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Zimbabwe's premier calls foreign tour 'successful'

Associated Press

By ANGELA CHARLTON - 3 hours ago

PARIS (AP) - Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai called his tour of
Europe and the United States a success Thursday, though he won few
commitments of aid amid new U.N. warnings of food shortages in his country.

Officials in France, Tsvangirai's last stop on a nearly three-week tour,
offered political support but said any new aid would focus on
non-governmental organizations and not go directly to the power-sharing
government.

Many Western nations want authoritarian President Robert Mugabe to step down
and are reluctant to offer Zimbabwe major aid or donate money directly to
the government.

"Why are the funds going to NGOs and not the government? ... To us that is
neither here nor there," Tsvangirai told reporters in Paris. "The funds that
are being given are going to Zimbabweans."

Tsvangirai said he was "not disappointed at all" in the limited aid
commitments, insisting that his visits to foreign capitals were aimed at
building a "new foreign policy relationship."

"If our objective was to re-engage, it's very successful," he said.

Zimbabwe has had the highest inflation rate in the world, thousands of
people have died during a major cholera outbreak, and much of the population
lacks food. Many blame Mugabe but have been increasingly critical of
Tsvangirai, saying his government isn't moving fast enough to end his
country's economic and humanitarian crisis.

France's junior minister for cooperation, Alain Joyandet, said after meeting
Tsvangirai that specifics of French aid would be discussed later Thursday.

"France is beside and supports the unity government," Joyandet said. While
aid is currently focused on charity groups, he said, "things could be
progressive" toward direct government aid.

Tsvangirai met Thursday with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and
was to meet later with Prime Minister Francois Fillon. He will meet Friday
with Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, a group of leading French
executives and the director of the French Development Agency.

When Tsvangirai visited Britain this week, Prime Minister Gordon Brown
pledged 5 million pounds ($8.2 million) in new aid for food projects and
textbooks. Britain said aid would be distributed by charities.

Two U.N. food agencies said Thursday that Zimbabwe is still threatened by
food shortages despite improved agricultural production and more liberal
imports this year. The Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization and the
World Food Program said in a joint report that about 2.8 million people will
face food shortages this year, as the total cereal availability reaches 1.4
million tons against a projected need of 2.1 million tons.

Tsvangirai launched the tour saying he wasn't carrying a begging bowl but
wanted to mend his nation's relations with Western leaders, who accuse
Mugabe of trampling on democracy and ruining a once-vibrant economy.

In London, angry protesters shouted him off stage when he appealed to exiles
to return to the battered African nation. In Washington, President Barack
Obama made clear he's not convinced Tsvangirai can turn the country around
in partnership with Mugabe. The European Union told Tsvangirai it wants to
see improvements in human rights before restoring aid.


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France open to cancelling Zimbabwe debt

http://af.reuters.com/

Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:00pm GMT

By Estelle Shirbon

PARIS, June 25 - French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said on Thursday
France was open to discussions with Zimbabwe about cancelling the African
country's Paris Club debt.

Speaking after meeting Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Fillon
said if Zimbabwe gave guarantees that it would spend the savings on
development projects and if democracy took root in Zimbabwe then France
would consider a write-off.

"I indicated that France was prepared to renegotiate Zimbabwe's debt in the
framework of the Paris Club but with a specific offer from France which
would involve converting that aid (savings from a debt write off) into
development projects," Fillon said at a press conference with Tsvangirai.

But he said discussions with Zimbabwe on both debt and aid could take a
while and Thursday's meeting only marked the start of a discussion.

A French government official said the amount owed by Zimbabwe to France in
Paris Club debt was around 400 million euros.

France gave Zimbabwe around 6 million euros in aid last year and 3 million
euros so far this year and plans to continue at the same pace. The money is
directed towards food aid and the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The official said that the debt discussion would take years and that it
would be conducted in consultation with other Paris Club creditor nations.
Progress would very much depend on democracy taking hold in Zimbabwe and
economic reforms being implemented, the official said.

France is Zimbabwe's second biggest sovereign creditor.

Tsvangirai was in Paris on the last stop of a tour to Europe and the United
States to raise cash from donors. Zimbabwe says it needs $10 billion to
rebuild its shattered economy.

Tsvangirai joined a unity government with rival Mugabe in February to end a
political and economic crisis. Mugabe has ruled the southern African country
since independence from Britain in 1980 and critics say he has ruined a once
prosperous nation.


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Zimbabwe must respect human rights, France tells Tsvangirai

http://news.yahoo.com

PARIS (AFP) - French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner on Thursday reminded
Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of the need to respect human
rights and to have a free media in the shattered African state.

"The international community remains concerned about the rule of law in
Zimbabwe" and about the areas of security, media freedom and respect for
private property, Kouchner told the visiting prime minister.

Tsvangirai was in Paris on the latest leg of a tour that has taken him to
London, Washington, Berlin, Stockholm and Brussels to try to drum up support
for the "new" Zimbabwe.

Amnesty International said this week that Zimbabwe was suffering "persistent
and serious" human rights violations despite the new unity government
featuring Tsvangirai and his one-time bitter enemy President Robert Mugabe.

Tsvangirai told Kouchner during their meeting at an official lunch here that
"Zimbabwe is changing."

"After four months we have peace and stability. There is progress and I
would be the last one to say everything is rosy. The concern you have is
accepted, is a legitimate concern. The media are going to reopen," he said.

Tsvangirai and Mugabe on February 11 formed a power-sharing government
tasked with steering Zimbabwe back to stability after disputed elections
last year plunged the impoverished country even deeper into crisis.

With the shattered economy just turning a corner, Tsvangirai embarked on his
tour of foreign capitals looking for aid to help Zimbabwe emerge from years
of chaos that saw rampant inflation and forced many Zimbabweans to flee.


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Mugabe lambasts western 'imperialists' over sanctions

http://news.yahoo.com

HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Thursday castigated
western countries for refusing to lift sanctions against him and his inner
circle until the country's unity government introduced tangible reforms.

"'We will not lift sanctions', they say, and 'we will not give money except
the little pieces of silver for cholera and humanitarian assistance,'"
Mugabe told members of his party's consultative assembly in the capital.

Mugabe's statements came as Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai wound up a
three-week tour to Europe and the United States where leaders pledged
support but urged greater reform.

"'As long as that man is still there, as long as Mugabe is still there, you
will not get that money from us, you Tsvangirai,'" Mugabe said, mimicking
Western leaders during a speech broadcast on state television.

"Who are they to tell us you do this and that, reform this and that? We
don't tell them what they should do in their own countries," he said.

Both the European Union and the United States maintain a travel ban and
asset freeze on Mugabe, his wife and inner circle in protest at
controversial elections and alleged human rights abuses by his government.

The 85-year-old leader said "imperialists can never be friends" and that the
former British colony should instead look to the help of fellow African and
developing countries who offered assistance without conditions.

"Only a dead imperialist is a good one. We are Africans, our friends are
those of the African community, of the African continent, of the Non-Aligned
Movement, of the Third World, those we think like us, those who when they
assist you will not lay down conditions," he said.

"Leave those racists and imperialists in their own world."

Mugabe formed a power-sharing government with Tsvangirai in February nearly
a year after disputed elections.

The government has appealed for 8.3 billion US dollars to rebuild the
shattered economy, but the assistance has so far come in dribs and drabs.


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State concedes Mukoko's abduction was illegal

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Tichaona Sibanda
25 June 2009

A state prosecutor on Thursday conceded that the way human rights campaigner
Jestina Mukoko was abducted by state security agents, was illegal. The 53
year-old former news reader has taken her case to the Supreme Court, seeking
a permanent stay of her prosecution.
A full bench of the Supreme Court heard submissions from state prosecutor
Fatima Maxwell that they did not dispute Mukoko's evidence that she was
abducted and held incommunicado against her will, which also violated her
human rights.
Asked by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku if she was conceding that Mukoko's
abduction and detention were illegal, Maxwell replied; 'Yes my Lord.'
Advocate Jeremy Gauntlet who was representing Mukoko along with lawyer
Beatrice Mtetwa, had told the court that Mukoko's rights had been grossly
violated, including by being denied medication and a lawyer, and by being
kept in solitary confinement. She had also been tortured.
The state also conceded they did not dispute Mukoko's evidence and had not
questioned the security agents who had abducted her. Asked by the bench if
Mukoko statements were accurate, Maxwell said the allegations as they stand,
and if proved, were a clear violation of the three rights in the
constitution. These are the right to liberty, the protection of the law and
the right to freedom from torture.
The state however said the violations should not prevent Mukoko from being
prosecuted, but rather there should be a separate inquiry to investigate the
allegations. The court reserved judgment on the matter indefinitely. Defence
lawyer Alec Muchadehama explained that the court will take its time to
consider all the submissions from the state and defence, before it delivers
its judgement.
'It can be a week, a month but they will certainly deliver judgement,'
Muchadehama said, adding that the only way forward for the state now was to
withdraw the case altogether.
'It's the only practical thing for them to do now. If we had a proper
Attorney General or a proper Minister of Justice, we would likely not see
the continuation of this case. Jestina must not be prosecuted. The state
should actually turn to people who abducted her and lay charges of acting
outside the law,' Muchadehama said.


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Government finally retracts statements in compliance with High Court order

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

25 June 2009

By MISA

The Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity in a statement on 24 June
2009 said it had no intention of defying a provisional High Court order
granted in favour of four freelance journalists but attributed delays in
complying with the order in question to financial constraints. (Pictured:
Permanent Secretary George Charamba)

This followed High Court judge Justice Bharat Patel's provisional order on 5
June 2009 in favour of the challenge on the legality of the defunct Media
and Information Commission (MIC) lodged by four journalists Stanley Gama,
Valentine Maponga, Stanley Kwenda and Jealousy Mawarire. In their urgent
application the four journalists challenged the legality of accrediting with
the defunct MIC to cover the Common Market for East and Southern Africa
(COMESA) Summit which was underway in the resort town of Victoria Falls as
had been announced by the Ministry.

"We refer to the court order that was granted by way of interim relief in a
provisional order on 5 June 2009 by his Lordship, Justice Bharat Patel, in
the case of Stanly Gama and 3 Others v Minister of Media Information and
Publicity and 3 Others, Case No. HC 2355/2009.

"In compliance with the said court order, we unreservedly and
unconditionally retract and withdraw the contents of the said statement,"
reads part of the statement issued by the responsible Minister Webster Shamu
and his permanent secretary George Charamba. "We also wish to apologise for
the delay in issuing this statement, which was in itself caused by a delay
in receiving appropriate legal advice."

On 5 June 2009 Justice Patel granted the interim relief sought by the
journalists and ordered that the Minister and his Permanent Secretary George
Charamba issue a retraction on statements published on 22, 23 and 24 May
2009 relating to matters of accreditation of journalists and media houses by
the MIC and that the applicants be allowed to cover the Summit without
having to produce accreditation cards. The ministry, however, did not
comply with the order until the issuance of its statement on 24 June 2009.

Security agents barred the journalists from the summit venue on 7 June 2009
insisting that the journalists despite the production of the High Court
order could not cover the event as they were not on the Ministry of Media,
Information and Publicity's list of journalists accredited to cover the
summit.


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Zimbabweans Launch Process for New Constitution

http://www.voanews.com


By Peta Thornycroft
Harare
25 June 2009

Hundreds of Zimbabweans from political parties, civil rights organizations,
churches and ordinary citizens gathered Wednesday for the first public
hearings towards a new constitution organized by the transitional
four-month-old government of national unity. There were mixed reactions when
the multi-party steering committee of legislators kicked off the process by
explaining timelines and the process to achieve a new constitution.

About 1,500 people gathered at a Harare conference center and heard speakers
from the majority Movement for Democratic Change party, MDC, and the rival
Zanu-PF party say that the process will be people driven and that ordinary
voices will be more important than those of legislators in drawing up a new
constitution.

Kariba draft constitution

The only daily newspaper, which is the pro Zanu-PF, the Herald, carried a
supplement to coincide with the first hearing. It contains a draft
constitution written in a hurry in 2007 and known as the Kariba draft
constitution. Zanu-PF says this draft is its constitution of preference and
it retains enormous powers for an executive president. It was the Kariba
draft which President Robert Mugabe, who belongs to the ZANU-PF party,
refused to allow to be passed into law ahead of last year's elections won by
the MDC.

There was a jovial and relaxed mood among many delegates, but important
civil rights activists boycotted the launch because they say the process is
controlled by politicians.

Lovemore Madhuku, who leads the National Constitutional Assembly said that
he will not be involved in constitution writing because legislators, not the
people, will drive the process.

"Legislators said public hearings were being held in other centers around
the country, and that the process will take about a year to finalize before
a draft constitution will be tested by a referendum," said Madhuku.

Optimism meets skepticism

Many of those attending the first public hearing were hopeful and
optimistic, others were skeptical.

Churchman, Reverend Joseph Katife said it was a great day for him as the
people would be involved in producing a new constitution.

"It was good, because we have the time to communicate with the constitution
itself, to play a part in the constitution," he said. "I am going to be part
of writing that constitution."

Wonder Muvandi, a former policeman from eastern Zimbabwe, says that
parliament will produce the constitution and not the people and that the
first hearing showed few Zimbabweans even understand what the word
constitution means.

"The way they are handling the whole process is improper. They should have
started off by educating the people first about what the constitution is,"
said Muvandi. "People do not know what a constitution is. The constitution
making process is going to be very chaotic, it's not going to be in line,
and this will end up by parliament itself, on its own will come up with a
constitution for the people."

Some fear political manipulation

The few hundred remaining white farmers who survived Mr Mugabe's nine year
campaign against them say they have suffered more harrassment, invasions and
arrest since the establishment of the inclusive government.

Deon Theron, vice president of the Commercial Farmers' Union, says he fears
there will be political manipulation of the constitution making process.

"What is going to be the political influence on this whole thing, that is
everyone's concern, they keep saying it's going be people driven and the
people will decide, but if you look at the process at the back of your mind
you can still see the loopholes," Theron said. "Today we have got our first
get together and everyone is sitting with the Kariba draft in front of them
because it was in the papers today. Is that a coincidence? Of course it is
not."

MDC speakers received the most applause of all speakers at the first
hearing, but not all those who attended are politically aligned.


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Take part in the new constitution-making process

http://www.sokwanele.com/thisiszimbabwe/archives/4334

Please make sure you are a part of the new constitution making process.

Provincial consultative meetings for input into the agenda of and selection
of delegates to the First All-Stakeholders Conference are taking place
around the country. 27th June at 10 am - in Bulawayo, Lupane, Gweru,
Masvingo and Gwanda . Venues are being advertised in the press - The
Chronicle listed the City Hall for Bulawayo's venue.

Please spread the word to everyone.

This entry was posted by Sokwanele on Thursday, June 25th, 2009 at 1:41 pm


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Government urged to reveal truth about Chiadzwa diamond murders

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Alex Bell
25 June 2009

The government has been urged to reveal the truth about the mass murders at
the Chiadzwa diamond fields, after an MDC minister this week denied that any
killings had taken place.
There have been widespread accounts from survivors and human rights groups
about brutal killings and severe rights abuses at the eastern Marange
diamond fields, after the army moved in last October to disperse thousands
of illegal diamond hunters. But Deputy Mining Minister Murisi Zwizwai told
Wednesday's meeting of the Kimberley Process - the international scheme to
curb the sale of 'blood diamonds' - that the situation in Marange had been
brought under control and that claims of mass killings were 'unsubstantiated
reports'.
"Contrary to allegations in the media, nobody was killed by security forces
during an operation at Marange, where about 30,000 people descended onto the
alluvial mining field," Zwizwai told the 200 delegates at the conference in
Namibia.
"These people comprised of cunning, die-hard illegal diamond diggers,"
Zwizwai said. "This compelled government to conduct a special operation to
flush out the illegal diamond miners and to bring order and sanity to the
area."
Members of the Kimberley Process have been meeting in Namibia this week, as
pressure continues to mount on the regional body to effectively act on its
mission to combat the trade in blood diamonds. Zwizwai, representing
Zimbabwe, denied that diamonds leaving the country were 'blood diamonds',
saying that such conflict diamonds "are used by rebel movements or their
allies to finance conflict aimed at undermining legitimate governments."
"There is no armed conflict in Zimbabwe," Zwizwai said.
The question over whether Zimbabwe's diamonds can be categorised as
'conflict diamonds' has previously been raised, as the gems are helping fund
a government rather than a rebel army. But the leading architect of the
Kimberley Process, Ian Smillie, said in an interview on Wednesday that
Zimbabwe's diamonds are indeed blood diamonds. He said; "They have blood all
over them." Smillie has turned his back on the Kimberley Process, saying it
is no longer working. He has warned that the scheme is close to collapse
because governments and the diamond industry are failing to act against
gross human rights violations.
Civil society organisations have previously raised questions about the body's
ability to deal with the smuggling of diamonds in countries like Brazil,
Ivory Coast, Venezuela, Zimbabwe and Guinea. There are already calls to
suspend Zimbabwe from the Kimberly Process, mainly from NGOs, because there
are firm suspicions that illicit diamonds are entering the legitimate trade
stream.
"The clock is running out on the Kimberley Process credibility," said Annie
Dunnebacke from the London based action group, Global Witness. "It would be
scandalous if uncooperative governments like Zimbabwe in this case,
succeeded in hobbling it into ineffectiveness," Dunnebacke told SW Radio
Africa on Thursday.
Dunnebacke continued that the Zimbabwean government cannot keep hiding the
truth about the Marange killings from the Kimberley Process, which is set to
send a review team to Zimbabwe next week.
"This is a very concerning move by the Zimbabwe government," Dunnebacke
said. "We are concerned that the review team sent by the Kimberly Process
might not be given full access to the areas they need to visit and the
people they need to speak to."
"We are urging the government to reveal the truth about what has happened
there, so that the rectification of human rights violations can begin,"
Dunnebacke added.


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ZANU PF Supporters Confiscate Tsvangirai's Newsletter

http://www.radiovop.com

MASVINGO, June 25 2009 - Hordes of ZANU PF supporters who were in a
party vehicle descended upon two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
supporters who were distributing Prime Minister and party leader Morgan
Tsvangirai's newsletter and confiscated it.

RadioVOP witnessed the incident on Thursday afternoon along Robert
Mugabe way in the city center, near Zimbank.

The militia, who were putting on ZANU PF regalia, abruptly stopped the
car and jumped out before snatching the Newsletter from the unnoticing MDC
supporters, and sped away.

The youths were numbering about ten. RadioVOP failed to get the
registration number of the vehicle as the incident happened quickly.

"This is bad. They accuse MDC of being violent, but look what did they
just do to us. You are journalists, you have seen it for yourselves," said
Kennias Munanga, an MDC activist who was also distributing the newsletter to
hundreds of rural teachers who were queuing for their salaries.

His colleague, Edmore Chirichoga, said they were going to make a
police report.

"They should know that we are also ruling, our party leader is the
prime minister. We are going to make a police report and we want to see what
the police will do with this issue. After all, what we were doing is legal
as we want to inform the public about what really is going on with the PM's
tour, not the lies they get from the state media," he said.

ZANU PF provincial chairman, Lovemore Matuke, who professed ignorance
over the matter, however blasted the 'nave youths' for such 'intolerance'.

"I will investigate the matter, but I think if it is true, then those
youths are nave and still have a hangover because we are now in an
inclusive government which calls for tolerance," said Matuke, a former Gutu
Central legislator.

The newsletter, published by the office of the PM, which was
criticized by Information and Publicity secretary and Mugabe's spokesperson,
George Charamba, has hit the streets once again where it has proved to be
popular with the people.

It had a screaming headline, 'EU salutes Tsvangirai' with a picture of
the PM and Vice Chancellor Angela Merkel inspecting a guard of honour in
Berlin, something which could have irked ZANU PF, given that the liberation
party has no official mouthpiece of late following the closure of its
publication, The Voice.

The Voice last hit the streets in February and since then it has never
published due to viability problems.


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USAID giving $1 million to project for southern Africa's disaster-stricken Zambezi River basin


http://www.orlandosentinel.com

MICHELLE THERIAULT | Associated Press Writer
11:03 AM EDT, June 25, 2009
JOHANNESBURG (AP) - The U.S. development agency said Thursday it has
committed $1 million to a project that aims to help people living along
southern Africa's Zambezi River cope with worsening natural disasters
because of climate change.

The Zambezi River flows from Zambia to Mozambique, passing through places
like Botswana and Zimbabwe on its way to the Indian Ocean.

For the 32 million people who live in the Zambezi's basin - some of the
world's poorest - the river is a source of transportation, jobs and fertile
soil for agriculture. But it also brings misery with a cycle of flood and
drought that displaces hundreds of thousands of people annually.

Extreme flooding and dry spells destroy crops and cause food shortages,
while receding waters leave cholera, dysentery and malaria.

Climate change is exacerbating the effects of an already precarious
situation, according to Red Cross disaster management coordinator Farid
Abdulkadir.

"Climate change is real; it is affecting us in Africa and it will get worse
over time," he said.

This year's flood season was unusually severe: In Namibia alone, 90 people
were killed and more than 276,000 were displaced. Growing concern about the
impact of flooding spurred the Red Cross to create the Zambezi River Basin
Initiative.

The Red Cross project will coordinate efforts in the seven nations that the
river winds through - Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia
and Zimbabwe.

Projects will boost early warning systems and local training for disaster
management, as well provide funds for malaria, cholera, and HIV/AIDS
awareness and prevention projects.

"You're preparing people to adapt to a situation they have to live with for
many years to come," Abdulkadir said.

It's the right approach, said Harlan V. Hale, the principal regional adviser
for USAID Southern Africa. The agency's $1 million commitment is the first
step in funding the $8.6 million three-year initiative. Focusing efforts on
prevention and preparedness could save lives, property and disaster response
funds.

"It makes good economic sense in the long run," he said.

The Red Cross hopes that the initiative will also highlight the humanitarian
impact of climate change in the lead-up to December's climate accord talks
in Copenhagen - an event that will coincide with the beginning of another
flood season along the Zambezi River.


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The bad news of a relatively good maize harvest


Photo: Anna Jefferys/IRIN
More maize from less land
JOHANNESBURG , 25 June 2009 (IRIN) - A more than two fold increase in Zimbabwe's production of its staple, maize, in 2009 will not be enough to rid the country of food insecurity.

A crop report by the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP), released on 25 June, said: "National production of maize in 2009 is estimated at 1.14 million tons, an increase of 130 percent on that of the record low harvest of 2008 [471,000 tons]. Total domestic cereal availability for 2009/10 is estimated to be 1.39 million tons."

WFP spokesperson Peter Smerdon told IRIN the maize harvest "looks very good, but last year was very bad". National food requirement is around 1.7 million tons.

The increase in maize production is tempered by the forecast for a winter wheat crop of just 12,000 tons, "the lowest ever and dramatically down from 242,000 tons in 2006," a consequence of high input costs, "financial liquidity" problems and intermittent electricity supplies to power irrigation equipment.

Initial forecasts were that about 2.8 million people would require food assistance by March 2010, a substantial decrease from the 7 million beneficiaries during the March 2009 "lean season" - the month prior to the main harvest in April.

Smerdon said 600,000 people were already receiving food assistance as part of WFP's safety net programme and estimates of those requiring food relief could be revised after vulnerability assessment in August determines the level of assistance required.

The June 2008 FAO/WFP crop assessment initially forecast that 5.1 million people would require food aid in the first quarter of 2009, but this number increased to 7 million. A shortfall in donor funding resulted in WFP reducing cereal rations to 5kg per person - less than half the recommended monthly minimum of 12kg.

WFP's Jan Delbaere, a co-leader of the crop assessment mission, said in a statement: "This year's improved harvest comes after two consecutive years of poor production, having depleted their food stocks and sold livestock and other assets to cope with the effects of recent crises, many rural households are still struggling to survive."

Declining population

The crop assessment report attributed a better maize harvest to "well-distributed rainfall ... in spite of the fact that inputs such as improved seeds, fertilizer, fuel and draught power were in short supply and expensive."

"With the total utilization of cereals at about 2.07 million tons including 1.74 million tons for direct human consumption for the revised projected population of 11 million, the resulting cereal import requirement is estimated at 680,000 tons, of which the maize deficit accounts for about 70 percent," the report said.

Zimbabwe's population decline from more than 12 million to 11 million was cited as being caused by HIV/AIDS deaths and a "significant amount of out-migration" caused by the collapse of the country's economy.

The Central Statistics Office "accepts a low figure of 350,000 as out-migrants since 2002. On the other hand the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has been using three million as a planning figure for the purpose of remittance calculations."

More maize from less land

The increased maize production was achieved despite a reduced area under cultivation from 1.7 million hectares in 2008 to 1.4 million in 2009 and "had rainfall this year been similar to that of 2007/08 production might have been disastrously low."

''Seed and fertilizer worth US$ 31 million were donated by SADC [Southern African Development Community] but in most areas they were delivered too late for effective use''
A limited availability of agricultural inputs, high costs, late deliveries and the unsuitability of certain seeds combined to constrain maize production.

"Seed and fertilizer worth US$ 31 million were donated by SADC [Southern African Development Community] but in most areas they were delivered too late for effective use ... [and] was not always the most suitable for the agro-ecological zones where it was distributed," the report said.

A lack of animal draught power was also being compounded by food insecurity as livestock was slaughtered in the wake of the poor 2007/2008 harvest.

"In late 2008 many smallholders sold off their livestock, including cattle, in order to raise money for food, transport, school fees and other expenses following the poor main harvest. Undoubtedly some of these cattle were sold to larger farmers wishing to increase their herd size," the report said.

Among its recommendations was emergency assistance by both government and the international community for the delivery of quality seed by September 2009 - a few months ahead of the planting season. The two UN agencies also called for the provision of credit lines and contractual guarantees for the purchase of inputs, the revival of agricultural extension officers and the rehabilitation of small-scale irrigation schemes.

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


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Diasporans Remit More than US$500m'

http://www.radiovop.com


HARARE, June 24 2009 - Zimbabweans in the diaspora are remitting
between USd600 million and USd1 billion a year, helping prop up the economy,
Economic Planning and Development Minister Elton Mangoma, has said.

According to reports from the United Kingdom, Minister Mangoma told
the 6th International Mining in Africa Conference in London on Tuesday that
although it was difficult to quantify inflows from Zimbabweans working
abroad, the amount was more than half a billion dollars.

Minister Mangoma said there were between three and four million
Zimbabweans living outside the country, mostly in South Africa and Britain.

"It is hard to quantify the amounts Zimbabweans living in the diaspora
send home, but put it at between US$600 million and US$1 billion a year," he
said.

The swearing-in of a Government of national unity and the foreign
currency market liberalisation helped shore up Zimbabwe's credit lines,
allowing money to flow in and inject life into the economy.

Minister Mangoma said Zimbabwe now had credit facilities of around
US$2 billion, money that was being poured into retail for restocking of
shelves with goods, into production for raw materials and to an extent into
capital equipment.

"There are people who were sitting on the fence who are now coming in.

"The stock market in particular has shown rapid growth, with mining
stocks up more than 240 percent since February," he said.

He said foreign investors were also looking at opportunities in the
country's mining sector, especially deposits of platinum, gold and diamonds.

While some had ventured back, Mr Mangoma said, others were waiting for
the strengthening of the legal framework in the country.

He said the country's economy had turned around in the past four
months, with employment and industrial capacity use doubling and the once
record-breaking inflation was under control.

He said the recovery followed an effective dollarisation of the
economy, which has helped spur foreign investment and prompted Zimbabweans
in the Diaspora to send more remittances home.

"When we came into office in February, we had employment of six
percent and capacity utilisation of less than 10 percent," he said.

"Our production capacity has now gone up to between 20 percent and 30
percent and employment is now around 15 percent, and those who are employed
are a lot more secure because they can see that the companies are a lot more
steady."

Over the same period, since the formation of the GNU in February,
inflation has fallen rapidly from its once astronomical 200 million percent,
while growth has begun to pick up.

"This year we are looking at growth rates of anything between three
and five percent," said Minister Mangoma.

"From next year onwards, we are looking at double-digit growth from a
very low base. At least for the next 10 years, we can look at double digit
Gross Domestic Product growth rates."

He said the country would stabilise with an inflation rate of "no more
than three percent" by December adding that this would be a sustained rate.
He said interest rates had come down, with the highest rate at 15
percent and broad borrowing costs at around 8 percent.

"As the risk factor goes down, the interest rates will come down with
it. So in fact, I don't expect there to be any pressure on inflation because
of interest rates," he said. (Chronicle)


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As a nation we complain too much and do little

http://www.thezimbabwetimes.com/?p=18824

June 25, 2009

By Mai Kubatana

ANGRY? Quit complaining. Come up with solutions.

Some people at Southwark Cathedral shouted down the Prime Minister. Some
people on the internet blogs are saying it sounds in London interviews like
he is being too accommodating to President Mugabe.

They are angry, some even feeling betrayed. Without doubt, many are true
victims and may God bless them.

But let's be honest with ourselves. If we wanted real dramatic change, when
the election was stolen in 2002 or 2008, then we could have done what the
people in Iran have done.

But we didn't. A few people like WOZA get arrested time and again for
peaceful public activities. Sometimes NCA does, too. I don't know who else,
not many images of Zimbabweans on the streets protesting their stolen vote.

So I say if we aren't going to be part of the solution, like the people of
Iran, then really, what good does it do to be part of the problem by picking
away at leaders who have pragmatically committed to reconciliation,
including President Mugabe. Enough already.

Things are not perfect. My friends are still struggling mightily. 150 days
cannot undo 150 months.

When I hear the heckling I think we are actually saying to the Prime
Minister, "I want the stores empty again, as a matter of principle. And
since things aren't perfect, why not let's close the schools again, until
they are. Why? Because we just think you are being too nice to the President
and we all want to suffer until things are perfect. Perfect or else!"

Friends, we could have marched through Harare with signs saying "Where is
our vote?" We didn't. I for one was too scared. Now I see on TV every minute
these brave people in Iran. But that is not the path we took, is it? No. We
were too afraid, or too something. I don't know what. We thought somebody
would solve our problem for us. And when they didn't, we started fighting
and finger-pointing amongst ourselves. We never pointed the finger at our
own selves.

Politics in Zimbabwe doesn't need to a zero-sum game. When we, the people,
change the Constitution, it does not have to be Winner-Take-All like it is
now. It can be a proportional representation like in South Africa. It's
better for stability. Worse for accountability. Is anyone talking about
this?

I'm sorry people but it seems like we always are acting like victims for
this reason or that reason. "The old government is bad", we said. "The new
government is bad", some say now.

These people in London, how rough is life for them there? Maybe that's one
reason they heckled the PM. I bet they don't want to return because they
have got used to being in England. Some might be afraid, true enough, but
let's be honest, it might be expensive but it's an interesting life.

In closing, I ask these people who fled to the streets of London (who
complain to each other in bars and on safe street corners far from danger)
about our leaders and their cars and so on and so forth, I ask all
Zimbabwean citizens with so many complaints in their mouths - "Where were
you on March 30, 2008, or on March 12, 2002? Were you on the streets?

Right. So, let us try to honour the spirit of peace and reconciliation and
quit being permanent victims. Yes, we were victims; beaten, tortured, lost
our livelihoods, family members. I write from experience. But for now
comrades let's come up with solutions. I am so tired of hearing people think
they can do better than this govt.

But no one ever says how!! What is the alternative???


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Have faith in Zimbabwe's resurrection

http://www.guardian.co.uk

Tsvangirai's fundraising failures are already being mocked by his opponents.
If he stumbles, the unity government could implode

Simon Tisdall
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 25 June 2009 13.30 BST

In his long years in opposition as leader of the Movement for Democratic
Change, Morgan Tsvangirai was abused, hounded, arrested and sometimes beaten
by officials and security forces acting on orders from the president, Robert
Mugabe. As Zimbabwe's prime minister in a power-sharing government,
Tsvangirai now finds himself obliged to deal face to face with the man who
persecuted him so unceasingly. It has been a "dramatic" experience, he says.

"It's too early to say I trust him [Mugabe] wholly but where we differ, we
differ respectfully," Tsvangirai said in London this week. "We meet
regularly to discuss government business. I am the last person to defend his
past. But we will work together to improve the country ... The inclusive
government gives him an opportunity to restore his legacy ... It's up to
him." It was still possible, he said, for Mugabe to make "a dignified exit".

Tsvangirai's forgiving attitude towards what he called Zimbabwe's
"flamboyant tyranny" has elicited little in the way of reciprocal
magnanimity during his three-week tour of the US and Europe, which ended in
France today. From Germany to the US to Britain, his appeals for aid and
investment met a mixture of suspicion and caution. Most governments, and
many Zimbabwean exiles, continue to question his chances of instituting
genuine democratic reform while Mugabe remains in power.

Gordon Brown was more encouraging than many when he met Tsvangirai on
Monday, pointing to "great signs of progress" and adding 5m to the 15m in
humanitarian aid pledged in April. "We are prepared to go further in
offering more transitional support if the reform programme on the ground
gains momentum," Brown said. But like other European leaders, he warned that
Britain would not turn a blind eye to continuing human rights abuses,
corruption, arbitrary arrests and farm seizures.

"It [the power-sharing government] is beginning to work, although there are
plenty of pitfalls. Mr Mugabe could easily try to go back on his word and
grab absolute power again," Mark Malloch-Brown, Britain's Africa minister,
told the Times. Amnesty International also noted that while political
violence had lessened, "the human rights situation remains fragile and the
social and economic situation is grim".

This wariness is widely shared, as shown by the significant undershoot in
the amount of funds Tsvangirai was able to raise. Before setting out, MDC
officials suggested his target was between $700m and $1bn. It's estimated
that the actual take was closer to $200m, including $73m from the US. Most
of the funding will be disbursed through NGOs or international agencies
rather than sent directly to Tsvangirai's government. All his host
governments seem to have given Tsvangirai the same message: if you want
more, you must do better.

This could turn out to be a tragically short-sighted approach. Tsvangirai is
already being mocked at home by Zanu-PF opponents and Mugabe toadies for
failing to obtain greater western assistance. This demonstrated both his
personal ineffectiveness and his foolhardiness in asking Zimbabwe's
"enemies" for help, they say. The prime minister has agreed an 18-month
timetable for political reform with Mugabe. But this limited period is
becoming the measure of Tsvangirai's ability to deliver broader, overall
economic and social improvements. If he stumbles, the unity government could
implode. And what then?

Tsvangirai appears more attuned to this danger than some of his western
interlocutors, hence the passionate urgency of his appeals. "Zimbabwe is in
a difficult transition and requires massive moral and material support," he
told an audience at the Chatham House thinktank. "Transitions by their very
nature can be extremely difficult periods in a nation's history ... We have
our own nail-biting challenges as hardliners who realise they are losing
their grip on power play opportunistic games designed to frustrate the
national sentiment."

But his government did not seek to apportion blame, did not seek retribution
and would welcome a process of national reconciliation, he said. And it had
achieved much in a short space of time, including reining in inflation,
reopening schools and hospitals, embarking on constitutional reform ahead of
new elections, and relaxing media controls.

"I am aware that suspicions abound as to whether the country is likely to
slide back in to the past once our former adversaries garner sufficient
breathing space," he said. But a permanent, transformational shift was under
way. "As a society, we were near death, and we have come back to life."
Setting aside the past, Britain and the west should have faith in this
resurrection.


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Tsvangirai's ambiguous trip

Comment from BBC News, 24 June

In our series of weekly viewpoints from African journalists, columnist and
filmmaker Farai Sevenzo considers Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai's week.

In the end he arrived in the West's capitals like a collection of many
personalities: The messenger, the fledgling diplomat, the suffering
leader-turned-prime minister, the widower, the money-raiser, the prophet of
hope sailing on rough seas of scepticism. In a packed week, Morgan
Tsvangirai was greeted in Washington, Oslo, Stockholm, Berlin, Brussels like
the acceptable face of a country one remembers for the wrong reasons. US
President Barack Obama greeted him in the Oval Office and for the first time
in a long, long time the sight of the Zimbabwean flag placed by a podium in
close proximity to the host's stars and stripes seemed to say - yes, the
broken country is on its way to being mended. After all here is a man who
has known beatings and jail standing next to President Obama, next to
Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and putting his country's case to the
world. Surely something is going to give?

But as usual, views about Mr Tsvangirai remained polarised: Is he raising
money for his Movement of Democratic Change party or the people of Zimbabwe?
Is he in charge or is the old man, President Robert Mugabe, above him the
new puppeteer? Why is he being treated like a long lost relative by these
people who have banned President Mugabe's cabinet from travelling? Why is he
being saluted by the German defence forces as if he is the head of state?
How much is all of this costing? The questions were all over the place. And
depending on the answers you were looking for it was agreed that the man who
entered into a pact with the people who once beat him, refused to salute him
and killed hundreds of his supporters had gone through a kind of practical
conversion in order for his broken country to be mended.

There was no time to dwell on the gruesome details of the past. All the
world needed to know was that Zimbabwe was now stable - there is food in the
shops, the 500bn% inflation has vanished like a witch in the night to leave
3% as the shining new number. And the 100 trillion Zimbabwe dollar note can
be found in wallets from Harare to Helsinki only as souvenirs of the kind of
figures which give calculators a heart attack. But as soon the wandering
prophet paints this version of peace, unity and development, Amnesty
International lands in Zimbabwe and says the picture on his canvas is pure
fiction: Human rights are still precarious; citizens are still living in
fear; the poor have no real hope of laying their hands on scarce foreign
currency, which is the only currency in circulation. That freedom of
expression and the right to protest is tied to police beatings and that
human rights defenders, including journalists and lawyers, continue to be
intimidated, harassed, threatened and charged.

And, tellingly, that the sweet words which laid the foundation for the unity
government had not been followed by action. "The government must give as
much attention to securing human rights reforms as they are to seeking
economic reforms," Irene Khan, secretary general of Amnesty International
said. And behold the miracle of miracles - she was saying this in a Harare
press conference. Surely change is in the air? Then the wandering prophet
arrived in London. The thousands of exiled Zimbabweans who gathered to hear
from the man they have only seen on news footage fighting enormous demons in
a political life that required courage and tenacity focussed their mobile
phone cameras on him. They were like music lovers at a pop concert
committing a star to memory. But when he uttered those words, "It is time to
go home", the crowd turned against Prime Minister Tsvangirai and shouted
their disapproval. "Not yet," they said. "Mugabe must go!"

They wondered how they could return to a country with no jobs, how they
could uproot their children from this exiled life to a life of uncertainty
and fear. Now, I've never understood this need for asylum, and perhaps I'm
lucky, but I go in and out of my home country as often as the pennies
permit. But there are thousands who say they fled to the United Kingdom in
search of asylum from rape, torture and persecution. So the prime minister's
words were in one stroke killing the legitimacy of their status. "I am not
saying you have to leave today," said the prime minister. "But you should
start thinking about it." They did not seem convinced. They said he was
speaking just like Mugabe and heckled and booed him so much that his Moses
speech to the exiled children of the broken country had to be cut short.
Somewhere in a presidential residence in Harare, a man may have seen the
prime minister's week on the news, and smiled.

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