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Police abuses threaten Zimbabwe poll - report

Reuters

Wed 7 Nov 2007, 14:19 GMT

By Bate Felix

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - There are few guarantees upcoming elections in
Zimbabwe will be free and fair because of widespread police abuses, a report
by the International Bar Association on Wednesday.

The association's Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) said it found evidence of
police torture, intimidation and illegal arrests, which threaten
parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled for March next year.

"Police officers are responsible for some of the most serious human rights
and rule of law violations in Zimbabwe today," the report said.

"The ZRP (Zimbabwe Republic Police) has consistently shown disrespect and
contempt for the law, lawyers, and judicial authorities to an extent that it
has seriously imperilled the administration of justice and the rule of law
in Zimbabwe," the report said.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, 83, in power since 1980, has denied
carrying out political violence and human rights abuses against his
opponents.

His government has come under increasing international pressure to adopt
democratic reforms as the country faces a crippling economic and political
crisis.

The ruling ZANU-PF has been in negotiations to resolve the crisis with the
main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which has accused
Mugabe's ZANU-PF of stealing a series of elections since 2002 through
intimidation.

The IBAHRI said after interviews with several government officials, legal
professionals and non-governmental organisations, it had come across several
cases of police torture, arbitrary arrests, disobeying court orders and
intimidation.

"If this is what is occurring at the level of the administration of justice,
then everything bodes poorly for the forthcoming 2008 elections," said
advocate Andrea Gabriel, member of a team that visited Zimbabwe in August.

The report called on Harare to establish an independent system of monitoring
the police and urged leaders of the regional Southern African Development
Community (SADC) political bloc to address police abuse as part efforts to
resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe.

Professor Danny Titus, deputy dean of the law college at the University of
South Africa and member of the fact-finding team, said their findings raised
concerns that police officers will be used to subvert the electoral process.

"Without accountable, impartial policing that protects human rights, it will
be difficult and perhaps impossible for the citizens of Zimbabwe to
participate freely in any democratic process, including elections," he said.


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Thirsty Bulawayo struggles with diarrhoea


Photo: IRIN
Few have access to a clean and regular supply of water
JOHANNESBURG, 7 November 2007 (IRIN) - More than 3,000 cases of diarrhoea have been reported in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city, in the last two months, as residents struggle with water shortages.

"We have so far recorded 3,600 cases of diarrhoea since the first cases of the outbreak were reported in August this year, and since then figures from the city's Health Department indicate that we have been getting between 300 and 400 new cases of diarrhoea every week," said Phathisa Nyathi, spokesman for the Bulawayo City Council. "We expect the situation to worsen until we get adequate rains and the water supply situation normalises."

Since the outbreak was first reported in August, the city has experienced a 10-fold increase in cases, from 300 to 3,600, up to the second week of November.

Low rainfall and an inability to keep up with the demands of a growing population in a depressed economic environment have left many of Bulawayo's 1.5 million residents in the grip of water shortages and often having to obtain water from unprotected sources.

The city's water woes began early this year, when three of its five supply dams were decommissioned due to low water levels. The two remaining dams have failed to meet its daily water requirement of 120,000cu.m, pumping out only 69,000cu.m.

Nyathi said the council was working with the World Health Organisation in Bulawayo, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), Health Ministry teams and several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to contain the outbreak.

Health Minister David Parirenyatwa said his ministry was monitoring the situation in Bulawayo and Harare, where diarrhoea outbreaks have also been
registered. "We have teams that are dealing with the outbreak and people are getting treatment in Harare and Bulawayo, and we have put in programmes to contain the outbreak."

The struggling Bulawayo city council has resorted to transporting water in bowsers, where people can queue to fill their buckets. The global charity, World Vision International, has sunk boreholes in most high-density suburbs to complement water supplies, but the few boreholes cannot keep up with demand.

''The city is sitting on a time-bomb, because the statistics we have are those from council hospitals and clinics, and do not reflect figures from private
hospitals, and very soon we will get a cholera outbreak, which is more serious than diarrhoea and dysentery outbreaks''
Residents constantly complained about the long water-rationing periods. "We have not received water for five days now, and the water bowsers from council have not brought water," said Mandla Nkomo. One day, his family were forced to drink the water from a hand-dug well near their home and had to be hospitalised.

Charles Mpofu, a Bulawayo city councillor, said the actual number of diarrhoea cases was much higher than those being reported, as many people resorted to visiting private hospitals when they became ill because the government hospitals had no medication.

"The city is sitting on a time-bomb, because the statistics we have are those from council hospitals and clinics, and do not reflect figures from private
hospitals, and very soon we will get a cholera outbreak, which is more serious than diarrhoea and dysentery outbreaks." Mpofu said the council was working frantically with partner organisations, such as UNICEF and international charity Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF), to provide water purification tablets.

The water shortages have also had a negative impact on industry and the manufacturing sector, which require large volumes of water in their daily operations. Bulawayo and the surrounding Matabeleland region have faced water problems for more than two decades.

Successive governments since 1912 have postponed construction of a water pipeline from the Zambezi River to alleviate perennial water shortages in Bulawayo. Known as the Matabeleland-Zambezi Water Project, the pipeline is envisaged to create a green belt through Matabeleland North Province.


[ENDS]

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
 


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'It's been a joke really'

IOL

    November 07 2007 at 09:50AM

Harare - Zimbabwe's white farmers expressed dismay on Tuesday at a
supreme court judgment allowing the government to seize agricultural
equipment from properties that have been expropriated.

"What the court has tried to do really is to legalise the wholesale
theft of equipment from white commercial farmers," Trevor Gifford, deputy
chief executive of the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), told AFP.

"We envisage an upsurge in people taking the law into their hands,
taking equipment. I am sure our members will turn to the courts in order to
find a clear way forward."

Zimbabwe's highest court of appeal on Monday upheld a law allowing the
government to keep hold of all equipment and machinery belonging to white
former commercial farmers whose farms have been seized.

The judgement followed an appeal by a group of farmers challenging the
constitutionality of the Acquisition of Farm Equipment or Material Act,
which allows the government to "compulsorily acquire" any farming equipment
and material left behind by white farmers.

The farmers also argued that the law did not provide for fair
compensation for seized property.

Although the government has made offers to farmers to compensate them
for equipment seized during the expropriations, the CFU says the cash on the
table represents only a fraction of the true value.

"The majority of compensation in the majority of the cases has not
even taken place," Gifford told AFP.

"Not even the evaluation has taken place. Some payments have been made
but the payment has been pathetic. It's been a joke really."

Before the law came into effect in 2004, the government had accused
white farmers who lost their land of trying to export, lock up or destroy
their equipment.

Under the regulations, it is an offence for a farmer to damage or get
rid of any equipment without the authorisation from the lands minister.

Nearly eight years ago, the government embarked on a controversial
reform programme to acquire millions of hectares of land from whites and
redistribute it to blacks.

A small group of about 4 500 white farmers owned a third of the
country's land including 70 percent of prime farmland before the government
launched the programme.

According to farming officials, about 400 white farmers now remain in
Zimbabwe with a number of them facing trial for defying government eviction
orders.

"We are committed to farming in Zimbabwe, producing food and foreign
currency for the nation," Gifford said.

"We just want to be given the same opportunities as everyone else but
it seems we have different classes of farmers in Zimbabwe. It seems we have
a new generation of apartheid."

A former regional breadbasket Zimbabwe has become a basket case with
at least four million people in need of food aid until the next harvest.

Critics blame the slump in food production on the controversial land
reforms which left farmland in the hands of inexperienced farmers who often
relied on government handouts.


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Fresh crackdown looms on Zim businesses and companies

Moneyweb

Firms will have to use "official" exchange rates when proving their "costs".

Tawanda Jonas
07 Nov 2007 13:12

Harare -  -  Just weeks after the Zimbabwe government relented on its
crackdown on enterprises in its botched bid to enforce price controls,
businesses and government are once again headed for a clash. This comes
after President Robert Mugabe criticised the recent spate of price increases
that has left goods and services beyond the reach of ordinary Zimbabweans.

Labeling the price increases as "daylight robbery," and in the process
contradicting the country's central bank governor, Dr Gideon Gono who
recently called on the government to ease its hand on price controls, Mugabe
told a central committee meeting of his ruling Zanu PF party that businesses
and companies that are hiking prices of goods and commodities were
"stretched to the limit".

The leader of the National Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC) - tasked by
Mugabe to rationalise prices and salaries - warned that his commission which
is made up of senior military and intelligence operatives will soon descend
on businesses flouting pricing controls and regulations.

More than 7 000 storeowners and manufacturers were arrested in the wake of
the June price clampdown while several others were forced to cut prices of
their stock, a situation that left businesses and shops out of business.

The looming crackdown comes in the wake of demands last week by the Zimbabwe
government that all businesses and companies would now be required to submit
invoices where they would have used foreign currency to purchase raw
materials or other implements.

"Companies and individuals caught violating price management legislation
will face the full wrath of the law," the NIPC chairman Goodwill
Masimirembwa said.

He added: "We will demand to see foreign currency invoices converted at the
official exchange rate to determine the selling price. Those found not
complying will be dealt with accordingly."
Masimirembwa said that the commission would let firms calculate import costs
and prices using the official rate, currently Z$30 000 per US dollar. It was
unclear how this would help firms given the hard currency drought and a
parallel market rate of Z$1m per US dollar.

Business and economic analysts have however slammed the government for
demanding foreign currency invoices when the central bank - the Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe - is not allocating adequate foreign currency to companies.
Firms have been left with no option but to procure the crucial and elusive
currency from the parallel market.

"This is just a means by an embattled government to try and tame, through
dubious ways, galloping inflation," said one economic analyst.

Economist John Robertson says Mugabe's policies of forcing the economy to
"bend to his muscle" will not work.

"It's unfortunate that Mugabe thinks that using force and printing more
money will bring the desired effects.


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Sokwanele - Election Watch

Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe
PROMOTING NON-VIOLENT PRINCIPLES TO ACHIEVE DEMOCRACY

Zimbabwe Election Watch
Issue 10 : 6 November 2007

Issue 10 - bar chart of breaches in this issueExecutive Summary

At this point it is not clear whether the Zimbabwean joint elections - presidential, parliamentary, senate and municipal - will be postponed to June 2008, a move which would allow more time for preparations and for the lack of crucial financial resources to be resolved. The elections are currently scheduled to take place during March. David Coltart, MDC (Mutambara) for Bulawayo South says that the country needs at least six months to put everything in place before calling an election.

The South African mediated negotiations between the ruling Zanu PF party and both factions of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have resumed. According to the Zimbabwe Independent (ZI), they are expected to discuss issues such as the de-militarisation of state institutions, the role of traditional chiefs in politics, use of state and donor food relief for political gain and foreign broadcasts to Zimbabwe.

So far, according to the ZI, the parties have agreed on a draft constitution, which has been circulated to their respective leaders, but have not reached an agreement on electoral laws, security legislation, media laws or the political climate. Delimitation of constituencies has not yet started and registration of voters is still continuing.

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition held a rural outreach programme which presented an overview of the governance crisis and perspectives on the 2008 elections, with close reference to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) initiative.

The resolutions made were:

  1. No to elections without a new constitution
  2. Development programmes should be isolated from politics
  3. Zanu PF should be confronted through holding joint meetings with the opposition
  4. People should be allowed to vote using their national identity cards
  5. People of foreign origin should be allowed to vote as they are citizens
  6. Delimitation of boundaries should be undertaken by an independent body
  7. Village heads should not be used for partisan political programmes
  8. People should be engaged in intensive voter education
  9. Election officers should not be politically biased
  10. Need for independent media structures and the reinstatement of the Daily News and the Tribune

In our media overview, Zim Online reported this week that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has turned down an opposition request for an all-party meeting to discuss voter registration and demarcation of voting constituencies.

The Registrar General's office has admitted that the outdated voters' roll - which requires major surgery - has not yet been printed due to inadequate funds.

The government has reduced the number of voter registration centres by over 60 percent amid reports of critical shortages of financial and human resources.

Civic groups report they are restricted by the country's electoral laws from conducting efficient voter education programmes.

Thousands of Zimbabwean-born people whose forefathers came from neighbouring SADC countries could fail to vote if their citizenship is not restored in time.

Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi has acknowledged that opposition supporters are being victimised and has undertaken to study an MDC dossier detailing 4 122 incidents of political violence and human rights abuses between January and June. Further examples, threats and incidences of human rights abuses, as well as the withholding of food aid from opposition supporters are included in this report.



Elections body rejects MDC request to discuss voter registration
Source Date: 06-11-2007

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has turned down an opposition request for an all-party meeting to discuss voter registration and demarcation of voting constituencies for next year’s polls….

The MDC, which says an audit of the voters’ roll by the party had unearthed anomalies on the register, wanted an all-party meeting to discuss civic education and a publicity campaign to raise voter awareness of an extended registration exercise….

Ian Makone, director of elections for the MDC (Tsvangirai) said the constitutional amendment enacted with backing from the MDC required that a new commission and not a “sanitised” version of the existing one be appointed to register voters, demarcate constituencies and oversee preparations for next year’s elections.

Zimbabwe’s voters’ roll has been in shambles for years with millions of names of voters who died or left the country to live abroad still appearing on the register, while thousands more voters have failed to vote in previous polls either because their names were entered in wrong constituencies or did not appear at all on the register.

The MDC has in the past accused the government of taking advantage of the lack of accurate figures on the number of voters to rig polls and of gerrymandering constituencies to ensure it wins. The government denies rigging elections.

Source: Zim Online (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.zimonline.co.za/Article.aspx?ArticleId=2268

SADC standards breached


Cash shortages hamper preps for Zimbabwe elections
Source Date: 31-10-2007

Zimbabwe's preparation for the synchronised presidential and parliamentary elections next year is running behind schedule as it emerged yesterday that there is inadequate money for the printing of the voters’ roll.

Edwell Mtemaringa, chief accountant at the Registrar General's office that prepares the voters’ register told a parliamentary portfolio committee on Defence and Home Affairs yesterday the voters roll is supposed to be printed this year but this had not yet happened because of inadequate funds.

“… We requested $3.5 trillion and were given only $110 billion,” Mtemaringa said…

The voters’ roll requires major surgery to put it in order. For example, the roll is said to contain millions of names of voters who died or who have left the country over the years to work and live abroad.

Thousands of voters have failed to vote in previous polls either because their names were entered under wrong constituencies or did not appear at all on the roll.

Source: Zim Online (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.zimonline.co.za/Article.aspx?ArticleId=2240

SADC standards breached


Harare cuts voter registration centres
Source Date: 02-11-2007

The government has reduced the number of voter registration centres in the country by over 60 percent amid reports of critical shortages of financial and human resources.

It emerged yesterday that the second phase of the voter registration exercise was not budgeted for, resulting in a last-minute rush to raise the required funds.

The exercise to update the roll ahead of next year's joint presidential and parliamentary elections that was completed last August had to be extended last Friday after complaints mostly from the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party that thousands of newly eligible voters from areas it controls were left out.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) yesterday confirmed that not all registration centres had been reopened for the mop-up exercise that began last Friday….

The extended voter registration exercise runs until mid-November.

Sources said urban and rural constituencies seen as opposition strongholds were hardest hit by the reduction of mobile registration centres.

In Masvingo province, only 90 registration centres re-opened when the exercise was extended compared to more than 200 centres that operated in the province's 14 constituencies during the first phase that ended in August.

Just one centre is serving Masvingo urban, home to more than 500 000 people.

"The problem is not in Masvingo alone but is countrywide where over half of the centres are yet to open," (ZEC spokesman Utoille) Silaigwana told Zim Online….

Source: Zim Online (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.zimonline.co.za/Article.aspx?ArticleId=2253

SADC standards breached


Electoral Commission says March 2008 elections on track
Source Date: 30-10-2007

The chairman of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, George Chiweshe, said Tuesday that his agency is on track in preparations for national elections slated for March of next year.

But many other involved parties are expressing concern about the timetable, and civic groups say that so long as President Robert Mugabe has not signed a constitutional amendment concerning elections into law, no definitive preparations can be made.

Electoral authorities will have a lot on their hands creating new constituencies as the constitution calls for the addition of 90 new elective seats to the lower house.

Also, a delimitation commission will have to redraw many constituency boundaries and voter rolls for those districts will have to be manually compiled…

Source: VOANews (USA)
Link to source: http://www.voanews.com/english/Africa/Zimbabwe/2007-10-30-voa48.cfm

SADC standards breached


Civic groups press Zimbabwe to soften electoral laws to allow voter drive
Source Date: 29-10-2007

As Zimbabwe braces itself for presidential, parliamentary and local elections scheduled for March 2008, some civic groups says they are restricted by the country's electoral laws to efficiently conduct voter education programs.

Under the Zimbabwe Electoral Act, civic groups are prohibited from sourcing foreign funding to carry out their various voter education drives.

Civic groups said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission gave them only two weeks to carry out voter education programs, throughout the country, before the 2005 parliamentary elections.

Many complained that the time was too short to effectively educate citizens about the voting process….

Source: VOANews (USA)
Link to source: http://www.voanews.com/english/Africa/Zimbabwe/2007-10-29-voa52.cfm

SADC standards breached


Citizenship law to prejudice many of voters
Source Date: 02-11-2007

With only four months to go before the 2008 elections there are fears that thousands of people rendered stateless following the enactment of the Citizenship of Zimbabwe Amendment Act No 12 of 2001, could again fail to vote as they are still to have their Zimbabwean citizenship restored, it has emerged.

Perceived aliens from neighbouring SADC countries like Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia, including their off-spring born and bred in Zimbabwe, some of whom have never been to their forefathers' original countries, were all rendered stateless in 2001.

Some have since renounced their alleged foreign citizenship and others are doing so in the current voter registration mop-up exercise.

However, it has emerged that a large number could fail to do so as they do not have the required long birth certificates due to migration and death of parents and guardians…

Irene Petras, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) director whose organisation submitted evidence on the issue to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs earlier this year, confirmed in a statement that her organisation was representing affected alien farm workers.

(She said LHR regretted that), despite the recommendations of the committee, the Registrar General had nevertheless continued to apply his own blatantly wrong interpretation to deny Zimbabweans their rightful citizenship in contravention of (the country’s) national law as well as international human rights standards which protect against an individual being rendered stateless….

Source: Zimbabwe Independent, The (ZW)
Link to source: http://allafrica.com/stories/200711020722.html

SADC standards breached


Mugabe's minister acknowledges violence against MDC
Source Date: 25-10-2007

Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi on Wednesday acknowledged that opposition supporters were being victimised and admitted this could jeopardize on-going dialogue between the ruling Zanu PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.

Sources told Zim Online that Mohadi told senior MDC officials he met Wednesday morning at his offices to personally report to him acts of violence against members of the opposition party.

"He (Mohadi) also undertook to study a dossier prepared by the MDC detailing all acts of violence against its supporters that took place after March," said a government official who attended the meeting between Mohadi and the opposition officials…

The meeting …was held following the minister's request to MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai that he wanted the opposition to corroborate statements that politically motivated violence was on the increase despite the South African brokered talks between the opposition party and Zanu PF.
…In the dossier submitted to Mohadi, the MDC claimed that 4 122 incidents of political violence and human rights abuses were recorded between January and June 2007.

Source: Zim Online (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.zimonline.co.za/Article.aspx?ArticleId=2214

SADC standards breached


'MDC activist shot dead in cold blood'
Source Date: 02-11-2007

MDC activist Clemence Takaendesa was shot dead on Wednesday while fishing … in KweKwe, by a retired army Brigadier with a well-known penchant for violence.

Brigadier Benjamin Mabenge shot and killed Takaendesa and seriously wounded his brother Taurai Chigede without firing a warning shot. …

Mabenge was arrested on Thursday and is expected to appear in court soon facing murder charges.

Mabenge has told the police he saw a group of people, including the deceased and his brother, poaching fish from the river that runs through his farm….

The MDC said Mabenge does not own exclusive rights to the river and that there is no law in the country that prohibits people from fishing in a river, unless it is from a private dam. Mabenge, a war veteran, is reported to have grabbed the farm during the violent farm invasions….

The retired army officer has a history of violence and causing mayhem in the Midlands town. Between 2000 and 2005, under the protection of Zanu PF strongman, Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mabenge left a trail of broken bones among MDC activists.

He is reportedly responsible for the burning down of the MDC office in the town and other houses belonging to leading party activists.

MDC MP for KweKwe, Blessing Chebundo, is one of his other victims. In 2000 a group of youths led by Mabenge doused him with petrol but he escaped death by a whisker when he grabbed one of his attackers. This prevented him from being set on fire because the attacker would have been burned in the process….

Identified perpetrators: Brigadier Benjamin Mabenge
Identified victims: Clemence Takaendesa, MDC activist and his brother Taurai Chigede

Source: SW Radio Africa (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.swradioafrica.com/news021107/mdcshot021107.htm

SADC standards breached


Minister threatens MDC supporters
Source Date: 28-10-2007

Hubert Nyanhongo, the Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications, has threatened to repossess houses at Hopley Farm from beneficiaries opposing his candidature in next year’s elections, infuriated residents told The Standard.

Hopley is home to thousands of families uprooted by the government-sponsored Operation Murambatsvina in May 2005. The houses were built under Operation Garikai.

Two weeks ago, the residents said, Nyanhongo called a meeting and singled out former government social welfare officer, Ezekiel Mpande as his "enemy" and ordered him out of Hopley ….

The deputy minister ordered the youth militia to beat up Mpande if he was seen at the settlement again….

Mpande …claims that he is being victimized for calling for equitable distribution of food at Hopley, where MDC supporters were being denied assistance.

Other MDC supporters said they now feared for their lives as next year’s elections draw nearer….

Identified perpetrators: Hubert Nyanhongo, the Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications
Identified victims: Ezekiel Mpande, former government social welfare officer

Source: Zimbabwe Standard, The (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/oct28_2007.html

SADC standards breached


Chief bans MDC rally in Rukweza, Manicaland
Source Date: 24-10-2007

A chief with strong Zanu PF links has banned the MDC from holding a rally at Rukweza business centre in Makoni East, Manicaland province on Friday.

The MDC has however said it would defy Chief John Rukweza's ban and go ahead with its planned rally because he does not have the powers to ban or stop a political rally….

This is not the first time that a chief has tried to ban a rally in Manicaland….

'This is why we say Mugabe rigs the elections, because he uses chiefs to force their subjects to vote Zanu PF. All chiefs in Zimbabwe are now paid handsomely and move around with top of the range 4x4's. It's all part of the game by Zanu PF,' said Pishai Muchauraya, (the MDC spokesman for Manicaland province)….

Identified perpetrators: Chief John Rukweza, a chief with strong Zanu PF links

Source: SW Radio Africa (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.swradioafrica.com/news241007/chiefban241007.htm

SADC standards breached


Hunger keeps children from school
Source Date: 24-10-2007

Children are staying away from school as hunger takes its toll in rural Matabaleland North Province.

Villagers are going for weeks without their staple maize meal and blame the lack of food on the state-run Grain Marketing Board (GMB). In the Buda resettlement area in Umguza district, people complain they last received maize from the GMB in July….

Villagers said they were risking their lives in accepting the staple food from their relatives in the cities, as they were sometimes accused by war veterans of getting the food from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

"If they learn that that is how you are surviving, the war veterans storm your home and take away everything and there is nothing you can do about it, as they are literally ruling this place…," said another villager…

Some of the villagers said they were not getting food from humanitarian organisations, as staff at these non-governmental organisations were being harassed by the war veterans and some traditional leaders…

Source: Zimbabwean, The (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/oct25_2007.html

SADC standards breached


Villagers denied food aid
Source Date: 24-10-2007

Several villagers in drought-prone Mwenezi district in southern Zimbabwe were yesterday denied food aid by ruling Zanu PF officials amid fears President Robert Mugabe could increasingly use the humanitarian assistance bait to elicit support ahead of watershed elections next years.

Hungry villagers gathered at Rata rural service centre in the district were shocked yesterday after being told by Zanu PF officials and members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) that they would not get any assistance because they supported the main opposition faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai….

"Only a few people managed to get food while hundreds were denied the opportunity to get the maize for allegedly supporting opposition political parties," said villager Albert Manjengwa….

"Officers from the president's office told us that the people in our area were not politically correct hence they must starve or get food from their party," added Manjengwa.

"We are also not happy to hear that members of the CIO have since taken over the distribution of food in rural areas where they screen beneficiaries on political grounds," added (MDC Masvingo central legislator Tongai) Matutu.

Agriculture Minister Rugare Gumbo yesterday confirmed that operatives from the CIO were part of food distribution teams in rural areas….

… Mugabe, in power since independence in 1980, is accused of employing dirty tactics such as manipulating the voter registration exercise, politicisation of food aid and harassment of opponents to ensure victory.

Source: Zim Online (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.zimonline.co.za/Article.aspx?ArticleId=2207

SADC standards breached


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Draft constitution protects media freedom

Zim Online

by Nqobizitha Khumalo Thursday 08 November 2007

BULAWAYO - Negotiators from Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party and the governing ZANU PF party have agreed provisions
protecting media freedom in a draft constitution, now in the hands of the
country's political leaders.

The two political foes are engaged in talks under South African mediation
that are aimed at finding a solution to Zimbabwe's long running political
and economic crisis.

The draft constitution that is said to contain other key provisions such as
limitation of presidential tenure to two five-year terms, a bill of rights
and an independent electoral commission, will require the backing of
especially President Robert Mugabe and the leaders of the two MDC factions
to have any chance of becoming law.

Authoritative sources said the draft constitution proposes the scrapping of
direct government control of the media as at present and in place provides
for the setting up of a Voluntary Media Council (VMC) and a Media Complaints
Council (MCC) to oversee the media.

Media bodies will nominate people to sit on the two councils but a balance
is struck through a clause providing for the councils to be accountable to
the Minister of Information.

"The new constitutional provisions will give the media independence to
choose who sits on the media council and on the media complaints council.
The minister has limited powers as he/she does not appoint anyone to the
councils but the two bodies still have to be accountable to the minister,"
said our source.

The VMC will have regulatory functions while the MCC will primarily function
as a platform for members of the public and other media consumers to lodge
complaints of wrong or unfair treatment by the media.

Presently, the government tightly controls the media through the Media and
Information Commission that issues licences to journalists and newspapers to
operate in Zimbabwe. The state-appointed commission can withdraw licences
from newspapers and journalists when it deems it necessary.

It has in the past four years closed four independent newspapers including
Zimbabwe's largest daily paper, The Daily News, for failure to comply with
the government's tough media laws.

A state-appointed Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe exercises tight control
of the airwaves, denying licences to prospecting broadcasting companies to
leave the government's Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings the only radio and
television services provider in the country.

However, it remains to be seen whether the country's political leaders and
Parliament will adopt the draft constitution as the fundamental law of the
country.

Mugabe, upon whom almost everything else depends, has opposed a new
constitution. But reports emanating from his ZANU PF party suggest he could
accept the draft constitution after presidential and parliamentary elections
pencilled in for March next year. - ZimOnline


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Miners press for gold support price

Zim Online

by Lizwe Sebatha Thursday 08 November 2007

BULAWAYO - Zimbabwean miners are pressing for a review of the gold support
price to track movements in the rate of inflation, threatening to scale down
operations and stop gold deliveries to the central bank.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono last month reviewed the
payments for gold deliveries in a move praised at the time by the mining
industry players as an incentive for increased production.

Gono raised the support price for gold deliveries to $5 million from $3
million per gram and also indicated that gold miners would be paid backdated
amounts for deliveries made in the months of August and September.

The Chamber of Mines and the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) are pushing
for a further increase of the gold price to over $8 million, citing the
hyperinflationary environment that was making production unviable.

Chamber of Mines chief executive officer Douglas Verden said the central
bank should constantly review the gold support price in line with Zimbabwe's
inflation, currently the highest in the world at nearly 8 000 percent.

"The RBZ should increase the gold support price in line with the rate of
inflation because miners will have no option but to scale down operations in
protest over the low gold support price," said Verden.

ZMF president George Kawonza added: "The current figures have been eroded by
inflation. Miners will withhold their gold from the central bank as a
cost-benefit analysis by ZMF shows that operational costs have gone far
beyond the gold price."

According to RBZ figures, annual gold production levels have been on a
downward spiral since peaking in 1999 when the country produced 29 tonnes.

Gold deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refiners declined by 24.2 percent
from 6.6 tonnes between January to August 2006 to five tonnes during the
same period this year. Cumulative gold deliveries in 2006 stood at 10.96
tonnes.

Zimbabwe may lose accreditation with the London Bullion Market Association
(LBMA) if it fails to reach the required 10 tonnes of gold to enable the
nation to sell gold directly to the international market.

The country expects gold output this year to be below eight tonnes, which
would be the nation's lowest level in decades.

Analysts say most mining companies have this year scaled down production and
are operating at half their potential.

It is estimated that mineral exports generated US$600 million during the
first eight months of 2007 against a possible US$1 trillion if they operated
at full throttle.

The Chamber of Mines also revealed that the viability problems facing the
sector had prevented Zimbabwe from benefiting from soaring world metal
prices.

Zimbabwe has the second largest platinum reserves in the world after South
Africa and large gold, nickel and coal deposits but mines have found it
difficult to expand in the face of a worsening economic crisis.

Overall mining output plunged 14 percent in 2006 and the trend is expected
to continue.

The Chamber of Mines says average mineral output was lower this year with
platinum production down more than a half to 200.21 kg in September from
464.67 kg at the start of the year.

The country has missed out on the metal price boom due to bad policies that
have suffocated existing mines and discouraged fresh investment, the Chamber
of Mines said.

The policies included a controversial economic empowerment and
indigenisation law recently passed by parliament, which seeks to nationalise
foreign-owned firms. - ZimOnline


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SA, Zambian lawyers shocked at levels of repression in Zimbabwe

Zim Online

by Ntando Ncube Thursday 08 November 2007

JOHANNESBURG - A delegation of South African and Zambian lawyers said it was
shocked at the level of police brutality against the legal profession in
Zimbabwe and blamed the government for the collapse of the rule of law in
that country.

The four-member delegation that visited Zimbabwe in August and released a
report of their findings on Wednesday said most disturbing were the open
attacks against lawyers carrying out their duties and the flagrant disregard
of court orders by the government of President Robert Mugabe.

"We were shocked at the levels of evidence of torture and police brutality
and the impunity shown to members of the legal profession," said South
African advocate, Andrea Gabriel who led the delegation.

"Perhaps the loudest alarm bell is the very clear and open contemptuous
disregard of orders of the High Court," said Gabriel.

The lawyers undertook the mission to Zimbabwe following repeated reports of
police brutality and abuse against lawyers, particularly those acting on
behalf of government opponents.

The delegation met the representatives of the legal profession in Zimbabwe,
Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, Judge President Rita Makarau and
representatives of non-governmental organisations.

The delegation was allowed access to court records. However, they were
unable to meet Home Affairs Kembo Mohadi and Attorney General Sobuza
Gula-Ndebele.

"Somebody has to take responsibility for the internal collapse of the rule
of law. (it) cannot lie anywhere but in the hands of the Zimbabwean
government," Gabriel said.

Political analysts say Mugabe's government has increasingly resorted to
repression and terror tactics to keep public discontent in check in the face
of an unprecedented economic crisis, marked by hyperinflation, and shortages
of foreign currency, food and fuel. - ZimOnline


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Farmers' union says Supreme Court ruling will legalise theft of equipment

Zim Online

by Ntando Ncube Thursday 08 November 2007

JOHANNESBURG - The Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) on Wednesday criticised a
Supreme Court judgment allowing the government to seize farming equipment
from farmers whose properties have been expropriated.

In a statement to the media yesterday, Trevor Gifford, the deputy chief
executive of the mainly white CFU, said the judgment that was delivered last
Monday would legalise the wholesale theft of farming equipment.

"What the court has tried to do really is to legalise the wholesale theft of
equipment from white commercial farmers. We envisage an upsurge in people
taking the law into their hands, taking equipment.

"I am sure our members will turn to the courts in order to find a clear way
forward," said Gifford.

The CFU, that has sought a compromise deal with President Robert Mugabe's
government, said farmers were committed to producing enough food for the
country that has battled severe food shortages over the past seven years.

"We are committed to farming in Zimbabwe, producing food and foreign
currency for the nation. We just want to be given the same opportunities as
everyone else but it seems we have different classes of farmers in Zimbabwe.

"It seems we have a new generation of apartheid," he said.

The Supreme Court last Monday dealt a heavy blow to displaced white farmers
after it ruled that the government could seize farming equipment belonging
to farmers whose properties were expropriated under the government's
controversial land reforms.

Zimbabwe has battled severe food shortages over the past seven years after
Mugabe displaced white farmers who produced the bulk of the country's food
and replaced them with black villagers. Mugabe denies his land reform caused
food shortages blaming the crisis on drought and sabotage by white
farmers. - ZimOnline


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Tsvangirai wants delimitation of constituencies after talks

Zim Online

by Patricia Mpofu Thursday 08 November 2007

HARARE - Main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Wednesday said the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) should wait for conclusion of talks
between the opposition and the ruling ZANU PF party before deciding
constituency boundaries for next year's polls.

Tsvangirai acknowledged the ZEC's mandate to demarcate constituencies but
said the composition of the commission was subject to negotiations and it
should therefore "hold its horses" until conclusion of talks.

"Our view is that it is premature for them to start this process (of
demarcating constituencies) before the conclusion of the negotiations," said
Tsvangirai, who heads the main faction of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) party after the opposition party split two years ago.

He added: "The issue of the voter's roll and the composition of ZEC itself
in respect of 2008 elections is still subject to the negotiations and as
such they must hold their horses."

But ZEC spokesman Utoile Silaigwana said the commission was ready to begin
the delimitation of constituencies, saying the signing of Constitution of
Zimbabwe Amendment Number 18 by President Robert Mugabe last week meant the
commission could proceed to mark constituency boundaries.

"The signing into law of the 18th Amendment means the delimitation process
can now begin as it is now constitutional," said Silaigwana.

The constitutional amendment enacted by the government with backing from the
MDC among other key provisions empowers the ZEC to take over registration of
voters, demarcation of constituencies and overall management of elections.

However, the MDC says the spirit of the constitutional amendment was that a
new commission and not a "sanitised" version of the existing one be
appointed to register voters, demarcate constituencies and oversee
preparations for next year's elections.

"We have problems with the current composition of ZEC which is partisan,"
said Tsvangirai.

Postponing demarcation of constituencies and wards for the joint
presidential, parliamentary and local government elections until the
conclusion of inter-party talks could mean moving the polls to a date later
than the scheduled March.

Sources say the two factions of the MDC favour moving the polls to next
June. However, Mugabe and ZANU PF are said to be against shifting the
elections with Justice Minister telling reporters last week that the polls
would be held next March.

Zimbabwe is in the grip of a debilitating economic crisis that is
highlighted by the world's highest inflation rate of nearly 8 000 percent, a
rapidly contracting GDP, the fastest for a country not at war according to
the World Bank and shortages of foreign currency, food and fuel.

Political analysts believe truly democratic polls next year are a key
requirement to any plan to pluck Zimbabwe out of an ever-worsening political
and economic crisis. - ZimOnline


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Zimbabwe Opposition Demands Electoral Reform As Proof Of Good Faith

VOA

By Blessing Zulu
Washington
07 November 2007

Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change is accusing the ruling
party of bad faith in their ongoing South African-mediated crisis
negotiations, charging that Harare has failed to implement agreements they
have reached in the talks.

Opposition sources said negotiators from the two MDC factions will press for
reform in the maintenance of the national voters roll as a critical test of
ZANU-PF sincerity.

Opposition officials say the ruling party in past elections has manipulated
the voters roll as one of its key rigging tactics, so they are determined to
extract meaningful concessions on how the voters roll is updated and made
available.

There has been a hiatus in the talks since late last week when Justice
Minister Patrick Chinimasa, the ruling party's lead negotiator, received
news of the death of his son.

No date has been set for the talks to resume, source close to the
negotiations said.

Meanwhile, officials of the MDC faction of Morgan Tsvangirai are pressing
for greater interaction with all political parties by the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission, which declined to hold multi-party consultations as requested by
MDC officials.

MDC sources said that if this contentious issue is not resolved the talks
could collapse and under those circumstances the opposition might boycott
the elections. Zimbabwe is headed for local, parliamentary and presidential
elections in March 2008 - though some say the preparations required mean
they'll have to be put off until June.

Secretary General Tendai Biti of the Tsvangirai faction, an opposition
negotiator, told reporter Blessing Zulu that he and other MDC officials are
deeply concerned about manipulation of the voters roll, though he declined
to give particulars on the talks.

Meanwhile, Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe Sten Rylander issued a statement
saying that Sweden and the international community were prepared to come up
with a rescue package for Zimbabwe if the Pretoria talks resolve the crisis.

Rylander's statement said a good policy package from Harare including
substantive political and economic reform would encourage support from
donors.

Elsewhere, a report just issued by the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations
says it is time for a shift in American policy on Zimbabwe."Planning For
Post-Mugabe Zimbabwe" says Washington should capitalize on African regional
engagement in Zimbabwe among other developments and focus "not just on
disapproval of the current regime, but also on a vision for the country's
future and a plan for how to get there."

Author Michelle Gavin says U.S. policymakers should recognize that they
"probably cannot compel President Mugabe and his loyalists to step aside."
But, "engaging with other members of the international community now to map
out a path for Zimbabwe's recovery is more than an exercise in advance
planning," she argues.

"By working multilaterally to build consensus around governance-related
conditions for reengagement, and by marshaling significant reconstruction
resources in an international trust fund for Zimbabwe, the United States can
help establish clear incentives for potential successors to Mugabe to
embrace vital reform."

In doing so, "the United States can encourage and even hasten constructive
forms of potential political change by affecting the calculus of those who
are in a position to trigger a transition," Gavin writes. She adds that
recovery and reconstruction planning can also help avert "worst-case
scenarios of civil conflict, state collapse, and regional destabilization
from taking hold during any future attempted political transition."


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Zimbabwe exodus: Too little, but not too late

Refugees International (RI)

Date: 07 Nov 2007

In Zimbabwe, food shortages, a near total collapse of the domestic economy,
and continued political repression are forcing large numbers of citizens to
seek refuge and sustenance for their families in neighboring countries.
South Africa, Zambia, and Botswana are focusing entirely on negotiations
over the political stalemate in Zimbabwe, either directly or through the
Southern African Development Community. In this context, any recognition of
large numbers of Zimbabweans inside their borders is seen as
counter-productive, as it draws attention to the humanitarian crisis inside
Zimbabwe.

While a political solution is necessary for the long-term stability of the
country, it is unlikely that negotiations will reverse the current migratory
trends. Regional governments must begin to de-link a political solution
inside Zimbabwe from the need to address the domestic consequences of
Zimbabwean migration, including strains on social services, xenophobia, and
the growth of an undocumented underclass that is in need of humanitarian
assistance.

1. Get Beyond the Refugees or Economic Migrants Debate

There is contentious debate over the reasons that Zimbabweans are leaving
their home country. Estimates of the number of Zimbabweans living in
neighboring countries range widely, from 1.1 to over 3 million, and on a
recent assessment mission in the region Refugees International found that
people were continuing to leave the country in large numbers. While the
governments of host countries and many in the United Nations consider the
current migration to be economic in nature, a wide range of civil society
groups are calling for Zimbabweans to be recognized as refugees. Clearly,
not all Zimbabweans have a fear of persecution. RI found, however, that
economic and political grounds for leaving are not mutually exclusive.The
attempt to categorize the outflow ultimately obstructs the humanitarian
response by focusing on why people do (or do not) qualify for aid.

What is clear is that Zimbabwe currently suffers from a near complete lack
of basic goods - food, petrol, soap, paraffin - and that Zimbabweans outside
their country are actively engaged in providing those goods to family
members back home. Host countries, in particular South Africa and Botswana,
should work towards creating new legal frameworks that acknowledge the
nature of Zimbabwean migration and provide adequate protection and
assistance to those in need. This new legal framework must be brought about
in dialogue with civil society groups and the UN. Furthermore, it should
acknowledge regional dynamics to ensure no single country shoulders the
burden of the response.

2. Deportations Must Cease

South Africa and Botswana are actively deporting undocumented migrants,
largely targeting Zimbabweans. The majority of Zimbabweans in both countries
are residing illegally, after "jumping" the borders or overstaying their
visas. Over 150,000 have been forcibly removed from South Africa in the
first nine months of this year, while 60,000 have been deported from
Botswana as of December of last year. Upon arrival in Zimbabwe, the
deportees are released into the custody of the police, raising serious
protection concerns. Furthermore, large numbers of deportees regularly
re-cross the borders illegally immediately after deportation, where they are
subject to dangerous environmental conditions and often fall prey to
criminal gangs. Lastly, deportations are very costly for host governments
and do not achieve the goal of deterring undocumented migration.

3. Humanitarian Needs are Growing

While many Zimbabweans are able to maintain middle-class lives abroad, a
growing number of people cannot find work to provide adequate shelter or
nutrition. Zimbabweans often live in shared apartments, where 20 people or
more sleep in shifts. Other, less fortunate Zimbabweans are sleeping in the
streets, at bus stations, in makeshift shelters, in half-built homes at
construction sites, or in churches that act as shelters. Among this class of
Zimbabweans, most people Refugees International talked to reported eating
only once a day, or even less often if they could not find work. This
situation is compounded by the need of Zimbabweans to support families at
home. Many reported sending more than 50% of their earnings home, and
surviving on the bare minimum that remains. As one woman told us, "If I eat,
then my children will not." Humanitarian assistance needs to be provided to
these Zimbabweans who insist on maintaining their ability to send
remittances home.

As more Zimbabweans arrive in neighboring countries, the need for emergency
shelter, feeding, medical attention, and other services will only continue
to grow. Already there has been a rapid growth in church-based shelters
throughout South Africa responding to the lack of housing. International
agencies that are operational in southern Africa should explore ways to
integrate Zimbabweans into existing programs, and evaluate the possibility
of providing new services to them. This need is particularly acute in
Botswana, where few operational humanitarian organizations are present.

The United Nations and bilateral donor programs should focus on expanding
the capacity of government hospitals and other public services to meet the
needs of Zimbabweans. Operational programs of non-governmental organizations
should look to provide new services for Zimbabweans and vulnerable members
of the host community. The current scope of need is manageable if agencies
begin to respond in the near-term. However, if programming does not move
quickly, the continued increase of Zimbabwean migration in the region could
swell to unmanageable proportions over the course of the coming year.

4. A New Approach

Contingency planning currently underway by the United Nations does not
reflect the reality of present-day Zimbabwe. Though all plans are
confidential, conversations with UN officials indicate that current planning
is based on a scenario involving "massive influx" of Zimbabweans into
neighboring countries over a short period of time. Such a response would
entail setting up traditional refugee camps and providing humanitarian
assistance in that context. As one official described to us, such a plan
would be triggered by "hundreds of thousands of people crossing the border
in a few weeks." Rather than planning for such a scenario, the United
Nations must begin to base its contingency planning on the continued, steady
flow of Zimbabweans out of their home country, exactly what is happening at
present. The current trend promises hundreds of thousands of people crossing
borders and blending into the ranks of the urban poor in the upcoming
months, a scenario that requires equal attention, planning and response.

Lastly, the United Nations system must make firm decisions about leadership
and coordination regarding Zimbabweans in the region. Currently, there is
little or no effective leadership on this issue among agencies, largely
because they claim that their mandate does not allow for more work with this
population. A lead agency must be appointed, with regional responsibility
for coordination activities, contingency/strategic planning, and relations
with host governments. Operational agencies that RI met with are asking for
formal coordination and information sharing as they look to address
Zimbabweans in their work plans, and it is an appropriate and important role
for the UN to play.

Policy Recommendations

1. Host governments immediately cease all deportation of Zimbabweans.

2. Host governments develop a new legal framework, in consultation with
civil society organizations and the United Nations, to provide Zimbabweans
facilitated entry and ensure reasonable protection.

3. International agencies integrate Zimbabweans into existing assistance
programs in South Africa, Botswana, and Zambia, and/or explore expansion of
regional programming to include Zimbabweans, especially in Botswana.

4. The United Nations rework its contingency planning to reflect the true
nature of flows out of Zimbabwe. It must develop the means to coordinate the
provision of humanitarian assistance.

Advocates Sean Garcia and Patrick Duplat just returned from a one-month
assessment of the situation for Zimbabweans in the southern Africa region.


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Opposition In Zimbabwe Presses Electoral Authority For Consultations

VOA

By Carole Gombakomba
Washington
07 November 2007

The Zimbabwean opposition faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai has asked the
national elections authority to reconsider its refusal to hold a multi-party
gathering to discuss issues including the voters roll, registration and new
constituency delimitation.

Elections Director Ian Makone of the Tsvangirai faction of the Movement for
Democratic Change said formation wants the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to
convene the meeting to discuss "practical approaches" to registering voters
so as to avoid mistakes made in such an exercise this year and in the 2005
elections.

ZEC Chairman George Chiweshe told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio
7 for Zimbabwe he held consultations after the first round of mobile
registration earlier this year, so he sees no immediate need to meet with
stakeholders now, noting that a second round of voter registration by mobile
units is currently underway.

But the Zimbabwe Election Support Network said mobile registration faces the
same problems that limited registrations in the first round to some 80,000
voters. The group, which is monitoring the registration exercise nationwide,
said it will give Chiweshe's commission its findings on Friday, including a
statement of its concerns.

The current mobile registration drive is to end on Nov. 15.

Though the commission has said it wants to register as many voters as it
can, ZESN Chairman Noel Kututwa said the current registration drive has not
been given enough publicity and it is running into the same logistical
problems experienced in August.


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Zimbabwe faces seed shortages, eyes imports

Reuters

Wed 7 Nov 2007, 11:36 GMT

HARARE, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe will import maize seed to plug a shortage
that threatens to upset plans by President Robert Mugabe's government to
increase production of the staple crop and end food shortages, a minister
said on Wednesday.

Mugabe, whose drive to seize white-owned farms to resettle blacks has been
blamed for triggering the southern African country's deep economic crisis,
has targeted 3 million tonnes of the staple maize and a return to food self
sufficiency next year.

But critics have warned that seed, fertiliser and fuel shortages -- which
have ruined previous seasons -- could once again affect farm production.

Agriculture Minister Rugare Gumbo told reporters on Wednesday that
government was still battling to secure adequate maize seed for the 2007/8
planting season.

"We wanted to have 50,000 metric tonnes of seed maize ... we have right now
confirmed with our seed houses 35,000 metric tonnes," Gumbo said.

"We have therefore a shortfall of about 15,000 metric tonnes."

Gumbo added that the country had ordered some seed from Zambia.

"We are importing 4,400 metric tonnes from Zambia. There will be additional
imports from countries in the region to make the figure," Gumbo said.

The minister revealed that low prices offered to seed producers -- currently
78.5 million Zimbabwean dollars (about $2,600 at the official exchange rate
but $65 on the black market) were a major cause of the shortage.

"We must stress that maize seed farmers want viable prices. We are for
massive production of all agricultural commodities ... to that extent, we
want to formulate a policy where the price of seed is perhaps twice that of
commercial maize," Gumbo said.

United Nations aid agencies Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the
World Food Programme (WFP) have said 4 million Zimbabweans -- about a third
of the population -- will require food aid by the first quarter of 2008.

The country is currently importing wheat and maize from South Africa, Zambia
and Malawi to ease a serious shortage.

Gumbo said less than a tenth of the country's annual wheat requirements had
been delivered to the state grain agency, which has the monopoly to purchase
grain from farmers.

"Over 34,000 metric tonnes of wheat have been delivered to the Grain
Marketing Board as of last Friday," Gumbo said.

"As you know, we are involved in importation ... we require about 400,000
metric tonnes of wheat."

Upheavals in the commercial farming sector following the often violent farm
seizures plunged Zimbabwe into an economic recession -- shown in inflation
above 7,900 percent, an 80 percent jobless rate and shortages of food, fuel
and foreign currency.

Mugabe, the country's sole ruler since independence from Britain in 1980,
denies his policies have ruined one of the continent's most promising
economies and accuses Western nations of sabotaging the economy as
punishment for his land reforms. (Reporting by Nelson Banya, editing by
Michael Roddy)


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Cash shortage worsens despite increase in cheque withdrawal limit



By Henry Makiwa
7 November 2007

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on Tuesday raised the cheque limit that can be
accepted for clearing by 150 percent to a maximum Z$500 million in its
latest bid to tackle the cash shortages.

The move is the latest in a series of measures by the Zimbabwean authorities
to alleviate the cash crisis, which many blame on President Mugabe's
controversial policies.

In his latest attempt to curb the world's highest inflation, Reserve Bank
chief Gideon Gono announced the new measures which analysts and economists
swiftly rubbished as cosmetic. The country has been experiencing a
widespread cash shortage that the government has attempted to curtail by
printing more bank notes to no avail.

Daily cash withdrawals have been limited to Z$20 million for individuals and
Z$40 million for companies which, to many, is too little for business.
Proposals by Gono to introduce higher note denominations or introduce a new
currency in the past months have been scrapped demonstrating the government's
indecision at addressing the crisis.

Economist Daniel Ndlela said the government had run out of ideas.

He said: "The new cheque limit will not change much because in itself it is
very little. It is worth some US$415 on the black market rate and that is
what many are using these days. It cannot buy you much if you are a
businessman.

"Gono cannot change much until the politics change. The cash shortage is
because the deposit base has rapidly declined even when the central bank is
disbursing cash into the banking system. We have a situation where deposits
are failing to satisfy withdrawals because very little deposits are taking
place," said Ndlela.
Gono has been printing trillions of dollars and pumping them into the
manufacturing sector in an effort to revive the supply side of the economy.
His intentions, observers have noted, have been to reverse the damage done
by the government since June when it imposed price cuts across every
economic sector, resulting in the shortage of essential goods, and many
company closures.

.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


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Over 90 WOZA activists arrested and released in Tuesday demo



By Lance Guma
07 November 2007

Over 90 activists from women's pressure group WOZA and its male wing MOZA
were arrested on Tuesday in Harare before being released the same day in the
evening. The group was protesting over a variety of issues including
unaffordable school fees, power and water shortages and escalating state
sponsored violence against pro-democracy activists. Human rights lawyer Alec
Muchadehama confirmed the arrest of at least 98 activists by lunchtime on
the day. The protesters marched from First Street along Nkwame Nkrumah until
police intercepted them at the corner of Nelson Mandela and Sam Nujoma
avenues.

The protesters held up placards and distributed fliers to motorists and
pedestrians in the city centre. Anti-riot police then converged on the
marchers and ordered them to sit on the pavement outside Standard Chartered
Bank, which is opposite the Anglican Cathedral.
Some of the placards had quotes from Steve Biko, 'You can put out a candle
light, but once the light becomes a blaze it is difficult to extinguish.'

Our correspondent Simon Muchemwa reports that only two protesters a man and
a woman were assaulted for protesting alone after their friends had been
arrested. The male protester was immediately whisked away with 17 others in
a B18 police truck leaving the rest seated. The others who included WOZA
leader Jenni Williams walked all the way to Harare Central Police station
under the watchful eye of the police. By 1400hrs Aleck Muchadehama a member
of Zimbabwe Lawyers For Human Rights was at the station trying to ascertain
the condition of the arrested.

In a surprising development however a Chief superintendent Madzingo (Acting
Officer Commanding CID Law and order) at Harare Central police station
ordered the release of the activists saying they had a right to demonstrate.
Madzingo is said to have angrily reprimanded his officers in front of the
WOZA/MOZA activists branding them overzealous. Muchadehama also confirmed to
Newsreel that Madzingo said the women had genuine grievances, which merited
attention. Madzingo however told WOZA leader Jenni Williams to seek
permission from the police the next time they intended to protest.

This defence lawyer Muchadehama says is the problem. Under the Public Order
and Security Act (POSA) political parties are required to seek permission
from the police whereas WOZA and its MOZA wing were not a political party.
The group has in the past vowed to ignore repressive laws and demonstrate
all the same.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


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Aspirin for snakebite in Mugabeland

Moneyweb

How long can Zimbabwean tragedy go on? Is their present our future?

David Carte
Wed Nov 07 02:54:51 SAST 2007

The daughter of Zodwa, my daughter's domestic helper, was bitten by a puff
adder in rural Zimbabwe. At the clinic, all they had for her was aspirin.

The child was in agony for days and there were real fears for her life.
Needless to say her mother dropped everything and my daughter paid R1 000
for a taxi to take her to her daughter's side. Happily the bite was less
than a full one and she is recovering, nourished by food brought to her from
SA by her mother.

Raymond, our Zimbabwean gardener, was detained all last weekend because the
police suspected his papers were forged. Not so, so he was released with no
apology on the Monday. He says he was not required to pay a bribe.

Raymond has a young wife and a tiny baby struggling to survive in Zimbabwe,
where maize is in short supply and Anopheles mosquitoes take a terrible
toll. His biggest problem is getting money through to them.

Our own new domestic, Tammy, sends three quarters of her money straight up
to her family in Zim. What those precious rands buy I can only guess.

These are little glimpses of the misery being caused in my backyard in
Murders Drift by the Mugabe regime. Cathy Buckle's blog on Moneyweb paints a
far worse picture of the disaster inside Mugabeland.

Many alarmists fear that this scenario is our future. I am sure that is why,
as we published yesterday, South Africans are reluctant investors in
equities. Meantime foreigners have more faith in our future, buy our shares
and prosper.

My friend Patrick speaks for many Moneyweb readers in saying: "There is no
integrity in SA."

He reckons that like Mugabe, every politician and public servant has only
one interest - what's in it for him? No-one since Mandela seems to view a
job in government as service. It's more an opportunity to grab copious sums
of money. Affirmative action and black economic empowerment are just as
racist as anything the Nats did.

He reckons that has been the pattern for every country in Africa. Otherwise
why is there so little evidence of hundreds of billions of dollars of Aid
money? Why is that Africa is a basket case when it has huge natural
resources?

It is a compelling argument.

Having decided to stay here to the end of my days, I have a vested interest
in optimism. I admit I am biased in favour of a better future.

My contention has been you could not expect SA to solve all its problems in
just 13 years after 350 years of white hegemony, that as more people become
educated and middle class, our democracy will mature, indeed we will be very
prosperous as Third World millions attain First World lifestyles.

I am hoping that in our industrial revolution that is unfolding, we shall
emulate South Korea, Singapore and other Asian countries that were more
backward than we were in the 1960s. Every day there is evidence that this is
happening.

I think we should bear in mind that the former regime was cruel and
neglectful towards 80% of the population. Like other African rulers, they
ran the country with the interests of only their tribe in mind.

Anyone who supported them - and that was 80% of the white tribe - was guilty
of complicity in corruption at least equal to that which we see today. We
accepted cheap discriminatory education, health services and security forces
that violently protected the 20%. At least the truth comes out today.
Baddies are fingered every day. Back then, murder and grand larceny often
went unrecorded.

We bought property where they couldn't and today are millionaires because of
that privilege.

It would be crazy to expect peace, harmony and roses in the garden after the
radical revolution through which we have come. It should also be no surprise
that the playing field in education and in employment has been tilted
against us after it was so dramatically tilted for us in the past.

In short, we should all bless our cotton socks that we have jobs, cars and
swimming pools and do all we can to advance the country and influence its
future direction.

I have to admit, though, that my optimism does ring hollow while the SA
government can see no wrong in Mugabe and while it continues with a health
minister who recommends African beetroot as a cure for HIV/Aids.

Trevor Manuel and Tito Mboweni stand out like proverbial sore thumbs among
our politicians as people of competence and dare one say it: integrity?

Cyril Ramaphosa looks a good man but with friends like me, who needs
enemies?


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Executive mayors face the axe

07 November 2007,

The Minister of Local Government, Public works and urban development Dr I
Chombo has announced governments' plans to amend the Urban Councils Act
(UCA) Chapter 29:15 and remove the post of Executive Mayors. The plan has
also been endorsed by the Zanu Pf central committee held recently.
Presenting his report to Parliament Minister Chombo argued that there was no
tangible evidence to show an improvement in the quality of service delivery
offered by local authorities since the Mayors came into being.

The post of Executive Mayor was created in 1995 following a repeal of the
act that established the UCA 29:15. The government argued then it was
creating the post of the mayor in response to the continued deterioration of
service delivery in local urban councils. The mayor was supposed to the
point person in the management of services for local authorities. He/ She
would manage the urban council and would shoulder the responsibility of
making sure that quality services are provided. Sadly, local authorities
have not been left independent to operate and implement programs without the
interference of central government.

The Ministry of Local Government has continued to meddle with the affairs of
local authorities. The MDC controlled twelve mayoral posts by the 2002 but
it has now eight. Three were from Harare, Chitungwiza and Mutare were
unlawfully dismissed on charges of incompetence. The other post was lost in
a by election. The government had earlier targeted to control urban voters
through mayors and to consolidate their hold on power but as the influence
of the opposition grew so did their interference. Local authorities thus
failed to perform their duties owing to failure to implement development
programs.

The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) thus views the move to
change the Urban Council's Act 29:15 to scrap mayoral posts as lacking
strategy. The removal of mayoral posts will not improve service delivery in
Harare or any other local authority. The Association is also against the
repeal and continued piecemeal amendments of UCA 29:15. In view of the
continued downward trend in the quality of Municipal services CHRA
recommends a holistic overhaul of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15) as
opposed to piecemeal amendments. The act in its current form has a lot of
structural defects and weaknesses. It gives the Minister of Local
Government, Public works and Urban Development sweeping powers to interfere
with local authorities. It leaves room for manipulation to feed into party
political interests.

The Association is committed to the reform of local governance in Zimbabwe.
This shall be done through advocacy directed at the Parliament of Zimbabwe,
the Ministerial cabinet and various stakeholders interested in the
development of local governance. CHRA will continue mobilizing residents and
conscientising them on their civic rights and how to demand the. CHRA
continues to advocate for enhanced civic participation in matters of local
governance.

Farai Barnabas Mangodza
Chief Executive Officer
Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)
145 Robert Mugabe Way
Exploration House, Third Floor
Harare
ceo@chra.co.zw
www.chra.co.zw
 Landline: 00263- 4- 705114

Contacts: Mobile: 0912638401, 011443578, 011862012 or email info@chra.co.zw
 


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ZINWA takes over Kwekwe water, sewer management

The Zimbabwean

 Wednesday, 07 November 2007 16:05

The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) has taken over sewer and water
management in Kwekwe. This follows a cabinet decision authorizing ZINWA to
pounce on local authorities and takeover sewer and water management.
Residents will begin to receive services bills from ZINWA at the end of
November, said, ZINWA media relations officer Mr Shoriwa. The takeover is
effective beginning of November (01-11-07) and will result in the City
loosing its technical staff and engineers.
Kwekwe will also loose revenue that was being generated from the management
of sewer and water services. This will prejudice other social and community
services that were being funded from the revenue generated from sewer and
water management. Infrastructural development will also be stifled as water
and service managemement is a major revenue source. Services in other cities
have seriously deteriorated since the takeover by ZINWA. Water and sewer
services in Harare have seriously dropped to alarming levels. ZINWA lacks
the capacity to manage water affairs in Zimbabwe. The parliamentary
portfolio committee on local government has also spoken about the incapacity
of ZINWA to run water and sewer services on a national scale.
The Association recently convened a national water convention in Masvingo in
response to the illegal takeover and the continued deterioration of water
and sewer services. The convention elected the National Water Taskforce
which has made representations to parliament and cabinet about the state of
water services. The Task force is a national initiative advocating for
access to clean and safe water in Zimbabwe. The Taskforce was formed against
the backdrop of the cabinet decision authorizing the Zimbabwe National Water
Authority (ZINWA) to takeover the administration of sewer and water services
from local authorities. The Taskforce made the following resolutions:
Water taskforce resolutions
The water taskforce rejects the takeover of sewer and water administration
form Urban Local Authorities.
Cabinet should reverse its decision in line with Parliament (house of
Assembly and Senate) recommendations.
Continue to push for peaceful boycotts and resistance campaigns.
Lobby local authorities to resist the takeover of sewer and water
administration.
The Association continues to lobby parliament and the cabinet of Zimbabwe to
seriously consider the impact of the takeover. There is ample evidence that
ZINWA has failed to administer effective and transparent and quality water
and sewer services. If the government is interested in Zimbabweans continue
to receive quality water services the decision must be rescinded. CHRA
demands quality and affordable municipal services. - Farai Barnabas
Mangodza, CHRA


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Struggle continues for Zimbabwean women

Business Daily

Written by Grace Kwinjeh
November 8, 2007: Zimbabwe activist Lucia Matibenga is up and raising
questions of intra-party democracy and women's empowerment as a pre-
requisite of good governance within Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC).

To understand Matibenga's battle, it is important for us activists who
were inspired and greatly influenced by Dongo in our political activism to
look back. The first concern has to do with moral leadership.

What lessons can the MDC learn from the "struggles within the
 struggle" during the war of liberation as documented by the late Masipula
Sithole? Sithole does not rule out the possibility of conflict in political
organisations, however, what matters is how the leadership responds and
handles the conflict.

Is there a moral value in Matibenga's struggle within the MDC? The
late Sithole answers this by saying: "In the long run, morally right actions
will triumph over politically expedient actions. Just watch and see."

Indeed, we have not only watched, but many of us are victims of that
Zanu PF system of dictatorship and tyranny which birthed itself during our
liberation struggle.

The uneasy feeling one gets in supporting Matibenga's cause is of
being at war with the leadership with the consequence of serious political
backlash. I want to argue further that the MDC is faced with these problems
because of failure to dismantle the exhausted patriarchal model of
liberation as espoused by Horace Campbell and others.

A model whose main characteristics are sexism, dictatorship and
cronyism, the way the nationalists integrated themselves into the colonial
systems, the MDC and other social liberation movements such as the Movement
for Multi-party Democracy in Zambia have become hybrids of these models.

 The failure to break from colonial and nationalist politics can be
described as another instance of what Frantz Fanon called "false
decolonisation" or "political decadence".  "In its beginnings, the national
bourgeoisie of the colonial country identifies itself with the decadence of
the West. We need not think that it is jumping ahead; it is in fact
beginning at the end."

The great pan-Africans proposed a liberation model that sought to
restore black woman of her dignity so viciously stripped of her by the
settler colonialists.

For the MDC women I will leave them with the advise of the late
nationalist Oliver Tambo to ANC women in 1981: "Women in the ANC should stop
behaving like there was no place for them above the level of certain
categories of involvement.

They have a duty to liberate us men from antique concepts and
attitudes about the place and role of women in society and the development
and direction of our revolutionary struggle."

Kwinjeh is a visiting scholar with the Centre for Civil Society.

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