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

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Globe and Mail, Canada

Recording the fight for justice in Mugabe's land

STEPHANIE NOLEN reports from Zimbabwe on a voice of reason in an
increasingly co-opted court system

By STEPHANIE NOLEN
Tuesday, March 8, 2005 -

HARARE -- The woman who is arguably Zimbabwe's best lawyer hasn't won
an important case in recent memory. Sure, she wins the divorces and the
commercial cases -- but few of the crucial ones, the battles to protect
freedom of expression and the democratic process in her imploding country.
Even when the rulings go her way, the judgments are ignored and the
victories are empty.

Some might wonder why Beatrice Mtetwa keeps going back to court.

"People always ask me why I go to court if I don't believe it is
possible to get justice," Ms. Mtetwa said in her law office in the capital
last week. "But I am one of those who wants to record every little thing. So
I take most cases to court, not because I expect I will win but so we can
learn -- 10 or 20 years from now, we can look at these records and say,
'You, you were the judge who made this ruling.' "

Ms. Mtetwa, 46, has been back in Zimbabwe's supreme and constitutional
courts again and again in recent weeks, in the run-up to the parliamentary
election on March 31. She has fought spying charges against three of the
past four international correspondents in the country, who have fled out of
fear for their safety; argued to get popular opposition parliamentarian Roy
Bennett out of jail; appealed to reopen newspapers closed by the government;
and tried to get four million exiled Zimbabweans the right to vote.

The lawyer has a brisk and steely manner, at odds with her funky
1970s-style eyeglasses and the bubble gum she likes to snap, and an
unmistakable fearlessness. Although she has represented the defence in
nearly every prominent human-rights case in Zimbabwe since the country's
political crisis began in the late 1990s, she has remained mostly unscathed.
(One exception: She was badly beaten by a police officer, presumably because
of her human-rights work, in October of 2003, when she was attempting to get
help with a carjacking.)

She won't say as much herself, but one simple thing appears to protect
her: She is one of the best lawyers in town, and even her most bitter
opponents in the ZANU-PF party come to her for their private legal matters.
She refuses to violate their confidentiality, but it is well-known in Harare
that Ms. Mtetwa handled the police commissioner's divorce, even while suing
him in more than a dozen rights cases.

Ms. Mtetwa, who was born and raised in Swaziland, moved to Zimbabwe in
1983, when she married a local math professor.

In the 1980s, after the country's long struggle for independence, she
worked as a government prosecutor, and so she is well-acquainted with the
circle of ministers around President Robert Mugabe, who have drafted a
series of increasingly repressive laws. The country's new Public Order and
Security Act, for example, outlaws any political meeting of more than five
people. The state broadcaster is not allowed to accept advertisements from
opposition parties.

Despite the repression, this year's campaign period has been
comparatively peaceful, to the surprise of many international observers. Mr.
Mugabe's youth paramilitary has been deployed around the country but there
have been few of the vicious attacks on opposition supporters that
characterized the 2000 parliamentary election and the 2002 presidential
vote. For the first time, the Movement for Democratic Change was invited to
air its platform on the national broadcaster.

Ms. Mtetwa, however, finds little comfort in this.

"One shouldn't say I'm happy with this little window when the whole
door should be open. We must disabuse people of this idea that half the loaf
is better than nothing when you are entitled to the whole loaf," she said.

The best voice for political pluralism in Zimbabwe was the fearless
Daily News, an independent newspaper that was shut down in 2003. Ms. Mtetwa
fought the paper's legal battles; she last appeared in the supreme court to
argue for it a year ago. But the court has refused to release a judgment
"despite the fact of [its] huge importance to Zimbabwe."

This constant battle with an increasingly co-opted judiciary is taking
a toll on Ms. Mtetwa.

"It is emotionally draining," she said. "It particularly affects me
when I know I cannot help my client in any way, when we have a heap of court
orders and no one is going to enforce them, and so my client is deported or
loses his property. You feel you are a fake or masquerading as a lawyer."

Yet she has no intention of stopping.

"It would be pointless to do this in the first place if you were going
to stop at some stage," she said.

"What I'm doing is not politics, it's legal. I know African politics
and African leaders and what they say today is not what they do when they
come in to power. . . . The constitution I am seeking to rely on is not an
opposition constitution. It's a constitution passed by this government. And
I'm not fighting for the opposition as it is, but for the rights as a
whole."

This story is the second of two parts on women making a difference
ahead of the country's March 31 election.

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The Mercury

Secret benefactor offers to fly SA men home
March 8, 2005

By Peta Thornycroft

Harare: A secret benefactor has offered R130 000 to fly the 62
suspected South African mercenaries in Zimbabwe back home as soon as
possible after their expected release today from Harare's Chikurubi maximum
security prison.

The Zimbabwean government - apparently too cash-strapped to fly them
home - had offered to bus them back to the border post at Beit Bridge today,
their lawyer, Alwyn Griebenow, said yesterday.

But he said that he had made the Zimbabwean government a counter
proposal to pay for them to fly back today. He said he was still waiting for
a response from the Central Intelligence Organisation.

Griebenow said a benefactor had offered the R130 000 needed to fly all
of the men to SA. He declined to name the benefactor.

SA Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa was quoted
yesterday as saying that South Africa's ambassador to Harare, Jerry Ndou,
had confirmed that the men would be freed today.

"This follows a meeting between the Zimbabwean Foreign Ministry and
immigration officials, who have now concluded everything required for their
deportation," Mamoepa said.

The men, all arrested in connection with a botched coup attempt in
Equatorial Guinea a year ago, should have been free by now given that four
months was lopped off their sentences last week.

According to local media, the problem was that the Zimbabwean
government regarded many of the men as citizens of non-South African
countries such as Angola and Namibia. This had created confusion as the
government said it had to deport them to their home countries.

Though several of the men were born outside SA, all were carrying SA
passports at the time of their arrest a year ago yesterday when they flew to
Harare International Airport in a chartered Boeing 727 aircraft.

The Zimbabwean government alleged they had stopped in Zimbabwe en
route to Equatorial Guinea to participate in a plot to overthrow the
government.

When the 62 men are released, two South Africans will be left behind -
Jaap Steyl and Hendrick Hamman, the pilots of the Boeing 727.

They are expected to be released on May 14.

The men all denied the coup plot in court, saying they were hired to
guard a mine in the DRC.

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Taiwan Times

Hope in the land of dashed hopes

2005-03-08 / New York Times /

The New York Times said in an editorial yesterday:

For more than 40 years, the epitome of wasted potential and squandered
opportunity in Africa has been Nigeria. From the time it gained independence
from Britain in 1960, that behemoth of 137 million people has seemed to do
its level best to fritter away every natural advantage. Given the
second-highest proven oil reserves in Africa, Nigerian officials spent oil
income on lavish estates in Europe instead of decent schools and water
systems back home. The country that produced the Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka
and arguably Africa's best author, Chinua Achebe, was better known for the
cruel, thieving dictator Sani Abacha.

Now, "Nigeria is changing," says Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the country's
finance minister. She suggested thinking of America and the West as the
parent and Nigeria as the child: "If your child has been doing bad things -
drug abuse or alcohol - and they come to you and say, 'My mother, I want to
change; please help me,' would you say no? Would you say, 'You are hopeless;
you can't change'?"

It's a tough question for anyone who has ever been assaulted at the
airport in Lagos just trying to enter Nigeria, or hit up for a bribe by
Nigerian government officials, or struck dumb at the sight of orphaned
children drinking dirty water on the street. But if America and the
developed world are serious about their stated intent to tackle poverty,
most of which is in Africa, then they cannot ignore the home of 20 percent
of sub-Saharan Africa's people.

Hard as it is to believe, there are hopeful signs in Nigeria. The
Nigerians, through two, albeit flawed, democratic elections, have given
themselves a reformist government with the right intentions. President
Olusegun Obasanjo has taken up the mantle of anti-corruption - or at least
slightly reduced corruption. He established an Economic and Financial Crimes
Commission, whose chairman, Alhaji Nuhu Ribadu, at risk to his life, has
been terrifying current and former officials with his investigations.
Already, two rear admirals have been convicted of helping to steal 11,000
barrels of oil. Some 130 customs officials have been fired.

Bunkering, the quaint term Nigerians use to describe outright stealing
of crude oil by members of the armed forces or the government, has been
reduced to a mere 20,000 barrels a day from 100,000 barrels a day, according
to Okonjo-Iweala. And finally - this should please all of us who have
received e-mail supposedly from Idi Amin's son or Charles Taylor's wife
offering untold riches if we'd only provide our checking account numbers -
three purported e-mail crime leaders have been arrested.

Beyond the fight against corruption, Nigeria has made huge strides in
promoting regional security. Nigerian peacekeepers are in Liberia, Sudan and
Sierra Leone. Last month, when Togo installed the son of the country's
longtime strongman as president, it was Nigeria's Obasanjo who led the fight
that ultimately forced Faure Gnassingbe to step down. We can't help but
notice the difference between Obasanjo and the leader of black Africa's
other regional power, South Africa. Thabo Mbeki has largely thrown up his
hands in the struggle to force Zimbabwe to hold honest elections that could
rid it of the odious despot Robert Mugabe.

What's missing is for America to take Nigeria more seriously, to do
much more than simply treat the country as a gas station. The United States
has made some strides with HIV-AIDS treatment in Nigeria, but that should be
expanded to include prevention as well. The country isn't anywhere close to
qualifying for aid under President Bush's Millennium Challenge Account,
which ties money to good governance. But that approach, while worthy,
condemns the 80 million Nigerians who subsist on barely anything. America
should supplement the Challenge Account program with something that
encourages countries like Nigeria to press ahead with reforms, and find
ways - perhaps through private aid groups - to funnel money to the
desperately poor. Nigeria is too big to ignore. If it doesn't succeed, it's
hard to imagine that the rest of Africa has much of a chance.

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Reuters

Zimbabwe mercenaries due in S.Africa, may be charged

Tue March 8, 2005 9:04 AM GMT+02:00
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Sixty-two men jailed in Zimbabwe last year in
connection with a coup plot in Equatorial Guinea will arrive home to South
Africa on Tuesday, where they may still face charges, their lawyer and
officials said.

"We are conducting an ongoing investigation into the plot in
Equatorial Guinea ... Where there are grounds for prosecution, prosecution
will take place," said National Prosecutions Authority (NPA) spokesman
Makhosini Nkosi.

Their lawyer Alwyn Griebenow told Reuters he was awaiting their
arrival at the South African border, where they would arrive by land on
Tuesday. He said he had no details about their departure or when they could
be expected home.

The men, who were travelling on South African passports, were found
guilty last year on weapons and immigration charges related to the plot.

A Zimbabwe court last week reduced their sentences by four months
following an appeal to the country's second highest court.

They are part of a group of 69 who were arrested in Harare last March,
accused of being an advance mission en route to Equatorial Guinea to topple
the oil-rich nation's leader Teodoro Obiang Nguema.

One died in prison and others were found not guilty or freed on
medical grounds after spending months in prison.

Equatorial Guinea sentenced 11 foreigners in November to between 14
and 34 years in jail for their role in the plot, and two of its own citizens
to 16 months in jail.

In South Africa, the son of former British Prime Minister Margaret
Thatcher, Mark Thatcher, pleaded guilty in January to a role in the foiled
plot under a plea bargain to avoid prison.

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News24

Mbeki slammed over Zim
08/03/2005 08:44 - (SA)

Willem Jordaan

Cape Town - President Thabo Mbeki has given up on ensuring a free and fair
election in Zimbabwe to get rid of the "odious" President Robert Mugabe, The
New York Times claimed in a main article on Monday.

The South African presidency has objected to the article and said The Times
had it wrong.

In the main article on the newspaper's website, a direct comparison was made
between Mbeki and Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo and the inference was
made that Obasanjo plays a stronger role in maintaining democracy in Africa.

Referring to the way Obasanjo handled the coup in Togo, The New York Times
pointed out that the difference between Mbeki and Obsanjo was obvious.

"We can't help but notice the difference between Mr Obasanjo and the leader
of black Africa's other regional power, South Africa," the article stated.
"Thabo Mbeki has largely thrown up his hands in the struggle to force
Zimbabwe to hold honest elections that could rid it of the odious despot
Robert Mugabe."

Mbeki's handling of the crisis in Zimbabwe was contrasted against Obasanjo's
downright condemnation of the undemocratic change of power in Togo.

After the death of President Gnassingbe Eyadema, the defence force of Togo
executed a bloodless coup and opened up the way for one of Eyadema's sons,
Faure Gnassingbe.

After condemnations from Obasanjo and the ensuing pressure of the Economic
Community of West African States (Ecowas) and the African Union, Gnassingbe
stepped down.

Free and fair

The New York Times' criticism comes after Mbeki maintained last week that he
had no reason to believe that the elections in Zimbabwe would not be free
and fair.

This position was reiterated by deputy minister of foreign affairs, Aziz
Pahad, on Monday despite reports that the American ambassador to South
Africa, Jendayi Frazer, has warned that Mbeki's handling of the Zimbabwe
issue was causing her to "fear" for the future of Nepad (New Partnership for
Africa's Development).

Bheki Khumalo, spokesperson for Mbeki, said the The New York Times' article
was a "false impression".

He said Obasanjo's handling of Togo and Mbeki's of Zimbabwe could not be
compared since Mugabe did not come to power in an undemocratic coup.

"If there is an undemocratic coup in one of our neighbouring states, we
would act exactly like President Obasanjo did in the case of Togo," Khumalo
said.

"Even if you do not agree with the Zimbabwean government's policy, it is a
fact that Zimbabwe is holding elections soon. Everything must now be done to
ensure that these elections are democratic, free and fair."

Khumalo said Mbeki had therefore not given up.

When asked why there was a perception that Mbeki had given up on Zimbabwe,
Khumalo said those who made this allegation do not understand the situation
in Zimbabwe and were trying to portray that government as "a military
regime".

"This is not the case. Whether you like the outcome or not, the Zimbabwean
government is an elected one."
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Five opposition parties expelled

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Mar-08

THE National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) has fired from its Political
Parties Liaison Committee five opposition parties, including the MDC, for
their acquiescence to participate in the parliamentary polls slated for
March 31. The NCA, chaired by Constitutional lawyer Lovemore Madhuku, has of
late been on the warpath with the MDC over its decision to participate in
the general polls.
In a press statement released by the NCA subcommittee yesterday, the civic
grouping expelled en masse five political parties from its Political Party
Liaison Committee with effect from February 18 2005.
The other expelled political parties are: the National Alliance for Good
Governance (Nagg), Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu), Zimbabwe African
People's Union-Federal Party (Zapu-FP) and the Multiracial Open Party
Christian Democrats (MOP-CD).
The move immediately attracted scorn from the affected parties, with MDC's
secretary general Welshman Ncube describing it as foolish.
"The person who told you that (the expulsion) should know that April 1
(Fools Day) is four weeks away. Those interested in fooling people should
wait for that day," said Ncube, whose party decided to take part in the 2005
general elections "under protest". Ncube, the legislator for Bulawayo North
East, said the opposition would not be dragged into petty squabbles with
individuals bent on confusing the citizenry.
Part of the statement written by the NCA's chairperson of the Political
Parties Liaison Committee, Wurarayi Zembe, read: "Five political parties
have been expelled from the NCA Political Liaison Committee with effect from
Friday, 18 February 2005. The unanimous decision was taken by the committee
at its 13th ordinary meeting held on 2 March 2005.
Zembe said the parties had been expelled for violating common positions and
principles within the NCA effective February 18 2005.
The nomination court sat on February 18 and Zembe said by participating in
that process, the parties had automatically expelled themselves from the
committee.
"The political parties were found guilty of wilful and/or reckless
abandonment of agreed common positions, resolutions, principles and policies
of collective strategic action within the NCA constitutional movement in its
struggle for a new democratic constitution in Zimbabwe.
"The opportunistic behaviour exhibited by the parties ended up with them
contesting in bogus elections currently being held under an undemocratic
constitution that the Political Parties Liaison Committee rejected as
illegitimate and the entire NCA constitutional movement is fighting to
remove."
Zembe said by agreeing to participate in the general elections, the expelled
parties had adopted a contrary position to that of the NCA.
He said specific positions breached by the parties are: "The October 24 2002
resolutions that Zimbabwe had an illegitimate Constitution and government;
Political Parties convention resolutions of 5-7 March 2004 that without a
new democratic home-grown constitution, elections will be boycotted by all
political parties in the NCA; April 7 2004 Political Parties
Petition.demanding a new democratic constitution before the March 2005
elections and NCA AGM resolution of 11 October 2003 that 'No elections
without a new Constitution'." The Political Parties Liaison Committee has
since recommended to the NCA National Taskforce to deal with the from page 1
membership status of the dismissed political parties in terms of the NCA
constitution, including that of its national vice-chairperson, Douglas
Mwonzora, who is also contesting the Nyanga seat on an MDC ticket.
NCA spokesperson Jessie Majome said: "The taskforce hasn't been briefed on
the matter yet and so no action has been taken. The committee is just a
subcommittee of the NCA and just makes recommendations to the taskforce."
Reacting to the expulsion, Nagg President Lloyd Chihambakwe said: "No one
from Nagg is participating in the elections. He (Zembe) is just
another.(unprintable word) trying to make money."
ZANU spokesperson Reketayi Semwayo said: "It's wrong for him to wake up and
write letters without consulting members. We are still members of the
committee and there was no reason for him to give you the letter first
before we had even seen it."
Zapu-FP leader Paul Siwela was unavailable for comment, while Godwin
Murambiwa, leader of MOP-CD said of the dismissal: "It makes no difference.
We are not controlled by Madhuku, we are a party with its own structures and
executive. We joined the NCA for constitutional reform, but it now appears
that they are an auxiliary party of another party."
Although MOP-CD did not field candidates for the polls, its aspiring
candidate for Harare Central, Matthias Guchutu, protested in the nomination
court in Harare over the $2 million nomination fee which they argued was
exorbitant.
Zembe said the only parties remaining in the committee were the Zapu,
Democratic Party (DP) and the Zimbabwe National Congress (ZINC). DP and ZINC
pulled out of the elections before the nomination court sat.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Tempers flare at Royal Bank meeting

Shame Makoshori
issue date :2005-Mar-08

ABOUT 50 creditors of the closed Royal Bank walked out of a meeting convened
by curator Robert Mclndoe in Harare yesterday to persuade them to endorse
proposals by the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG) to acquire the
financial institution's assets. Royal Bank was placed under curatorship last
year due to liquidity crunch.
In January this year it was incorporated into ZABG by the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe, but the financial institution had since gone to court challenging
the move.
The creditors yesterday argued that the information provided by the curator
was inadequate and demanded that he revises the bank's financial statements
produced yesterday.
The creditors wanted to know how much the curator was paid by the central
bank, and if he had been paid, why he received preferential treatment ahead
of them.
They also demanded to know why in the document that Mclndoe sent them, he
did not include the income statement - a critical component of the
information that would show how much the central bank had pumped into Royal
Bank.
The curator, through his officials, tried to convince the creditors to
accept a debt swap, saying the liquidation route they wanted would take a
long time and was expensive and unviable.
"The purchase of the bank's assets by the ZABG would protect depositors and
creditors from further loss of value and this was considered a better option
than liquidating Royal Bank.
"The bank's assets are at 50 percent of its liabilities and debts would be
difficult to recover.
"The other advantage of taking up shareholding would be that the shares
would soon be traded at the stock exchange thereby growing value for
shareholders," said Mandla Moyo, an official with the curators.
However, the creditors ordered that Royal Bank's books be audited first in
accordance with the Banking Act before a public offer is made for interested
investors to acquire the commercial bank in its current state.
The creditors further demanded a proper valuation of the bank's assets by an
independent valuer, not the curator who, they said, was taking orders from
the central bank, an interested party by virtue of its 96 percent
shareholding in ZABG.
Creditors also queried why ZABG had started offering loans to directors in
its infancy.
"You have told us that part of the reasons why Royal was closed was huge
loan payments, but the ZABG has already advanced a $634 million loan to one
of the directors; how do you expect us to approve your proposals?" said a
creditor.
Mclndoe remained silent throughout the grilling, not answering most of the
questions, before turning around and saying the document was not his but had
been drawn by ZABG.
"Why do you present to us a document that you cannot explain? Go back and
make a thorough job before coming back because as it stands, most vital
facts are missing," one of the creditors shouted as they made a beeline out
of the
meeting.
In an interview with The Daily Mirror, Mclndoe said he would not call
another meeting but would communicate with the creditors through individual
correspondence.
"This was the best option, but I will not call another meeting, nobody
benefited from this meeting," a visibly shaken Mclndoe said.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Gasela sues headman

Clemence Manyukwe
issue date :2005-Mar-08

MDC legislator for Gweru Rural Renson Gasela is suing headman Chisadza for
allegedly violating the Traditional Leaders Act .
Chisadza successfully submitted his nomination papers to stand as the
Zanu PF candidate in the constituency for the March 31 parliamentary polls.
Gasela has applied to the Electoral Court seeking the disqualification of
the headman from contesting the poll and that he be declared the winner. He
argues that Chisadza's nomination was in contravention of provisions of
Section 45 of the Traditional Leaders Act.
In papers filed with the Electoral Court in Bulawayo on March 4 2005 (Case
No EP 2/05), Gasela is the sole applicant while Desiree Gambura and the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) are the first and second respondents
respectively.
Josphat Madubeko, who is headman Chisadza, is the third respondent. The
first respondent is cited in his capacity as the election officer who
accepted the headman's papers when the Nomination Court sat on February 18.
In his founding affidavit, Gasela, the MDC shadow minister of agriculture,
argued that headman Chisadza, as a traditional leader, must not have sought
nomination to contest in the general elections.
In the affidavit, Gasela said: "I have reason to believe that the third
respondent did not qualify to stand as a candidate for the parliamentary
election and for this reason his nomination should have been rejected by the
first respondent and I should have been nominated unopposed and therefore
duly elected member of parliament for the constituency. This obtains from
the fact that the third respondent is a traditional leader as he is a
headman under Chief Bunina of Lower Gweru and carries his function as such
as headman Chisadza."
Gasela added that the ruling party's candidate did not relinquish his
traditional post prior or after the nomination court's seating.
Part of the final order the MDC shadow minister is seeking reads:
"In the event that the third respondent documents do not meet the
requirements of the law, his nomination be and hereby nullified and he is
disqualified from contesting the parliamentary seat."
Gasela also wants the court to declare him the winner of the poll and all
the respondents to pay the costs of the suit.
Headman Chisadza was yet to respond to Gasela's lawsuit.
Gasela's petition is the second to be lodged with the court, after another
one by jailed MDC Chimanimani legislator Roy Bennett challenging the
Nomination Court's decision to bar him from contesting in the polls.
The Nomination Court declared Bennett's wife Heather and Samuel Undenge
eligible to contest the seat on the MDC and Zanu PF tickets respectively.
The court is yet to make a ruling in this matter.
Nicholas Mathonsi, of Bulawayo law firm Coglan and Welsh, is representing
Gasela.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

State to control all produce

Givemore Nyanhi
issue date :2005-Mar-08

THE return of the Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) will give
government unlimited power over agricultural produce, according to Basilio
Sandamu, Horticultural Promotion Council (HPC) director.
"As you know we had AMA in the 1980s. Virtually all products were controlled
by the authority at that time," Sandamu said at an Interfresh analyst's
briefing held recently in Harare.
HPC is a producer-based organisation whose primary role is creating and
sustaining an enabling environment for the maintenance and expansion of the
horticulture industry in Zimbabwe
"However, today only maize and wheat are controlled. AMA will give the
Minister of Agriculture the right to intervene in every agricultural product
except pork and tobacco."
The AMA Bill was speedily passed through Parliament late last year but only
got presidential assent late last month, meaning that AMA now exists as a
recognised corporate entity just like the Grain Marketing Board (GMB).
Working structures of the new institution are yet to be put in place but
analysts said the next step following the president's approval of AMA would
be the rationalisation of an initial budget to bankroll it's operations.
"We are still waiting on how it is going to work but what we have been made
to understand at the moment is that they won't interfere with the private
sector activities. But if private sector activities are not helpful to new
farmers, government will intervene and take control. In other words it gives
government unlimited power."
From 1986 to 1999, horticultural exports recorded an average annual growth
of 15 percent, with the value of gross export realisations increasing
considerably. According to the central bank, in 1996 horticulture,
encompassing cut flowers, fruits and vegetables, as well as citrus fruits,
accounted for US$53.5 million or 24 percent of agricultural exports,
excluding tobacco.
In 2004, total horticulture shipments totalled around US92 million, or 28
percent of total agricultural exports, excluding tobacco.
For the current year, the central bank anticipates that horticulture will
contribute US$166 million, or 37 percent of agricultural exports, excluding
tobacco.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

OBE TV boss says signature was forged

Joseph Katete
issue date :2005-Mar-08

LONDON-based Original Black Entertainment Television (OBE TV) chairman,
Bernard Ampaw, has dismissed local media reports that he retracted all
damaging allegations against Miss Tourism World president John Singh He says
a document to that effect purportedly signed by him was forged. Speaking to
The Daily Mirror by telephone from the British capital yesterday, Ampaw also
denied ever exonerating Singh.
He said never at any one time did he say Singh had settled the debt he owed
his company in England.
In yesterday's issue of The Herald, OBE TV was said to have received US$200
000 and another 6 980 British pounds as consultancy fees in accordance with
the contract signed in Harare on January 3 this year.
Ampaw vehemently denied signing any documents that formed the basis of The
Herald story, which implied that the issue had been resolved, and that he
had apologised to Singh.
"I never signed any document and do not retract any allegations against
Singh. If anything, I would lay criminal charges against him for forging my
signature. What he did is fraudulent," Ampaw said.
He said Singh had only paid him US$61 538 instead of the US$200 000.
The balance was meant to be paid to conclude the deal.
Ampaw warned that if Singh did not pay the balance he was even prepared
to come down to Zimbabwe to address the matter once and for all. He said he
would hold a news conference to clarify the issue.
A writ of arrest was issued against Singh by the High Court last Wednesday
after OBE TV filed an urgent application to stop him leaving the country
before he met his financial obligation.
But Singh sneaked out of the country hardly three hours after the order was
granted.
OBE TV's director of strategic business, Michael Orji, also expressed utter
disappointment over Singh's latest move.
"I am very disappointed that Singh is approaching this issue from a very
nave perspective. He should realise that what he is doing is criminal,"
Orji lamented.
OBE TV's lawyer, Aston Musunga, of Musunga and Associates, confirmed Ampaw
and Orji's concerns.
Musunga said he was surprised that despite knowing fully well that he
represented OBE TV in its High Court case, the newspaper never bothered to
verify facts with him before going to print.
"I don't want to believe that Singh is after using the local press to clear
his name. He was invited by a judge of our country to come and defend
himself in court before 7 pm last Wednesday, but he chose not to abide by
that," Musunga said.
"Instead he left the country. If he had nothing to hide, why didn't he come
and clear his name before leaving the country?"
According to the agreement signed by OBE TV and Singh dated January 3 2005,
Singh agreed to pay OBE TV Limited 10 percent of the fees charged and
received from the host country (Zimbabwe) within 24 hours of receiving the
total licence fee.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Bulawayo council under fire

From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo
issue date :2005-Mar-08

THE Bulawayo City Council has come under fire from residents for allegedly
billing them astronomical water charges .
The residents yesterday complained about what they described as 'shocking'water
bills from the municipality.
Howard Court residents, whose monthly water bills often range from $800 000
to $1,8 million, this month received a bill of $10 million.
"This is really shocking. Where do these people think we can get that hell
of an amount? We need an explanation as to why we are being charged like
this," said Naison Moyo, a resident at the court.
A Pumula resident, Joice Choto, also claimed that she received a water bill
of $5 million. "I stay in the low-density suburb where the average monthly
charge is between $1, 6 million and $2 million. What is more interesting is
that this amount is even worth the value of the property," she said.
The local authority is reeling under serious financial problems, which among
others is a result of government's failure to pay its debt to the council.
The local authority is owed $12,4 billion by various government departments
in unpaid service charges.
As of 31 December 2004, residents also owed the city council over $71
billion.
City treasurer Middleton Nyoni yesterday said it was unprocedural for
residents to complain through the press.
"These charges are astronomical according to you. Those people have not
approached us formally and I cannot comment on something I have not seen or
heard," said Nyoni.
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Taiwan Times

Hope in the land of dashed hopes

2005-03-08 / New York Times /

The New York Times said in an editorial yesterday:

For more than 40 years, the epitome of wasted potential and squandered
opportunity in Africa has been Nigeria. From the time it gained independence
from Britain in 1960, that behemoth of 137 million people has seemed to do
its level best to fritter away every natural advantage. Given the
second-highest proven oil reserves in Africa, Nigerian officials spent oil
income on lavish estates in Europe instead of decent schools and water
systems back home. The country that produced the Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka
and arguably Africa's best author, Chinua Achebe, was better known for the
cruel, thieving dictator Sani Abacha.

Now, "Nigeria is changing," says Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the country's
finance minister. She suggested thinking of America and the West as the
parent and Nigeria as the child: "If your child has been doing bad things -
drug abuse or alcohol - and they come to you and say, 'My mother, I want to
change; please help me,' would you say no? Would you say, 'You are hopeless;
you can't change'?"

It's a tough question for anyone who has ever been assaulted at the
airport in Lagos just trying to enter Nigeria, or hit up for a bribe by
Nigerian government officials, or struck dumb at the sight of orphaned
children drinking dirty water on the street. But if America and the
developed world are serious about their stated intent to tackle poverty,
most of which is in Africa, then they cannot ignore the home of 20 percent
of sub-Saharan Africa's people.

Hard as it is to believe, there are hopeful signs in Nigeria. The
Nigerians, through two, albeit flawed, democratic elections, have given
themselves a reformist government with the right intentions. President
Olusegun Obasanjo has taken up the mantle of anti-corruption - or at least
slightly reduced corruption. He established an Economic and Financial Crimes
Commission, whose chairman, Alhaji Nuhu Ribadu, at risk to his life, has
been terrifying current and former officials with his investigations.
Already, two rear admirals have been convicted of helping to steal 11,000
barrels of oil. Some 130 customs officials have been fired.

Bunkering, the quaint term Nigerians use to describe outright stealing
of crude oil by members of the armed forces or the government, has been
reduced to a mere 20,000 barrels a day from 100,000 barrels a day, according
to Okonjo-Iweala. And finally - this should please all of us who have
received e-mail supposedly from Idi Amin's son or Charles Taylor's wife
offering untold riches if we'd only provide our checking account numbers -
three purported e-mail crime leaders have been arrested.

Beyond the fight against corruption, Nigeria has made huge strides in
promoting regional security. Nigerian peacekeepers are in Liberia, Sudan and
Sierra Leone. Last month, when Togo installed the son of the country's
longtime strongman as president, it was Nigeria's Obasanjo who led the fight
that ultimately forced Faure Gnassingbe to step down. We can't help but
notice the difference between Obasanjo and the leader of black Africa's
other regional power, South Africa. Thabo Mbeki has largely thrown up his
hands in the struggle to force Zimbabwe to hold honest elections that could
rid it of the odious despot Robert Mugabe.

What's missing is for America to take Nigeria more seriously, to do
much more than simply treat the country as a gas station. The United States
has made some strides with HIV-AIDS treatment in Nigeria, but that should be
expanded to include prevention as well. The country isn't anywhere close to
qualifying for aid under President Bush's Millennium Challenge Account,
which ties money to good governance. But that approach, while worthy,
condemns the 80 million Nigerians who subsist on barely anything. America
should supplement the Challenge Account program with something that
encourages countries like Nigeria to press ahead with reforms, and find
ways - perhaps through private aid groups - to funnel money to the
desperately poor. Nigeria is too big to ignore. If it doesn't succeed, it's
hard to imagine that the rest of Africa has much of a chance.

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