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

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Zim Standard

UN envoy 'upset'
By Vusumuzi Sifile

ANNA Kajumalo Tibaijuka, the United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan's
special envoy to Zimbabwe, said she was "upset" by what victims of the
government's so-called "clean up" operation were going through, The Standard
can reveal.

Speaking to stranded settlers during a tour of Porta Farm squatter camp,
outside Harare, Tibaijuka said she had "made a quick assessment" of the
situation and was "really concerned".
She was particularly concerned about orphans and vulnerable children, the
sick and disabled, as well as child-headed families, left homeless by the
government's "clean-up" project.

"I am upset by what I have seen here, but please remain calm. We are going
to work together, just be patient. The Secretary General is much concerned,
that is why he sent me here.

"We are definitely going to do something about the issue, but we cannot
solve the problem at once," Tibaijuka told the settlers in the presence of
The Standard news crew.

The UN representative promised the settlers her recommendations would leave
them "happier".

Tibaijuka, however, said the UN's success in addressing the problems hinged
on government's support.

"The UN is not a government, but it works with governments. As such we
cannot give instructions to the government on how they should address the
issue. We only make recommendations to the government, not dictating to them
what they should do," Tibaijuka said.

She, however, did not have the chance to witness the operation "live". She
arrived when it was already getting dark. The police also ensured that she
did not get to see the extent of its brutality, because by the time she
arrived, all the anti-riot police had vanished.

But, the settlers' told her through Wilson Phiri, who has a heart problem:
"There are a number of disabled and sick people who can not look after
themselves. We are willing to assist them but we have no time and money, as
we are also trying to beat the deadline to move our lot before the police
come to set everything on fire."

They said the UN was their last hope after "14 years of horror" at the hands
of the government, which they accused of using them as "political condoms".

"What crime have we committed to deserve such a penalty? Every time after an
election we have to suffer, but this is now unbearable. Please redeem us
from the government. The government has been making money out of us, going
around the world asking for donations in our name for the supposed housing
scheme, but we have never benefited," said one of the settlers.

Although Porta Farm settlers were now used to evictions, this latest one has
been the most "horrible and inhumane," claiming three lives in the process,
and leaving half a dozen others at risk.

On Wednesday, a five-year-old boy was crushed to death by a truck whilst
assisting his grandmother to transmit their belongings to the bus stop.
Another child was crushed to death in the rubble of a house in which she
was.

A pregnant woman is also reported to have fallen off a lorry that was
ferrying their goods from the settlement.

That same day, a woman gave birth in the open following the demolition of
their house.

The Standard also established that the body of Loice Mandigora, who died on
Thursday, was still in the open. The settlers could not bury her, as they
were busy moving their belongings.

A two-month-old baby was left unattended after the mother "disappeared"
during the blitz.

"We found the baby and we looked for the mother in vain. We suspect that she
abandoned the baby or the police took her," said Jane Peter, who is looking
after the child.

The envoy promised to send a consignment of milk and other groceries for the
child.

The settlers also revealed that Manyame MP, Patrick Zhuwawo, under whose
Constituency Porta Farm falls, said he was concerned, especially by the
deaths, but was not in a position to take any urgent action.
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Zim Standard

Government defies High Court order
By Linda Tsetere.

THE government has defied a High Court order demanding that it destroys
sample houses built at White Cliff farm because they were illegal.

The order, issued by High Court Judge Justice Mary Gowora on Wednesday, said
the government had no right to allocate stands and build sample houses at
the farm because it was a private property.
The government was ordered to demolish the sample house within 48 hours of
issue of the order.

However, the government, known for defying court orders had by yesterday not
complied by demolishing the sample houses.

The property belongs to Harare businessman Edward Nyanyiwa who has been the
owner since 1998 through his company Eddies Pfugari Properties (Pvt) Ltd.

Nyanyiwa and his attorney are scheduled to meet Minister of Local
Government, Public Works and Urban Development, Ignatious Chombo, to discuss
a way forward.

Nyanyiwa told The Standard: "They are still there (at the farm) but we are
expecting to meet them on Tuesday."

Nyanyiwa's lawyer, George Gapu of Scanlen and Holderness said they would
take the matter back to the courts if the government fails to comply with
the order.

"If the government continues to build stands then it will be clear contempt
of court. We will just have to go back to the courts because White Cliff
belongs to Pfugari Pvt Ltd," Gapu said.

According to Gapu the government engaged in the exercise without notifying
his client. "My client took the government to the courts because he was not
consulted of government proposed development. He only got to know about it
when the press revealed that 9 500 people had been given stands," Gapu said.
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Zim Standard

Mbalekwa quits Zanu PF
By our own Staff

'Govt clean-up callous and unhumane' ZANU PF central committee member
Pearson Mbalekwa resigned from the beleaguered ruling party on Friday in
protest against the government's ongoing "clean-up" operation, which has
left millions of people homeless and without any means of livelihood.

Mbalekwa, a former Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operative, said
he "dropped" his resignation letter in Zanu PF national chairman, John
Nkomo's office on Friday morning.
"I resigned on Friday, I left the letter in the Zanu PF national chairman's
office," said Mbalekwa, whose resignation and boldness has stunned
politicians, even in Zanu PF itself.

However, Nkomo said he had not seen Mbalekwa's resignation letter because he
was not in the office on Friday.

"I can't say anything at the moment because I have not seen his resignation
letter. I don't know whether he resigned," Nkomo said.

However, sources close to the ruling party confirmed that Mbalekwa had
tendered his resignation.

In an interview with The Standard on Friday Mbalekwa said his resignation
was in protest against the "inhumane and callous manner" in which Mugabe's
government conducted the so-called "clean-up" operation.

It is estimated that more that a million people were affected by the "clean
up" operation now dubbed Tsunami after the Indonesian disaster of last year.

"I am a man of principle and could not be seen to be part of the whole
exercise which has caused untold suffering to people whom we claim to
represent," Mbalekwa said in a telephone interview.

The former MP for Zvishavane said apart from the ongoing barbaric
demolitions, he was also irked by socio-economic and political degeneration,
which has been left unattended for a too long.

More that 80 percent of Zimbabwe's 13 million people live well below the
poverty datum line. The ordinary worker can no longer afford a decent life,
unemployment tops 80 percent, and there are serious shortages of food, fuel
and transport.

"It's a culmination of all these problems, which have impoverished ordinary
people," Mbalekwa said.

The Zimbabwe Independent last Friday reported that Mbalekwa's shock
resignation "could signal further tremors" in the factious ruling party,
whose coherence hinges on iron-fisted Mugabe.

Mbalekwa vehemently denied rumours going around that his resignation was
part of a broader Zanu PF strategy to destabilise a coalition of disgruntled
politicians who might soon join forces against both the ruling party and the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Media reports have linked former information minister, Jonathan Moyo, who
was fired by President Robert Mugabe in February, to a group of disgruntled
politicians in the country, who may form another political party.

Mbalekwa said: "I am not part of that Zanu PF strategy you are talking
about. I resigned on my own. Any attempt to insinuate that I am part of a
Zanu PF plan is utter rubbish."

MDC spokesperson Paul Themba-Nyathi commended Mbalekwa for resigning from
Zanu PF and urged other ruling party members to follow suit.

"People like Mbalekwa are very rare. I think within the party (Zanu PF)
there are people who still respond to the dictates of conscience and I
suspect that he is one of them," Themba-Nyathi said.

He said Mbalekwa was likely to be victimised by Mugabe, known for being
vindictive to anyone who crosses his path, especially former party members.
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Zim Standard

Prices of basic commodities skyrocket
By our own staff

THE prices of basic commodities have shot up by more than 50 percent in the
past week, following a massive increase in fuel price and the
government-sponsored "clean-up" operations which saw the closure of flea and
vegetable markets around the country.

Investigations by The Standard last week revealed that almost every shop in
Harare has increased prices by at least 50 percent during the past two
weeks.
Prices of housing materials, clothing, and foodstuffs have skyrocketed
beyond the reach of ordinary Zimbabweans, most of who have been rendered
destitute by the government's "clean-up" operation.

Even the Chinese-owned shops that had over the past months become the
darling of all low-income earners were busy revising their prices.

Tonderai Mukeredzi, spokesperson for the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ),
said the fuel price increases were most likely to worsen the situation.

"For the month of June, prices have increased by about 30 percent and the
most affected areas are in the food stuffs categories. The situation is
going to be worsened by the recent fuel price increases," Mukeredzi said.

He said even before fuel price increase, which rose by 300 percent last
week, producers were already negotiating for price adjustments.

"The CCZ would like to challenge producers of goods and services to be
transparent and reasonable in their increases," he said.

However, the prices of many basic commodities shot up a week before the
announcement of the current fuel prices.

A 750 ml bottle of cooking oil which was going for between $16 000 and $20
000 in April is going for over $35 000.

A bar of soap, previously selling for less than $10 000 by end of May is
selling for more than $20 000.

A decent pair of shoes ranges between $800 000 and $1.5 million.

Consumers interviewed last week said if the current price increases of basic
commodities were not addressed, many families were going to starve.

"Prices have gone up by more than 50 percent over the last month alone and
it seems nothing is going to change. Right now we are just calling for heft
salary increments in order to beat all these price increases," said one
worker in Harare.

Stanford Rusere, a resident of Mabvuku said he was shocked to get into a
supermarket last week and find that he could only buy a few groceries from
the $500 000 he had.

"I was really shocked. The money I had was enough to buy me groceries for
the whole of last month, but today I came out with only a few groceries
without all the basics," Rusere said.

President Robert Mugabe recently said the government was going to introduce
an independent National Incomes and Pricing Commission to co-ordinate the
harmonisation of incomes and pricing issues.
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Zim Standard

Efforts to woo back white commercial farmers flop flop
By Valentine Maponga

GOVERNMENT efforts to get white commercial farmers back onto the farms have
hit a snag following revelations the farmers approached were most worried
about their future and security.

The farmers cited the continued uncertainties around the land tenure system
in the agricultural sector despite the government's proposed 99-year leases
on acquired land.
The country's agricultural sector has deteriorated sharply over recent years
due the disruptions in the commercial farming areas because of farm
invasions.

The chaotic land invasions resulted in a catastrophic drop in output, with
tobacco, once the main foreign currency earner, down 70 percent.

The most affected farming areas, where horticultural activities were
extensive, raking in millions of dollars in foreign currency, include
Mashonaland West, East and Central provinces.

"Farming is a long-term investment and farmers need to be secure but right
now I don't think there is any farmer who would like to come back given the
current conditions," said one former Mashonaland West commercial farmer, who
declined to be named.

Central Bank Governor Gideon Gono in his monetary policy statement two
months ago hinted at the need to have joint ventures in the horticultural
sector following failure by the black new farmers to be productive in that
sector.

Gono said although some of the black farmers were doing well he was
disappointed at the performance of others, and suggested that the government
allow some of the white farmers to resume operations.

Gono said: "In order to ensure maximum productivity levels, there is great
scope for promoting and supporting joint ventures between the new farmers
with progressive-minded former operators . . . as well as other new
investors so as to hasten the skills transfer cycle."

He said the new investors or former white farmers would be given special
dispensation and guarantees of uninterrupted productive tenure of five to
ten years, backed by government protection from any disruptions on the
farms.

However, the statement has stirred a lot of panic in most invaded farms
around the country with some new farmers not sure about their future.

Resettled farmers who, were allocated farms through the government's A2
model, have failed to produce any substantive harvests since moving onto the
farms at the height of the farm invasions in 2000.

Last week it was understood that white commercial farmers from farms in
Mashonaland West's Tengwe area were preparing for their come back.

However, when The Standard crew visited the province last week the Chief
Lands Officer for Mashonaland West, F Chikomba shot down the suggestion,
saying the land reform exercise "was irreversible".

"That is just a rumour and it started two months ago after Gono made his
statements on the situation on farms. Because of the rumours I have received
a number of calls from white farmers who want to come back," Chikomba said.

District Administrator for Karoi, Wellington Chisepo, said he was not aware
of any farmers coming back to his area.

Commercial Farmers' Union official, Mike Clark, scoffed at suggestions that
some of their members were coming back to farm.

"That is fictitious and I don't think given the current conditions there
would be any farmer willing to come back," he said.

The Administrative Court is currently sifting through more than 5 000 land
cases which it started hearing at the beginning of the year.
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Zim Standard

Tsvangirai in west Africa over Zim crisis
By Kumbirai Mafunda

AS the Group of Eight (G8) Scotland summit begins on Friday, Zimbabwe's main
opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, intensified his continental foray,
going beyond the region to West Africa.

Tsvangirai met the Nigerian President and current African Union chairman,
Olusegun Obasanjo, and Ghanaian leader John Kufuor to update them on the
political situation in Zimbabwe ahead of this week's G8 summit in Scotland,
which will deliberate on repudiating Africa's debt.
Tsvangirai, the MDC leader who left Harare on Wednesday met Obasanjo in the
Nigerian capital, Abuja, before holding talks with Kufuor in Accra. Party
sources said Tsvangirai's Nigerian visit was at the invitation of Obasanjo.

"Given the crisis in Zimbabwe Obasanjo would want to hear Tsvangirai's
perspective on the Zimbabwe crisis," the sources said.

Obasanjo and Thabo Mbeki are expected to attend the meeting of the world's
most industrialized nations in Scotland. Obasanjo and the South African
President have previously been in Zimbabwe to try and break the political
deadlock, which lies at the heart of the political and economic crisis but
to no avail. Relations between Harare and Abuja have been strained following
Nigeria's warm embrace of disgruntled former Zimbabwean white commercial
farmers.

Mbeki and Obasanjo, have been viewed in some quarters as holding the key to
increase pressure on President Robert Mugabe's government while Senegal's
Wade is viewed as a strong reviewer of Mugabe.

G8 leaders have committed to repudiating Africa's debt and at the same time
expressing their concern at mounting repression in Zimbabwe.

The West accuses African leaders for making muted protests against human
rights abuses in the country.

From Accra, Tsvangirai is expected in South Africa for a meeting before
Mbeki's departure for Scotland.

Mbeki, Obasanjo, Wade, Algerian leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika, pioneers of the
New Economic Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) have come under
renewed pressure to confront the six-year old Zimbabwe crisis.

William Bango, Tsvangirai's spokesperson confirmed the West African trip
saying: "We are looking for a solution to the crisis in Zimbabwe and it only
makes a lot of sense that Tsvangirai meets the AU chairman."

During the Gleneagles summit, the African heads of state will hold bilateral
talks with G8 leaders from Canada, Italy, Germany, Britain, France, Japan,
Russia and US. The G8 is a block of the world's most industrialized nations,
which meets annually to discuss international financial and economic trends,
global peace and security and developments in third world countries for
possible action by member states. This year's G8 summit has somewhat
prioritized debt relief for Africa.

The Gleneagles meeting will take place a mere two months before the UN
General Assembly meets at the highest level to review the progress made
towards the realisation of the Millennium Development Goals decided at the
UN Millennium Summit in 2000.
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Zim Standard

Authorities dodge questions as fuel crisis worsens
By our By our own staff

THE fuel supply situation has become so critical that stakeholders,
including usually forthcoming Petroleum Marketers' Association of Zimbabwe
(PMAZ, refuse to comment on the crisis.

Muziwoxolo Bukhwele, the chief executive officer of the PMAZ yesterday
refused to say what the fuel situation in the country is.
He said he was attending a church service and referred The Standard to PMAZ
official, Godwin Musarira, who was not readily available.

Noczim chief executive officer, Zvinechimwe Churu, could not comment on the
issue, requesting that questions be sent in writing.

He, however, indicated that fuel would be availed to the public "once
available".

Last week, the Petroleum Marketers' Association announced that fuel prices
had gone up by 300 percent in response to increases in world oil prices.
This has prompted transport operators to increase prices by an equal
percentage margin.

Economic commentators say increasing the price will not change, as the major
constraint is the shortage of foreign currency.

Eric Bloch, an economic commentator said: "The major constraint to fuel
importation is the shortage of foreign currency and it is unlikely that the
situation will improve in the foreseeable future."

Repeated attempts to get a comment from Noczim and the Ministry of Energy
and Power Development were fruitless.

In a desperate bid to ease transport problems being experienced in Harare,
the Ministry of Transport and Communications has ordered rural buses to
transport urban commuters in exchange for heavily subsidised fuel, The
Standard can reveal.

Officials in the transport industry this week told The Standard that in a
desperate bid to portray the situation as "normal", in the wake of the
United Nations (UN) special envoy's visit to the country, government had
temporarily suspended the permits of rural bus operators.

They said in exchange of fuel at a subsidised price of about $1 600 a litre
for diesel, government had negotiated with rural bus operators to conduct
their operations in the city in order to ease transport problems for urban
dwellers.

Government on Tuesday increased the pump price of diesel from $3 800 a litre
to $9 600, a three-fold increase that economic analysts have warned could
further weaken the country's economy. Petrol now costs $10 000 a litre, up
from $3 600 but the commodity remains scarce.

A number of bus services such as Kukura Kurerwa, Musasiwa, Tenda and
Munhenzva who were contacted for comment by The Standard yesterday morning
confirmed this new development.

Musasiwa bus service is now plying the Glen View and Machipisa route, while
Kukura Kurerwa is back on the Chitungwiza route. Kukura Kurerwa had
previously withdrawn their services due to a misunderstanding with
government over fares.

Tenda bus service is now plying the Mabvuku and Tafara routes, while
Munhenzva transport is on the Warren Park route.
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Zim Standard

Churches pulled down in 'clean-up'
By Thomas Kwaramba

CHITUNGWIZA - TWO church buildings belonging to the Zimbabwe Assemblies of
God Africa (Zaoga) in Chitungwiza were last week demolished because "they
were built on illegal ground", The Standard has established.

Pastor Kweshe of the Zaoga Church in Seke said they were forced to demolish
the house of God and the members were now holding their prayers in the open.
He said: "Our churches were said to be on illegal ground and we were ordered
to demolish them. We actually saved the benches and the asbestos roofing
sheets which are now being kept at the elders' homes until we build another
church."

Kweshe said the churches were destroyed despite the fact that they were
given the approval to build by Chitungwiza Town Council.

The demolitions of church buildings in Chitungwiza come barely a fortnight
after an Islamic Mosque in Hatcliffe was also razed to the ground during the
government's controversial "clean-up" operation.

The operation has been condemned as a gross violation of human rights as
more than a million people have been thrown out of their homes while
thousands lost their jobs.

The exercise has also forced hundreds of thousands of children to drop out
of school, following the displacement of their parents.

Several organisations, including church bodies have called on the government
to stop the "insensitive and inappropriate" operation.

In a press statement the Christians Together for Justice and Peace condemned
the clean-up exercise, which they said "smacks of a callous indifference to
the plight of the poor".

Roman Catholic Bishops also attacked "self-proclaimed Christians in the
government", saying: "They live a double life, one for Sunday services in
the church and another for public tasks be they political, economic social
or any other kind."

President Robert Mugabe, who has openly supported the operation, says he is
a devout Catholic.

The bishops said the operation violated "innate human dignity given by the
Creator" because of the "ruthless manner" in which it was conducted.
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Zim Standard

Mugabe's computers lie idle
By Thomas Kwaramba

HUNDREDS of state-of-the-art computers that were donated to schools by
President Robert Mugabe in the run-up to the March Parliamentary elections,
amid pomp and fun-fare, are still lying idle, The Standard has found.

Investigations have revealed that some schools in Chitungwiza and Harare,
which received the computers, were not using them, mainly because the
teachers do not know how to operate them.
A teacher at Tafara High School in Harare said despite having received
computers three months ago the students were not able to use them because
there were no teachers for computer lessons.

"Yes, we received computers but we are not able to have lessons because the
school does not have the computer teachers," said the teacher.

Seke 5 High School in Chitungwiza also benefited from the "President's
goodwill".

However, students are yet to use the computers because of staff and
classroom shortages.

Seke 5 High School Deputy Headmaster, Fanuel Takaendesa, said the school was
working closely with the parents in a bid to provide computer lessons at the
school.

"We are still furnishing the computer room and parents are helping with the
building of the block. We hope that we will be able to have the lessons
soon," Takaendesa said.

A senior teacher at Mabvuku High School said computers at the school were
not being used because of problems of connectivity.

"The computers should be activated before they are used. You can only
operate for 30 days before switching off," explained the teacher, who
requested anonymity for fear of victimisation.

He said they were encountering problems in getting computer teachers and as
a result, they were working with the Ministry of Education to try and
resolve the problem.

"Computer teachers demand higher salaries and because of that, it is very
difficult to retain staff. They end up going to work in industries where
they are well paid," he said.

The computers donated by Mugabe are the Windows XP models that cannot work
without being activated.

Computer experts said one would not be able to use the product if the
product activation procedures are not fully complied with.

"When you launch the product, instructions will describe how to complete
activation using the Internet or phone. You may launch and use this product
50 times according to the End-User Licence Agreement even if you do not
activate the product. After the 50th launch, the product requires the
confirmation for continued use," said one expert.

Zimbabwean users have to call the South African Microsoft offices in order
to activate their products.

Some of the computers were donated to rural schools even though there are no
telephones.

The Minister of Education Sport and Culture, Aeneas Chigwedere, said he did
know that the computers were lying idle.

"You don't expect me to know everything that is happening in the country,"
said Chigwedere adding he would check with the concerned schools.

Opposition parties criticised the computer donations saying they were just a
campaign gimmick a few weeks before the general elections.

They said the government should have concentrated on building classrooms,
providing reading material as well paying the teachers well in order to
boost their spirits.
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Zim Standard

ILO blasts Zimbabwe for meddling in ZCTU affairs
By Valentine Maponga

THE International Labour Organisation's (ILO) Credentials Committee has
blasted the government for unnecessarily interfering in the affairs of the
country's leading labour movement, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
(ZCTU).

The criticism is contained in a third report of the committee after the
ILO's 93rd session held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 31 May to 16 June this
year.
The committee said the procedure used by the Zimbabwe government for
nominating the workers' representative did not fulfil the conditions of
impartiality, transparency and predictability as required under article 3,
of the ILO constitution.

The condemnation came after the International Confederation of Free Trade
Unions (ICFTU) had raised an objection over the nomination of the workers'
delegation from Zimbabwe.

The ICFTU said Edmund Ruzive, ZCTU's third vice president had been
unilaterally nominated by the government as the workers' delegate in direct
contradiction to the ZCTU's own proposal.

"The committee notes that the actions taken by the government are
inconsistent with the principles of freedom of association and amount to
interference in the internal activities of a workers' organisation," said
the Committee.

The ICFTU was alarmed by the government's insistence on obtaining minutes of
a ZCTU meeting that took place on 23 April 2005.

"The fact that the Government had not made similar requests for the purpose
of verifying the alternative proposals leaves some doubts about whether its
treatment is impartial with respect to the other two nominations," said the
Committee in a report made just after the conference.

The Committee said the level of detail that the director for International
Relations in the Labour Administration, Poem Mudyawabikwa, had brought
before the committee indicates government's manoeuvres to manipulate the
choice of the representative workers' organisation to the meeting.

Mudyawabikwa had provided detailed information on the process that led to
the two delegates.

Mudyawabikwa had also said the ZCTU president, Lovemore Matombo, had not
been nominated as a workers' delegate as he was facing "serious allegations"
regarding his role in the labour union.
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Zim Standard

Bishops meeting to blast Mugabe over clean-up
By Ray Matikinye

PRESSURE continues mounting on President Robert Mugabe from several quarters
to halt the forced evictions and demolition of settlements deemed illegal by
his government, with the Catholic church expressing "grave concern" over the
unfolding humanitarian crisis.

Head of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict VI is expected to take advantage
of the ongoing Catholic Bishops conference at the Vatican being attended by
bishops from Zimbabwe, to intervene. The Pope is likely to refer to
continued human rights abuses by President Mugabe's government. Mugabe says
he is a devout Catholic.
Secretary General of the Bishop's Conference in Zimbabwe, Father Frederick
Chiromba said the Archbishop of Harare, Robert Christopher Ndlovu, Most
Reverend Pius Ncube of Bulawayo, President of the Catholic Bishops, Michael
Bhasera. Rt. Rev Alexio Muchabaiwa of Mutare, Rt. Rev Angel Floro of Gokwe,
Rt. Reverend Patrick Mutume of Mutare, Very Reverend Father Alphonse Mapfumo
of Gweru, Father Matthew Majonga of Chinhoyi and Father Albert Serrano of
Hwange were attending the Vatican meeting. The Catholic Bishops, in a
pastoral letter last week condemned the clean up operation

"I hope the situation in Zimbabwe does not overshadow all other issues at
the meeting," he said.

The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor on Wednesday
said President Mugabe's policies "were deeply abhorrent" and called for a
moratorium on forced evictions.

"The government of Zimbabwe appears to be conducting a sustained, systematic
campaign of terror against its own citizens. I share the frustration of all
people of goodwill at this violation of basic human dignity and of
international law." Murphy-O'Connor said.

The cleric backed a call by the Bishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams for
Zimbabwe's neighbours to do more to stop the violence that has accompanied
the evictions. Regional powerhouse, South Africa has been criticised at home
and abroad for taking a soft line on Mugabe despite its economic clout.

South African Anglican archbishop, Njongonkulu Ndugane, who has had cordial
relations with President Mugabe until now will lead a church and
non-governmental organisation delegation to Zimbabwe in the next 10 days to
show solidarity with people affected by the crackdown.

Ndugane succeeded Archbishop Desmond Tutu, an outspoken critic of Mugabe's
rule. He plans to meet South African President Thabo Mbeki after the visit
and report back on the situation in Zimbabwe.

His delegation will include members of the South Africa Council of Churches;
the South African Bishop's Conference, Institute of Democracy in South
Africa and the South Africa's Institute for Justice and Reconciliation.

Meanwhile parliamentary groups from four political parties in the German
Bundestag have tabled a motion condemning the action taken by President
Mugabe against his own people. The motion likens the on going destruction of
informal settlements to " a new dimension of terrorism against the country's
population".

The group has called on the African Union to take action and is lobbying its
own government to ensure that the situation in Zimbabwe is dealt with at the
G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland with a view "that sanctions against the
Mugabe regime are implemented rigorously and their scope widened."

It also calls on the AU to act in accordance with the commitments they made
in the NEPAD framework during their forthcoming summit in Libya and to
become advocates for Zimbabwe's oppressed population.
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Massive hike in medical costs fatal for PLWAs
Aidswatch with Bertha Shoko

GENERAL practitioners' consultation fees and hospital fees have gone up with
effect from this month, the Zimbabwe Medical Association (ZIMA) and the
National Association of Medical Aid Societies (NAMAS) have announced.

The increases, announced on Wednesday, will see hospital fees increasing by
50 percent and consultations fees for private doctors going up by 30
percent.
What this means is that at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals for example,
costs of admission for a day will be about $350 000, up from $232 900, while
a private suite at the same hospital has gone up to $1 009 350 from $672
900.

A private suite at Avenues Clinic will now cost about $2.9 million a day, up
from roughly $1.6 million, while the same private clinic will now be
charging $1 million a day up from about $600 000.

NAMAS also announced that pathology and radiology investigations have
increased by 80 percent.

In a statement ZIMA president, Billy Rigava, said the increase has been
necessitated by rising inflation resulting in high maintenance costs, while
chairperson of NAMAS, Florence Kazhanje, attributed the increases to the
high cost of importing medicines and equipment and also inflationary
pressures.

These health fees, however justified they might be, are certainly not good
news for many people, particularly for People Living With HIV and AIDS
(PLWAs) who, because of their weakened immune system, need to seek treatment
or opportunistic infections, regularly.

Add to these high hospital fees, is the ever increasing price of drugs and
medicines and the general cost of living.

The shortages of essential drugs and medicines in the public sector where
treatment is cheaper because of government subsidies, means that many people
are forced in desperation to buy them from private pharmacies at much higher
prices. But they are also some who cannot afford this.

According to NAMAS there is a lot of "profiteering" among pharmacies and in
the past two months alone drugs have gone up by between 150 and 200 percent.

"We are seriously concerned about the pharmacy benefit. We do believe that
there is lot of profiteering going on, on the part of medicine suppliers,"
Kazhanje was quoted saying recently in local daily paper.

In Zimbabwe, access to treatment has ceased to be a basic human right and
has almost become a luxury.

These are certainly trying times for everyone in the country and in
particular PLWAs.

The high consultation fees and hospital fees are an extra headache that they
do not need, especially under these harsh economic times.

In developed countries, such as the United Kingdom and the United States,
where access to treatment is affordable, PLWAs live longer and healthier
lives than those in developing countries, where access to AIDS treatment and
Anti Retroviral Therapy, is still a far cry.

Where an HIV negative person can afford to ignore a cough or a cold because
the hospital or doctor's consultations fees are beyond their reach, PLWAs
cannot as they risk developing pneumonia and dying subsequently.

This is the dilemma most PLWAs find themselves in.

Many PLWAs succumb to illness because they cannot afford frequent medical
care, cannot afford to live the healthy lifestyles recommended for them and
have no peace of mind.

As an AIDS activist friend of mine said the other day when discussing this
subject, these are tough times to be HIV positive. Something must be done
for PLWAs.

The National Aids Council (NAC) and various other Non Governmental
Organisations involved in AIDS work need to step up efforts to offer
supplementary food for PLWAs in various communities. With one headache away,
that is that of sourcing food, at least the PLWAs will be motivated enough
and have the strength to work for themselves to meet the high costs of
medical care.

NAC has the structures already in place to reach even those at grassroots
level and are already offering food packages to some communities but they
need to scale up provision of food, as recommended in the past.

For feedback and questions please email: berthas@standard.mweb.co.zw
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Comment

UN envoy's unenviable task

IT is doubtful the people being paraded as the beneficiaries of the
government's fast-track housing scheme are the people originally displaced
by the calamity that swept through the country's urban areas in recent
weeks.

The worst affected people have been banished to the rural areas or have
sought refuge with relatives and the challenge for the special envoy of
United Nations Secretary-General will be to capture the movements in this
theatre of tragic internal dislocations.
But there is an enormous burden on the envoy's shoulder: for the internally
displaced, the expectations are that her work may bring some relief, after
knocking sense into the authorities to halt the ill-timed and ill-advised
campaign. They will expect that her work will result in some assistance to
help them cope with the difficult circumstances they find themselves in.

Above all, they will expect that her mission will result in them affording a
home of their own, with guarantees that the same tragedy will not visit them
again.

The special envoy's mission coincides with two other similar undertakings -
that of the African Union and a United State Congressional delegation. The
challenge for the UN envoy will be to see how closely the UN's observation
and assessment of the situation will tally with the reports of the other two
teams.

It is good that the Zimbabwean problem is being approached from several
different viewpoints. In terms of resource mobilisation this could be a good
thing. But in other respects the interest in the problem is good in that no
one team can afford to undertake a less than rigorous exercise. Competition
has its positives.

For the government, the missions could just be what the doctor ordered. They
could prove the start of Zimbabwe's re-engagement with the international
community. It is unlikely that the international community could come and be
witness to the crisis here, fold its arms and walk away. The international
community will prescribe measures to be taken and request its involvement in
order to help Zimbabwe out of the present crisis.

There are several points through which the international community can
intervene. The most immediate would be in providing shelter and food to the
more than a million people who have been adversely affected by the so-called
"clean up" exercise.

The second would be in terms of ensuring that the displaced families are
given a head start, either in terms of education for their children, some
permanent form of accommodation or start-up projects to provide them with
regular sources of income to enable them to look after their families.

Epworth provides clear and useful lessons in how the same government elected
to deal with the problems of unplanned shacks and settlements.

Other affected families might opt for resettlement on some of the acquired
farms. This would appear to be supported by the government's desire to
encourage people to go back to the rural areas they originally came from.
Since the original rural areas are congested, the international community
would need to ponder how to resolve the dilemma.

The answer could lie in moving them onto acquired farms, but in the process
the government's wishes at the 1998 land conference would have attracted an
audience and more significantly, support. Precedents of 1980's scenarios
when returning Zimbabweans were provided with inputs, which resulted in
increased agricultural production, could provide useful lessons.

The government's anxiety over re-engaging the international community is
seen by how it has tried hard to suggest that the special envoy's view of
the crisis is the same as the government's and that the efforts being made
by the authorities meet the approval of the United Nations, and by extension
the rest of the world.

But there are other things that are difficult to gloss over: There was no
need to rush the so-called "clean up" exercise; it was never planned, which
is one reason why the courts were able to declare illegal, the government's
attempt to annex a private property for its fast-track housing programme.

Even more importantly is the disregard or contempt of court decisions by the
government. Twice the courts ruled that settlers at Porta Farm should not be
moved, but that did not stop the government from undertaking mass evictions,
which resulted in several totally unnecessary deaths.

The various missions will also be able to recall that even when the courts
declared that the model houses at White Cliff Farm were illegal and should
be demolished because they were on private property, the State showed no
respect for property rights and was in contempt of the courts.

This is not what the government wanted, but the visits are a welcome
opportunity in providing a possible turning point in rescuing Zimbabwe from
the wilderness.
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Letters

Let's all get rid of Mugabe's portraits

WITH the regime recently robbing entrepreneurial Zimbabweans of their
livelihoods in a despicable display of callousness, a small act of
solidarity would be to remove presidential portraits from our factories,
banks, shops and businesses.

If anyone would like to join a new pressure group called People Against
Presidential Portraits (PAPP) please email p_a_pps@yahoo.co.uk.
The other thing I'd like to suggest is that we use all of these queues as
opportunities to explore new and different ways to revolt and resist.

With the paranoid regime so sensitive these days that a small gathering even
of close relatives at a funeral wake can be misconstrued for a political
meeting, fuel queues could be the cover we need to plan how we deal with our
delinquent rulers.

And while the regime is so eager to use violence on defenceless people we
can show them there is strength in peaceful resistance.

Fire Pussy

Greendale

Harare
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Letters

'Operation Murambatsvina' cruel, inhuman and unlawful

PLEASE allow me to express my very strong displeasure with the current
"Operation Murambatsvina" and perhaps ask a few pertinent questions of the
relevant authorities through your paper.

It is extremely painful to see honest hardworking citizens being given a raw
deal by the authorities. Where is the sense and logic in confiscating
cellphone recharge cards from young and older people alike, who brave the
cold to sell mobile phone recharge cards on street corners to make a living?
Where is the humanity or empathy when elderly women have their vegetables
taken away from them yet they toil day in and day out braving the harsh
elements to eke out an honest exsistence? Usually these women leave their
homes at the break of dawn and only return late at night; very often
travelling long distances just to secure their wares for sale. Never mind
the financial risk of ruin they take by dealing in "perishables".

What about tuckshop owners who are having their goods taken and structures
destroyed? I am being very specific about the three groups because these are
people simply trying to make an honest living for themselves and their
families. Do the authorities not appreciate this simple fact?

Where do all the confiscated goods go? Is there any proper accounting for
all the goods that are seized from the vendors? I think not because I have
heard disturbing stories of people involved in these seizures suddenly
accumulating some of these goods in excess of normal requirements.

How exactly are the people whose livelihoods have been destroyed expected to
survive when after all the toil and hard work, their means of survival is
snatched from their hands? How many of us would be willing to sit in the sun
all day long, and brave the cold winter chill at night in order to eke out a
simple living?

What are the authorities trying to achieve? Is it retribution against urban
dwellers for voting predominantly for the opposition? Is this the democracy
and one-man, one-vote concept that our aunts and uncles, brothers and
sisters and mothers and fathers sacrificed their lives for? And indeed, if
it is retribution, has anyone realized that significantly increased numbers
of urban dwellers voted for the ruling party?

So is this then a case of these Zanu PF faithfuls getting caught in the
"crossfire?" Daily we are bombarded with talk of patriotism, nationalism and
the need to rise above partisan politics when it comes to policy
implementation, but is this what it all boils down to? Would not an astute
politician find out exactly what it is that the people need instead of
sulking like a petulant child and antagonizing the very people whose vote
he/she covets so much? Is it any surprise at all then that urban dwellers
continue to vote for the opposition?

Vendors are a fact of life and the relevant authorities need to realize and
appreciate that. Period. Having taken over our own land (in a far from
perfect manner, but that is another matter entirely) and subsequently having
a lot of pressure exerted on us by the West and their institutions, the
reality of the situation is that more than 70% of Zimbabweans are informally
employed. Policies have been enunciated and we have seen their effects.

One of those effects is having the majority of employable people in the
informal sector. To the authorities I say, please see, understand and
appreciate that. This is our reality.

Life is becoming increasingly difficult for everyone and in particular these
people who are at the lower end of the social spectrum. Nobody is asking for
a free lunch; just an opportunity to help themselves.

Zimbabweans are among the most resilient, accepting, innovative and
hardworking people in the world. We have certainly tolerated a lot and
continue to do so. What is increasingly clear is that ours is becoming an
incredible way of life; like a script of a tragic drama gone all horribly
wrong. Common sense and logic dictates that the least that the authorities
can do is to provide an enabling environment in which citizens can continue
to try and earn an honest living.

And to the men and women of the uniformed forces, the police in particular I
would like to ask if they do not have any relatives and friends who earn a
living from vending? Are their current actions and orders in accordance with
the Police Charter? Are they in accordance with the constitution of this
country that they have sworn to serve and protect at all times? What do
their individual and collective consciences tell them about their actions?
Indeed, how do they feel when they confiscate goods from their own mothers,
brothers and sisters?

They cannot continue to push people around like that, especially under the
present circumstances. Invariably something has got to give. As for the
alleged criminal activities, there needs to be a lot more discretion about
identifying who is "dealing" and in what, and what gets confiscated from
whom. A response from all the relevant authorities who were present at the
press conference to enunciate these "measures" is eagerly awaited.

Angry, Hurt and

Very Disappointed

Harare
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Letters

Shocking shambles at AirZim

I have been flying Air Zimbabwe for only 25 years, 13 of these years as a
pioneer Rainbow Club member. I have seen those managing directors come and
go and have witnessed the best and the worst on the airline from champagne
popping to passengers dying on the flight.

I am known by name, by face and by voice, often asked if I work for the
airline. I am also on the British Airways and the South African Airways
Frequent Flyer programmes and previously Lufthansa too.
Now my shared patronage of these airlines: In the last seven years alone
South African Airways has awarded me an air ticket every year to an
international destination of my choice. This is in recognition of the
business support translated from my accumulated miles.

I regularly receive updates on the management changes, flying partners,
mileage news and invitations to their various promotions. Logging onto their
websites is a marvel of efficiency. They used to have a Limousine service at
JFK and Heathrow airport. What more can a girl ask for?

Now for our Air Zimbabwe. They put on their boxing gloves when responding to
queries. The near fist-fights and tears at Gatwick are regular drama. Late
arrivals/departures are the norm. No apologies, no truths. The Rainbow Club
Frequent Flyer programme is a scam. They update your mileage on a
"when-they-want-to" basis.

One Mahoso fellow had the audacity to say that my travel agent should update
my mileage and send it to him, with the travel coupons. But who works for
Air Zimbabwe, my agent or him?

When I put it down to laziness, he bemoaned the computer system heavy
workload inefficiencies etc. I advised him that if he could not handle the
challenges of his job, then it is his boss who needs to know that and not
me.

In my 25 years of travelling with Air Zimbabwe, I have never received any
mail from Air Zimbabwe, no phone calls, no information, no invitations, not
even an offer of a cheap ticket to nowhere and not even a discount.

Would it have made bad business sense to have filled up the famous
Dubai-Harare trip with bona fide Frequent Flyers instead of a lone
passanger? Would a kombi operator introduce a new route to Murambinda
knowing he will return with a single passenger?

With blunders like these, how can British Airways and SAA not laugh all the
way to the bank?

Flo Sach

Harare
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Letters

Reduced to desperation

"WOE unto you who lie awake at night plotting wickedness. You rise at dawn
to carry out your schemes; because you can, you do. You want a certain piece
of land or someone else's house (even though it is all he/she has got). You
take it through fraudulent means or threats and violence." Micah 2:1-2.

On 22 June at around 10AM a low loader carrying a bulldozer drove to the
gate of our home industry accompanied by a paramilitary police unit in a
Defender vehicle.
"We give you 30 minutes to leave this place," shouted policemen in the
Defender. They had guns at ready.

This particular home industry was established in 1997 by the city council.
It has had a variety of shops and factories. It was bigger than Mbare's Siya
So. It had modern buildings.

Like ants, we ran in different directions of the security walling. We
carried as much as we could from our shops and factories. Unfortunately,
some of the factories had equipment, which required cranes for them to be
removed. What can a person do in 30 minutes? Very little.

In no time, the bulldozer started to demolish the structures except toilets.
The task was enormous enough such that it took the bulldozer two whole days.
This is how we lost our "fields".

A week before that all my 11 workers had lost their cottage homes. Like me,
they all have dependants. We could have gone to our rural homes if we had
them. We are trained and skilled factory workers, not peasant farmers.

We have tools of our trades and not tools for farming. Can someone tell me
what to do? I am very very angry and I don't have a gun. I now have a lump
in my throat, which doesn't want to clear. Desperate is my second child.
Totally totalitarian indeed.

M Makubalo

Seke

Chitungwiza
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Letters

Deafening silence over home 'tsunami'

I appreciated your editorial of two weeks ago about Zimbabwe needing more
moral leaders. It reminded me of how energetically Econet responded to the
Indonesian tsunami.

Econet facilitated the donation of millions of dollars to the Indonesian
tsunami appeal through their cellular network service. As many people have
been saying, "Operation Drive Out The Filth" is the equivalent of a tsunami
in Zimbabwe. However, here at home Econet's silence is deafening. This
raises the question of how willing and brave Zimbabweans are about publicly
standing up and addressing human rights abuses at home.

Bev Clark

Greendale

Harare
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Letters

What happened?

ARE we motivated more by fear, selfishness and greed than anything else? Can
the people of Harare not stay home for two days in recognition of the
suffering of thousands of the people of this city?

What happened to Christian values of compassion and neighbourliness?
What happened to traditional values of putting the community needs first?

What happened to courage? What happened to hope for the future? What
happened?

G I

Harare
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More eyebrows raised over Zimplats' empowerment partner
By our own staff

THE intriguing saga surrounding the awarding of the Zimplats Holdings
Limited's 15% stake to Nkululeko Rusununguko Mining Company (NRMC) took a
new twist last week amid revelations that one of the directors of the
empowerment outfit had resigned from the ministry of Mines and Mining
Development shortly before it was awarded the stake.

Official sources told StandardBusiness that Surrender Ncube once worked for
the Minerals Ministry and advised the then Mines Minister Edward Chindori
Chininga on matters relating to the stake in the white metal producer.
"Ncube was an advisor to Chindori Chininga and we were shocked to hear that
Nkululeko were chosen as the empowerment group to get the 15% shortly after
Ncube had joined its board," a source said.

Official sources say new Mining Development Minister Amos Midzi had failed
to "see" the anomaly raising fears of a deficiency in corporate governance.
Ncube, according to the sources, resigned his post only to resurface later
as director of NRMC.

The same sources say Ncube handled the bid papers by Needgate and could have
influenced the decision by the Ministry to give NRMC the nod - ahead of
Needgate - for the Zimplats stake.

When StandardBusiness phoned the Ministry, a lady who answered the call
confirmed that Ncube was no longer with under government employ because he
resigned in 2003.

NRMC won the right to become Zimplats' empowerment partner last year ahead
of Needgate Investments and National Investment Trust (NIT).

The empowerment body is struggling to raise the requisite US$31 million to
support its bid and missed a 7 February deadline set by Zimplats
shareholders as the final date to conclude the deal.

In its bid to raise the money, NRMC approached a number of investors notably
Stanbic Africa, Amalgamated Bank of South Africa (ABSA) and South Africa's
Industrial Development Group. Under the empowerment deal, Zimplats would
sell 13.4 million of its shares to the empowerment group.

The central bank has already raised concern on the composition of the NRMC
board, which it said, did not have the requisite experience in mining and
"were gate-crashing into the white metal producing business riding on
political connections".
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ZNCC blasts lack of direction for economic disintegration
By our own Correspondent

KARIBA - Delegates attending the just ended Zimbabwe National Chamber of
Commerce (ZNCC) annual congress were unanimous in describing the country's
sinking economy as at the "cross roads" because of a lack of a clearly
defined economic policy.

Luxon Zembe, the re-elected ZNCC president said the economy, which has been
battered by one crisis after another, was suffering from lack of a clearly
defined economic policy.
"Right now the policy framework in the country has not been consistent. The
absence of a clearly defined economic policy is creating problems in our
economy," Zembe said.

He said distortions were emerging in the economy because business did not
know whether 'our economy' was now a command economy or a market driven one.

Obert Mpofu the Minister of Industry and International Trade said that the
government was working towards the resuscitation of 'Vision 2020' because
there was no clear economic model in the country at the moment.

Another delegate David Mutambarara of the Institute of Directors Zimbabwe
said that there were no people taking control of the economy.

He said business was not taking control of the economy because they felt
that they were not part of the economic policy formulation

ZANU PF member and former MP Tony Gara of Negondo Industries said people in
the country should not sacrifice national interests for personal ones.

"I think as a nation irrespective of the political divide we should do what
is in the best interest of the country and follow our national inclinations
later. It is na´ve to follow a political path at the expense of national
prosperity,"Gara said.

Rugare Gumbo, the Minister of Economic Development admitted government was
failing to implement its own economic policies.

"We are poor implementers of our own policies," said Gumbo in response to a
question from one of the delegates. "Guys we have realised that we have to
change strategy faced with these economic challenges," Gumbo said responding
ZNCC new vice president Joseph Kunyetuwho had said that the country was at
cross roads because of various issues.
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AirZim sends SOS for plane
By Ndamu Sandu

THE national airline - Air Zimbabwe (AirZim) - could soon endanger passenger
safety after recently failing to meet safety checks deadline, on one of its
planes, it has emerged.

The airline has seven planes: two 767s, three 737s and two MA60s. The MA60s
were bought this year from China as part of "Look East" government policy.
StandardBusiness was told last week that an Airzim Boeng 767 plane is now
grounded after it missed its safety check deadline of 21 June. Official
sources say the airline CEO Tendai Mahachi had apparently misled the
Ministry of Transport and Communications into believing that the maintenance
deadline was due at the end of the month.

As a result of the bungling, Mahachi was sent on SOS mission searching for a
plane to lease and replace the 757, said the sources. While StandardBusiness
could not verify Mahachi's destination, sources indicated the embattled CEO
could have gone to Kenya Airlines for help.

Aviation experts say maintenance checks are usually done after a period of
18 months. During the maintenance period, manufacturers can detectfaults
with input coming from the airline. AirZim riskesits plane confiscated for
failing to adhere to safety standards.

Stung by the revelations of a lapse in safety maintenance deadline, a
meeting was convened by the Transport and Communication Minister Christopher
Mushohwe on the way forward in meeting international safety standards.

Outgoing Permanent Secretary Karikoga Kaseke attended the meeting as well as
top executives from AirZim and the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe
(CAAZ) and their respective board members.

Air Zim acting CEO Oscar Madombwe referred all questions to the airline's
spokesperson David Mwenga who said "he was not in a position to discuss what
had transpired at the meeting with the airline's shareholder".
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RBZ bails out IMF
By Kumbirai Mafunda

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has come to the aid of former
International Monetary Fund (IMF) workers, made redundant by the closure of
the global lenders' offices in the capital late last year, Washington
officials said the central bank absorbed almost all of the international
finance institution's employees except Rodney Mutemachani - a former
research analyst - who joined the United Nations' Poverty and Economic
Management Unit (POEM).

Washington ostracised Zimbabwe from its ranks by shutting down its
representative office in the capital at the end of October 2004. Prior to
the closure, local staff maintained the Harare office since October 2003,
when the fund's resident representative left Harare.
"The local staff that were in the resident rep office were all offered
employment by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe," Bhatt Gita, an official in the
IMF's External Relations Department, said from Washington.

Since the closure of the local post, relations between the IMF and Zimbabwe
are being conducted via contacts between local authorities and the IMF's
headquarters staff as well as regular IMF Executive Board discussions.

The IMF has not appointed a resident representative in Harare since the
departure of Gerry Johnson in November 2003. Johnson had a rocky stint in
the country that culminated in the IMF taking action to suspend Harare from
its membership. Zimbabwe faces the chop from the 184-member organisation for
failing to settle outstanding arrears and servicing its debts.

Harare has failed to knock down its long-term debt despite an undertaking to
make nominal quarterly payments of US$5 million. Prior to the pledge Harare
was paying US$1,5 million.

Economic analysts are worried that Zimbabwe, in the grip of a severe
economic crisis, has no sufficient hard currency reserves to erase its
debilitating debt that has been on the IMF's books since 2001. They also
fear that the central bank's action confirms that Zimbabwe still has to walk
miles before the resumption of key aid.

"We don't have foreign currency to service our debts," says Eric Bloch,
economic consultant at H.E Bloch&Company, who is also an adviser to Gideon
Gono, the Reserve Bank Governor.

Added Bloch: "We have been making token payments to the IMF as a gesture of
good faith."
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Gono: sole optimist
By Kumbirai Mafunda

GIDEON Gono, the Governor of Zimbabwe's central bank, remains one of the few
people still optimistic that the economy would turn-around in the face of
rising inflation.

Zimbabwe's inflation, the highest in the world, is on a relentless rise that
was measured at 144,4% in May - the last recorded month. The 15,3% points
year-on-year upward spree, the third consecutive in a month and the broadest
advance in price hikes since a 24,1% point rise took inflation to a record
622,8% in January 2004, was attributed to price adjustments in groceries and
non-food items.
Analysts say although Gono had projected a surge in inflation, he would be
bowled over by the magnitude of the rise in the second and third quarter.
They are also concerned that the inflationary spiral could again go out of
hand as the fiscal and monetary measures have not been able to tame the
upswing, which began in January.

Although economists said the general price level was likely to rise further
because of the impact of drought, the central bank chief last week vowed
that resurgent inflation was still under check.

Gono, who is attempting to push painful reforms, managed to slash inflation
from a then world high 622% to 123,7 in March, the lowest level since July
2002. Gono is also credited of having transformed the financially broke Bank
of Credit and Commerce into a commercially viable entity, the Commercial
Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ).

But critics say the current northward momentum will be sustained into the
third quarter and consequently inscribe a dreadful economic epitaph for a
man who put his reputation on the line by promising Zimbabweans manna in the
midst of a drought.

"The inflation situation is going to be bleak as inflationary pressures have
gained ground," Witness Chinyama, Chief Economist at Kingdom Financial
Holdings observed.

Some economists project inflation to climb up to 200% by the end of 2005.
They point at the government's penchant to borrow heavily from the local
market. They also point out that the government has created new ministries
and intends to reintroduce the Senate, which will also gobble billions of
dollars that could be channeled elsewhere.

"The next three months will be economically and significantly worse than
they have been and inflation will end the year between 180-200%," says Eric
Bloch, an adviser to Gono. The panic-spending spree has worsened, with the
government earmarking an unbudgeted $3 trillion to compensate for the chaos
created by "Operation Murambatsvina".

Under the ambitious programme - unveiled as the United Nations Secretary's
Kofi Annan's special envoy Anna Tibaijuka stepped on Zimbabwean soil to
audit the impact of the bulldozing of thousands of houses and factory
shells - proper houses will be constructed by the government throughout the
country. But critics say President Mugabe's administration has struggled to
source energy requirements, food, machinery, spares and medical drugs and
would be desperately short of funds to roll out the ambitious re-building
programme.
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Govt to blame for illegal dwellings
Sundaytalk with Pius Wakatama

FOR a long time those of my age group, who grew up in Mbare decried the
deterioration that our home township had descended to. From the time of
independence in 1980 we watched in anguish as our previously neat and
orderly township was transformed into an over-crowded and squalid ghetto of
unplanned brick outbuildings and wooden shacks.

Independence and the promise of a better life caused rapid migration to the
cities. The population of Mbare and other townships in Zimbabwe ballooned to
about 10 times above what they were planned to cater for. Soon sewers
started to burst, discharging raw waste onto the streets, where bare-footed
children played and mountains of uncollected rubbish grew.
Undesirable elements from rural areas, with no roots in the township, and
some from as far afield as Nigeria, became part of the population. Crime
soared.

Waiting lists of applications for accommodation, to the city fathers, ran
into tens of thousands. Unfortunately, the powers that be did not take the
planning of new townships and the building of houses as a priority. The
ruling party leadership was more interested in organising their party,
consolidating their political power and lining their pockets.

Able technocrats were unceremoniously relieved of their jobs to make way for
party faithfuls, some of whom were semi-literate. Soon the administration
itself ground to a halt and anarchy reigned supreme. Social amenities and
services became things of the past.

Yes, many times I have thought of the past with nostalgia. This is ironic in
a way because the past that I think of so longingly was that of the white
racist regime, which we fought so hard to overthrow.

I think of our family life in our two-roomed house in the New Lines in 1946.
Municipal inspectors used to come to see that the houses and surroundings
were clean and to supervise the public toilet cleaners. At night the police
came to see that we had no unreported "illegal visitors". Not all this was
pleasant, but there was order to it.

In his book, Old Bricks Lives, Bill Saidi describes the joys and sorrows of
living in Mbare during colonial days, so vividly. I encourage all Mbare
lovers to read it.

In 1948 we were moved to the New Location as New Lines was now designated
for bachelors. In 1952 we were moved to the more spacious newly built
National Housing Board Location, where we had four rooms, a private toilet
and bathroom and electricity. The social services funded by beerhall
proceeds were adequate. There was the community centre dominated by the
imposing Stodart Hall, where our dead heroes lie in state before proceeding
to Heroes' Acre, a shopping mall, a swimming pool, recreation grounds and a
gym. All were very well planned by the white racist city council but we must
be fair and give the devil his due.

The city council painted all the houses once a year. All school children
were provided with a free lunch which we called "stew". Retired teacher
Timothy Chigoma supervised the social services like a benevolent
grandfather. He ran all manner of training courses, gardening competitions,
a boys' club, boy scouts, a Red Cross corps and what have you. We lived like
a homogenous community. During this time, Mbare produced legendary soccer
stars, athletes, musicians, artists, politicians, business people and many
leaders in all spheres of life.

Yes, Mbare had its dark side, too, but such is life. We had crooks and
gangsters, gambling dens, shebeens, skokiaan dens, prostitutes and drunken
mahobo parties. The British South Africa police force was efficient but
humane and professional. Criminals were detected and brought to book. The
army remained in the barracks and only came out on special days. The Central
Intelligence agency remained totally out of sight even during the days of
the liberation war.

Come independence, instead of improving as we expected, life as we knew it
started to go down the drain, not only in Mbare but all over Zimbabwe. In a
feeble attempt to bring about sanity and order the government fired the
Solomon Tawengwa, Zanu PF, Harare Council for incompetence. They installed
the Elijah Chanakira Commission but this did not help. Things continued to
deteriorate.

When the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) came into existence the fed up
people threw out the Zanu PF council and elected an MDC team led by Engineer
Elias Mudzuri as executive mayor of Harare. He set to work and things
started to improve. Zanu PF became jealous and the Minister of Local
Government, Ignatious Chombo, fired the Mudzuri council for no apparent
reason except jealousy. Did things improve? No, they got even worse.

Not only did things get worse in Mbare. They got worse all over the country,
especially after the chaotic, unplanned and violent so-called land reform
programme. The government encouraged anarchy and people grabbed land from
white commercial farmers and built where they wanted. Even respected blacks
like the enterprising Eddies Pfugari lost their properties.

It was a time of total impunity. Zanu PF officials made millions as they
parcelled out land for cash to so-called "landless people". There was no
plan, order or sanity to the whole exercise.

Now after 25 years of encouraging nay, instigating lawlessness and anarchy,
all of a sudden, wham! The government starts to destroy that which it
instigated and encouraged. "Operation Murambatsvina", they call it. What
madness! They are throwing out the baby with the bathwater! The dirt they
say they are cleaning out is not just refuse but human beings created in the
image of God as well. Thus poor people's homes and sources of livelihood in
the form of tuck shops and vegetable vending stands are being destroyed to
remove the "maggots" and stamp them into oblivion. Over one and half million
Zimbabweans are, therefore, today shivering, starving and dying in the cold
because they have been branded as maggots.

Of course, what the government is doing is not wrong. They have suddenly
become aware of laws which are being broken and they are destroying illegal
structures. Everything is legal, they say. The courts, too, have vindicated
them by upholding their actions as being legal.

What is legality? The question is not whether the destruction of people's
homes without any alternative is legal or not. The real question is, is it
just, fair and merciful. It may be legal for the government of Zimbabwe to
mercilessly torture its people but is that the justice and mercy that God
requires from governors and kings? Is that the freedom which Zimbabweans
died for?

Zanu PF yarasa gwara. They have lost direction because they are surfeited by
the wealth stolen from the poor who fought so hard to liberate themselves
from the colonial yoke.

They typify what Franz Fanon, in his book, The Wretched of the Earth, said
about post-colonial regimes. He said: "The party is becoming a means of
private advancement. There exists inside the new regime, however, an
inequality in the acquisition of wealth and in monopolisation. Some have a
double source of income and demonstrate that they are specialised in
opportunism. Privileges multiply and corruption triumphs while morality
declines. Today the vultures are too numerous and too voracious in
proportion to the lean spoils of the national wealth. The party, a true
instrument of power in the hands of the bourgeoisie, reinforces the machine,
and ensures that the people are hemmed in and immobilised.

The party helps the government to hold the people down. It becomes more and
more clearly anti-democratic, an instrument of coercion." Isn't this what is
happening in Zimbabwe today?

All patriotic Zimbabweans, who truly love and thank God for this country,
will say with me to Brother Fanon's words - Amen and Amen.

He, who has ears to hear, let him hear.
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Zim Standard

The real calamity in Zimbabwe is incompetence
By Jupiter Punungwe

WHILE "Operation Murambatsvina" may have had good intentions, there is no
escaping the fact that the whole operation was incompetently planned, not
withstanding the fact that incompetence has become the hallmark of the way
our government goes about most of its business.

The problems that "Operation Murambatsvina" is trying to solve have been
brewing for a long time. Indeed, things like the mushrooming of illegal
structures and settlements all over Harare and other towns are is the the
problem, but only a symptom of the disease called incompetence that afflicts
the authorities. The very same authorities now throwing tantrums over
"illegal structures" encouraged the illegal activities in a bid to attract
votes.
Another sign of the gross incompetence of the authorities is that in trying
to solve the problems that they created in the first place, they have
managed to create a worse problem. Out of nowhere we now have a refugee
situation in the country. Zimbabwe is the only country I know of in the
world where a serious refugee situation has been created by government
incompetence. In the Great Lakes region refugee situations are a result of
war and conflict, in other parts of the world refugee situations are created
by great natural calamities like earthquakes, tsunamis and floods. In
Zimbabwe our calamity has turned out to be the authorities.

They have not been providing extra housing for the past decade. Indeed they
have displayed a total lack of long-term vision. Even for the short-term
they seem to have no vision. Two days after the start of "Operation
Murambatsvina" some of us were predicting a refugee situation in Harare yet
the situation at Caledonia Farm seems to have caught the authorities by
surprise. Right now the authorities seem to be scrambling to take credit for
the work done by NGOs as evidenced by TV reports associating work done by
Christian Care and the Red Cross with the government. The same TV reports
use euphemistic terms like transit camp, newly allocated stands and so on to
describe Caledonia Farm in trying to mask the fact that it is a refugee camp
for people heartlessly thrown onto the streets by "Operation Murambatsvina".

And Caledonia Farm is only the tip of the iceberg. Thousands of people are
sleeping in the open in many suburbs of Harare. People are sleeping besides
their property among the rubble of their former homes. Mbare is a
particularly painful case with many people sleeping along the banks of the
Mukuvisi. The toll of "Operation Murambatsvina" in terms of social strain is
unquantifiable. Many children are no longer going to school because they
have no homes anymore. Some of them have been wrenched away from their
schools because their parents have had to relocate to far away rural areas.

Another issue which no-one seems to care about, is that operation
Murambatsvina has managed to by-pass the judiciary, while depriving people
of their property, as well as denying people recourse to the due process of
the law. The police have become the prosecutors, the judges and the
executors all in one.

They decide what's illegal without any proper reference to the laws they
claim to be upholding. No proper assessment of what's legal and what's
illegal has ever been done. If such an assessment had been done, then all
people with illegal structures would have received written notice and their
properties would have been ordered destroyed by a court competent enough to
properly interpret the law.

As things stand, a recently graduated "Greenbomber" in a police uniform is
often the final authority in determining the fate of people's property and
other constitutional rights.

Disingenuous attempts have also been made to draw parallels between
"Operation Murambatsvina" and "similar" operations supposedly taking place
in South Africa and the United Kingdom. I don't know anything about the
South Africa operation but what was reported in The Herald about the UK
operation leaves it worlds apart from "Operation Murambatsvina".

Firstly the people involved in the UK have illegally settled on private
property. Many of the people affected in operation Murambatsvina, have been
paying rent and rates to various authorities especially the Harare City
Council. Why were the authorities collecting money from illegally settled
people?.

Secondly, the people involved the UK operation had been given, not two
hours, not two days, not two weeks, not two months but two years written
notice. They are even enjoying the luxury of having gone beyond the two year
deadline by a month according to The Herald report. Most of the people
involved in "Operation Murambatsvina" have been given a little more than two
minutes verbal notice.

People are sleeping in the open completely exposed to the harsh winter
weather. The government is refusing to do anything to help such people,
maybe the UN can help knock some sense into their heads. While the UN
envoy's trip is a result of political pressure, I don't think "Operation
Murambatsvina" itself has much to do with politics.

The suffering it is causing stems from the incompetence of the people who
have been running the cities, the incompetence of the people who planned the
operation and above all the incompetence of central government.
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