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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Mail and Guardian

Bob plans R3m bash

Godwin Gandu | Harare

26 May 2005 11:59

President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace will splash out close
to R3-million on a 10th wedding anniversary party at their rural home in
Kutama, about 60km west of Harare.

Several Southern African regional leaders are expected to
attend, including best man at the wedding, former Mozambican president
Joachim Chissano. Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba, his Tanzanian
counterpart Benjamin Mkapa and former South African president Nelson Mandela
and his wife Graca Machel have also cracked invites. "It's not expected that
President Thabo Mbeki will come, but an ANC delegation will," a government
source told the Mail & Guardian.

"A lot of money will be needed for the flights, hotel
accommodation, food and hosting the event at Kutama. But the costs could be
cut down by many companies donating in cash and kind, with farmers supplying
beef and vegetables as usual and national breweries providing beer.

"It will be classy, royal-like," the source said, "Mugabe will
be driven from a church service in an open Rolls Royce with horses in front.
That's how they want it."

The party will be preceded by a family trip to the Middle East.

Grace is 40 years younger than her 81-year-old husband, with
whom she has three children.

Plans for the lavish celebration in August were revealed to the
M&G this week as evidence emerged that Zimbabwe was sliding further into an
economic recession. Emotions are running high in Harare, with commuters
having to trudge 10km to and from work in chilly conditions as a fuel crisis
grips the country.

In a move seen as provocative, riot police this week demolished
business kiosks and market-place stalls of informal traders in Harare and
surrounding townships. By June 20, the police said, "all unauthorised
buildings and market places would have been destroyed".

Residents watched in anguish as police swooped on and arrested
more than 9 500 people as part of Operation Murambatsvina, which began last
week. The police said the vendors were operating at undesignated points,
violating the city's by-laws.

In Glen Norah township, police on Wednesday razed tuck-shops to
the ground and burned carpenters' stalls alongside roads leading into the
opposition stronghold.

Glen Norah residents, who have declared the constituency a no-go
area for the police, reacted by barricading roads leading into the township.

"This is shocking, it has never happened before. The government
is trying to get an excuse for declaring a state of emergency because they
realise the economy is receding into a disaster," said Priscilla
Misihairambwi-Mushonga, the Movement for Democratic Change MP for the area.

"They want people to riot, and they will get that. The whole
thing is political. Mugabe is simply saying you voted for the opposition and
this is what you'll get."

Constitutional reform pressure group chairperson Dr Lovemore
Madhuku slammed the crackdown as "a recipe for an uprising" but felt that
"Zimbabweans in general have no disposition towards a spontaneous revolt".
He cautioned however that: "These are purely bread and butter issues and you
have the police demolishing tuck shops and market stalls, it's being
insensitive."

Many companies have shut down because of the economic slump and
unemployment levels have risen to about 80%.

A fuel crisis that has caused the public transportation system
to grind to a halt means people are starting work four hours late and
getting home at about midnight.

The urban folk are becoming increasingly restless. "We are
having a situation in which residents are now attacking the police," said
Misihairambwi-Mushonga. "The situation is degenerating into total chaos and
people are angry."

But the blissfully happy Mugabe couple is going ahead with the
party plans. Mugabe, though not showing any signs of frailty and fatigue,
has, on the advice of his doctors, in the past three weeks, been cutting
down on public engagements.

A family relative, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the
M&G that: "Gushungo's [Mugabe clan name] bones are like teak. They have a
reputation for living long. His [Mugabe] mother Bona lived until she was 100
years old."

Policy bungles lead to famine

A new study points to critical policy errors as the main reasons
for food and nutrition insecurity in Zimbabwe, in particular the government's
fast-track land redistribution programme.

A countrywide survey of communities indicated that 82% of
districts reported widespread crop failure after poor rains in the 2004/05
growing season.

The study, funded by the United Kingdom's Department for
International Development, acknowledged the adverse impact of poor weather
on the harvest.

Since commercial farms were taken over, the area planted fell --
at one point to less than half the area previously tilled - as did the use
of hybrid seed and fertiliser. State control of maize marketing through the
Grain Marketing Board worsened the situation.

To illustrate the extent to which policy failures affected
production, the study used three Southern African countries with similar
weather patterns and compared actual harvest figures for Zambia and South
Africa between 2000 and 2004.

Had Zimbabwe performed as modelled, the regional harvest deficit
in 2002 would have been fully one-third less.

But land expert Professor Sam Moyo said it was disingenuous to
compare agricultural production among the three countries without
considering the particular challenges facing Zimbabwe's economy.

"Yes, food production has been disrupted, [but it is] mainly
because of the lack of access to inputs and the slow response to supporting
newly resettled farmers." - Irin News Service

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Business Day

Payback time in Zimbabwe
Dianna Games

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

THE destruction wrought on the poorest section of urban Zimbabwe this week
by paramilitary forces of the government indicates that it is payback time.

It is payback for the fact that the ruling Zanu (PF) lost almost all urban
areas to the opposition MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) in the recent
elections; it may be payback to the Chinese, who have stood by the Zimbabwe
government when all other avenues of funding have dried up; and it is
payback for the fact that the government has been forced to acknowledge
publicly the precarious economic situation it is in and needs someone to
blame.

In a five-day blitz on street vendors, informal traders and other businesses
in Harare, nearly 10000 people were arrested, their goods confiscated or
destroyed, dwellings and stalls torn down, and those who tried to resist
were assaulted.

There were similar crackdowns in Bulawayo and Gweru, both opposition
strongholds.

One theory for the move is that Chinese traders in Harare, whose
supermarkets full of cheap goods operate close to many of the informal
traders, complained to the government that their investments were being
undermined by vendors competing in the same market.

The government cannot afford to compromise its relationship with China,
which it has assiduously courted, to the extent of spending millions of
dollars of scarce foreign exchange on Chinese fighter jets.

However, a more likely theory is that it is a backlash against urban
citizens, most of whom voted against Zanu (PF). It has long irked the ruling
party that it does not control the cities and it has tried to undermine
their running by, among other measures, frustrating funding for public works
and other projects and introducing city governors over the heads of MDC
mayors.

Operation Restore Order is the latest assault on the people most affected by
the economic crisis precipitated by the government's increasingly erratic,
centralist and protectionist economic policies in place since 2000.

Large-scale retrenchments in the productive sectors of the economy have
pushed thousands of formal sector employees into the informal market. They
have been joined by academics, teachers and other professionals unable to
find work or who have been pushed out of the system for falling foul of Zanu
(PF).

While many such people have left to find jobs in SA and other parts of the
world, others have turned to the informal markets to make a living. They
have now been made scapegoats of the economic crisis, and labelled "economic
saboteurs" to justify the harsh action against them.

While some might be criminals, as alleged by the government, there seems to
have been little distinction made between illegal operators and informal
traders.

Some of the items sold in the markets are staples no longer available in
stores. The fact that items such as sugar and fuel are easier to find on the
black market is symptomatic of the distortions in the economy that have
become a feature of life in Zimbabwe.

If the government had paid attention to long-term economic solutions, there
might be more sympathy for its cause.

Of course, draining the country of valuable foreign currency should not be
fostered or even tolerated, but when the government squanders it on jet
fighters, foreign trips and other nonessentials for a country in crisis, to
ask its citizens to be more responsible is hypocritical.

It is almost impossible for ordinary citizens to get foreign exchange
through the official weekly foreign currency auctions where more bids are
refused than accepted, which is why many revert to the more reliable - and
lucrative - black market.

The fact that even those with jobs are unable to get to work because of the
critical fuel shortage has underlined the crisis the government is in.
Measures for economic turnaround recently introduced by the reserve bank
governor are at best long-term, at worst inadequate.

The backlash from the arrests and destruction of property this past week has
unleashed running battles in some Harare suburbs. This raises the suspicion
that the authorities may have deliberately provoked such a reaction to allow
it to play another hand in its arsenal against the people - the introduction
of a state of emergency. This would give it unlimited powers of detention
and seizure and allow further curbing of freedoms. It would also give it the
power to run the cities that it so desperately wants.

Such a measure would suit the government's "winner takes all" approach to
everything. Ironically, such extreme measures are probably unnecessary in a
country whose population has seen it all before and has yet to stand up in
numbers against its government's excesses.

Games is director of Africa@Work, a publishing, research and events
company.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Business Day

Political 'meddling' keeps Bennett in jail
Dumisani Muleya

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Harare Correspondent

AFTER a dramatic twist earlier in the day, Zimbabwe's supreme court reserved
judgment yesterday on jailed former opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) MP Roy Bennett's challenge against his continued detention.

The highest court of appeal's bench, comprising Chief Justice Godfrey
Chidyausiku, justices Wilson Sandura, Misheck Cheda, Luke Malaba and
Elizabeth Gwaunza, said a ruling would be delivered "in due course".

Earlier in the day attorney-general Sobusa Gula-Ndebele - government's chief
legal adviser - made an about-face before the court, withdrawing a
concession submitted hours before that the one-year jail sentence passed on
Bennett for shoving the justice minister was excessive.

Bennett's legal team - consisting of South African attorney Jeremy Gauntlett
and prominent Zimbabwean lawyers Adrian de Bourbon and human rights lawyer
Beatrice Mthethwa - argued that parliament had exceeded its powers in
jailing the former MP.

"The court reserved judgment after the case was argued," Mthethwa said.
"This was after the attorney general had conceded the issue was not well
handled by parliament.

"However, in the afternoon we were later informed that the case would go for
a hearing."

Government sources said Gula-Ndebele had wanted Bennett, incarcerated in
appalling conditions at the notorious Chikurubi maximum security prison, to
be released immediately, but "politicians interfered with the case".

Bennett's lawyers said parliament's privileges and powers had been
"exercised in conflict with the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed
by the constitution".

The attorneys said the "court can and must interfere where parliament has
improperly exercised that (parliamentary) privilege and has acted mala fide
or capriciously and in defiance of the constitutionally inherent rights of
an MP".

Bennett was jailed for an effective one year with hard labour for shoving to
the floor Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa during a heated parliamentary
debate in which the minister accused Bennett's family of being thieves.

A committee dominated by President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu (PF) MPs
recommended a 15-month detention, but three months were later suspended.

Bennett was barred by the electoral court from contesting the disputed March
31 general election controversially won by Zanu (PF). His wife Heather stood
and lost, although she is challenging the result, citing vote rigging.

The court initially ordered that Bennett be released to contest the
election, but reversed its decision after Mugabe described its decision as
an "act of madness".

The MDC criticised Bennett's detention, saying it was influenced by blatant
political bias.

Meanwhile, the British parliament said it was "gravely concerned by the
appalling conditions under which Mr Bennett, until recently an MP, is being
held".
Back to the Top
Back to Index

SABC

UN envoy defends Zimbabwean food efforts

May 27, 2005, 06:30

James Morris, the UN envoy for humanitarian needs, says the Zimbabwean
government supports the work of the UN's food agency and is working hard to
make food available to its people.

Speaking in Malawi, as part of a five-nation tour of southern Africa, Morris
said he will go to Zimbabwe to find out what the needs are, what plans they
have of their own and what they want the UN to do. Reports from Harare say
President Robert Mugabe is ready to meet Kofi Annan's special representative
to discuss the food situation in his drought-stricken nation.

Mugabe's government blames drought for the country's food shortages but
critics blame his policies including the controversial seizures of
white-owned farms which they say have hit output.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Business Report

Delays cost R307m a year

Progress made on Beit Bridge bottlenecks
May 27, 2005

By Mzwandile Faniso

Johannesburg - The Beit Bridge task team was making progress in reducing the
time that trucks took to cross the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe,
Barney Curtis, the chairman of the team, said yesterday.

The Beit Bridge border is the main gateway to transport goods between South
Africa and Zimbabwe.

The border has been troubled by delays and trucking companies have had to
wait for many days before they can cross.

An average of 600 trucks pass through the border every day and transport
minister Jeff Radebe has said the cost of border delays to southern Africa
was estimated at R307 million a year.

However, Curtis was upbeat about the progress to speed the passage of trucks
through the border post.

"The team's recommendations to the clearance procedures and customs have
made a difference in reducing time trucks take to cross the border," Curtis
said.

Mike Scott, the chairman of the Road Freight Association, which represents
trucking companies such as Imperial Holdings, Super Group and Unitrans,
confirmed that the task team's recommendations had definitely improved the
flow of traffic at the Beit Bridge border post.

Ian Cooper, an agent at the border post, said the delays at the post were
caused by the shortage of staff and the lack of a work ethic in the customs
divisions on both the South African and Zimbabwe sides, which caused customs
officials to take longer than they should to process documents.

Agents need documents such as customs value, truck numbers and goods for
trucking companies before the customs official can let them through.

Cooper said the team had recommended that documents be processed on the
South African side of the border in co-operation with the customs officials
of Zimbabwe and when trucks get to the Zimbabwe side, they only stay for 30
minutes and go.

This had vastly improved the flow of traffic, he said.

The availability of parking space, which was recommended by the task team,
on both sides of the border also contributed to the improvement, but
problems went beyond that, Cooper said.

The parking area was provided by interested private companies.

Cooper said hiccups in Zimbabwe's financial system delayed cash payments to
agents, which they needed to pay customs to clear the trucks in time.

Trucks can only pass through after agents have paid customs officials on
behalf of the trucking companies.

The cross-border task team was established in February 2003 by concerned
business people after the Beit Bridge border post almost came to a
standstill because of the construction of a parking area for trucks on the
Zimbabwe side of the border, Curtis said.

The team met three times and came up with recommendations that improved the
traffic flow but after the situation was better, the team stopped meeting.

The Federation of East and Southern African Road Transport Associations
(Fesarta) realised that the problems at the border needed ongoing
intervention and asked for funding from the World Bank's sub-Saharan African
transport policy programme.

The bank provided the funds and Fesarta contracted the Cross Border Road
Transport Association for a year to handle the administration, Curtis said.
He would not reveal how much the association was paid.

The task team had since met three times and produced a document called the
Action Plan Matrix to improve efficiencies at the border post, he said.

The team included all the stakeholders from both sides of the border post,
including customs and immigration officials, the police, traffic officials,
clearing agents and truckers.

Action Plan Matrix identified the most important matters to be attended to
at the border and under whose responsibility they would fall, Curtis said.

One notable difficulty with the process was to ensure that each stakeholder
was not only represented at meetings of the task team, but was represented
by a person with sufficient standing to make decisions, Curtis said.

The next task team meeting is scheduled for August.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Weekly Standard

The Shell Game Comes to Zimbabwe
Mugabe shuffles around farms to curry favor with the Chinese.
by Roger Bate
05/27/2005 12:00:00 AM

Harare
THE ZIMBABWE GOVERNMENT is offering formerly white-owned farms
for free to Chinese state-owned firms in a desperate bid to revive the key
agricultural sector, say well-placed sources in Zimbabwe. Details of the
planned land-for-investment scheme are still uncertain, but with President
Robert Mugabe vigorously pursuing a "Look-East" policy after falling out
with the West (because of his government's poor human rights record), the
president was looking for new deals to capture foreign currency.
Unfortunately it appears that Western firms, including a Virginian tobacco
company, are being drawn into schemes with the Chinese government, which has
been supplying arms to Zimbabwe.

Reports had been multiplying recently that Mugabe was inviting
former white landowners back to farm in Zimbabwe, but this appears to be a
fiction to cover up for his plan to bring Chinese farmers in to grow tobacco
and other crops.

Mugabe has appointed Didymus Mutasa, the head of the country's
secret police, the Central Intelligence Organization, to oversee the latest
version of Zimbabwe's land redistribution program. The government is now
targeting unproductive land previously owned by white farmers, now occupied
by blacks--apparently because there is no longer enough land in white hands,
after close to 90 percent of the former white commercial farmers were
stripped of land under the government's chaotic and often violent land
reforms

According to Wilf Mbanga of the Zimbabwean newspaper, the new
farmers could soon find themselves at the center of international legal
disputes as lawyers for the original landowners seek compensation. Like many
commercial farmers who

were displaced while their tobacco crops were still in the
field, Joe Whaley had his farm taken over by one of Mugabe's relatives,
Chester Mhende. "Mhende walked on to Whaley's farm two years ago, as the
tobacco crop was about to be reaped. With the help of the Zanu PF heavies
and the police, he prevented Whaley from taking anything off the farm. The
tobacco crop was reaped and sold," said a report in the Zimbabwean. In
addition to having reaped the crop, Mhende has been using the equipment on
the farm and has never paid a cent to Whaley--who has now secured a high
court injunction confirming that he is the rightful owner of the farm and
that Mhende has to leave. The police, however, have refused to act. The
police may also have inside knowledge about Mugabe's push to nationalize all
land (giving much to Chinese farmers), which will nullify all land claims
anyway.

Whaley alleged that the crop was bought by Zimbabwe Leaf
Tobacco. When asked to comment on this allegation, ZLT Director, Gary
Wallace told the Zimbabwean, "ZLT might have bought Mhende's crop through
the auction floors--we don't know."

ZLT is the wholly owned subsidiary of Universal (Zimbabwe) Leaf
Tobacco, a U.S. subsidiary of Universal Corporation, a $3 billion a year,
30,000 employee corporation, based in Richmond, Virginia. Universal Leaf
Tobacco's senior vice president, James H. Starkey, III said, "All kinds of
deals going on down there to pay bills. . . . finding a working mechanism is
not easy. . . . I don't like the situation but we have a factory in Harare
to run and our work force has gone from 6,000 to only 1,500 in the past few
years."

Some of the "deals" that have to be entertained are extremely
convoluted and easy to misinterpret. For example, the new tobacco farmers,
located mainly in the central Mashonaland provinces, signed contracts with
the Zimbabwean Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA), which pays them for
their crops in local currency. ZLT then pays ZESA's account with the China
Aerospace Times Electronics Corporation (CATEC), a Chinese state-owned
engineering firm, in U.S. dollars, and ZLT--the company owned by
Universal--receives the tobacco and exports it. Starkey confirmed this
arrangement to me saying that CATEC was supplying electrical generating
equipment.

CATEC is mainly engaged in the research, development,
production, and sales of the technologies and products in the fields of
aerospace electronics, with at least 6,400 highly trained technicians. It
could be providing other technological advice with military applications to
Mugabe's government.

Given that stolen farms are at stake, money is fungible, and one
Chinese state firm can be linked with any other state-owned firm, some,
including the Zimbabwean, have been alleging that the funds provided by ZLT
to CATEC might have been used to purchase arms, notably the Chinese K8 jets
the Mugabe regime recently acquired. There is no evidence for this (and
CATEC is not the producer of the K8), but the convoluted payment methods
made necessary by the Mugabe regime drag U.S. firms, trying to salvage their
Zimbabwean assets ($53 million worth in Universal's case) into a bad spot.
"We have to bring U.S. dollars into the country [to pay for tobacco], so we
have to work with

the Reserve Bank and do as the government requires," says
Starkey.

Like so many businesses operating in inhospitable locations,
Universal takes a significant risk to its capital and revenue stream.
Universal is backing Zimbabwean white farmers with $30 million in loans to
establish themselves in Northern Zambia, and the company plans to offer $12
million to black Zambian farmers wanting to join the industry.

Meanwhile Chinese state firms have no compunctions about
property-rights abuses or dealing with despotic regimes such as Mugabe's.
Indeed Chinese investment is increasing in Zimbabwe. Officials of
state-owned agro-firm, China State Farms Agribusiness Corporation are
expected in Harare to conclude a farm deal shortly. As one source said to
me, "China is now easily the largest investor in Zimbabwe, the geo-political
context of southern Africa is changing."

Roger Bate is a Resident Fellow of the American Enterprise
Institute.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Telegraph

Lords reject expat pensions plea
By Becky Barrow
(Filed: 27/05/2005)

Around 550,000 British pensioners will continue to receive "frozen pensions"
after the House of Lords rejected an appeal.

Their decision brings to an end a seven-year legal battle fought by
pensioners who live abroad who argue that it is unfair that the state
pension is raised each year if you live in certain countries, but not
others.

The battle, which started in 1998, was described yesterday as
"heartbreaking" for tens of thousands of pensioners who struggle to survive
on a state pension which, in some cases, is "frozen" at just 6.75 a week.

Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead, who acknowledged that the case has generated "a
good deal of passion", said: "In my opinion, the sense of grievance may be
understandable but it is not justified. There is nothing unfair or
irrational about according different treatment to people who live abroad.

"The primary function of social security benefits, including state
retirement pensions, is to provide a basic standard of living for the
inhabitants of the UK."

Campaigners point to the "randomness" of the law which means that you would,
for example, get the annual increase if you lived in Barbados, but not the
Bahamas. In November 2000, Jeff Rooker, then pensions minister, admitted in
the Commons: "I have already said I am not prepared to defend the logic of
the present situation. It is illogical."

But campaigners said yesterday that they were pleased that one of the five
law lords had agreed with them.

Lord Carswell said that he would have upheld the appeal because, among other
reasons, "it has the appearance rather of the selection of a convenient
target for saving money."

It has been estimated that it would cost up to 400 million each year to
give the annual increase to all British pensioners who decide to live
abroad, a figure dwarfed by the total cost of state pensions of around

40 billion. About 400,000 get the "uprate", but about 550,000 do not
because they live in countries such as Australia, South Africa, Canada and
New Zealand. The annual increase is not paid to pensioners in all foreign
countries because "reciprocal treaty arrangements" were agreed with some
countries but not others.

Lord Carswell went on to say: "Once it is accepted that pensions should be
paid to contributing pensioners resident abroad, then no justification
remains for paying some less than others and less than UK residents."

Annette Carson, 64, a writer who moved to South Africa in 1990 and who was
selected by campaigners to be the test case, said: "From my point of view it
is heartbreaking news for all the very elderly pensioners who are in
countries like South Africa and especially Zimbabwe who can't make ends
meet.

"They have difficulty feeding themselves. They have been hoping that their
position might be alleviated by the House of Lords and they have been let
down."

Despite making full national insurance contributions, Mrs Carson's pension
will never rise above 103.62 because she lives in South Africa. If she
returned to Britain, it would go up.

Campaigners have six months to choose whether to pursue their case by taking
it to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

New Zimbabwe

Police evictions leave thousands homeless

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 05/27/2005 10:06:38
ZIMBABWE'S security services on Thursday began the demolition of houses and
shacks on the outskirts of the capital Harare as a campaign against "illegal
activities" intensified.

Police arrested another 7 650 people as part of a countrywide campaign code
named 'Murambatsvina' or 'Restore Order', state radio reported.

On Thursday night, thousands of squatters were forced out of their homes in
Hatcliffe. According to some affected families, police said they would be
resettled on farms. No further details were given.

Many were resigned to sleeping in the open, while others waited on a court
challenge that was expected to be filed on Friday morning.

"The Harare City Council says it has nothing to do with these evictions," a
Hatcliffe resident who identified himself as Chatora told Afro Sounds'
Zimbabwe Today programme Thursday night. "They are evicting everyone, even
Zanu PF activists are caught up and they are also dismayed."

Most families who settled in Hatcliffe were moved from Churu farm in 1993,
at the instigation of Nyasha Chikwinya to gain political capital. Chikwinya
is a former Zanu PF MP.

"Chikwinya and Chombo (Ignatious, Housing Minister) told us we could stay,
and we were made to pay $100 000 for the stands. We all received lease
agreements and we assumed we were here legally," another resident Jeremiah
Nyirenda said by telephone from Harare.

The MDC MP for the area Trudy Stevenson last night sent an SOS message and
was expected to engage lawyers to challenge the evictions. Some residents
blamed her for inactivity.

Zimbabwe's state radio report said 7 650 people were arrested in the central
city of Gweru, 270km south of the capital Harare, for offences including
"gold panning, hoarding and overcharging of basic commodities as well as
illegal foreign currency dealing".

The arrests bring to more than 17 000 the total number of people arrested in
the country in just over a week since the launch of a police crackdown
dubbed "Operation Restore Order".

Some of those arrested in Gweru paid fines, while others had been taken to
court, the radio said.

Earlier on Thursday police warned Harare residents not to fight back against
the ongoing campaign, a day after the stiffest resistance yet to the
operation.

On Wednesday angry residents and traders in the poor district of Glen View
went on the rampage, stoning riot police who had torched a popular
marketplace.

A supermarket and several shops were looted, while a council building and a
state-run bus were damaged in the fray, the State-controlled Herald
newspaper reported on Thursday.

Zimbabwe has been in the grip of chronic shortages of basic commodities like
sugar, fuel and the staple mealie meal since parliamentary elections on
March 31 won by President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party.

The government accuses Zimbabwe's massive informal sector, which has
burgeoned in recent years due to spiralling unemployment, of fuelling the
black market in scarce goods.

Critics of the clean-up campaign have accused the police force of trampling
on the rights of citizens, many of whom are said to be licensed traders
trying to make an honest living.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) claims the police action
is aimed at punishing its urban supporters. - Sapa-dpa

Back to the Top
Back to Index

New Zimbabwe

Zimbabweans can talk way out of crisis

By Msekiwa Makwanya
Last updated: 05/27/2005 07:30:37
WHEN your house is on fire, it is not the best time be quarrelling, shouting
obscenities or worse still, fight each other. As Zimbabweans, we need to
pull ourselves together and put out the fire before we perish. We are very
fragile as a nation today and I wish to make a case for dialogue.

My only qualification to make this appeal is that I am Zimbabwean.

I ask Zanu PF and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to move to the
political centre ground and meet up with churches, traditional leaders,
workers, vendors and other interest groups. Let us pick ourselves up, lick
our wounds and pull ourselves together so that the rest of the world can
find it easy to assist our efforts.

In these difficult times, Zimbabweans should admit that there should be
space for anyone who wants to help in nation building. The history of
Zimbabwe especially from the year 1890 to 2005 is full of hard lessons about
race relations, social inequality, social justice, revenge and corruption.

President Robert Mugabe who is the current chief executive of the country
has important decisions to make about where we go as a country, and some of
these decisions require a lot of courage. Dr Gideon Gono, a very senior
government adviser has suggested that, "in order to ensure maximum
productivity levels, there is great scope in the country promoting and
supporting joint ventures between the new farmers with progressive-minded
former operators ... as well as other new investors so as to hasten the
skills transfer cycle." This is a practical idea which should be viewed
positively and processed.

The targeted sanctions that have been imposed on Zanu PF should be reviewed
through broad based negotiations. Tony Blair and George Bush should be
prepared to engage Mugabe just as they are engaged Colonel Muammar Gadhaffi,
the Libyan leader. "Dubbed the "godfather of terrorism" by the US, he
(Gadhaffi) is now being hailed by the European powers as the new elder
statesman of Africa. The suspension of sanctions has opened a flood of
political and business leaders into Libya. In early July 13 British Labour
MPs were set to go to the Libyan capital, Tripoli, alongside a delegation of
businessmen," writes John Farmer (1999).

The issue of the just ended parliamentary elections in Zimbabwe is well
known and documented. The elections were endorsed by SADC and disputed by
the MDC and Western governments. This is why it is necessary for the West
and Mugabe to talk. It is however, important to encourage whoever can take
the initiative to arrange talks, it should not be a matter for political
parties only. In fact political parties tend to think about power politics.
At times political parties do not represent many people as they claim so
negotiations should be broad based. This includes those of us in the
Diaspora because we also contributing in our own way and remain Zimbabweans
at heart.

We can look east, west or wherever but the answer should start among
Zimbabweans because whatever help we receive should take our efforts into
account. In the difficult times in Zimbabwe people are resorting to a dog
eat dog situation, where scarce commodities are being sold at exorbitant
prices. They call it forces supply and demand in Economics and even these
forces can be manipulated. I resist the temptation to theorise while people
are suffering on the ground and all I can do is to appeal for intellectual
coherence in the way as Zimbabweans have to deal with our crisis.

For dialogue to take place, we need to listen to each other and understand
that we will not agree on everything. We might not even agree on the causes
of
our crisis depending on where you are coming from. We might also not agree
on the solutions with some saying the IMF, others saying the constitution,
and others saying change of the regime. However we could all be right and it
might well be that, what we need is a process to agree on our solutions.
Dialogue is the practical starting point. It must also be admitted that
front line politicians do not have all the answers and cannot always be
trusted or trust each
other.
Makwanya is a social commentator based in London
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Business Day

Posted to the web on: 27 May 2005
Medical brain drain 'akin to theft'
Tamar Kahn

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Science and Health Editor

CAPE TOWN - UK demand for overseas doctors and nurses is affecting
sub-Saharan Africa severely, and is akin to theft, says today's edition of
UK-based medical journal, the Lancet.

SA is one of the African countries hardest hit by the lure of better pay and
working conditions in Britain's health service. In 2003, the UK issued work
permits to 5890 South African health and medical personnel, 2835 to
Zimbabweans, and 1510 to Nigerian, says the medical journal.

The shortage of doctors and nurses in SA is one of the biggest problems
facing overloaded local hospitals and clinics. In 2003, 52597, or 31%, of SA's
169121 public health-care posts were vacant, according to the Health Systems
Trust. Only Western Cape and Limpopo had less than 20% of their posts
vacant, and Free State had 41% of its posts unfilled.

Each migrating African professional represents a loss of $184000 to the
continent, yet Africa spends $4bn a year on the salaries of foreign experts,
according to research by the United Nations Conference on Trade and
Development cited in the journal.

The Lancet describes a global "medical carousel" in which health-care
professionals usually migrate to countries with more doctors. "The medical
carousel unfortunately does not turn full circle . so the poorest nations
experience all drain but no gain."

The Lancet urged the UK to take the lead in devising strategies to deal with
the brain drain.

Saying that many British health-care professionals were disillusioned,
retiring early or seeking alternative employment, the Lancet called on the
UK to train more of its own health-care workers and make the profession more
attractive to locals.

"Every rich country can and should aim to train as many health-care workers
as it needs. To poach and rely on highly skilled foreign workers from poor
countries in the public sector is akin to the crime of theft."

The Lancet said voluntary codes of practice, such as the British health
department's code for recruiting health-care professionals, were not enough.
The code says the UK's national health service will not recruit staff from
developing countries, nor take staff from agencies that do so.

It was revised in December to include temporary jobs and the private sector.

Many health-care workers said they had sought jobs outside the countries in
which they were trained because they wanted postgraduate training and career
development, the Lancet reported. This made it important for UK hospitals to
link up with African institutions to offer temporary work exchanges,
teaching and research projects, it said.

Earlier this week, Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang said she had
approached the International Organisation for Migration to help bring nurses
back to SA. She is currently attending the International Council of Nurses
conference in Taipei, Taiwan.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Sunday Times (SA)

Zimbabwe makes U-turn on MP's jail term

Friday May 27, 2005 08:08 - (SA)

HARARE - A Zimbabwean state lawyer made an about-turn before the Supreme
Court, withdrawing an earlier concession that a one-year jail sentence
passed on an opposition white lawmaker for shoving the justice minister was
excessive.

"I have been instructed to withdraw my earlier concession," said Rumbidzai
Gatsi representing the office of the attorney-general in the case in which
former Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) lawmaker Roy Bennett is
challenging his continued incarceration.

"I would like to submit that the sentence that was passed was appropriate.
The assault was on a government minister who was also the head of his party
in parliament," Gatsi said.

Bennett then one of three white Zimbabweans who held seats in the last
parliament, is serving a 12-months prison term, handed down by parliament,
in October last for shoving to the ground Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
during a heated debate which touched on the emotive land issue.

Gatsi had earlier said the sentence passed was "grossly disproportionate"
and that parliament voted on a political basis when they decided on the
punishment to pass on Bennett.

Bennett's lawyer Jeremy Gauntlett protested saying "the concession was made
by a trained mind who is the legal officer of the state" and should be
upheld.

In papers submitted to the court, the attorney general accused the speaker
of parliament of failing to inform the parliament that in handling the case,
it had to consider Bennett's rights as provided for in the constitution.

"It is submitted the speaker of parliament should have made it clear to
parliament in general that they were supposed to decide the matter taking
into consideration the applicant's rights and that they should put politics
aside and objectively look into the matter," said the attorney general's
office in its argument.

"This was not done and clearly parliament voted along party lines," it said.

Bennett is seeking an order declaring the proceedings of the parliamentary
committee that convicted him invalid and declaring a section of the
parliamentary privileges and immunities law that was invoked to charge him,
unconstitutional.

Judgment on the case was reserved indefinitely.

AFP
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Mail and Guardian

Zim deploys 3 000 riot police to destroy homes

Harare

27 May 2005 09:07

The Zimbabwean government has deployed 3 000 paramilitary police
as it begins an operation to demolish illegal settlements around Harare,
state television reported on Thursday.

The television news showed a parade of hundreds of officers in
full riot gear preparing to be deployed to demolish 25 illegal settlements
in and around the capital.

Footage showed a bulldozer demolishing a house in one illegal
housing settlement -- Nyadzonia Housing Co-operative -- whose owner "chose
to ignore the warnings", the television said.

A police officer urged people living in illegal settlements to
pack up and leave before police demolition squads arrived.

"We would encourage everybody to pack their own property, their
clothing, their furniture before the police arrive," he said.

It is the latest in a campaign dubbed Operation Restore Order,
which was launched last week to crackdown on illegal activities in the
southern African country. So far, 17 000 people have been arrested
countrywide.

Those arrested have been fined or taken to court for offences
that include illegally dealing in foreign currency, hoarding of basic
commodities and selling scarce goods on the black market.

Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) lawmaker Trudy
Stevenson said three truckloads of riot police had arrived in part of her
constituency in Harare North on Thursday evening and started to demolish
houses in the informal settlement of Hatcliffe Extension.

"They [the police] are just razing everything," she said.

"They're telling people to move off."

She said there were 10 000 to 12 000 people living in the
informal settlement.

"That's a lot of people without shelter," she said.

It was not immediately clear how many people risked being made
homeless by the imminent destruction of illegal housing.

Official statistics put Harare's population at 1,8-million, but
the Combined Harare Residents Association said the figure is much higher.

Those residents who lose houses and have nowhere to go will be
taken to a holding farm outside Harare, the television said. - Sapa-DPA

Back to the Top
Back to Index