The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
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Zim Independent - Comment

Tourism plan scuttled by blind folly
WHEN President Mugabe launched the Tourism Recovery Plan in July 2000 he
called for an open and collective policy to revive the sector.

"The tourism recovery exercise will succeed only if there is on our part
national commitment, contribution, collaboration and communication," he
said.

That commitment has proved non-existent. The tourism sector was dealt a body
blow last week when the government - in a tit-for-tat move - imposed visa
requirements on British visitors.

This represents another own-goal by the scorched-earth faction around Mugabe
and will further damage the economy.

Tourism came third after agriculture and manufacturing when times were
normal two years ago. It offered a solid fallback when manufacturing
faltered. Generating valuable foreign exchange, it saw numerous start-up
ventures by indigenous players and attracted the big investors like the
French Accor group which last week opened a flagship hotel at the Victoria
Falls. It also offered a shop window to Zimbabwe's potential and hospitality
in other sectors.

All that is doomed now. The normally upbeat French ambassador, Didier
Ferrand, speaking last week at the commissioning of Accor/RTG's Hotel
Mercure at Victoria Falls, made the entirely self-evident observation that
the "climate of political risk" in Zimbabwe was a disincentive to tourism.
He said France regretted "the climate of political confrontation and even of
violence still prevailing in Zimbabwe which, in turn, contributes to the
deterioration of the economic situation".

Ferrand said there was no alternative to Zimbabwe resuming normal relations
with the international community and donor organisations.

Everybody, it seems, understands that except Mugabe and his immediate
courtiers who have made obduracy a habit.

With the growing economic significance of tourism worldwide, and an
increasingly competitive global market, it is imperative for countries like
Zimbabwe to adopt an integrated approach to formulating their tourism
policies, including a warm welcome.

Tourism management in Singapore, for instance, has sought to be adaptable to
the changes in the wider social environment. Its policies and strategies
largely correspond to global forces influencing trends in the industry.

Ghana has also developed and integrated its tourism policy. Its Ministry of
Tourism has introduced policies on international and domestic as well as
regional tourism in an overall policy framework, with the main aim being to
maximise benefits across the board. These include improving public transport
and cleaning up their cities.

South Africa's tourism policy, which is highly developed, is basically
designed to plan and manage tourism carefully so that it brings social and
economic benefits, including generating foreign exchange earnings, in-come,
employment, and government revenues, and has a multiplier effect on the
economy without creating negative environmental impacts or social
distortions.

Ignoring all this, Zimbabwe, which still clings to failed policies,
evidently needs to change its approach if its tourism recovery blueprint is
to avoid gathering dust on ministerial shelves.

The important thing to recall is tourists, like investors, have a choice.
They will not favour a regime that uses visas as a punishment, erects
obstacles to their movements, and insults their country at every
opportunity.

While visitors from Britain have fallen considerably over the past two
years, the UK remains the most important source market. The trickle of
French visitors and a handful from Singapore in the last year are not going
to replace what remains our most lucrative market.

Now, in an act of economic folly, the government has effectively told them
not to come. That self-mutilation will cost us dearly. Tourist receipts
amounted to $4,5 billion last year. The year before they were $5,3 billion.

Tony Blair and Michael Ancram have no intention of visiting Zimbabwe. Nor,
it seems, do a growing number of British nationals.

We need tourists to help us by spending their forex. They don't need us.
They will now go to South Africa and Zambia - seen as more user-friendly.
Their economies will benefit. Ours will suffer.

It is unbelievable how a government can inflict this kind of damage upon a
productive sector of its economy. But that's what happened last Friday.

Perhaps we should have been forewarned by the assault on commercial farming.
Once again blind vengeance holds sway over sound policies.

Mugabe and his cronies may feel good that they have struck a blow for
"sovereignty". But like other blows of this sort, it is ordinary Zimbabweans
who will lose as international isolation takes its toll.
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Zim Independent

Govt decision on visas bad for tourism
Dumisani Muleya

GOVERNMENT'S decision last week to make visas compulsory for British
visitors to Zimbabwe will further hurt the already severely damaged tourism
sector, analysts have said.

They said while Zimbabwe's action was not unexpected given its hostility to
the British government, it was likely to negatively impact on tourism
because it amounted to another damaging political decision.

In a move apparently calculated to escalate the contrived current diplomatic
row with London which is serving President Robert Mugabe's
political-survival agenda but not the economy, Harare downgraded the UK to a
lower visa classification.

This effectively means that British nationals travelling to Zimbabwe will
now need visas, either in advance through Zimbabwe's diplomatic missions or
at the port of entry.

On top of visa restrictions, tourists visiting Zimbabwe will now pay US$60
in entry and departure fees.

Zimbabwe's decision was accompanied by the imposition of retaliatory
targeted sanctions against British Prime Minister Tony Blair, his ministers,
leading opposition members, and some dissenting locals living in the UK.
This made it appear like a counter-offensive after the UK imposed visa
requirements last Friday.

Analysts said although this decision would not undermine Zimbabwean tourism
completely, it would however hit the struggling national carrier, Air
Zimbabwe, whose lifeline has always been the Harare/London route.

Air Zimbabwe spokesman David Mwenga confirmed this.

"At the moment it's too early to tell but we believe every airline,
including Air Zimbabwe, flying out of Zimbabwe to the UK carrying
Zimbabweans will certainly be affected in the short-term," he said.

Analysts said the biggest casualty of the Zimbabwean decision on visas would
however not be Britain but local tourism. This is primarily because the UK
and Ireland remain Zimbabwe's largest source market of foreign tourists
despite dwindling arrivals over the past two years.

According to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) overseas market share
statistics for 2001, the UK/Ireland are the biggest source of tourists with
34% of the total arrivals followed by the United States/Canada with 19%,
Australia/New Zealand (12%), Europe in general (8%), Germany (7%),
Netherlands (5%), Asia (5%), America in general (4%) and Switzerland (2%).

But the latest ZTA preliminary statistics show that the number of visitors
from the UK/Ireland dramatically plunged by 51% from 119 113 between January
and August last year to 57 896 between the same period this year. Arrivals
from other overseas countries also declined.

Although there has been an increase of tourists from some parts of Africa
and the rest of the world, these are not big spenders. As a result tourism
receipts fell from $5,3 billion in 2000 to $4,5 billion last year and are
set to drop further this year.

Zimbabwe badly needs tourism, which was until recently a large foreign
currency earner and major contributor to gross domestic product. It has
enormous potential to attract investment, enhance economic growth, create
employment and improve standards of living.

UTc managing director Patrick McCosh said the imposition of visas on UK
tourists would worsen the tourism tumble.

"It's not a positive development and obviously it will affect tourism,"
McCosh said.

"A developing nation like Zimbabwe should be opening up its market and
removing obstacles to attract more tourists. That is why we are concerned
with this issue on visas."

Hong Kong is one destination whose relatively open tourism policy has
increased tourist inflows and revenue. Most visitors to Hong Kong still do
not need a visa. Despite its return to the communist motherland of China in
1997, this tradition continues.

British travellers can still stay for up to six months without a visa.
Citizens of other Commonwealth countries do not require a visa for a stay of
up to three months.

Tourism minister Francis Nhema said the visa requirement would not undermine
tourism.

"I don't think it will affect our tourism because there was no major policy
shift," he said. "The British are used to the issue of visas because in most
countries they get visas at the ports of entry. As long as there will be no
threats to their lives they won't be bothered."

But commentators said the visa move coupled with the current anti-British
official rhetoric could be a deadly blow to the already prostrate tourism
sector.

Others thought it wouldn't make much difference.

Zimbabwe Council of Tourism president Shingi Munyeza said the visa regime
was a farce.

"Relations between Zimbabwe and Britain are already bad," Munyeza said. "So
this will not really change anything in terms of tourist arrivals.

"The inflow of tourists from the UK is at an all-time low and what this
means is that the visa requirement is just another nuisance which will
really have a minimal negative impact on tourism."

Analysts said the visa demand flew in the face of Zimbabwe's much-trumpeted
Tourism Recovery Programme, which has so far failed to revive the collapsing
sector, and was likely to compound the country's economic problems by
starving it of much-needed foreign exchange at a time when the need had
never been more critical.

"It's yet another own goal for the economy," one analyst who asked not to be
named said this week.
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Zim Independent

Archbishop Ncube slams Mugabe

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's number-one critic from the pulpit, Archbishop Pius
Ncube of Bulawayo, has accused him of deliberately starving opposition
supporters to strengthen his grip on power.

Archbishop Ncube told church leaders in Durban, South Africa, that he
believed 160 people in his home province of Matabeleland had already starved
to death and thousands more would die next year as a result of Mugabe's
actions.


"Men, women and children were, and still are, being deliberately starved,"
he said, adding that Mugabe had embarked on a programme of retribution
against his opponents after his plans to change the country's constitution
were defeated in 2000.


"Mugabe is using the food crisis in Zimbabwe to force people to vote for his
party," Ncube said, adding that only those with Zanu PF cards were able to
buy food.


His statement was immediately shot down by Information and Publicity
minister Jonathan Moyo who described the archbishop as "mad".


"When a bishop is mad, he is mad, and I don't think it is fair for you to
ask me to comment on the utterings of a mad bishop," he told the BBC's Focus
on Africa programme.


"I think we should feel some sympathy for that bishop because he does not
need our criticism, he needs our prayers, and we want to assure him he has
our prayers. We are praying for him," said Moyo.


Moyo said government had distributed 569 000 tonnes of grain across
Zimbabwe, 54% of which had been given through private milling companies to
Harare and Bulawayo, where the opposition party is strong.

He dismissed the suggestion that the archbishop was only expressing what the
people had told him, saying that they had been sent by "British intelligence
operatives".


"He is not an authority," Moyo said of Ncube. "He is a desperate, troubled
soul."


Ncube said Mugabe was clinging to power at the expense of people's lives.


"It is causing a lot of upset because there is no foreseeable end to
people's suffering," he said.


"All this is being done to destroy the opposition and cling onto power. The
arrests, the arson, torture and selective distribution of food all serve to
keep the population under control."


However, churches in Bulawayo have come out in full support of Archbishop
Ncube's sentiments.


In a statement signed by heads of various denominations in the city, the
clergy denounced government-sponsored violence and the politicisation of
food aid.


"(We) condemn in the strongest terms the actions of Mr Mugabe and his
government in hi-jacking food supplies and distributing them in a partisan
way, and in hindering the work of NGOs and other concerned bodies in their
efforts to feed the hungry and suffering people in our midst," the clergy
said.


"We call the government to repentance and a change of heart, to listen to
the cries of the people and to return to the path of justice, peace and good
governance," the church leaders said. - Reuter/BBC/Staff Writer.
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Zim Independent

African American group disputes Mugabe's claims on land reform
Mthulisi Mathuthu
THE African American delegation which recently visited Zimbabwe on a
"fact-finding" mission has said President Mugabe's agrarian reform is
wanting and could have been handled better.

The delegation, which included New York councillor Charles Barron and a
colleague, wound up its one-week mission to Zimbabwe last month amid
celebrations in the official media that it would tell the "true Zimbabwean
story".


According to a report compiled by New York-based The Black World Today, the
10-member delegation reported that contrary to the Mugabe regime's claims
that there were some people who opposed land reform, Zimbabweans only
differed on the method.


"Zimbabweans are generally supportive of the land reform programme," the
report says. "It's just that there are differing views and disagreements as
to how Mugabe has gone about it."


The report, which generally absolves Mugabe from responsibility for economic
decline and lawlessness and denies entrenched anti-Mugabe feelings, agrees
with the sceptics that the government could have done better in its bid to
correct colonial imbalances in the allocation of land.

"Our elected officials did see that it's (the land reform programme) not a
perfect system. Just as the MDC said there were some peasants who haven't
been able to do anything with their land yet there were many who had done
well...," the report, compiled by Donna Lamb of The Black World Today
journal, said.


The journal, which promotes black interests across the globe, also reports
that the mission recommends that the US government has obligations to assist
Zimbabwe despite the fact it received help from the Soviet Union, Cuba and
China during the liberation struggle.


The report also lashes out at the US for championing human rights in
Zimbabwe when it has failed to stamp out "police brutality, homelessness,
institutionalised racism and Native American reservations" in the US itself.


The group met with Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, US Ambassador Joseph
Sullivan, commercial farmers and Mugabe, among others.
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Zim Independent

'Zanu PF plotting to eliminate MDC MPs'
Loughty Dube
THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says it has received
evidence that the ruling Zanu PF is plotting to eliminate its MPs in rural
Matabeleland and other constituencies across the country.

The allegations by the opposition party come after the deaths of two of its
MPs, George Ndlovu (Insiza) and Learnmore Jongwe (Kuwadzana) under unclear
circumstances.


MDC spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi told the Zimbabwe Independent this week
the party had received intelligence showing opposition MPs were on a Zanu PF
hit list.


"We have received credible evidence indicating that our rural members of
parliament are under threat from Zanu PF and we are going to take all
precautions to protect them from this violent creature," Nyathi said.


Two MDC MPs in Matabeleland North, Jacob Thabane (Bubi-Umguza) and Mtoliki
Sibanda (Tsholotsho), have alleged that they are on a Zanu PF hit list.


"It was revealed to me that a plot to eliminate me was discussed at a Zanu
PF rally in Nyamandlovu last weekend by a select group of individuals," said
Thabane.


"At the meeting it was discussed and agreed that the 2005 parliamentary
elections were too far to wait for and they have decided that a by-election
is imminent in the constituency."


Sibanda has gone into hiding in Bulawayo after hitmen allegedly dispatched
to assassinate him fired at the wrong car last weekend.

Sibanda said sympathetic war veterans advised him not to visit the
constituency again because he was still on the death list.


The Tsholotsho MP has accused Minister of Information Jonathan Moyo of
trying to create a constituency for himself in Tsholotsho by fomenting
violence in the area.


Nyathi said this was the second attempt on Sibanda's life after war veterans
forced him to flee the constituency two months ago.


"The thinking among Zanu PF strategists is that it is easy to concentrate
violence and terror in a constituency and together with the use of voter
manipulation through food, they feel they can make in-roads in
Matabeleland," Nyathi said.


"Zanu PF thinks by engineering the death of MDC MPs they will regain the
seats they lost in legitimate parliamentary elections and that is
unfortunate."

Nyathi said the MDC would hold the government responsible for any suspicious
death of any opposition MP.


"All our MPs are at risk and in a country with no rule of law like Zimbabwe,
these are serious threats against legislators," Nyathi said.
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Zim Independent

Zanu PF sinks reform Indaba
Dumisani Muleya
THE ruling Zanu PF has scuppered a constitutional reform conference
organised by the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (Idasa), forcing it
to be postponed.

Idasa director Ivor Jenkins said yesterday the meeting, which was scheduled
for this weekend, would now be held early next year.


"It was postponed to a date yet to be announced," he said. "It will be in
the New Year."


Zanu PF, which has been hostile to the constitutional reform agenda, was
together with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supposed
to have sent a high-profile team of 10 members to the conference.


MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube confirmed the invitation and the
postponement of the meeting. But Zanu PF had declined the invitation in a
move which confirmed its deep resentment of South African president Thabo
Mbeki's latest initiative as an honest broker.


"They said they were not interested in discussing the issue at this forum,"
Jenkins said. "We will invite them next time but if they don't come the
meeting will go ahead."


Jenkins said the conference - Constitutional Reform in Zimbabwe: The
Unfinished Business - was expected to have attracted top African National
Congress politicians and constitutional experts to discuss the stalled
reform process in Zimbabwe.


South African civic society leaders and their Zimbabwean counterparts
including the broad-based civic group, National Constitutional Assembly,
were also going to participate.


"The conference was supposed to discuss constitutional reform in Zimbabwe
drawing from the South African experience," said Jenkins. "It was also
expected to look at the impact of the current Zimbabwe situation in the
region."


South Africa achieved its current democratic dispensation through a
negotiated process, the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (Codesa).


Mbeki and his Nigerian counterpart Olusegun Obasanjo tried to launch their
own version of Codesa in Zimbabwe in April following the disputed March
presidential election, but again Zanu PF spurned the move.
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Zim Independent

Farmers express reservations on bond
Augustine Mukaro
FARMERS' unions project the $60 billion Agribond launched on Tuesday will
not be fully subscribed due to late inception and logistical problems in
ensuring the repayment of the funds, it has emerged.

The Agribond interim report made available this week shows that
participating banks would receive a government guarantee while farmers have
to produce collateral - which is not land - when applying for the loans.


"The irrevocable, unconditional and transferable government guarantee will
cover all participating banks," the report said.


"Borrowers at every level will only draw on condition that they demonstrate
commitment to repay. To this end, counter guarantees, letters of
undertaking, pledges, mortgage bonds and farmers' stop orders will be
required to secure the loans," the report said.


Indigenous Commercial Farmers Union (ICFU) past-president Thomas Nherera
said the bond had been floated too late for this season's land preparation
and cropping.


"The money has been made available a bit late to influence the hectarage
farmers could plant this season," Nherera said.


"While it is late for new farmers, the availed funds would cater for other
needs like equipment purchases and labour payments. Since agriculture is an
on-going industry, the money could be carried over to medium- to long-term
financial ventures which beneficiaries might think of to improve their
production."


Nherera said established farmers were still working on financing this
season's crop and that this would take another two weeks.


"We can't throw away this bond as useless but there is no doubt that it
would have made a much more meaningful impact if it had come earlier,"
Nherera said.


Officials at the Zimbabwe Association of Tobacco Growers (ZATG), which
represents 1 500 farmers of which only 400 are established indigenous
commercial farmers and the rest new farmers who acquired land under the land
reform programme, said none of their members had secured sufficient funding
for this season's crop.


ZATG said the failure to secure funding in time had drastically reduced the
targeted planting hectarage, hence output is forecast to fall.


Established farmers had been reduced to financing land preparations from
savings from last season's crop sales while new farmers had nowhere to start
from.


Sybank, in conjunction with Syfrets Corporate Bank and 15 other financial
institutions, launched the $60 billion agribond on Tuesday targeted at
benefiting A2 model resettled farmers.


"From Tuesday, A2 farmers will be able to lodge applications with the
agro-processors or their banks for loans that will be financed with the
money raised from the Agrobills and Agribonds," Sybank said in a statement
this week.


The Agrobills would be issued for a period of 275 days for working capital
purposes, and Agribonds for a period of three years to finance capital
development and equipment.


The interest on loans payable by farmers will range from between 30% and
34%.


The funds would be administered by the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe, Dairibord
Zimbabwe Ltd, FSI Agricom and 10 other agro-intermediaries.


Over the past two years the banks and corporate companies have been snubbing
funding of agriculture, especially newly-resettled farmers, citing lack of
collateral.


Banks were also uneasy at committing their funds because of lack of clarity
on government's resettlement programme, making it insecure for banks to
assist the farmers.
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Zim Independent

Issuing of passports to be suspended
Mthulisi Mathuthu
THE Registrar General's office is this month expected to temporarily suspend
the issuing of passports due to a shortage of production materials, the
Zimbabwe Independent has heard.

The RG's office, headed by Tobaiwa Mudede, could issue a statement on the
suspension of the issuing of passports sometime next week.


Sources yesterday told the Zimbabwe Independent that the office had been hit
by shortages of foreign currency leading to its inability to import the
special paper needed for the production of passports. According to the
sources the RG's office will only issue passports to emergency travellers.


"We are facing a serious problem of paper," said a source in the office.

"We are faced with that possibility (suspension of service)", he said.


The RG's office was last month forced to increase the waiting time for a
passport to 10 months from the previous six-month period.


This followed an earlier 100% increase in passport fees which was aimed at
easing congestion at Makombe Building and to cushion the RG's office from
the costs of producing a passport.


The demand for passports has increased countrywide as Zimbabweans flee
economic hardships and misrule to settle in neighbouring countries and the
United Kingdom.


Mudede's office had by the time of going to press not responded to questions
faxed last week.
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Zim Independent

US fugitive hides in Zim for 10 years
Mthulisi Mathuthu
AMERICAN fugitive James Kilgore who was arrested in South Africa last week
for terrorist crimes allegedly committed in the US in the 1970s, lived a
normal life in Zimbabwe for 10 years without anyone suspecting he was on the
run.

Those who knew him said he was "quiet", "thoughtful" and always willing to
help but hardly talked about himself. The FBI had been looking for him for
26 years before police arrested him in Cape Town last Friday.


A friend said he first met Kilgore, who was now known as James Pape, at
Ranche House College in 1982 where he was taking Shona lessons together with
other expatriates who had moved to Zimbabwe at Independence.


According to the friend Kilgore was a mathematics wiz who also taught at the
Harare Polytechnic's department of developmental studies.


"He was a quiet person and was very helpful," said the friend. "He was
super-bright and was willing to help. I remember that he mastered Shona
within a short space of time."


Kilgore moved to Zimbabwe in 1980 and lived in Eastlea along Mutare Road
with his American girlfriend Terri Barnes whom he later married when they
moved to South Africa in 1991. Barnes lectured in the History department at
UZ.


Both Kilgore and his partner wrote articles and contributed to books in
Zimbabwe, including school textbooks. They later continued with their
academic life in South Africa where Kilgore was a researcher at the
University of the Western Cape. They lived in Claremont where they were
picked up on Friday. It is thought the FBI tipped off the South African
police.


According to his friends Kilgore never abandoned his leftist worldview but
nor did he advocate terrorism during his stay here.


"In fact he was always careful to stay out of trouble," said a friend. He
has been wanted in the US for armed robbery, bombings and possession of
dangerous weapons since 1975 when he was a member of the Symbionese
Liberation Army (SLA), a leftist revolutionary group which rose to fame when
it held newspaper heiress Patty Hearst hostage. She later joined her
captors.
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Zim Independent

EU plans direct intervention in Zim
Mthulisi Mathuthu
THE European Union (EU), which accuses President Robert Mugabe's regime of
nursing famine and lawlessness, is pushing for direct intervention by the
United Nations to distribute food in Zimbabwe even without government
approval to forestall an unfolding humanitarian disaster.

This follows last week's announcement by the US Deputy Assistant Secretary
of State for African Affairs, Mark Bellamy, that the US was considering
intrusive and interventionist measures.


EU/African, Caribbean and Pacific states Joint Assembly co-president Glennys
Kinnock said in an interview the EU development committee on Tuesday morning
asked the commissioner responsible for external affairs Chris Patten to sell
the idea to the UN Security council.


Kinnock had earlier asked Patten if it was possible for the EU to work out a
collective interventionist plan with the US and UN to rescue Zimbabwe which
faces an imminent humanitarian disaster of catastrophic levels largely due
to Mugabe's retributive politics and destruction of commercial agriculture.


Kinnock told the Zimbabwe Independent from Brussels yesterday that she was
confident Patten would push her idea through.


"He liked the question and he said he would take it up with his colleagues,"
she said. "We discussed a lot of hot spots with him like Afghanistan and
Zimbabwe was one of them. Something has to be done about it."


Patten, who has been banned from Zimbabwe, is expected to promote the idea
to the security council through Poul Nielson, Commissioner for Humanitarian
aid.


The US and the EU, both of whom have rejected Mugabe's re-election in the
March poll, are charging Harare with selective humanitarian aid distribution
to emasculate the opposition's support base. Currently an estimated six
million people will need aid between September and November and the figure
could rise to 6,7 million between December and early next year.


Only last week the US announced plans to drop food in the country following
Mugabe's seizure of World Food Programme grain to distribute to his
supporters.


Kinnock argued that Mugabe's continued obduracy in the face of EU and US
targeted sanctions bore testimony to the need for UN action. She argued it
was insane to treat Harare with kid gloves following the failure of targeted
smart sanctions, South Africa's "quite diplomacy" and the evident upsurge in
official gangsterism. Melly Maes of the Belgian Flemish Radicals also threw
her weight behind Kinnock, sources said.


Meanwhile, the EU is still debating whether to allow Minister of State
Enterprises and Parastatals in the President's Office Paul Mangwana and
Deputy Minister of Finance Chris Kuruneri to attend the November 25/28
EU/ACP 5th parliamentary assembly session in Brussels.


If their visa applications are successful they will be accompanied by as yet
unnamed government officials.
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Zim Independent

Coltart says police trigger-happy
Mabasa Sasa
MOVEMENT for Democratic Change (MDC) member of parliament and justice
spokesman David Coltart has slammed the recent shooting of an American by
Zimbabwean police saying it was an example of increasing lawlessness in the
country, the Washington File reported this week.

Speaking to students, journalists and experts on African affairs at a
meeting organised by George Washington University this week in New York,
Coltart said the November 11 shooting highlighted the disintegration of the
rule of law and escalating political abuse. "I'm afraid our police force has
become trigger-happy," said Coltart.


He also pointed out that it was unlikely that those involved in the shooting
would be charged because of the "impaired independence" of the justice
system.


Richard Gilman was visiting the country as a tourist when a policeman at a
roadblock along the Mutare/Vumba road allegedly fired at his rented car
around 5pm. Washington File said Gilman was the cousin of Scott Palmer,
chief of staff to Speaker of the House of Representatives Dennis Hastert.

Police claim that he became uncooperative when quizzed about an expired
import permit for the vehicle he was driving. They said he then drove off at
high speed resulting in the fatal shooting.


Coltart refuted these claims.


"What has happened in our country is that a culture of impunity has
developed where people responsible for gross human rights violations,
including the police, for many years have never been brought to book," he
said.


Coltart said the increasing number of cases of human rights abuse were
things Zimbabweans had to contend with under the despotic regime of
President Robert Mugabe.


"All of us here today, in some form or another, have suffered abuse at the
hands of either Mugabe supporters or the police themselves," said Coltart.

He said he had raised in parliament the issue of increasing evidence of
police-initiated torture in the country but nothing had been done about it.


"I'm afraid that what happened in the Gilman case, whichever side of the
story is correct, is the inevitable consequence of a lawless society. It is
the inevitable consequence of impunity in our society," Coltart said.


He also expressed a desire to see thorough investigations carried out so
that those responsible for Gilman's death would face the courts.


"But, sadly, we think that will be highly unlikely because there has been a
total subversion of law at the hands of the police force in Zimbabwe," he
said.


He decried the decline of the Supreme Court in the hands of Mugabe saying
the bench was left with four judges who "clearly owed their allegiance to
the Zanu PF regime".


Coltart said the courts, police, trade unions, student organisations, the
press and the lawful opposition in parliament had all been systematically
undermined as part of a campaign to crush voices of dissent and impose a de
facto one-party state.
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Zim Independent

AirZim endangers passengers' safety
Blessing Zulu
AIR Zimbabwe has ignored vital safety regulations since the suspension of
its engineers, jeopardising the safety of passengers, the Zimbabwe
Independent has been told.

Documents made available to the Independent this week show that safety
standards at the national airline have plunged since engineers went on
strike in September demanding a salary hike. Management subsequently
suspended the strikers.


The Independent heard this week that Air Zimbabwe tried to continue
maintenance work with a skeleton staff provided by management, a move which
is prohibited in the aviation industry. This week the airline announced that
it had subcontracted the servicing of its planes to South African Airways
and Ethiopian Airlines.


Sources in the aviation sector said engineers must be supervised and there
should be a hierarchical system of quality control. The failure to set up
proper maintenance teams resulted in Air Zimbabwe being forced to
subcontract the work.


The Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) Acting Chief Airworthiness
Inspector, S Kutibiwa has written to the airline raising concerns on the
disregard for safety procedures. CAAZ supervises the safety capacities of
all airlines operating in Zimbabwe.


"Previous discussions with senior Air Zimbabwe management at meetings
disclosed that there was no maintenance activities going on in the
workshops," the letter to senior managers at Air Zimbabwe said.


"Subsequent to other safety concerns, your organisation's scope of
activities were limited to maintenance including defect rectification only.
But during the inspection visit on 18 October 2002 some maintenance
activities were taking place in the following sections: Electrical, Radio,
Hydraulic etc," said Kutibiwa.


Another letter to Air Zimbabwe from CAAZ expressed concern over the
refuelling of flight UMCHT 491A VVIP without fire cover.


"Flight Safety Standards is in receipt of a report by Mr J Mwanandimai who
refuelled an aircraft with passengers on board and without fire cover,"
Kubitiwa said. "Mr J Mwanandimai is one of your maintenance personnel.

The Authority is perturbed at the complete disregard for safety and the
serious risk of lives of those on board the aircraft," Kutibiwa said.


It is understood the management at the national airline has also hired
"strike busters" and has granted them temporary maintenance licences.

Internal correspondence in the possession of the Independent and signed by
Bison Odongo, the senior manager quality assurance, confirms this.

"You are hereby granted a temporary approval on the following category:

AC5 general part A and B," said Odongo. "This approval is valid from the
date of issue to 31/12/02."


Those who have been granted the licences include senior managers without the
requisite experience in doing specialist maintenance work. Air Zimbabwe is
also alleged to have recruited engineers whose qualifications had not been
approved by CAAZ.


On October 21 Kutibiwa wrote to Air Zimbabwe warning them about
subcontracting maintenance work.


Experts in the field told the Independent that the national airline was
compromising on quality and endangering people's lives by issuing temporary
approvals.


"It is disturbing to note that some strike-busters are working without
supervision and endangering lives in the process," said an aviation
specialist.


"For one to work without supervision the person must have five years
experience and have written an aircraft system course and pass with not less
than 75%. After this quality assurance exam you are then issued with an
approval book," said the expert.


The Independent is also in possession of flight and technical log books
which are signed by engineers and pilots before take off ensuring that
inspections have been carried out. The log books show that the national
airline is deferring repairing of defects and compromising on safety in the
process.


"Rectification of defects must be carried out without fail as this may have
ripple effects," said the expert.


Air Zimbabwe spokesman David Mwenga yesterday said he could not respond to
faxed questions, as he was busy. CAAZ chief executive Karikoga Kaseke was
yesterday said to be in Namibia on holiday.
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Maize distribution Chiredzi North & South / Zaka.

13th November 2002.

Hi All,

There is very little Maize passing through the GMB, and what does come is distributed to the ZANU councilors who sell to the MDC for $5000 / 50 Kg's. When milled at $300 this equates to 40 Kg's of meal at a total cost of $131 / Kg. Because I am a MDC activist, both my companies are forced to pay this price and only through the back door. The majority of the people in Zimbabwe have this problem now.

Mr. Marasha of Zaka east gave the local councilor Mr. Ehivere money for four bags of maize, but when he arrived to pick it up it was refused as the councilor had found out that Mr. Marasha had voted MDC. and was an activist. The councilor also refused to return the money that he was paid. This case was heard on the 21st October in the Zaka court.

Its still very evident that ZANU are getting most of the donated yellow maize, you can see it when you go into the occupied farms, the government have to feed the settlers to keep them there, so it would be a government priority.
This yellow maize can be purchased from ZANU venders and from people at night who I have been told on good authority are police.

The winter maize that was grown at Hippo and Triangle Estates is now starting to arrive at the GMB, but again it is impossible for anybody but ZANU councilors or big wigs to purchase it. The common thing to be told when applying for it is, "you must get a letter from the councilor in your ward" and that is impossible if you are in any way affiliated to MDC.

Regards,

Gerry Whitehead,
Chairman,
Chiredzi MDC Support Group.
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FinGaz

Budget unveiled: govt admits economy is in distress

Staff Reporter
11/14/02 12:07:43 PM (GMT +2)

THE government of Zimbabwe on Thursday admitted the magnitude of the
economic crisis facing the country, but analysts say the national budget
presented to parliament by Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa did not attempt
to and cannot address the underlying causes of the problem.

In his budget speech, Murerwa told parliamentarians that Zimbabwe's
economy was performing well below its potential, with output performance
expected to decline by 11.9 percent this year.

He attributed to drought and the uncertainties caused by the
government's land reform programme the decline in the performance of the
agricultural, manufacturing and mining sectors.

Murerwa also admitted that the government's reduction of interest
rates had fuelled inflation and resulted in negative real returns on
investments, hurting insurance companies, pension funds and other financial
savings.

"This is severely compromising the capacity of the economy to
guarantee future rates of return that compensate pensioners for the loss of
purchasing power and leaving many near destitution," the minister said.

He also noted that government-imposed price controls had adversely
affected consumers, whom they were supposed to protect.

Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce economist James Jowa told the
Financial Gazette: "The most significant thing is that the government
realises the economy is in distress.

"In the past, they have stopped short of saying it out. I think it's
positive that he recognises that besides drought, the land reform has had an
effect on production. The fact that he realised that privatisation has been
very slow and that he wants to accelerate it next year is positive. It doesn
't mean he's going to do it, but at least he realises that it needs to be
done."

Analysts said the government's appreciation of Zimbabwe's economic
crisis was highlighted by plans to increase interest rates, which will be
part of monetary policy measures to be announced by the central bank.

Murerwa also indicated that preferential interest rates would be
introduced to protect the productive and export sectors and he also
announced measures aimed at cushioning ordinary Zimbabweans from inflation
and the other hardships facing them.

The measures include the widening of bands used to calculate income
tax and tax on bonuses, credits for the elderly and disabled and severance
packages. The minister also announced the reduction of sales tax on
passenger and commercial motor vehicles and the introduction of sales tax
exemption for construction materials.

Taxpayers will also cease to contribute towards the AIDS levy from
December 2003 while import duty will be suspended on buses and spare parts
for passenger transport. This will alleviate some of the operational
problems faced by public transport service providers.

Jowa said: "The capital budget has been increased from 8.1 percent of
total expenditure to 11.7 percent, which is positive. We have always said
they should increase the capital budget, but next time they should do more."

But commentators pointed out that the government planned to spend a
whopping $682 billion on recurrent expenditure compared to $88.2 billion on
capital expenditure.

They also noted that Murerwa had announced no real measures to curb
inflation, which rose to 139.9 percent in September, although he said he
expected it to fall to 96 percent by the end of next year.

"This is really a back to basics budget in my view," said First Mutual
Life fund manager Nyasha Chasakara. "A lot of the measures that have been
put there are really meant to keep the economy going.

"There are no radical changes as such. They (government) comprehend
the issues at stake, but the problems are not being addressed. In fact, a
budget would never adequately address them."

The analysts said most of the measures announced by Murerwa were
attempting to deal with the symptoms of Zimbabwe's economic crisis and not
its underlying causes and were in fact likely to worsen the situation
instead of resolving it.

For instance, they said, plans for exporters to remit 100 percent of
their earnings would be disastrous for most companies. Exporters have in the
past been allowed to retain 60 percent of their proceeds while remitting 40
percent to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

Most of them have exchanged the remainder of their forex on the
parallel market, where they could secure more lucrative returns than on the
official market at a fixed exchange rate.

Murerwa on Thursday also announced that all foreign exchange bureaus
would be shut down from the end of November to curb foreign currency
leakages. To boost hard currency earnings, a fund administered by the
central bank has been established to encourage Zimbabweans living abroad to
remit forex to Zimbabwe.

The Finance Minister said non-resident Zimbabweans had the potential
to remit US$250 million a year. But very little of this money has found its
way to the official market, with most of it being traded in more lucrative
unofficial channels.

"The minister is going to ban bureaux de change but that's not going
to solve the problem of the parallel market," Jowa said. "Foreign currency
is just going to move away from the parallel market to the black market, it'
s going to go underground and that will only make things worse."

Chasakara added: "If you look at the foreign currency account issue,
it's not very clear what's going to happen. It just clearly indicates that
the government is desperate to get currency. In terms of the interest rates,
how far will they increase them? I don't think there will be a huge
increase.

"But it's very critical for the government to come out clearly with
the policies that it's planning to announce in relation to these things or
else we might see the markets overreacting, especially if they think the
government is going to increase interest rates and take all the foreign
currency. All policies have to be announced now, not in two weeks, because
the volatility in our markets will be so high that it could trigger an asset
price bubble burst."

Commentators said to resolve Zimbabwe's economic crisis, the
government should introduce other policies to buttress the 2003 national
budget, which could not adequately deal with the problems facing the
country.

They said a demonstration by Murerwa that he was willing to follow
through with the targets he had set himself and to enforce strict fiscal
discipline would also instill confidence in the budget.

They analysts emphasised that restoring international confidence in
Zimbabwe by tackling property rights, undermined by the government's
agrarian reforms, was key to resolving the crisis.

This would unlock balance of payments support and foreign investment,
suspended because of the seizure of commercial farmland, human rights abuses
and political violence.

But they pointed out that this was not a task that Murerwa could
accomplish on his own and that it required the commitment of the entire
government.

"The budget doesn't deal with any of the problems," Jowa said. "Right
from the beginning (of this speech), the minister talked about restoring
confidence, which is the basic problem, but he didn't address the issue. But
I don't think it's really his problem, he's done his best under the
situation.

"It's a process that he can't handle on his own. It requires the
President, the judiciary, the police force and dealing with the media laws.
You can't address these issues within two hours of announcing the budget."
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FinGaz

2003 budget major highlights

Staff Reporter
11/14/02 12:07:43 PM (GMT +2)

FINANCE and Economic Development Minister Hebert Murerwa presented his budget statement to Parliament on Thursday this week and below are some of the major highlights of the budget presentation:

Total expenditure $782.41 billion

Revenue $540.5 billion

Budget deficit $241.9 billion or 11.5 percent of Gross Domestic Product.

Ministry allocations:

Education Sports and Culture
$109.2 billion

Defence
$76.4 billion

Health and Child Welfare
$73.4 billion

Finance and Economic Development
$48.48 billion

Lands Agriculture and Rural Resettlement
$40.549 billion

Higher Education and Technology
$38.297 billion

Public Service Labour and Social Welfare
$32.268 billion

Transport and Communication
$20.749 billion

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs
$20.232 billion

Homes Affairs
$20.2 billion

Local Government Public Works and National Housing
$18.035 billion

Rural Resources and Water Resources
$15.372 billion

President and Cabinet
$13.259 billion

Foreign Affairs
$6.044 billion

Industry and International Trade
$4.648 billion

Environment and Tourism
$2.494 billion

Mines and Energy
$2.018 billion


*The minimum non-taxable income has been increased from $90 000 to $180 000 per annum beginning January 1, 2003 while the highest taxable income at 45 percent has been increased to $1.5 million from the current $800 000.

*With effect from November 1, 2002 the tax free portion of bonus and performance related award will be doubled from $10 000 to $20 000.

*Customs duty on the importation of public motor vehicles with a capacity of at least 26 seated persons and spares for the vehicles and for the maintenance and refurbishment of equipment, wagons and locomotives by the National Railways of Zimbabwe has been suspend from December 1, 2002.

*The rate of sales tax for passenger motor vehicles will be reduced from 25 percent to 15 percent while that one o commercial motor vehicles will be reduced from 15 percent to 10 percent starting January 1, 2003.

*Agriculture equipment and implements not locally available will no longer draw any import duty starting December 1, 2002.

*Bureaux de change will be abolished starting the end of November 2002.

*Importers will now be requested to deposit 50 percent of their foreign currency earnings with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe up from 40 percent.

*Inflation is forecasted to come down to 96.1 percent by December 2003 from 144.2 in October 2002.
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New York Times

U.S. Embassy in Zimbabwe Signals Concern Over Killing
By RACHEL L. SWARNS


merican officials have expressed concern to the Zimbabwean government about
the circumstances surrounding the death of a 58-year-old American man who
was shot at a roadblock, diplomats said yesterday.

The man, Richard M. Gilman, who was vacationing in Zimbabwe from Torrington,
Conn., was killed on Monday in Mutare, near the border with Mozambique. The
Zimbabwean authorities said Mr. Gilman was shot when he tried to race
through the roadblock after refusing to answer questions about his passport
and car registration.

Mr. Gilman's brother, who teaches geography at a university in Mutare, has
raised questions about this account, saying his brother had actually
returned to the roadblock with his passport at the request of the men
working there.

The brother, Howard Gilman, said the last time he had seen Richard Gilman
alive was at his apartment in Mutare on the day of the shooting. Richard, he
said, had come back after being stopped by police officers asking to see his
passport.

"He wasn't angry; he was just kind of irritated because of this bureaucratic
mix-up," Howard Gilman said yesterday in a telephone interview. "We had
plans to go out to dinner with friends. He said, `Let me run out and get
this straightened out and I'll meet you at dinner.' "

American officials and relatives are unclear about happened after Mr. Gilman
went back to see the officers with his papers.

The Zimbabwe police said that Mr. Gilman's rental car lacked proper
paperwork and that he refused to answer questions. "During the inspection
and questioning at the roadblock, he tried to drive off," said Wayne
Bvudzijena, a police spokesman.

Asked if the police had fired any warning shots, he said, "I cannot verify
if any warnings shots were fired, but it is procedural for warning shots to
be fired first."

"We have already expressed our concern to the Zimbabwean government," Bruce
Wharton, a spokesman for the American Embassy, said in a telephone interview
from Harare, the country's capital.

Howard Gilman said the embassy had arranged for an independent doctor to
witness the autopsy, to be conducted today in Harare.

This was Mr. Gilman's third trip to Zimbabwe, a scenic country racked by
hunger and political violence. He was winding down his computer software
business and enjoyed spending time with his brother.

Howard Gilman, 64, said Richard had informally adopted two rural schools,
supplying students with shoes, books and food. "He sent $500 that we used to
buy 88 pairs of shoes for kids," he said. "Just last week, he had set up a
feeding program that would feed 840 kids to the end of March. He and his
wife had no children and he really fell in love with the kids at these
schools."
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Mail and Guardian

Bleak outlook for Zimbabwe

Harare

15 November 2002 07:45

Zimbabwe's finance minister admitted that drawing up the budget was "not an
easy task" and painted a bleak picture of the current economic situation,
with manufacturing, tourism and mining all having registered losses.

Herbert Murerwa told parliament that large allocations had been assigned to
education, government wages and land reform. The country's overstretched
health sector has also been allocated a generous amount, as has the defence
ministry.

Without giving a figure, Murerwa noted that a "substantial increase" had
been allocated for defence to ensure Zimbabwe remains "a safe place to live
in".

Murerwa raised laughter from the opposition benches in parliament when he
asked the house to allow him to "dispel any perceptions" Zimbabwe did not
respect property rights.

A controversial land reform programme over the past two years has seen most
of the country's 4 500 white farmers losing their properties for
redistribution to new black farmers.

The minister said 14-billion Zimbabwe dollars would be directed specifically
to land reform, while a further 88-billion Zimbabwe dollars ($1,6-billion)
would go towards capital developments in the sector, such as developing
irrigation.

Wages for civil servants absorbed a large share of the budget, getting
266,5-billion ($4,8-billion) in a widely anticipated move. Already this year
doctors, nurses, teachers and university lecturers have gone on strike over
pay.

Murerwa said there would be significant spending on road construction and
improvements. This will be welcomed by road users in the country, which has
lately suffered a spate of deadly road accidents. - Sapa
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STAND TOGETHER FOR ONCE ZIMBABWE



Dear All
Please all stand together on this one - something no-one has been able to achieve. Show them, please email to every one you know, this can be very powerful if it is done RIGHT!!



What signal does the world get if it views 20,000 Zimbabweans basking in the sun, watching cricket, drinking beer and generally appearing to be having a good and peaceful time? - Boycott the Pakistan cricket tour to Zimbabwe

LET PAKISTAN COME

Let me start by saying I love cricket, it's my favourite spectator sport. The Zimbabwean team has achieved some memorable wins from a limited selection of players.

I have been saying for some time that Zimbabweans should be engaging in civil disobedience and passive protests. Lets face it, how can you go on a non-violent peace march when Zanu PF thugs with assistance with the Army and Police can attack those demonstrators with impunity. All confrontational protests will be quickly disrupted with people being beaten, killed or arrested. Strikes and work stoppages will not work as a lot of workers can not afford to lose any of their meager earnings. Prices are escalating, a black market in basic commodities is thriving and mostly wages are remaining static. Strikes will lead to more companies closing down and therefore more unemployment.

That the Pakistani cricket squad is currently still intent in going ahead with the Zimbabwe tour is quite correct. It is not up to professional cricketers to get involved with world politics, this is also true of our Zimbabwean squad.

The world has focused on Zimbabwe in the last 2 years and more so during and after the last elections. There is a strong belief that the political climate over the past two years, the election process and the state manipulation of the ballot all pointed to an illegitimate election whose result does not reflect the views of many Zimbabweans. There have however been conflicting reports from some observers and heads of state who claim that the election was free and fair. If we do not have a consensus of opinion on the last elections, this allows Zanu PF to use this confusion to divide world opinion. How do we show that we still do not accept the result and demand a new election run by the UN, commonwealth or both? As much has been done by other countries, and as Zimbabweans we have to make a strong statement NOW.

What signal does the world get if it views 20,000 Zimbabweans basking in the sun, watching cricket, drinking beer and generally appearing to be having a good and peaceful time? Jonathon Moyo, the Herald and ZBC will use this event to 'prove' to the world at large that everything is OK and that the vast amounts of reports of widespread "wholesale" violence are unfounded.

All Zimbabweans should boycott the Pakistani tour by not buying tickets or attending any of the matches. This is not directed at the Pakistan team or their government, instead it would demonstrate to the world that the electorate do not accept the result of the fraudulent election or the current state condoned violent instability that all Zimbabweans are suffering under. Imagine that in the first ODI the players outnumber the spectators. What a coup that would be for democracy! A clear signal would be sent to the world regarding the true situation in Zimbabwe and the feelings of the people. What message will the Pakistan squad take with them to the rest of the world?

The result of this mass protest will be seen worldwide via sport channels on satellite and terrestrial television. No one would lose earnings (In fact you would save money by not buying tickets), and no one could be targeted for retribution, unless Mugabe decides to arrest the whole population of Zimbabwe for non-attendance of a cricket match!

In the short term, the sport would lose earnings and Zimbabwean cricket would suffer. Without a change in this country, will there be a future for Zimbabwean test cricket anyway? With the exodus of talent, skill and investment, will we be able to field a competitive test side anyway? It as not inconceivable that we will lose test status or nobody will be willing to play us if we can't give them a competitive game.

BOYCOTT THE WHOLE TOUR. DO NOT BUY TICKETS OR ATTEND MATCHES. IF YOU HAVE OR ARE CONSIDERING HAVING A HOSPITALITY TENT CANCEL YOU'RE BOOKINGS. IF YOU ARE INVITED TO ATTEND POLITELY REJECT THE INVITATION. THIS IS NOT AN ATTACK ON PAKISTAN OR THE COMMONWEALTH. THIS IS A PEACEFUL PROTEST THAT ZIMBABWEANS DEMAND AN END TO STATE SPONSORED VIOLENCE, A RETURN TO LAW AND ORDER AND FRESH INDEPENDENTLY RUN ELECTIONS.

PLEASE SEND THIS EMAIL TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW AND COPY IT TO THE WORLD PRESS. LET'S MAKE THIS BOYCOTT WORK.

*************



Extract from the Guardian - http://sport.guardian.co.uk/cricket/story/0,10069,840578,00.html

....................Meanwhile, the former England captain Allan Lamb is calling on the England team to lead an international boycott of the World Cup matches due to be held in Zimbabwe.

Lamb rejects the International Cricket Council's investigation into security arrangements as missing the point. "It's a government deci sion," he says in an interview to be screened on Channel 4 News tonight. "Tony Blair should get up and say I'm not having England play there. From the England side there should be a boycott."

The ICC, however, says that only safety worries would prompt it to move the six matches to South Africa.

The chief executive Malcolm Speed says that the tyranny of President Robert Mugabe's regime is irrelevant. "We don't believe that's an issue for the sport," he said. "No country has introduced sporting sanctions. We're not here to make political statements."

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United Press International

UN endorses food aid policy in Zimbabwe
By William M. Reilly
From the International Desk
Published 11/14/2002 9:14 PM
View printer-friendly version


UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on
Thursday endorsed the World Food Program's policy against the politicization
of food aid in Zimbabwe, where some 7 million people are at risk of
starving.

In a statement issued by U.N. spokesman Hua Jiang, he also appealed to the
government of Zimbabwe to fulfill its commitment to ensure that political
considerations do not affect food aid efforts within the country.

"The secretary-general notes the continuing reports of politicization in
food distribution and humanitarian assistance in general," she said. "Those
distributing aid have an obligation to ensure that it is given to
beneficiaries based on their needs and not upon political affiliation.

"The secretary-general fully supports the zero tolerance policy on the
politicization of food distribution established by the World Food Program,"
the statement continued. "He appeals to the government of Zimbabwe to hold
to its commitment to ensure that political considerations do not affect food
aid efforts within the country.

"The international community must be vigilant in ensuring that relief is
made available quickly to the people in Zimbabwe," said Jiang, reading from
the statement.

Annan issued the statement before departing for an official visit to
European cities.

Zimbabwe has been wracked by civil violence in recent years, spurred largely
by President Robert Mugabe's program of expelling white farmers from
agricultural land and giving the farms over to blacks. Many of them have
little experience with or resources for large-scale, commercial cultivation.

Mugabe was re-elected last March to a fifth term after a campaign marked by
opposition arrests, violence and what international monitors decried as
election rigging.
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Financial Times (UK)

Zimbabwe tightens exchange controls amid economic gloom
By Tony Hawkins in Harare
Published: November 15 2002 4:00 | Last Updated: November 15 2002 4:00

Zimbabwe yesterday tightened exchange controls as Herbert Murerwa,
finance minister, admitted that the country continued to face "high
inflation, foreign currency shortages and declining savings investment and
output".


Tabling a largely no-change budget with some minor tax adjustments, Mr
Murerwa focused on exchange controls, increasing the proportion of earnings
that exporters must sell to the central bank, at the hugely undervalued
official exchange rate, to 50 per cent from 40 per cent.

He also tightened regulations on the use of the retained 50 per cent
of earnings, saying this would have to be surrendered to the central bank
and held in the exporter's account. He did not say whether exporters would
still get the parallel market rate of Z$1,500 to the US dollar rather than
the official rate of Z$55.

Although this had been expected, the minister shocked parliament when,
in a move to curb foreign currency leakages, he announced the closure of
foreign exchange bureaux, but gave no details of how this would be done.
This was a surprise given the fact that some bureaux are owned by
influential members of the ruling Zanu-PF party.

He painted a gloomy picture of the state of the economy, forecasting
that GDP would contract by 11.9 per cent this year and another 7.2 per cent
in 2003, taking the decline over five years to more than 35 per cent.

But he was modestly upbeat about inflation, predicting that it would
fall to 96 per cent next year, from an annual rate of 144 per cent last
month, and into single digits in 2004. This is in stark contrast to the
IMF's prediction of 522 per cent inflation in 2003.

Government spending would increase 94.5 per cent in 2003, but revenue
is forecast to grow even faster (103.6 per cent), because of inflation. As a
result, although the budget deficit will increase by 77 per cent to
Z$241.9bn (US$4.4bn, ?4.47bn, 2.84bn), as a ratio of GDP it will fall from
an estimated 14.1 per cent this year to 11.5 per cent.

Despite Zimbabwe's military withdrawal from the Democratic Republic of
Congo, military spending will increase from 9.4 per cent of the budget to
9.8 per cent.

The government will spend more on the police, as well as on health and
education, though the health budget at 9.4 per cent of the total is less
than military spending.

The budget statement foreshadows tougher price controls to be
announced shortly and a new interest rate policy to replace the present
regime of money market rates vastly below inflation.

MPs listened quietly to Mr Murerwa's address but he was cheered by his
own party when he announced increased spending on land resettlement and
reduced import duties on buses. Opposition MPs jeered when Mr Murerwa
claimed that President Robert Mugabe's government "has always respected
internationally recognised rules which govern property rights".

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