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UN says Zimbabwe has suffered massive de-industrialisation

Zim Online

Wed 21 June 2006

      JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwe has suffered large-scale de-industrialisation
since 1995 that has condemned the bulk of the population to a grinding
subsistence life as communal and resettlement farmers, according to the
latest United Nations (UN) poverty assessment report on the country.

      The report on poverty and economic activity in Zimbabwe between 1995
and 2003 was compiled by the United Nations Development Programme office in
Harare. It will first be presented to President Robert Mugabe's Cabinet this
week or next week before it is made public.

      But ZimOnline was yesterday shown an advance copy of the report that
reveals shocking levels of poverty and human suffering in the southern
African country, effectively debunking claims by Mugabe and his government
that they are on top of the situation and that Zimbabwe is on a path to
economic recovery.

      "Since 1995 Zimbabwe has experienced a process of de-industrialisation
with the large majority (of the people) becoming largely dependent on
communal and resettlement agriculture, a sector where there is high poverty
prevalence," the report reads in part.

      All facets of the crisis-sapped country's industrial and commercial
sectors had declined drastically over the period under review leaving only
agriculture - and most of it at subsistence level - as the main economic
activity.

      For example, the manufacturing sector, a vital cog of the economy,
declined from employing 10 percent of labour to employing only four percent.
The services industry shed jobs leaving it employing nine percent of labour
from the 19 percent it employed before 1995.

      Wholesale, retail, hotel and restaurant operators slowed down
operations to employ percent of labour from the seven percent in their
employment prior to 1995. Likewise the mining sector declined from
accounting for five percent of employed labour to only three percent,
according to the report.

      It was not possible to immediately get comment on the report from
Mugabe's press secretary George Charamba or from Labour and Social Welfare
Minister Nicholas Goche.

      United Nations humanitarian co-ordinator in Harare, Agostinho
Zacarias, was also not available for comment on the matter.

      But the report says only agriculture grew as an employer with 60
percent of labour employed in the farming sector up from 29 before 1995. The
growth in agriculture was chiefly because of Mugabe's chaotic and often
violent seizure of land from whites for redistribution to landless black
peasants.

      The farm seizures that triggered a flight of foreign investors and
capital from Zimbabwe are blamed for plunging the country into food
shortages and for quickening the demise of an economy that was one of the
most vibrant in Africa when Mugabe took over at independence from Britain in
1980.

      The report says while Mugabe's land reforms appear to have increased
employment in the agricultural sector, in reality the reforms failed to
alleviate poverty with the majority of those allocated land seized from
productive white farmers failing to utilise it resulting in widespread
hunger and economic hardships.

      Critics of Mugabe's land reforms insist that the about 60 percent drop
in food production that followed land redistribution was chiefly because the
82-year old President failed to back up newly resettled black farmers with
inputs support and skills training to maintain production on the former
white farms.

      The report says: "A higher proportion of the households in the
resettlement areas (70 percent) did not cultivate their whole pieces of
land, followed by communal areas (69 percent)."

      In perhaps the most vivid illustration of the extent of desperation
and human suffering in Zimbabwe, the UN report says as a coping mechanism at
least 50 percent of families were having to skip some meals in order to save
on the little food available.

      "The most significant coping mechanism which households were employing
to mitigate the effects of food shortages included: skipping meals (50
percent), eating less preferred meals (18 percent), and food from
donors/NGOs (12 percent)," reads the report.

      Zimbabwe is grappling a severe economic crisis whose genesis can be
traced to 1995/96 after the collapse of economic structural reforms that the
erstwhile socialist Mugabe had reluctantly embraced in 1991 at the behest of
the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Western governments.

      The economic crisis gathered pace after the IMF withdrew
balance-of-payments support to Zimbabwe in 1999 over differences with Mugabe
on fiscal policy and other governance issues.

      Mugabe's farm seizures that he began a year after the IMF withdrew
financial support cancelled whatever hopes of a quick turn around of
Zimbabwe's declining economy. - ZimOnline


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Harare just putting a front in extolling rights of the child

Zim Online

Wed 21 June 2006

      HARARE - Twenty-nine year old Rudo Mangenje recoils in anger whenever
President Robert Mugabe's government presents itself as a defender of
children's rights.

      Mangenje is bitter that the Harare authorities detained her together
with her three-year old daughter Maidei for more than 24 hours in a filthy
cell at Harare Central police station last month for violating the country's
tough security laws.

      She says the fact that the Harare authorities could detain young
children such as Maidei, shows that the government should not be taken
seriously when it presents itself as a defender of children's rights.

      "It is amazing how this government talks loudly about children's
rights when it had the temerity to jail an innocent  three-year old girl.
They have no shame," says Mangenje.

      Zimbabwe last Friday joined the rest of the African continent to mark
the Day of the African Child. The day is marked by seven days of activism
that seeks to foster the respect for children's rights.

      But critics of the government such as Mangenje say Harare's
celebration of the Day of the African Child is a mere propaganda stunt by a
government that easily ranks among the worst violators of children's rights
in the world.

      Social scientist and opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
official, Gordon Chavhunduka, said the Zimbabwean government had a narrow
and myopic understanding of child abuse that limited it to sexual abuse of
minors.

      But when this narrow understanding is removed, Mugabe's government
would square up with some of the worst abusers of children's rights, said
the respected former University of Zimbabwe vice-chancellor.

      Chavhunduka said: "The government is pulling back Africa in this
regard. We have children who have resorted to prostitution and other
criminal activities because the government has created conditions that make
it impossible for them to go to school and earn a better living.

      "Some are now being forced to marry as early as 13 because of
state-sponsored hunger. Children are being trained as violent militia under
the guise of national service. The list of child rights violations by the
government is endless."

      Thousands of children have dropped out of school with a significant
number being forced into prostitution due to a severe six-year old economic
crisis gripping the country many blame on Mugabe's policies.

      The government is also accused of brain-washing graduates of the
country's controversial national service programme who have been used to
commit heinous crimes against Mugabe's political opponents.

      Mangenje insists that examples of the abuse of children's rights need
not be drawn from the secretive national youth service programme but from
what happened to her and her three-year old daughter.

      Mangenje was part of a group of National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
activists who were arrested in May for defying a police ban on a march to
commemorate a controversial home demolition campaign that left hundreds of
thousands homeless.

      Among those arrested were eight children aged between three and five.

      "What is the difference between South Africa's apartheid government
that shot and harassed children in violation of children's rights and our
government that refuses to release three-year olds from jail because their
mothers have peacefully marched to Parliament?" said Mangenje.

      Charles Kwaramba, a lawyer who represented the NCA protesters was
equally scathing in his criticism of the government for detaining children
in filthy cells.

      "I could not imagine this happening in Zimbabwe, a country liberated
from colonialism. The conditions in our jails and police cells are appalling
even for hardcore criminals, let alone children under the age of five," said
Kwaramba.

      Lovemore Matombo, the President of the militant Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions says Zimbabwe's children have never been as vulnerable to abuse
as they are right now, all because of poor policies by the government.

      "Today's children are vulnerable to AIDS, poverty and child labour.
Most of these problems faced by our children can be traced back to poorly
administered government policies.

      "If a country's economy and political sphere is well managed, then you
don't have 12-year olds engaging in prostitution or working on the farms.
They will be going to school," said Matombo.

      But Youth Development Minister, Ambrose Mutinhiri, rejected charges
that the Zimbabwe government is a violator of children's rights.

      "Some people might want to politicise issues here. But when one looks
at our work (in government), there is a trace of seriousness in combating
child abuse. Laws are there and more are coming to deal with child abuse,"
he said.

      But for Mangenje and her daughter, there is no greater abuse by the
government that beats being forced to share a filthy cell with hardcore
criminals in a Harare jail. - ZimOnline


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Women protesters released without charge

Zim Online

Wed 21 June 2006

      INSIZA - Zimbabwean police on Tuesday released without charge about
100 women who were arrested earlier this week for demonstrating against the
expulsion of children who have failed to pay school fees.

      The women from the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) protest group, were
arrested on Monday after they stormed a rural business centre in Filabusi in
Zimbabwe's Matabeleland South province demanding the reinstatement of their
children.

      A lawyer representing the women, Cosam Ncube told ZimOnline yesterday
that all the protesters had been released from police custody after state
prosecutors refused to lay any charges against them.

      "I have since secured their release and the task was not that
difficult because even the prosecutors agreed that there was no offence. As
I speak, the women have been released and are now free," said Ncube.

      Under Zimbabwe's tough security laws, it is illegal to demonstrate
without seeking approval from the police. But WOZA has often defied the
police ban on demonstrations to protest against worsening economic
conditions in Zimbabwe. - ZimOnline


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TELECONFERENCE - Raftopoulos, Jonathan Moyo & John Robertson part 2



Transcript of 'Hot Seat' programme in which SW Radio Africa's Violet Gonda
talks with Professors Brian Raftopoulos, Jonathan Moyo and Economist John
Robertson.

Broadcast on 20 June 2006

Violet: We continue the teleconference interview discussing various issues
of national interest with three people who have at one time or another
advised some of the key players in Zimbabwean politics - political analyst
Professor Brian Raftopoulos, former Information Minister, now independent MP
Professor Jonathan Moyo and leading economist John Robertson. This week we
are going to be discussing how Mugabe thinks. What is his mindset? Why is he
allowing the country to collapse so totally? A huge part of that collapse
has been economic and so we start this week's discussion with the economy.

With inflation nearing 1200% it's been said the economy has become Mugabe's
real opposition. So I first asked economist John Robertson to explain the
state of the economy and tell us how bad things really are.

Robertson: The state of the economy is certainly extremely serious. We have
lost about half of our gross domestic product. The GDP per capita has come
down to less that US$1 per day for the population as a whole and at that
level we have, I am afraid,  a very debilitated population. I think many,
many people are suffering malnutrition and because of the treatment and the
various little security measures taken by the government we have also a
traumatised population. Which might explain why they have not taken mass
action to date. There was some evidence of courage to do that back in 1997/
98,  but the treatment that was meted out to the people after that has left
them very, very cautious and very anxious not to have that experience again.

Now these problems are mounting in such a way that the economy can no longer
employ most of the people. We've got some 300 000 youngsters  turning 18 in
this country every year - about maybe 10% of them can find work - the rest
of them are unemployed and unable to find any kind of suitable employment
anywhere. So they have to leave the country if they want work.  We've got
many of them leaving for South Africa illegally and facing very serious
problems when they do that. I think that we face a very, very long recovery
unless we get a massive amount of assistance from abroad. And once again I
say that South Africa's position here is the most important. We could speak
of following the same path of recovery as say Uganda or Ethiopia or
Mozambique and each of those cases we are talking more than 30 years and
they still haven't come right. We could come right very much more quickly
with a lot of assistance from South Africa. I believe that the South African
assistance could be  in the form of the assistance given say to East Germany
by West Germany when the Berlin Wall came down.

We need to become part of a bigger union and I think this would be needed
for other reasons as well. As a region, Southern Africa needs the protection
of some more cohesive structural patterns that can allow the territory to
develop against the very, very fierce competition from the Far-East and
elsewhere in the world. We need the protection that will allow our own
industries to develop and I believe we can do that far better as a
federation of all the Southern African states. But that will allow South
Africa to bring its force to bear in Zimbabwe in form of central bank
management even a single currency union across the borders of not only
Zimbabwe and South Africa but other regional countries. And we can look, I
believe, at these very much bigger ideas for the kind of solution we want to
our very, very big problem. We are not  going to solve these problems by
looking at small ideas and sort of fiddling around the edges of the problem
and trying to hope that none of the basic political decisions need to be
changed. We do need to change the fundamentals. We need to change them very
quickly to avoid going into a very much deeper recession.

Violet: At what point will the decline of the dollar precipitate a real
crisis leading to the collapse of the country? Or are we at this point now?

Robertson: We're not quite there yet but one of the limiting factors is how
many notes we can print? Believe it or not we have to print about four
million Z$100 000 notes every day to keep pace with the rate at which prices
are increasing. That soon is going to become eight million notes per day.
Our capacity to do that isn't there and I believe soon we are going to find
there is a massive cash crisis because people are going to have such
difficulties to get money out of the bank they will be reluctant to put it
into the bank. And when banks stop getting the proper circulation of money
under their control all the basic systems of the management of money will
begin to fall apart. I think they are very close to that and there is every
prospect that we will see prices double again in the next three months and
double yet again in the following three months. So that will take the prices
of today to four times what they are today by the end of the year and at
that level you need to have four times as much money in the country as we
have today. I think the physical ability to do that is not - we just don't
have it, and so that could cause one of the crisis that lie ahead of us.

Violet: Now Professor Moyo does a country ever really collapse or does it
just limp along as more and more professionals flee the economic crisis?

Moyo: Well in sociological terms a country does not collapse obviously
Zimbabwe will always be around but the question would be in what state and
what would be the kind of impact on people's lifestyles and conditions of
living. What clearly collapses is the government and frankly I don't think
that we should expect a government - whether a dictatorship or a democratic
government -  to survive four digit inflation. And this is the reality check
that ZANU PF must do and this is why many people believe that at this very
moment the ball is on ZANU PF's court and if we say that the fundamental
problem now has to do with the collapse of the economy then we should also
ask what the response of the government is. We know that six weeks or so ago
they came up with something they called; The National Economic Development
Priority Programme - something like that and this is supposed to see a
turnaround of the economy over the next six or eight months. And that's what
the government is putting on offer. And if you look at the content of that
programme and assess it against the background of what is actually happening
in the economy then you will see that we are not dealing with a government
which has awakened to the serious nature of the problem at hand. I don't
believe that anyone imagines that we will have an economic turnaround in
this country if we do not look at the structural problems that have led to
the current situation in general so as to have a structural reform framework
that addresses the situation. But in particular, I don't think we can expect
an economic turnaround if we do not accept that, yes, much as the land
reform programme has been necessary, the way it was done created a lot of
problems that must be corrected and that there will be no international
participation in a package unless there is a willingness to bring real
finality to this problem. Not the kind of finality we saw the government
attempting through the last constitutional amendment.  And, I don't see yet
a willingness within ZANU PF, from a policy point of view, to address that
or to really get to the roots of this economic crisis. There is still
wishful thinking that if we forward sell our minerals we will get some
US$50m here, US$1.3million there.  We are hearing reports that Vice
President Mujuru is superintending over some agreement in China which will
bring some 1.3 billion dollars and that this programme in particular - the
economic reform programme that is underway - is targeting 2.5 billion
dollars. There is still some fantasy out there that the real problem is
because we do not have enough investment and this is possible if we attract
certain friendly countries in the east or in Russia as the case is right
now. Until there is a recognition of the roots of this crisis I don't see
ZANU PF rising to the challenge and coming up with a solution and
consequently very soon the economic meltdown is going to become a political
meltdown and the prospects of a leadership emerging to deal with this will
disappear.

Violet: Still on that same issue, the late Eddison Zvobgo once said Mugabe
will not listen to anyone. Now, do you think he goes by his own whim? You
know, when you were Information Minister, how did he operate? Did he listen
to anyone especially when you say there is no willingness by the regime to
get to the root cause of this economic crisis.

Moyo: Well, obviously he has his own approach to this whole issue. I think
if we look at what has happened in our country over the years - since
independence - and if what we want to do is to find out whom Mugabe really
listens to disappointingly he does not really listen to free rational advice
especially coming from outside the system. But, even within the system, he
does not listen to people - either because they are cabinet ministers or
they are Politburo members or Central Committee members. He ultimately and
always consistently listens to his security people. His economic advisors
are his security people. His political advisors including who to appoint to
cabinet, who to appoint to Central Committee or Politburo are his security
people. He is a security president. And that explains why many responses of
the government to economic challenges are predictable and they often take a
law and order dimension. He is very much a creation and a product of the
security apparatus.

Violet: So, Professor Raftopoulos, if Mugabe doesn't listen to anyone except
some of his security people why do people waste their time advising the
Mugabe government, clearly knowing that nothing will change?

Raftopoulos: Clearly it's the de-facto government in Zimbabwe whatever it's
nature. So by definition, any diplomatic efforts at international level have
to be levelled against him. The problem of course, is even for the security
people there becomes a time when the security question is precisely the
future reproduction of that leadership. The future problems around the
economy, the very security issues they are concerned with that the future of
the incumbent becomes, as it were, an increasing problem. So security issues
have there own kind of internal debates I suppose around who then becomes
the key figure to continue a particular kind of formation. I think the other
problem is that given what has happened in Zimbabwe the paradox is; despite
Mugabe's so-called anti imperialists rhetoric, Zimbabwe is now more
vulnerable than ever to any future influences of international financial
pressure. As an economy it's much more vulnerable to future international
influences and even already the South African economic influence in Zimbabwe
is been growing and not necessary in a positive direction. So there are
increasing problems that are being created by this vulnerability which will
make a reconstruction programme very, very difficult.

Violet: That's what I actually was going to ask.  Is Mugabe still a key
player in any process towards the democratization of the country?  In other
words, do you believe that without his agreement nothing is going to be
democratized?

Raftopoulos: Well I think his future is a key issue. I don't think his
presence in a future government is at all going to stabilize the situation,
but certainly, his future is a key political question and given - you know
what Professor Moyo said about the securitisation of the state - the state
has become an increasing problem and will be a problem for any transition.
But clearly, Mugabe's future is a key issue in any discussion about the
future.

Violet:  Now Mr. Robertson I am going to come to you just now but I am just
interested again, I want to go back to Professor Moyo about Mugabe's mind.
Professor Moyo can you explain Mugabe's mindset, now that - you were very
close to him at the time he was terrorizing Zimbabweans?  In fact, he is
still terrorising. But can you explain Mugabe's mindset as he continues to
ignore the fact that Zimbabwe is in a crisis?  You know, is Mugabe's mind
amenable to a negotiated solution in Zimbabwe?

Moyo: Well, I have heard that I have been close to him but not as close as
to understand his mindset. He does not allow anyone to get that close. But,
you know,  he is; as Professor Raftopoulos was saying, his own future is
part of the issue on the table right now.  But I don't think ultimately it's
going to depend on whether he wants to accept.  We have heard him recently
talking about building bridges with the EU, and in particular Britain.  But,
if you look at the origins of this talk it is coming from the security
people.  I don't think this is his own way or even wish.  Mugabe operates
like an opposition politician.  He does not accept the kind of conservative
role or decision approach of a leader who has to balance different interests
and so forth.  No! He is very single minded and now he has had to discover
only too late that the situation in Zimbabwe is almost irretrievable and I
see that he is concerned about his legacy.  I also see that there are
influences on him; let us remember he has a young wife and a young family
and he must be quite concerned about the future for that family.  But now
all indications are that he is in a negotiation mood.  He is negotiating
with the Churches. He is sending Churches to reach out to western embassies.
He has confirmed through his Minister of Information that Benjamin Mkapa is
his chosen mediator so this man wants to strike a deal there is no question
about that.

Violet: What sort of a deal do you think he wants to strike?

Moyo: I think he wants to strike a deal which would preserve his political
party, obviously.  But, he also wants one that would safeguard his own
interest.  The possibility of President Mugabe facing all kinds of legal
suits after office is something which plays heavily and regularly on the
minds of his advisors and so we are now dealing with a President who will
simply not leave office without trying to win certain safeguards regarding
possibilities of prosecution; whether within Zimbabwe or internationally.
But a deal; certainly he is looking for right now.

Violet: And Mr. Robertson are Zimbabweans resigned to their fate?  Is this
now a matter for the intelligentsia and external forces to deal with Mugabe?

Robertson: I do believe that some analysis of his mindset is called for
because his approach to the problem seems to have changed in recent years. I
believe that he personally feels that he has been let down by the population
of Zimbabwe. I think he feels that having given them everything that they
were asking for, he has given them back the land and he was wanting the
population to deliver to him the success that he said to the world would be
achieved by land reform that would put the land back in the hands of the
indigenous population.  And they have not done so.  We have not had a single
decent harvest since land reform.  The country has gone backwards and
President Mugabe feels that he has been let down very badly by the people.
And, now that he hears from many sources that they are suffering, I believe
that his approach is that they deserve to suffer because he gave them
everything and they have done nothing with the massive largess that he's
handed over by taking the land from the colonising population and giving it
back to the indigenous population.  So,  it becomes more a psychological
debate than a political or economic debate, but I think that itself explains
why ZANU PF and President Mugabe have become very much preoccupied with
their own survival rather than with the country's survival and recovery. And
for that sort of reason we haven't yet got the focus on the area that needs
to be attended to and we need some dramatic changes not these trifling ones
that they keep speaking about.

Violet: Although we initially advertised this teleconference discussion as a
three part, the issues were so interesting that we have decided to continue
it for another week. So two weeks the panelists will give us their analysis
on the issue of international engagement, what a post-Mugabe regime must do
to reverse the economic meltdown and a general look at what happens after
Mugabe. Don't miss this discussion with  economist John Robertson, political
analyst Professor Brian Raftopoulos and former information Minister Jonathan
Moyo -  next Tuesday.


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Zimbabwe Opposition Grouping Positions on Possible U.N. Diplomatic Initiative

VOA

By Blessing Zulu
      Washington
      19 June 2006

The Zimbabwean opposition faction headed by Movement for Democratic Change
founding President Morgan Tsvangirai has come out in favor of a role for
United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan in solving the country's long
crisis.

Sources within the opposition grouping said they expect a meeting between
Annan and Tsvangirai following the U.N. chief's expected consultations with
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on the margins of an African Union summit
opening July 1.

Party insiders say the MDC National Council has decided to amend its
so-called road map to democracy to sychronize it with Annan's agenda. Stops
on the MDC road map included a stakeholders conference, a new constitution,
a transitional government and new elections. But MDC sources said they'll
shift to what many believe the Annan plan to be: first a transitional
government, then constitutional reform and new elections.

Both Annan and South African President Thabo Mbeki are expected to engage
with President Mugabe in Banjul, the Gambia, as the AU summit unfolds in
early July. Annan himself confirmed the rendezvous in a U.N. news conference
last week.

Studio Seven reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe asked
Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, secretary for foreign affairs for the Tsvangirai-led
MDC faction, why the party has thrown its weight behind a possible Annan-led
initiative.


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Fuel prices skyrocket as supplies dwindle



      June 20, 2006,

      By ANDnetwork .com

      Diesel and petrol prices have skyrocketed to between $400 000 and $600
000 a litre from $206 000 and $280 000 at a time when supplies of the
commodities have dwindled.

      The latest fuel price increases come barely a month after another
round of increases was effected.

      A survey carried by The Herald yesterday showed that most filling
stations in Harare and its surrounding areas reviewed their fuel prices
upwards last Friday.

      Despite the increase in the price, the commodity was in short supply
at most service stations with some fuel attendants professing ignorance on
when they will receive their next deliveries.

      There were long winding queues of cars at the few filling stations
that had fuel, such as Ford Garage along Chiremba Road in Chadcombe.

      Secretary for Energy and Power Development Mr Justin Mupamhanga
yesterday said he was not aware of the latest fuel price increase.

      "I am not aware that the price of fuel has increased. At the moment, I
have no comment," he said.

      Commenting on the latest fuel price increases, the Petroleum Marketers
Association of Zimbabwe spokesperson and BP Shell corporate affairs
secretary Mr Rodrick Kusano said it was difficult to tell what had triggered
the latest price increase.

      "It is very difficult to tell why the price of fuel has been increased
as people are getting free funds and some from the Diaspora to import fuel.

      "Individuals are importing the fuel. It is not the oil companies which
are controlling fuel," he said.

      The price of fuel surged about three weeks ago from between $175 000
and $200 000 a litre to between $206 000 and $280 000 for the same unit.

      The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) last month unveiled a US$50 million
($5,1 trillion at the prevailing exchange rate) revolving fuel import
facility.

      This followed an agreement signed between the central bank and French
bank, BNP Paribas, and co-arranger of the facility, Loita Capital Partners
International.

      Under the facility, which will run for the next year on a revolving
basis, the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) will import fuel for
both the private and public sectors.

      Zimbabwe has been facing intermittent fuel shortages over the past six
years owing to a foreign currency crunch caused by illegal sanctions imposed
against the country by the West.

      The country requires US$40 million for its monthly fuel requirements
and the US$50 million facility is expected to go a long way in improving
fuel availability due to its revolving nature.

      Source : The Herald


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Zimbabwe sets up roadblocks to prevent maize sales

SABC

June 20, 2006, 08:00

Zimbabwe has set up roadblocks to prevent private buyers from purchasing
maize from farmers, Harare's Herald newspaper reported today. "We have our
personnel on the ground to get hold of culprits that were illegally buying
maize from farmers," said Samuel Muvuti, the Grain Marketing Board (GMB)
head. "We are expecting more maize to be delivered without any problems."

The GMB had tightened security against private buyers by setting up
roadblocks along the country's major roads with the help of the police.
About 30 000 tons of maize have so far been delivered to GMB depots and more
was expected to come in as many farmers have now completed harvesting.

"Maize is a controlled commodity and the illegal private buyers and the
farmers too, must know that itĘs an offence that carries a jail term
according to the GMB Act," said Muvuti. He said most farmers were willing to
deliver their maize to the GMB. But private maize buyers were taking
advantage of transport problems to intercept farmers before they deliver
their maize to GMB depots.

Zimbabwe projected to harvest 1.8 million tons of maize
The dealers were offering farmers between ZIM35 million and ZIM37 million a
ton while GMB pays ZIM31 million per ton. Zimbabwe was this year projected
to harvest about 1.8 million metric tons of maize of which 900 000 were
expected to be delivered to the GMB.

Last year, the country produced between 750 000 and one million tons against
the national requirement of 1.8 million. The deficit saw US135 million being
directed towards grain imports last year. - Sapa


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Civil society remembers Operation Murambatsvina

Botswana Daily News

      20 June, 2006

      GABORONE - Civil society in Botswana Saturday commemorated Operation
Murambatsvina the Zimbabwean government undertook last year to restore order
in squatter settlements.

      The event was organised under the auspices of Botswana Civil Society
Solidarity Coalition for Zimbabwe (BOCISCOZ) in an endeavour to raise
awareness about the crisis in Zimbabwe and to sensitise Batswana about the
dangers of xenophobia.

      Speakers at the event lamented the brutality the Zimbabwean government
has unleashed on its people, which is not condemned by SADC leaders who hide
under the guise of silent diplomacy.

      SADC and its leaders have adopted a totally untenable strategy called
silent diplomacy, charged Taolo Lucas of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP).
SADC has turned itself into a brotherhood of heartless conspirators who do
not want to assist the Zimbabwean people against the tyranny of Zimbabwe.

      Lucas said this flawed strategy had, among others, resulted in high
levels of uncontrollable crime, xenophobia and illegal immigration.

      He called for active engagement of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
so as to strike an amicable solution to the current crisis.

      He stated that commitments made by continental bodies such as SADC and
African Union (AU) must translate into tangible outcomes.

      Transgressors must receive sanction of sorts while rogue leaders and
delinquent states should be made to account or face isolation, he added.

      A situation obtaining in Africa where unelected despots are graced
with membership of continental bodies like the AU is unacceptable.

      Samson Guma, the MP for Tati East, advised that Batswana and
Zimbabweans must learn to co-exist with mutual tolerance, acceptance and a
resolve towards mutual enrichment.

      We face problems and fortunes, albeit at different measures and
supply, he said. We all at one point or the other disappoint one another,
thus creating opportunities for problems for one another of different
profiles at different frequencies.

      Guma said the spirit of botho that involved extending courtesy to
others should be the guiding principle in Botswana/Zimbabwe relations.

      Kathleen Letshabo, the vice president of the Botswana National Front
(BNF) condemned the Zimbabwe government for violating peoples basic human
rights.

      Letshabo said it was regrettable that the Harare government denied
people the right to good shelter by demolishing their houses and leaving
them homeless.

      However, she explained that she did not encourage illegal squatting
but called on governments to enact policies that equitably cater for all in
land allocation matters.

      She also regretted the fact that at times Batswana tended to ill-treat
Zimbabweans by, among others, paying them meagre wages for their services.

      Why should we apply those double standards as fellow neighbours? I
think we should treat these people the way we want Mugabe to treat them, she
said.

      She also challenged SADC observer missions that oversee Zimbabwe
elections, saying they never disclose the truth.

      It is clear that elections in Zimbabwe were not free and fair but SADC
always wants to mislead us into believing that they were, Letshabo charged.

      Meanwhile, a United Nations (UN) report on Murambatsvina last year
condemned the operation as a disastrous venture that had left more than 500
000 people homeless and jobless while also violating international law and
creating a humanitarian crisis.

      It also said a further 2.4 million people had been affected by the
countrywide campaign that saw many shantytowns, ramshackle markets and
makeshift homes demolished.

      UN special envoy Anna Tibaijuka observed that while the campaign
purported to target illegal dwellings and clamp down on alleged illicit
activities, the operation was carried out in an indiscriminate and
unjustified manner, with indifference for human suffering.

      In its rebuttal, Mugabes government has defended the operation as an
urban clean-up drive and has promised to help the displaced rebuild.

      Zimbabwe has pledged to provide 1.2 million houses or building plots
by 2008 but the report said economists were sceptical on whether government
could afford such a project at a time when Zimbabwe was wracked by
triple-digit inflation and in throes of a severe food crisis.

      Even if motivated by a desire to ensure a semblance of order in the
chaotic manifestations of rapid urbanisation and rising poverty
characteristic of African cities, nonetheless Operation Restore Order turned
out to be a disastrous venture, the UN report say. BOPA


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A downgrade in country's status causes friction



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

JOHANNESBURG, 20 Jun 2006 (IRIN) - A furore has erupted over a UN
committee's recommendation to rank Zimbabwe as a least-developed country
(LDC).

Zimbabwean officials were furious at the UN Committee for Development
Policy's findings that Zimbabwe, along with Papua New Guinea, was eligible
for inclusion in the list of 50 LDCs. The committee said Zimbabwe had not
only remained a low-income country for a protracted period, but had also
become more economically vulnerable.

In assessing a country's economic vulnerability, the committee among other
factors considers food security, instability of exports of good and services
and share of agriculture in the country's income.

Government spokesman George Charamba was quoted in the Sunday edition of the
Daily Chronicle as dismissing the committee's findings. "They want to create
[an impression] that the country has failed. Our position remains the same
that we are not beggars. We are not a poor country and we want to be rated
accordingly. We need the correct position that we deserve".

He maintained the country's problems were a result of "illegal sanctions"
imposed by western nations. The government's rejection of the findings means
the country cannot be included in the official table of LDCs.

According to some UN officials, the issue of Zimbabwe's classification has
become "highly politicised", with the government on the one hand alleging a
plot to denigrate the country, and humanitarian workers arguing the
authorities should face the reality of the unfolding crisis.

Zimbabwean economist Professor Tony Hawkins said the UN committee had taken
"objective criteria" into consideration. He pointed out that over the past
two decades, Zimbabwe had slipped from a middle-income country to a
low-income one as a result of government policies. "And now to be put in the
LDC category is embarrassing for the government".

According to Diana Games, a researcher with the South African Institute for
International Affairs (SAIIA), Zimbabwe has experienced a more than 30
percent drop in its Gross Domestic Product in the past four years.

"It has gone from being one of the most successful economies on the
continent to a country plagued by food shortages, reduced industrial
capacity, declining exports and massive unemployment ... Factory output has
fallen [by] 45.6 percent since 1998, and manufacturing levels are at their
lowest since 1971".

Besides economic vulnerability, the UN committee also assesses health,
nutrition, poverty levels and education, while drawing up its list of LDCs.

"Zimbabwe's inflation is at 1,200 percent - the highest for any country not
at war - this in itself speaks volumes of the state of the country," said
Tafadzwa Mugabe, a spokesman for the NGO, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
"Rather than remain in a state of denial", he noted the government could
benefit from reclassification, "however unpleasant" that prospect would be
for the authorities.

Hawkins explained that as LDC, Zimbabwe would qualify for debt-relief and
other multilateral assistance.

Many analysts trace the beginning of Zimbabwe's economic crisis to a
commitment of one-third of its troops to the conflict in the Democratic
Republic of Congo in the late 1990s, and an unbudgeted payout to veterans of
its independence struggle, which led to the suspension of aid by the
International Monetary Fund. A chaotic land redistribution programme begun
in 2000, and several seasons of bad rains, further hurt the agro-based
economy.

Games said in a recent SAIIA report that even the most optimistic growth
projections "suggest that it will take 15-20 years [for Zimbabwe] to regain
the living standards of the mid-1990s".


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Mugabe accused of using prayer event to entrench oppressive rule -20/06/06

ekklesia.co.uk

Controversial President Mugabe's ruling party in Zimbabwe has cancelled the
annual National Day of Prayer, held annually on 25 May, and replaced it with
a "more patriotic" Zimbabwe Day of Prayer to be marked on 25 June - reports
The Standard newspaper from Harare.

The Zimbabwean authorities say that there is nothing sinister about the
change, and that it is purely an "administrative development".

But critics say that Mr Mugabe is using religious commitment and fervour to
entrench his authoritarian regime.

The new 'day of prayer' was proposed after pro-Zanu PF church leaders met
with officials from the ruling party's commissariat and information
departments recently, claims the newspaper.

What is seen as a move to further constrain the churches comes amid growing
fears in the ruling party that some sections of the Christian community have
become far too vocal against the government's policies - which they say
abuse the poor and undermine basic human rights.

The Rev Andrew Muchechetere is reported as saying that on 25 June 2006 the
state-owned Zimbabwe United Passenger Company, ZUPCO, would ferry passengers
from "the usual pick-up points" they would have used on 25 May. He is one of
the organisers.

Outspoken Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo has recently said that
some in the churches have been corrupted by their associations with the
state, and are now fatally compromised in their relations with Mr Mugabe and
his allies - who have been roundly condemned by the international community
and the United Nations for their slum clearance policies.

On 25 June ruling party supporters and church leaders who back Zanu PF are
now expected to gather at Glamis Stadium in Harare for the Zimbabwe Day of
Prayer.

The Standard says that according to an internal memo, circulating among
pro-government religious organisations, President Robert Mugabe will attend
the prayers and address the gathering.

Since 1998, the National Day of Prayer has been held under the stewardship
of the Intercessors for Zimbabwe, led by the Rev John Chimbambo.

One cleric who is critical of the regime said that "it looks like people
will be worshipping Mugabe and not God", and the Zimbabwe Christian
Alliance, has attacked the outcome of the visit to State House led by the
Zimbabwe Council of Churches and the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe.

Recently the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, intervened to
support the suspension of a pro-Mugabe Anglican bishop in Zimbabwe who has
faced unresolved criminal charges and accusations of intimidating church
members. He has no official jurisdiction in the matter, however.

It is alleged by some that the CIO, the Zimbabwe government intelligence
organisation, has many infiltrators among the clergy of the churches.


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Canadian miner buys Zimbabwe gold operation

Mining Weekly

      Canadian mining company Caledonia has announced the purchase of
Blanket mine in Zimbabwe from Kinross Gold, also of Canada, for $1-million
and the issue of 20-million Caledonia shares.

      Blanket mine, which is located in the south west of Zimbabwe surpassed
total gold production of 1-million ounces in 2005. It reportedly mills 600
t/d of underground ore at an average grade of 4,1 g/t and currently produces
an average of 2 100 oz/m.

      A proposed $2,5-million project aimed at completing the new number
four shaft and increasing milling throughput to 1 000 t/day and gold
production to over 40 000 oz/y, is scheduled for completion by mid 2007.

      "This acquisition is an important step in reaching Caledonia's
objective of developing its asset base into a significant diversified
international mining company through profitable gold production. The
acquisition of this high-class low-cost gold-0producing asset, the
development of our Nama cobalt property, and our successful PGE, nickel and
copper exploration activities underline our focus on Southern Africa and
should rapidly begin to add shareholder value," said Caledonia CEO and
president, Stefan Hayden.

      He added that the greenstone gold deposits found in Zimbabwe were the
company's speciality, and provided considerable opportunity for the further
expansion of gold mining and production interests.

      The company will apply for 20-million new shares to be admitted to
trading on AIM and admission is expected to take place on June 26


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The excitement, stench at Bulawayo railway station

Mmegi, Botswana

      RYDER GABATHUSE
      Staff Writer
      6/20/2006 4:22:27 PM (GMT +2)

      BULAWAYO: Excitement to board a train with dignitaries from Bulawayo
to Francistown at the official re-launch of the route between the two cities
filled up the air. There was pushing and shoving at the Bulawayo railway
station after the first ceremony in Zimbabwe.

      People with luggage pushed their way into the train whose carriages
had just undergone some refurbishment particularly for the route.Some
passengers had been waiting in the train for a long time while dignitaries
were taking their time at the launch held just a stone's throw from the
railway. Some had already travelled in the train in the past few days when
it was put on trial for the benefit of both National Railways of Zimbabwe
(NRZ) and Botswana Railways (BR). But this particular trip was graced by
VIPs, hence the large number of people. Botswana's Works and Transport
Minister, Lesego Motsumi boarded the train with her Zimbabwean counterpart,
Chris Mushohwe and senior government officials and representatives of
stakeholders from both countries. Photojournalists had a field day as they
chased juicy pictures. They were seen darting here and there, flashing their
cameras before and behind the dignitaries. All seemed well at the glamorous
event that stirred a lot of excitement. But what came next was like
unearthing a scandal of the first order. Beneath that well built platform at
the Bulawayo railway station, there was a disgusting site of decaying and
fresh human waste. Journalists were turned off by the stench from the accumu
lated human dung and along the railway tracks. Stones and slabs supporting
the track either glisten or glitter with human urine. Curiously, workers of
NRZ seemed unperturbed by the smell or the eyesore as they continued with
their chores without a care in the world. The human waste was evidently in
competition with oil and diesel in their pollution of the railway track.
Besides, the pollution, the railway line on the Zimbabwe side seem to have
bumps. The result was a very uncomfortable trip until the train reached the
Botswana side. Immediately after crossing the Ramokgwebana border into
Botswana, the noise and the shaking of the train suddenly vanished. BR
public relations manager, Jane Gulubane explained that Botswana has one of
the best rail infrastructure in the region installed through a soft loan
from China. "BR has a modern type of rail with concrete slippers and 50kg
continuously welded rail track. It compares well with the First World rail,"
said Gulubane. She stated that it is not a surprise that the Botswana rail
is quiet and comfortable. She explained that between Ramokgwebana and
Francistown there are no curves that are perhaps the source of the
discomfort on the Zimbabwean side. She said BR is very keen on pollution and
want to ensure high health standards. "Besides preaching to the passengers,
we are currently piloting with the closed chemical toilet system which is
geared at avoiding pollution," she said. The BR plans to install chemical
toilets when its coaches undergo refurbishment. "We are yet to identify a
company to do the job for us. We view this as a step in the right direction
towards our goal of zero pollution to the environment along the railway
property." Efforts to solicit comments from the NRZ public relations manager
based in Bulawayo, Fanuel Masikati on their endeavours to cut on pollution
along the track especially at the Bulawayo station, were fruitless as he
continuously indicated that he was in a series of meetings. "I am in a
meeting and I can't take your calls," he told Mmegi.


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Zambia investigates death of wild birds

IOL

          June 20 2006 at 03:03PM

      Lusaka - Zambian veterinary and health authorities on Tuesday
confirmed the launch of an investigation into the possible presence of bird
flu in the country after the discovery of over 40 dead wild birds in the
southern tourist capital Livingstone.

      Zambia has had no reported cases of the avian influenza virus in wild
or domesticated poultry and this is the country's first incident in which
dozens of birds have been found dead in unknown circumstances.

      Livingstone district chief veterinary officer Jack Shoko said the dead
birds were collected near the country's border with Zimbabwe, and that
samples had been dispatched to Lusaka to determine the cause of death.

      Shoko who warned the local community against easting the wild birds,
saying it was too early to tell if they had died of the H5N1 virus, first
detected in Asia and since spread to Europe and some African countries.

      The virus causes death among poultry and humans.

      Livingstone is Zambia's major tourist destination and a key export
route linking south-central and east-central Africa.

      In March this year the government banned the importation of all
poultry and poultry products and the movement of live birds as a preventive
measure to cut the risk of bird flu outbreak.

      The movement of poultry and frozen poultry products within the country
was restricted to the permission of health and veterinary authorities.

      United Nations agencies had advised African governments to suspend
trade in poultry to prevent the spread of the virus following an outbreak in
the West African nation of Nigeria. - Sapa-dpa


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10 more ditch Mutambara



      June 20, 2006

      By ANDnetwork .com

      TEN more officials yesterday resigned from Arthur Mutambara's MDC camp
and rejoined the rival faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai citing lack of
seriousness and direction.

      TEN more officials yesterday resigned from Arthur Mutambara's MDC camp
and rejoined the rival faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai citing lack of
seriousness and direction.
      This brings to 27 the members who have dumped the robotics professor's
party this month alone following the resignation of 17 others who quit
together with political turncoat Shakespeare Maya.
      In a joint letter to the MDC pro-senate camp secretary-general
Welshman Ncube, the officials said: "We write this letter to notify you that
we are resigning from the MDC led by Mutambara. We are returning to the MDC
led by (Mr) Tsvangirai since it is more serious."
      The officials are Chitungwiza province youth organising secretary,
Owen Matonhodze, Mhondoro North district youth secretary for political
education, Garikai Matanhike, Mhondoro South district youth treasurer,
Felistas Tafa, Mhondoro South district youth secretary for political
education, Munyaradzi Kawara and Mhondoro South district youth secretary for
gender, Precious Gorejena.
      The others are: Mhondoro South district youth secretary for
organising, Victor Churu, Mhondoro South district youth secretary for
defence and security, Proud Tafa, Ward 7's secretary for information and
publicity, Stanley Svosva, Benson Gumbe and Plaxedes Gorejena who all come
from the same ward.
      When the MDC disintegrated following sharp disagreements over
participation in the senate elections last year that were won overwhelmingly
by Zanu PF, the pro-senate camp went on to create new structures.
      Early this month, 17 members of the pro-senate camp including its then
deputy director of elections Shakespeare Maya, resigned blaming the
faction's lack of capacity to take the status quo head on.
      The resignations followed Maya's suspension on allegations of being
power hungry.
      Although the 17 officials did not state whether they would join
Tsvangirai's camp, Maya was quoted as expressing his willingness to work
with the anti-senate
      camp for the betterment of the country's fortunes.
      "I am still an MDC member and I will vote for the MDC in any election.
We believe we have to fight the struggle as MDC," Maya said.
      The Mutambara faction has been hit by a train of defections, notably
those of vocal stalwarts such as Mbare legislator Gift Chimanikire, Binga
member of the House of Assembly Joel Gabbuza Gabuza, Kwekwe lawmaker
Blessing Chebundo and Samuel Sipepa Nkomo who have since jumped
      ship.
      While Ncube was not reachable for a comment yesterday, his faction's
spokesperson Gabriel Chaibva said: "As a party we have not yet seen the
letter. But when they (defectors) joined the party, did they announce it?
      "This is part of a broader propaganda campaign being orchestrated by
the likes of (Nelson) Chamisa. We cherish their (defectors and potential
defectors) fundamental right to join any political party of their choice."

      Source The Daily Mirror, By The Daily Mirror Reporter


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Tsvangirai calls for Justice Commission in Zimbabwe



      June 20, 2006

      By ANDnetwork .com

      The leader of the MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai has called for a Truth and
Justice Commission to probe political and human rights abuses and economic
corruption in Zimbabwe.

      "If we have to grant Mugabe, his family and his cronies immunity from
prosecution for crimes against humanity, then a proper programme of apology
to the families of the victims of Gukurahundi must be put in place. There
must also be a national process of healing and reconciliation with the
victims of Zanu (PF)'s repressive rule over the past two decades,"
Tsvangirai advised.

      Such a commission would be tasked with officially establishing the
truth of what happened and ensuring that justice is done. Tsvangirai
emphasised that Mugabe should go now and should not attempt to extend his
rule from 2008 to 2010.

      "The country is struggling to survive now. How can he contemplate
extending his grip on power to 2010 when he has no solutions to the
problems?" he said.

      Asked about president Thabo Mbeki's announcement that UN secretary
general Kofi Annan would take a leading role in solving the Zimbabwean
crisis, Tsvangirai said he would welcome any initiative from any quarter
that could put an end to the end of millions of Zimbabweans.

      He was not aware of any details of Annan's initiative, which has now
been shot down in flames by a Zimbabwean government official, who reacted
angrily to the news and said the invitation extended to Annan in the wake of
Operation Murambatsvina had been overtaken by events.

      Tsvangirai also welcomed what he described as the positive role being
played by the churches in seeking a solution to Zimbabwe's political logjam.
Last week a group of churchmen from various denominations held a meeting
with Mugabe at which they discussed possible solutions.

      "Some clerics support the status quo. But thankfully the majority are
dedicated to alleviating the sufferings of large portions of the population,
sufferings that have been caused by the Mugabe regime and its policies," he
said.

      One of Tsvangirai's main concerns is the mounting frustration among
people, which he fears could lead to widespread violence and render the
political process irrelevant.

      "Violence begets violence, and we want to avoid that at all costs,
particularly among the young people who have nothing gainful to do all day
because of the economic collapse," he said. "Violence results where there is
no hope, so I feel a huge burden to hold out meaningful hope to the people
of Zimbabwe."

      Speaking at a Press conference at the House of Commons last Friday,
Tsvangirai said he was disturbed by the fact that some three million
Zimbabweans had fled their country and many were living in squalid
conditions abroad.

      Tsvangirai's visit to the UK is part of an international tour which
will take him to various countries in Europe, followed by neighbouring
African states and finally the United States.

      His aim is to brief national leaders in at attempt to counteract the
Mugabe regime's misleading propaganda as to the real situation on the ground
in the country.

      Source: The Zimbabwean


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Zim police arrest panners, recover 30kg gold ore



      June 20, 2006

      By ANDnetwork .com

      Zimbabwe's police have arrested 56 illegal gold miners and recovered
about 30 kilogrammes of gold ore in Mashonaland Central province under an
operation code-named "Operation Upfumi Hwedu".

      Among the 56 arrested, two of them were illegal gold dealers from whom
police recovered 2.3 grammes of alluvial gold.

      All the 56 suspects were arrested on Saturday and they were on Monday
still detained at Harare Central Police Station where they were undergoing a
thorough vetting process.

      They are expected to appear in court soon.

      Police said through the vetting process, they would be compiling the
gold panners' names, addresses and other relevant information for future
references.

      Police assistant commissioner Munyaradzi Musarira, who is responsible
for the operation, said police would continue carrying out the operation
until such practices were put to an end.

      "Gold panning activities have been causing problems countrywide, such
as land degradation, haemorrhaging the economy and some of the gold is being
smuggled out of the country. We will however continue carrying out such
raids until such practices are put to an end," he said.

      Musarira said the suspects were arrested at Lowdale Farm, Eskbank
Farm, Chitamba Farm and along Chinyika and Mazowe rivers in Mashonaland
Central province.

      During the raids, police also impounded 16 containers with opaque beer
(scuds) and some mining equipment.

      The mining equipment impounded includes shovels, steel rods, axes,
crow bars, hammers, picks, chisels, wooden panning dishes, plastic buckets,
steel tubes and some ropes.

      Although police have been carrying out raids, rounding up gold panners
countrywide, the panners have been going back to the rivers and continuing
with their illegal activities.

      Since last year several gold panners were arrested and police seized
their mining equipment. All the suspects were released after being fined.

      In March this year, at least 85 gold panners were rounded up in Mazowe
area and police impounded 40 kilogrammes of gold ore and mining equipment.

      The panners who included nine women were arrested along Mazowe River
under an operation code-named "Operation Environment Friendly" which was
launched by police to curb the rampant gold panning activities.

      Early this year, the chief mining commissioner Fredson Mabhena said
the government would soon come up with legislation banning gold panning,
which has resulted in serious environmental degradation in some parts of the
country.

      He said there was need to find a lasting solution to the problem of
gold panning since it had caused a lot of damage to the environment.

      Gold panning has also resulted in the death of those involved, apart
from haemorrhaging the economy through illegal gold deals and facilitating
smuggling.

      The Herald


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Interview: Zimbabwean lawyers seek cooperation with Chinese counterparts

People's Daily

      Zimbabwean lawyers are seeking cooperation with their Chinese
counterparts in legislation affairs and law consultation in a bid to build a
harmonious society, said a senior woman lawyer on Monday.

      "Zimbabwe and China show common interests in many ways in legislation
and law enforcement in a bid to build a harmonious society, and we need
cooperation with our Chinese counterparts in this regard," Emilia Muchawa,
director of Zimbabwe Women Lawyers' Association, told Xinhua in an exclusive
interview.

      Muchawa said she hopes she has an opportunity to exchange her ideas on
the issues of gender and domestic violence with Chinese experts in All China
Women's Federation and Chinese lawyers who have interest in the field.

      She said they had made the first draft of the bill for domestic
violence prevention and protection of victims six years ago, which is now
ready for presentation to parliament following its approval by the cabinet
two weeks ago.

      Domestic violence has, for a long time, been a crime not clearly
defined in the law books and only attracted a fine under common assault, she
said.

      In detailing the bill, Muchawa said that although women constitute the
majority that suffers domestic violence from their spouses, men too are
subjected to different forms of abuse from their partners.

      The bill also speaks about challenging power in relationships in a
very big way, she said. All people in any form of a relationship will
benefit from the bill and these include a current, former wife of husband,
all children whether born in or out of wedlock, adopted or step children,
and people living with the perpetrator of violence, for example, domestic
workers.

      Muchawa said, "We are very glad to have noticed that China is striving
for building a harmonious socialist society, which needs strong supports in
legislation and concerted efforts made by people in all walks of life."

      "In this regard, we are doing the same with you by making a law to
promote domestic harmony," she said.

      According to Muchawa, the bill describes about 12 kinds of domestic
violence, such as physical violence that includes hitting, kicking and
punching and any other manner of physical assault, and sexual abuse
including rape, indecent assault, unwanted sexual touching or exposure or
any act that degrades another person.

      Also included are smashing or actions of destroying property jointly
owned by another person, emotional, verbal and psychological abuses and
harassment by watching or loitering around a person's home and telephoning
or sending messages to a person's home or workplace.

      The beauty of the bill is that while in the past it was the victim of
violence that was required to make a police report, there is provision for
other people to apply for a Protection Order on behalf the victim, she said.

      "In the past, women would make a report and withdraw the matter for
fear of retribution or feeling that they have lost their self esteem,"
Muchawa told the reporter.

      But under the law, a repeated breach of the protection order results
in an offence and liability to imprisonment for up to five years, she added.

      According to a research by a local project in 1999, at least one in
four women in Zimbabwe subject to some forms of domestic violence but the
figure could be higher at the moment, she said.

      She believed that the bill, when it becomes law, will bear positive
results, as there will be more dialogue during conflict resolution, and it
will also create a warm and homely environment for children who also bear
the brunt of domestic violence.

      Source: Xinhua


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Who will speak words of wisdom to Africa on men and women?

zimbabwejournalists.com

                    Bill Saidi.

      By Bill Saidi

      HARARE - MANY residents of Harare were shocked, if not scandalized
last week, when the government extended the term of office of Ms Sekesayi
Makwavarara, the de facto mayor of the capital.
      They noted with alarm the lack of apology in the announcement.
Ignatius Chombo, who made the announcement, managed to make it sound as
routine as if Makwavarara and the government-appointed commission she heads
were elected by the people of Harare.

      The commission has plunged the city into a new era of sleaze and
squalor. Most of the blame is heaped on Ms Makwavarara, who was elected in
2002 on an opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) ticket, but
switched to Zanu PF, when the going got tough for her party.

      Moreover, Ms Makwavarara's taste for the trappings of power has not
endeared her even to neutral residents.
      There was a Zanu PF campaign to remove her from office because she was
giving her new party a bad image. The campaign divided the party in the
middle, apparently with Chombo leading the pro-Makwavarara group, which
triumphed in the end.

      What may have tipped the scales in her favour was a much-publicized
appeal to Grace Mugabe, President's wife. Chombo did what he had to do
because if he had done the right thing - call for council elections - his
party would not win. Like most urban centres in the country since 2000,
Harare has been dominated by the MDC.
      Until Chombo launched a virtual "jihad" against the MDC-dominated
council in 2004, the capital would have remained an opposition-run city.

      Apart from her turncoat tendencies and her love for luxury,
Makwavarara is abrasive in her dealings with subordinates. Her relations
with the Town Clerk, Nomutsa Chideya, have been characterized by spats of
one kind or another.
      What is worse is that Makwavarara has never distinguished herself in
the field of women's rights.

      She is thus not seen in the same light as such women as Joice Mujuru,
the vice-president, or another deputy president, Mrs. Phumzila
Mlambo-Ngcuka, of South Africa.
      She may, strange as it seem, see herself achieving the sort of
pinnacle political success associated with women such as Mrs. Ellen Johnson
Sirleaf of Liberia.

      Makwavarara is single, which should not be held against her.  Moreover
that status may not be entirely due to a quip made famous by the American
novelist, Dorothy Parker: "Men seldom make passes at women who wear
 glasses."

      There are men around the world, and Zimbabwe is not exceptions, who
are attracted to such women: ambitious and bold beyond belief.
      Makwavarara's ascent comes in the wake of consideration of a new law
in Zimbabwe, designed specifically to halt a surge in domestic violence
against women.

      The Domestic Violence Bill has been approved by the cabinet of
President Mugabe and is soon to be presented to Parliament.
      Many women's rights activists have commented positively on the Bill,
which may or may have a salutary effect on male-female relations, so steeped
in traditional culture, most sociologists doubt it can succeed without the
assent of the chiefs.

      Makwavarara's new appointment also coincides with a fresh debate on
the plight of children in Zimbabwe. The sexual abuse of children has reached
alarming proportions and has been debated endlessly in Parliament as well.

      Mwakwavarara's views on these two issues have not been made public.
Yet if, as seems likely, she intends to advance her political career, she
may have to let the voters know her views on such ticklish subjects.

      Which brings us to 16 June, the day on which Africa remembers the
Soweto Uprising in South Africa.
      This year it was remembered even as children in many war-torn
countries were recruited into armies to kill people in civil wars.
      In general, the status of the young on the continent has not been
encouraging and there are many more unemployed youths than there are adults
all over the continent.

      Women on the continent have fared no better since the dawn of
independence. There may be rare patches of progress and success here and
there but in general, the plight of women and children on the continent has
remained pathetic.

      In Zimbabwe, as elsewhere on the continent, much lip service has been
paid to the amelioration of the two vulnerable groups' political, social and
economic conditions. Tokenism has been used in appointments of women to high
political positions. Makwavarara may be an example of this tokenism too.

      Recently, there have been suggestions that Mrs. Mujuru may not be the
automatic successor when President Robert Mugabe steps down  - if he does
step down in 2008.
      The speculation now is that Mugabe has no intention of leaving office
after 2008. Certainly, there are people who believe that he ought to be
asked to account for his actions during a reign of terror spanning a quarter
of a century, featuring much death and destruction.
      The suggestion is that there may be a "deal" in the offing to forgive
him for his past misdeeds.

      It has always been assumed that, when it came to the crunch, Mugabe
would rather face the music - confront his accusers head-on - than beg for
forgiveness, with his tail between his legs - something might have altered
his strategy.

      Perhaps he has become aware that there are people determined not to
let him off the hook so easily. Such people, it would seem, are prepared to
risk plunging the country into fresh turmoil, rather than let Mugabe go
scot-free.

      The specter of a full-blown trial at the International Court at The
Hague seems to have given Mugabe a new perspective of his legacy as a
politician and the hero of the Independence struggle.
      Zanu PF, as a party, has not endeared itself to its many female
members. Most of them, such as the feisty Margaret Dongo, have spoken darkly
of their period in the training camps in Mozambique.
      Dongo, who became an MP first on a Zanu PF ticket, she later left the
party to stand as an Independent. She first lost to a Zanu PF candidate, but
contested the result, winning the seat in a subsequent rerun.

      Most political historians are looking forward to her autobiography,
which some insiders say is in the works.
      PF-Zapu's gender sensitivity during the war of liberation has not been
the subject of much praise either.
      During debate on the Domestic Violence Bill, for instance, there were
male MPs who apparently thought it might go too far, that there were
instances in which a man had every right to chastise his wife with the
occasional beating.

      On the ground, there is much evidence that there are women, raised in
their ethnic culture, who cling to the belief that a little violence in the
marital home is not such a bad thing: some go so far as to say if the
husband doesn't give them a slap in the face once in a while, he may not
love them any more.

      In most cultures in Africa, there exist patriarchal systems: the
father dictates everything and is effectively the head of the clan.
       In Zambia, the Bemba have the most notable matriarchal system. Their
women are distinctly more assertive than women of other ethnic groups,
notably the Tonga, the majority ethnic group in the country. Yet, in spite
of their numerical superiority, the Tonga have not achieved the political
ascendancy that the Shona have achieved in Zimbabwe, for instance, or the
Kikuyu in Kenya.

      The late Zambian opposition politician, Anderson Mazoka, was a Tonga
and was the mostly likely candidate of the combined opposition parties in
forthcoming elections.
      Another prominent Tonga politician, Vernon Mwaanga, was beaten up by
Mazoka's supporters when he went to the house to pay his condolences.

      Mwaanga is in the government of President Levy Mwanawasa, who belongs
to a minority group, although it is allied to the Tonga.
      Sociologists have suggested it is the matriarchal system that has
boosted the political fortunes of the Bemba - there is bound to be heated
debate on the subject for a long time to come.
      For most sociologists, however, it is the bride price or dowry which
effectively inhibits the gender equality for which many African women have
campaigned.

      In Zimbabwe's case, many of the women who featured prominently in
opposition parties in the late 1990s were single. If they became mothers at
all it was outside marriage.
      It is assumed that if they had been conventionally married they might
not have achieved such success.

      Debate on a review of the lobola or roora system has not been
generally encouraged in Zimbabwe. "It's our tradition," said one woman
interviewed in survey we conducted for a newspaper I worked on for a few
years ago.
      She agreed that the system inhibited a woman's right to assert herself
in her home. "You are always reminded, when it comes to the crunch, that
your husband paid for you," she admitted. "But that is who we are, that is
our tradition."

      Another woman in the same survey argued that to abolish the roora or
even to review it would mean her father would no longer be rewarded for
bringing her up. "My future husband must reward my father for bringing me up
to be worthy of his affections," she said. "To be given away for nothing is
just not right."
      Previous legislation directed at freeing women from the clutches of
their ethnic traditions - the Matrimonial Causes Act and the Age of Majority
Act - met stiff resistance from many men.

      A member of the ruling Zanu PF scoffed at the very idea of his sister
deciding how much would be paid for her in roora.
      "Over my dead body!" he swore.
      Over the years, the two laws have given women more confidence in
asserting their rights. Yet in the communal areas very little has changed.
It is not just coincidence that this is the sector in which Zanu PF is
predominant. This party has preyed on people who find it difficult to change
their old ways.

      Perhaps the same will happen with the new proposed law on domestic
violence. Yet in general, both the women and children of Africa may continue
to hope for a mythical Mama Mary to "speak words of wisdom" to them or even
to their leaders, as The Beatles sang years ago, when they find themselves
in "times of trouble", which they certainly will be in for the foreseeable
future.


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Shortages in Zim's coal supplies weigh on power output



      June 20, 2006

      By ANDnetwork .com

      Zimbabwe's two power companies have not been operating at full
capacity during the current year due to insufficient coal supplies that have
hit the country.

      In a joint statement, Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), a subsidiary of
Zesa Holdings, and Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL) said they both
have not been operating at full capacity during the current year.

      "Coal supplies have not been sufficient for maximum generation of
electricity from installed capacity, and some generation units need to be
refurbished so that they can perform at maximum capacity," said ZPC and
HCCL.

      In a bid to resolve the current problems, the two companies said HCCL
would be recapitalised in the short- to medium-term with two drills having
already been received and 10 haulage trucks awaiting shipment.

      The strategy would culminate in the opening and development of Chaba
opencast block whose reserves are shallow and undisturbed.

      On the other hand, ZPC has put across plans to embark on overhauls at
HPS in order to increase generation capacity to 780MW.

      "Zimbabwe Power Company has put in place a plan to carry out the long
overdue major overhauls at Hwange Power Station in order to enable the power
station to improve reliability and availability and increase capacity to
780MW," the statement said.

      The proposed overhauls would be completed within 18 months due to the
long lead-time for procurement and delivery of spares from overseas.

      In addition, ZPC would devise a working plan to ensure regular
payments of coal deliveries.

      The two companies dispelled reports that coal supplies to the power
utility were cut due to an unpaid debt. ZPC and HCCL said there are
currently three out of six generating units working at HPS and plans are in
place to increase the number of generators in operation and to revive the
small thermal power stations of Harare, Bulawayo and Munyati.

      Daily Mirror


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Jesse Jackson lambasts Mugabe, SA banks



      June 20, 2006

      By Samuel Mungadze

      Johannesburg (AND) - American rights activist Reverend Jesse Jackson
has blasted Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe for dragging his country to
economic ruin. He has also lamented the lack of economic development amongst
the majority in South Africa and urged financial institutions to be involved
more in nation building.

      Delivering a series of sharp rebukes to regional progress, Jackson
said that "South Africa has political freedom but not equality, there is the
dignity of freedom but not quality in development".

      Speaking to African News Dimension on Tuesday in Johannesburg,
Reverend Jackson said Mugabe chose the wrong option when he grabbed land
from white commercial farmers.

      "Land reform has long been a noble goal to achieve but it has to be
done in a way that minimises trauma" to those whose land is removed.

      "The process has to attract investors rather than scare them away,"
Jackson said.

      Jackson is in South Africa attending a three day global leader's
conference. The outspoken reverend said that democratic rule is what
Zimbabwe requires.

      "What is required in Zimbabwe is democratic rule, democracy is lacking
in the country and is the major cause of this economic melt down."

      Jackson praised South Africa as a metaphor of hope in the world.

      "Because you have had this marvellous transformation from ashes to
beauty, because your scars have been healed, you are now qualified to lead
the world," he said.

      Jackson, however, lamented the lack of economic development amongst
the majority in South Africa and urged financial institutions to be involved
more in nation building.

      "I'm challenging companies in countries that benefited from apartheid
to reinvest with the country," said Jackson.

      The world acclaimed human rights activist said banks in South Africa
must provide developmental loans and not conventional loans to empower the
country.

      Influential and thought leaders in the world are meeting in
Johannesburg for the Global Leaders Africa Summit with the aim of enabling
African leaders in their duties. The conference runs until Thursday.

      AND, Johannesburg Bureau


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Women deliver services

The Swazi Observer

By Roberta T Muropa

IN Zimbabwe the notion of basic and quality service delivery has become a
thing of the past.
As the country's economic crisis deepens, primary earners try to make ends
meet while being dutiful citizens, paying their rates, electricity and water
bills.

In return they expect the regular and efficient delivery of services such as
the maintenance of street lights and roads, water and sanitation, and refuse
removal.

However, the state's responsibility of ensuring service delivery has been
shifted to women.

Already occupying the role of provider and care giver within the household,
women now also have to protect their families from the health and
environmental hazards posed by refuse that is not removed. It is they who
have to find innovative ways of removing the refuse most often burning the
waste or by burying it.

In Zimbabwe and across the world women are the primary providers of care to
those infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.

It stands to reason that living in a healthy environment would be an
essential part of the package required to ensure proper care.

However, the inability of city councils to provide adequate service delivery
compromises this. For example, in some parts of Zimbabwe there are times
when citizens are even unable to access water.

If city councils are unable to provide proper services, the option of
privatising service delivery may come to be seen as a good solution. But
this poses other problems as, has been seen in other countries in the
region, it is possible the many citizens will be simply unable to afford the
services provided. I argue that this would simply deepen the impact of the
country's economic crisis on ordinary citizens.

The concept of privatising state enterprises is part of the agenda of global
financial institutions including the International Monetary Fund (IMF),
World Bank and World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The Zimbabwean media recently published a number of articles speculating how
health services were to be privatised.

While government issued a statement denying this, the reports conjured up
images of thousands of Zimbabweans being unable to access proper health
services simply because they cannot afford them.

Privatisation is already evident in the tourism, banking, telecommunications
and media sectors.

We have seen how in some instances the tourism industry has progressed at
the cost of the displacement of indigenous communities.

The examples are many. The point I want to make is that government needs to
resume the responsibility for service delivery such as access to basic and
quality health care, water and other services and ensure that private
companies do not profit at the expense of the rights of ordinary people.

(Roberta T Muropa is a member of the Gender and Media Southern Africa
(GEMSA) Network Zimbabwe chapter. This article is part of the Gender Links
Opinion and Commentary Service that provides fresh views on everyday news).


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MP seeking action over fraudster

BBC

      A Kent MP has again raised the case of a Zimbabwean woman who stole
more than £100,000 in benefits using the identity of a mother-of-two.
      Sungaradazzo Mudgyiwa, from Zimbabwe, still lives in the council house
in Whitstable where she was living before her conviction in 2004.

      She was jailed for the offence, but released after a year.

      Julian Brazier said action should be taken to deport her as she was an
"illegal entrant from Zimbabwe".

      He told the House of Commons she was still resident in Whitstable
despite being sentenced to four-and-a-half years in jail.

      One of her teenage sons had also recently been given an Asbo for
violence and intimidation, the Tory MP for Canterbury and Whitstable added.

      In response, the Home Office minister, Liam Byrne, said he could not
comment on individual cases in the Commons but would speak to Mr Brazier
privately about the matter.

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