Zimbabwe may lease back seized land, farmers say May
By Brian Latham and Antony Sguazzin
Zimbabwe might partially reverse its five-year-old policy of seizing
white-owned commercial farms after a plunge in export income and four years
of famine, the Commercial Farmers' Union said yesterday.
seized since 2000 might be leased back to their former owners, said Ben
Kaschula, the union's manager for regions. "What are being discussed are
99-year leases," Kaschula said.
"Some have been verbally offered to
farmers who have complied with government policy - in other words, farmers
who have co-existed with settlers on their land." President Robert Mugabe's
government has been redistributing land to black subsistence farmers. The
seizures won him rural support in elections in 2000, 2002 and this
They have also slashed production of tobacco by three-quarters, cut
maize and wheat supplies, and contributed to five years of recession. Joseph
Made, Zimbabwe's agriculture minister, was not available for comment
For the plan to be successful, Zimbabwe's constitution might
have to be amended when parliament sat on June 28, Kaschula said. "No one
has been offered a lease in writing and no one knows what the precise
details will be," Kaschula said.
White farmers trying to get leases
for farmland had been told that they would have to surrender their title
deeds to the state before any were granted, he said.
The farm leases
would mainly be offered in the Midlands and Manicaland provinces, the
London-based Africa Confidential publication reported, without revealing its
Compensation would be offered to farmers who bought land under
investment programmes guaranteed by agreements between Zimbabwe and other
governments, the publication said.
A list of farms to be returned had
been compiled and the land would have to be sown by June. June is a time
when only wheat is grown. Maize and most other crops are sown in October,
before summer rains.
Before 2000, Zimbabwe was the world's second-biggest
exporter of flue-cured tobacco, the top grade of the crop. Tobacco was
Zimbabwe's biggest export.
The country was also the biggest grower of
paprika in the southern hemisphere and the world's sixth-largest rose
exporter. It sold maize to its neighbours in most years.
the UN World Food Programme has had to provide food aid to almost half of
the country's 11.8 million people. Zimbabwe has been the biggest buyer of
South African maize for at least the past two marketing years.
programme left almost all Zimbabwe's 4 000 white farmers stripped of their
land. Most of the country's 300 000 farm workers and their families lost
The US-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network
classified Zimbabwe's food shortages as an "emergency" on May
"The magnitude of Zimbabwe's food security problem is such that it
will need to import substantial amounts of cereal," the agency said.
Mugabe wants two more years 12/05/2005 23:17 -
Johannesburg - Zimbabwe's opposition on Thursday said President
Robert Mugabe would use his two-thirds majority in parliament to remain in
power an additional two years until 2010.
Mugabe's Zimbabwe African
National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) party won 78 seats against 41 won
by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in parliamentary elections on
The elections were endorsed as "reflecting the will of the
people" by observer missions from the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) region and South Africa, but the MDC rejected the results, alleging
electoral fraud, intimidation and use of food by Zanu-PF to gain
MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube said: "It was obvious that
Mugabe stole the people's mandate to get the parliament to change the
constitution in such a way that his tenure will be extended by two years to
Law-making, constitutional reforms
He said the ruling party
would turn the new parliament, which reconvened on June 28 to "a rubberstamp
discussion institution without getting down to serious business of
law-making and constitutional reforms".
Ncube accused the Mugabe
government of "shutting the people out of the political space by denying
them the free will to choose their leaders as demonstrated during the March
He urged the international community, particularly
the SADC, to exert pressure on the government to create a conducive
environment for political and electoral reforms in the country.
said: "Unless this is done, the political crisis in Zimbabwe will remain
unresolved, there is democratic deficit in Zimbabwe."
The MDC is
challenging the election results in at least 13 constituencies before the
SA must copy Zimbabwe's electoral system: ANC official Fri
13 May 2005
JOHANNESBURG - A senior African National Congress (ANC)
official stunned a meeting called to review last month's parliamentary
elections when she said Zimbabwe's electoral system was so perfect that
South Africa should consider copying it to improve its own
ANC Member of Parliament Nthabiseng Khunou, who was part of
the South African parliament's observer group to the disputed elections,
shocked her audience at the South African Institute of International Affairs
(SAIIA) by suggesting that South Africa should adopt Zimbabwe's electoral
rules because they were impeccable.
She was making a
presentation at the meeting entitled: Zimbabwe Election 2005
-Interpretations, Implications, Prospects towards 2008. She said her
observer group had not witnessed any violence in Zimbabwe contrary to many
"negative media reports" in South Africa about violence in
She also defended draconian media and security laws used
to ban newspapers before the election and to ban opposition rallies saying
they were being rightly enforced to promote law and
Khunou defiantly stood by her remarks as her
somewhat angry audience interjected and derided her as she
"I will not be intimidated at all. I am used to this jeering
in Parliament....So I will not be intimidated."
challenged to explain the good things about Zimbabwe's electoral system
which she wanted South Africa to adopt. She then singled out the "queuing
system" which she said had helped reduce long lines at polling
"We were very impressed by the queuing system at polling
stations," she said amid more angry interjections from the audience which
forced her to launch a tirade.
"I am not here to tell you what
you want to hear. I will report on what I saw and not what you think I saw.
I did not see any violence in Zimbabwe," she said.
Democratic Change (MDC) spokesman Welshman Ncube said Khunou's sentiments
helped to explain why his party had resolved not to engage the ANC as a
mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis. He said it was not helpful for the MDC to
engage a party whose sole purpose was "to help Mugabe remain in power at all
costs and even help him rig elections".
The ANC could not help
Zimbabwe in any way without an honest assessment of the crisis in the
country. Engaging it was therefore futile, he said.
chronicled a litany of problems that his party faced in the election
including the chasing away of its polling agents at 60 percent of all rural
polling stations, the discriminatory application of draconian laws to
victimise MDC supporters and the refusal of main state newspapers to flight
He also cited the banning of the private media, the
lack of an independent broadcaster, the intimidation of opposition
supporters and many others which he said could have hardly made the election
free and fair as claimed by the ANC.
Khunou said she had not
seen any violence nor political repression in Zimbabwe and the election had
been held in peaceful circumstances.
"The pre-election process was
well planned and executed. There was no verifiable evidence to justify food
discrimination claims against MDC supporters," she said.
Sisulu of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition launched an angry broadside at
Khunou saying her remarks were very unkind to the hundreds of Zimbabweans
who had suffered torture, rape, death and beatings at the hands of Mugabe
Khunou said she had not seen any evidence of any such
Democratic Alliance MP Diane Kohler-Barnard, who was part
of the SA parliamentary observer mission, said she felt like she had not
witnessed the same event after listening to her colleague.
too criticised the ANC saying Khunou's remarks and President Mbeki's
"invisible diplomacy" on Zimbabwe were a disgrace in this age of African
She said the climate she witnessed in Zimbabwe prior to
the election was such that no one in their right mind could ever say the
parliamentary polls were free and fair.
Support Network chairman Reginald Matchaba-Hove said there was no way
Zimbabwe could ever hold free and fair elections under the current electoral
dispensation. The challenge was to write a new constitution that would
define new rules for holding credible elections. - ZimOnline
Food aid recipients swell to a million Fri 13 May 2005
BULAWAYO - The number of school children, orphans and other vulnerable
individuals receiving food in Zimbabwe under a special World Food Programme
scheme swelled to one million last month as severe hunger spreads across the
WFP spokeswoman Makena Walker said most of the
recipients were from the southern Matabeleland region, traditionally a poor
rainfall region and the worst affected by food shortages this
"In April alone, WFP provided food aid to one million people,
mainly school children from Matabeleland region and those that are living
with HIV/AIDS," said Walker.
Four months ago, about 900 000
people were receiving food under the WFP scheme that is limited to the
vulnerable in society.
President Robert Mugabe and his government
will not allow the WFP or any other donor to feed the starving general
Local church leaders, United Nations food experts and
other non-governmental organisations have warned of a humanitarian disaster
in Zimbabwe in the coming months unless the government opened up and allowed
unfettered delivery of food aid by international donor groups.
But Harare, which admitted Zimbabwe was facing serious food shortages only
last March after denying there was hunger in the country and even telling
international food agencies last year to take their help elsewhere, insists
it has enough resources to ensure no one starves.
need to import 1.2 billion tonnes of maize costing about US$500 million,
money which Mugabe's government grappling a severe economic crisis for the
last five years does not have. - ZimOnline
Police backtrack on threats to ban protest music album Fri
13 May 2005 HARARE - Zimbabwe police yesterday backtracked on threats to
stop the release of an album of protest music produced by local civic
A spokeswoman of the National Constitutional
Assembly (NCA), a coalition of civic bodies that is behind the music album,
last night said the album will be launched today after the police officials
indicated they would no longer prevent its release to the
NCA spokeswoman Jessie Majome said: "Our officials went to
the police station this morning and a police Assistant Inspector Mhondoro
indicated that the police have no problem with us launching the
Majome did not say why the police relented on their threat
to ban the release of the protest music album but said the NCA was prepared
to resist any attempts to ban their music. "In any case we were already
psyched up to resist any attempt to disrupt the event (launch of album),"
she said. Music on the album calls for a new and democratic constitution for
Zimbabwe and also criticises police brutality against the government's
The police had earlier said they wanted to
ban the album for fear the protest music it contains could be used to rally
Zimbabweans to rise against the government particularly as emotions were
still high in the country after last March's disputed parliamentary
State secret agents and the police routinely censure
music or publications deemed too critical of President Robert Mugabe and his
ruling ZANU PF.
Local music icon Thomas Mapfumo and several
other artists have had their songs banned from national airwaves because
state official feared they might incite Zimbabweans against the
Four newspapers including the country's largest
circulating non government-owned daily, the Daily News, have been banned in
the last two years by a government too sensitive to criticism amid mounting
opposition to its rule. - ZimOnline
High Court rejects bid to have Daily News journalists
registered Fri 13 May 2005 HARARE - Zimbabwe's High Court has ruled that
journalists working for the banned Daily News cannot receive accreditation
from the state media commission until their newspaper is
The judgment, handed down by Justice Kamocha earlier
this week after a 15 month delay, represents yet another blow to Zimbabwe's
small but courageous private media battling to survive under a harsh
Kamocha said journalists from the Associated
Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), publishers of the Daily News and the Daily
News on Sunday, could not be accredited until their newspapers are
registered with the government's Media and Information
"For a person to practise as a journalist he or she
must be accredited first," said the judge.
The Daily News took
the case to the High Court in February 2004 in a bid to force the
government's media commission to register its journalists while it finalised
the registration process for its banned titles.
tough Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, journalists face
a two-year prison sentence for practising without
President Robert Mugabe's government is accused
of harassing the independent media in a bid to silence all voices of
dissent. Four newspapers including the Daily News and the Daily News on
Sunday, were shut down in the last two years.
More than one
hundred journalists have also been arrested in Zimbabwe for flouting the
country's tough media laws in the last two years. - ZimOnline
Tsvangirai asks SADC to press for reforms in Zimbabwe Fri
13 May 2005 PORT-LOUIS - Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
yesterday asked the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to press
for democratic reforms to ensure free and fair elections in the country in
Briefing journalists after talks with Mauritian Prime
Minister and SADC chairman, Paul Berenger, Tsvangirai said his Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party was not seeking a re-run of last March's
disputed parliamentary poll won by President Robert Mugabe and his ruling
ZANU PF party.
He said: "Our mission was to brief the prime
minister about the problems surrounding the elections, the various
impediments to free and fair elections and the way forward . . . we don't
ask for a re-run, we want to ascertain that the future elections be
conducted in a free and fair manner."
Tsvangirai said he had also
asked Berenger to convene SADC's troika on security and defence and the
regional bloc's general troika to hammer out a way to bring his MDC party
and Mugabe's ZANU PF to the negotiating table.
Berenger ... should convene two troikas to try to see whether they can come
out with a solution toward ensuring that the two parties ZANU PF and MDC
find a solution to the national crisis," Tsvangirai said.
SADC defence and security council troika comprises South Africa Lesotho and
Namibia, while its general troika includes Tanzania, Mauritius and
The Zimbabwean leader said Berenger had also promised to
hold talks with South African President Thabo Mbeki about holding a meeting
to be attended by the two troikas to discuss Zimbabwe's crisis.
Mbeki, who leads the region's most powerful country, is regarded by United
States President George W. Bush and other key western leaders as the
point-man on Zimbabwe. The South African leader is also current chairman of
SADC's vital organ on defence and politics.
But Tsvangirai and
his MDC party announced last month that they would not accept South African
mediation accusing Mbeki and his government of taking sides in the Zimbabwe
dispute after they endorsed Mugabe and his party's victory in the March
The MDC says it was cheated out of victory but SADC election
observers declared the election as having been credible and reflective of
the will of Zimbabweans. - ZimOnline
We spent the past weekend working on the issues
facing the MDC in Zimbabwe. We have come a long way in five short years - we
have a national network of over 8000 branches, elected executives in all 120
districts and 12 provinces and permanent offices in all major centers. All
this from zero in 2000. We are one of the best-known opposition movements in
the world and certainly hold the position of the most significant
parliamentary opposition in Africa.
Despite being up against
people "who have degrees in violence" and who have had hundreds of our
members murdered, thousands tortured and imprisoned and with the whole State
machinery lined up against us - we have not only survived, but remain the
greatest threat to the ruling Party in 25 years of dominance in Zimbabwe. Not
only have we survived, but also we have steadfastly kept to our principles of
non-violent political action as we sought political change through the ballot
and normal legal procedures.
Many regard the latter position as
being "weak" and accuse our leadership of being spineless. Many in the media
would love to see a bit of action here - with people being gunned down on the
streets and thousands throwing stones and more at the armed forces. In fact
all of our leadership has gone to jail for their principles in the past 5
years - some on several occasions, including our President, Morgan
Tsvangirai. Others have paid with their lives for their
This weekend we agonized over what to do following
the third defeat in 5 years at the hands of a corrupt and sterile regime
which will do anything to stay in power, no matter how great their failure.
At the end of it we agreed - without exception - to stand firm on our
principles and not to endorse calls for violence and extralegal activity. We
also agreed to go to our congress in January 2006 and to set in motion the
process of holding elections in all the branches, districts and provincial
assemblies that precede such an event. It will be a significant event for us
in the MDC - we will renew our mandate as leaders, share pain and joy with 14
000 delegates and celebrate our faith in the ballot box as a means of
securing a better life for all our people.
What I find so
remarkable about the MDC is the fact that although we are a Party of the poor
and disadvantaged, we share a belief that only democracy and the rule of law
can offer us a better life. It is awe inspiring to see simple peasant people
taking a principled stand on issues that were once the preserve of the rich
and the west.
But what is the way forward - more of the same? No!
We agreed that it could not be business as usual, we simply cannot afford to
wait either for the " old man" to die or for the next election. We agreed
there was only one way forward and that was to go back to the issue of the
Our present constitution was not home grown; it
came out of our colonial past as a bi-product of the Lancaster House process,
which preceded elections and independence in 1980. The present political
turmoil has its roots in the campaign started in the mid 90's for a new
constitution. This culminated in the referendum in March 2000 which the
government lost - simply because they ignored what the people had demanded of
any new dispensation.
With the emergence of the MDC in 2000,
the issue of the constitution has been put on the back burner in the
expectation that democratic elections would usher in a new administration
more sympathetic to the call for new home grown constitution. This has not
happened and with the failure of elections in Zimbabwe, due to electoral
fraud, to yield any kind of real change, the MDC decided it was time to go
back to the issue.
We are told that Zanu PF intends to table
three amendments to the current constitution in the next sitting of
Parliament - formation of a Senate, entrenchment of the Electoral Commission
in the constitution and a new provision which will allow the State to take
over any land which it chooses to designate for
Such changes do nothing to improve the present
situation - the Senate will not broaden political representation in
Parliament, ZEC will remain an instrument of the State controlled by Zanu PF
functionaries and the land provisions will simply compound our economic and
political difficulties. We resolved to reject such piecemeal amendments to
the constitution and instead to call for a national conference to develop a
new constitution which will embrace the ideas and desires of the nation as a
whole. Such a conference would make decisions on a consensual basis and the
final product would then give us the legal framework required to guide us
back into the regional and global community of nations.
leadership of the MDC is now consulting others in Zimbabwe and
leaders outside the country about the way forward and resolved to throw its
weight behind a demand that Zanu come to the table for such a debate
with representatives from the whole country. After a new constitution has
been adopted we would expect a period of time to lapse while we
restore confidence in electoral procedures and organise ourselves for new,
free and fair elections in an environment that was also free of
In the meantime we are reminded daily of the collapse of
the economy in the form of long queues for fuel, food and transport.
Government seems to be frozen in its tracks - like someone who finds
themselves on thin ice and freezes, scared to move forward in case they fall
through the ice and unable to go backwards. Export industries are crumbling,
the services to the cities and towns are in dire straights, the exchange rate
at 824 to 1 is wildly out of kilter with the real market rate of 22000 to 1
and the Mozambique currency now buys more than one Zimbabwe
Faced with the need to feed half the population and
unable to procure the resources required to keep the economy going, the State
is going to have to move soon. Its options are few and to my way of thinking
it is deeply significant that the Secretary General of the United Nations is
coming here at the month end. He would not do so unless it was the view of
major UN power blocks that action was needed to resolve the crisis. There is
also a peculiar silence in South Africa about the impending implosion of
Zimbabwean society and the serious consequences for the region as a whole and
South Africa in particular.
With Mr. Blair and his team back
in the drivers seat and also occupying the position of Chairman of the G8 and
President of Europe and a resurgent Bush changing regimes across the globe by
one means or another, the regime here has every reason to be nervous. By
rejecting change and renewal within Zanu PF they have committed the fatal
mistake of restricting their own team to those who are at the end of their
careers. By insulting everyone who has any capacity to help resolve our
crisis, they have cut off all other options. If they were wise, they would
take our offer of a chance to come back to the shore and off the ice before
it engulfs them.
Inflation gives Gono 'sleepless nights' May 13 2005 at
Harare - Zimbabwe's central bank governor is having
"sleepless nights" over how to tame inflation currently running at more than
120 percent, the reports said on Friday.
Reserve bank governor
Gideon Gono is struggling to contain inflation, which President Robert
Mugabe's government considers the "Number 1 enemy".
all-time high of more than 622 percent in January 2004, the inflation rate
dropped to 123,7 percent this March, but inflationary pressures are once
again high and there are fears it will soar again.
Gono, who is due
to give a monetary policy review next Thursday, says he has decided upon
"resolute measures that we are going to take once and for
Earlier, Gono had said he wanted inflation to be around
20-30 percent by the end of 2005. That may not be possible, independent
Zimbabwe's parallel market for foreign currency is
said to be booming once again and there are food shortages, which the
government says have been "artificially" created.
"We are not
new to these challenges. They will be dealt with decisively," Gono, a former
leading banker, said. - Sapa-dpa
Secret police now run Zimbabwe's land
program Friday, May 13, 2005 Updated at 8:23 AM EDT
Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has appointed
Didymus Mutasa, the head of the secret police, to oversee a controversial
land-redistribution program, the government said Friday. State radio said
Mr. Mutasa, head of the Central Intelligence Organization, would have
authority over Flora Buka, who last month was appointed minister of state
for special affairs for lands and resettlement. The land-redistribution
program has been dogged by allegations of favouritism and corruption, with
ruling ZANU-PF party moguls obtaining more than one farm.
scandals have caused deep divisions in a ruling party already riven by
factions supporting different candidates to succeed Mr. Mugabe, 81, who has
indicated that he will retire at the end of his current term in
Misheck Sibanda, chief secretary to Mr. Mugabe's cabinet, told
state radio that the adjustment of cabinet responsibilities means Mr. Mutasa
will work closely with the presidency in overseeing all matters relating to
the acquisition, distribution and settlement of land under the
He said Mr. Buka's role would stress field-based monitoring of
land-reform-related settlement. The plan aims to resettle 240,000
families on former white-owned land, covering 17 per cent of the country.
Much of the farms have become derelict because many owners failed to take up
holdings they were allocated.
Zimbabwe's agricultural production has
crashed, leading to food shortages and falling exports of cash crops such as
tobacco. Current United Nations estimates suggest 5.5 million people may
need food relief to survive until the next harvests in 2006, despite Mr.
Mugabe's predictions of "bumper harvests."
Mr. Mugabe appointed a
commission last year chaired by former cabinet Secretary Charles Utete that
"expressed concern over multiple farm ownership."
Mr. Mutasa, 70, was
appointed to conduct a shake-up in the Central Intelligence Organisation,
Zimbabwe's secret police, after five leading party members were detained on
allegations of spying for the South African government.
new post will give him control of Mr. Mugabe's sole remaining source of
patronage in a foundering national economy. Given responsibility in the
1980s for overseeing Mr. Mugabe's abortive plans to introduce a one party
state, Mr. Mutasa is a veteran Mugabe loyalist from the eastern Manicaland
Zim election fought in court 13/05/2005 12:35 -
Harare - Members of Zimbabwe's main opposition party will face
ruling party MPs in court on Friday to launch petitions contesting the
outcome of parliamentary elections in March, the Herald newspaper
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Zimbabwe's
six-year-old opposition party, is contesting the results of elections in at
least 16 constituencies, and says many more were won by fraudulent
The cases will be heard in the country's newly-created electoral
courts in Harare and Bulawayo.
High Court Judge Paddington Garwe is
to chair Friday's meeting in Harare where 11 of the cases will soon be
heard, the Herald reported.
"The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the
modalities of setting down the election petitions within the prescribed
period," the registrar of the electoral court, Charles Nyatanga
Under Zimbabwe's Electoral Act, the petitions have to be heard
within six months.
The losing MDC candidates, the Zanu-PF party
members who defeated them and lawyers for all parties are expected to attend
the meeting, reports said.
President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African
National Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) party swept to victory in the
March 31 polls, winning 78 seats to the MDC's 41.
The opposition has
refused to accept the results of the polls. After parliamentary elections in
June 2000, the MDC challenged Zanu-PF victories in 38 constituencies, but
the cases were never resolved.
Zim 62: 'Cat and mouse game' 13/05/2005 14:49 -
Harare - A lawyer for alleged mercenaries who have completed
their prison term in Zimbabwe accused President Robert Mugabe's government
on Friday of playing "cat and mouse game" with his clients by continually
stalling their release.
The men waited for a fourth consecutive day
at Harare's Chikurubi prison after High Court records indicated they had
completed their sentence.
"It looks like this is a cat and mouse game
situation," said Jonathan Samkange, a lawyer for the men. "My clients are
all dressed up in their own clothes very cheerfully ready to leave but they
are getting anxious."
Their scheduled release and deportation was stalled
first while officials went to film for identity pictures and then by the
government's refusal to let them board a rented bus.
The 62 men
allegedly were embroiled in an aborted plot to overthrow Equatorial Guinea's
President Teodoro Obiang Nguema.
The men, who were arrested in March 2004
when their Boeing 727 landed at Harare, completed yearlong sentences and
were discharged from prison on Thursday, but held overnight at the prison
awaiting arrangements for their deportation.
Remaining at the prison
were the two pilots of the aircraft, serving 16-month sentences for
breaching aviation regulations, and former British Special Air Service
soldier Simon Mann, completing a four-year sentence for attempting to buy
weapons from a Zimbabwe state-owned defence company without a
Air transport ruled out
The government, which at first
told a lawyer for the men to hire a bus for their deportation, changed its
mind on Friday and said they could not board the bus because it would be a
"That is wasted money, but it is part of the game," said
Samkange. He was not told how the men would be taken to South Africa by the
government, but air transport was ruled out because of the alleged security
"I cannot put my head on the block and say they will be released
today but they cannot be kept any longer at Chikurubi because they are not
in holding cells, they are in their own plain clothes and that is causing a
lot of confusion," he said.
For much of Thursday the men were left in
limbo outside the gates of the maximum security section, after formal
release and return of their civilian clothes and belongings.
said the 62 had been "in a very, very anxious" state.
government had sought to have the men sent to Equatorial Guinea where they
faced summary execution. Equatorial Guinea has sentenced 24 other suspected
mercenaries from European and African nations to lengthy prison
Sir Mark Thatcher, formerly resident in Cape Town and the son of
retired British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, pleaded guilty last year
in a South African court to unwittingly helping to bankroll the coup
Zimbabwe annual inflation quickens as economy
Fri May 13, 2005 3:24 PM GMT+02:00 HARARE (Reuters) -
Zimbabwe's inflation rate edged higher in the year to April, official data
showed on Friday, casting a dark cloud on an economy hit by chronic fuel,
food and foreign currency shortages.
The Central Statistical Office
said the consumer price index rose 129.1 percent year-on-year in April, up
5.4 percentage points on the March rate. Month-on-month inflation added 3.2
percentage points to 7.4 percent in April from its March level.
"The increase in prices between April 2004 and April 2005 was largely
accounted for by increases in the average price of beverages, meat, fruit
and vegetables and communications," the department said.
Zimbabwe's inflation has slowed sharply from a high of 623 percent in
January 2004, but remains among the world's highest and President Robert
Mugabe's government has called it the country's number one
The southern African country is caught up in an economic
crisis many blame on government mismanagement, with an acute shortage of
foreign currency forcing manufacturers to operate well below capacity,
leading to a scarcity of basic commodities.
The central Reserve
Bank has targeted an inflation range of between 20 and 35 percent by
year-end, but economic analysts doubt this will be achieved.
Zimbabwe's economic woes have been compounded by the withdrawal of
international donor support mainly over Mugabe's controversial drive to
forcibly redistribute large tracts of white-owned commercial farmland among
blacks, a programme critics say has undermined the key agriculture
Mugabe defends the land reforms as necessary to correct
ownership imbalances created when Britain colonised the country over a
century ago, and says he has adopted a "Look East" policy under which his
government seeks economic ties with 'friendly countries' from Africa, Asia
and the Muslim world.
Mugabe says domestic and Western
opponents of his land seizures have deliberately set out to sabotage
Zimbabwe's economy through sanctions ostensibly aimed at the ruling elite,
but which he argues have hit ordinary Zimbabweans harder.
PRESS RELEASE May 13, 2005 Posted to the web May 13,
"Radio Dialogue" which has been waiting in the wings for a
community radio licence has been denied a licence to operate a free to air
local commercial radio licence by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe
"Radio Dialogue" which is based in the second city of Bulawayo,
applied for the commercial radio licence after BAZ invited applications for
private radio stations and one television station.
In turning down
the application, BAZ noted that in its proposals, "Radio Dialogue" had
described itself as a community radio station but had gone on to apply for a
free to air local commercial radio licence for Bulawayo.
was however for a free to air broadcasting (narrow casting services). Your
application does, not, therefore, conform to the licence for which the
Authority invited applications," reads part of the letter from BAZ, dated 27
The BAZ further stated that "Radio Dialogue" had failed to
meet other requirements for a licence in terms of the Broadcasting Services
Act (BSA) which state that no broadcasting service or signal transmission
station will be licensed if it is wholly or partly funded by foreign
donations or contributions.
"Radio Dialogue" had in its application
stated that funding for the radio station was going to be backed by foreign
According to BAZ, the radio station had
failed to show its shareholding structure in terms of BSA and that the list
of its equipment does not include the technical specifications of the
"The Authority is therefore unable to check for compliance
with the technical standards prescribed by the regulations