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MDC accuses Mugabe of manipulating voter registration

Zim Online

Thursday 28 June 2007

By Regerai Marwezu and Patricia Mpofu
HARARE - Zimbabwe opposition parties on Wednesday accused the government of
attempting to rig next year's elections even before a single ballot was cast
by instructing officials to turn away thousands of opposition supporters
wishing to register for the polls.
The two factions of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party said thousands of potential voters in the party's strongholds and
youths, known for their dislike of the government, had been denied
permission to register in an ongoing exercise to register voters for the
joint presidential and parliamentary elections.
The Registrar General's department had also opened few voter registration
centres in urban areas that are hotbeds of opposition support in what the
MDC and the smaller United People's Party (UPP) charged was a ploy by the
government to gain an unfair advantage by ensuring fewer opposition
supporters were able to register to vote.
"We have encountered a plethora of obstacles. People suspected of being
sympathetic to the MDC are being denied the chance to register . . . this is
a nationwide problem," said Nelson Chamisa, spokesman of the main faction of
the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai.
Chamisa said in rural areas chiefs and other traditional leaders, who are
well known for their loyalty to President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU
PF party had been tasked to screen and vet people wishing to register and
opposition supporters were being blocked by the chiefs.
Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede dismissed as false and the "usual game of
complaining by the opposition" charges that his officials were denying the
opposition supporters the chance to register to vote.
However, opposition leaders were adamant that the voter registration
exercise was skewed in order to ensure fewer of their supporters were
eligible to vote next year.
For example, Abednico Bhebhe, who is a legislator and deputy spokesman for
the smaller faction of the MDC led by Arthur Mutambara, said in his
constituency of Nkayi in Matabeleland North province, some registration
officials were telling villagers that the current exercise was to register
people wanting national identity documents and not voters.
"We feel this is an anomaly when people should be getting registered to vote
next year," said Bhebhe.
The UPP's director of elections, Anthony Kundishora, told ZimOnline: "Scores
of our supporters particularly youths who have just turned 18 have
approached our offices complaining that they have been denied the chance to
register."
The voter registration exercise began on the 18th of this month and will end
on August 17 this year.
Political analysts say Mugabe's government could lose next year's poll
because of a deep economic recession that has spawned hyperinflation,
poverty and severe shortages of food, fuel, hard cash and just about every
basic survival commodity.
Mugabe and ZANU PF, in power since Zimbabwe's 1980 independence from
Britain, have lost support in urban areas where the economic crisis has hit
hardest. However, the veteran President and his party still enjoy residual
support in rural areas.
The MDC, which insists the political field is heavily tilted in favour of
Mugabe and ZANU PF, has said it will wait for the outcome of South African
President Thabo Mbeki-led talks before deciding whether to contest next year's
polls.
Mbeki was last March appointed by Southern African Development Community
(SADC) leaders to head efforts to seek a solution to Zimbabwe's seven-year
old political impasse between Mugabe's ZANU PF and the MDC.
The SADC brokered dialogue is among other issues expected to tackle the
question of levelling of the political field and elimination of political
violence to ensure next year's polls are credible and truly democratic. -
ZimOnline


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Soldiers raid shops to enforce price freeze

Zim Online

Thursday 28 June 2007

By Farisai Gonye
HARARE - Soldiers patrolled parts of Harare's volatile working class suburbs
on Wednesday forcing retailers to reduce prices as President Robert Mugabe's
government moved to enforce a general freeze on prices announced earlier
this week.
Members of the government's youth militia - known for committing violence
against Mugabe's opponents - assisted the soldiers as they entered shops at
random to check on prices of mostly basic commodities.
The raids on shops by soldiers and youths came as a tough-talking Mugabe
later on in the day warned company owners and executives who are resisting
last Tuesday's order to roll back prices to June 18 levels that his
government would jail them as well as seize their businesses.
A ZimOnline correspondent witnessed a unit of seven soldiers threatening
some retailers in the low-income suburb of Highfield with violence if they
did not mark down prices.
The frightened shop owners complied as members of the public immediately
formed queues to buy the commodities that were now going for about half the
original price.
"This is pure, officialised looting," said an angry shop owner, who declined
to have his name published.
There were similar raids in parts of Kuwadzana and Budiriro suburbs but it
was not clear if the soldiers extended their patrols to all suburbs.
"I closed the shop and left the scene after they forced a colleague who has
a shop next to mine to reduce prices . . . what kind of country would allow
soldiers to take over private businesses that we toiled to start?" he fumed,
but was also very careful to insist his name not be published.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president Callisto Jokonya tried
to put up a brave face, insisting business would not reduce prices of
commodities unless there was corresponding reduction in production costs.
"The reports that some uniformed people are forcing businesses to sell goods
at a loss are unfortunate. But we cannot comply with the directive until
there are corresponding reduction in production costs," he said.
The government insists an unprecedented spate of price increases that has
seen prices of basic goods rising fourfold within the past week was
unjustified and that some in the business community were working with its
western enemies to sabotage the economy and incite popular revolt.
Economists say price increases reflect a sharp depreciation in the value of
the Zimbabwe dollar, which has lost more than 125 percent of its value over
the past three weeks and continues sliding faster than any other currency on
earth.
They only say comprehensive political and economic reforms could stop the
economy from bleeding, stem runaway inflation and bring price stability on
the market.
Inflation - pegged at more than 4 500 percent and the highest in the
world -- is the most visible sign of Zimbabwe's deep recession that has left
more than 80 percent of workers without jobs and spawned severe shortages of
food, fuel, hard cash and just about every basic survival commodity. -
ZimOnline


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Police lift ban on political rallies

Zim Online

Thursday 28 June 2007

By Farisai Gonye
HARARE - Zimbabwean police on Wednesday lifted a ban on political meetings
and demonstrations that was imposed in Harare last March.
Police spokesperson Oliver Mandipaka told ZimOnline yesterday that the ban,
which was renewed last week, had been lifted saying that political parties
and civic groups were now free to hold rallies and demonstrations in Harare.
Mandipaka said political parties must however first seek police permission
before holding any meetings in line with the country's security laws.
"We have dispatched letters to all political parties informing them of the
new development. Several recent developments have necessitated this," said
Mandipaka, refusing to elaborate.
The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party last week
accused President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party of negotiating in bad
faith after the police renewed the ban on political meetings in Harare.
The MDC is involved in talks with ZANU PF in a bid to break Zimbabwe's
seven-year political stalemate.
MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa confirmed last night that the ban on rallies
had been lifted.
"Yes we received a letter from the police (notifying us that the ban had
been lifted). But we don't regard it as a gift from ZANU PF. There are
elections next year and it is our right to mobilize and organize our
supporters.
"We are still skeptical though because this might just be a window dressing
exercise to please Mbeki and other observers," said Chamisa.
Insiders within the government said pressure from South Africa's President
Thabo Mbeki who is leading the regional efforts to search for a solution on
the crisis in Zimbabwe had forced Harare to lift the ban.
"There has been a lot of pressure on ZANU PF to level the playing field. On
the other hand, Mugabe, more than ever is desperate to keep the MDC in the
talks.
"Mugabe is cornered and sees the talks as a way to buy time. He also knows
SADC (Southern African Development Community) would withdraw promises of a
financial rescue package if the talks collapse this early and he is seen as
the reason for the collapse," said the source last night.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of a severe economic crisis that has manifested
itself in rampant inflation of 4 500 percent, massive joblessness and
poverty.
Political analysts say Zimbabwe's economic collapse could sweep away Mugabe
from power with United States ambassador Christopher Dell predicting last
week that the Zimbabwean government could collapse within the next six
months. - ZimOnline


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ACP-EU seeks to send fact-finding mission to Harare

Zim Online

Thursday 28 June 2007

By Sebastian Nyamhangambiri in Wiesbaden, Germany
WIESBADEN - The African Caribbean and Pacific-European Union (ACP-EU) joint
assembly on Wednesday resolved to ask the Zimbabwe government to accept a
fact finding mission to probe human rights abuses in the country after
Harare turned down a similar request last March.
"We are going to write to the speaker of the Zimbabwe Parliament (John
Nkomo) requesting to send a mission there," ACP-EU joint assembly
co-president Radembino-Conquest told reporters. "We hope his attitude will
have changed this time."
The ACP-EU said the mission would seek to check on the political and
economic crisis as well as alleged violation of human rights abuses in
Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwean government last March blocked an attempt by the ACP-EU
assembly to send a fact-finding mission to Harare following the brutal
assault of main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
spokesperson Nelson Chamisa.
Chamisa was brutally assaulted by suspected state security agents at Harare
International airport while on his way to Brussels to attend an ACP-EU
meeting.
Chamisa assault came hardly a few weeks after state agents also brutally
tortured MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and several other opposition leaders
after they attempted to attend a prayer rally the police had ordered
cancelled.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of an deep economic recession that has spawned
hyperinflation, food shortages and worsened poverty while fuelling political
tensions in the once prosperous country.
On Wednesday, Mugabe threatened to nationalise mines and businesses he
accused of externalising funds and hiking prices of basic commodities to aid
Western attempts to sabotage the economy and bring down his government.
Prices of basic commodities have been on an upward spiral for the past three
weeks, rising by more than 500 percent during the period.
Economists say price increases reflect a sharp depreciation in the value of
the Zimbabwe dollar, which has lost more than 125 percent of its value over
the past three weeks and continues sliding faster than any other currency on
earth.
The resolution by the ACP-EU to probe Zimbabwe's turmoil came after heated
debate as delegates from Sudan, Botswana and South African vociferously
objected, saying there was no need for the assembly to even debate Zimbabwe
because President Thabo Mbeki was already leading regional efforts to secure
a political settlement in Zimbabwe.
Mbeki has promised to report progress when SADC next meets in the Zambian
capital, Lusaka this weekend.
The ACP-EU assembly - which is expected to also discuss the crisis in Sudan's
Darfur region at its on-going meeting in Wiesbaden, Germany - had earlier
agreed not to pass any formal resolution on Zimbabwe because the African
country is not represented at the meeting.
The Zimbabwe government withdrew its delegation to the meeting claiming the
move was in protest against Germany's refusal to grant visas to two ruling
legislators of Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party who were to be part of the
delegation. - ZimOnline


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War Vets Reserve Force: Counting the cost of doing Mugabe's bidding

Zim Online

Thursday 28 June 2007

By Wilfred Mhanda
HARARE - Statutory Instrument 64 of 2007, the Defence (War Veterans Reserve)
Regulations, established a reserve force of the army to be known as the 'war
veterans reserve'.
The motive or rationale for the establishment of the force was never made
clear nor were the generality of the former liberation war fighters
themselves and the public at large ever consulted on the establishment of
the force.
This is typical of President Robert Mugabe regime's arrogant and
authoritarian rule. Everything is decreed.
In the circumstances, it is only fair to speculate on Mugabe's need for a
force composed of war veterans at this point in time.
Zimbabwe is neither at war with any neighbouring or foreign country nor does
it face any potential military threat from anywhere let alone from within
the region.
Even when the country was involved in wars in Mozambique and the Democratic
Republic of the Congo, the need for such a force was never mooted.
The interrogation of the need for a war veterans reserve force now is
therefore pertinent.
The only potent threat that the Mugabe regime could possibly face today is
the threat of revolt by its disgruntled populace that has exhausted its
forbearance.
The regime has presided over the demise of the country's economy that has in
turn precipitated a humanitarian catastrophe of untold proportions and
wrought untold misery and suffering; unprecedented in the country's history.
The majority of the country's people have been reduced to paupers who
struggle on the lifeline of survival and extinction year in and year out
prompting a mass exodus to neighbouring countries and further a field.
For many, basic existence has lost its meaning and significance.
In other words, if the Mugabe regime is facing any threat at all, that
threat can only be the threat of revolt by its severely repressed populace
and the former fighters are being enlisted as foot soldiers against the same
people that they took up arms to liberate.
To all intents and purposes, it would be the ultimate undoing of liberation
by the supposed 'liberators'. Nothing could be more diabolical and
irresponsible for the former 'liberators' to do.
This would in essence put the last nail on the coffin of the already
battered and soiled image and reputation of the former gallant fighters for
liberation.
This would not be the first time that the former fighters have been set
against the suffering masses by Mugabe, in pursuit of 'political cleansing'.
The destructive, violent and chaotic farm invasions of the early 2000s and
the violence and anarchy that characterised the 2000 and 2002 general and
presidential elections respectively (if one has the audacity to term them as
such!) were conducted in their name.
All the evil, violence, murders, deaths, torture, rape, intimidation,
forcible displacements, expropriation and destruction of homes and property
were ascribed to them, leaving the puppet master and his hangers on with
'clean hands'.
The former fighters were made to spearhead the fight against the very same
ideals that they had taken up arms and sacrificed life, limb and depravation
for viz. freedom, democracy, social justice, human dignity and peace.
All this was part of Mugabe's evil design to besmirch the honour and
reputation of the former fighters so as to alienate them from the populace
whilst at the same time being the beneficiary of their misdeeds.
Mugabe and his cronies got everything from the mayhem of the early 2000s
whereas the former fighters themselves had nothing to show after the loot.
That is called killing two birds with one stone.
For the record, no former freedom fighter ever got a farm from the invasions
before the year 2002 despite being 'touted' as the flag bearers of the
invasions.
Chenjerai Hunzvi himself died a pauper without even a single farm and his
sidekicks, Joseph Chinotimba and others only got them after 2002.
However, what the former fighters as a category got from the reprehensible
and counter-productive process was alienation from the populace,
denigration, loss of respect and public standing in the eyes of the nation,
notwithstanding the fact that the atrocities were perpetrated by a minority
of rogue war veterans and notorious non-former fighters like Hunzvi,
Chinotimba & Co.
Clearly, the former fighters were short-changed by the wily and evil minded
despot, Mugabe. Mugabe's dirty tricks earned the former fighters as a whole
public scorn for the misdeeds of a few.
No wonder why many respectable former fighters, in an agonising display of
withdrawal symptoms, are averse to publicly identifying themselves with the
liberation war.
Mugabe has never had a heart for the former fighters since his ascendancy to
the leadership of ZANU in January 1977 in a coup from the top. He has always
viewed them as expendable objects in the service of his diabolical and
insatiable quest for total power.
Mugabe's desire to denigrate the former fighters stems from his desire to
tarnish them out of the ZANU PF power equation, which now extends to cover
the issue of his succession.
Mugabe made up his mind to succeed himself a long time ago, and to him, the
former fighters should not entertain any thoughts of power or
decision-making within ZANU PF.
This does not however stop him from abusing them to perpetrate repressive
acts and in running the state machinery. But any pretences to power have to
stop there!
Be that as it may, it is tragic that both opposition forces and civil
society have swallowed hook, line and sinker Mugabe's evil stratagem to blot
the image of the former liberation war fighters to suit his power designs.
What did Mugabe ever do for the former fighters before they rose in demand
for justifiable compensation for their role in the liberation struggle?
Rather than sympathise with their demands, the former fighters were blamed
for crashing the economy; forgetting the role of Mugabe's looting of
parastatals since independence and his wasteful war in the Congo.
In fact, the former fighters were expected to get nothing whilst the former
Rhodesian soldiers they fought against were, courtesy of Mugabe, enjoying
their pensions in foreign currency including Ian Smith himself.
What an affront to the former fighters!
Rather than stopping to think and reason that it was only a minority of the
former fighters, a sprinkling of rogue war veterans among pseudo war
veterans, who committed atrocities against the people, they subliminally
blanket every former fighter as being inherently pro-Mugabe.
If the truth be told, both the opposition and civil society harbour greater
hatred for the war veterans than for Mugabe himself.
Rather than engage the former fighters to soul search on what they fought
for, they counter-pose their abhorrence for them. Rather than view them as
co-victims of Mugabe's repressive rule, they consider them to be Mugabe's
hardcore supporters.
Rather than courting them as potential allies in the struggle for democracy,
they consider them to be anti freedom and anti-democracy forces to be
overcome.
Rather than honouring and acknowledging their sacrifices for the liberation
of the country, they pour derision on them condescendingly.
If the sad truth be told, the former liberation war fighters are an
endangered species viewed with disdain by ZANU PF politicians on the one
hand and the opposition and civil society on the other.
It is however high time for a paradigm shift and a reality check; it is time
to build bridges between the former fighters and the opposition and civil
society, as they are both victims of Mugabe's tyranny.
The unremitting suffering to which we are all subject should help forge
indelible bonds of liberation.
The fact that there are a few misguided former fighters, a few rotten and
bad apples among them should not override the common denominator of shared
brutal oppression, suffering and abuse by the dictatorial Mugabe regime.
To the former fighters themselves, the message is: it high time they
abandoned the sinking 'titanic'.
Their heroic sacrifices and honour for the liberation of their country
should not be sacrificed on the alter of expediency for short term gains.
The gratuities they got and the monthly pensions they receive are neither
out of ZANU PF's benevolence nor its grace but justifiably deserved
recognition for their sacrifices for their country.
There is need to put this in context.
All countries that fought liberation, resistance or patriotic wars have a
special place for their heroes in both their institutional memory and their
national history just as we hold Mbuya Nehanda, Lobengula, Sekuru Kaguvi and
others in eternal esteem.
This is generally expressed in material and other forms of genuine
appreciation. The material acknowledgement in the form of pensions, farms,
residential stands etc that former Rhodesian soldiers, black and white,
received from the British Empire for fighting its wars, is living testimony
for this.
To this end, the former fighters need neither be ashamed of nor be derided
for what others elsewhere would ordinarily deserve or enjoy.
Mugabe is criminally abusing the justifiably deserved payouts to the former
fighters as patronage to buy support for his repressive and unpopular rule.
All the former fighters should be above partisan political interests and
subscribe to the higher and lasting ideals of nation building and
unflinching defence of the people's fundamental interests for freedom and
peace.
The former fighters can ill-afford tying their fate and legacy to that of
the tyrannical and repressive Mugabe regime that has done everything to
negate what they stood and fought for.
The country is bleeding, the nation is suffering and the time for solidarity
is now. That is the hallmark of true patriotism.
* Wilfred Mhanda (aka Dzinashe Machingura) is a distinguished veteran of
Zimbabwe's 1970s liberation war. He is a founder member of the Zimbabwe
Liberators Platform (ZLP), an association of war veterans.


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Zimbabwe general linked to coup 'murdered'

Independent, UK

By Daniel Howden
Published: 28 June 2007
One of Zimbabwe's top soldiers has been murdered after being linked to an alleged coup plot, according to senior military sources. Brig-Gen Ambrose Paul Gunda was buried yesterday a week after reports of a plot to topple President Robert Mugabe caused fevered speculation in the capital, Harare.
Official reports say the brigadier, a former head of the presidential guard, was killed last Thursday after the car he was driving collided with a goods train outside Harare. However, military sources speaking on condition of anonymity, claim he had been killed earlier by Mr Mugabe's own agents, and his body was then placed in a car on the train track to make it appear an accident. Brig-Gen Gunda had been under house arrest prior to the killing and no post-mortem examination was conducted on the body, said one of his junior officers who has been in hiding since the killing. Despite the alleged murder, Brig-Gen Gunda was buried at Harare's Heroes' Cemetery yesterday. A number of people who have died in suspicious circumstances after falling foul of the Mugabe regime have been given hero's burials at the site.
Last Friday, a judge in Harare ordered a bail hearing for five suspects in an alleged coup to be held behind closed doors. Brig-Gen Gunda was not among the suspects. The five men were not named and the presiding judge said the secrecy was necessary in order "to protect certain names which have been mentioned in the case".
Initial reports that one of the most senior members of the ruling Zanu PF party, the former general Solomon Mujuru, had been placed under house arrest, sparked rumours of the coup earlier this month. That was followed by a number of arrests including one former army officer and a reported link to another senior Zanu leader, Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Both Mr Mnangagwa and Mr Mujuru have significant support in the ruling party and have been talked about as possible successors to the 83-year-old Mr Mugabe.
The Mugabe regime announced this week that it would nationalise remaining foreign-owned interests in the country and deployed the police and army to enforce unrealistic price controls on shopkeepers. Zimbabwe is in the grip of a hyperinflation crisis which has seen prices double in a day. Current estimates of the inflation rate differ sharply from the conservative 4,000 per cent to more than 10,000 per cent. The next highest inflation rate in the world is in the junta-ruled Burma, at 40 per cent.
Speaking at the burial of Brig-Gen Gunda yesterday, Mr Mugabe railed against a number of forces he blamed for the present parlous situation, saying miners had been drafted into a "regime-change" agenda by Britain, deliberately reducing production, raising prices and illegally banking foreign currency abroad. "We will seize the mines... we will nationalise them if they continue with the dirty tricks," said an angry Mr Mugabe.
The economic analyst Tony Hawkins said the government was employing a political ploy to distract people from the economic crisis. "I suppose the logic behind this thinking is because in 2000 the land invasions won them an election, company seizures could do the same in 2008," he said.
Britain's Foreign Office minister Lord Triesman told the House of Lords yesterday: "Many people are saying that the inflation level will be from 10,000 per cent to 11,000 per cent at the end of the year. No economy in the world has ever recovered, through its own internal volition, from such a crisis... The rest of the world is going to have to pick that country up."


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Tutu says Mugabe needs to 'save face'

news.com.au

June 28, 2007 07:31am
Article from: Reuters

SOUTH African Nobel peace prize laureate Desmond Tutu said Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe needed face-saving options for there to be a chance
of him stepping aside.
Mr Tutu said the replacement of Tony Blair by Gordon Brown as prime minister
of Britain, Zimbabwe's former colonial ruler, could help the situation but
much depended on negotiations to resolve the crisis being mediated by South
Africa.

"A change of cast might have an important bearing on how things develop," Mr
Tutu said.

"I would hope that there might just be a way of providing face savers that
would enable people to exit without feeling that they had lost a great deal
of personal stature," he said.

"We need to provide that for the sake of the people and it may be that
(Britain's) new prime minister just might have a way of saying things that
would be slightly more acceptable."

Mugabe, 83 and in power since independence in 1980, has accused Britain of
trying to overthrow him and he threatened on Wednesday to seize foreign
companies.

Britain has criticised Mugabe for his crackdown on the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change and accused him of driving the southern African state
to economic ruin.

Mr Tutu, who has been an outspoken critic of human rights violations by
Mugabe's government, was not specific about the kind of 'face savers' that
might work.

"I think they have to go and speak with the actors but it is finding a way
of letting him maybe step down in a way that still leaves him with some
dignity and self respect," he said.

While Western nations have called for a tough African response to end the
crisis, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has plotted its
own diplomatic course, calling for more dialogue and an end to Western
sanctions.

"(South African) President (Thabo) Mbeki is the facilitator, the mediator,
appointed by SADC and he's had some of (the Zimbabweans) come to Pretoria
and they've had exchanges," said Mr Tutu.

"I have been told on very good authority that I think the two sides set
themselves June 30 as the deadline for something significant," he said.

"It's a delicate thing and you are constantly having to determine whether it
is better to keep quiet for a while so that you don't muddy the waters.

"And so much hinges on how President Mugabe reacts and then you know that
the fate of many, many, many hangs on how he operates. So I wouldn't want to
jeopardise the whole thing. Let's wait."


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Protesting Lawyers Deliver Petition & Boycott Courts


SW Radio Africa (London)
27 June 2007
Posted to the web 27 June 2007
Violet Gonda

For the first time since independence courts failed to function normally on
Wednesday due to a boycott by lawyers. Members of the Law Society of
Zimbabwe decided to take this drastic measure to boycott court proceeding
and hold countrywide demonstrations, to highlight the violation of their
rights by the state.
In Harare more than 100 lawyers also marched to the High Court and managed
to leave a petition protesting the ill treatment of lawyers in Zimbabwe at
the Justice Minister's office. Lawyer Jesse Majome said the demonstration
was a victory against the dictatorship because the last attempt to present a
petition to the Minister of Justice was brutally thwarted by the police.

There has been a systematic campaign to harass and beat members of the legal
fraternity, especially those working on human rights issues. At least 19
lawyers were arrested during the month of May alone.
On May 4th human rights lawyers Alec Muchadehama and Andrew Makoni were
arrested on allegations of obstructing the course of justice, arising from a
bail application filed by them in the High Court. The two are representing
the political detainees accused of what are believed to be trumped up
terrorism charges.
The day after Muchadehama and Makoni were arrested the Legal Resources
Foundation reported that a representative of the Attorney General, state
prosecutor Richard Chikosha, was beaten and detained overnight for
consenting to a court order relating to the political detainees.
A few days later on the 8th several lawyers were beaten, while five were
briefly detained and thoroughly assaulted, when police violently broke up a
solidarity protest march by the legal fraternity in Harare. The lawyers,
including Beatrice Mtetwa (the president of the Law Society of Zimbabwe),
were briefly detained and taken to an area near the suburb of Eastlea where
they were made to lie on the ground and beaten before being released.
Those that were beaten during that march, were assaulted because police said
they were 'walking too slowly," resulting in another prominent lawyer
Mordecai Mahlangu sustaining serious injuries.
On May 15th, ten lawyers were briefly detained in Mutare for demonstrating
against the continued harassment and arrest of their colleagues. A day
earlier prominent lawyer Jonathan Samkange was arrested for allegedly
misrepresenting facts in a case involving his client, the alleged British
mercenary Simon Mann.
Jesse Majome said Wednesday's industrial action was to communicate the
message that it is not business as usual in the Zimbabwe legal system.
"There is great danger of annihilation not only of the practice of the law
but even just the dispensation of justice if lawyers and court officials
continue to pretend that everything is alright," she said.


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Harare's ban on price increases will fuel black market

Zim Online

Wednesday 27 June 2007

By Edith Kaseke
HARARE - A government directive to businesses to slash prices by more than
half is the clearest signal yet that President Robert Mugabe's
administration has failed to tame rampant inflation and is likely to
backfire as basic commodities are diverted to the black market, analysts
said on Tuesday.
Prices have been rising on a daily basis in Zimbabwe, a sign of the effects
of the world's highest inflation rate that has wrecked havoc on consumers'
pockets and left workers hardly able to cope with the price increases from
transport fares to bread.
Industry and International Trade Minister Obert Mpofu on Monday ordered all
manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers to roll back prices to June 18
levels in a bid to cushion hard-pressed consumers and accused businesses of
profiteering.
But economic analysts said the measure would only see commodities like the
main staple maize-meal, sugar, cooking oil and flour, whose prices have gone
up by 300 percent in the last week alone, being sold on the black market at
even higher prices.
"The natural thing for a manufacturer is to cut back production rather than
to produce at a loss," John Robertson, a leading economic commentator said.
"This has not worked in the past and I am sure it will not work this time
around," he added.
Critics say Mugabe has ruined the economy through controversial populist
policies such as the seizure of white-owned commercial farms to give to
blacks and lately plans to localise all businesses, scaring away potential
foreign investors, analysts said.
Industry executives say the continued weakening of the Zimbabwe dollar on
the black market, where the bulk of forex trade is conducted, has
necessitated the price increases.
Zimbabwe's industrial output has continued to fall in the past five years,
hobbled by shortages of foreign currency, which has impacted on the
availability of raw materials while the central bank is unable to satisfy
foreign currency demand for raw material imports.
Businesses have reacted by passing costs to consumers, creating a vicious
inflation cycle.
"We are continuing to talk to the government on the issue and to our members
as well and urging them to exercise restraint when it comes to increasing
prices as we are party to the social contract," Mara Hativagone, the
president of the Zimbabwe Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) said.
Under the social contract framework, industry is supposed to justify price
increases but companies argue that with the Zimbabwe dollar in free-fall,
they have no choice but to increase prices if they are to produce new
stocks.
Analysts said the government directive had set a potentially explosive stage
for the ZNCC annual three-day meeting which starts today in Nyanga and,
which is expected to be attended by senior government officials and Vice
President Joseph Msika who should give a keynote address.
Mugabe has in the past accused local industrialists of participating in
former colonial power Britain's scheme of sabotage and regime change agenda
by increasing prices to sow discontent among workers to rise against his
government.
Zimbabwe's economic crisis, which is highlighted by inflation above 4 500
percent, the highest in the world and has left eight in ten people out of
formal employment, has fanned political tensions in the southern African
country, leading to job boycotts by government workers, including doctors
and nurses.
Analysts said the government's latest effort to keep a lid on prices was
meant to pacify angry workers ahead of general presidential and
parliamentary elections next year but would come at a heavy cost as this
could force some companies to shut down and force more workers to join the
growing jobless list.
"The government knows what it must do, that is to respect property rights,
including land, free the exchange rate and reach out to the international
community. We cannot go it alone," Robertson said. "What they are doing is
tinkering with the symptoms of the bigger problem," he added.
But Mpofu said businesses must revert to the prices quoted on Monday last
week while a commission investigates whether the recent rise was justified,
warning that non-compliance would result in heavy penalties for offenders.
By the end of business yesterday, there was no sign that prices were coming
down, with some shops actually increasing their prices, while some shoppers
jammed supermarkets to buy groceries before they disappear from the shops.
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries says companies are operating at a
third of their potential due to foreign currency shortages, unviable
exchange rate, price controls and inconsistent government policies.
International donors have withdrawn aid to Zimbabwe to protest against
Mugabe's policies and analysts say this has worsened the country's economic
crisis.
Mugabe, now 83 and seeking another five-year term in 2008, which will take
his reign in the southern African country to more than three decades, denies
that his policies are responsible for the economic meltdown and instead says
he is being sabotaged by the West over land seizures. - ZimOnline


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Bakers left fuming as Harare reneges on price deal

Zim Online

Wednesday 27 June 2007

By Thulani Munda
HARARE - Zimbabwean bakers were on Tuesday left fuming after the government
ordered them to reduce the price of bread, a day after signing an agreement
allowing them to hike the price of bread to Z$46 000 a loaf.
In a clear sign of the confusion rocking President Robert Mugabe's
government, the National Incomes and Pricing Commission ordered bakers to
slash the price of a loaf of bread from the agreed Z$46 000 to Z$22 000.
The agreement between the National Bakers Association and the government to
increase the price of bread was signed on Monday.
On Tuesday, the state-run Herald newspaper quoted Industry and International
Trade Minister Obert Mpofu ordering manufacturers and retailers to reduce
prices of basic commodities by 50 percent.
The Zimbabwe government said the business sector should revert to prices
that were there on the market as at 18 June 2007 adding that last week's
massive price hikes were meant to foment rebellion against the government.
A copy of the agreement titled, NIPC Compromise Agreement: Bread Products,
which was seen by ZimOnline showed that wholesalers were to sell a loaf of
bread for Z$46 000 with retailers selling it for $49 000.
"We are shocked and wonder where this will lead us. They negotiated with us
in bad faith it seems," said one baker who refused to be named.
The Zimbabwe government has warned that it will deploy security forces to
enforce the new prices adding that last week's hike in prices was a ploy by
Harare's enemies to effect regime change in the country.
On Tuesday morning, officers from the price commission were moving around
shops in Harare and Bulawayo ordering them to reduce prices of basic
commodities in line with the new directive.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of a severe economic crisis that has manifested
itself in the world's highest inflation rate of over 4 500 percent, massive
unemployment and shortages of essential commodities.
The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party and major western
governments blame the crisis on repression and bad economic policies by
Mugabe, in power since the country's independence from Britain 27 years
ago. - ZimOnline


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Mugabe Threatens Takeover of Companies Who Ignore Price Directives


SW Radio Africa (London)
27 June 2007
Posted to the web 27 June 2007
Tererai Karimakwenda

Speaking at the burial of the late Army Brigadier General Armstrong Gunda on
Wednesday, Robert Mugabe threatened to take over all foreign companies,
which he accused of hiking prices in a campaign to sabotage the economy and
remove him from government. Mugabe is quoted saying: "All companies, we will
take them over if they continue with their dirty game. Take note, we will be
equal to the challenge. We are capable of playing that game too." The ruling
party leader said mines were included.
The threats came as shops in the capital ignored a government directive to
cut prices by 50%. While Mugabe ranted, consumers who rushed to the shops
Wednesday hoping to find prices reduced by half were disappointed. In fact
some products had not only gone up in price, but they had doubled. The
authorities had directed manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers to cut the
price of basic commodities by up to 50% with immediate effect. But economic
analysts blame daily price increases on hyperinflation. With inflation
officially at 3700%, businesses have no choice but to increase prices to
keep up with rising costs.

Mugabe did not address the hyperinflation that experts say is the result of
the government's bad policy decisions, corruption and mismanagement. We
spoke to two women from Harare's high-density suburb of Epworth to whom his
words mean nothing as they said shops in their area were almost empty. One
of them had just received her salary, yet she left the shops with no
groceries. The bar of soap she had hoped to buy now cost Z$416,000. Bread
had gone up from Z$22,000 a loaf on Tuesday to Z$49,000 Wednesday. Our
contact said a 500 millilitre container of milk was selling at Z$32,000.


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Mugabe Threatens To Seize Mines If Price Hike Continue

nasdaq

(RTTNews) - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday warned against
constant increasing of prices by mining firms and other companies in the
wake of rampant inflation. He has threatened to seize them if the "dirty
tricks" are played on.
Speaking in Harare after the burial of Paul Armstrong Gunda, a hero of
Zimbabwe's independence movement, the president gave strong signals to those
engaged in profiteering.
The 83-year-old president warned those who are in construction and supply,
to take note that the government is following them. Mugabe said the company
men would be arrested and the mines seized if they go wrong. He went on to
say that the Zimbabwe government would nationalize the mines if its owners
continue with their "dirty tricks."
In an economy where the inflation rate is now believed to be about 5000%,
Mugabe's comments represented the latest threat to foreign companies still
operating in the country. The Zimbabwe government aims to put 51% of all
foreign-owned companies into the hands of indigenous Zimbabweans.


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Govt buys spy gadgets worth US$2m

The Zimbabwean

(28-06-07)
HARARE
The Zanu (PF) regime has recently imported US$2 million worth of spying
equipment from China and this paper can reveal that one of the gadgets has
already been installed in Harare.
Parliament passed the Interception of Communications Bill recently and it
has emerged that the regime has all along been spending scarce foreign
currency importing equipment.
It has been established that a gadget, which experts say is a satellite
interceptor, has been installed in Harare, about three kilometers from the
city centre, near the Macro Wholesale Warehouse in Braeside.
Telecommunications minister, Chris Mushowe, fumed recently when challenged
to respond to reports about the satellite interceptor by MDC MP, Nelson
Chamisa, and denied that it was a spying gadget.
"The interceptor is one of the several that will be put across the whole
country and help in the spying on telephone and internet communications in
the country," an intelligence source said.
The interception of communications bill was pushed through parliament last
week and now awaits Mugabe's signature.


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Zim economic crisis

The Zimbabwean

(28-06-07)
HARARE
Saddled with a new currency that cannot be introduced due to the
hyper-inflationary environment, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor,
Gideon Gono, is considering knocking another three zeros off the country's
currency in the next 45 days.
Central bank sources are even saying that the governor is contemplating the
removal of five zeros instead.
So bad is the situation that the RBZ printing press is reportedly running
overtime printing a new set of bearer cheques to replace the ones introduced
last August and billed to expire at the end of July.
Plans by government to introduce a new currency, printed at a cost of
16,5million euros last year have been put on hold. The new currency is set
to take a back seat till things stabilize at a date in the distant future.
Most Zimbabweans now measure their salaries by the number of 2litre bottles
of cooking oil they can buy. Prices of commodities go up every three hours.
The price of a 2litre bottle of cooking oil went up by 812,5percent in two
weeks while prices of soft drinks and beer shot up by 4000 percent since
January. A 300ml bottle of coke now costs $50 000, while a pint of beer is a
staggering $75 000.
A shirt costs $15 million, while a pair of shoes is now worth $20 million. A
litre of petrol topped this week at $200 000.
Last week commercial banks complained that their systems were compromised
and faced imminent collapse as most Zimbabweans had been reduced to a
non-banking public. - CAJ News
RBZ forex plot
HARARE
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has been buying foreign currency from the
black market to purchase food and other basic requirements ahead of next
year's elections in order to reduce the severity of economic problems on
party supporters.
Highly-placed sources told The Zimbabwean the plot was aimed at reducing
pressure on the economy ahead of the elections, which the ruling party will
campaign on the slogan, "Reviving the Economy and Shaming our Detractors".
RBZ Governor Gideon Gono did not respond to questions sent on this and other
matters last week. However, some of the agents being used by the RBZ, who
include top government officials, confirmed to this paper that the central
bank is offering more than the black market rate for forex, in some cases by
more than double.
"We are selling huge amounts of money to the RBZ and there is now a well
established network through which this is being done," one of the agents
said. "We go through some well-established persons because it is not easy to
just go to the RBZ without the necessary connections."
Government sources revealed a plan by the Mugabe regime to flood the market
with cheaper fuel, foodstuffs as well as other commodities in the run up to
the elections after using the foreign currency from the RBZ. The ruling
party hopes to exploit this populist opportunity by pretending to be fixing
the economy, whilst at the same time projecting the propaganda that the
opposition MDC has been responsible for the meltdown through calling for
sanctions. - Itai Dzamara
Dollar must devalue
HARARE
Zimbabwean industrialists have urged President Robert Mugabe's government to
immediately devalue the local dollar, saying such a move would ease a
foreign currency shortage that threatened businesses with collapse.
"The problem of foreign currency shortage has hit industry hard, resulting
in some businesses collapsing or being pushed to the verge of collapse,"
Callisto Jokonya told delegates at the launch of Confederation of Zimbabwe
Industries' 2006 manufacturing survey last week.
"The free market economy is the most efficient way for millions of people
to have their needs met at the lowest possible cost. The freer the market,
the more vibrant the economy and the greater the quantity of wealth and
opportunity that is created for more people," added the CZI president. -
Chief Reporter


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Cop accuses ministers of murder

The Zimbabwean

(28-06-07)
BY ITAI DZAMARA
BINDURA
Two serving ministers and senior officials of the ruling Zanu (PF) have been
accused of having personally killed as well as supervised a bloody wipe out
of opposition activists and supporters in Mashonaland Central during the
turbulent farm invasions of 2000.
A former senior police officer who was based in Bindura told The Zimbabwean
that Labour and Social Welfare minister, Nicholas Goche, and minister
without portfolio Elliot Manyika unleashed a wave of terror in their
constituencies of Shamva and Bindura respectively.
The former policeman spoke on condition of anonymity to tell how the police,
army and members of the Central Intelligence Organization were reduced by
the ministers to mere pawns for use in the violent wipe out of opposition
members.
Our source has compiled a document, now in our possession, chronicling
events such as the murder of MDC activist, Trymore Midzi, and alleging the
ministers' involvement. The document also exposes how the Zanu (PF) regime
has nurtured the culture of indemnity from prosecution, not only for top
ministers but also their agents who were involved in heinous crimes.
"Many people went missing on the night Trymore Midzi was murdered and it is
believed that another dead body collected from Nicholas Goche's farm in
Bindura, close to Chiwaridzo, was one of Trymore's friends kidnapped on that
night," the source says.
"He (the dead person) had a temporary ID with him, although it was soaked
in rain there were numbers which were still visible to the extent that it
was still possible to determine the identity, but nothing was done to this
day and not even a docket was opened in that regard. Inspector Sande was the
officer in charge of Bindura Central and the body was collected by
Chiwaridzo police post personnel."
The source said Midzi died a painful death at the hands of Zanu (PF) militia
who were strongly supported by the CIO and police.
"His killers are known, even though nothing was done about it. Sande knows
them," he added. Manyika, the current Zanu (PF) political commissar, is
described by the source as having fitted well into the shoes of the late
Boarder Gezi, whom he replaced in Bindura.
"Manyika was a feared man and was not popular even within the party (Zanu
PF). He used his official brown defender to kidnap opposition opponents and
many of them went missing for good. The brown defender was the most feared
vehicle in the province - even more than police defenders. Many people were
relieved when the defender broke down but that could not erase the memories
of their loved ones who perished at the hands of Zanu (PF) militia under the
supervision of Manyika."
Manyika declined to comment on these allegations saying he was busy, while
Goche was continuously not answering his mobile phone.


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Can elections possibly be free and fair?

The Zimbabwean

(28-06-07)
On page one this week we carry a very disturbing story of murder in
Mashonaland Central implicating two government ministers. We believe this
is only the tip of the iceberg. Hundreds of opposition supporters have been
killed before and during the 2000, 2002 and 2005 general and presidential
elections.
The murders of Trymore Midzi and his friend in 2000, as well as many other
political killings since then, need to be investigated by an impartial body.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police can obviously not be relied upon to conduct
investigations, as members of the police force are themselves implicated.
We are pleased to have concrete evidence of what we have suspected all
along - that some policemen and CIO officers with a conscience have kept
records of what actually transpired and would be willing to testify against
the perpetrators of the many crimes against humanity that have taken place
in Zimbabwe under the Mugbe regime. We salute them. Those who are known to
have committed murder must be prosecuted.
This is not the first time we have received reports of the murderers of
opposition supporters being known and walking free. Some of the killers, who
have been positively identified, have actually been promoted within the
forces - showing that Zanu (PF) does indeed sanction a policy of indemnity
for politically-motivated violence. Mugabe's message is clear - those who
support his rule can kill with impunity.
The knowledge that this message has been clearly communicated to, and
understood by, thousands of ill-educated, substance-dependent, brain-washed
youths does not bear thinking about. Yet this is the reality facing millions
of Zimbabweans ahead of the 2008 elections.
Casting all pragmatism and decorum aside, we unashamedly beg President Thabo
Mbeki and all those involved in deciding whether the 2008 elections can
possibly be free and fair, to face this reality unflinchingly.
Be assured, the Zanu (PF) violence machinery will be activated in full force
for 2008, never mind all the other crafty rigging mechanisms exposed in our
columns in recent weeks. The result of a violent campaign cannot be deemed
to be a reflection of the will of the people.


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Gapare was tortured - Doctor

The Zimbabwean

(28-06-07)
HARARE
A man held illegally on accusations of taking part in an alleged coup plot
was severely tortured and left with life threatening injuries, a doctor has
confirmed.
Harare Doctor PG Musuka who examined Edmore Gapare, has certified the man
was subjected to electric shocks while in custody. His findings are the
first clearest evidence that men accused of plotting a coup have been
tortured in custody.
Their lawyers have revealed that their clients were being ill treated in
custody where they were being tortured and assaulted.
Musuka noted that Gapare had lacerations on tongue, tender swollen right ad
left ribs, tender epigastrium, blisters on both feet and black stripes on
ankles, among other injuries.
"These are severe to life threatening injuries consistent with assault
torture and electrocution. His urine was black and stool black consistent
with internal bleeding - blood loss. Of note was his loss of balance, head
injury and swollen tongue. These are very serious injuries and will need
continuous monitoring and treatment," said Musuka.
Gapare who had been illegally detained by police with two other suspects has
instructed his lawyers to sue the Ministry of Home Affairs after they were
released without being charged. He is demanding Z$5 billion as compensation
for assault, torture and illegal detention. - CAJ News


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Glen View Residents Drinking Contaminated Water


SW Radio Africa (London)
27 June 2007
Posted to the web 27 June 2007
Tichaona Sibanda

The water crisis in Harare has become so desperate that over 500 families
based at the Amalinda plots on the outskirts of Glen View are knowingly
drinking contaminated water from the Mukuvisi river.
Raw sewage from a broken water pipe in Msasa has been flowing into the
Mukuvisi which meanders down the capital's south western suburbs, passing
through the vicinity of Amalinda plots.

Precious Shumba, the Combined Harare Residents Association information
officer, said the threat of disease outbreak in the capital has reached 'red
alert' meaning a cholera outbreak is imminent. In other areas residents with
transport are buying water from the city centre or getting it from relatives
that still have water supplies.
'At Amalinda plots we are talking of people who were displaced by Operation
Murambatsvina. These are people who are still struggling to fork out a
living and they have been telling us they have no choice but to use the
contaminated water because they have no other place to get it,' Shumba said.
Residents of Glen View, Glen Norah, Msasa Park, Budiriro and Kuwadzana have
been without water since last Friday after a water pump burst. The Harare
city council has failed to restore water supplies citing lack of resources
and foreign currency to repair the damages.
CHRA is worried about the implications of a potential disease outbreak of
diarrhoea and dysentery. Two years ago following a similar water problem, an
outbreak of cholera claimed the lives of 26 residents in the capital.
'The danger with a similar recurrence is that there would be no nurses and
doctors to treat victims because of the strike. An outbreak now would be
catastrophic,' said Shumba.
Of concern to CHRA is that the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare and the
Ministry of Water and Infrastructural Development have remained quiet when
they should be taking urgent measures to address the pending disaster before
lives are lost again.


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'Mugabe to retire by September'

New Zimbabwe

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 06/28/2007 06:49:06
A KEY ally of Zimbabwe's Vice President Joice Mujuru has said he expects
President Robert Mugabe to retire before the end of the year, seen as proof
of growing disillusionment within his Zanu PF party over his plans to run
for office in general elections next year.
Mugabe, 83, has been power since Zimbabwe gained independence from Britain
in 1980.
But an unprecedented economic crisis and growing international pressure has
encouraged rivals within his own party to pressure him to quit.
Dr Ibbo Mandaza, an influential Zanu PF supporter and adviser to Mujuru,
said he expects Mugabe to announce his retirement as early as September this
year, warning that "to do otherwise would be crazy".
In February this year, Mugabe was furious, accusing Mujuru of commissioning
a biography of nationalist leader and former Zanu PF secretary general Edgar
Tekere, written by Mandaza, which was highly critical of him.
On the eve of his 83rd bithday, Mugabe openly admitted for the first time
that Mujuru was plotting against him after Tekere published his biography, A
Lifetime of Struggle, portraying Mugabe as a reluctant leader who rose to
power through political coups and detention-camp plots. It also says some of
his leading comrades during the war viewed him as a "sell-out".
Mugabe blasted: "The Tekere/Mandaza issue, ah they are trying to campaign
for Mujuru using the book.you can't become a president by using a biography.
Manje vairasa (they have lost the plot). They don't realise they have done
her more harm than good."
But speaking in Johannesburg during a discussion organised by the SA
Institute of International Affairs on Wednesday, Mandaza said he had advised
Mugabe to retire, as no economic reform can take place if he is still
around.
Mandaza also dismissed the current Southern African Development Community
(SADC) peace initiative to bring Zanu PF and the MDC to a negotiating table
to agree on the ground rules ahead of general elections next year.
Mandaza said: "I think that the major determinant is what happens in Zanu-PF
this year, and my expectation is that as he promised to do last year, Mugabe
will retire... He will make the announcement by September to give the party
time to campaign that he will retire.
"In my view, that is the obvious thing to do. To do otherwise would be
crazy..."
Mandaza's remarks are likely to be met with derision by Mugabe's supporters
in Harare, already determined to fight off the veteran leader's rivals --
mainly to preserve their own political careers.
Zimbabwe, grappling with record inflation, faces its worst economic crisis
in history. Food shortages, low unemployment and rising poverty have
combined to fuel public anger against Mugabe's government, but he refuses to
take blame as he accuses Western countries of imposing economic sanctions in
a bid to oust him from power.


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Fuel crisis the biggest threat

The Zimbabwean

(28-06-07)
HARARE
Zimbabwe's deepening fuel crisis has become the single biggest threat to
efforts by the government to save the economy from its perilous state.
Zimbabwe has been experiencing fuel shortages since 2000, due to a
combination of foreign currency shortages, corruption at the state-owned
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe, NOCZIM, ruinous economic policies and
deteriorating diplomatic relations with key countries and international
institutions.
Now the situation has dramatically deteriorated. A 5 litre of gallon of fuel
is now retailing for almost a million Zimbabwean dollars. The price of fuel
has been trekking the rate of the US$ against the hapless Zimbabwe dollar,
which crushed last week to a record $200,000 against the greenback.
Public transport is now unaffordable. A 5-10 km trip in a kombi now costs
$40,000. The increase in fuel prices has also caused a domino effect across
all sectors of the economy, fuelling the hyperinflation spiral.
The shortages have also impacted on production figures in industry.
In addition, the spectre of increased company closures, unemployment,
soaring inflation and low production in remaining manufacturing sectors,
where many companies are operating at less than 20 percent capacity, has put
great pressure on the Zanu (PF) government as it promises to implement a
turnaround programme.
According to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industry, the manufacturing
sector is down 7 percent with hundreds of companies having closed shop since
July 2000. The unemployment rate is at 80 percent and year-on-year inflation
has topped 6,000 percent - the highest in the world.


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Gaddafi calls for two million strong African army


27 Jun 2007 21:51:53 GMT
Source: Reuters
ABIDJAN, June 27 (Reuters) - Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said on
Wednesday his plan for a United States of Africa should include creating a
two million strong army to staunch recurrent conflicts which have ravaged
many of the continent's nations.
Gaddafi was addressing hundreds of youths in Ivory Coast's economic capital
Abidjan, the final leg of a tour of several West African states before he
attends an African Union summit beginning on July 1 in neighbouring Ghana's
capital Accra.
"One sole African government, one sole African army to defend Africa with a
force of two million soldiers. One currency, one passport. Accra must hear
this message," he told the gathering which included Ivorian President
Laurent Gbagbo.
Flush with cash from an oil boom, the leader of the North African Arab state
has won backing from Senegal, Zimbabwe and other countries for a
continent-wide government, but diplomatic heavyweights like South Africa and
Uganda are opposed.
Africans say integration would give them a stronger voice on the world stage
as globalisation advances, but many doubt the continent of about nearly one
billion people with vast economic disparities and many tribes and religions
can unite.
Gaddafi, who has long cherished the dream of a United States of Africa first
promoted by Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana's first president after independence from
Britain, says unification is vital to stabilise Africa and enable it to
speak with one voice.
"Africa must forbid all war, civil, tribal or over borders. The youth of
Africa is drowning in the Mediterranean to cross the channel to Europe,
leaving behind it the paradise which is Africa. No more emigration, no more
emigration," he said.


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Govt spends millions on arms from China

The Zimbabwean

(28-06-07)
HARARE
The cash-strapped Zimbabwe government last week secured an order worth
millions of dollars in military hardware from its former independence war
ally, China, The Zimbabwean heard this week.
The deal was clinched by Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi who returned
from a one-week official visit to China last week after high-level talks
with Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan. The purchase was reportedly
authorised by President Robert Mugabe.
Although it was not possible to obtain the actual figures of the purchase,
our sources said the transaction was approved by Cabinet in March, and ran
into several millions of US dollars.
Zimbabwe plans to amortise part of the debt through a barter deal involving
tobacco and proceeds from the sale of ivory.
The hardware was reportedly purchased from arms manufacturer China North
Industries Corporation in a deal that was negotiated with Cao, who is also
vice chairman
of China's Central Military Commission.
Zimbabwe has recently had to "Look East" for its military supplies after an
arms embargo was imposed by the EU and the US due to human rights abuses.
Its armoury is said to be depleted due to a critical shortage of spares.
The government, at the helm of its worst economic crisis since independence
from Britain in 1980, had paid a deposit on the order and that the shipment
of arms - which include bullets, military hardware spares, spares for the
armoured personnel carriers, rocket shells and grenades - was due to take
place within three months of concluding the deal.
The Zimbabwean heard that payments to the Chinese arms manufacturer would be
initiated by a US$6million down-payment and after that, a supply of tobacco
and ivory.
"The payment is in respect of a five percent down-payment for the purchase
of the military goods by the ZNA (Zimbabwe National Army)," said our source.
Defence spokesman Simon Tsatsi was not immediately available for comment.
But an official from the army public relations office said any military
force had obligations to bolster its equipment holdings by new acquisitions
in order to fulfill its designated roles.
The purchase comes at a time army is reported to be broke with Defence
secretary Trust Maposa telling Parliament last month that there was no money
to feed soldiers and to continue recruiting troops, although this was
angrily refuted by government spokesmen.
Government has also been warned against mortgaging national assets to beef
up its military armoury.


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Voter reg process violates democracy - Chamisa

The Zimbabwean

(28-06-07)
HARARE
The main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has
dismissed the voter registration process started this week by the Registrar
General, describing it as a violation of democratic principles. However,
the ruling party insists all is well and on course for next year's
elections.
"It is a well-orchestrated ambush on Zimbabweans in the sense that the
regime wants to waylay the democratic process that we hope to bring about
with a new constitution," MDC spokesman, Nelson Chamisa said.
"Zimbabwe does not have an independent electoral body and Mudede has an
impeccable history of manipulating elections. We have established that the
people he is using in the registration process were vetted on the basis of
loyalty to Zanu (PF). Mudede has presided over the past elections and been
accused as the chief architect of a rigging system that has allowed the
ruling party to retain power," he said.
But Zanu (PF)'s secretary for administration, also minister of State
Security, Didymus Mutasa said the voter registration process was being done
constitutionally and had nothing sinister about it.
"It is being done by a constitutional body and we are all preparing for next
year's elections and there is nothing wrong with that," he said. "The
elections will be held next year and we have the bodies that are
constitutionally mandated to supervise as well as run those elections,
meaning there is nothing we should wait for."
Mudede has allegedly recruited members of the Zanu (PF) militia to beef up
his depleted staff for the voter registration process, which also faces a
serious lack of resources and funding.
The ruling party recently gazetted an 18th amendment to the constitution
with which it seeks to lay the ground for holding of combined elections next
year in what the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai last week described as
contemptuous and pre-emptive of the SADC initiated dialogue process.
Murambatsvina victims live in squalor
MBARE
More than 2000 residents of an overcrowded block of flats here face serious
health risks following the collapse of the sewage system close to a year
ago, which has not been fixed.
The Zimbabwean visited Matapi Flats in Mbare and witnessed raw sewage
flowing on the floors, the stairs as well as all over the ground. Residents
at the overcrowded block of flats told this paper that the situation has
been with them since last year when the sewage reticulation system collapsed
and repeated pleas to the Harare City Commission and lately the Zimbabwe
National Water Authority (ZINWA).
"We have been having this situation for the past year," one resident, Farai
Jerera, said. "Raw sewage flows all over, in the toilets, at the stairs and
at times into the rooms we stay in. It is an issue that has been ignored for
unknown reasons but there have been several cases of people, especially the
young ones falling sick."
Harare City Commission's chairman, Sekesai Makwavarara said she was aware of
the situation. "We have been working on finding measures to solve the
problem. The major worry is the health hazard," she said.
Situated close to the Mbare agricultural produce market, Matapi Flats
symbolizes the plight of the poor urbanites with up to 12 people-both male
and female-sleeping in a single room. Residents at the flats told this paper
recently that the bulk of them were victims of government's Operation Clean
Up (Murambatsvina) of 2005 when it claimed it was restoring order whilst
rendering more than 700 000 people homeless.


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First land confiscations in Mozambique


afrol News, 27 June - Also in Mozambique, land policies are now put higher
up on the agenda as provincial authorities in Maputo have started
implementing national land tenure legislation. Maputo authorities have now
followed up on a longstanding threat to cancel the land tenure rights of
investors who fail to use the land allocated to them.
According to a report in the Maputo daily 'Noticias', inspectors from the
Maputo Provincial Directorate of Agriculture have visited 287 land
concessions in five districts and classified 95 of them as "abandoned".

The Mozambican Land Law states that investors applying for land must present
a plan for what they intend to do with it. Mozambican investors have five
years, and foreign investors two years, to put that plan into operation.
During that period their land rights are only provisional, according to the
state news agency 'AIM'.

If, after the end of this period, there is no sign that the land is being
put to productive use, in line with the investor's original plan, then it
should revert to the state, the Land Law foresees. The law allows investors
to apply for an extension to their provisional land title, if unforeseen
events have occurred, and they can make a plausible case as to why they were
unable to implement their initial plans. This had not happened in Maputo.

These provisions of the Mozambican Land Law barely have been applied so far.
The Maputo government during the last decade has been very eager to attract
foreign investors and done its utmost to create investor confidence.
Mozambique has even been an attractive resettlement place for several white
farmers that lost their lands in Zimbabwe.

But since mid-2006, authorities in the capital area have started doubting
whether this very liberal policy was indeed fruitful. Pressure on land
resources is increasing in the Maputo area and late last year, provincial
authorities suspended the issuing of land titles for six months, while
setting about computerising the provincial land records.

According to 'AIM', the new, comprehensive database for the first time
empowered inspectors to systematically investigate what investors had done
with their land. "The picture was not encouraging. Some of the land
concessions had been abandoned for seven or even ten years. The people with
title to this land may have been holding onto it for purely speculative
reasons," authorities found.

Based on that conclusion, authorities took action. Of the 95 areas regarded
as abandoned, 70 have already been reverted to the state, with the
agriculture directorate cancelling the land titles. The legal procedures for
cancelling the titles are currently under way for the other 25 areas. In a
further 71 concessions, the inspectors found that the title-holders were not
making full use of the land, thus reducing their tenure area. In 121 cases,
the title-holders have been given more time.

Maputo authorities had been under popular pressure to confiscate lands that
were not used according to allocation agreements. The Maputo director of
agriculture, Setina Titosse, emphasised on the need to put productive land
into use. "Cyclical droughts affect Maputo province, which means that hunger
is constantly present in some areas", she said. "But we have dormant
potential, because many people hold land that can produce, but they are not
exploiting it."

By staff writer
afrol News


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Essential drugs in short supply

The Zimbabwean

(28-06-07)
HARARE
Amid a deepening economic crisis and general institutional collapse,
Zimbabwe's Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr David Parirenyatwa, has
warned of a looming shortage of drugs.
"We are faced with the possible shortage of drug supplies for essential
requirements, such as anti-retroviral drugs for the treatment of HIV/Aids,
malaria drugs, blood pressure and insulin, among others," Parirenyatwa said
in Chiredzi weekend.
He blamed the situation on Zimbabwe's lack of foreign currency and said the
country was being forced to choose between "having to keep to the basic
drugs or importing the exotic, expensive drugs".
Most of the country's 1,082 public health centres were reported to be
overstocking malaria and cholera medicines in anticipation of the crisis.
Although the situation has reached worrying levels, Parirenyatwa emphasised
that his ministry "does have funds for the public hospitals and clinics, but
not for private hospitals". A number of foreign Zimbabwean drug suppliers,
particularly South African companies, were unwilling to release further
supplies until outstanding debts were paid.
Parirenyatwa particularly lamented the lackadaisical approach to fighting
killer diseases such as Malaria. He said AIDS had overshadowed other killer
diseases such as malaria.


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No elections in 2008?

The Zimbabwean

(28-06-07)
HARARE
Zimbabwe's opposition political parties, human rights and civic groups have
condemned last-minute changes made by the government to Constitutional
Amendment No. 18 Bill allowing President Robert Mugabe to remain in office
until Parliament is dissolved in 2010.
The Bill states that Mugabe, who will be President in office when the bill
comes into force as an Act, need not subject himself to re-election until
the next general election is held in 2010.
"His term, in other words, is extended to the next general election," said
Rindai Chipfunde-Vava of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network. "So
President Mugabe will not have to face the voters until 2010, unless he
chooses to dissolve Parliament before then in 2008."
Mugabe can single-handedly make laws in the absence of Parliament, which is
usually dissolved in preparation for the poll.
Political and civic groups said the clause that changed the President's term
of office and the method of electing a new President in the event of a
President's death or resignation did not specify any particular majority by
which a new President must be elected, "so one must assume that a simple
majority of the Senators and MPs present and voting will suffice."
It is widely believed that President Mugabe wants to contest the next
presidential election and then, if he wins, step down in favour of a chosen
successor who will be duly elected by a grateful party using its majority in
Parliament.
"This proposed change is undemocratic, because if it is accepted that an
executive President must be elected by popular vote, which the Constitution
does in section 28(2), then his or her successor should be similarly
elected," said Chipfunde-Vava. "The fact that elections are expensive cannot
justify a provision that would allow an executive President to hold office
without a popular mandate. The only exception might be if the President died
or resigned shortly before his or her term of office was due to expire
within six months, say. In that event a successor could be chosen by
Parliament, but even then it would be better to allow one of the
Vice-Presidents to act until the next Presidential election."
The Bill also changes the composition of the Senate and the House of
Assembly.
The new House of Assembly will have 210 members, 200 of which will be
elected in single-member constituencies. Most of the members of the House of
Assembly will now be directly elected, unlike under the current arrangement
where the President appoints directly or indirectly 30 of the 150 members.
The size of the Senate will be increased from 66 to 84. The voters within
constituencies will continue to elect 50 of the Senators. The remaining 34
members will consist of persons who are either directly or indirectly
appointed by the President.
Chipfunde-Vava said the trumpeted reduction in the number of MPs that Mugabe
appointed into the Lower House of Parliament from 30 to 10 was a non event
as the numbers were compensated in the Senate where Mugabe now
single-handedly appointed a massive 34 senators instead of the 16 he
appointed in the sixth Parliament.
"The total number of presidential appointees in Parliament will only be
reduced from 46 to 44," said Chipfunde-Vava. "The fundamental point is that
the Executive should not be allowed to appoint any members of the
Legislature and governors at all. The only exception to that rule should be
the chiefs, who have a legitimate role to play in the Senate even though
they owe their initial appointment to the President."


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Government set stage for a head-butt with manufacturers

The Zimbabwean

(27-06-07)

HARARE
THE Zimbabwean government has set the stage for serious clashes between
manufacturers and retailers on the one hand as well as its violent terror
troopers on the other, by unleashing Green Bombers onto the market to "deal
with and arrest those overcharging goods".
Minister of Industry and International Trade, Obert Mpofu defended the
deployment of the products of the Zanu (PF) regime's obnoxious national
youth training service by saying:

"We are trying to help consumers from unwarranted and destructive price
increases that have affected the economy. The youths and other security
forces are merely doing a lawful duty and not
out to beat anyone."
Green Bombers, some clad in blue overalls whilst others are moving in
civilian clothes, have besieged major towns and cities and are threatening
manufacturers as well as retailers that they accuse of charging prices of
goods that are beyond those stipulated by government.
It is ultra-chaos following the declarations issued by government earlier
this week that all prices that were above those it stipulated had to be
slashed immediately.

The market has over the past two months experienced unprecedented increases
in prices of
virtually all commodities and most are selling in supermarkets at more than
5000% above what the
government gazetted.
For example, government says a standard loaf of bread must sell at Z$900 but
shops and supermarkets have hiked the price to Z$50 000.
Retailers have said there is no way they can slash the prices on the
shop-floor when they are buying the goods at increased costs from
manufacturers.

"They can't start with us because we buy the goods from manufacturers and
what do we do when we get there and they tell us the prices have gone up," a
manager at an OK Supermarkets branch in Harare's CBD said.
Manufacturers have also said the Mugabe regime either has to go to hell or
start manufacturing the goods itself.

"Look, it is a simple matter here. We do not just wake up and increase
prices but everything is
necessitated by a host of issues which the government itself not only has
control over, but is also aware of.

"Electricity, water and other inputs costs have all been rising on a regular
basis and it is unfair to
then expect us in business to cushion the pressure and sell at reduced
prices," a director of a major manufacturing company, Blue Ribbon Foods
Limited said.
CAJ News can reveal that the latest form of chaos on the Zimbabwean economic
and social strata has already seen Green Bombers in Harare violently
attacking a manager at a supermarket in Highfield high density suburb after
he had closed the shop and they accused him of "sabotaging government".

The manager was admitted at Harare General Hospital after sustaining serious
head injuries-CAJ News.


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United Church Urges Canada to Help End the Zimbabwe Crisis

cnw - newswire group

TORONTO, June 27 /CNW/ - Toronto: Imagine having to spend more than
$75.00 for a loaf of bread. How would you feed your family? A question not
unlike this is anguished over every day by millions of citizens of Zimbabwe.
With inflation near 4,000 percent, the highest in the world, most
Zimbabweans can't afford a loaf of bread. Some parents have no choice but to
watch their children starve.
Tragically, Zimbabwe, which only a few years ago was known as "Africa's
breadbasket," now receives international food aid to prevent mass
starvation.
Vital social and physical infrastructure including health care, education,
and
transportation are in acute crisis. Unemployment is at 80 percent and
millions
of Zimbabweans have fled the country.
In a letter sent to Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay, The United
Church of Canada has registered its deep concern over the deteriorating
situation in Zimbabwe, a country in the throes of a devastating and
increasingly violent economic and political crisis.
"The United Church is Canada's largest Protestant denomination and we
interpret the gospel of Jesus Christ as a call to participate in the justice
work of the global church, within which we and the churches in Zimbabwe work
in partnership," writes Nora Sanders, General Secretary of the General
Council.
Gary Kenny is The United Church of Canada's Program Coordinator for
Southern Africa. "We believe the international community, including Canada,
can and must do more to support a peaceful resolution to the crisis, because
Canada and other Western countries are part of the problem," says Kenny.
Kenny explains that Zimbabwe's current woes have their roots in the
country's debilitating colonial legacy. Ethnic groups were played off
against
one another by colonial authorities and patterns of corruption and the abuse
of power were instilled. Even in post-colonial Zimbabwe the West has
continued
to exploit the country through inequities in international trade rules, the
unfair pricing of commodities on the international market, and other
factors.
"The West, Canada included, is complicit in supporting these systems of
domination that have constrained Zimbabwe's sovereign political and economic
development," Kenny says.
President Mugabe and his government must be held responsible for
implementing policies that immediately put at risk the lives of millions of
Zimbabweans, Kenny adds. But the blame for Zimbabwe's problems, and the
responsibility to resolve them, must be shared.
Kenny adds that Zimbabweans have demonstrated a remarkable resilience,
finding ingenious ways to survive from one day to the next. However, their
ability to cope is increasingly challenged. Recent months have seen a surge
in
public protests in defiance of a government ban on public demonstrations.
The
government's reaction is becoming increasingly severe.
Kenny explains that in order to prevent popular criticism and dissent,
the Mugabe government has become increasingly authoritarian. It has enacted
legislation by presidential decree to limit freedom of expression and
assembly. When street protests do occur, the government reacts violently,
including with live ammunition. Reports of abductions, arbitrary arrests,
beatings, and torture of activists and protestors in police cells are
frequent.
Kenny says the United Church's partners in Zimbabwe are struggling to
help resolve the crisis by speaking out against global systemic injustice
and
human rights abuses while serving the growing social needs of their members.
It is clear, however, that if further bloodshed is to be avoided much more
needs to be done in support of peaceful, democratic change in Zimbabwe.
In particular, Kenny says, The United Church of Canada is calling on the
Canadian government

<<
- to do more to support the peaceful resolution of the crisis. In
particular, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
should increase its funding for critical programs offered by
Zimbabwean civil society organizations. Reports indicate that CIDA
recently reduced its funding to these groups by 20 percent (from
$5 million to $4 million annually). If true, these cuts will
severely
limit the capacity of humanitarian groups to deliver vitally needed
social programs and will leave some activists, human rights
defenders
especially, more vulnerable to state persecution.

- to appoint a special representative to carry out strategic behind-
the-scenes shuttle diplomacy in the southern African region. We
believe the right person, someone with impeccable diplomatic
credentials and real and perceived sensitivity, objectivity, and
integrity, could make a difference where other methods of diplomacy
have failed.
>>
Kenny says that historically Canada has played a significant role in the
struggle for social justice in the region of southern Africa, in particular,
in the struggle to end apartheid.
"It would be most fitting if Canada could add Zimbabwe to the list of
southern African countries it has closely and effectively accompanied
through
times of great crisis," says Kenny.

For further information: or to arrange media interviews, please contact:
Mary-Frances Denis, Communications Officer, The United Church of Canada


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Taibu on verge of Zimbabwe return

Zim Online

Wednesday 27 June 2007

By Nigel Hangarume
HARARE - Former Zimbabwe skipper Tatenda Taibu is on the verge of a surprise
return to the national cricket team, almost two years after he quit the
international game in the heat of an off-field row.
The 24-year-old Taibu has been training with the Zimbabwe team in Harare and
is also believed to be engaged in talks with the Zimbabwe Cricket board on
his possible return.
"Taibu has been training with us in the past two weeks and we are all happy
he's talking to the board on his possible return to the team," said a senior
Zimbabwe batsman who preferred anonymity.
Taibu retired from international cricket in November 2005 after a serious
fallout with Zimbabwe Cricket chairman Peter Chingoka and managing director
Ozias Bvute.
The talented batsman/wicketkeeper had insisted he would only return to
Zimbabwe duty if Chingoka and Bvute, who were accused of corruption, quit.
Taibu also claimed he had quit after being threatened by controversial
sports administrator Temba Mliswa, a well-known ruling ZANU PF party zealot.
Sources said Taibu could be handed back the captaincy if he agreed terms
with Zimbabwe Cricket.
After quitting Zimbabwe, Taibu had stints in Bangladesh, England and Namibia
and at one time was reported to have set his sights on qualifying to play
for South Africa.
Bvute and Chingoka, who are attending meetings in London, as well as
Zimbabwe Cricket spokesman Lovemore Banda could not be reached for comment
yesterday.
Meanwhile, the West Indies A-team tour of Zimbabwe has been thrown further
into doubt after Grenada Prime Minister Keith Mitchell warned it was not
safe to travel to the troubled country.
Mitchell's warning came as the West Indies Cricket Board struggled to come
up with the team to make the Harare trip.
The West Indians are scheduled to leave for Harare on Friday, but already
Sylvester Joseph and Wavell Hinds have turned down the captaincy of the A
team after the West Indies Players Association said it would not be safe to
tour Zimbabwe.
The WICB has insisted it's safe to travel to Zimbabwe, although a team is
yet to be named.
Mitchell's comments are likely to influence the Caribbean politicians to
intervene and stop the tour.
"The West Indies A team has many very young players who need to be developed
in a nurturing environment. I am not convinced that given the instability
existing in Zimbabwe that this tour will provide this kind of environment,"
Mitchell said in a statement yesterday.
"I am sure that the parents and guardians of these players will be concerned
about them touring Zimbabwe."
Australian Prime Minister John Howard last month banned his country from
fulfilling a tour of Zimbabwe scheduled for September to protest against
President Robert Mugabe's human rights record. - ZimOnline


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Speed report slams Zimbabwe Cricket


Cricinfo staff
June 27, 2007
A report by the BBC's Mihir Bose claims that Malcolm Speed does not believe
Zimbabwe should be allowed to resume playing Test cricket in November, and
that there the board's accounts have been "deliberately falsified".
In his BBC blog, Bose writes that he has seen a copy of Speed's confidential
report delivered to the ICC board today in which he says: "My personal view,
shared by the cricket committee and ICC senior management, is that the game
in Zimbabwe and, more widely, the rest of the cricket world, will not be
well served by Zimbabwe resuming Test cricket at this stage. It is
respectfully suggested that we must find other ways to assist cricketers in
Zimbabwe".
Speed's most damning comments concern the controversial forensic audit and
raises serious concerns about the governance and financial accountability of
Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC). The observations seem to give a strong endorsement of
claims made for several years by stakeholders and administrators inside the
country.
The main discrepancy concerns payments totalling $640,350 to "three unknown
companies" which the board failed to inform the auditors about. There are
also queries relating to a deal with a car company worth $972,000. The board
is believed to have imported the vehicles and then sold them to obtain extra
local currency in direct contravention of the country's strict
foreign-exchange regulations. The issue is further clouded because the board
advised the forensic auditors that no cars had been imported or sold.
Speed's report, co-signed by Faisal Hasnain, the ICC's chief financial
officer, concludes that: "This is a complete about-turn by ZC and there is
uncertainty here regarding these pseudo agreements as referred to by ZC. The
auditors and ICC have been misled about these transactions.
"It is clear that the accounts of ZC have been deliberately falsified to
mask various illegal transactions from the auditors and the government of
Zimbabwe. The accounts were incorrect and at no stage did ZC draw the
attention of the users of these accounts to the unusual transactions. It may
not be possible to rely on the authenticity of its balance sheet."
In conclusion, the report says that there may be serious breaches of the
ICC's code of ethics and, as a result, the board has only been paid $2
million of the monies owed from the World Cup.
A former employee of Price Waterhouse Coopers, who audited the board's
accounts until 2005, told Cricinfo: "When we signed off the 2004 audit we
raised a number of ethical concerns."
Cricinfo


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