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

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Zim Online

FRESH VOTERS' ROLL STILL IN SHAMBLES
Mon 11 October 2004

††††† HARARE - Several hundreds of thousands of "ghost voters" still appear
on a new voters' roll compiled by Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede for use
in next year's parliamentary election, sources at Mudede's office told
ZimOnline.

††††† Mudede met President Robert Mugabe two weeks ago to formally tell him
that he had finished compiling the register of voters for the March poll.
The registrar also gave Mugabe a copy of the new roll, according to the
sources.

††††† "Mudede met the President (Mugabe) to appraise him on progress in the
compilation of the voters' roll. He told the President he had finished
preparing the roll and also gave him a copy of the new voters' roll," said a
senior official at Mudede's Makombe Building
††††† offices.

††††† Mudede confirmed meeting Mugabe but refused to disclose whether they
discussed the issue of the voters' roll. He also would not discuss charges
that the new roll contains mistakes and names of people who have either died
or left Zimbabwe.

††††† He said: "I met him (Mugabe) because he is my boss. But I cannot
discuss what we met for neither can I discuss issues to do with the voters'
roll."

††††† There are slightly more than five million names on Zimbabwe's voters'
roll. Out of these, two million are names of people who have either fled
economic hardships and political violence in the country and are now living
abroad or they are names of people who have succumbed to a raging HIV/AIDS
epidemic that is killing at least 2 000 Zimbabweans every week.

††††† The Zimbabwe government estimates that more than four million of its
citizens are living abroad, mostly in South Africa, Britain, Botswana,
United States and Canada.

††††† Besides the phantom voters, the registrar, who earlier this year
carried out a national exercise to update the voters' register had not
adequately factored in the movement of voters between constituencies.

††††† As a result several hundreds of thousands of voters, who have since
changed location since the last election, are still registered in their old
††††† constituencies and may not be able to vote next year.

††††† Under laws governing parliamentary elections people can only vote in a
particular constituency under which they are registered.

††††† The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, local
and international election observers have in the past accused Mudede, a well
known ruling ZANU PF party supporter, of manipulating the shambolic voters'
roll to the advantage of the
††††† ruling party.

††††† The MDC also accused Mudede of concentrating a voter registration
exercise at the beginning of the year in areas known to back ZANU PF. Mudede
denies the charges of bias towards ZANU PF. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

Governor hauled to court over death threats to MDC official
Mon 11 October 2004

††††† MASHONALAND CENTRAL - The governor of Mashonaland Central province,
Ephraim Masawi, will today appear in the High Court in Harare to answer to
charges of masterminding political violence and issuing death threats to
opposition supporters here.

††††† Masawi, the first high-ranking member of the ruling ZANU PF party to
be tried for political violence, sometime this year allegedly ordered
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party national executive
member, Claudius Marimo, to leave the
††††† province after he refused to defect to ZANU PF.

††††† The governor, who is the most senior government official in the
province, is alleged to have held several meetings with ZANU PF militants
urging them to cleanse the province of MDC supporters. Mashonaland Central
is a stronghold of the ruling party.

††††† The ruling party militants later raided Marimo's business in Musana
communal lands in the province. They destroyed the property and looted goods
and cash amounting to Z$3 million. The MDC official was forcibly evicted
from the area and now lives in
††††† Goromonzi in the neighbouring Mashonaland East province.

††††† In opposing papers filed with the court, Masawi admits having asked
Marimo to leave his party and join ZANU PF but claims he had said it more as
a joke and to a person with whom he "has no problems at a social level."

††††† Masawi denied threatening Marimo or other MDC supporters in the area
with death and said he regretted the looting of the opposition official's
business by ZANU PF militants.

††††† He said: "I wish to humbly stress that if it ever happened (looting),
that was a regrettable reaction of the community which might have
erroneously believed that Marimo's political affiliation might have a
negative impact on community development."

††††† Marimo wants the court to ban Masawi or anyone acting on his behalf
from visiting his businesses and home and that they are stopped from
threatening to assault or evict him, his family and his employees.

††††† Justice Tedius Karwi is hearing the matter.

††††† ZANU PF has been accused of using violence and murder to intimidate
villagers in remote rural areas to support the party. Most parts of
Mashonaland Central province are no-go areas unless one has a membership
card of the ruling party. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

Clip Mugabe's powers, says NGO
Mon 11 October 2004
††††† HARARE - The Zimbabwe Election Support Network is lobbying Parliament
to clip President Robert Mugabe's sweeping powers to change the country's
electoral laws and regulations.

††††† The group, which is an alliance of human rights and pro-democracy
organisations in the country, says Mugabe, who is also President of the
ruling ZANU PF party, has in the past amended the Electoral Act to the
advantage of his party.

††††† Only Parliament should have power to amend electoral laws to ensure
transparency and fairness, the alliance said in proposals submitted to
Parliament and to Mugabe and his Cabinet.

††††† Part of the proposals read: "Under the current Electoral Act the
President has wide powers to amend the Act without reference to Parliament
(although) the President is leader of a political party that contests the
election.

††††† "In Presidential elections, the President has been a contestant. It is
totally unacceptable to vest in the President this power. It can be used and
has been used to change electoral laws so as to favour one party."

††††† On top of powers to virtually chop and change electoral rules and
regulations as he deems fit, Mugabe also appoints the Registrar-General, who
registers voters and candidates for elections. The registrar also conducts
the actual voting and has powers to declare an election valid or invalid.

††††† Mugabe also appoints the Delimitation Commission that divides the
country into constituencies, a key issue in a country where rural areas are
known to back the ruling party while urban areas support the main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change party.

††††† The President also appoints the Election Supervisory Commission that
is tasked with ensuring that polls are free and fair.

††††† A draft Bill tabled in Parliament last week proposes the creation of a
new Zimbabwe Electoral Commission that the government says will be
independent and will take charge of all polls.

††††† But critics say the proposed commission will lack independence because
its chairman will be appointed by Mugabe while its other four members will
be nominated by Parliament's Standing Orders committee that is heavily
dominated by ZANU PF.

††††† But it is doubtful whether the pro-democracy alliance will succeed in
convincing a ZANU PF-dominated Parliament to change the law and reduce
Mugabe's powers. - ZimOnline

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The Scotsman

Dark days in Zimbabwe's Sunshine City

JANE FIELDS IN HARARE


IT IS 6:20pm and as I put a few potatoes into a saucepan to boil, the lights
flicker off. Power cuts are nothing new in Harare these days, but it has
been a bad week in the once efficient, clean capital everyone used to call
the Sunshine City.

After days of ignoring "no petrol" signs outside the city's fuel stations,
the state-run newspaper has finally admitted that once again, there are fuel
shortages.

Thousands of commuters have been left stranded, the minibuses they depend on
stuck in fuel queues, a recurring feature of life in Zimbabwe in the past
four years.

The Sunday Mail assures us the fuel situation is "expected to be back to
normal by Tuesday next week" and adds that it is the oil companies' and not
the government's fault.

When the mouthpiece of the president, Robert Mugabe, tells you not to worry,
you know something is seriously wrong. So it is back to measuring out every
precious drop of fuel and rationing trips to the supermarket.

Not that shopping trips are much of an option these days. The cash is
running out. Fears that Zimbabwe's energetic central bank governor, Gideon
Gono, will close down more banks - six financial institutions have had their
operations suspended recently - have fuelled massive cash withdrawals by
depositors wanting to take their cash somewhere safer.

"There's no money in the bank, there's no money in the machine," one man
complaining in Sam Levy's Shopping Village in the plush Borrowdale suburb.

Water is another commodity in short supply, with doubts about the safety of
municipal water for months now. Boil twice, then filter, I have been
advised. But dubious water is better than no water, as people across Harare
know only too well.

The city council last month introduced 18-hour water cuts to many suburbs,
blaming breakdowns at an aging water treatment plant and pipe leakages.

Our landlord fixed the borehole several weeks ago, meaning our regular trips
to a friend with a car boot full of empty two-litre Mazoe Orange Squash
bottles to fill from her well are - for now at least - over.

But others are not so lucky. The authorities have had to deploy water
bowsers to several northern areas, including Chikurubi Maximum Security
Prison, where the former British SAS officer Simon Mann is serving a
seven-year term for a mercenary plot. State radio said it had been without
tap water for "too long".

Staff quarters at Harare International Airport have, meanwhile, been flooded
with raw sewage since pipes burst more than a month ago. Fears of a
dysentery outbreak are running high. "We are exposed to this filthy water
every day and it is a matter of time before people start dying," a resident
told the Sunday Mail.

Zimbabwe's four-year political and economic crisis has taken its toll on
Harare. Life here was not always this bad.

Mike Davies, chairman of the Combined Harare Residents' Association (CHRA),
says that while conditions for the average city dweller have always been
poor, "it's got worse for them".

Many here speak of smooth water delivery as well as functioning schools,
libraries and hospitals in the heady few years after independence in 1980.

Until recently, Mr Mugabe's government blamed the opposition-led council for
the city's woes.

But in August, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) councillors resigned en
masse, saying government interference was making it impossible to do their
job.

The acting mayor, Sekesai Makwavarara, defected to the ruling ZANU-PF party
and was promptly rewarded with a farm near the president's rural home of
Zvimba, according to local press reports.

As the heat rises ahead of next month's rains, desperation is deepening.
Students at the once-reputed University of Zimbabwe are resorting to
prostitution to pay their way. Up to 75 per cent of female students trade
sex for rent, food or money, according to the Herald newspaper recently.

Churches have had to include whites, the formerly privileged minority group,
on their feeding lists.

Our friend Jon was surviving mostly on local nyimo beans and avocado pears
from his tree until a local Presbyterian church began delivering food
parcels. Now he has rediscovered the taste of chicken, he says.

Pensioners are renting out their homes to fund their latter years. Showing
me round her house in the leafy Highlands suburb, one woman told me she was
moving into a church-run complex.

Her husband is retiring after more than 40 years as a teacher at one of
Zimbabwe's best private schools. His pension is just $50,000 Zimbabwe (about
£5), "not enough to buy bread for the month", she said ruefully.

Prices are rocketing, despite the official fall in inflation from a peak of
644 per cent in January.

The Central Statistical Office (CSO) claims the figure is now 314 per cent
and the government is on course for its Christmas target of 200 per cent.
But the rumour doing the rounds is that the real figure these days is more
like 700 per cent.

Telephone charges have just been hiked by 485 per cent, pushing phone calls
out of reach for many. Zimbabwe has only one fixed land-line operator and,
conveniently for the phone taps that reporters and opposition politicians
worry about, it is owned by the government. TelOne says the rise has been
necessitated partly by vandalism of its network.

"Zimbabweans have become trapped in a communication and information prison,"
complains a social commentator, Cathy Buckle, in a weekly letter.

Why do you stay, friends ask. An estimated three million Zimbabweans already
live outside the country, and many more are joining them, fleeing worsening
living standards, threats of school closures and fears of a surge in
violence ahead of elections in March.

I stay because I have family here. Because there are still things to write
about. And because, rightly or wrongly, I hope that things cannot stay this
bad forever.
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Rebels take case to ICC

Statement expected from ICC next weekend

Neil Manthorp in Cape Town
Monday October 11, 2004
The Guardian

The 12 remaining Zimbabwean rebels who walked out on their national team six
months ago and effectively instigated an International Cricket Council
investigation into claims of racism and improper behaviour by key members of
their cricket union have filed an official letter of complaint to the ICC
chief executive Malcolm Speed.
A statement is expected from the ICC at its next meeting, on October 16-17.

The letter outlines grievances about the way in which the ICC's short-lived
investigation was conducted in Harare last month, when less than half a day
of the scheduled three-day hearing took place. It also quotes assurances
from one of the two investigators, the South African high court judge Steven
Majiedt, that he and India's solici tor general Goolam Vahanvati would
"investigate questions of fact" and that "counsel would be constrained from
excessive cross-examination".

Norman Arendse, the ZCU's intimidating advocate, fought for three ZCU
directors to be present but the investigators sustained the players'
objection. So why, they ask, was the investigation cancelled when the ZCU
refused to comply? Two of its directors - the chief executive Ozias Bvute
and selection convenor Max Ebrahim - are the subjects of most complaints.

"We had 12 witnesses waiting, some who had travelled great distances. The
inquiry could still have proceeded with certain witnesses giving evidence in
front of all the directors. They were never given the chance," the letter
states.

The rebels add that much of the written evidence presented by their
witnesses would be dismissed as "irrelevant and speculative" without oral
testimony to provide background and context. None of the players handed in
submissions either, as they planned to give oral evidence.

The letter also highlights the case of a Zimbabwean journalist Mehluli
Sibanda, the only man to give evidence. "Contrary to assurances, he was
given no option but to agree to his identity being revealed," they said,
reminding Speed that investigators had earlier agreed that "Sibanda was at
risk".
The letter ends with a paragraph concerning a donation made by Speed to
assist the players. They thanked him for his "genuine attempts" to resolve
the issue but added, "We have seven thousand pounds in trust. Please provide
your bank details and a formal remittance so we can obtain authority to
repatriate it to you."

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IOL

Zimbabwe's electricity bill doubles††† Sheena Adams
††††††††† October 11 2004 at 04:11AM

††††† Zimbabwe's electricity debt to Eskom has more than doubled in the past
year to R74-million.

††††† Minister of Public Enterprise Alec Erwin confirmed the amount in a
written reply to a parliamentary question, adding that the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) had begun repaying an amount of $1,5
million (R9,75 million) a month.

††††† It was reported by former Minister of Public Enterprise Jeff Radebe in
May that the debt was standing at R32,7-million.

††††† Eskom spokesman Fani Zulu said he could not confirm when the
repayments had begun. The repayment agreement was the result of a high level
meeting last March.

††††† In February this year, Eskom cut off Zimbabwe's electricity supply for
two days because of non-payment.

††††† "The situation is looking very good, perhaps because both parties have
committed themselves to finding an amicable solution," Zulu said.

††††† Zesa has owed Eskom money since 1999 when its account went into
arrears. Eskom has been exporting electricity to Zimbabwe since 1996.

††††† Zulu said Zesa's debt had been "going away and re-emerging" as
Zimbabwe's foreign exchange reserves dipped and recovered.

††††† The debt-stricken power supply utility also owes millions of rand to
Mozambique's Hydroelectrica Cahora Bassa. It also imports electricity from
the Democratic Republic of Congo.

††††† In a report last year, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries
estimated Zesa's debt to regional power companies to be about R900-million.



††††††††† .. This article was originally published on page 4 of Pretoria
News on October 11, 2004

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The Herald

Refurbishment of Old Harare International Airport progressing

Refurbishment of the Old Harare International Airport passenger terminal is
progressing well with about 95 percent of the work having been completed,
the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) said on Thursday.

CAAZ acting general manager, Jerry Ndlovu, said the exercise, expected to be
done at a cost of $3 billion, was now scheduled to be completed by end of
November this year, following a lengthy tendering process.

The refurbishment, which will turn the old international terminal into a
domestic terminal, started in July and was supposed to have ended at the
end of August 2004.

"Remarkable progress has been made on the refurbishment of the terminal and
most of the work is now at 95 percent stage of completion," said Ndlovu.

"The work was delayed when we had to go through a long tendering process for
the roof ceiling.

"The ceiling was damaged and this was causing damage to the main structures.

"Thus, most of the outstanding work is waiting for the roof to be done
first."

He said in future when traffic increased, the terminal would be used as a
regional terminal.

Ndlovu said the company that had won the tender was already on site doing
the work and was expected to finish the work in one and a half months.

He said the terminal was expected to become operational by mid December this
year.

Meanwhile, Ndlovu said work to upgrade the Joshua Nkomo International
Airport in Bulawayo was going according to plan with acquisition and
installation of equipment underway.

He said funds were adequate to complete the work, which started more than a
year ago.

Upgrading work at the Joshua Nkomo International Airport involves expansion
of the terminal building, construction of a separate international terminal
and improvement of the existing structures to bring it in line with
international trends. - New Ziana.
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