The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Cape Argus

Zim dollar crashes in hunt for fuel


July 29, 2005

By Peta Thornycroft

The largest crash of the Zimbabwean dollar took place in the last six days as desperate motorists went looking for foreign currency to fund fuel imports.

A week ago the Zimbabwe dollar was trading at about 25 000 to US$1 on the parallel market where many manufacturers source foreign currency to fund imports.

On Thursday it had touched Z$45 000 to US$1. The rand was selling at Z$6 000 but buyers were paying Z$7 000.

The unofficial exchange rates are available at any street corner from vendors trading opposite hotels frequented by foreign visitors.

The official exchange rate was set last week at Z$17 000 to US$1, a 40% devaluation. Simultaneously the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe announced that anyone with access to foreign currency would be allowed to use it to import fuel, on a no-questions-asked basis.

Fuel importers say there has been a scramble for forex since then, sending the parallel market on a downward spiral which shows little sign of slowing down. Economist John Robertson said an inflation rate of 1 000% was possible by year end.

For the last three days, a tanker a day of privately imported fuel has been crossing the border at Beit Bridge.

Next week, the beginning of an 11 million litre consignment of fuel from Sasol bought by the government is due to start moving across the border, barely enough for the government's needs with a small amount left over for some favoured transporters.

Well-placed sources in the energy sector predict that this fuel will sell at the subsidised rate of between Z$10 000 to Z$12 000 a litre but that little will be available to private motorists.

Private importers say they hope to be able to sell fuel bought by Zimbabweans with access to foreign currency for about Z$30 000 a litre. Calculations for sale of this fuel are based on the cost of replacement stocks.

Businessmen who have put together the private importations say it has been a "hellish" operation as most people could only scrape together small amounts of foreign currency.

"Some people have blown their last bits of forex hoping to get through this bad patch, but this patch is going to go on for a very long time," said a Harare fuel importer.

Zimbabwe needs a minimum of about 30 million litres of fuel a month for basic needs.

After a year of relative stability, the Zimbabwe dollar started to deflate again in January when it slid from about Z$6 500 to Z$8 000 and began plunging after the March 31 election.

The latest six-day slump is unprecedented and formal sector traders were in a spin this week.

"I don't know what to do about mark-ups as nothing makes sense any more," said a retailer at an upmarket Harare tourist outlet.

"Please don't use my name as we will be in trouble even though our goods are not on any price control list." - Foreign Service.

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The Age, Australia

Mugabe sells bankrupt Zimbabwe's assets to China
By Rochelle Mutton
Age correspondent
Johannesburg
July 30, 2005

"We will never be a colony again!" This has been the catch-cry of Zimbabwe's
President Robert Mugabe throughout his 25-year reign.
But while he rails against perceived imperialist, colonial agendas and
denounces anything white-skinned or Western, Mr Mugabe has spent this week
in China signing over his bankrupt country's resources to the Asian economic
superpower.

Analysts claim the Chinese are forging a "colonial extractive relationship"
with Zimbabwe, which has sold forward more than a year's worth of gold and
tobacco production in exchange for Chinese military hardware and diplomatic
support.

Zimbabwe is the world's fastest shrinking economy and as it looks east for a
saviour, China has a keen eye on the southern African nation's rich platinum
deposits.

During a six-day visit to China this week, Mr Mugabe, banned from Western
countries including Australia, was warmly greeted by Chinese President Hu
Jintao as "an old friend" and given a professorship.

But as Mr Mugabe turns to the Chinese to solve Zimbabwe's $US4.5 billion
($A5.89 billion) debt migraine, commentators such as University of
Zimbabwe's Professor Brian Raftopoulos are concerned the relationship will
cost Zimbabwe dearly.

"The Chinese have a huge interest in extractive industries everywhere. Their
influence is certainly growing in Africa, not just in Zimbabwe but Angola,
Sudan and elsewhere," he said yesterday. "But of course it will be at high
cost to Zimbabwe. It's almost a colonial extractive relationship that seems
to be developing."

While Mr Mugabe was coy about the exact nature of his deals with the
Chinese, Zimbabwean economist Eddy Cross claimed yesterday the Zimbabwean
Government had forward-sold precious gold and tobacco to "pay" for
Chinese-made military consignments that included 12 jet fighters, three
60-seat turboprop planes and 700 troop carriers.

"We put the total of those transactions at about $US480 million and that was
a cash deal that was done at the beginning of this year," Mr Cross said.

"And to fund it the Government sold 25 tonnes of gold forward,
speculatively, at a set price. We used to produce about three tonnes of gold
a month. And they also sold some of the tobacco forward and the balance was
found in cash."

Zimbabwe has been condemned by the United Nations and Western countries for
its two-month old demolition campaign Operation Murambatsvina - or "clean
out the filth" - that has left 700,000 people homeless and affected a
further 2.4 million.

Described in a UN report as a disastrous venture with enormous humanitarian
consequences, the action was believed to be retribution for the huge support
for the opposition in the urban areas during the March elections.

Starting on May 19, police spent weeks destroying the informal markets and
homes of the urban poor, and are now rounding up these devastated masses and
forcing them into holding camps. After a hasty screening, they are dumped
hundreds of kilometres away, in the far reaches of the drought-stricken,
landlocked country.

Yet while the booming informal trading sector has been razed and goods
either confiscated or destroyed, every Zimbabwean city is awash with cheap
Chinese goods, from glassware to clothing and trinkets.

Government contracts are awarded to Chinese businesses for major works such
as hospitals and bridges.

Mr Cross claims Chinese interests have also been given farms, from which
some white Zimbabwean farmers were evicted allegedly on the basis of
redistribution to landless blacks.

"The Chinese have been granted the rights to develop 100,000 hectares of
irrigation land in the Mwenzi area, about 450 kilometres south of Harare,"
he said.

"Also, they have been looking at a set of farms in the Banket-Raffingora
area and these are farms on the Hanyani River and they constitute some of
the largest farms in the Mashonaland area.

"Settlers (newly established black residents) are being removed from those
properties right now. Apparently this is what was agreed in Beijing, that
the Chinese are going to take these properties over - and Chinese State
farming organisations are actually going to run them."

Zimbabwe, increasingly isolated internationally, is also expecting China to
use its veto to block any censure at the UN Security Council.
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Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe
PROMOTING NON-VIOLENT PRINCIPLES TO ACHIEVE DEMOCRACY

Dissenting voices: students protest in Zimbabwe
Sokwanele Report : 29 July 2005

It is interesting to note how, despite the massively intimidating effect of all the police state apparatus Mugabe has put in place, the voice of protest is still heard. The dictator has not succeeded - and surely never will - in silencing all dissent to his autocratic rule. For the most part the challenge to the ZANU PF monopoly of power is expressed in muted fashion, with angry mutterings and quiet acts of defiance. Yet now and again a bolder act of defiance takes place and the people of Zimbabwe catch a glimpse of the boiling cauldron beneath the battened-down lid. The pity is that all too often these courageous acts of protest pass unnoticed and unrecorded. The State media is certainly not going to draw attention to them and often the severely circumscribed independent press and media fail to pick up on the stories. As a result the impression remains that this murderous regime has achieved total dominance of all the political space, driving even the opposition into a sullen subservience.

The issue which sparks a sudden protest may not even be one of national politics though, heaven knows, the democratic space has so shrunk today that there are hardly any "domestic" concerns remaining - be they of business, sport, education or religion - which escape the attention of the "Big Brother" State. So in these days of extreme ZANU PF paranoia it takes courage to participate in a protest, even on "domestic issue". The more significant it is therefore when any such protest takes place.

Earlier in the month and almost unnoticed by the media, was a protest at Bulawayo Polytechnic. Yet over 2,000 students took part in this peaceful demonstration which was sparked by student discontent caused by repeated delays by the College authorities in paying out student loans. Those responsible at the institution for making payment of the $1,8 million loan to each student, had been procrastinating for several weeks. The final straw was when the student body received intelligence that the loan funds had been received by the Polytechnic Administration, yet the latter still refused to disburse the money to all but a small number of students. Out of a total student population of approximately 5000 a mere 200 students had received any payment at all, and they only a fraction of their entitlement.

The Zimbabwe National Students' Union intervened on behalf of the aggrieved students, and managed to secure a promise from the authorities at the Polytechnic that payment would be made in full by June 30. When that deadline came and went whether any further action, the anger of the student body reached boiling point. In the meantime of course the students' ability to feed themselves and maintain anything like a normal life-style was becoming severely strained. The student leadership resorted to the only non-violent option remaining in order to force the Polytechnic authorities to address the issue urgently. On July 11 they summoned the students to a protest meeting. The fact that 2,000 students responded positively to this call demonstrates both how severe was their financial plight and how well organised the student body. It also reveals a latent potential for mobilization and mass action.

The Principal of the Polytechnic was invited to address the protestors on their grievances. Wisely he agreed, though foolishly he made yet another promise that was not going to be kept. He promised that by 11.00 am that very day the problem would have been resolved. The students waited for the deadline which came and went. Some time after 11.00 am they started to throng the Administration Centre, singing protest songs, though still maintaining a peaceful and orderly discipline. The Principal made another appearance and offered yet one more promise of immediate action - payment by 2.00 pm.

Before the new deadline had come, and while the protesters were maintaining their peaceful vigil outside the Administration Centre, a group of about 15 anti-riot police appeared suddenly, dressed in full combat gear including helmets, and wielding batons and tear gas canisters. The moment the students caught sight of them they began to disperse. The less alert among the student body however and those who did not manage to slip away in time, were soon pinned down by the riot police who moved into action mode immediately, lashing out with their batons at any unfortunate students in their path. Yet again these ruthless agents of State repression asked no questions and showed no restraint. Sensing a vulnerable crowd of defenceless youth who were not going to stand their ground anyway, they resorted to their customary "crowd control" tactics; never mind this crowd was already perfectly controlled and a threat to no one. The outcome of their few minutes of unrestrained violence was five cases of injury so severe as to require hospital treatment and scores of other abrasions, bruises and lesser injuries. When all the students had dispersed the riot police withdrew, no doubt satisfied with a good morning's work - another whiff of opposition (or potential opposition) to the dictator snuffed out.

In fact once the riot police had withdrawn from the scene the students quietly reassembled and waited patiently for pay-out, which began this time as scheduled at 2.00 pm. The protest had served its purpose and the point was not lost on those who participated in it, notwithstanding the crude response of Mugabe's storm troops.

Our reporter later caught up with two of the student leaders who helped to organise the demonstration. The leaders, who cannot be named for obvious security reasons, expressed their general satisfaction at the student response and the manner in which the protest had been conducted. They freely admitted that in the current oppressive climate of fear few students are willing to involve themselves in issues of national politics, though more are vocal on local, "domestic" issues. Added to the fear factor, they said, is the "poverty effect" which tends to discourage student activism. A student for whom daily life has become a constant struggle to survive materially, clearly presents less of a threat to an arrogant tyrant than a well-fed student who feels personally secure. Which makes the achievement of those who brought 2000 students out in protest at such a time as this all the more impressive.

Traditionally, the world around, student activists have been at the forefront of those protesting human rights abuses and demanding democratic change. Zimbabwe's dictator has not been slow to appreciate this potential threat to his continued hold on power, and he has used great cunning as well as brutal force to undermine the natural leadership emerging from Zimbabwe's tertiary institutions of learning. To some extent he has succeeded in subduing the student body nationally and diverting their attention to personal issues of survival. Nonetheless it is most heartening to observe that the flame of protest still burns strongly in the hearts of a significant number of the students of today who will undoubtedly be numbered among the leaders of the new Zimbabwe.

To the student activists of Bulawayo and those who participated in the mass demonstration on July 11, we say - AMHLOPHE - CONGRATULATIONS - MAKOROKOTO !!


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SABC

Aid to leave for Zimbabwe on Monday

July 29, 2005, 21:00

Trucks carrying more than 6 000 blankets and 37 tons of food will leave for
Harare, Zimbabwe, for distribution to displaced families on Monday, the SA
Council of Churches (SACC) says. This is part of the SACC's "Operation Hope
for Zimbabwe" which aims to provide immediate relief to families displaced
by Operation Murambatsvina ("Drive Out Trash").

The operation, announced last week after the SACC's second pastoral visit to
Zimbabwe returned from Harare, is particularly aimed at the most vulnerable
sectors of society such as those living in transit camps, the elderly, and
women with children. Some of the delegates from that visit will be at the
SACC offices in Johannesburg on Monday to pray and bless the first convoy as
it sets off for Zimbabwe. They are Ivan Abraham, a Methodist bishop, Ray
McCauley, a pastor at the Rhema Church, Njongonkulu Ndungane, the Anglican
archbishop, and Molefe Tsele, the general secretary of the SACC.

Churches across South Africa will make a special appeal to their
congregations on Sunday to raise funding for the relief work. A total of
R350 000 has already been raised to pay for the first shipment of aid. Tsele
said on Wednesday that the operation is being managed and co-ordinated by
South African churches, working together with Zimbabwean churches,
international humanitarian organisations and the affected communities within
Zimbabwe. The government of Zimbabwe is not directly involved.

Following a damning report by the UN condemning Operation Murambatsvina, the
ANC on Wednesday said it supported the recommendation that the UN should
work with the government of Zimbabwe to mobilise humanitarian assistance,
and for conditions to be created for sustainable relief and reconstruction.
The campaign will further explore ways of providing shelter for those made
homeless by Operation Murambatsvina and will work with other international
agencies, such as the World Food Programme (WFP), Unicef and UN-Habitat, to
promote long-term development in Zimbabwe. - Sapa
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† 28 Jul 2005 14:36 GMT Zimbabwe's Pleas For Help Raise Fears Of Econ
Meltdown

††††† Copyright © 2005, Dow Jones Newswires

††††† JOHANNESBURG (AP)--Unusual and desperate public appeals to South
Africa, China and even impoverished Namibia for help have raised new fears
Zimbabwe's battered economy is moving inexorably toward meltdown.

††††† Zimbabwean economists and political analysts suggested Wednesday that
President Robert Mugabe's increasingly autocratic government fears it can't
survive unless it can find a way to stop the economic decline.

††††† Part of the new pressure comes from the International Monetary Fund,
which last week called in Zimbabwe's $900-million debt, raising fears
Zimbabwe could be expelled from the IMF.

††††† "This place is so bankrupt that even $10 billion now would not save"
Mugabe, said Zimbabwe University political scientist John Makumbe.

††††† Despite government assurances last week that an economic turnaround
was on track, Mugabe asked South Africa for a loan of $1 billion and
traveled to China to seek a line of credit from Beijing.

††††† Mugabe's trip to China ended with some computers, vague announcements
on business deals, loans to buy two electrical generators and about $6
million to buy food. Economists said Mugabe may announce more when he
returns, but so far there have been no reports from Beijing or Harare about
a Chinese line of credit.

††††† "We don't want Zimbabwe collapsing next door. South Africa would
inherit all the consequences of that collapse," South African President
Thabo Mbeki said last Sunday while speaking in favor of a loan.

††††† By raising the specter of collapse, Mbeki heightened fears about what
is happening in his neighbor to the north.

††††† Mbeki also signaled that his policy of "quiet diplomacy" with Zimbabwe
could be coming to an end.

††††† Mbeki said a loan would be conditional, among other things, on
Zimbabwe committing to a stable monetary system. Its dual currency market
would have to be reviewed, he said.

††††† "It is no longer quiet diplomacy, it is more like financial
diplomacy," Makumbe said in a telephone interview.

††††† "If he doesn't impose conditions, he is financing repression in
Zimbabwe," said Makumbe.

††††† But even with conditions, the loan is politically unpopular in South
Africa, where opposition parties have campaigned against it, arguing the
money should be used to help legions of poor at home.

††††† Mbeki criticized Zimbabwe's reserve bank for funding parts of Mugabe's
demolition and eviction campaign, calling it "beyond the normal function of
a reserve bank."

††††† Government ministers Thursday announced a crackdown on slums and
street traders had been completed, but the opposition said demolitions and
police beatings continued. The campaign has left up to 700,000 without homes
or livelihoods, and been sharply criticized from the U.N. to Zimbabwean
church groups.

††††† Zimbabwe's government argues the campaign is aimed at reducing crime
and restoring order in overcrowded slums and illegal markets, and has
pledged to build new homes for those uprooted. But independent economists
argue the government cannot afford the that 3 trillion Zimbabwe dollars
($1=ZWD12,001) it has promised for reconstruction.

††††† Zimbabwe has been on the brink of economic meltdown for years, largely
because of what donors and Western governments call gross mismanagement,
corruption and a complete lack of fiscal discipline. The dramatic slide
began with payments to war veterans that the government couldn't fund and
then was heightened by a land reform program that virtually destroyed
Zimbabwe's agriculture which had been its major foreign currency earner.

††††† Today, it has reached a state that "has never been worse by the look
of things," said Tony Hawkins, a professor of economics at the University of
Zimbabwe School of Business. "But economies don't collapse, they stagger
on."

††††† John Robinson, a private economist in Harare, said Zimbabwe's gross
domestic product had fallen by 50% over the last seven years and was still
shrinking. He predicted the annual inflation rate would rise to 1,000%.

††††† Robinson agreed a national economy doesn't just collapse.

††††† "You can't close one like a failed business," he said. "But parts of
it collapse. It is like a train roaring downhill with its wheels coming
off," Robinson said in a telephone interview.

††††† In Zimbabwe the falling parts are the critical shortages of food,
fuel, medicine and foreign currency. Robinson said the country's health,
education and transport systems already have effectively collapsed.

††††† Businesses, he said, are grinding to a halt in a country where
unemployment already exceeds 70%.

††††† Makumbe said people line up every morning outside stores to buy the
single loaf of bread they are allowed because of shortages. Fuel, needed to
power the economy, is in such short supply that people line up for days in
kilometers long lines outside closed gas stations.

††††† "Last week the police and the army had to commandeer a private gas
station just to fuel government vehicles," he said.

††††† Robinson said Zimbabwe should be compared with Somalia, which has
existed in political and economic anarchy since 1991.

††††† "That is the direction we are headed if we don't change course," said
Robinson. "A country can become ungovernable if even the government can't
get around."

††††† Corrected July 28, 2005 12:13 ET (16:13 GMT)

††††† (END) Dow Jones Newswires

††††† 07-28-05 1036ET

††††† Copyright (c) 2005 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

††††† 28 Jul 2005 16:08 GMT CORRECT: Zimbabwe's Pleas For Help Raise Fears
Of Econ Meltdown -2

††††† Government ministers Thursday announced a crackdown on slums and
street traders had been completed, but the opposition said demolitions and
police beatings continued. The campaign has left up to 700,000 without homes
or livelihoods, and been sharply criticized from the U.N. to Zimbabwean
church groups.

††††† ("Zimbabwe's Pleas For Help Raise Fears Of Econ Meltdown," published
at 1436 GMT, misstated that 2.4 million were made homeless and jobless)

††††† (END) Dow Jones Newswires

††††† 07-28-05 1208ET

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'Look East' policy staves off collapse with grants and deals

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

HARARE, 29 Jul 2005 (IRIN) - President Robert Mugabe's 'Look East' policy
took him to China this week for further trade deals to help rescue
Zimbabwe's ailing economy, which is suffering the effects of an aid freeze
by Western lenders.

China is at the forefront of the Look East initiative, which seeks trade and
political agreements with Asian countries considered friendly to Zimbabwe,
rather than traditional western partners, who have been critical of alleged
human rights abuses and electoral fraud.

Zimbabwe has seen an unprecedented influx of Chinese goods over the past two
years, and now a high-powered delegation, led by Mugabe on a week-long
visit, has reportedly struck a number of commercial and loan agreements in
exchange for trade and mineral concessions.

Innocent Makwiramiti, chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe National
Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC), said the government had turned to Asia to save
the economy from collapse.

"Given that Zimbabwe's traditional trading partners in the European Union
and the United States have drastically scaled down on business or stopped
completely, it is natural for the government to look elsewhere in order to
save the country from total collapse, and there is nothing bad about that,"
Makwiramiti remarked.

"But there is no need to be over-enthusiastic about doing business with
China, particularly because the Chinese are here, first and foremost,
because of their own business interests - they have identified Zimbabwe as a
viable market for their mass-produced goods," he told IRIN.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank have ceased
financial assistance to Zimbabwe, which has contributed to its foreign
currency crisis. Western investors have also shied away in response to
ongoing political and economic problems.

According to the official Herald newspaper, the new agreements with China
included a grant worth US $6 million to import maize, finance expansion of
the Hwange thermal power station and some commercial projects, and extend a
loan to the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA).

About four million people need food assistance in the wake of a drought last
year, while ZESA has been failing to meet the country's power demands
because it does not have adequate foreign currency to pay outside suppliers.

Mugabe also met with the chairman of the ruling Chinese National People's
Congress and President Hu Jintao who, the Herald said, pledged to help
protect Zimbabwe's sovereignty against perceived hostile western countries.

Chinese business people have established retail shops in the capital,
Harare, and other major towns, mostly selling cheap electrical goods,
clothes, blankets, toys and beauty products.

Retailers are enjoying brisk business after informal markets offering cheap
alternatives were closed down under Operation Murambatsvina, a government
cleanup exercise launched in mid-May ostensibly to crack down on illicit
trade in foreign currency.

The shops are popular with people who cannot afford to buy at the upmarket
departmental stores because many items, especially clothing, are often only
a quarter of the price. While a modest television set is sold at around Zim
$8m (US $450) at established shops, Chinese ones cost as little as Zim $1m
(US $56).

However, Makwiramiti warned that the country may soon find itself unable to
sustain the business deals it has struck with China due to ongoing forex
shortages.

"The ZNCC is aware that the Chinese are demanding international commercial
rates for whatever services they would be rendering to Zimbabwe - nothing is
coming for free or at preferential rates, and if we do not find ways of
generating forex we might find ourselves in a worse situation soon," he
said.

Harare-based economist John Robertson has recommended that the government
mend its relations with the IMF, World Bank, USA and European countries in
order to revive the economy.

"China itself is looking to the West, and there is no way we can sustain our
economy by limiting trade to China, or one or two other Asian countries,
because that will give the country short-lived relief, Robertson told IRIN.
"Let's make sure that we talk to the IMF so that it can resume financial
assistance, for that is how we could once again get steady forex inflows."

He complained that some Chinese products, such as the buses and planes, were
seen as unreliable; the same complaint has been made against apparel and
electrical goods.

The police recently announced that it will be arresting people for using the
term 'zhing zhong', which derisively refers to the cheap Chinese goods.
Several people have been arrested for using the term and charged under the
Miscellaneous Offences Act for "conduct likely to provoke the breach of
peace".

But Portia Chitima, living in Harare, said people should not complain about
the substandard goods. "No-one is forced to go and buy from the Chinese -
those that have money can go and buy things from expensive shops, but for
some of us who earn poor salaries, we do not have a choice but to go to
China Town (a complex housing Chinese traders).

"It is true that their clothes or electrical goods do not last long, but
those that buy them should treat them with extra care, so that they can use
them for as long as possible. The government can also make a law that
compels the Chinese to give warranties for the goods they sell," Chitima
suggested.

She said there was nothing new about Chinese products because Zimbabwean
cross-border traders used to go to Botswana and Zambia to buy and then
re-sell them at informal markets before the Chinese came.

The Zimbabwean government recently approached South Africa for a US $1
billion loan to import food and fuel; some of it is expected to go towards
servicing the IMF debt.

President Thabo Mbeki said South Africa was considering lending its
neighbour a helping hand, for fear that failure to do so might have a
negative impact on his country's economy.

Zimbabwe has also approached Iran, which has led to a US $120 million
investment by FARB Co, an Iranian firm, in the expansion of Kariba South
Power Station, whose operations are vital to the electricity supply.

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NASDAQ

UN To Launch Aid Appeal For Zimbabwe's Displaced -Envoy

STOCKHOLM (AP)--The U.N. will launch a flash appeal within a week for
hundreds of thousands of people displaced during the slum clearance in
Zimbabwe, a U.N. envoy said Friday.

Anna Tibaijuka, whose report last week condemned the destruction of
shantytowns and markets in the African country, warned the crisis could get
worse unless the international community provides help.

Tibaijuka's report said Operation Murambatsvina - Drive Out Trash - had left
an estimated 700,000 people without their homes and livelihoods or both, and
affected a further 2.4 million people. Zimbabwean officials have said her
numbers are exaggerated.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

07-29-050920ET
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Annan coming to Zim with 'open mind'

Constantine Chimakure Assistant News Editor
issue date :2005-Jul-29

CONTRARY to some local and international media reports, UN chief Kofi Annan
has not set conditions for him to visit Zimbabwe, but some individuals in
the world body's secretariat and members of the Security Council led by
Britain were pressing for such a move.

In a telephone interview from New York last night, Zimbabwe's permanent
representative to the United Nations, Boniface Chidyausiku told The Daily
Mirror that when President Robert Mugabe invited Annan to Zimbabwe following
the publication of the damning report by his special envoy - Anna Kajumulo
Tibaijuka --on the country's clean-up, he accepted it principally.
"The secretary general accepted the invitation principally, but two days
down the line we started hearing individuals in the UN secretariat and some
members of the Security Council demanding that conditions be put in place
before his visit," Chidyausiku said.
"As far as we know, the Secretary General has not set any condition for his
visit," he added.
Impeccable sources last night said government was in the process of
finalising a formal invitation to Annan based on his conversation with the
President.
Annan is expected to tour Zimbabwe to assess the situation on the ground
after Tibaijuka reported that at least 700 000 people were displaced during
the blitz.
Yesterday, media reports claimed Annan wanted the government to stop
forthwith the clean-up, provide humanitarian assistance to displaced people
and enter into political dialogue with various stakeholders - most of the
conditions already undertaken by the government.
Vice-President Joice Mujuru on Wednesday announced that the clean-up had
ended and appealed to the international community, including the UN, to
assist in the subsequent reconstruction programme Operation Garikai/Hlalani
Kuhle.
"We embarked on this national programme to fight squalor and poverty and it
was done in the interest of our nation and people. The national programme is
now complete. Now we have embarked on the final phase, Operation
Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle," she said at farmers prize giving day.
The Vice-President added: "In this regard, we welcome any help we can get
from the international community, including the United Nations organisation
with which we cooperate in so many humanitarian endeavours.
I appeal to the international community to stop stone throwing, but to join
us in this noble effort to promote the good of our people."
Further, government had not condemned Tabaijuka's report, with deputy
Minister of Information and Publicity Bright Matonga telling Parliament on
Wednesday that people who were affected by the clean-up would be compensated
and that there were legal channels to be followed.
He said government was working with the UN and had in fact requested the
multi-lateral organisation to compliment Harare's efforts in the
reconstruction exercise.
"It is not correct that the Zimbabwe government has condemned the UN
†report," Matonga insisted.
Government insiders said Tibaijuka's report provided good basis for Zimbabwe
to further dialogue with the UN and the international community.
Chidyausiku said relations between Zimbabwe and the UN were superb, adding
that the country's detractors had tried in vain to have Tabaijuka's report
debated in the Security Council on Wednesday.
"There was a briefing on the report but it was decided that the Zimbabwe
situation can best be resolved by regional organisations like Sadc and the
AU. We made a presentation that we were not at war and as such there was no
basis for the Security Council to have Zimbabwe on its agenda," Chidyausiku
explained.
The UK and US led calls for the report to be discussed, but countries
including China and Russia with the right of veto opposed the move.
They said it would amount to meddling in Zimbabwe's internal affairs. They
also pointed out that Zimbabwe was not on the Security Council agenda.
The 15-member Security Council usually decides such issues by consensus, but
the UK invoked a rarely used rule to get council members to hear the issue
informally.
Britain was supported by the US, France, Denmark, Romania, Greece, Japan,
Argentina and Philippines - the minimum nine nations required to pass votes
on procedural matters. China, Russia, Algeria, Benin and Tanzania voted
against, while Brazil abstained.
Diplomatic sources said the move to bring the report before the Security
Council informally was meant for the council's presidency - Greece - to
issue a statement condemning Zimbabwe or noted for other members to make a
follow up on the issue.
Tibaijuka compiled the UN report after a two-week fact-finding mission to
Zimbabwe.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Chimanikire arrested after Mbare skirmishes

Takunda Maodza
issue date :2005-Jul-29

MDC deputy secretary general and Mbare legislator Gift Chimanikire was
arrested yesterday in the constituency following violent skirmishes at the
official opening of an informal vegetable market by Vice-President Joseph
Msika.

Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed Chimanikire's arrest last
night.
"Chimanikire was arrested because he had two rifles in his car and that is
what we are investigating," Bvudzijena said.
MDC spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi said Chimanikire was arrested when he
tried to make a report at Mbare police station against some Zanu PF youths
that had allegedly stoned his car and assaulted his bodyguards at the
ceremony.
Nyathi said Chimanikire was nabbed together with his three bodyguards and
four other MDC youths.
"Honourable Chimanikire had attended the official opening in his capacity as
the Member of Parliament for Mbare. On arrival, Chimanikire was greeted by a
hostile Zanu PF contingent led by the 2005 parliamentary elections losing
candidate for Mbare Tendai Savanhu and Christopher Chigumba who were singing
anti-MDC songs," Nyathi claimed.
He further alleged that a Zanu PF youth wing in Mbare loosely known as
Chipangano had assaulted Chimanikire.
Added Nyathi: "Some Zanu PF sponsored youths notoriously referred to as
Chipangano known for terrorising MDC members in Mbare during the past five
years, descended on Chimanikire and forced him off his seat.
"They demanded that he should leave as his presence was not welcome. They
assaulted his bodyguards with clenched fists and sticks. The attack took
place in the presence of the police."
Nyathi claimed Chimanikire fled for safety under a barrage of missiles from
the ruling party youths.
"We have not as yet established the charges† preferred against him. He is
currently being held at Mbare police station," said Nyathi.
†"Time and again the MDC is accused of not attending state functions or
events. We hope that the people of Zimbabwe .will now understand why
attending such functions risks lives and limb."
He castigated the youths' thuggish conduct and condemned some Zanu PF
seniors "who still believe that violence against those who hold divergent
views to theirs is the answer to the national crisis."
Meanwhile, the MDC also alleged that the police had raided its "election
expert" Topper Whitehead's house and confiscated equipment "designed to
expose how the 2002 presidential election was rigged."
MDC claimed that eight officers from the Law and Order police department led
by a Detective Govha reportedly carried out the raid.
"The police arrived at night with a search warrant claiming they believed
that Whitehead had subversive materials, which included photographs, video
tapes and camera filmed during (Operation) Murambatsvina.
"The warrant claimed that the said items had been used to publish or
communicate false statements prejudicial to the State," Nyathi said.
He alleged the police took away "a long list of equipment" that included
three computers and three movable external hard drives with a powerful
database system "that can deal with tens of millions of records."
Nyathi added: "This is suitable for the use of interrogating the data from
the ballot boxes which the High Court has granted to the MDC."
He also claimed the police also confiscated the presidential voters' roll
for Harare North and Harare Central that could not be termed subversive.
Other items reportedly taken away from Whitehead's house included a mobile
phone, videotapes, diskettes, passport, files and other paraphernalia.
"It is clear that this raid was motivated by the need to prevent the party
from analysing the ballot boxes," Nyathi said.
He claimed the MDC has been denied the right to analyse the ballot boxes
even though the High Court had granted an order allowing the party to
inspect the boxes.
"For three years the MDC has been denied that right. When this was allowed,
the regime broke into the boxes tempering with them to try and scuttle the
evidence," Nyathi added.
Bvudzijena would not comment over the Whitehead issue saying he was yet to
information on the matter.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Zim faces maize seed shortage

Business Reporter
issue date :2005-Jul-29

ZIMBABWE faces a maize seed shortage for the 2005/6 planting season.The
country's leading seed processor, Seed Co will be importing 7 000 tonnes of
seed from neighbouring countries in an endeavour to partly make up for the
deficit.
Earlier on, Seed Co had budgeted for its quota of about 40 00 tonnes of seed
maize towards the national target of 60 000 tonnes.
However, due to the drought that has ravaged the country, the company hopes
to only produce about 16 000 tonnes this year.
With the importation of the 7 000 tonnes, Seed Co will have a total of 23
000 tonnes for distribution, 17 000 tonnes less than its target.
However, various other seed processors† including Pannar Seed are also
expected to make contributions to maize seed output this season.
SeedCo managing director, Dennis Zaranyika confirmed the anticipated maize
seed shortage. "Although we contracted farmers to produce seed maize this
season and some of them are still harvesting, it is clear that this will not
be adequate, as a result of the poor rains," said Zaranyika.
"Therefore, as per government request, we shall be importing 7 000 tonnes to
partly make up for the shortfall."
Zaranyika was speaking at the Seed Co 2004/5 22nd National Crop Farming
Competition prize giving ceremony in Harare on Wednesday.
He added: "Discussions with government on the procurement of additional land
where we shall grow seed are in progress."
Contracted farmers this year planted hybrid seed on 6 000 hectares and the
crop output averaged just over three tonnes per hectare.
Zaranyika said Seed Co was working towards assuring that farmers produced
more than four tonnes per hectare in order for the country to produce enough
seed.
Speaking at the same occasion Seed Co chairman, Charles Utete said the
company had contracted 216-hybrid maize seed growers for the 2005/6 planting
season.
"Of these, 63 are first time hybrid growers while the rest are repeat
growers," said Utete.
'I would like to pay special tribute to our men and women at our two local
research stations - Rattray Arnold and Kadoma - who over the years, have
worked tirelessly to produce newer and better varieties that are drought
tolerant and that have enabled our farmers to beat some of the major
diseases affecting crop production in this country."
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Junior doctors down tools

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Jul-29

GOVERNMENT junior doctors at four major referral hospitals yesterday downed
tools demanding a review of their salaries by almost 800 percent - barely a
month after engaging in another strike to be allocated fuel.
The junior doctors at Parirenyatwa, Harare Central, Mpilo Central and United
Bulawayo hospitals, vowed never to return to work until their grievances
were met.
Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) President Takaruda Chinyoka,
said the doctors want a salary of $47 million a month up from an estimated
$5 million.
He said the doctors wanted a review of their housing allowance from $440 000
up to $7 million, transport allowance from $483 000 to $4,5 million, call
allowance ($1,2 million to $1,5 million.)
The doctors are also demanding a review of car loans from $50 million to
$500 million and allocation of stands under Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle.
Takaruda said the increments were necessitated by the ever-escalating costs
of basic and other commodities against low remuneration.
He said the doctors' other grievances were the need for a full contributory
medical aid by their employer, retention allowance of 30 percent of one's
basic salary and an urgent review of working conditions. Takaruda said
government needed to pay doctors retention allowance in appreciation of
their commitment to work.
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journalism.co.za

††††† 'Zim broadcaster in a mess' - official report

††††† Zimbabwe's Ministry of Policy Implementation has produced a damning
report on the financially embattled state broadcaster, focusing particularly
on its news and current affairs division, reports Gugulethu Ziyaphapha.

††††† The report says practices and decisions by Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Holdings (ZBH) have proved to be financially catastrophic, and that some of
these decisions have caused quality and standards to deteriorate.
††††† Sexual favours and harassment are among the bad practices the report
cites.

††††† The report singles out the subsidiary Newsnet, which is responsible
for news and current affairs, as riddled with sexual favours, factionalism
and poor quality programmes.

††††† Official sources say two female reporters who allegedly had intimate
relationships with some Newsnet bosses were recently fired for forging their
journalism qualifications.

††††† The sources say when the fake qualifications were exposed last year,
the bosses allegedly† protected them on the grounds that they were good at
their job.

††††† "This time they had to go because other Newsnet journalists were now
complaining and other ZBH officials wanted to make it a police matter," said
the source.

††††† The report attacked the way ZBH and the other state media houses hire
and fire staff on political grounds.

††††† According to the report, inexperienced and incompetent journalists
hold top posts at Newsnet and this has seen the quality and standards of
news and current affairs programmes going down.

††††† The report points out that incompetent journalists are at the helm of
newsrooms because† qualified staffers were forced to resign and others left
because they were frustrated by† poor salaries and working conditions.

††††† The report complained about the poor remuneration of newsreaders.

††††† Investigations reveal that if the money comes in time, newsreaders are
paid Z$40 000 (R10) per bulletin. They had previously been paid Z$14
000(R3.50)

††††† Journalists from Newsnet say what is causing the deterioration of
standards is the low morale, confusion as well as power struggles between
Tazzen Mandizvidza and Chris Chivinge, the two Editors in Chief.

††††† The news arm now has two bosses since the return of former Newsnet
boss Chivinge, who had gone to Namibia to head a Zimbabwe-Namibia joint
television project that never took off.
††††† The ministerial report describes the division as "top-heavy", adding
that the human resources structure has not changed since the corporation was
split into various business sunits.

††††† The report also raised concern over the 100% local content policy by
the 24-hour radio station, Power FM.

††††† It says the policy is illegal and senseless because the station is not
making money.
††††† Sources say the minority languages radio station National FM is also
in financial trouble and its journalists sometimes go for two months at a
time without salaries.

††††† "It is hard for our stations to get adverts because companies are
closing down and the politically biased programming chases away listeners,"
said the source.

††††† The ZBH has wasted much-needed finance on live broadcasts of
pro-Zanu-PF musical galas and other party functions.

††††† Earlier this month National FM was the only station that failed to
broadcast live a pro-Zanu-PF music show because it did not have the
resources to send its crew to the border town of Beitbridge.

Friday, 29 July, 2005
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World Peace Herald

Chinese influence in Africa raises fears
By Azam S. Ahmed
United Press International
Published July 29, 2005

WASHINGTON -- U.S. lawmakers expressed concern over Beijing's growing
influence in Africa, raising fears China would gain control of critical
resources and undercut U.S. efforts to promote democracy and good governance
on the continent.

††† In his opening statement Thursday at the House Subcommittee on Africa,
Global Human Rights and International Operations, Chairman Rep. Chris Smith,
R-N.J., appeared concerned over what he considered China's support of
African dictators.

††† "China is playing an increasingly influential role on the continent of
Africa, and there is concern that Chinese intend to aid and abet African
dictators, gain a stronghold on precious African natural resources and undo
much of the progress that has been made on democracy and governance in the
last 15 years in African nations," he said.

††† Rep. Donald Payne. D-N.J., ranking member on the committee, echoed those
concerns, likening the U.S. and Chinese pursuit of resources in Africa to
the Cold War-era competition for influence in the region.

††† "Engagement of China and the U.S. in Africa has begun to resemble a
competition for resources and influence that has the potential to result in
an ugly dynamic akin to that created by the Soviet Union and the U.S. during
the Cold War," he said.

††† The committee held the hearing a day after Zimbabwe's President Robert
Mugabe's visited China. Although specifics have yet to emerge of the
meeting, the BBC reported they involve financial and military support.

††† Zimbabwe is now the focus on international attention and criticism as
Mugabe has embarked upon a plan to clear the capital, Harare's, slums, which
he says are a breeding ground for crime. Critics say they house supporters
of the Movement for Democratic Change, the main opposition grouping.
Thousands have been made homeless. Mugabe's other policies have made him a
target of European Union sanctions.

††† Lawmakers also noted China's involvement with Sudan, a country the
United States has accused of committing genocide in the western Darfur
region.

††† Human Rights Watch reported China has supplied Khartoum with ammunition,
tanks, fighter aircrafts, helicopters and mines. In 1999, Chinese firms
constructed an oil refinery near Khartoum and now own it jointly with the
government of Sudan. The China National Petroleum Corp. owns 40 percent of
Sudan's largest oil producing company. China receives roughly 5 percent of
its oil from Sudan.

††† Payne warned the competition for resources in Africa should not prompt
the United States to backtrack on its governance and human rights standards
when starting relations with countries in Africa.

††† The "U.S. must not let the current competition with China influence
decisions in the same way they did in the late '80s when dictators were
propped up and supported for decades just because they sided with us and not
the USSR," said Payne.

††† He referred to former President Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire who was found
to have misappropriated U.S. aid given to his country.

††† But China's involvement in the continent, though not new, has grown
substantially over the past several years as its demand for energy and
resources rises, and its influence is a growing sticking point for the
United States.

††† China now receives some 30 percent of its oil from Africa, and trade
between China and the continent doubled between 2002 and 2004. Two-way trade
has now reached $21.6 billion, according to the International Monetary Fund,
and Africa's imports from China are $9.6 billion.

††† China has become increasingly involved in construction projects in
Africa, including a bid for Ethiopia's Takazee Dam, one of the largest
hydroelectric dams in Africa. Chinese companies now win 80 percent of the
construction contracts in Botswana.

††† But Michael E. Ranneberger, principal deputy assistant secretary of
State for African Affairs, who testified at the hearing in Washington, said
the increased Chinese engagement in the continent should not be seen as a
threat.

††† "Nations from every region are seeking markets in Africa, and African
sources of energy, the same as in other regions," he said. "In fact, this
can work to advance our goals in Africa to the extent that it serves to
increase prosperity and stability and thereby contributes to increased
respect for human rights and individual freedom."

††† Similar positions have been taken by the Bush administration on China's
increased involvement abroad. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in
March "clearly America has reason to welcome the rise of a confident,
peaceful, and prosperous China. We want China as a global partner, able and
willing to match its growing capabilities to its international
responsibilities."

††† Ranneberger testified that China's policy toward Africa remained
"primarily oriented toward economic and commercial goals," and argued that
"China's increased engagement on the continent provides opportunities for
cooperation."

††† "The strength of America's engagement in Africa, and the strong advances
Africa is making in so many fields, with out help, is the context in which
we view China's increasing presence in the African continent," he said.

††† Members of the committee also used the hearing to address concerns about
China potential to be the next superpower, and what they felt were
contradictory U.S. policies toward China.

††† "We need to figure out what our policy is because clearly the PRC
(People's Republic of China) is laying the groundwork to become the next
superpower," said Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif.

††† Payne addressed similar concerns, saying policy toward China was
inconsistent and the United States needed to win the hearts and minds of
Africans. But Ranneberger said China's involvement in Africa was a way to
engage the PRC constructively, not as another landscape for competition.

††† "China's growing presence in Africa is a reality, but it can increase
the potential for collaboration between the United States and China as part
of a broader, constructive bilateral relationship," he said.

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†† Zimbabweans demonstrate against China in the UK

††††† By Tichaona Sibanda
††††† 29 July 2005

††††† A petition denouncing China's support for the embattled regime in
Zimbabwe was handed over to officials in the Chinese embassy in London on
Friday.The petition, signed by thousands of Zimbabweans in the diaspora was
handed over at the close of a two hour demonstration by activists, who
called on the Chinese government to 'keep their hands off Zimbabwe'Makusha
Mugabe, spokesman for the demonstrators in London said Mugabe was mortgaging
the country to the Chinese, who are only interested in important resources
in return for their assistance.Ironically Robert Mugabe only managed to
secure China's veto in the United Nations security council on the world
body' damning report on operation murambatsvina.According to the Zimbabwe
Independent, Mugabe however failed to get the economic rescue package he had
hoped for. China has supplied military hardware to the regime, including
fighter jets and troop carrier vehicles.Activists interviewed by Newsreel on
Friday deplored China's involvement in the Zimbabwe crisis, saying by trying
to rescue the regime they would be prolonging the return of democracy in the
country.

††††† SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
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Exiles to help circumvent media laws

††††† By Lance Guma
††††† 29 July 2005

††††† Zimbabweans denied a free market place of information can soon be
weaned off a stale diet of state sponsored propaganda when London based 'The
Zimbabwean' newspaper launches a 'send a sub scheme'. Under the scheme
exiles can sponsor subscriptions to any individual or institution of their
choice for as little as £2,50 per month. With four independent newspapers
banned under harsh media laws the new initiative will come as a relief to
information starved Zimbabweans.

††††† The Publisher of the Zimbabwean, Wilf Mbanga, says the idea is drawn
from a realization of both economic and political factors. A collapsing
economy and galloping inflation has meant the majority of people cannot
afford to buy newspapers as their meager resources disappear into basic
commodities. Laws like the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act have served to give the state media a virtual monopoly with the Media
and Information Commission acting as a vindictive Big Brother.

††††† Mbanga dismissed concerns over the country's postal system notorious
for incidents of theft and spying. He says the paper is also printed in
South Africa and taken directly into Zimbabwe. This allows them to
distribute internally even outside the national postal system, should the
need arise. The idea has been hailed by many Zimbabweans in the diaspora who
are frustrated at having to inform relatives back home on what is happening
from online news websites.

††††† SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
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New Zealand Herald

††††† Adam Parore: Corruption means it's not cricket

††††† 30.07.05

††††† The wrangle over New Zealand's tour of Zimbabwe has served only to
confirm my worst fears about the international cricket scene.

††††† From a player's point of view, the stark facts of the global game are
that you are required to play in some of the most dodgy parts of the planet
and, by definition, also obliged to turn a blind eye to all the injustice
around you.

††††† It was one of the reasons I decided to quit the game I loved in 2002;
the realisation that I'd have to continue to play cricket in places ruled by
dictators and despots, where the vast majority of the population were
destitute, and where corruption abounded at all levels.

††††† In the end I just got sick of it; I couldn't face it any more. The
motivation to steel myself for another dose of touring India, Pakistan and
Sri Lanka, not to mention South Africa and parts of the West Indies, had run
critically low, and I knew it was time to pull the plug.

††††† What's happening now in Zimbabwe has only reinforced those feelings,
to the extent that even if I was still playing, I'm sure I'd be making
myself unavailable for the present tour on the basis of both moral and
safety concerns.

††††† The safety issue is pertinent in terms of touring contracts, as it
allows a team to legally back out of a scheduled trip without penalty as
long as it can be reasonably held that such a tour would be dangerous.

††††† In the past, safety concerns have usually been restricted to assessing
threats such as acts of terrorism or violence, but for my money the Zimbabwe
situation leaves the team vulnerable in a new and possibly unforeseen area.

††††† Zimbabwe is breaking down as a nation. Inflation is expected to reach
400 per cent by December, millions are out of work, homeless and starving.
Petrol (when you can get it) costs Z$10,000 a litre (83c), and the entire
economy is crippled.

††††† It isn't the guys with the guns and bombs we have to worry about it,
it's the complete disintegration of Zimbabwe's infrastructure and the
subsequent lack of quality control and standards.

††††† Sure, the team bus won't be blown up, but it could as easily lose its
front wheel and career off the road. Don't worry about the hotel being
targeted, but what about the latest compliance licence for the elevator? Do
you really want to go on a helicopter ride around Victoria Falls?

††††† The other part of the issue that took me by surprise was the degree of
confusion surrounding our country's politicians, who seemed to have a very
tenuous understanding of their subject matter.

††††† First there was Phil Goff, treating the ICC like a colonial white
man's club, then Rob Donald prattling on about force majeur; Jim Anderton
coming in with a suggestion from outer space, and then the token show of
hands in Parliament.

††††† It really showed the politicians up for what they were. Remember, the
Government could have legislated to veto the tour, allowing the team to
escape from their contractual obligations without penalty. It wouldn't have
worried the ICC a jot; Pakistan and India do it all the time.

††††† But to instead call on NZC to withdraw illegally from the tour,
knowing full well that such a move would effectively bankrupt the game here
and lead to the Black Caps being ostracised on the international scene was
pretty gutless, I thought.

††††† I can understand the players' point of view. If they were to start
picking and choosing their opponents on moral or political grounds, they
would be effectively destroying their chance to make a living out of playing
cricket.

††††† That's the dilemma facing the Black Caps and it's the reason I decided
to chuck it in.
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New Zealand Herald

††††† Cricket: Zimbabwe reporters plunder the gongs

††††† 30.07.05

††††† By Richard Boock

††††† The opposition might not be up to much, but the New Zealand cricketers
can at least look forward to some quality media coverage during their stay
in Zimbabwe.

††††† In a country where corruption and back-handers are the rule, the local
cricket press this week not only reported the news but became the news,
after scooping most of the prizes at Zimbabwe's Cricket Player of the Year
ceremony.

††††† Out of the nine categories judged, seven were won by journalists who
had reportedly supported Zimbabwe Cricket during the previous year's
internal rows, which included player boycotts, self-imposed exiles and ICC
hearings.

††††† Website Wisden-Cricinfo reported that the journalists each received
Z$4 million ($333) in prize-money in recognition of their good reporting.

††††† Of the players, only Tatenda Taibu, with the Cricketer of the Year
award, and Christopher Mpofu and Graeme Cremer, who shared the Young
Cricketer of the Year award, were required on the dais.

††††† The report also claimed that Zimbabwe Cricket had been accused of
interfering with journalists' work and assigning reporters to international
tours in an effort to influence the coverage.

††††† Of particular concern was a wrangle over ZC favouring reporters from
the pro-Government Herald, particularly after a recent fiasco when a secret
email between the two organisations was accidentally forwarded to all
journalists.

††††† It's claimed that the message from ZC's media manager to a Herald
reporter not only contained information additional to an earlier press
statement, but also asked that the reporter not refer to certain material as
"others [journalists] will wonder how you accessed them".

††††† The reporter concerned was later named the Cricket Writer of the Year
for the third time in succession.
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Curb Corruption At Border Posts

The Herald (Harare)

EDITORIAL
July 29, 2005
Posted to the web July 29, 2005

Harare

Beitbridge is the entry point for many visitors to Zimbabwe and the biggest
gateway of imports and exports for countries to the north of us - so the way
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) and immigration officers conduct
themselves in the line of duty can enhance or demean the country's image.

As we reported yesterday, a number of Zimra officers have been picked up at
the border post on allegations of corruption.

The officers were arrested under a clampdown code-named Operation Integrity
launched by the authority. The suspects were arrested after a tip-off from
members of the public. While some of their activities could be difficult to
detect, their lavish lifestyles eventually sold them out.

Some of those arrested face charges of illegally dealing in foreign
currency, smuggling and possessing pornographic materials.

Zimra came into being in September 2001 with a combined workforce of about 1
700 people following the merger of what was then the Department of Taxes and
the Department of Customs and Excise.

These departments had been riddled with inefficiency, duplication of
functions and corruption; hence the need was seen to set up one body -
Zimra.

Not all employees of these former departments were absorbed into Zimra.
Non-performers and those with a record of misconduct were left out - and
quite rightly so.

But alas, it appears that some dishonest and criminal-minded characters
somehow got through among those engaged by the authority.

In view of that, Zimra has to continue its war to get rid of all the bad
apples. It just has to get to the bottom of the various scams linked to its
officers, not by just focusing on Beitbridge, but also constantly monitoring
other ports of entry so that they are seen to be facilitating trade instead
of frustrating it.

More hotlines should be set up at border posts for use by members of the
public to report cases of corruption.

It is imperative that corruption at ports of entry be curbed urgently
because the country is being prejudiced of valuable resources that could be
put to better use.

This is important in the context of the economic challenges which create
tempting conditions for officials to engage in corrupt activities.

Members of the public should also be made aware of a provision to reward
those who provide information on fraud, smuggling and other irregularities
at the ports of entry.

While efforts have to continue to control the incidence of corruption, the
authorities should take every effort to address the remuneration of revenue
collectors. This area should be given much thought.

Because of the nature of work carried out by Zimra and the Department of
Immigration, we feel that officers should not stay at one border post for
too long. They should be rotated at regular intervals.

Revenue collection, in particular customs duty collection, is facing many
challenges brought about by the rapidly changing economic order. Because of
that, we need people who are unquestionably professional and ethical at
their job.

The profession requires a delicate balance between enforcement of the law on
one hand, and facilitation of trade and economic development on the other.

Our officers should not be seen to be failing to measure up to a point that
they are seen as a hindrance to Zimbabwe's economic development.
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From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 28 July

We have no hope

Johann Vollenhoven

Stranded in the belly of an underground parking garage in central
Johannesburg, just a stone's throw from Constitution Hill, groups of men
huddle in corners talking quietly. They are eating their only meal of the
day, soup and bread delivered by the Methodist Church soup kitchen. Inside
the garage, which they must vacate between 6am and 6pm every-day, blankets
line the walls, surrounded by small bags of personal belongings. The cold
concrete offers little protection from the winter cold. Charles Mamombe, of
Masvingo in Zimbabwe, has been in South Africa since early last year. In a
tired voice, he says his many problems stem from his inability to get the
necessary papers to enable him to work in South Africa, despite being a
qualified fitter and turner. His experience with the Department of Home
Affairs in Pretoria has tested his endurance to the limit. "If you have a
lot of cash in your pocket, you can be processed in a matter of hours. "I am
surviving from handouts, from the churches." If he wants a second meal for
the day he must go to another soup kitchen, run by the Salvation Army.
Mamombe, who has a wife and two children still in Zimbabwe, says he left
because of "some political problems". Like many fellow Zimbabweans he is
forced into poorly paid jobs with little or no protection from the law. They
have few possessions and fewer rights. "Yes, they can employ me as an
assistant builder, but those jobs are hard to come by . and they are paying
about R15 a day, which is hardly, hardly enough for any living." Operation
Murambatsvina has devastated his family and friends, so he can't go home. He
hopes "something will crop up" that he can use to help the people back home.
The horror that is Zimbabwe is not only experienced somewhere beyond the
Limpopo river. The streets of central Johannesburg at night are full of
desperate, homeless people who have fled Zimbabwe. In the kitchen of the
Methodist Church's emergency facility for refugees, Oliver Mtukudzi blares
from a telephone answering-machine speaker. Like the tired distortion of the
sound, weary men emerge from the underground garage to share pots of sadza
and to gather around the only source of heat in the building.

Journalist Ezekiel* was sued under harsh press laws and forced to flee
Zimbabwe. His company did not have the funds to fight the criminal
defamation suit. "They were claiming about almost Z$30-million." He is
trying to freelance but "I don't have any equipment, like Internet, phone
and other things". He too blames his difficulty in making a living on
corruption in home affairs. "You are not able to get any refugee papers
without passing through those middlemen." There is not much in the way of
help for the growing number of immigrants. A handful of churches and NGOs
provides emergency assistance. Elinor Sisulu, of Crisis in Zimbabwe,
stresses that services for refugees are under severe pressure, because of
insufficient funds. Currently no official facility exists to house, assist
and supply medical and food aid to refugees, says Methodist Bishop Paul
Verryn. There's a sense of despondency in the cramped church. Lines of
clothing hang from windows in an outside corridor as strains of a piano are
heard in the distance.

Not all refugees are escaping political hardship. Saxon*, from Glenview,
says "some people can tell you they ran away from the MDC and Zanu-PF, its
not the truth, people came here to look for some greener pastures". In
another hushed conversation, a former policeman tells how he fled after
clashing with war veterans and being court-martialled after being sighted at
a Movement for Democratic Change rally. He was sentenced to two months'
punishment at a military police centre and then posted to the most remote
police station. Fearing he would be tracked down and killed he skipped the
country and has not spoken to his family since the recent demolitions.
Twenty-two-year-old Charles* from Harare says: "If the international
community does not intervene in Zimbabwe now, they want to wait for another
Rwanda and another Burundi, another Angola; that's how it started, people
complaining, no one doing anything about it, until people got desperate, a
war started, and that war was genocide. And no one could stop it." Verryn
says: "I don't think the churches are quite frankly coping at the moment. We
do have the capacity. But we do need to organise ourselves much more
carefully. I think that there's a much greater political will to do this at
the moment." Recent contact between the President Thabo Mbeki's office and
the South African Council of Churches was a start but louder encouraging
voices are needed to nudge government and civil society together, sooner. A
return home to Zimbabwe is uppermost in the minds of many refugees, asylum
seekers and illegal immigrants who remain stranded in South Africa. For
some, such as former liberation soldier Lester*, this dream has given way to
despair. He shrugs his shoulders and says in Shona, "taperwa [we have no
hope]".

* Identities have been withheld
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Zim Online

Civic group calls for new voter register for Senate polls
Sat 30 July 2005
† HARARE - Zimbabwe's biggest pro-democracy civic grouping has called for
fresh voter registration before the country elects a new Senate saying the
present voters' roll was severely distorted after a government urban
clean-up operation displaced thousands of families.

††††† The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) said a comprehensive
audit of the existing roll coupled with a transparent voter re-registration
exercise would create a credible voters' roll in line with the spirit of the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) Principles and Guidelines on
Democratic Elections.

††††† According to a damning report by United Nations envoy Anna Tibaijuka
released last week, the controversial clean-up exercise had displaced at
least 700 000 people after their city backyard cottages and shantytown homes
were demolished under a controversial urban renewal campaign.

††††† .

††††† ZESN said in a statement: "Having observed the wanton destruction of
homes under the name of Operation Restore Order (clean-up campaign), ZESN
notes with concern the effects of this operation on the electorate in
particular and democracy in general.

††††† "Operation Murambatsvina has inevitably resulted in the forcible
displacement of (people). This means that although these displaced people
remain on the voters' roll, they are unable to exercise their right to vote
since they are no longer resident in the constituencies in which they are
registered."

††††† Under Zimbabwe's electoral law, voters must cast their ballots in the
respective constituency in which they are registered except during elections
to choose the national president in which the whole country is treated as
one constituency.

††††† The government has already gazetted the 50 senatorial constituencies
in the country's 10 provinces where election of members will take place. But
a date for the ballot to create a House of Senate abolished more than 10
years ago is yet to be set.

††††† President Robert Mugabe has publicly said he wants the Senate back to
appease disgruntled members of his ruling ZANU PF party who could not win
election to Parliament by appointing them to the upper chamber.

††††† ZESN criticised plans by the government to appoint 16 of the 66
senators and instead proposed that the Senate be established by proportional
representation using the March 2005 election results.

††††† "ZESN is disturbed by the government's intention to appoint 16 of the
proposed 66 senators. It is noteworthy that the appointment of thirty
non-constituency members of parliament is already a contentious matter and
ZESN believes that the appointment of the unelected senators will not only
be a cause for public outcry but it's also undemocratic and not in the
spirit of the SADC Principles and Guidelines on Democratic elections."

††††† Chairman of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission that runs elections,
George Chiweshe, could not be reached for comment on the concerns of the
civic organisation. - ZimOnline

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Tsvangirai Seeks Help of Kentridge

Business Day (Johannesburg)

July 29, 2005
Posted to the web July 29, 2005

Sarah Hudleston
Johannesburg

ZIMBABWE's opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has asked Sir Sydney
Kentridge, QC, the celebrated South African-born barrister, to represent him
in a case in the Zimbabwe Supreme Court.

Tsvangirai has announced his intention to pursue a constitutional challenge
to the result of the 2002 presidential election, which he has said was "the
greatest electoral fraud in history".

The case was first launched in 2002, set down for hearing in November 2003,
and judgments reserved in the high court from November 2003 to July last
year before any order was made to the registrar, Gen Tobaiwa Mudede, to hand
over the polling boxes for inspection.

Only recently, the polling boxes were finally handed to the high court.
Shortly after they were handed over, the room in the court where they were
stored was broken into and the boxes tampered with. Some ballot papers were
reportedly torn apart.

Kentridge who is a member of both the South African and British bars,
achieved worldwide fame for his representation of the Biko family at the
inquest after Steve Biko's death.
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With Mugabe, Adjusting Your Diplomatic Volume Has No Effect

Business Day (Johannesburg)

OPINION
July 29, 2005
Posted to the web July 29, 2005

Tim Cohen
Johannesburg

WHAT should SA do about Zimbabwe? It is pretty well obvious that this is the
most intractable issue of regional politics today.

The first thing to acknowledge is that the issue is not for SA to "deal"
with, and never was.

However much we are appalled at the bulldozing of churches and mosques in
the name of urban rectification, there are obvious limits to the role that
the South African government can play.

Having a tactical nature, and perhaps with an eye to local politics,
President Thabo Mbeki has played a calculated game, trying to simply ride
out the issue. Taking a critical stance on mass land reform would have
played badly locally, even if everybody knew the issue was just a political
ploy for a constitutionally unsanctioned power grab. Zimbabwe was typically
characterised as a "blind spot" in Mbeki's outlook for reasons of historical
comradeship. But I doubt this. Rather it was probably just a sense of
powerlessness. When asked about Zimbabwe, government ministers make their
frustration plain. "What do you think?", they ask. And of course there is no
answer.

Mbeki's policy has been called "quiet diplomacy" but this is a diplomatic
nicety. What it means is a policy of noninterference, and a reliance on the
untenable nature of the political situation to force itself, eventually, in
more or less the right direction. Mbeki was gambling that a ship so
obviously listing would naturally tend to right itself. He gambled wrong.

In a sense, it was the same tactic used by the west against apartheid SA.
The similarities don't end there, but there are differences. The first was
that SA was of some international economic consequence. There were also
diplomatic issues, like the situation in Angola and Namibia, which
complicated the west's response.

But Zimbabwe is different. The hard economic fact is that Zimbabwe is at
most a marginal issue in terms of trade and economic significance. The
political fallout for SA is marginal and easily eclipsed by larger issues.
Zimbabwe is a nonentity on the world stage, and becoming more so, no matter
what the Chinese might think.

But, of course, Zimbabwe constitutes a huge moral disaster. I wonder what
people who called Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe their "hero" think now?
He is the embodiment of all the worst stereotypes of African leadership; he
reinforces the notion of the African Potemkin style of democracy in which
citizens vote, but their votes are not charged with the power to change
governments; he strengthens the view that if it comes down to a straight
choice between economic destruction and power change, African leaders will
choose the former, and that they are quite prepared to exploit ethnic and
racial differences.

None of these charges hold true across Africa, but there have been enough
examples on the continent over the past 40 years to lend them some
credibility. More importantly, they are becoming less true as the second
wave of profreedom, pro-democracy and procapitalist leaders are coming to
power. But against this broad trend, one of the old thugs of Africa's first
wave of leadership remains stubbornly entrenched.

The question is whether SA's bankrolling of Zimbabwe changes the situation,
or makes it worse. Government seems to feel that the consequences of
intervening financially are worse than the consequences of doing nothing. It
is also important to be clear on what taking over the financing of Zimbabwe
means: that SA's taxpayers are being forced to take over financial
responsibility for Zimbabwe, where the global community, embodied by the
International Monetary Fund, has decided the risk is too high.

In short, from taxpayers' point of view it is money down the drain, because
it will never be repaid. Whatever government says about "strict conditions",
such a loan cannot be anything other than a partial, tacit endorsement of
the Zimbabwean government's political thuggery. In the informal networks
that constitute the most important level of international communication,
this will count against us.

It is also exactly the opposite of what is required. Mbeki needs to gain
allies in his efforts to force political change in Zimbabwe. Taking over
financial support for Zimbabwe means the world has washed its hands of the
problem, and will make international organisations less inclined to deal
with the situation collectively. They want to forget about Zimbabwe, just as
they have forgotten about countries like Burma.

The situation also makes a mockery of regional efforts to improve Africa's
image. Mugabe skillfully judged that African leaders were not united enough
or emphatic enough to enforce their views. How right he was.

Are there alternatives? Of course. The first would be to gather
international support for the R6bn loan rather than blithely funding it (or
a part of it) ourselves. Too often the debate has been framed as a question
of "megaphone" or "quiet" diplomacy, but this is a digression. The question
is: how do you deal with someone impossible to deal with? And the answer is
that you don't.

Cohen is editor at large.
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Mail and Guardian

††††† Bankrolling Mugabe

††††† Jonathan Watts in Beijing and Andrew Meldrum in Pretoria

††††† 29 July 2005 08:15

††††††††††† President Robert Mugabe found a sanctuary from international
criticism in Beijing this week as the Chinese government gave him an
economic deal that is expected to provide Zimbabwe with desperately needed
funds.

††††††††††† The cooperation agreement signed with Chinese President Hu
Jintao reflects a strengthening alliance between Mugabe, who has adopted a
"look East" policy to circumvent Western critics, and the Beijing
government, which is strengthening its presence in Africa to secure energy,
minerals and other commodities to fuel what is the world's fastest growing
economy.

††††††††††† Few details of the deal were released, but China's Xinhua news
agency reported that Beijing would provide economic and technical support in
several areas, including help to finance construction of a power plant and
the sale of a plane to Harare.

††††††††††† Mugabe's spokesperson has previously said that Zimbabwe would
also ask China for the expansion and extension of lines of credit to deal
with -triple-digit inflation and foreign debts of $4,5-billion.

††††††††††† At a time when he is treated as a pariah in Europe, the United
States and by many international organisations, Mugabe is keen to
deepen -diplomatic and economic relations with China.

††††††††††† Beijing, which is thought to be interested in Zimbabwe's
reserves of platinum and other minerals, has been more than willing to offer
moral and financial support.

††††††††††† "You have made major contributions to the friendly relations
between our two countries," Hu said at the start of the meeting on Tuesday.

††††††††††† Relations have strengthened steadily since Zimbabwe gained
independence in 1980, but the pace has accelerated rapidly in recent years.

††††††††††† Bilateral trade hit $100-million in the first three months of
this year and Beijing has started to replace the West as a source of capital
to such an extent that Mugabe says China will soon be the country's leading
foreign investor.

††††††††††† Some of the biggest deals have seen China supply hydroelectric
generators for the national power authority, training jets for the air
force, planes for the national airline and thousands of commuter buses.

††††††††††† According to The New York Times, China also won a contract last
year to farm 1 003,6km2 of land seized from white farmers in 2000.

††††††††††† The roof of Mugabe's new £7,4--million palace is covered with
Chinese tiles donated by Beijing; in return, the president has been
exhorting his population to study Mandarin and try Chinese food.

††††††††††† China this week conferred an honorary professorship on Mugabe
from the Foreign Affairs University, under the auspices of the Chinese
Foreign Ministry.

††††††††††† "It is in recognition of the outstanding research and remarkable
contribution in the work of diplomacy and international relations by his
excellency," An Yongyu, Communist Party secretary of the university, was
quoted as saying by the China Daily.

††††††††††† Mugabe's visit came as the United Nations this week launched a
campaign to provide urgent aid to 700 000 Zimbabweans made homeless or
jobless by housing demolitions. -- © Guardian Newspapers 2005

††††††††††† You know you're in trouble when ...
††††††††††† If the International Monetary Fund (IMF) appears to be a tough,
take-no-prisoners kind of place, consider that it is 50 years since it
booted out a country.

††††††††††† Czechoslavakia has the unique distinction to date of being
forced out of institution formed after World War II as a lender of last
resort to countries facing bankruptcy.

††††††††††† That was in 1954. Now Zimbabwe is on the agenda for an IMF board
of governors' meeting next month where it is expected to vote for its
"compulsory withdrawal". It owes the IMF $290-million. An IMF spokesperson
says that only payment in full will prevent the termination of its
membership.

††††††††††† The IMF wants Zimbabwe out because it has been delinquent in
making payments. It is also critical of the country's economic
††††††††††† policies.

††††††††††† A statement by the IMF staff mission in Zimbabwe last month
stressed the magnitude of the problems the country faced and said a
comprehensive policy package should include decisive action to lower the
fiscal deficit, tighten monetary policy and establish a unified,
market-determined exchange rate.

††††††††††† "The package should also include structural reforms, such as the
removal of administrative controls, to ease shortages and restore private
sector confidence," the staff mission said.

††††††††††† "The macroeconomic outlook is further clouded by the gravity of
the food situation and implementation of Operation Murambatsvina, which
threatens to worsen shortages, contribute to lower growth and aggravate
inflation pressures." -- Kevin Davie

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