The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Zimbabwe not planning new price freeze - c.bank

Reuters

Tue 20 Nov 2007, 17:01 GMT

By Nelson Banya

HARARE, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's central bank governor said on Tuesday
the country would not impose new price controls, easing fears of deeper
shortages of basic goods.

President Robert Mugabe's government imposed a blanket freeze on prices of
all goods and services in June in a desperate bid to contain the world's
highest inflation rate -- now nearly 8,000 percent -- but the move backfired
as shop shelves were rapidly emptied through panic buying.

Although the controls have been gradually relaxed, most basic goods such as
bread, milk, sugar and cooking oil are still in short supply and some
supermarkets are selling imported products whose prices are beyond the reach
of many.

Central bank governor Gideon Gono, who has said the three-month price blitz
was "traumatising" the economy, told reporters after meeting the country's
business leaders that the government would not repeat its crackdown on
prices.

"There is (a) need to allay fears born out of speculation that the country
was heading back to the blitz as were seen some few weeks back," he said.

Zimbabwe is in the grips of a severe economic crisis which critics blame on
Mugabe's policies, such as the seizure of white-owned farms to resettle
landless blacks.

Gono said the central bank had provided foreign currency amounting to $13
million and 10 trillion Zimbabwean dollars (about $333 million at the
official exchange rate and $8.3 million on the black market) to businesses
to help them recover from the impact of the price freeze.

"We do not have to go back to the three months of madness and as monetary
authorities, we would like to state a few truths," he said.

"We're operating in a hyperinflationary environment, so we have to be open
in whatever we do. Consumers cannot expect prices that were in existence in
June and we urge our politicians to tell the truth that prices cannot remain
the same forever." (Editing by Michael Georgy)


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Zimbabwe releases bill to seize control of foreign mining interests

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: November 20, 2007

HARARE, Zimbabwe: The government released proposals for new mining laws that
will strip foreigners of control of mines and give control of key mines to
the state, official radio reported Tuesday.

A 60-page draft of the minerals and mines amendment bill unveiled by Mines
Minister Amos Midzi was the first concrete step toward seizing mines.

State radio said final adjustments to the draft were being made and it would
soon be presented to the ruling party controlled Parliament for approval.

Copies of the bill were not immediately available but a summary said it
provided for the "indigenization and localization" of the nation's mining
industry.

The state was entitled to control of key mines by "virtue of its original
ownership of all useful minerals in its subsoil," the summary said.

President Robert Mugabe has repeatedly threatened to seize control of
mining. Earlier this year, Parliament passed laws forcing other white and
foreign-owned businesses to relinquish a 51 percent stake to black
Zimbabweans.
Since 2000, more than 5,000 white-owned commercial farms have been seized in
a chaotic land redistribution program that plunged the agriculture-based
economy in the former regional breadbasket into free fall.

The new mining bill proposes a seven-year period for mining rights to be
carved up but says foreign-held mining rights can be canceled in cases of
obstruction and "willful noncompliance" with the objectives of the
legislation to hand over control once it is in force.

It proposes the government take over 51 percent of concerns mining strategic
minerals such as coal and coalbed methane, taking 25 percent without paying
and paying for the rest.

The government also claimed a fourth of gold, diamond, platinum and other
precious mineral mines, and said another 26 percent of those concerns should
go to black Zimbabweans.

The government claimed no stake in other mines, but proposed that foreign
and white interests relinquish 51 percent to black Zimbabweans.

Zimbabwe is suffering its worst economic crisis since independence in 1980,
with chronic shortages of food, gasoline and hard currency for spare parts
and equipment.

Official inflation of nearly 8,000 percent is the highest in the world. Some
reports have placed it closer to 15,000 percent.

In May, the independent Chamber of Mines reported gold production plunged to
its lowest in 90 years and hyperinflation, shortages of gasoline and
equipment, regular power outages and an exodus of skilled mining personnel
to better paid jobs in other countries also hit production of nickel,
platinum and copper despite soaring world commodity prices.

Foreign investment has largely dried up in seven years of political and
economic turmoil since the farm seizures, with potential investors citing
concerns over ownership rights, economic disruptions under the sweeping
nationalization program and officials criticizing Western-style market-led
business practice.


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Why the Commonwealth must re-engage Zimbabwe and what can be done

zimbabwejournalists.com

20th Nov 2007 18:18 GMT

By Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum

WHY THE COMMONWEALTH MUST† RE-ENGAGE ZIMBABWE AND WHAT CAN BE DONE

1. WHY THE COMMONWEALTH MUST RE-ENGAGE ZIMBABWE

A. While President Robert Mugabe unilaterally withdrew Zimbabwe from the
Commonwealth, there is scope for Commonwealth to re-engage Zimbabwe as a
non-member just as the Commonwealth continued to address the South African
question robustly during Apartheid, even though South Africa had withdrawn
from the Commonwealth.

B. Robert Mugabe's unilateral withdrawal of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth
was not in accordance with the wishes of Zimbabwean people who were clearly
not consulted when the decision was made.

C. The Commonwealth has a statutory obligation to re-engage Zimbabwe in
accordance with the Harare Commonwealth Declaration of 1991 where the
Commonwealth 'pledged to work for the protection and promotion of the
fundamental political values of the association, namely democracy,
democratic processes and institutions which reflect national circumstances,
fundamental human rights, the rule of law and the independence of the
judiciary, and just and honest government.'

D. Another legal obligation to re-engage Zimbabwe arises from the Millbrook
Commonwealth Action Programme on the Harare Declaration of 1995 which
provides in B.3 (viii) that the Commonwealth should take appropriate
bilateral and multilateral measures to reinforce the need for change in the
event that a government chooses to leave the Commonwealth and/or persists in
violating Commonwealth principles.

E. The Commonwealth cannot turn its back on Zimbabwe as this sets a wrong
signal to potential dictators within the Commonwealth that withdrawal of
membership from the Commonwealth grants them the liberty to violate
fundamental human rights with impunity.

F. The Zimbabwe question is a litmus test for the Commonwealth's commitment
to promoting its fundamental values and principles and its contribution to
facilitating international consensus building on major global questions
outside of its membership.

2. WHAT THE COMMONWEALTH CAN DO

A. Informed by the principles of the Harare Declaration, lay down explicit
and concise benchmarks for the re-admittance of Zimbabwe to the Commonwealth

B. Constitute an "eminent persons" group capable of rallying the
Commonwealth around a common position on Zimbabwe.

C. The Commonwealth must view people of Zimbabwe as legitimate citizens of
the Commonwealth entitled to the same rights and privileges as any other
citizen of the Commonwealth.

D. The breakdown of rule of law in Zimbabwe, and the egregious human rights
violations taking place there are a matter of grave international concern
where the Commonwealth can use its global reach and unique experience in
consensus building to assist international community in reaching a consensus
on the often divisive Zimbabwe question.

The Commonwealth must influence SADC to continue to seek a speedy resolution
of the Zimbabwean Human Rights Crisis and the Commonwealth must publicly
support the SADC in its various initiatives on Zimbabwe.

E. Launch a sustained lobbying process by the Commonwealth at all relevant
international bodies - the Southern African Development Community, the
African Union and the United Nations, among others - to demand a return to
democracy, human rights and the rule of law by the Zimbabwe government.

F. With the cooperation of the Commonwealth Foundation and the Commonwealth
Youth Programme, promote participation of Zimbabwe civil society
organizations in all Commonwealth activities

G. Provide or secure funding and technical assistance required for the
commissioning, publication and distribution of a series of sector policy
papers on Zimbabwe as a contribution to policy formulation in a 'new'
Zimbabwe through their strategic use as background discussion documents in
appropriate forums.

For further information please contact:
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, International Liaison Office
Development House, 56-64 Leonard Street, London, EC2A 4LT
Tel: +44(0)20 7065 0945
Fax: +44(0)20 7065 0946
Mobile: +44 79 70049 662
Email: IntLO@hrforumzim.com
Website: www.hrforumzim.com

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum has been in existence since January 1998
when non-governmental organisations working in the field of human rights
joined together to provide legal and psychological assistance to the victims
of the Food Riots of January 1998. The Forum consists of 16 Zimbabwean human
rights organisations.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum operates a Research and Documentation
Unit and offers legal services through the Public Interest Unit of the Legal
Resources Foundation from the headquarters in Harare, in addition to the
information service that is offered internationally from the International
Liaison Office.


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Zim human rights situation alarming- African Commission

zimbabwejournalists.com

20th Nov 2007 00:42 GMT

By Nyasha Nyakunu

THE 42nd Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples'
Rights (ACHPR) is now underway in the Congolese capital Brazzaville with
Zimbabwe 's deteriorating human rights situation dominating the proceedings.

In his welcoming remarks, outgoing Commission Vice Chairperson, Commissioner
Yassir Sid Ahmed El Hassan, set the tone when he described the situation in
Zimbabwe as "alarming".† El Hassan, urged current and new Commissioners to
work with the African Union to find lasting solutions to Africa's trouble
spots, Ethiopia , Sudan , Somalia and Zimbabwe .

The Zimbabwean government delegation in its response cited the SADC
initiated talks being mediated between the opposition MDC and ruling Zanu PF
by South African President Thabo Mbeki saying the process should be given a
chance.

On the exclusion of civic society organisations and other stakeholders, head
of government delegation Margaret Chiduku, said the inclusion of
non-governmental organisations in the talks would have prolonged the
process.

"Also as a result of the talks between the political parties, a number of
laws will be amended, in particular, the Public Order and Security Act, the
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Broadcasting
Services Act. The drafts are being worked on by the parties in close
consultation with each other and members of the public will be availed with
an opportunity to make their representations on the Bills through the
relevant Parliamentary Portfolio Committees, once they are gazetted," added
Chiduku.

MISA-Zimbabwe's legal officer Wilbert Mandinde who is in Brazzaville is
expected to advise the Commission on the enactment of the repressive
Interception of Communications Act, the recent arrests of The Financial
Gazette and The Zimbabwe Independent's Chief Executive Officers Jacob
Chisese and Raphael Khumalo respectively, and the assault of freelance
photojournalist Tsvangirai Mukwazhi by Jocelyn Chiwenga, the wife of
Commander Defence Forces General Constantine Chiwenga, among other issues
that have impacted negatively on media freedom and freedom of expression.

The session is also expected to finalise its deliberations on challenges to
certain sections of AIPPA by MISA-Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights and the Independent Journalists Association of Zimbabwe.† The
Commission is also expected to determine the admissibility of yet another
case by MISA-Zimbabwe, Capital Radio and Article 19 challenging certain
sections of the Broadcasting Services Act.


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Human rights abuses to dominate Commonwealth agenda



By Tichaona Sibanda
20 November 2007

The regime of Robert Mugabe appears to be in no rush to end its self-imposed
exile from the Commonwealth, as 52 heads of state prepare to meet in
Kampala, Uganda this week.
The three-day meeting, which starts on Friday, will be held under a
substantial campaign to pressure delegates on issues relating to abuses of
human rights. The summit is held every two years and will also discuss the
political and economic development of its members.

Speaking in Kampala over the weekend, the Commonwealth Secretary General Don
McKinnon urged human rights organisations to speak out against abuses,
saying the practice was unacceptable in the Commonwealth.
Political commentator Glen Mpani told Newsreel that contrary to government
reports, Zimbabwe has lost a lot of investment opportunities since it opted
out of the grouping. He said the country also lost many partnerships within
the Commonwealth and would certainly have survived an economic downfall had
it kept its place in the group.
'They would be lying if they say they've lost nothing by pulling out of the
Commonwealth. They would be more worried rejoining the Commonwealth because
it would force them to observe rules and norms governing human rights and
elections. They would rather choose not to observe human rights than lose
their foundations that have seen them rig elections in Zimbabwe,' Mpani
said.
Zimbabwe was suspended in 2002 over concerns with the electoral and land
reform policies of Mugabe's Zanu-PF government. But the government withdrew
from the organisation in 2003, when Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting
in Abuja refused to lift the country's suspension on the grounds of human
rights violations and deliberate misgovernance.
The British government has announced it will engage SADC leaders on the
country's deepening political and economic crisis on the sidelines of the
Commonwealth meeting in Kampala.
In a question and answer session in the UK parliament on Monday, Baroness
Royall of Blaisdon said the meeting with the regional leaders would revolve
on the political situation in Zimbabwe, with particular regard to democratic
freedoms and human rights.
But as Zimbabwe is no longer a member of the Commonwealth such matters will
not be on the formal agenda of the upcoming meeting. They will be discussed
on the margins of the meeting.
Before 2002, the country had previously been suspended from the Commonwealth
when the unilateral declaration of independence was stated in 1965, and it
became Rhodesia. It was readmitted in 1980 after independence.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


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Zimbabwe dominates ACP-EU conference in Rwanda



By Lance Guma
20 November 2007

Zimbabwe continues to dominate proceedings at the 14th session of the
African Caribbean and Pacific- European Union (ACP-EU) meetings being held
in Rwanda's capital Kigali. Delegates who spoke to Newsreel say for the past
7 days, every time issues related to human rights and election processes are
discussed Zimbabwe inevitably dominates discussion. On Tuesday Swedish
Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Olle Schmidt called on Robert Mugabe
to stay away from the December summit of the ACP-EU in Portugal. Schmidt who
is from the Liberal Party of Sweden said Mugabe had made Zimbabweans suffer
and his presence was not going to help the country or Africa as a whole.

Glenys Kinnock, the co-president of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly,
added her voice to growing calls for the situation in the country to be
resolved. She said the world could not afford to keep looking without doing
something. Reports also say Kuwadzana MP and MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa
presented a report to over 250 MP's who are part of the assembly and
expressed MDC concerns over current talks being brokered by South Africa.
The party is not happy with a voter's roll packed with ghost voters, the
delimitation commission that is meant to re-draw the electoral
constituencies and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission which, they say, should
be replaced with an independent body.

The report by Chamisa also stressed the need for international and regional
observers to monitor the polls in 2008, equal access to the media for all
the contesting parties, freedom for journalists to do their job without
hindrance and people in the diaspora to be allowed to vote. Several MP's
from East and West Africa were eager to gauge the seriousness of Zanu PF in
talks with the opposition and our source says they made enquiries on
progress so far. Senators Clarisa Muchengeti and Forbes Magadu are
representing Zanu PF at the conference but according to the judgment of
those taking part, the Zanu PF duo look out of place and quite out of their
depth in terms of contributions.

The ACP-EU assembly is scheduled to adopt a Kigali Declaration calling on
the European Commission to give ACP countries more time to negotiate new
terms for economic partnerships with Europe. This is meant to enable them
access to European markets in the meantime, before final agreements are put
in place.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


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Police ask relatives to feed inmates as magistrates' strike continues



By Henry Makiwa
20 November 2007

Police are failing to cope with the growing numbers of inmates in custody,
as the strike by magistrates goes into its fourth week. It has been
established that in a number of prison and holding cells, inmates are being
exposed to disease outbreaks as cells are now dangerously overcrowded.

To compound the crisis, clerks, interpreters, typists and other supporting
staff have also now joined the strike action in solidarity with magistrates
and prosecutors.

At Bulawayo Central Police station, police have posted a notice asking
relatives and friends of incarcerated inmates to bring them food from home,
as they are incapable of feeding them. The notice also asks for water and
sanitary provisions, which are scarce in Zimbabwe's parched second largest
city. There are also reports that police officers are lining their pockets
with bribes taken from suspects and criminals who pay to be set free.

Journalist, Nqobani Ndlovu said many magistrates in Bulawayo have resigned
and four criminal courts in the city have shut down.

Ndlovu added: "Protests over low pay and poor working conditions have led to
a serious brain drain in the judiciary. The government has been receiving
many resignations as most of the experienced staff, both on the bench and
the prosecutors, are leaving in search of greener pastures in neighbouring
countries. This also exposes government's misplaced priorities of spending
billions on militarisation when other vital sectors of the country are
crumbling down."

The Standard newspaper last week reported that some citizens seeking
marriage certificates have to acquire them outside the country because of
the strike.

Chief police spokesman, Wayne Bvudzijena, admitted to the state media on
Monday that the police have no capacity to feed suspects as food and water
shortages continue to bite. He however reiterated that the police would
continue "arresting people who break the laws of the country".

..

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


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SADC tribunal delays Zimbabwe farmer's case



By Tererai Karimakwenda
20 November, 2007

The postponement by the new Southern Africa Development Community tribunal
in Namibia of a case brought by Zimbabwean farmer William Michael Campbell,
has raised suspicion over SADC's commitment to democratic principles and
justice in the region.

Campbell is appealing against the seizure of his property by the government
of Robert Mugabe and seeking an order to block interference with operations
at his Mount Carmel Farm. The hearing was due to take place Tuesday, but it
turned out the registrar of the tribunal had failed to formally inform the
respondents, namely the Zimbabwe Government Presidents office and Attorney
Generals office.

The reason for the delay, according to Campbell's lawyers, was that the fax
machine in the office of the President is broken. As a result, the tribunal
registrar staff had faxed the notice of the hearing to a number that cannot
be verified. The hearing has now been tentatively scheduled for December
4th.

Ben Freeth of the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) said he does not understand
why the documents were not served correctly. He added: "The original papers
regarding the whole matter were served correctly, and then the matters of
set down itself were sent to a different number. Whether there is something
behind this we don't know. Whether it's just incompetence we don't know. But
the fact is they seem to be delaying the case."

Delay is nothing new to this case. Campbell turned to this regional tribunal
because the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe has delayed passing judgement since
March 22nd. Freeth said: "So that's now 9 months ago and we've still not
heard from the Supreme Court anything since that date. We've written asking
them urgently for some sort of indication as to when they're gonna give a
judgement and haven't heard anything back. We've been left very much in the
dark."

Meanwhile, violence and lawlessness continue on commercial farms in the
country. And on Saturday the farmer Mike Campbell himself was assaulted by
poachers who were randomly shooting animals on his farm.
He went out to investigate and fired a warning shot but he was overpowered
and beaten up, before being tied up by his own shoe laces and driven on the
back of a truck to Chegutu police station.

Freeth said the 75 year old Campbell was made to sit on concrete for about
an hour and, despite being the victim, he was charged with pointing a
firearm.

This violence has escalated on many farms. Freeth said he has no idea how
the government expects any food production to take place under such
conditions. This is why he hopes Campbell's case at the SADC tribunal is
successful.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


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Malawi diesel shortage hits airport

Nyasa Times

By Emelyn Nyoni on 19 November, 2007 21:57:00

Increasing fuel shortages in Malawi rendered an ugly head at Kamuzu
International Airport (KIA) at the weekend, as standby power generators
could not switch on to power during a blackout due to unavailability of
diesel, forcing an airline to cancel its flight.

An eye witness account said, Air Zimbabwe, affected by the blackout, had its
passengers stranded and were booked at Capital Hotel in the Lilongwe for a
night accommodation.

The Zimbabwean airline however, has refused to pay for the accommodation
bill at the five star hotel, shifting the responsibility to Malawi's civil
aviation that is also refusing to pay.

"Air Zimbabwe says Malawi civil aviation was responsible for the disruption
of their flight journey due to failure to provide diesel in the power
generator, so, they are refusing to pay for their passengers accommodation,"
said a source at Capital Hotel.

An official at civil aviation at KIA said while accepting the blame for not
providing standby power generator due to unavailability of diesel, the
bookings at the hotel was not their initiative.

"We are responsible for what happened at the airport but not the welfare of
airline passengers, that was solely the matter of the airline," said an
official at KIA .

He disclosed that they could not fill diesel in the standby power generators
owing to the shortages of petroleum.

The matter, according to sources at KIA has been referred for "diplomatic
arbitration".

It has been reported that a number of oil tankers destined for Malawi are
being diverted to National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM) to abate fuel
shortages there in a top level deal between Malawi President Bingu wa
Mutharika and his Zimbabwean counterpart, Robert Mugabe.


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Former military men continue to take over gvt departments

zimbabwejournalists.com

20th Nov 2007 00:14 GMT

By Trust Matsilele

A HIGH number of senior Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) officers continue to
take over control of several government companies and departments in a move
that has been described by some as a "military coup in the public sector".

Retired army generals and colonels have been appointment in several senior
positions either in government ministries or parastatals taking over a more
crucial role in non-military matters.

Over the years President Mugabe has been putting faith in the military
commanders to make sure they help me run the crisis-ridden country, an
apparent show of no confidence in civilians around him.

Yesterday former Police Senior Assistant Commissioner Albert Mandizha was
appointed general manager of the strategic Grain Marketing Board (GMB),
taking over from Colonel Samuel Muvuti, who had been acting for the past
four years.

Mandizha is currently the loss control director for the Zimbabwe Revenue
Authority (ZRA). He said he wants to bring integrity to the GMB and "help
propel the parastatal to greater heights".

"I know the parastatal has a lot of challenges, but I am not looking at the
GMB now, but focusing on the future. I am a strategist and want to study the
system before prescribing a strategy. The strategy will obviously focus on
improving corporate governance and value addition so as to provide a good
service," said Mandizha.

Some senior military officials who have been appointed into government
departments or parastatals are Brigadier General Douglas Nyikaramba, who is
the chairman of National Railways of Zimbabwe while Air Commodore Mike
Karakadzai is the general manager of the parastatal.

However, despite the appointments, the NRZ continues to deteriorate due to a
number of factors such as fuel and wagon shortages most of which are beyond
repair. The foreign currency shortages are also a factor and the increasing
rate of accidents involving trains in the country has been a major dent on
their stint.

"Political survival than the turn around of the economy is the major reason
for these appointments of soldiers who lack administrative skills to manage
such institutions," an army officer who spoke on condition of anonymity
said.

In effort to prop up the country's battered image, Mugabe also decided to
appoint forcer Central Intelligence Organisation director, Retired Brigadier
Elisha Muzonzini as ambassador to Kenya while retired General Jevan Maseko
represents him in one of Zimbabwe's remaining key allies - Cuba.

Colonel Muvuti, who for the past five years has been the head of the
strategic Grain Marketing Board (GMB) as acting chief executive, has gone
further his boss and appointed for scores of ex-soldiers to become managers
in the parastatal.

The GMB has in the past been accused of not giving food aid to suspected
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters.

Commander Paradzai Zimondi heads the Zimbabwe Prison Service (ZPS), a
position he has held for a number of years now.

In government ministries, the Secretary of Industry and International Trade
is Colonel Christian Katsande while two judges are former top military
officers.

General Mike Nyambuya also adds to the list as the Minister of Energy and
Power while former Zimbabwe National Army general Vitalis Zvinavashe is now
a Senator.

Most of Zimbabwe's top military brass are veterans of the 1970s liberation
war against white minority rule and are fiercely loyal to Zanu PF. There is
little hope in the country that the military will become impartial in the
near future, the soldier told zimbabwejournalists.com

Some say the high number of soldiers who are taking over the control of
government companies is a reflection of a military coup in Zimbabwe.

"This a coup, which is different from normal coups as no blood is shed," a
senior researcher with the African Security Analysis said.

Many in Zimbabwe believe Mugabe no longer has faith in top civil servants
and continues to enlist the services of senior army officers to head
government institutions including state-run companies, appointing them into
strategic positions.


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Zimbabwe? Perfect for a holiday

From The Sunday Times
http://travel.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/travel/article2880233.ece
November 18, 2007

Chris Haslam
Last week, 168 countries set out their stalls in London at World Travel
Market, the industry's biggest trade fair. This is where nations meet with
tour operators to negotiate deals on your holidays - but lurking among the
free drinks and the giveaways were some slightly more surprising exhibitors.

First up was Zimbabwe. I'd expected to see a discreet stand with a sign
saying "Back in five years", but, with a bluster of which President Robert
Mugabe would be proud, Zimbabwe had set itself up in a huge yellow fortress.

Did they really think anyone would want to holiday in the country while its
citizens were being oppressed by a brutal maniac?

"But there's very little chance of seeing any trouble," argued a salesman,
nimbly sidestepping the issue. "It's extremely good value, too" added
another. Of course, it is, with the pound currently buying 61,562 Zimbabwe
dollars. "And remember," he continued, "a visit to Zimbabwe isn't a vote for
the government." So, who had paid for the stand?

"The, er, ministry of tourism," he replied. Was there a representative from
the ministry available for comment? "Not now. Come back in 30 minutes."

So, with time to kill, I went to Myanmar. "It's been hard," officials
admitted. "But, since October 31, the country has been entirely back to
normal." Normal, I supposed, in that the opposition is under house arrest,
the military has regained control, and the protesters are back in their
boxes. Wooden boxes, some of them.

"That's not fair," they argued. "In general, Myanmar is the safest, happiest
and most beautiful country in Asia." Especially if you are a general.

I moved on, visiting the likes of Israel, Georgia and Pakistan, before
landing in Iran. It had to be tough selling holidays to a country threatened
with imminent shock and awe, didn't it?

"Not at all," said Rasoul Mehdizadeh, of the Iranian tour operator Silk Road
and Beyond. "Visits to Iran have been entirely unaffected by the threat of
war because the people who actually bother coming to Iran are not stupid.
They don't believe what politicians tell them."

Did he believe Iran would be attacked? "No. Your politicians have already
admitted they can't fight on two fronts in Iraq and Afghanistan - let alone,
three - and we're bigger than both those countries. Here, have a DVD."

I passed Zimbabwe on my way out. They told me the man from the ministry
would be there in half an hour. I told them I'd come back in five years.


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SA may relax visa requirements for Zimbabwe

Mail and Guardian

Johannesburg, South Africa

20 November 2007 08:24

††††††Strict visa requirements for Zimbabweans intending to travel to
South Africa are set to be reviewed following talks between the two
countries, Zimbabwe's Herald Online reported on Tuesday.

††††††The talks were held under the joint permanent commission on
defence and security in SA last week, the report said.

††††††"Three committees on defence, state security and public security
from Zimbabwe held the talks with their South African counterparts."

††††††Principal chief immigration officer Clemence Masango reportedly
said Zimbabwe had made proposals for a review of some of the stringent visa
requirements and SA agreed to look at them.

††††††The issues to be reviewed include the letter of invitation, visa
fees, proof of ability to sustain oneself while in South Africa and security
deposit fees.

††††††Masango has requested the total abolition of visas between the
two countries.

†††††† "We called upon our [South African] counterparts not to continue
to harden visa conditions as is the case now."

††††††He said the stringent visa conditions were unnecessary since
Zimbabwe did not demand the same requirements from SA travellers.

††††††South Africans travelling to Zimbabwe have enjoyed a free visa
facility since 1995, the paper said.

††††††Masango said Zimbabwean travellers would, if the new proposals
were implemented, no longer have to prove the ability to sustain themselves
in SA at the South African embassy in Harare, but at the port of entry.

††††††He said his South African counterparts would forward the
proposals to the Minister of Home Affairs and inform Zimbabwe on the extent
of relaxation and date of implementation.

††††††In October last year, SA announced that Zimbabwean travellers
needed to pay a security deposit in Zimbabwean dollars depending on their
destination, have traveller's cheques amounting to R2 000 and produce a
letter of invitation.

††††††Masango said SA had put in place a 12-month multiple entry
visitor's permit to allow Zimbabwean cross-border traders to travel to SA
and conduct their business.

††††††"Before this, they [the cross-border traders] were just treated
as ordinary visitors and would find it difficult to conduct business," he
said. During the recent meeting, Masango said South Africa had raised
concerns over "border jumpers".

††††††He told the Herald that the SA authorities were also considering
opening a consular office in Bulawayo. - Sapa


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Keeping things in perspective

Mens News Daily

November 19, 2007 at 6:47 pm ∑

Just this past weekend we have had three deaths of people closely associated
with us. This is becoming all too common and points to the crisis here
taking on a new dimension. Yesterday a young man walked through the door -
he had just arrived from the UK where he has married and works for the
London Police. He was here to see to the needs of his parents and I said to
him that one of the things that worried me was that the crisis was now
reaching beyond empty supermarket shelves and becoming life threatening in
many ways.

Two of the deaths this weekend were relatively young people - one was a
tuberculosis death, the other a sudden death in hospital from causes
unknown. Our cemeteries are expanding exponentially as people with HIV fail
to get a proper diet and are unable to receive treatment of any kind once
they become Aids sufferers. The third death was a grandmother who had been
ill for some time.

The statistics are horrendous - 1,6 million orphans - nearly a third of all
children, increasing at the rate of 350 a day. Nearly 1000 deaths a day -
the highest child mortality in the world, the highest maternal mortality
levels in Africa, if not the world. Add to this 3 500 Aids deaths, 1000
deaths from Tuberculosis, 550 deaths from Malaria every week. Add to that
water borne diseases as urban water supplies go untreated and sewerage
systems fail and effluent plants fall into disrepair. Add to even these
terrifying statistics the toll from malnutrition and even starvation.

Yet the regime here shows no sign that it is even aware of the nature and
extent of the crisis. They act as if almost every citizen was an enemy and
that their deaths were therefore a matter of little significance. Their
total preoccupation with the retention of power overrides all other
concerns. It is astonishing to say the least, especially for someone like
myself who knows personally, so many of the leadership. I doubt if we will
have 8 million people in the country by the time of the proposed elections
in March 2008.

That is half the population we predicted for the country by 2003 of 16 to 17
million. It chills me to think that just a few years ago we heard of that
statement by Didymus Mutasa that Zimbabwe would be better off with 6 million
people who supported Zanu PF. Chilling to think that they thought like that
years ago and that this process of self destruction and genocide was in fact
planned and deliberate, not simply the results of crass ineptitude. This is
in a new league all by itself. It makes Pol Pot and the Rwandan genocides
look amateurish and clumsy.

In the face of this unfolding human tragedy on a scale (in relative terms)
not seen since Stalin and Hitler, I find the whole attitude of the media
incomprehensible. Just take two headlines in the past two days - "Tsvangirai
backs down" in the Standard and then today "Violent clashes outside MDC
Headquarters" in Harare in Zimdaily. Both refer to the story about the MDC
Women's Assembly decision to remove Lucia Mativenga from her post as Women's
Chairlady of the MDC Women's wing and replace her with Theresa Makone. In
the first instance it was the decision of the Women in the MDC to move
against their leadership. It was the representatives of all districts and
provincial Assemblies that met and elected Theresa Makone virtually
unanimously. The fact that Lucia has decided to fight back is nothing new or
extraordinary - its politics. By doing so she has exhausted what sympathy
and support she had in the leadership of the MDC and the matter is now a
dead letter. Theresa's election still has to be reported formally to the
National Executive but she is already hard at work organising the Women's
wing in a way that we have not seen for years.

But the local press (forget the State controlled media - that is just a sick
joke) and the South African press are making a huge story out of the whole
thing. Suggesting that the MDC might split again (a repetition of the
October 2005 incident that did such damage and from which we are just
recovering). That is simply nonsense.

But when it comes to the really big issues - like that of the silent
genocide that is killing millions of our people or the tidal wave of
refugees flooding out of Zimbabwe into neighboring countries, the media does
little except pick up the occasional incident - such as the tragic story of
the man who died of starvation outside the Home Affairs Office in the Cape.
The wholesale abuse of Zimbabweans in South Africa and in Botswana goes
largely unreported. Journalists pay scant regard to the real story that is
cleverly disguised and hidden by Zanu PF rhetoric and propaganda.

When I read the story today of the Matabeleland massacres in the 80's and I
think that I lived through that in Bulawayo, was very largely ignorant of
what was going on in my own backyard, then I realize the full extent of the
failure of our press and media. Those who did do something were simply not
visible to the ordinary men and women. The media, by their very nature, have
a responsibility to search for the real stories in any situation and then to
publish those stories with integrity and conviction.

The Soweto massacre was one such incident carved into the mind of the world
by a vigorous press and media. It involved the killing of 62 young people
who were protesting the use of Afrikaans in schools. Set that against the
thousands dying every week in Zimbabwe as a consequence of a delinquent and
rapacious regime. It bears no comparison - yet I see no significant media
campaign around this issue.

Lets keep these things in perspective. There is only one agenda in Zimbabwe
today and that is how to remove Zanu PF from power and replace it with a
government that will restore sanity to the country. Anyone supporting any
other agenda, no matter how justified in normal circumstances, is just
perpetuating our misery and mortality.

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 19th November 2007


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Poachers Dehorn Rhino, Calf


The Herald (Harare)† Published by the government of Zimbabwe

20 November 2007
Posted to the web 20 November 2007

Harare

A Female black rhino and its calf were shot dead and dehorned by suspected
foreign poachers at Sinamatela in the Hwange National Park at the weekend.

National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority public relations manager
Retired Major Edward Mbewe confirmed the incident, which he said was the
first this year in the area. The incident occurred on Saturday. He said
there had been a lull in poaching following the launch of "Operation
Stronghold" last year to prevent poachers from entering national parks.

"I can confirm that a female rhino and its calf were shot and dehorned in
Sinamatela in Hwange National Park. At the moment we are frantically making
investigations to find the perpetrators," he said. Rtd Maj Mbewe said they
believed the poachers were foreigners but would not say from which country.
"The poachers, we believe, were coming from outside the country because the
spoor led towards Robins Camp, towards Botswana but they are bound to turn
towards Zambia," he said. Changing directions is a ploy used by poachers to
mislead trackers. Rtd Maj Mbewe said they had recovered the bases of the
horns on the skulls, which they were going to examine to see if the female
rhino had a tracer.

Tracers allow rangers to monitor the rhinos' movements around the clock.
"The manhunt for the poachers was complemented by the presence of Shearwater
Adventures helicopters which went in the air from about 7:30am to 1pm in
search of the poachers," he said. Rtd Maj Mbewe said the authority was
working on relocating some rhino from national parks to safe reserves
because of a surge in their population.

"Besides relocating the rhino we want to embark on a dehorning exercise so
that they become safe from poachers. We are also embarking on staff
recruitment to boost the numbers of rangers in our parks and we have also
purchased patrol vehicles. We have co-operation from State security agents
who help to safeguard the rhinos," he said.

Zimbabwe has one of the largest rhino populations in the world after herds
in other countries were wiped out by poachers. Poachers kill rhinos for the
horns which are used as aphrodisiacs and sheaths for ceremonial daggers in
some cultures.


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MDC contributions on Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Bill

----- Original Message -----
From: Trudy Stevenson
Sent: Wednesday, November 21, 2007 3:40 AM
Subject: Extracts MDC contributions on Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Bill

It has been reported to us that a group of businessmen was recently misinformed that MDC supported the Indigenisation Bill in Parliament, and actually voted with ZanuPF in favour of the Bill.†

I therefore attach extracts from the Hansard debate in the House of Assembly, from which it is clear that both formations of MDC debated strongly against both economic and constitutional aspects of the Bill.† There was no vote.

In the Senate, one MDC senator did support the Bill in his debate, possibly unaware of the party caucus resolution, and will be disciplined for this. Once again, however, there was no vote.†

It is therefore not true at all that either formation of MDC voted with ZanuPF in support of this Bill in either the Senate or the House of Assembly.
-----------

Zimbabwe Parliamentary Debates

House of Assembly Tuesday 25th September 2007

Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Bill (HB 6, 2007)

Second Reading:

…….

MR. MUSHORIWA: Mr. Speaker, in looking at the portfolio committee of the minister who has moved the Bill, you really think that the imperative of any Bill that he could bring to this House would have to deal with economic development and to see how our economy can start to tick again. It is no doubt that this economy has been going down for the past seven years.

In actual fact, the signs of the deterioration started well in the mid 90s. One of the things that one would expect us to do as Parliamentarians to be doing and the Minister responsible is to bring issues and views which will help turn around this economy.

Mr. Speaker, quite a number of times we have heard a number of Ministers and the Reserve Bank Governor talking about the need to turn around the economy and to make sure Government policies are predictable. Mr. Speaker, there are two things which I want to raise. You have to ask yourself the timing of bringing this Bill. The Minister stands in this House and says the Bill is more political than economic. You have to ask, Mr. Speaker, 27 years after we attained our independence; we have the Minister standing in this House to talk about political need rather than economic need for Zimbabweans. Not only does the Minister not move in tandem with the goings on, even SADC, they want to make sure that Zimbabwe starts ticking and fulfill its important role in the region. I would have expected the Minister to make sure that in as much as he might have drawn this Bill long ago, there was a need to go back and reconsider this Bill so that the economic imperative takes centre stage rather than political imperative.

Mr. Speaker, let me go back to the past 27 years and see when was the first time we started talking about indigenization. When did we start talking about the need of empowering our blacks and how many people benefited? Let us look at the various boards that have come pupating to represent the indigenous. Look at the IBDC which was headed by Kamushinda, look at the AAG which was headed by Chiyangwa and Kasukuwere and look at IBWO which was headed by Jane Mutasa. Look at that Mr. Speaker and then ask yourself, how many of our people were empowered by such organizations? These organizations supported by Government policy only benefited few people (HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear) and those people who benefited are the very same people who are coming again.

I remember Mr. Speaker, in the 1980s and 1990s the Government of Zimbabwe through the Reserve Bank facilitated and made available various loan initiatives like the small business sector facilities, SEDCO and many other facilities. Mr. Speaker, one of the major things which I remember was that the indigenous groups should actually lead a significant role in making sure that the majority should benefit, but if you look at that you will find that only a few people benefited. Now given such a background, one has to ask the motive of the Minister in bringing this Bill at this particular juncture. I am going to argue that the Minister and possibly a few elites have already targeted companies already in their minds – (HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear) – the Minister talks about 51% shareholding to be in the hands of the indigenous, fair Mr. Speaker, it could be proper that we need to empower our own people, but one thing which is of certain is that you also need to ask yourself what is it that is stopping this Government to empower its own people to start new business.

Mr. Speaker, once they start those businesses, the Government should then come in, assist them so that those businesses should compete with established businesses. They question why the Minister would not put resources towards and wants to put resources in existing businesses. We know members who are established and connected who have been targeting performing companies; they take the companies and within two years that company become nothing. We need to be very much afraid when the Minister brings such an issue.

Let me talk about the other aspect Mr. Speaker, let me look at the Government of Zimbabwe, the Government of Zimbabwe through the Investment Authority, through the EPZ, through the various investment forums, there have been encouraging investments. Quite a number of investors have actually invested in this country. Some of them as I speak, their applications are being processed. What does this mean to an investor who has wanted to invest in this country? When the investment Authority of Zimbabwe addressed them, they were never told of the 51% shareholding. We happen to know which type of investments the Minister wants to spare and which type of investments the Minister wants to target. In a global society as Zimbabwe finds itself in, I think it is naÔve of the highest order for the Minister to think that Zimbabwe is an island and exists on its own. Zimbabwe is part of the SADC and normally when investors they normally view the region, then they compare and ask themselves which country they have to bring their investments to. They consider the various legislation which exists at that particular time. One thing which is certain, they will only need to look at the indigenization in other countries which are around us, one of them has a 51% shareholding for the indigenous but maybe 20% or 30% at most. If there is a serious investor like the platinum we have in Chegutu, what rationale would such an investor have in choosing Zimbabwe, if you know you can invest in other countries? The truth of the matter is that the history of our government when they talk of indigenous people, they obviously talk of themselves. They talk of the few people that have to benefit. As Parliament we should not stand up and support such a bill because in terms of investment, it is the perception, which carries the most weight. The perception at the moment is that Zimbabwe is a hostile country in terms of investment. Naturally many people run away. As we speak right now, with the news that the Minister has brought this Bill to the House with this political thrust that as Zimbabweans we want this as part of the revolution, asset stripping is happening. Most industries and all those companies who wanted to reinvest are now withholding their investments because the minister does not understand the timing for the economy.

If you go and ask any Zimbabwean what they want the answer will be food on the table and for the economy to tick. They want to live a better life. Zimbabweans are proud and are known to be hard workers all over the region. We are known to be happy people. But as we speak we are the worst in terms of morale. What revolution do you want to complete after 27 years in power? You talked about not wanting external influences in this Bill. The other aspect that I want to raise relates to the Minister’s powers. In this Bill he has made himself a small god. Nowhere in this country does a Minister have so much power. I think the Minister does not understand certain things. He should have brought this Bill during 2001 and 2002 when other Ministers were bringing in the AIPPAs. This is not the right year because we are now towards breaking the impasse. If the Minister thinks backwards then we have a problem.

The other problem is the funding. The minister states that the national investment fund will be raised in four stages. First through the national budget. We all know that our national budget does not have the capacity to sustain such luxuries. Only a few weeks ago when debating the supplementary budget members wanted moneys to be channeled to health and education and for a minister to say the budget should make a provision for such a thing, I think it does not mean anything. He also says that he will come up with a special levy from those companies that he is going to allow to be 51% indigenized. He proposes to tax those same companies he wants to take over. He wants them to pay levies and taxes. And the next thing we will hear is that Mangwana and associates have a major shareholding in that company. We are asked to legalise corruption and we will not allow the minister to play around with that money in this Hon. House and to make a mockery of the Zimbabweans. He talked about the national investment trust and if you go through it today and see who have benefited, that will give credence to what I am saying. The Bill is just to empower a selected few. I know that there are only very few people and these people I can challenge because I know the beneficiaries of the trust. What we are against as Parliamentarians and as people of this country is to allow people who during the time of the liberation struggle did not take any part, but they came and protracted themselves as liberation gurus. We know those who have sacrificed but as we speak have benefited nothing. The few people who came yesterday want to talk about and move on the shoulders of those who suffered for this country. We want a Zimbabwe where everyone benefits. If the minister was clear that he wants to empower Zimbabwean people – I represent Dzivarasekwa and I saw people ploughing their resources into small businesses, which went down with Murambatsvina. He would have stood up during the cabinet meetings so that these people’s resources would not have been destroyed. Stand up today and say you have got a thrust of the indigenization; it leaves a lot to be desired. To that extent we do not want this Bill. ††††

MRS. STEVENSON: I rise to add my voice to this debate on the second reading of the Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Bill. I will begin by re- posing the question already asked by Hon. Mushoriwa. Why now? Why is it that 27 years after independence it has taken this amount of time to bring a Bill to empower Zimbabweans to participate in our economy? Ostensibly the idea behind the Bill is that Zimbabweans should have control over our economy.That is a very noble idea and no one has any problem with that. That is the purely ostensible rationale behind this Bill.

Mr. Speaker, I speak as one of the people concerned, as it is clear that this Bill is targeting whites. I am a Zimbabwean citizen and in this Bill, my right as a citizen is being reduced so that I am not going to have the same rights as a black citizen. I notice that the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee did pick up this issue, that the Bill is not clear in its objectives. The Minister said there is nothing racial in this Bill. This Bill supposedly provides for equal opportunities to all, but the definition of an indigenous Zimbabwean precludes anyone who is perceived to have benefited from the system before 1980. In my view, this betrays one of the main objectives of the liberation struggle. I will remind members on the opposite side, the liberation struggle was fought for equal opportunities, equality for all. If you are going then to disempower some of them, you are not going to have equal citizens. You are going back to creating two classes of citizens. One class is going to have less power and fewer rights. and this is wrong.It is fundamentally wrong.

I move on in supporting my statement that it is targeting whites. Some of the language used in the Minister’s presentation was quite divisive. He talks about the economy being in the hands of the foreigners. He talks about the colonial past, and everyone agrees, every Zimbabwean agrees that that was wrong. There is nothing that we want to approve in what was done in the past.It was wrong to mistreat a section of the community. We do not need to go back to that. What we are trying to do now, as Hon. Mushoriwa said, is to move forward to build this country, to have a united country, not to move backwards.

Mr. Speaker, I support the call by the Chairman of the Portfolio Committee that the Bill needs to be clear, not to be slippery in language. If you want to say that the economy will be in the hands of blacks, then say it. Call a spade a spade, do not slip around about what is indigenous and what is not, just say so. That is however unconstitutional, our country is supposed to be non-racial.

I move on to the economic issues. In the whole world, the economies which are roaring ahead welcome foreign investors, countries like Hong Kong, Japan, America, they welcome foreign investment. Why is that we have to be going backwards and say we do not want foreign investors? It is wrong, in my view. We should not be dividing people into indigenous and non-indigenous Zimbabweans, we should be empowering all citizens of this country. Every Zimbabwean is a citizen and we have equal rights.

Mr. Speaker, normally government getting involved in business is a disaster. Look at what happened to agriculture when government started the land reform exercise. Where has our agriculture gone?It has gone one way down, down and down. Farmers and agriculturalists know what to do, government does not. Government should not meddle in these areas. I agree with the perception also, on this Indigenisation Bill, that it has two attempted objectives.First of all it is obviously a campaign tool, because the election is coming up and they want people to vote for ZANU PF if they are given all these businesses. The very great power of the Minister in this Bill is a clear indication, it is an attempt to simply destroy the few assets in this country that are still functioning – everything else has been destroyed. Now the Minister wants to ensure that absolutely everything has been destroyed, and that is unacceptable.

Mr. Speaker, our economy is in dire straits, and it needs freedom to be able to operate. It does not need government coming in and messing around, interfering and destroying the little that is left. I call upon the Minister to review this Bill and consider whether this is the appropriate moment or whether he really does want to create a two-tier system, second class citizens, because that is what this Bill is doing.

MR. GWETU: I think I will also lend my contribution to this subject matter. It is very important. Indigenization as a theory is a good thing. From the practical side it poses hiccups. It is a problem. Capitalization is the component element in this. It is a good idea the whole thing hinges on the fiscal policy. If these two are harnessed then we have a way forward. This morning I was reading a report from my Report. No less than thirty- seven companies have closed. Several companies are on short time- that means 3 days a week. Several families are on unpaid leave. A couple of companies have retrenched. The result now is negative. So the question is let us take over these companies. There are a lot of problems here. Are we not in a position to carry the burden? I would like to hear that it invokes harmmonisation of our efforts in the same partnership as we are talking about Number 18 – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – These are efforts which we have to put in book in order to put our way forward to the indigenization process.†††

……….

Zimbabwe Parliamentary Debates

House of Assembly Wednesday 26 September 2007

……..

Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Bill

COMMITTEE STAGE

INDIGENISATION AND ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT BILL (H.B.6, 2007)

Thirtieth Order read: Committee Stage: Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Bill. September 26 2007.

††††††††††† House in Committee.

†††††††††††

††††††††††† Clause 1 put and agreed to:

††††††††††† On Clause 2:

MRS STEVENSON: I believe that there might be a mistake, because as it currently stands the “indigenous Zimbabwean” is “any person who was disadvantaged before 18 April 1980”, who can be anyone from anywhere, black South African or American Indian or Australian Aborigine. It does not restrict the person to being a Zimbabwean, and I am not certain if this was the intention of the Minister, to open up the indigenization process to all people around the world and to their descendants who are being or have been disadvantaged in their countries.

MR MADZIMURE: I find it extremely difficult to understand if this is how we will be defined as indigenous Zimbabweans; where someone just says those who were disadvantaged before 1980. When crafting our laws, we should be more specific and use a language that any ordinary person can understand. What does it mean to say disadvantaged? Disadvantaged before 1980 meant to define the term indigenous Zimbabwean? I think it is important that the Minister looks at the definition and properly defines what an indigenous Zimbabwean is, because we will still have confusion with this definition. It shows lack of seriousness in trying to be clear as to what the Minister wants to tell the people. – (AN HON MEMBER: Inaudible interjections) – Some of the people making noise in this House do not even know the contents of this Bill. They have not read the Bill.

THE CHAIRPERSON: Instead of provoking people, I think it is proper to dwell on the specific subject.

MR MADZIMURE: Madam Chair, when we are discussing issues here, you to be exhaustive, you must say it all. This is the process of making law. This law does not apply to ZANU PF and MDC, it applies to Zimbabweans and so I am speaking as a Zimbabwean. I know by any definition I am regarded as an indigenous Zimbabwean. I am saying let us be specific and I do not think the Minister was serious. This bill lacks seriousness.

MR MANGWANA: We are making a law for the people of Zimbabwe. Therefore, it is not necessary for us to classify a person. The definition means any person who is in Zimbabwe – (AN HON MEMBER: Even if he does not vote?)- Even if he is an Aborigine or any Eskimo. If an Eskimo was in Zimbabwe and was discriminated by the colonial regime he qualifies to be an indigenous person. The purpose of the law is to redress historical imbalances. We are saying to those who were disadvantaged, we consider you indigenous if you understand it from that context. This is not a racial law and it is not about race. It is about redressing historical imbalances. Even if an Indian, if he can prove that he was disadvantaged, he qualifies to be an indigenous Zimbabwean. Once you start using terms like black and white, you are being racist and you will be breaching the Constitution of Zimbabwe. I think that definition is sufficient for our purposes.

MRS STEVENSON: If the Minister wishes to define indigenous Zimbabweans in terms of being disadvantaged by the colonial regime, then he should add these words, “by the colonial regime”. It is not clear whether it is Ndebeles disadvantaged by the Shonas, now it is the other way round. I am a linguistic teacher and I can assure the Minister that in law, language is extremely important. It is not clear who exactly is deemed to have been disadvantaged and therefore eligible to benefit under this law.

MR CHISVUURE: I want the Minister to clarify the people whom he says were disadvantaged before 1980. I believe it was the Government, in particular the Government of ZANU PF, I think those are the people who were disadvantaged by misgovernance. I think the issue of disadvantaged people is not an issue about colonial masters; it is the issue of war veterans who were not recognized by the government.

MR MADZIMURE: I am concerned about the definition when it says before 18 April 1980. It is not true that is when the issue of colour or tribe or a group of people disadvantaged other people ended. We still have people who are disadvantaged after 18 April 1980. I do not see the relevance of putting a particular date. When you read it, it may appear to be innocent but when you want to be specific, it does not make any sense. I do not see any problem in the Minster omitting the dates. What about those who are still disadvantaged like the disabled and the tribes.

MR MANGWANA: I seek not to offend anyone. I would urge hon. Members to raise concerns after reading. The honorable linguistic teacher has not read the paragraph properly. Let me read it again, indigenous person means “any person who before 1980 was disadvantaged by unfair discrimination on the grounds of his or her race”. It clarifies that you must have been discriminated on the grounds of your race then you qualify to be called indigenous.

Why before 18 April 1980, because we obtained our independence on 18 April 1980. That date has a historical meaning that is when we became independent. For my honourable friends over there we are not talking of discrimination after 1980. This is discrimination before 1980. We are talking before the colonial regime. It is quite clear what we are talking about. We are talking of black Zimbabweans who were discriminated because of race. We are talking of the mixed race community who were discriminated against by the Smith regime. They all qualify; it is quite clear. I am not trying to hide anything. We have to think a little bit; do not be naÔve for nothing.

MRS STEVENSON: On the issue of descendants. “Any descendant of any such person”, this clause has no time frame. I do not see any limit in terms of time and I think this means all the children and grandchildren up to the end of time could be deemed responsible for colonial unfair practices and they are going to be put outside the benefit of this Bill forever. They are going to be disqualified from the benefits of this indigenization process. I recall very well that 3 or 4 weeks ago there are children of Ministers who were removed from Australia because of what their parents are deemed to have done. “One should not blame the children for what the parents have done”, people said, there was an outcry and this was the talk. This clause is going to blame the children and the grandchildren forever for what the parents have done. Is this fair and logical, in view of the understanding of other issues that have been said?

MR. GWETU: My opinion is that the problem here is the scope of definition. It is restricted to a date and certain time before independence but it is not considering those people who are disadvantaged today. These people may be lacking something and they should come into the spectrum of the people who do not have funds, who have to be helped now.

THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR INDIGENISATION AND EMPOWERMENT (MR. MANGWANA): Thank you let me respond to Hon. Stevenson first. The Bill does not blame the descendants of the former discriminators. It is trying to have those who were discriminated against in such a manner that they can be able to start up a business. It targets those who were refused to start a business because they were black and they were not empowered. That discrimination will flow to any business because they also remain with the most shares in companies. If you want to start a large business today and you are white and you have enjoyed certain benefits from your forefathers, then you have to give others a chance. If the hon. Member can care to listen, we will reduce the length of the debate. What we are saying if a white person, obviously they were the ones who benefited during the discrimination era, they are expected to partner up with a black colleague in a shareholding structure of 51/49% so that we have equal shares in the independent Zimbabwe. We are not stopping anyone to start up a business but we are in a rather equitable Zimbabwe so you have to get into a partnership. We are not blaming the children for the sins of their fathers.

Coming to Hon. Gwetu the scope of the definition, we are not looking at redressing the disadvantaged generally in the country but we are looking at redressing all racial discrimination, which took place before independence. The disabled people are being catered for through other social programs but we also say we have got a special group under the indigenization and empowerment and want to look at the interests of the women and disabled people. If women were disadvantaged and the youths we will make sure that those are contained in the Bill.

….

MINISTER OF STATE FOR INDIGENISATION AND EMPOWERMENT: Certainly I still believe that the definition is clear enough as to identify the intended beneficiaries of this programme.I will just emphasise again that for the sake of clarity, the definition itself does nto stop non-indigenous people from doing business in this country.Non Indigenous people can own family businesses, they can own 100% of family businesses and it is stated clearly in the Bill.They can own smaller businesses, but if they want to enter into large businesses they are asked to enter into partnership with their indigenous colleagues in this country and to the extent of the threshold given in this Bill.I think it is quite clear.

MR GONESE: Point of Order, Madam Chiar, it appears there is no quorum in the Huse.I have counted the number of people here and they are 2o, and in terms of the Standing Rules and Orders they should be 25 members.

Bells Rung††††

Quorum formed.

††††

MRS STEVENSON: In view of the statement that the Minister made before the bells were rung, I would like him to repeat that statement. It is not clear, Madam Chair – the Minister stated that any non-indigenous person can own a family business 100% but not a large conglomerate. Would the Minister clarify that?

THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR INDIGENISATION AND EMPOWERMENT: I think the Hon. Member is only abusing my patience. I am not writing a law on my feet but there is a Bill before us, she can read English and understand. So let her read the Bill and if she wants clarification on a particular clause I can give her that, and not ask me to write a new Bill if she has a Bill before her. I cannot educate her when she has a Bill before her.

Sub-Section 2 of the Section 3 stipulates the businesses that are excluded from the effect of this law and let her read that. If she cannot understand she can go back to school.

On Clause 3:

MRS STEVENSON: As I stated in the debate yesterday, this Clause for example 3(1)(A) where 51% shall be owned by indigenous Zimbabweans, is it not creating two classes of citizens? You will have one class of citizens who are fully participating and another one that is going to have 49% of the company and not more than that. I will request the Minister once again and I will continue trying to do that, to consider not abandoning the objective of the liberation struggle, which was for all Zimbabweans to have equal rights. Madam Chair I would appeal to the Minister to change and rephrase the “indigenous Zimbabwean” wherever it appears in the Bill to “citizens of Zimbabwe.”

MR MUSHORIWA: I hear the Minister’s response to the request by Hon. Gonese. I have a problem with clause 5. 51% is too high a figure. What I want the Minister to do is to have a provision in this Bill to say that by such a date we go for 20%, 30% rather than to read as it is.

I have got a problem where it says the minister may prescribe. I do not think it is proper to leave everything into the hands of the minister. We want uniformity and if we leave it like this the minister may come up with different judgments for different companies and industries.

I have got a problem with such a situation because you will have two companies going the same thing and probably the same people as it stands now own the shareholding because somebody is closer to the Minister. It may not be you in office but we want something that is standard and uniform and not leave it at the whims of one person to decide. I do have a problem with such a provision where the minister is the one who has to look at all this given the situation where the Bill provides for a Board, which is supposed to oversee such issues.

MR MANGWANA: The role of the executive is to govern and the office of the minister carries out that function clearly. We cannot delegate; any board created has delegated authority. These are matters of serious importance. I do not think it is proper for these matters to be executed by delegated by authorities. The board, which we set up, performs on behalf of the minister because it is actually delegated authority unless if it is a commission appointed by Parliament. Any parastatal operates on the directive of the minister and on behalf of the minister.

Therefore, we felt in crafting this Bill that because of the political importance of this exercise, the minister has to have some powers – that is the first point. The second point is that if the Hon. Member is in business, he will realize that no two businesses are the same. So, we have to approach this matter with the intention of maintaining current investments and current growth of businesses. We have to look at each and every case as it comes.

MRS STEVENSON: The Minister has not yet responded to my issue. Is it the Minister’s intention, in this Bill, to create two classes of citizen? If so, does he believe that this conforms to our Constitution?

MR MANGWANA: My sincere apologies. The intention of this Bill is not to create two classes of citizen – there are already two classes in Zimbabwe, the whites who have been benefitting from colonialism and the blacks who have been deprived from investment opportunities. So the Bill actually equalizes and creates an environment for those that were previously disadvantaged.

MR MUSHORIWA: What about cases like Senator Aguy Georgias?

THE CHAIRPERSON: Order, order I do not think there is any business of discussing individuals.

MR MUSHORIWA: The other issue, which I also want to raise with the minister – if you look under Clause 3 – [MR. KANZAMA: Inaudible interjections] – already, there is an agreed formula in this House when it comes the creation of the board. If you look at the subsection (3) here where the minister talks of, “The objectives or measures specified in subsection (1) may be implemented by the Government specifically on behalf of anyone or more of the following indigenous Zimbabweans.”

One of the things that I would want the Minister to clarify is he mentioned disabled people as defined by the Disabled Persons Act – which I do not have a copy of. The problem that I have is, when we come to the issue of women and young persons under prescribed age – one would probably want the Minister to define which groups of women are we talking of here? When we talk of young persons, which age limits are we looking at? I am saying this because we have various groups and different variations of young people in this country. When other people will consider somebody below fifty years to be young, someone else will be saying below thirty is young. Naturally, we want to find out which group are we targeting in that regard?

MR. MANGWANA: Matters being raised by the Hon. Members are matters of administration. As you know, we have a Ministry responsible for women’s affairs and we have a ministry responsible for youth affairs. There are obviously going to be consultations between that ministry and the implementing department, and they will agree on the defined age group to say, these are the youth.

In our Party we have defined that youths are fifteen years up to thirty – that is what our party has said…[MR. MUSHORIWA: Ko vana Kasukuwere?] – Those are youth leaders. So, we cannot define groups of women. – [MRS. STEVENSON: They have different shapes and sizes] – They have different shapes and sizes, but this is not important in this Bill.

I think the Clause is quite clear; the intention is to ensure that we have focus on previously disadvantaged sections of our society – the women, the youth and the disabled. This is why I emphasize that the main essence of the Bill is to redress past imbalances and that is exactly what we are doing.

MRS STEVENSON: I do object to this clause.In my view it is perpetuating inequalities that were there in the colonial times by doing a reverse process. I am sure it is unconstutional to do that, as it is creating two classes of citizens and on those grounds I object.

††††††††††

MR MANGWANA: I have responded to that and said, if one group hadZ$10 and anotherZ$2, now we are simply saying, in order to equalize – this group which has $10 must relinquish $6 so that they have 5-5. That is not discrimination, it is rationalization – you are simply taking away from this and giving to that.†††

I am not expecting you to have a positive attitude to this. I shudder to say you are not approaching this matter objectively; you are looking at your colour more than the essence of the Bill itself.

MRS. STEVENSON: I know you have already recorded my objection, but I still object.

†††††††††††

On Clause 4: …..

(Summary of rest of debate:

Minister Mangwana proposed a few amendments and the Bill sailed through amid further objections by Hon. Sikhala (MDC) and fellow opposition legislators that it was unconstitutional and that the House was not in quorum.All MDC MPs had left the House when the Bill passed Second and Third Readings.)


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Chamber to discuss 'mine grabs'

From News24 (SA), 19 November

Harare - Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines president Jack Murewa said the industry
would seek to talk to Robert Mugabe's government over proposed ownership
changes, which forces mining firms to transfer majority shareholdings to
local owners. This includes giving the government a free 25% stake. "They
seem to have disregarded our proposals on ownership," Murewa said. "But our
position remains the same - we're for a well considered, phased approach -
and we will continue talking to them." Mugabe's government published the
draft bill on Monday. The mines and minerals amendment bill is expected to
be presented to parliament and to be approved before the end of the year,
and follows the passing in September of a general bill giving 51% stakes in
foreign-owned firms to locals. That bill did not include a provision for a
25% government shareholding.

Analysts say the latest drive by Mugabe's government is likely to worsen an
economic crisis that has left the southern African state with the highest
inflation rate in the world at nearly 8 000%, and discourage foreign
investment. Foreign mining group, Impala Platinum (Implats), which is also
the world's second biggest platinum producer, has most operations in
Zimbabwe, while Rio Tinto has diamond interests and the world's top platinum
producer Anglo Platinum (Angloplat) is developing a mine in the country.
South Africa's Implats said it already had agreements in place that it
expected would meet the requirements of the general bill that seeks to grant
majority ownership to locals, and that, in principle, it supported the aims
of localisation. "We have not seen the latest documentation and will not be
in a position to comment further until we see it," Implats' chief executive
officer David Brown told Reuters. Angloplat's spokesperson was not available
for comment.

The Chamber's of Mines' chief economist David Matyanga last month said the
proposed localisation of mine ownership would scare away much-needed foreign
investment and hit production in a sector that is now the country's leading
foreign currency earner. Matyanga said Zimbabwe already had significant
local involvement in the mining industry and risked losing further ground to
other countries on the continent with friendlier investment policies. "Of
the 22 mining companies in the country, 10 are foreign owned, three are run
by government, two are wholly indigenous owned, four listed on the Zimbabwe
Stock Exchange and another two owned by local, third or fourth generation
white Zimbabweans," Matyanga said. He said one of the 22 firms had an
ownership dispute. Zimbabwe is grappling with a severe economic crisis
blamed on Mugabe's controversial policies, such as the seizure of
white-owned farms to resettle landless blacks. The veteran ruler, in power
since independence from Britain in 1980, denies mismanaging the economy and
says it has been sabotaged by foreign firms and western nations plotting to
undermine his rule.


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MDC launches probe into weekend clashes

New Zimbabwe

By Torby Chimhashu
Last updated: 11/20/2007 10:48:24
A FACTION of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on
Monday vowed to launch an urgent probe into intra-party weekend violence
which also targeted journalists.

The announcement came as two groups aligned with the party - the National
Constitutional Assembly and Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition - warned the MDC
had diminished its democratic credentials by using violence to resolve
internal disputes.

NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku said Morgan Tsvangirai, who leads a faction of
the divided MDC, had made "so many mistakes that make him unfit to govern
and to be President of this country".

Elias Mudzuri, the organising secretary of Tsvangirai's faction of the MDC,
claimed "hired" elements were behind Sunday's violence which targeted
supporters of Lucia Matibenga, the former head of the party's women's wing
ousted in favour of one of Tsvangirai's allies, Theresa Makone.

Several people were reported injured when youths aligned to Tsvangirai
attacked Matibenga's supporters who were marching to the Harvest House party
HQ in Harare where Tsvangirai was meeting district and provincial officials.

Two journalists, Frank Chikowore and John Nyashanu, had to beat a hasty
retreat. Chikowore, a freelance journalist, said the youths charged at him
"menacingly", intent on preventing him from interviewing Matibenga.
Nyashanu, a correspondent for the South African Broadcasting Corporation
(SABC), said he fled in his car when Tsvangirai's shock troops "charged at
me like lions.I had to retreat to my car at the speed of lightning."

Mudzuri said: "I have heard that there was violence around Harvest House and
I think our people, if they are ours, if they are our members.that must be
condemned in its fullest form if anyone committed violence.

"The worst thing is we cannot accept violence especially against women or
even men. Anyone who committed any form of violence is subject to
disciplinary action and we will take disciplinary action on all our
structural members."

Mudzuri appeared to reject accusations that Tsvangirai's supporters were
behind the violence.

He said: "To me they are hired thugs. MDC is a general term; anyone who
supports MDC becomes covered by that but when it comes to our membership if
we are particularly saying so and so is so and so, then we investigate and
deal with that."

The refusal to accept responsibility riled civic groups.

Pedzisai Ruhanya, the senior programs officer at the Crisis in Zimbabwe
Coalition said: "The youths who are allegedly abusing people, who are
allegedly doing all sorts of violence do that in the name of the president.
They are saying those who are complaining about the procedural manner in
which the Lucia Matibenga case was dealt with are disrespecting their leader
Morgan Tsvangirai."

Ruhanya, a former reporter with the banned Daily News newspaper, said it was
futile for the MDC to disown its own supporters.

He said: "It would be a lie to say these youths are not from the MDC. These
youths are members of the MDC, so there is no question about the identity of
the youths who assaulted the women and the people who assaulted journalists.

"I think this incident demystifies the position that the MDC has always
tried to put across that they are a democratic party because if they are a
democratic party, they must understand the role of the media in a democratic
country or in a democratic environment.

"The role of the media is not to be a lapdog of those who are in power or
those who have power; like what the MDC is, the role of the media is to
report accurately the way they see events unfolding not to report what the
MDC leadership wants to hear."

Analysts have warned that the MDC could disintegrate further just a few
months before synchronised presidential and parliamentary elections set for
March 2008. The party already exists in two factions, with the other group
led by former NASA rocket scientist Arthur Mutambara. The two groups share
an almost equal number of MPs in parliament following the October 2005
split, partly blamed on violence by Tsvangirai's loyalists on officials who
disagreed with him.

The NCA's Madhuku said the 2008 elections were Tsvangirai's last chance
saloon.

"Tsvangirai would have failed as a leader (if he loses)," Madhuku said in an
exclusive interview with New Zimbabwe.com. "The only honourable thing to do
would be to step down and allow a new leader to take over at the MDC or risk
losing credible people. If he refuses, surely he would have authored
conflict."

Madhuku, a constitutional law expert, said it was unlikely there would be
any political party entering the political arena between now and elections.

He said: "There won't be a new force or the third way. The MDC of Tsvangirai
will go into the polls as it is - divided. I think Tsvangirai knows he would
have failed the struggle if he refuses to step down. In any case, three
quarters of his executive does not agree with him anymore."

The NCA chief said Tsvangirai had now become a "difficult candidate" to
replace President Robert Mugabe following his blunders, the latest being the
violence against party members opposed to his leadership style.

Said Madhuku: "If he can't respect his colleagues and members of the party,
then there is no need for his people to have confidence in him.

"You have the MDC on one hand complaining to South African President Thabo
Mbeki of violence against its members by Zanu PF. On the other hand, you
have violence within the MDC perpetrated against the same members of the
same party by thugs within the same movement.

"It's like taking two guns and you give one each to Tsvangirai and Mugabe
and then decide to be killed by the one held by Tsvangirai, fully knowing
that both are killers.

"Whichever gun fires at you, it will kill you. So violence is violence and
it does not cease to be that because it is coming from the MDC. If you
condemn violence in its strongest terms, then it must be stopped in
totality."

Madhuku refused to accept that the current clashes in the MDC were a result
of infiltration by the intelligence services, arguing that such activities
have always been there in any political party.

"The intelligence works on what it finds. If it finds you have a weakness
for money, they corrupt you. In the MDC they have found intolerance and
people anxious to use violence. People can get away with being violent
against each other," Madhuku said.


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MISA-Zimbabwe on Zimbabwe situation

zimbabwejournalists.com

20th Nov 2007 00:46 GMT

By MISA

MISA-Zimbabwe statement to the 42nd Ordinary Session of the African
Commission for Human and Peoples' Rights

Brazzaville - Congo -14 - 28 Nov 2007

Delivered on 18 November by Wilbert P. Mandinde - MISA-Zimbabwe Legal
Officer

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Zimbabwe) thanks the African
Commission for Human and Peoples' Rights for the opportunity given to
address this august house on the enjoyment of the right to freedom of
expression in Zimbabwe .

It is with deep sorrow that we report that the freedom of expression
situation continues to deteriorate especially in the wake of relentless
attacks on the media and the citizens' rights to free speech.

The signing into law of the Interception of Communications Act in August by
President Mugabe adds to the already long list of repressive legislation
such as the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) which is already the
subject of at least two communications before the Commission.

The Interception of Communications Act allows the government to spy into
telephone and e-mail messages.† It establishes a monitoring centre or agency
which shall be the sole facility through which interception shall be
effected.

The widely condemned Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
(AIPPA), the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Broadcasting
Services Act (BSA), continue to be used with impunity to muzzle the media
and harass journalists.† Yet in previous sessions, the government has
indicated its willingness to repeal AIPPA.

However pronouncements by the Minister of State Security Didymus Mutasa that
he wishes widely condemned legislation such as POSA remains in the country's
statutes for a thousand years is cause for great concern.

As MISA-Zimbabwe, we note the promise by the Zimbabwean delegation present
here in Brazaville that POSA, AIPPA and BSA will soon be amended. We believe
that this should be done to ensure that these laws conform to international
human rights standards.† MISA-Zimbabwe will certainly input into the process
and will report to the next session accordingly.

While these processes unfold, MISA-Zimbabwe notes with regret and
disappointment that the arrests of Jacob Chisese, the chief executive
officer of The Financial Gazette and Hama Saburi, the newspaper's acting
editor in chief together with Raphael Khumalo, the chief executive of the
Zimbabwe Independent signaled a continuation of selective prosecution of
media personalities from the privately owned media as we have reported in
previous sessions.

Further, the assault of photojournalist Tsvangirai Mukwazhi by Jocelyn
Chiwenga the wife of the Commander Defence Forces General Constantine
Chiwenga whilst going about his lawful duties was clear testimony of how
those who yield power can abuse it and still get away with it.

Mukwazhi, a duly accredited photojournalist was again a victim in March this
year when he was arrested and severely assaulted while in police custody.
His equipment which included cameras and a laptop worth thousands of US
dollars was smashed by riot police. The police also seized Mukwazhi's car.

Also arrested were freelance cameraperson James Jemwa, actors Sylvanos
Mudzvova and Anthony Tongani who were arrested in Harare during the
performance of a satirical play, Final Push, which depicts the country's
seven-year socio-economic political crisis.† The three who were arrested on
23 September 2007 were released without charges after spending two nights in
custody at Harare Central Police Station.

In line with this Commission's Declaration on the Right to Freedom of
Expression which states that self regulation is the best way to go, the
media in Zimbabwe came together and launched the Media Council of Zimbabwe
in June this year.† It is hoped that the launch of the Media Council will
pave the way for the disbandment of the state appointed Media and
Information Commission.

MISA-Zimbabwe therefore calls upon the Commission to urge the Government of
Zimbabwe to honor and respect its pledges to the African Commission on Human
and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) and repeal repressive legislation to facilitate
the emergence of independent alternative media voices and to respect
citizens' rights to free speech and association.

For any questions, queries, or comments, please contact:

Nyasha Nyakunu
Research and Information Officer
MISA-Zimbabwe
84 McChlery Drive
Eastlea
Box HR 8113
Harare
Zimbabwe
Phone 263 4 776 165/ 746 838
Cell: 263 11 602 448
Email: misa@misazim.co.zw
Website: www.misazim.co.zw


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Robert Mugabe: British invasion foiled

The Telegraph

By David Blair, Diplomatic Correspondent
Last Updated: 2:27am GMT 20/11/2007

††††† Zimbabwe has said it had deployed troops to combat a possible British
"invasion" and accused Gordon Brown of trying to assassinate key members of
the regime.

††††† George Charamba, President Robert Mugabe's spokesman, added that only
Britain's fear of the firepower of Mr Mugabe's forces had averted the
invasion.

††††† His remarks follow the disclosure that Tony Blair discussed a military
intervention in Zimbabwe with General Sir Charles Guthrie, who served as
chief of the defence staff between 1997 and 2001 and was later ennobled.

††††† Lord Guthrie said that his advice to the former Prime Minister was
"hold hard, you'll make it worse".

††††† Mr Charamba said: "The Government was aware of the plans and the
president made reference to the British sinister motives on several
occasions. A defence plan... is still in operation."

††††† He added that the British "are still contemplating the elimination of
our political leadership through a number of assassinations".
††††† State press added that Zimbabwe had managed to deter the British
attack because of the combat power of its army, drawn "from the finest
elements of different military traditions".

††††† In fact, hyperinflation has left the regime unable to feed its troops,
let alone deploy them in battle.

††††† One pilot who fled to South Africa told how Zimbabwe's once mighty air
force is all but grounded, and its pilots are starving.


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U.N. slashes AIDS estimates in latest report

Reuters

Tue 20 Nov 2007, 3:41 GMT

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

WASHINGTON, Nov 19 (Reuters) - The United Nations has slashed its estimates
of how many people are infected with the AIDS virus, from nearly 40 million
to 33 million.

In a report to be issued on Tuesday, the U.N. says revised estimates on HIV
in India account for a large part of the decrease.

The agency admitted it overestimated how many people are infected with the
incurable virus, and said better methods of collecting data show it is not
quite a common as feared.

"The single biggest reason for this reduction was the intensive exercise to
assess India's HIV epidemic, which resulted in a major revision of that
country's estimates," the report said.

After originally estimating some 5.7 million people were infected in India,
the U.N. more than halved that estimate, to 2.5 million.

But the numbers nonetheless show the epidemic is overwhelming and that
efforts to fight HIV must still be stepped up, said officials at the U.N.
AIDS agency UNAIDS.

"These improved data present us with a clearer picture of the AIDS epidemic,
one that reveals both challenges and opportunities," UNAIDS Executive
Director Dr. Peter Piot said in a statement.

"Unquestionably, we are beginning to see a return on investment -- new HIV
infections and mortality are declining and the prevalence of HIV leveling.
But with more than 6,800 new infections and over 5,700 deaths each day due
to AIDS, we must expand our efforts in order to significantly reduce the
impact of AIDS worldwide."

The new numbers suggest that some 33.2 million people are infected with the
human immunodeficiency virus -- about 30.8 million adults and 2.5 million
children.

DOUBLING IN ASIA

UNAIDS estimated that 1.7 million people became newly infected in
sub-Saharan Africa this year, a significant reduction since 2001.

But Africa remains by far the continent hardest hit by AIDS, with 22.5
million people infected with HIV.

"Eight countries in this region now account for almost one-third of all new
HIV infections and AIDS deaths globally," said UNAIDS.

"In Asia, the estimated number of people living with HIV in Vietnam has more
than doubled between 2000 and 2005 and Indonesia has the fastest growing
epidemic."

The report gives two reasons for the downward revisions -- one is better
data and the other is an actual decrease in the number of new infections.

"UNAIDS and (the World Health Organization) are now working with better
information from many more countries," UNAIDS said.

The number of new HIV infections each year likely peaked in the late 1990s
at 3 million and was estimated at 2.5 million for 2007, UNAIDS said.

"This reflects natural trends in the epidemic, as well as the result of HIV
prevention efforts. Of the total difference in the estimates published in
2006 and 2007, 70 percent are due to changes in six countries: Angola,
India, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe," the report said.

"In both Kenya and Zimbabwe, there is increasing evidence that a proportion
of the declines is due to a reduction of the number of new infections which
is, in part due to a reduction in risky behaviors."

The U.N also changed its estimate on how long it takes to die of AIDS if not
treated from 9 years to 11 years.


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JAG open letter forum dated 19 November 2007



Email: jag@mango.zw; justiceforagriculture@zol.co.zw

Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to
jag@mango.zw with ‚^ņ^‹For Open Letter Forum‚^ņ^› in the subject line.

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

Dear Jag

Press Release - Campbell Case.

The SADC tribunal has had an inauspicious start to its first ever case.
An unfortunate turn of events has led to the postponement of its first
ever hearing.† The registrar of the tribunal who under the tribunal
rules was supposed to formally inform the Zimbabwe Government Presidents
office and Attorney Generals office, failed to do so.

According to Campbell‚^ņ^Ŕs lawyers the Zimbabwe Presidents office fax
is broken.† The SADC tribunal staff then faxed the notice of set down to
a number that can not be verified as either the Zimbabwean Attorney
Generals office or the office of the Zimbabwe government.

Accordingly the case can not be heard on the 20 November.† A new date has
now been set for Windhoek on the 4 December.

In the meantime Mike Campbell, who is 75 years old, went out to
investigate shots on his farm on the evening of 17/11/07.† He discovered
a vehicle in the wildlife safari lodge area of the farm and fired a
warning shot.† He was overpowered and beaten up before being tied up by
his own shoe laces and dumped on the back of the poacher‚^ņ^Ŕs vehicle.

After being driven around for some time Campbell was taken to the Chegutu
police station where he was dumped on the concrete with the criminals.
"They carried me in bleeding and dirty trussed up like a chicken and laid
a charge against me for pointing a firearm‚^ņ^› says Campbell.

After several hours Campbell‚^ņ^Ŕs son-in-law, Ben Freeth found him and
Campbell was able to record a statement.†† Campbell sustained severe
bruising to his chest as well as some minor cuts and abrasions.

"They burnt down our safari lodge.† They have killed all but the very
last few of the animals that we introduced onto this property.† And now
they beat me up for trying to protect them." says Campbell. ‚^ņ^‹I hope
they are brought to justice and will not be back poaching tomorrow like
all the other poachers we have caught‚^ņ^›.

The poachers were identified as people that took over the neighbouring
farm, Garamwe, where the main farm house was also burnt to the ground.

Ben Freeth

18 November 2007

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

Who's lying to whom? Myths and legends of the last nearly three decades
include free medical for all those not earning the "minimum wage",
housing for all by the year 2000, free primary education and many more
empty decrees to keep the people "onsides" - the "people" now have the
land, a lot of people have been kicked out of their houses, education is
laughable and there is hardly any medical to be "free"; there's no-one
left to blame for our shortcomings, we are a shadow of our former selves,
but he who laughs last laughs the longest/loudest. Good is about to
defeat evil. Have a good Christmas and "next year will be better".

S. Taylor

18 November 2007


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Zimbabwe in†Crisis

Harvard Political Review
Zimbabwe in†Crisis

Mugabe to stay for now
BY PIO SZAMEL

Once hailed as one of Africa’s most promising economies, Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe is now on the verge of collapse. With clean-running water long gone, a massive wheat shortage endangering food supplies, unemployment at 80 percent, and inflation as high as 10,000 percent, the government’s ruinous economic mismanagement is now impossible to ignore. Under such circumstances, it is no wonder that almost a quarter of Zimbabweans have already fled the country.

Despite the crisis, however, Mugabe’s authoritarian government seems to be maintaining its grip on power. Even in the face of economic disaster, Mugabe’s anti-colonial credentials have so far allowed him to nullify Western pressure as well as domestic opposition, leaving few if any in a position to unseat him. Robert Mugabe’s peculiar position in the African community has been a key factor in perpetuating his rule. Mugabe led the opposition to the colonial, white-dominated Rhodesian government and has ruled Zimbabwe continuously since the nation achieved independence in 1980. He is still considered “one of the great African independence leaders who paved the way for South Africa to win over apartheid,” said Andrew Meldrum, a journalist and author who worked in Zimbabwe for over 20 years, in an interview with the HPR. According to Meldrum “that legacy is why people are afraid to criticize him.”

Mugabe has burnished this image carefully, blunting Western criticism of his rule by casting it as a form of neo-colonialism. The “land reform” that touched off the current crisis—in which the government expropriated white-owned farmland for redistribution to black owners—was billed by Mugabe as “the liberation of our land” from “British settlers.” Mugabe also dismissed foreign opposition as the efforts of “frustrated colonialists.”

Former South African opposition leader Tony Leon tells the HPR that “the way [Mugabe] keeps his solidarity politics going with other Third World governments is to flip the finger to Britain” and other Western governments, thereby winning the sympathy of other African nations. The consequences can be seen in preparations for the upcoming African Union-EU summit in Portugal, which African leaders have insisted that Mugabe be allowed to attend, despite an EU travel ban on his regime. In recent months, Mugabe has also been reaching out to other nations that have fallen afoul of the international community, including Iran. Such strategies, according to Mr. Leon, continue to result in “enough support for him from countries like Libya, and to some extent South Africa and Uganda” to keep Mugabe in power despite his pariah status in the rest of the world.

Africa’s general acquiescence has also complicated the ongoing negotiations between Mugabe’s ruling ZANU-PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, which are sponsored by the intergovernmental South African Development Community. While South Africa’s president, Thabo Mbeki, is supposed to be an impartial mediator in the negotiations, questions have been raised over his neutrality. In Meldrum’s words, Mbeki has “already endorsed three blatantly flawed elections” in which ZANU-PF claimed victory. While Mbeki calls his approach “quiet diplomacy,” Leon believes “silent approval” is a more accurate description.

Years of electoral tampering and government abuse—including a brutal beating of MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai in March—have also left the opposition in tatters, with two competing factions, as well as tactics that Leon calls “incoherent and strategically maladroit.” International intervention has so far been unable to halt the abuse or strengthen the bargaining position of the weakened MDC, which has been essentially powerless to effect any significant change.

Even if international pressure and opposition coalitions are not enough to unseat Mugabe, there remain other possibilities for reform. As the economic crisis grows worse, unease with the octogenarian leader is growing within Mugabe’s own ZANU-PF party, leading to speculation that he might step down or be forced out in favor of other party leaders. There is even talk of a possible military coup. But would-be coup leaders still face important obstacles, as Mr. Mugabe has proven “very good at sidelining potential rivals and replacements,” says Leon.

Still, whenever and however Mugabe is eventually replaced, Meldrum emphasizes that the rest of the world must continue to “push for real change, to not allow Zimbabwe to be handed from on dictator to another.” Without meaningful reform, Zimbabwe’s crippling economic woes are unlikely to leave with Mugabe.®

Posted on Friday, November 16, 2007 at 09:02AM

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