harare. Komichi and Dennis Murira are facing allegations of
recruiting and training terrorists, bandits and saboteurs. Phillip Katsande,
Shame Wakatama, Phillip Mabika and 11 others, who include MP Paul Madzore,
are facing allegations of having undergone military training for purposes of
terrorism, banditry and insurgency in South Africa.

The MDC activists totally deny these charges and are challenging the police
to prove these allegations in court. The lawyer said: "And this is what the
police have been failing to do since the time that they unlawfully arrested
these accused persons."

Meanwhile, the defence team is still waiting for the ruling on a bail
application appeal made to the High Court. Muchadehama said his clients are
very anxious. "They actually ask us what is happening, so we tell them that
we are applying for bail, we are asking for a trial date from the state, and
so on. But, you see, that is not good enough for a person who is in
custody."

Police refuse to comment.


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Cement Disappears From Formal Market


The Herald (Harare)† Published by the government of Zimbabwe

14 July 2007
Posted to the web 14 July 2007

Harare

CEMENT has disappeared from the formal market since the launch of the
operation to reduce prices, but one of the country's manufacturers, Circle
Cement, says it is producing up to 600 tonnes a day.

On Thursday, the taskforce on price monitoring and stabilisation visited
Circle Cement's factory in Manresa to seek an explanation from company
officials.

The officials argued that the company was producing more than enough for the
country but were equally worried that people were not coming to buy the
cement.

They said they had 1 200 tonnes of uncollected cement in their silos.

Chairperson for the taskforce Senior Assistant Commissioner Bothwell
Mugariri said they would leave no stone unturned until they established
where the product was going.

"We are moving to the manufacturers to establish how they are operating. As
the taskforce mandated to analyse the situation and help bring back sanity
to the economy, we are keen to understand all the industrial processes for
us to grasp where things are going wrong and provide solutions," he said.

He added that the taskforce was not a barbaric entity but was taking a
professional approach and consulting experts in various areas.

Snr Asst Comm Mugariri said the taskforce picked on Circle Cement as it was
one of the key players in the development of the construction sector, which
was facing problems of unavailability of cement.


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CSC Starts Supplying Meat to Butcheries


The Herald (Harare)† Published by the government of Zimbabwe

14 July 2007
Posted to the web 14 July 2007

Bulawayo

THE Cold Storage Company has begun supplying butcheries with meat after the
Government cancelled the licences of all private abattoirs.

Our Bulawayo Bureau visited the CSC headquarters yesterday and found
butchers buying meat, which has been in short supply in most parts of the
country of late.

CSC now has the sole responsibility of buying and slaughtering livestock
after the Government revoked licences of all private abattoirs for failing
to provide services to the public after they deliberately stopped
slaughtering livestock in protest against its directive to reduce prices.

In an interview, CSC chief executive officer Mr Ngoni Chinogaramombe said
the selling of meat began in earnest yesterday at about 7am although sales
were expected to improve next week.

"The sales are still picking up because we are in a changeover process. We
intend to cover more shops throughout the country by Wednesday next week,"
he said.

"We opened to the public today and it's going on well. Everything is
progressing smoothly with butchers getting their requirements."

Mr Chinogaramombe said they were selling varying quantities depending on the
size of the butchery.

For a start, the parastatal slaughtered 100 cattle and is selling a
kilogramme of beef at between $85 000 and $95 000.

The Government set the price of beef at $90 000 per kg depending on the
quality.

However, at full capacity, the CSC can slaughter up to 800 cattle per day.

The company also runs Meat Pride Butcheries, which sell meat.

Mr Chinogaramombe said the cattle were sourced from communal and commercial
farmers.

Butchers expressed concern over meat allocation, saying it was not enough to
meet demand. A butcher who requested anonymity said CSC should increase the
number of beasts slaughtered per day from 100 to 500.

"We appreciate that we have resumed business, but we need more meat so that
we meet demand," said the businessman.

Another butcher urged the CSC to speed up the sale of meat to allow them to
supply consumers on time.

"We have been queuing since 7am and it's now 10am but we haven't received
anything. That negatively affects business because of time lost," he said.

In Harare, a few supermarkets had meat, but a large number of retailers and
butcheries did not have.

An official at Marondera CSC abattoir said they were slaughtering cattle at
a low scale for both local and export markets.

"We do not have meat at the moment, but expect something on Monday from our
abattoirs in Marondera and Chinhoyi," a worker at CSC Harare said.

Private abattoirs whose licences were cancelled on Tuesday have started
reapplying.

In an interview yesterday, chairman of the Cabinet Taskforce of on Price
Monitoring and Stabilisation Cde Obert Mpofu, who is also the Minister of
Industry and International Trade, said numerous applications had been
forwarded to the taskforce for scrutiny.

"We have received several applications from abattoirs but private abattoirs
are not a priority at the moment. We are focusing on capacitating the Cold
Storage Company," Cde Mpofu said.

All communal, A1, A2 and commercial farmers are required to sell their
livestock to the CSC.

Cde Mpofu urged producers to continue supplying CSC with livestock.

"We want all producers of livestock to continue supplying the CSC so that we
eradicate the artificial shortages of meat being experienced on the market,"
he said. -- Bulawayo Bureau-Herald Reporters.


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Refugee judge makes life in NZ

tvnz, New Zealand

Jul 14, 2007

A Zimbabwe freedom fighter turned High Court judge is now a humble refugee
in New Zealand after he fled his homeland.

Benjamin Paradza is one of Zimbabwe's most wanted men after falling out with
President Robert Mugabe.

Trained as a lawyer, Paradza fought in Zimbabwe's war of independence
alongside Mugabe.

"Robert Mugabe loves power, he is addicted to power," he says.

Mugabe made him an offer he could not refuse - a place on the High Court
bench. But Paradza's legal rulings made him deeply unpopular.

"It was up to me as a judge to tell the government that what you are doing
is illegal," says Paradza.

"They were hoping I would decide for them (fall into line). But then when I
made decisions they didn't like it made them extremely angry. That is why I,
in particular, was targeted".

Trouble came when the government started throwing White farmers off their
land. Most of Paradza's clients were White.

"I saw no colour in people, I just looked at people as people," he says.

Judges were offered confiscated farms if they turned a blind eye. Paradza
says if he wanted a farm he could have easily got one, but he was not that
sort of person.

"I just wanted to deal with people who were seeking justice and I delivered
justice fair and square," he says.

Paradza's stance put his life in immediate danger and his supporters
smuggled him out of the country.

He eventually found himself in New Zealand as a refugee. His wife, who used
to be a banker, works as a cleaner to help support their three children.

Paradza is now a student at Victoria University.

As he watches his country disintegrate from afar through Mugabe's regime of
land confiscations, destruction and† displacement of opposition communities
and recent attacks on business, Paradza holds grave fears for next year's
elections.

"They (the opposition) will be killed. They will be eliminated".


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JAG PR Communique dated 13 July 2007

IMPORTANT: FREE HELP, OPPORTUNITY FOR THE FARMING COMMUNITY

Living with Hope

Farmers and their families are invited to a day entitled 'Living with
Hope'.

This will take place on Saturday 21st July from 9am to 4pm at the Dominican
Convent Harare.† Entry via Selous gate.

Father Robert Igo who is a trained psychologist and therapist as well as
being a Benedictine Monk and Abbot at Christ the Word Monastery at Monte
Casino Mission will facilitate this.† He has agreed to a initial day and we
hope that the process can be extended to roughly monthly meetings.

This day is aimed at assisting us in dealing with trauma, stress and also
looking positively forward.

There is no charge for the day but teas and rolls will be offered for
reasonable cost.

Please register with JAG.

Telephone Nos:† 799410, 730507 or email: jag@mango.zw or
justiceforagriculture@zol.co.zw

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