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Mugabe withdraws allowances for chiefs backing MDC

Zim Online

Thursday 26 July 2007

By Regerai Marwezu

MASVINGO - The Zimbabwean government has withdrawn allowances for three
chiefs and several headmen in the southern province of Masvingo for backing
the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.

Zimbabwe's traditional leaders including chiefs and headmen receive monthly
allowances from President Robert Mugabe's government for performing various
duties in their areas.

Sources say Harare's decision to withdraw allowances for chiefs is meant to
whip traditional leaders into line ahead of next year's presidential and
parliamentary elections that analysts say Mugabe could lose.

Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party has traditionally relied on chiefs and village
headmen to intimidate their subjects and maintain a tight grip on rural
areas, where the party draws most of its support.

Although traditional leaders hold largely ceremonial powers they still wield
immense influence in rural areas. Chiefs are currently getting allowances of
Z$2 million a month while headmen are getting Z$1 million a month.

Chief Ziki of Bikita, Chief Masivamele and Chief Sengwe all from Chiredzi
had their allowances withdrawn over the past two months after the government
accused them of backing the MDC.

One of the three chiefs who spoke to ZimOnline on condition that he was not
named, said he had his allowances withdrawn for supporting MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai.

"I was summoned by officers from the Ministry of Local Government, Public
Works and Urban Development and was advised that my allowances had been
stopped," said the chief. "They said I was not politically correct ahead of
next year's polls."

Several headmen in Gutu, Chiredzi, Mwenezi and parts of Bikita also had
their allowances withdrawn by the government.

An MDC spokesperson in Masvingo, Tongai Matutu, yesterday confirmed the
reports saying the party had received numerous reports of the withdrawal of
chiefs' allowances.

"Chiefs operate under the Traditional Leaders Act and it would be unlawful
for the government to withdraw a chief's allowances for solely backing an
opposition party," said Matutu.

Contacted for comment yesterday, Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo,
said: "I do not deal directly with such issues but if there are any who did
not get their money for that reason, then it is unfortunate because we
expect them not to bite the hand that is feeding them."

The MDC and human rights groups have in the past accused Mugabe of
intimidating chiefs and headmen in rural areas to garner support. The
government has in the past threatened to withdraw allowances and other perks
for chiefs for failing to back Mugabe. - ZimOnline


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Mugabe meets business leaders

Zim Online

Thursday 26 July 2007

By Hendricks Chizhanje

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe on Monday met the country's business
leaders at State House to discuss the government's month-long crackdown on
prices that has had a devastating impact on business.

Mugabe last month ordered the business sector to reduce prices by 50 percent
as well as roll back prices to mid-June levels after accusing business of
hiking prices so as to foment rebellion against his government.

At least 4 000 business executives and managers have since been arrested
during the crackdown that comes amid a deepening eight-year economic crisis
in the southern African country.

Sources that attended the four-hour meeting at Mugabe's State House
residence said the business leaders presented a 15-point plan to the
Zimbabwean leader to rescue the country's comatose economy.

Mugabe, who has publicly vowed to forge ahead with the price crackdown, is
said to have welcomed the proposals from the business leaders.

"It is a dialogue which we have started at the highest level of the
political leadership of the country. It is the beginning of a unity of
purpose in the whole country where key stakeholders are dialoguing at the
political level," said one of the business leaders who attended the meeting.

Industry and International Trade Minister Obert Mpofu who heads a special
taskforce on price monitoring and stabilisation, refused to comment on the
matter last night.

Among those who attended the meeting were Confederation of Zimbabwe
Industries (CZI) President Callisto Jokonya, Zimbabwe National Chamber of
Commerce (ZNCC) President Marah Hativagone as well as the chairperson of the
Bankers' Association of Zimbabwe Pindie Nyandoro.

The Harare administration last month froze prices of all commodities
following a spate of price hikes that had seen prices of basic goods rising
by more than 500 percent in the space of just three weeks.

Soldiers and police have raided several shops across the country to force
owners to lower prices.

But the price cuts have seen goods such as bread, cement and fuel vanishing
from shop shelves and now available on the illegal black market, while
economic experts say the crackdown could force more firms to close and
eventually bring down Zimbabwe's weakened economy. - ZimOnline


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Zimbabweans face daily struggle to find fuel

The Telegraph
By Sebastien Berger
Last Updated: 2:27am BST†26/07/2007

In a country where President Robert Mugabe's whims can tip the economy into chaos overnight, a few paragraphs in the state press are enough to trigger panic.

Fuel queues in Zimbabwe
The fuel queues are immense as Zimbabweans rush to use their special coupons while they still can

Zimbabwe's last operating petrol stations have been under siege ever since an article on the front page of The Herald, a dreary official daily, stated simply: "Fuel coupons are now banned and those holding those already issued have to collect the fuel within the next two weeks."

With characteristic disregard for reality, the regime has declared that a litre of petrol should sell for 60,000 Zimbabwe dollars, about 20p. This has caused every ordinary petrol station to run dry and ruin their owners.

Special coupons, paid for in hard currency, allowed drivers and companies to import fuel directly through foreign firms, including the oil majors Shell and BP.

But the regime is now threatening this last lifeline. Holders are trying to secure their remaining stocks of fuel before the government acts on its plan to make the state oil company, Noczim, the sole authorised importer and retailer of petrol. Once this happens, foreign companies such as Shell and BP will be banned from importing fuel.

But no one knows when the coupons will become illegal and Noczim's monopoly commences. "We don't have clarity from the ministry of energy and transport," said one oil company official yesterday. "We are still engaging them in meetings but we don't know the way forward."

As people rush to use their coupons while they still can, the resulting fuel queues are immense. Arriving at a garage in Harare's northern suburbs, a stroll along the line inquiring, like a ticket tout at a rock concert, "any spare coupons?" brought shrugs and denials until an invitation was issued to get into a car.

On the back seat, thick wads of Zimbabwe's cruelly laughable currency - in its smallest denomination, about the same value per sheet as lavatory paper - were exchanged for the precious slips, held by a man juggling two mobile phones. Such a transaction is, of course, illegal.

"This is the only country in the world where you can be a millionaire in a day," said the driver. "It's a very sad situation. The government doesn't care about the people. It always tramples on the poor."

Zimbabwe's economy has been in crisis since Mr Mugabe began seizing white-owned farmland seven years ago. The bankrupt country can no longer afford essential imports.

In theory only patience was required now, but 10 minutes later the queue dissolved. A sign at the entrance showed why: "Sorry no diesel and petrol."

Moving on to another station, a white resident said: "Bloody uncle Bob sits there with all the fuel in the world, all the power, all the food, all the stuff he wants. Doesn't give a stuff about anyone else."

The president's own oil consumption befits a petro-plutocrat. Mr Mugabe's convoy home after a day's work includes six motorcycle outriders, nine cars, two truckloads of soldiers and an ambulance.

When the fuel ran out half an hour later, only a few drivers left the queue. The idea of a promised delivery had become too powerful to abandon, a beacon of hope in a queue of frustration.

Bagpipes struck up from a neighbouring school field, later breaking into Elvis Presley's Can't Help Falling in Love. A favourite Zimbabwean word is "bizarre", and whatever Mr Mugabe throws at them, Zimbabweans "make a plan" and carry on as best they can.

After a warning from the manager that the tanker would not arrive for two hours, and no movement for 60 minutes, a detour to buy a jerrycan was called for. It cost 2.8 million Zimbabwe dollars - more than a senior nurse's monthly salary.

Returning to the garage, the delivery had been made. The word spread and the queue lengthened. Many customers filled 200-litre drums, sometimes several of them, probably to resell at huge profit on the black market, and the process was paralysingly slow.

"We're in deep trouble," said a man in the queue. "Why do they make things more difficult for the people?" Moments after 6pm, yellow cones were placed in front of the pumps.

But the manager relented, reopening to let the last diehards collect 40 litres each.

Filling the tank in Robert Mugabe's once sophisticated capital took just over six hours.


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Zimbabwe's shopping nightmare

The Scotsman

JANE FIELDS IN MUTARE, EASTERN ZIMBABWE
BUYING meat in Zimbabwe these days is like buying an illegal substance.

"I've got some meat today," whispers a shop assistant, glancing to make sure
there's no-one else in earshot.

She disappears to the back of the shop, returning with a small
plastic-wrapped packet of mince that she stuffs quickly into this shopper's
bag.

The price? Some 300,000 Zimbabwe dollars (about £590 officially, but just
£1.15 at the unofficial but widely-used black market rate for foreign
exchange), well above the Z$87,000 per kilo that Robert Mugabe's government
says beef must be sold for.

Meat, like most other basic commodities, has disappeared from Zimbabwe's
supermarkets after Mr Mugabe's controversial price-slashing initiative early
this month.

Trying to find beef in Mutare, Zimbabwe's third-largest city, is now "like
looking for a snowflake in the Sahara desert", the local newspaper, Manica
Post, said last week.

Empty shelves and freezer units greet shoppers in grocery shops and
butchers.

Farmers have stopped delivering their livestock for slaughter after the
government said it would only pay around Z$8 million per beast, five times
less than the going market rate.

Official figures show that only 100 cattle are being slaughtered per day by
the government-owned Cold Storage Company, which is now Zimbabwe's only
licensed meat processing company after all private abattoirs were banned.

That's 100 animals to feed Zimbabwe's entire population of nearly 12 million
people. No wonder everyone is asking where to find meat.

Opening parliament in the capital, Harare, on Tuesday, a defiant Mr Mugabe
said the price cuts were necessary to protect Zimbabweans from "inexplicable
and astronomical" increases by profiteers.

But, with elections just eight months away, critics say it was a calculated
gamble by the 83-year-old president to win support from Zimbabweans worn
down by years of power cuts, water cuts, hospital strikes and inflation
which analysts say has now probably reached an astronomical 9,000 per cent.

It worked, at first. Accustomed to daily price rises, jubilant listeners
telephoned the state radio station ZBC to say they'd been given "Christmas
in July" when the cuts were first announced.

Reports that members of the ruling party elite and soldiers grabbed most of
the bargains were quickly quashed: the state-controlled Herald newspaper ran
an apology this week for "misquoting" the head of the official Consumer
Council of Zimbabwe, who had apparently suggested that "uniformed forces"
were hoarding seized goods.

Three and a half weeks after Operation Dzikisa Mitengo ("Operation Reduce
Prices") was launched, shops have no maize meal, meat, margarine, sugar,
salt, flour, cooking oil or the fruit cordial Mazoe that every Zimbabwean
wants on his table. Bread queues have resurfaced. Petrol pumps have no fuel.
There are not even any matches.

Desperation is mounting. On Tuesday, soldiers with dogs monitored a crowd of
at least 600 gathered outside a wholesalers just off Mutare's Herbert
Chitepo Street in the hope of buying sugar.

Many shops have introduced rationing. One housewife said a supermarket
worker told her that she needed "authorisation" to buy more than three
toilet rolls at once. "There's me and my husband and two kids with snotty
noses - and you're only allowed three rolls," she complained.

But some businesses are quietly finding ways of dodging the price monitors.

State radio reported yesterday that some shops were opening only at night in
an attempt to dodge the inspectors.

At lunchtimes, a convenience store on the outskirts of Mutare sells a small
amount of freshly-baked bread at Z$40,000 per loaf - nearly double the
government-set price of Z$22,000 - as a store manager lurks anxiously by the
entrance doors, watching for the government inspectors.

Look at the bread receipt when you get out of the shop and you'll find it's
blank - it's too dangerous, apparently, to print the real price.

Defying Mr Mugabe is risky. At least 3,500 business executives and store
managers have been arrested this month for overcharging. State prosecutor
Patson Nyazamba called eight shopowners remanded in filthy police cells this
week "economic saboteurs" and said they should be jailed.

And, in a chilling new threat, the government has announced it is reviving
two long-dormant companies indirectly controlled by the government - the
Zimbabwe State Trading Corporation and the Zimbabwe Development
Corporation - to take over private businesses "engaging in economic
sabotage".

. ZIMBABWEAN women are suffering increased repression and abuse as they
struggle to feed and clothe their families in the face of the country's
economic collapse, according to Amnesty International. An Amnesty report
yesterday said women made up the "majority of the hundreds of Zimbabwean
human rights defenders arbitrarily arrested and detained for engaging in
peaceful protest marches or meetings in the past two years".

It said that women activists told them that police often accuse them of
being used by the British and US governments to overthrow Robert Mugabe's
government.


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U.S. looks at more sanctions against Mugabe

Reuters

Wed Jul 25, 2007 7:00PM EDT

By Sue Pleming

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is looking at deepening sanctions
against Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his supporters but will
continue to provide humanitarian aid, a senior U.S. official said on
Wednesday.

Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Fraser said the
United States, which already has tough financial and travel sanctions in
place against Mugabe and members of his government, wants to do more.

"We are looking at additional sanctions against individuals who are
supporting this regime. We can deepen the sanctions that are already there,
can add more individuals to those travel sanctions," she told Reuters in an
interview.

Fraser stressed the United States was also looking at ways to ease the
plight of Zimbabweans, who face 4,500 percent inflation rates and food and
fuel shortages.

Once viewed as southern Africa's bread basket, Zimbabwe is suffering a
political and economic crisis and last week the United States offered 47,400
metric tons of additional food assistance to the country, which the White
House said would help 500,000 people.

Mugabe, 83, is accused of plunging the southern African state into its worst
economic crisis through a series of controversial policies, including his
seizure of thousands of white-owned farms.

He has also cracked down hard on the opposition, and rights groups say he
has beaten, tortured and in some cases killed anti-Mugabe activists.

"One day his (Mugabe's) government will come to an end and his people will
still be there and they will need to restore that economy and that society,"
Fraser said.

The United States has signaled strong support for Zimbabwe's opposition
movement, which has been subject to a massive crackdown by Mugabe, who has
been in power since independence from Britain in 1980.

Fraser urged other southern African countries, such as South Africa, which
has taken the lead mediating with Mugabe, to push for concrete results.

She also urged China, which is a strong investor in Zimbabwe, to put more
pressure on Mugabe.

"The Chinese may be trying to rescue this government. We are looking to the
Chinese to put pressure on the government of Sudan and we would hope they
would not support the repressive regime in Zimbabwe," Fraser said.

Mugabe said on Tuesday that Britain and its Western allies had "redoubled"
their efforts to topple him and he accused them of sponsoring violence to
destabilize his country.


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Zimbabwe's Crisis of Criticism


A lack of African criticism is worsening the crisis in Zimbabwe
-By Chris Gehrke, Utne.com

July 26, 2007 Issue

Once considered the "bread basket" of Africa and hailed as a success of
post-colonial transition, the African nation of Zimbabwe now teeters on the
brink of economic collapse. The country's embattled leader, President Robert
Mugabe, has become emblematic of many of the problems in post-colonial
Africa. In an article written for the New Statesman, William Gumede, former
deputy editor of the South African newspaper the Sowetan, sees Zimbabwe's
government as a "symbol of the descent of African liberation movements into
brutal dictatorship."

After helping to overthrow the country's white leadership in the 1970s,
Mugabe took office as the first black leader of Zimbabwe in 1980. That
legacy of liberation, according to Gumede, is currently what is keeping
Mugabe in power despite astronomical inflation and shortages of basic
necessities. Many of Mugabe's opponents, Gumede writes, have been forced to
"soft-pedal so that the president could not paint them as stooges of the
West."

According to Gumede, blaming Zimbabwe's problems on the West has allowed
Mugabe to consolidate power and silence his critics. And rather than face
the widespread political repression and financial insecurity, Zeina
Awadreports for Al Jazeera that many Zimbaweans have simply decided to get
out. The economic and political conditions in the country are causing many
of the country's residents to "swim through the crocodile infested Limpopo
river, cut through razor wire, and walk across the bush for hours" seeking a
new life in neighboring South Africa, Awad writes.

In order to solve the emerging crisis in Zimbabwe, Gumede suggests that
"[a]ll governments must be kept on their toes." The lack of criticism from
Africa's leaders surrounding Mugabe has gone far beyond supporting African
liberation movements -- it is posing a danger to Zimbabwe's residents. Now,
Gumede writes, South African President Thabo Mbeki and other African leaders
must realize that "Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe represents the worst
backsliding of African liberation movements." The time has come to speak
out.


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Despicable journalism from the Herald



26 July 2007

By Itayi Garande

"I don't know about you, but I'm beginning to feel very moved by the Pius
Ncube story. When I read that he wasn't attending Mass anymore, I said to
myself, 'Oh my God, what have we done to this 60 year old man who has been
fighting for our freedom? Do we have to chastise this man for doing what's,
afterall, human?'"

This is an extract of a letter we received today from a TalkZimbabwe reader
on the Pius Ncube story. Too little, too late? The editors at The Herald, in
a despicable piece of journalism, got what they wanted. Once more the moral
bankruptcy of the sewer press is evident. They are making us believe that
this lawsuit is a consequence of Divine retribution for criticising Zanu PF.

Much like the stain of an allegation that never washes away, the image of
Archbishop Pius Ncube is forever tainted because of the political agenda of
an "evil government" bent on retaining power at whatever cost.
Insurmountable damage has been done whatever the outcome of the Z$20 billion
lawsuit.

I do not support what 'he did' if he 'did it'. What concerns me is the pure
evil of the hatred that many of our newspapers have directed at him over the
past week. Compassion has gone on strike!

I really feel that there is a section of our media that is determined to
keep this man down on his knees and which won't be happy until he is quite
literally dead. I sometimes look at the Mugabe and the Zanu PF party which
should be hanging its collective head in shame at the torture and tens of
thousands of deaths for which it is responsible, and see their conduct
regarding Pius, and ask myself if they live on the same planet as normal
people.

I wish that as Zimbabweans, our emphasis was on helping people to rediscover
their value rather than destroying them utterly. I have seen Pius's story
turned by some of our media into a delight rather than the human tragedy
that it is. Indeed, as I look at this frightened, now reclusive, vulnerable
60 year old man's treatment, I think that "bullying" is the best description
of what our country is best at.

Keen for revenge on a cleric who opposed mass murder and starvation in
Zimbabwe, The Herald and Mugabe have been indecent in their lust for
revenge. The problem with irresponsible reporting from supposedly
responsible organizations (at least in the past) such as The Herald, The
Chronicle, and the like, is that stories of this nature have a long lasting
effect on those predisposed to believing them. As Mark Twain said; "A lie
can travel half way around the world while the truth is still putting on its
shoes."

However, in the minds of certain people (namely Zanoids) particularly those
who viscerally dislike Pius Ncube, the desire to believe a defamatory story
about the Archbishop is so great, they will contort themselves every which
way to convince themselves it is true, despite the fact that due process has
not proved it so. As an aside, it does seem odd how there always seems to be
a "great story" available whenever vitriolic denunciation of the Zimbabwean
president is required.

I cannot say that I was ever a fan of the Archbishop. I respect his guts and
his frankness. Sometimes I found him very excitable. And yet, I feel a
certain sympathy for Pius Ncube. Flawed he may be, but I sense a man with
much human decency. I hope he is able to save his career and recover a
decent human life. I hope there will be good times for him in the future.

As for The Herald, this is a newspaper which has, as its sole raison d'etre,
a desire to secretly enter the bedrooms of others, famous (Pius) and
unknown. The more intrusive the details, the happier Mugabe and co are. Of
course, they play the censorious and carping role.

Readers are encouraged to feel superior to those whose lives are destroyed
on the altar of the dreadful Mugabe whose influence on journalism has been
that of a sewer rat. If the Pharisees of the Gospels were rather censorious,
Mugabe's editors are the High Priests of moralising, sanctomonious
hypocrisy!- Talk Zimbabwe.com
Itayi Garande is the Editor of Talk Zimbabwe.com and this article formed
part of an editorial on the site.

Nehanda Radio: Zimbabwe's first 24 hour internet radio news channel.


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ZCTF Report, July 2007

ZIMBABWE CONSERVATION TASK FORCE
24th July 2007
FUEL FOR HWANGE
There is once again a critical shortage of fuel to pump water into the pans for the animals in Hwange National Park which is not surprising in view of the extreme shortage of basic commodities†in Zimbabwe. The park needs 20 000 litres of diesel to ensure that there is enough water for the animals to drink during the dry season (August to November) if we are to avoid a repetition of the water crisis of 2005.
††††
We realize that with the enormous difficulties we are experiencing in Zimbabwe at the moment with simple day to day living, most people will not be able to assist the wildlife as they have done in the past, much as they may want to, but if anyone is in a position to help with either fuel or the funds to buy fuel, please contact us. We would be extremely grateful. Our contact details are below.
Johnny Rodrigues
Chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
Tel:†††††††††††††† 263 4 336710
Fax/Tel:††††††† 263 4 339065
Mobile:††††††††† 263 11 603 213
Email:††††††††††† galorand@mweb.co.zw
Website:††††††† www.zimbabwe-art.com
Website:††††††† www.zctf.mweb.co.zw


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Interview: Tony Hawkins

Moneyweb

Interview

Tony Hawkins: Professor of economics, University of Zimbabwe

25 July 2007 23:09

MONEYWEB: Tony Hawkins is a professor at the University of Zimbabwe. He's
also the man who writes for the Financial Times of London on what's going on
in that country. We've spoken with Tony in the past, It's a real pleasure to
welcome him back to the programme this evening. Tony, what keeps you in Zim?

TONY HAWKINS: Well, I have a job here, I suppose, and, you know, we live in
exciting times, and it's a case study of economic decline or decay or
collapse, or whatever word you want to use.

MONEYWEB: In your report in the Financial Times today, you said - and
there's been quite a lot of rumours recently - that there's going to be a
new Zimbabwean law forcing companies to sell 51% of the shareholding to
black Zimbabweans. It's got a name: Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment
Bill. Here in South Africa people were thinking this was just rumours and
talk - but it now appears that it is a fact?

TONY HAWKINS: You know, we haven't actually seen the draft bill; we're not
sure whether the actual bill that will be debated is going to be the same.
It's pretty loose, got a lot of holes in it, and there's obviously lots of
scope for individual deals, which of course is the way things work in
Zimbabwe and the way people like Implats have played it up here.

MONEYWEB: That's a question, Tony. We have spoken on this programme recently
with David Brown, the chief executive of Impala Platinum, and he seemed
relatively unconcerned. Should he be more worried?

TONY HAWKINS: Well, you know, Implats have used the approach of negotiating
with the government, and they obviously think they have got an arrangement.
They did cede some property to the government last year, and I would assume
that they therefore are quite confident of the situation. The thing that
Implats may have got wrong is twofold. One, they pinned their future on
Zimbabwe for expansion, and secondly, you know, they seem to have forgotten
the old thing known in the trade as "obsolescent bargain". Once you put your
money on the table, the power shifts from the investor to the government.
And we're going through a phase worldwide, as you know, of resource
nationalism - you know, from Venezuela, Russia, and other countries in terms
of oil and gas and so on. And Zimbabwe, particularly under the present
leadership, is likely to become increasingly militant along these lines,
rather than the other way round.

MONEYWEB: So Impala shareholders should perhaps be taking this into account
when they're paying the prices that they are for the stock today?

TONY HAWKINS: I wouldn't like to comment on that part, because I don't know
much about that.

MONEYWEB: But it is an issue. It is a definite risk that perhaps has been
downgraded somewhat?

TONY HAWKINS: Yes.

MONEYWEB: What about PPC? It owns a big porthole factory, cement factory, in
Zimbabwe. Talking with the chief executive, John Gomersall, of that company,
he said yes, they are complying with the law, they are supplying into the
market at below their cost price. Are you seeing a lot of cement being
snapped up now, at, well, what clearly is lower than cost price for the
producer?

TONY HAWKINS: I'm sure you are, but it's very difficult to come by. I think
there was a story that PPC in fact had cut back production because of a
problem at their Colleen Bawn plant, a technical problem, nothing to do with
the pricing. But, you know, there are certainly stories of rampant
racketeering going on in, particularly, the cement field - in other words,
people buying it up at the cheap price and then storing it somewhere and
selling it at ten times the cheap price.

MONEYWEB: Tony, also yesterday, according to your report in the FT, Robert
Mugabe thanked African and non-aligned countries for continuing to support
him. I guess that puts the South African policy of quiet diplomacy into some
perspective.

TONY HAWKINS: Well, yes. I mean, I think the South Africans are in a
difficult position on this one. They are committed, they agreed at the SADC
meeting in Dar es Salaam in March, that President Mbeki would be the
mediator. The Zimbabweans have snubbed him a couple of times and President
Mugabe has said, look, I'm not interested in the new constitution. Yet the
sort of red line or bottom line for the other side is a new constitution. So
it does seem to me there's an unbridgeable gap there. And, you know, the
action now moves to the next SADC meeting, which is next month in Zambia,
where the SADC leaders will have to decide either to turn up the pressure on
President Mugabe or accept that the mediation plan is going to flop.

MONEYWEB: We have reports that 6 000 people are coming across the border
from Zimbabwe into South Africa legally, and a few thousand more illegally.
Is this consistent with what you're seeing on the ground?

TONY HAWKINS: Yes, it is. I'm surprised at the number coming across legally.
I must say, that does surprise me. But the illegal number has been, sort of,
floated around a lot. I don't think anyone really knows how big the number
is; no-one really knows how many Zimbabweans there are illegally in South
Africa. We get this figure of three million being touted around. But if you
talk to anyone in business here, they will tell you - particularly in the
mining sector, construction, engineering - that they're losing staff,
skilled staff hand over fist to South Africa. Partly I suppose to do with
2010 and so on. So those would be legal entrants.

MONEYWEB: Economic refugees?

TONY HAWKINS: Certainly the ones who are crossing illegally. The legal ones,
I think, are moving over because there are jobs there, because the money's
better and because there's a career path there whereas, in Zimbabwe at the
moment, it's not easy to be confident on any of those points.

MONEYWEB: How are people making do? We hear there's no bread in the stores,
very few other kinds of provisions?

TONY HAWKINS: Well, bread is more [connection temporarily lost] ...

MONEYWEB: Mm, what a pity. What a pity. Maybe that was a censor, who was
about to... Well, we will try, Gaylyn will try to get Tony back.
Unfortunately losing Tony Hawkins at a point there, but very interesting to
get it from a dispassionate observer, David?

DAVID SHAPIRO: Ja. And he tells it like it is, and doesn't say much for
South Africa. If Mugabe makes statements that he continues to receive
support, and everybody else is silent or doesn't say we're not supporting
him, it's tacit support. And, you know, that's what the rest of the world
are up in arms about - that Africa's heart seems to be with Mugabe. Maybe
their head's not, but certainly their heart is.

MONEYWEB: I think we've got Tony back with us. Tony, you with us?

TONY HAWKINS: Yes, I can hear you.

MONEYWEB: The question was how people are making do with, apparently, not
much bread and other provisions in the stores.

TONY HAWKINS: Well, as I was saying, bread is available if you happen to be
there at the right time, but you do see long bread queues. Meat is virtually
out, just at the moment. Pet fuel is very short, things like sugar are on
and off, and so on. I think the real crunch will come in a few weeks when
firms have to decide to restock or, as you were mentioning with PPC Cement,
have to decide whether they're going to operate at a loss and, if so, for
how long. And I think that's when the crunch will come and that's when we
will see what the government strategy will be, because it's very difficult
to see that they can insist that, say, people in the fuel industry should
lose 50% on every litre of petrol they sell, and so on. It just doesn't make
sense.

MONEYWEB: We know it is hyperinflation, but any kind of numbers are being
thrown around. What do you believe that the inflation rate is in Zimbabwe
right now?

TONY HAWKINS: Well, the official inflation rate was last 4 700% or so in
May, and most people reckon it probably got to around 6 000% in June. But
there are any number of unofficial estimates saying it could be as high as
12 000% or more. Of course, by suppressing the numbers, which is what the
government have done, we now have a situation where any sort of rumour gets
around. People just make up a number and say, well, that's the story. And so
I've heard a number of 22 000 and so on, but I think that's way above the
top.

MONEYWEB: Tony, you still live there, you still have to eat every day - how
are you getting your provisions?

TONY HAWKINS: With difficulty. But it's still possible to get quite a lot of
things in the shops. As I say, meat is difficult, but just about everything
else one is able to get at the moment.

MONEYWEB: And your salary from the university? Is that being adjusted by
inflation as well?

TONY HAWKINS: Well, that's not worth very much.

MONEYWEB: I guess salaried employees then in Zimbabwe will be the people who
are taking most of the pain?

TONY HAWKINS: Exactly. But that of course is why the government went through
this policy of halving prices, which of course has made them pretty popular
with a lot of people, because there has certainly been a big reduction in
prices in the retail shops. And therefore a lot of people are quite happy
about it. I think anyone who looks beyond the next week or two and says,
well, are companies going to restock and, if so, how are they going to
restock, and so on - I think that's when the government will have to move to
some kind of what they call "pricing model", where they're going to agree
price mark-ups and price margins with manufacturers.

MONEYWEB: Our James Myburgh wrote a piece on Moneyweb last week, taking
Aristotle's textbook on tyrants, and used Robert Mugabe as an example of it.
And it's quite uncanny in that virtually all that Aristotle said a couple of
thousand years ago is being practised, or appears to be practised, by Robert
Mugabe in Zimbabwe. Is there any way that one can make logic, perhaps
different logic, about what's happening there right now?

TONY HAWKINS: Well, what one is seeing is a government that is trying to
hold on to power in increasingly difficult conditions. It managed, it has
won, or rigged, depending which way you look at it, elections, very
satisfactorily from its viewpoint, in recent years, and it can see itself
winning elections again, I would guess, next year. The opposition is divided
and weak and unfinanced, and doesn't have a fair chance anyway because the
electoral playing field is anything but level. So in that sense you can see
the government is confident that it's doing well. There are people near the
top of government, there is a ruling elite that is doing very well
financially out of this lot. And it is, I suppose, typical of this kind of
state, of a quasi-paled state, a predator state where, provided the minority
at the top are happy, provided you keep the security forces happy and so on,
this situation could drift on for some time.

MONEYWEB: Does that mean years?

TONY HAWKINS: I would have doubted it, but who knows? I've given up trying
to estimate how long these things last. It's not a thing you should ask an
economist, to be fair, because it is all about politics, and it'll be
politics that will change this, one way or the other, eventually. But who
knows when eventually will be?

MONEYWEB: Tony Hawkins, professor of economics at the University of
Zimbabwe. And you can read his incredibly accurate and, as you hear,
dispassionate analysis of the Zimbabwean situation from Harare. He writes
for the Financial Times of London which, as you should know by now, you can
get on your doorstep at six o'clock in the morning if you live in one of the
urban areas here in South Africa.


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Scores of NCA Activists Arrested And Beaten During Countrywide Demonstrations



SW Radio Africa (London)

25 July 2007
Posted to the web 25 July 2007

Violet Gonda

Scores of activists from the pressure group National Constitutional Assembly
were arrested on Wednesday, during countrywide demonstrations to raise
awareness of the need for a new constitution. It's reported police used
force to disperse the crowds and many people were assaulted. NCA coordinator
Tapera Kapuya said there were protests in Harare, Bulawayo, Kwekwe, Gweru,
Mutare, Masvingo and Marondera.

He said in Masvingo 23 people were arrested and charged for public disorder.
Kapuya said another 20 had been detained in Masvingo but they were still to
be charged. 17 activists were arrested in Gweru, and the Mutare home of NCA
field officer Bernard Dube was raided by suspected state security agents.
Kapuya said Dube was also abducted and his whereabouts are unknown.
Information was not available on the arrests in Harare and Bulawayo at the
time of broadcast.

The NCA coordinator said the protestors were also distributing educational
literature about the consequences and implications of the 18th amendment to
the constitution, which the government is proposing.

NCA chairperson Dr. Lovemore Madhuku described amendment no.18 as
'treacherous and contemptuous' when he addressed protestors in Harare. He
said: "Zimbabwe needs a constitution that entrenches human rights and
freedoms, ensures a free and open society and an electoral system that gives
citizens power to elect leaders who are responsive to their needs."


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Lawyers Seek to Have Country Declared Unsafe for Deportees



SW Radio Africa (London)

25 July 2007
Posted to the web 25 July 2007

Tichaona Sibanda

Defence lawyers in an asylum and immigration tribunal in London are hearing
arguments on the a case that is being referred to as the HS case. They want
to have deportations to Zimbabwe halted indefinitely, in response to the
deteriorating human rights situation in the country.

The asylum and immigration tribunal decided to drop another case known as
AA, the initials of the asylum claimant, as a test case for Zimbabwe
following marathon appeals and counter-appeals.

Isaac Dziya, a former Assistant Commissioner with the Zimbabwe Republic
Police, said judges in the tribunal case have been hearing submissions in
camera from former intelligence operatives, on the dangers likely to be
faced by failed asylum seekers if they are deported to Zimbabwe.

'By sending failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe, the British government would
be sending them to their deaths. There are special units within the
intelligence organisations that operate from every entry point into
Zimbabwe. These guys know their business and never underestimate them,'
Dziya said.

The crackdown on political activists in the country has worsened in the last
year. Authorities have killed, arrested, abducted, and tortured hundreds
since the 11th March beating of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

According to Tsvangirai's faction more than six hundred of its members were
arrested or abducted in March and April. Three-hundred were hospitalised and
three were killed. Recent political developments in the last month,
including reports of a failed coup plot have also heightened tension and
defence lawyers hope the judges will extend protection to failed asylum
seekers and declare Zimbabwe unsafe for deportees.

A legal representative from the Refugee Legal Centre said the HS appeal will
deal with refugee status and consider risk of ill-treatment and humanitarian
conditions and what deterioration has occurred since last year.

Dziya said he was also hopeful that the British government will realise it
has taken a long time to deal with failed asylum seekers from Zimbabwe, and
that over 15 000 Zimbabweans are pinning their hopes on the outcome of the
tribunal hearing.

The MDC says according to Home Office records 16 145 Zimbabweans applied for
asylum in the United Kingdom between 2000 and 2004. A majority of the claims
remain unresolved or have been dismissed.


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On the boundary of madness

The Zimbabwean

BY GEOFF HILL
STANDFIRST:† South Africa's northern border with Zimbabwe has become the
nation's "most vulnerable frontier," according to farmers who report a
massive jump in theft, trespass and stock loss.
Illegal immigration across the Limpopo is nothing new and, at the end of
2006, President Thabo Mbeki spoke of a Zimbabwean community near three
million living in South Africa.
However, new inflation figures of 10 000 per cent and a shortage of basic
food in Zimbabwe following the Mugabe government's effort at price control
has seen what one home affairs officer described as "a human tsunami"
pushing south.
Estimates range from 3000 to 5000 crossing the river every day and in
Johannesburg last month, the Star newspaper put the monthly average at 100
000, well above the government claim of around 20 000
Hungry, desperate for hard currency and needing to pay bus fare to their
final destination - usually Johannesburg or Durban - exiles turn to crime.
At the last census, before the 2000 elections, Zimbabwe's population was
estimated at 11 million. With life expectancy now the lowest in the world,
and migration surging, some academics put the current figure lower than
seven million.
Maggie Sotyu, an ANC member of parliament who led a recent inquiry on
movement across the northern boundary, described it as "unbelievable".
Border patrol staff told her more than 5000 illegal Zimbabwean immigrants
had been arrested in a two'week period, but this could represent less than
10 per cent of the influx.
And whereas exiles used to jump the river close to the official Beit Bridge
immigration post, they now penetrate the entire length of the 320 kilometre
border fence.
Gideon Meiring, who farms in the region and also chairs the Soutpansberg
District Agricultural Union, says lack of government action on the matter
has left the region in crisis.
"We have seen a big increase in numbers, but also a rise in theft, assault
and even murder," he said.
"And it's not just attacks on whites. Black South Africans in this region,
especially women, are afraid to walk alone in case they are raped."
With police and Home Affairs combing the roads and highways for exiles,
Zimbabweans move through the bush at night, cutting fences as they go and
Meiring said this had become major problem for game and cattle farmers.
"But we also understand the plight of these people," he said. "They are
desperate and even the farmers who bear the brunt of the crisis feel both a
pity for them and sadness that our government has done nothing to bring the
suffering in Zimbabwe to an end."
Patrick Chibaya is typical of the new immigrants. Last week he spent two
nights with his cousin in the firmer Venda homeland capital of Thohoyandou,
close to Kruger National Park, before pushing on to his sister's family in
Nelspruit.
"I never thought I would leave because I had a job in a bakery and work is
so scarce you can't risk running to South Africa and then, when you come
back your job is gone," he said. "But it is so bad now that the money I earn
can't even pay my daily bus fare."
Chibaya said he had been led across the river by a guide, but many who tried
to make it alone were robbed by gangs preying on the exiles.
"Even so, many are willing to risk anything just to leave," he said. "And
because so many of us now live in South Africa, every Zimbabwean has a
brother or sister or friend in this country and somewhere to stay when they
arrive."
Chibaya said that talk of moving south was the main topic of conversation in
Zimbabwe. "In beer halls, with friends, even at work, it is what people talk
about all the time. I think the numbers are going to rise very fast now"
Zimbabwean writer Geoff Hill is bureau'chief Africa for The Washington
Times. His latest book is What Happens After Mugabe? (Zebra/Struik).
This story appears in the current (3 August) edition of the South African
magazine, Farmer's Weekly, and is publised in The Zimbabwean with
permission. ©Farmer's Weekly.


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Gukurahundi revisited

The Zimbabwean

. fresh report will light a fire under chairs of Mugabe's spin doctors
BY TREVOR GRUNDY
LONDON
Leading journalists, African human rights monitors and diplomats are getting
to ready to mark the 10th anniversary of Breaking the Silence, the Catholic
Commission for Justice and Peace report that went a long way towards opening
the world's eyes to the massacres of between 20,000-30,000 men, women and
children in Matabeleland and the Midlands in the early 1980s.
The meeting scheduled for August 14 at London's Chatham House (home of the
Royal Institute for International Affairs) is to be chaired by Noel Kututwa
(Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum), speakers will include Mike Auret, the
former Director of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, Eileen
Sawyer, former Director of the Legal Resources Foundation and Nokuthula
Moyo, its current chair.
Representatives from most British newspapers will be there along with
African broadcasters and it is expected that a strong and loud delegation
from the Zimbabwe Embassy in London will also go to Chatham House to make
sure "the Mugabe version" of events in the 1980s is heard.
The event will focus on what happened in Matabeleland/Midlands during
Gukurahundi, which most Zimbabweans and some Africanists say is the worst
unpunished crime ever committed by a member of the Commonwealth.
The event will not only be used to launch a new issue of the report but will
also remind those attending what happened:
In 1980, a few months after Independence Day (April 18) Mugabe signed an
agreement with the North Korean government then led by the paranoid dictator
Kim il Sung.† In return for business and political clout in the new
Zimbabwe, the North Koreans agreed to train and equip a special "hit squad"
which came to be known as the Fifth Brigade. It was very much a law unto
itself, part of Mugabe's private army and commanded by Perence Shiri.
The objective of the Fifth Brigade was to mercilessly crush any sign of
opposition in Matabeleland against the ruling Zanu (PF). Thanks to heroes
within the Zimbabwean community and Roman Catholic Church Breaking the
Silence told the world about civilian murders, rapes, torture and the
destruction of civilian property on a massive scale.
The report said that Mugabe's ambition was to leave the black civilian
population with fear for the rest of their lives and ideally pass that fear
down to the next generation.
The massacre story broke in two British newspapers on April 15, 1984. One
was written by Peter Godwin of the Sunday Times, the other by Donald
Trelford, editor of The Observer. On April 16 the owner of The Observer,
Tiny Rowland made a personal apology to Mugabe, fearing that Lonrho's
business interests would suffer because of the report. Donald Trelford and
Peter Godwin stuck to their guns and protected their sources. - (African
Forum News Services)


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Mugabe responsible for wrecking talks

The Zimbabwean

The South African'brokered talks between the ruling Zanu (PF) and the
opposition MDC appear to have collapsed irretrievably. We blame Mugabe's
obstinacy.
We cannot understand how he can wreck talks that could lead to a solution to
our country's problems simply because the MDC refuses (and rightly so given
the weight of court documentation regarding fraudulent activities
surrounding the 2002 presidential elections) to recognise him as the
legitimate president of Zimbabwe.
This is no time for one'upmanship or for egos. With the country bleeding,
millions of people hungry, sick and unemployed, children dying of
malnutrition and preventable diseases - this is the time for statesmanship.
For goodness sake - please put the country first.
When he called for talks between the two opposing sides, at the behest of
SADC leaders, President Thabo Mbeki urged the parties to come to the
conference table with no pre'conditions.
As so often in the past, Mugabe has simply ignored Mbeki. And Mbeki has
meekly shut up.
There was never any serious commitment to dialogue on the part of Mugabe and
Zanu (PF). The appointed negotiators, Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche,
have, on at least two occasions, not even bothered to pitch up at the
scheduled meetings.
The ruling party's continued tinkering with the defective constitution, as
proposed under the 18th amendment, will not solve Zimbabwe's problems.
Nothing short of a new constitution will do.
In the absence of any firm and practical commitment to saving the country of
Zimbabwe on the part of SADC and/or Mbeki, the region faces an unprecedented
slide into chaos - with the accompanying health, environmental and economic
repercussions that will set back development by decades.
Previously eradicated human and animal diseases are already rampant in
Zimbabwe '† and recognise no man'made boundaries.
Besides the resultant extent of human suffering, for the entire region to
risk undoing years of development, and for the rest of the world to watch as
billions of aid dollars go down the drain is unspeakable.


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War over land - Sikhala

The Zimbabwean

The MDC (Mutambara) says it is going to be a mammoth task to reverse the
Mugabe regime's land reform programme even when the opposition comes to
power in next year's presidential election.
Addressing African academics, professionals and business people in Jozi last
week, the party's MP for St Mary's, Job Sikhala, said reversing the land
issue would spark civil war in Zimbabwe.
"Even if we come to power tomorrow or next year, we can not afford to
reverse the land issue. We ca not afford to displace the more than 600 000
beneficiaries of this programme otherwise a civil war would be unavoidable,"
he said.
"All the war veterans, chiefs, former army chefs, police commanders and
Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) resettled there are now proud owners
of the land. If we tell them we have reversed the land policy, what would
happen?" - Own correspondent


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CHRA wants EU to ban Harare Commissioners

The Zimbabwean

THE Combined Harare Residents' Association (CHRA) has written to the
European Commission requesting that the European Union place Harare
commissioners on the travel ban list alongside Zanu (PF) heavyweights.
The official request means that if the EU, the US and their allies consider
CHRA's request, whoever occupies the office of Commissioner for Harare under
illegal circumstances they would automatically be placed on the travel ban
list as punishment for their involvement with a rogue regime that thrives on
subverting the peoples' constitutional rights.
The same letter will also be delivered to the Ambassadors of the United
States of America, Australia, and New Zealand urging them to apply travel
restrictions on:
Sekesai Makwavarara (Chairperson),
.Professor Jameson Kurasha (University of Zimbabwe lecturer),
.Sasha Jogi (President of the Institute of Urban Planners),
.Alfred Tome, District Administrator for Harare
.Musavaya Reza (Provincial Administrator for Harare),
.Killian Mupingo (ZUPCO Board Member, Deputy Secretary in the Ministry of
Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development, responsible for Rural
Local Authorities
.Richard Mahachi (architect in private practice),
.Sylvia Masango (a principal director in the office of Vice President Joyce
Mujuru), and
.Madzudzo Pawadyira (Civil Protection Unit Director).
"CHRA believes that a new leadership will be the beginning of the
development process that Harare has been robbed off since the takeover of
Harare by Ms Sekesai Makwavarara, the Chairperson of the illegal Commission.
The intended merits have certainly been outweighed by the penchant for the
disregard of court judgments and the collapse of service delivery in the
City by a group of people without electoral mandate," said information
officer Precious Shumba.


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Gauteng's Diepsloot - 'part of crippled Zimbabwe'

The Zimbabwean



BY SAVIOUS KWINIKA
DIEPSLOOT
FLOATING human faeces, gushing out effluent discharges and uncollected refuse are the ugly daily scenarios facing the Zimbabwean community living in exile in Diepsloot.
About 15 kilometres north-west of Jozi, Diepsloot is home to an estimated 500 000 inhabitants, most of them Zimbabwean asylum seekers.††
The City of Johannesburg maintains that Diepsloot is part of the highly-developed Gauteng province - but "sometimes you wonder whether the people in Diepsloot are South African or part of the economically crippled Zimbabwe" said a South African citizen who lives there, 72-year-old Meshack Maluleke.
Nthatisi Modingoane, the city's media liaison officer, said the local authority was trying its level best to raise the standards of Diepsloot.
"Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP)s are working on a daily basis in the area. In the past, there have been many problems associated with the lack of access to clean and sanitized water supply in the area. This has changed over the past few years, a number of people now have access to clean water supply and sanitation.
"Health awareness campaigns are held at schools, clinics and at community halls. Members of the community are invited to raise concerns, share their views and ask questions. There are also regular meetings held with members of the community," said Modingoane
However, residents at the most crowded area called "First Robot" argue that they rarely see health workers.
Musavengana Mushayi of Guruve suspects the isolation of Diepsloot and lack of government attention is linked to the place being dominated by foreigners.
"But refugees have rights too, and I wonder why the local authority is not collecting garbage and treating the effluent discharges in time.† I suspect that they are doing this simply because more than 60 percent of the people here are foreigners from the war ravaged countries, of course with Zimbabwe being the majority here," said Mushayi.
Morgan Banda from Malawi, who repairs shoes in Diepsloot, said he was not concerned with the flies and uncollected refuse as long as he could make enough to help his family survive back home in Blantyre.


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Ncube pictures "concocted": lawyer

The Zimbabwean

Bulawayo
The authenticity of images purporting to show sex romps between Archbishop
Pius Ncube and Rosemary Sibanda shown repeatedly on national television and
in government newspapers last week is being questioned.
Ncube's lawyers believe the pictures were computer generated, as modern
technology makes this simple and effective. Doctored pictures of Mugabe
himself, such as the one above, have been doing the rounds on the internet
for years.
We can also reveal that the 'private investigator', claimed by the state to
be a railway technician, is actually employed in the 'Special Branch' of the
CIO. Confusion also surrounds the identity of the plaintiff, initially said
to be a railway worker. It has now emerged that he is a serving soldier in
the ZNA on secondment to the National Railways and that he was never married
to Rosemary Sibanda.
Archbishop Pius Ncube stood confidently in the pulpit of his 4,000'seat St
Mary's Cathedral last Sunday.
Only a few hundred worshippers occupied the maroon seats on the main floor
of the St Mary's Parish in central Bulawayo. Sections of the neatly arranged
sanctuary were roped off so congregants would sit near the front of the
church. The ceiling rose majestically over two almost empty balconies.
Archbishop Ncube's aides sat to his right.
But gone were a small portion of his most faithful followers, convinced by
allegations of the prelate's alleged infidelity with a church secretary.
They had helped Ncube build the church into a flock of 12,000 that caught
the attention of even the President of Zimbabwe.
The hundreds who attended Sunday Mass said they would stand by the
Archbishop as the church haemorrhaged members after the scandal broke.
The parishioners who attended Sunday Mass said they believed Archbishop
Ncube when he denied the allegations of adultery saying his accusers were
under "demonic influence."
The Archbishop delivered his sermon with raw passion.
A parish nun later told The Zimbabwean Ncube was a spiritual elder. "Its all
false. His faith is being put to the test by the devil," she said.
She said the sense of community was a critical part of the success of St
Mary's Cathedral that had gained a national reputation for combining
liturgical arts, such as dance and drama, with cutting'edge social ministry.
His lawyer Nicholas Mathonsi told The Zimbabwean the Archbishop was "sick,
very, very sick" of the false allegations brought against him.
"The Archbishop has been tried and found guilty in the state media and there
is absolutely no prospect of a fair trial," said Mathonsi. He said at least
12 people, mainly reporters for state newspapers and television bussed from
Harare, including ZBC's burly Rueben Barwe, had curiously accompanied court
officials to serve papers on the Archbishop on July 16, betraying that this
was a "a big operation that involved the State."
* Press freedom watchdogs and civic groups have roundly condemned the State
media's role in the affair.
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe chapter said the
appalling coverage given the Ncube story by the State media reinforced
concerns that these outlets were being used as political weapons against
perceived enemies of the Mugabe regime.
Bulawayo'based pressure group Bulawayo Agenda slammed the publication of
pornographic pictures in public newspapers read by young and old alike.
The Solidarity Peace Trust said the Zimbabwean State was attempting to bring
into disrepute the reputation and moral standing of the Archbishop.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights described the move as a diversionary
tactic aimed at deflecting attention from Zimbabwe's unprecedented economic
meltdown.
ZimRights said the State media had tried and sentenced Ncube even before he
has appeared in court.


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Govt fund to 'save' business

The Zimbabwean

THE government has set up a fund to revive firms that shut down because of
Harare's blitz to slash rising consumer prices. According to the ministry of
Industry and International Trade, government had set aside US$30bn
($214,000) to revive the defunct State Trading Corporation to run firms that
have either collapsed or were seized.
"The government has set aside a 30 billion Zimbabwean dollar facility for
the distressed companies," Industry and International trade minister Obert
Mpofu told business leaders in Bulawayo. "The government has allocated us
enough funds to make sure that industry does not collapse. All we are saying
is come forward and let us talk because we are here to assist."
Retailers and manufacturers hiked their prices on a daily basis in a bid to
keep pace with rampant inflation, but the government last month order stores
to slash their prices in half, a move that has led to widespread shortages.
Mpofu said he did not want to destroy the business sector, but make it
viable.
"Once you are in business and happy, you will also leave us to run the
country," he said. "I will hate a stage where I will be forced to take over
the companies from you, but if you do not co-operate that is what is going
to happen and this is the position of government."
Although Mpofu ordered businesses to halve the prices of their goods and
services three weeks ago, he said the government is working on a pricing
formula to ensure business viability.
This week, the government upped the price of a three-quarter litre bottle of
cooking oil from 78,890 Zimbabwe dollars to 91,000 Zimbabwe dollars.
Amid daily price rises, Mpofu accused businesses of rampant profiteering and
colluding with President Robert Mugabe's foes in the West to plot the
regime's downfall.


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Tekere backs Makoni

The Zimbabwean

BY TRUST MATSILELE
MUTARE
Veteran liberation war hero and politician, Edgar Tekere, says Simba Makoni
should not be cowed by threats from senior Zanu (PF) politicians to throw
him out of the party, but should instead be more vocal about the misrule of
the country.
Makoni is seen as a potential presidential hopeful and if he is ousted from
the party, he would not be eligible to present himself as a presidential
candidate at the crucial Zanu (PF) congress in December.
"I applaud the stance that has been taken by Makoni.† He should not let the
poor suffer just to please Mugabe and his cronies.† People are suffering
because of Zanu (PF)'s economic policies. The country is own its knees and
you get some silly politicians threatening to suspend Makoni for calling for
economic reforms in Zimbabwe," said Tekere.
Tekere, a former secretary-general of the party was himself fired from Zanu
(PF) earlier this year after he wrote a book that was critical of Mugabe and
queried his liberation war credentials.
Politicians closely aligned to Mugabe, such as State Security Minister and
the party's secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, Labour Minister,
Nicholas Goche and the Minister of Gender and Employment Creation, Oppah
Muchinguri are said to be behind the scheme to remove Makoni from the party.
Other politicians involved in the plot are Elliot Manyika, a minister
without portfolio and Saviour Kasukuwere, a deputy youth minister.
Mugabe is said to be very upset by Makoni's statements at a recent
conference in Cape Town and is determined to see that he is punished
severely.
Tekere, who is an outspoken politician, said it was encouraging that there
were still some senior politicians like Makoni within the party who were
able to stand up and fight the leadership in order to save the country from
its present crisis.
Repeated efforts to get comments from Manyika, Mutasa or Goche were
unsuccessful.
Makoni told delegates attending the World Economic Forum on Africa in June
that change was imminent within Zanu (PF) and the country as there was now a
consensus within the ruling party that a rebuilding process had to take
place in Zimbabwe.
This process would culminate in Mugabe (83), who has been in power for over
27 years, stepping down.

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