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Zimbabwe farmers face trial for resisting evictions

Reuters

Thu 11 Oct 2007, 14:42 GMT

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE, Oct 11 (Reuters) - A Zimbabwe court ordered a group of white farmers
to vacate land marked for seizure under a government drive to redistribute
land to blacks, and the state said it would prosecute them for resisting the
evictions.

Agricultural officials say about two-thirds of Zimbabwe's 4,500 or so white
commercial farmers have been forced off their properties by President Robert
Mugabe's government since 2000 and prevented from challenging the land
seizures in court.

Eleven white farmers from Zimbabwe's northwestern Mashonaland West province
now face the same fate after the court on Thursday rejected their plea to be
allowed to remain on their properties pending appeals of their evictions.

Magistrate Tinashe Ndokera said the farmers' challenge of the law backing
their evictions had been made too late, making it seem like a delaying
tactic.

"Despite being served with eviction notices they took no action but (chose)
to ignore them, only to raise issues after the expiry and after appearing in
court facing criminal charges," Ndokera said.

"I am persuaded to agree with the state (prosecutor) that it's a delaying
tactic and there is no seriousness but a mere attempt to buy time through
abuse of process," he said.

Prosecutor Blackson Matemba told the court the state would prosecute the
farmers for breaching orders to vacate their farms by Sept. 30.

If the farmers are convicted, they face heavy fines or jail terms of up to
two years, but defence lawyer David Drury told journalists the farmers would
appeal against Thursday's ruling. Zimbabwe, once a net exporter of grain to
southern Africa, has suffered severe food shortages over the past seven
years as agricultural production dropped sharply in the wake of the land
seizures.

The southern African nation is suffering a deep economic crisis, marked by
soaring poverty, unemployment of 80 percent and inflation of 6,600 percent,
the highest in the world. Thousands flee every day to South Africa to look
for work.

Mugabe, 83, and in power since the country's independence from Britain in
1980, blames the problems on sabotage by Britain and other Western powers,
who he says want to punish him for the land seizures.

He has argued that giving white-owned farms to landless blacks was meant to
restore national dignity and Zimbabwe's sovereignty after the end of British
rule, under which blacks were stripped of much of their fertile land.


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Women tell of Zim brutality

IOL

October 11 2007 at 09:55AM

By Peta Thornycroft

A group of 12 Zimbabwe women, regularly arrested and ill treated in
police custody, this week revealed shocking statistics of violence against
members of their group, Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza).

An interim report released by the group in Johannesburg said about 40
percent of women arrested during peaceful demonstrations were physically
abused in detention.

The report found that Woza members in Harare suffered more in police
custody than their counterparts in second city Bulawayo.

Many women were forced to take off their clothes in detention and were
not allowed toiletries when menstruating.

More than 20 percent of those arrested were hospitalised after being
attacked by policemen, mostly from the notorious Law and Order Department.

Amid the horror and tears as women told their stories in South Africa
for the first time, there was also excitement. "South Africa has bread!" one
young Zimbabwean women exclaimed in the foyer of the hotel in Braamfontein.

Most of them say they can find little to eat as supermarkets have run
out of food and the black market is both unaffordable and short of products.

National co-ordinator Jenni Williams, detained 29 times since the
organisation was launched five years ago, said the women were not aligned
with any political party in Zimbabwe. She described Zimbabwe as a
"heartbroken nation".

She said the shocking death rate from HIV and Aids was exacerbated by
the grave food shortage across the country.

"Come and see the cemeteries, there is no space left."

Mary Ndlovu, a veteran human rights activist living in Bulawayo, said:
"It has become common practice for police to assault Woza women.

"We also organise to nurture a new type of citizen who will herself be
accountable and is brave enough to hold others accountable."

Ndlovu is the widow of liberation war hero Edward Ndlovu, buried in
the national Heroes' Acre in Harare. He was imprisoned by President Robert
Mugabe during the crackdown on the opposition Zapu in the 1980s and died
after his release.

"Events in Zimbabwe are not surprising. We always knew there would be
a lot of violence from Zanu-PF and right now I think it could get worse.

"I joined Woza because I felt there was a great need for a movement of
people to come together, be brave together, to redefine goals and take a
step away from the political power issue."

Woza has demonstrated against many institutions, such as the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe, for its chaotic management of the worthless Zimbabwe
dollar, outside the Electricity Supply Commission.

In the greatest of difficulties, Woza demonstrations have shocked some
men to join them.

Woza does not apply for permission to hold peaceful demonstrations,
because, Williams said, so many of its applications were turned down. -
Independent Foreign Service

This article was originally published on page 17 of Daily News on
October 11, 2007


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Mugabe 'can attend summit'

News24

11/10/2007 19:14 - (SA)

Lisbon - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe can attend the EU-Africa summit in
December despite vehement British opposition, Portugal's Foreign Minister
Luis Amado said on Thursday.

"If the meeting in Lisbon takes place in the presence of Mugabe, he must
hear what is said not only by European countries but also by some African
nations," Lusa news agency quoted Amado as saying in Pretoria.

Amado, whose country is the current EU president, said it was important to
"respect the sovereignty of all the states in the region, the importance of
the process of regional political integration ... and Africans assuming a
greater role in politics."

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said he may boycott the December 8-9
summit if Mugabe is permitted to break an European Union travel ban to
attend.

There has been no EU-Africa summit for seven years, partly due to divisions
over whether Mugabe, in power in Zimbabwe since its 1980 independence from
Britain, should be allowed to attend.

The European Union accuses Mugabe's government of committing human rights
violations and throttling democracy and has imposed sanctions against
Zimbabwe which is gripped by a major economic crisis.

"At the heart of the EU, we cannot confuse our actions, our vision and our
means of action ... including pertinent sanctions against (Mugabe's)
regime - with our approach to the EU-Africa summit," said Amado.

"I am convinced that the summit will open a new page in Europe's relations
with Africa ... with the possibility of approving a common strategy, to
define an action plan and a mechanism of cooperation," said the Portuguese
minister.


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Zimbabwe seeks tourism revival with fair

Reuters

Thu 11 Oct 2007, 15:22 GMT

By MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe opened an international tourism fair on
Thursday to try to generate cash as it battles a severe economic crisis.

Zimbabwe is gripped by the world's highest inflation rate, officially
running at about 6,600 percent, and chronic food, fuel and foreign currency
shortages.

Annual income from tourism, which stood at a record $360 million at its peak
in 1998, plunged to $27 million between January and August this year and its
once booming resorts have been largely abandoned.

But Zimbabwe's troubles have not stopped tourism officials from going on the
offensive, offering visitors sites such as Victoria Falls, one of the
world's natural wonders and the country's top attraction.

"We have been battered by negative publicity but we are still standing ...
we have been resilient in the face of criticism," said Shingi Munyeza, who
chairs the state-sponsored Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, which organised the
event.

On Thursday, the country launched the international fair in Harare, which
attracted about 700 tourism promoters.

Zimbabwe wants to start reversing the slump and lure some of the 450,000
visitors expected to attend the 2010 soccer World Cup in neighbouring South
Africa.

"There is an element of curiosity in the market, people want to see what the
Zimbabwean industry has in store for them. Our tourism is on the recovery
path," said Munyeza.

President Robert Mugabe has accused Western media of peddling lies to scare
away foreign investors as part of a drive by his Western foes to punish him
for seizing white-owned farms for redistribution to poor blacks.

Zimbabwe is home to some of Africa's largest game reserves but conservation
activists say some of the animals are at risk from cross-border trophy
hunters and rampant poaching by people struggling with hunger and rising
poverty.

The Zimbabwe Conservation Trust animal welfare group said in July that the
farm seizures had triggered an estimated 83 percent slump in wildlife on
private farms and conservancies.

Vice President Joyce Mujuru said tourism was one of the sectors targeted to
anchor economic recovery and urged foreign tourists to help market Zimbabwe
as the fair opened.

"We want you to enjoy the peace and tranquillity we offer ... and be the
true ambassadors of the real Zimbabwe," Mujuru said.


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War vets march

The Zimbabwean

BULAWAYO:
VETERANS of Zimbabwe's liberation struggle yesterday afternoon (Thursday)
defied ruling Zanu-PF heavyweights and held a march in Bulawayo in support
of President Robert Mugabe's candidature, a day before the Zimbabwe leader
caps National University of Science and Technology students at a graduation
ceremony in Bulawayo.

The ruling party is fraught with divisions over president Mugabe's
candidature and ruling party are reportedly involved in behind the scenes
internecine infighting to block Mugabe's candidature at a special congress
for the party set for December.

The war veterans - President Mugabe's much feared storm troopers, who
numbered over 500 and held marches in the Central Business District of
Bulawayo, were led by Jabulani Sibanda who has bounced back to Zanu-PF
through the back-door after he was sacked as the war veterans leader in
2004.

Sibanda, who has been linked to rural housing minister Emmerson Mnangagwa,
now apparently Mugabe's preferred successor - is suddenly back in favour and
has already led similar marches in Harare, Mutare, Chipinge and now Gwanda,
drumming up support for the 83-year-old Mugabe.

Sibanda with five provincial chairmen were considered a dissident network
after they threw their weight behind Rural Housing Minister, Emmerson
Mnangagwa to block Joyce Mujuru ascendancy to her lofty post against
Mugabe's wishes.

The veterans, who form the centerpiece of Zanu-PF's campaign strategy and
hardliner supporters of Mugabe who is also their patron, wield immense
influence in the governing ZANU PF party after waging violence and terror
against the opposition at every election to ensure victory for the ruling
party- CAJ News.


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Vice President helps minister's wife skip murder charge



By Lance Guma
11 October 2007

The patronage system that keeps Mugabe's regime together came out clearly
this week when Vice President Joseph Msika helped a minister's wife escape
the murder charges she was facing. The wife of Finance Minister Samuel
Mumbengegwi was arrested at the end of September after allegedly leading a
group of ten soldiers in fatally assaulting Fibion Mafukidze, a former farm
worker accused of stealing from their farm in Mupandawana. The Minister and
his wife Tecla Mumbengegwi grabbed the Irvins Farm from Mr Fraser, a white
commercial farmer. This however did not stop Tecla taking the law into her
own hands to deal with someone who allegedly stole from 'their' farm.

The deceased villager's family refused to bury the body, demanding
compensation from the Mumbengegwi family. A report by the Zimbabwe Times
says they demanded 100 cattle and Z$10 billion. It's only after Msika's
intervention that the murdered villager was buried on Sunday. The Vice
President attended the funeral in an attempt to placate the family. Police
meanwhile have now dropped charges against both Tecla and the nine soldiers
charged with the murder. In a strange twist to the case, one of the soldiers
implicated is reported to have committed suicide whilst in police custody.
The rest have gone back to their barracks at 42 Infantry battalion
headquarters in Masvingo.

Officer commanding Masvingo Province, Assistant Commissioner Charles Makono,
told the Zimbabwe Times; 'we are no longer investigating that case since the
feuding families managed to reach an agreement over the weekend.' Adding
more controversy is the fact that no post-mortem of the body was conducted,
suggesting police were receiving instructions from higher up on how to
handle the matter.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


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MDC leader meets with NZ Prime Minister Helen Clark


MDC Executive Committee Member and 11 March victim of torture meets
New Zealand Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Members of
parliament, October 9 2007
Mrs Sekai Holland (MDC) and Prime Minister Helen Clark of New Zealand
Mrs Sekai Holland of the Movement for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe this week had separate meetings with New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Members of Parliament.

Mrs Holland was accompanied by NZ-based activists for democracy and the rule of law in Zimbabwe, including Driden Kunaka, Save Zimbabwe Campaign NZ, Wellington Region Chair.

Part of the discussions explored the current negotiations mediated by South African President Thabo Mbeki. Members of the New Zealand Parliament strongly supported the calls of the Movement for Democratic Change for an immediate end to violent repression of the opposition.

Mrs Sekai Holland, a member of the MDC National Executive Committee, is one of 30 leaders violently bashed by Zimbabwean police and security agents on March 11 this year.

Mrs Holland and the delegation first met with three of the four MPs of the Maori Party, acknowledging the Maori people as the indigenous people on Aotearoa New Zealand, and explaining to them the way the Mugabe regime abused the land issue to distract from its abject failure to govern for the benefit of the people. The Maori Party MP Mr Hone
Harawira undertook to issue a five point statement of support for the democratic opposition to the Mugabe regime.
Mrs Holland (MDC) with Maori Party MPs and activists

Next the delegation held a media conference hosted by the Green Party spokesperson on foreign affairs, Mr Keith Locke MP, at which Mrs Holland explained in detail how she was tortured, and why the Mugabe regime felt it had to suppress the peaceful democratic resistance campaign that was organised so well in Harare. Mrs Holland warmly acknowledged the work of Rod Donald, the Co-Leader of the Greens, who led the campaign for a cricket boycott of Zimbabwe. Mr Donald was a persistent critic of the
Mugabe regime's abuses of human rights, up to his death in late 2005.

Mrs Sekai Holland (MDC) and Mr Keith Locke MP, Greens spokesperson on
foreign affairs

The Prime Minister, Ms Helen Clark, also met Mrs Holland to find out first hand what had happened in March and to show her strong personal support for the democratic process. Foreign Affairs Minister Mr Peters emphasised how sustained his government's attention to the Zimbabwe crisis had been and asked for advice on how to maintain the pressure for
democratic change. Mrs Holland thanked the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister Peters and the government for providing protection to all Zimbabweans who fled to New Zealand because of the collapse of Zimbabwe's society under Mugabe.

On the evening of 9 October, Mrs Holland was guest speaker at a forum at Victoria University of Wellington, organised by the Institute for Policy Studies. The lecture theatre was packed with 200 people, spellbound by Mrs Holland's account of the process by which the nation created MDC in the 1990s and how the decisions taken by the Mugabe regime to destroy MDC had destroyed the country.

"The indicators are that we are now in the 'endgame' of one of the most spectacular and brutal collapses of a government and an economy in our times. The MDC will have a critical role on this 'endgame', having survived for eight years despite everything, with a mature and renewed MDC leadership and with the people now recognising the foresight of MDC
President Morgan Tsvangirai," she argued forcefully. "The end is coming, it will happen fast and we are determined that it will be peaceful," she said.
She asked everyone to support the people of Zimbabwe so that genuinely peaceful and fair elections could take place.She insisted that there would need to be international intervention to guarantee a fair process, under the umbrella of the United Nations. And she pointed
out that with a completely destroyed economy, Zimbabwe had regressed to a dramatically lower standard of living and far lower average life expectancy, than at independence in 1980.
She concluded: "This will be our second chance at reconstruction and our message this time is extremely simple: bad and corrupt governance destroyed the economy; this is our chance to rebuild; we have to start from the rubble that is Mugabe's legacy".

Mrs Holland has been interviewed by the main national news and current affairs radio programs and by Maori Television.

For further comment:Driden Kunaka +64 210 466 814
Peter Murphy +61 418 312 301

SEARCH Foundation
Level 3, Suite 3B, 110 Kippax St,
SURRY HILLS NSW 2010
Australia
Ph: 02 9211 4164; Fax: 02 9211 1407
ABN 63 050 096 976
promoting democracy, social justice and environmental sustainability
This email is provided by the SEARCH Foundation as an information service. Any views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the Foundation.


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Zimbabwe mines get power directly from Mozambique

Reuters

Thu 11 Oct 2007, 6:19 GMT

[-] Text [+] HARARE, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's mines have started
receiving electricity directly from Mozambique after agreeing to pay their
bills in foreign currency in a bid to guarantee supplies, official media
reported on Thursday.

Zimbabwe has suffered chronic electricity shortages that hit industries and
mines, adding to an economic crisis and political tension over President
Robert Mugabe's 27-year rule.

The country's mining sector is the top foreign currency earner following the
collapse of commercial agriculture after Mugabe seized white-owned farms to
give to poor blacks.

Chamber of Mines chief executive Doug Verden said mines which had signed
individual contracts with the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA)
Holdings last week started receiving uniterrupted power, amounting to 220
megawatts.

"They pay in foreign currency to ZESA and receive the power supplies direct
from Mozambique," Verden was quoted as saying by the official Herald
newspaper.

Verden was unavailable for comment.

Shortages of electricity, foreign currency, fuel and food are signs of a
severe economic crisis that has left Zimbabwe with an inflation rate above
6,600 percent.

The newspaper said some of the companies benefiting from the arrangement
were Zimplats, which is owned by the world's second largest platinum
producer Implats <IMPJ.J>, top nickel miner Bindura Nickel Corporation,
Central African Gold and RioZim.

The mining chamber said in June that gold producers were operating below 20
percent capacity while some had suspended operations due to power cuts and a
deepening economic crisis.

The chamber has warned that gold output was expected to fall by 23 percent
this year to about 8,700 kg from 11,354 kg last year as producers face
serious operational problems.

Implats chief executive David Brown said in July electricity supply was one
of the problems of operating in Zimbabwe.

Critics blame Zimbabwe's economic crisis on the controversial policies of
Mugabe who denies mismanaging the economy and blames Western sanctions.


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House of Lords debates British interests in Zimbabwe

zimbabwejournalists.com
11th Oct 2007 10:45 GMT

By a Correspondent

UK Parliament

House of Lords

Wednesday 10 October 2007

Zimbabwe: Company Assets

3.21 pm

Lord Blaker asked Her Majesty’s Government:
What steps they are taking to protect British interests in Zimbabwe against forcible seizure by the Government of Zimbabwe of 51 per cent of the assets of companies.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown) : My Lords, we understand that, regrettably, the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Bill, which requires the transfer of at least 51 per cent of foreign-owned companies to indigenous Zimbabweans, will become law shortly.

We are certainly in favour of an environment in which Zimbabwe business and business people can prosper, and it is important that all Zimbabweans can benefit from the natural mineral and other resources available in Zimbabwe; but the indigenisation Bill will discourage foreign investment from investing and remaining in Zimbabwe. It will not ease the country’s economic crisis. I can assure the noble Lord that we are keeping in touch with British companies in Zimbabwe and discussing their concerns.

Lord Blaker: My Lords, is it not clear that Mugabe’s purpose is not to help the economy of his country, but to enhance his power of patronage by giving him the ability to bribe his cronies with businesses as well as farms? Does the noble Lord recall that President Mbeki not long ago said that African problems should be dealt with by Africans?

Is not SADC positively aggravating the problems of southern Africa, because every time Mugabe attends a SADC ministerial conference he is greeted as a hero? That cannot be doing any good to the investment which southern Africa needs.

Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, I agree with every word. My one qualification is that the SADC negotiations, led by President Mbeki, are in their final stages in trying to agree conditions for free and fair elections. We should wait to see those results before arriving at a judgment, but, so far, SADC has disappointed us with the treatment it has accorded President Mugabe.

Lord Morris of Handsworth: My Lords, in light of the Prime Minister’s statement that he will not attend the Lisbon summit if President Mugabe is there, what advice is being given to our sportsmen and women who are required to be on the same field of play as representatives of the Zimbabwe Government? Does the Minister agree that the Prime Minister of Australia has given a clear lead in saying that Zimbabwe will not be able to tour Australia? Have the British Government any plans to give similar advice?

Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, we are reluctant to involve ourselves too directly in matters of sport. We hope that sporting bodies can arrive at this decision on their own, but we agree that we must look at the Australian example. My ministerial colleague in the other House said yesterday that we were reviewing this matter in light of the Australian decision.

Lord Avebury: My Lords, the Minister agreed yesterday, in the context of Burma, that banking sanctions have been effective in the case of Sudan and should be applied again with Burma. Would that not also extend to Zimbabwe? Can the noble Lord seek to mobilise international support—particularly in South Africa, where companies are also affected, as ours are—for an international ban on the use of the banking system by companies that have been taken over under Mugabe’s seizure?

Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, we already apply banking sanctions and have seized the assets of Zimbabwean individuals named as being responsible for the crimes of this regime. I am afraid that here in the UK we have not found much in that regard, as I think that those responsible prudently moved their assets out of the UK before we did that. However, if there is action against British or South African companies in Zimbabwe, we will certainly want to look at the matter that the noble Lord has raised.

Baroness D'Souza: My Lords, what steps are being taken to ensure that human rights and democracy in Zimbabwe are brought up and discussed in the agenda of the EU-Africa meeting?

Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, first, we are pressing hard—and the Foreign Secretary will press directly for this at a meeting of European Foreign Ministers next week—for the appointment of an EU envoy to visit Zimbabwe before that summit and report back to the EU and the summit on the human rights situation in the country. Secondly, Britain, along with others, continues to support human rights activists inside Zimbabwe so that they can try in a neutral, objective way to bring attention to human rights abuses there.

Lord Tebbit: My Lords—
Baroness Park of Monmouth: My Lords—
Lord Acton: My Lords—
The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): My Lords, each side has spoken but, if we were going in rotation, I think that it would be the turn of the Conservatives.

Lord Tebbit: My Lords, does the Minister recollect that the Question asked what steps the Government are taking to protect British interests in Zimbabwe? What has he said today that will cause Mr Mugabe to shiver in his shoes and draw back from what he is doing?

Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, as always, the noble Lord is forensically correct in his question. The answer is: probably very little. The British Government have taken a number of steps and have pressed the rest of the international community to take more steps against President Mugabe. However, there is no doubt that he seeks to turn this on us by arguing that we are merely perpetrating a continuation of some colonial action against him. It is vital that we persuade his African neighbours and the rest of the international community to share our outrage and combine together on taking other steps against this Government.

Lord Acton: My Lords, further to the point that my noble friend has just made, if this issue is handled by ZANU-PF as poorly as the matter of the commercial farms, is it not likely that this move will lead to still greater unemployment and a still greater number of refugees entering South Africa? In the light of this and of what my noble friend has just said—and pace the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit—what is President Mbeki’s attitude to yet more refugees coming as a result of this legislation?

Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, my noble friend is correct to draw attention to the fact that there are already millions of refugees in South Africa, swamping its social services and increasing its unemployment. There is no doubt that the action of the kind now contemplated in Zimbabwe would target the only functioning parts left of that country’s economy—the natural resources and banking sectors. So we very much hope that President Mbeki will bring his influence to bear to prevent this absurd action.


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Rates boycott gathers momentum over ZINWA

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) raised its water tariffs 3
weeks ago to levels that have left Harare residents thunder struck. The
water tariffs have been increased from $3596, 20 per cubic meter to $23 765,
63 backdated to August 1 2007. Residents who received bills of between
$5million and $25 million continue to flood CHRA offices stating that they
cannot afford the bills. What is baffling is that residents continue to
receive erratic water supplies amid the ballooned costs.

Residents have suffered in a number of ways as a result of the takeover.
Here are some of the complaints brought by residents to CHRA.

Disease outbreaks (Cholera and Dysentery) mostly in Mabvuku, Tafara and
Mbare
Increased water bills

Right to challenge water increases usurped

Erratic water supplies (dirty when supply comes)

Unattended sewer bursts.

CHRA urges all residents to boycott payments of water bills. CHRA continues
to receive many residents looking for information on the rates boycott
campaign. The campaign has been running for the past one year and has over
3000 rate boycotters. Residents are willing to starve the regime of vital
resources that are sustaining oppression. ZINWA is illegitimate and has no
legal mandate to collect water bills. Residents must not fund their
oppression.

The takeover of water services from local authorities follows a Cabinet
decision authorizing the water body to act as such. Harare has been having
water problems ever since. We appeal to other local authorities to resist
the takeover as it will lead to the collapse of services in the country.
ZINWA has no capacity to run water affairs.

Farai Barnabas Mangodza

Chief Executive Officer


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Business people Blasted over Sugar Shortage



The Herald (Harare) Published by the government of Zimbabwe

11 October 2007
Posted to the web 11 October 2007

Harare

Sugar producer Hippo Valley Estates has attributed the shortage of sugar in
Zimbabwe to rampant smuggling by unscrupulous middlemen and dealers.

In an interview, Hippo Valley chief executive Mr Sidney Mutsambiwa last week
said most of Zimbabwe's sugar was finding its way out of the country. He was
speaking during a tour of some sugar producing estates in the Masvingo area,
which Vice President Joseph Msika and various other stakeholders were part
of. Vice President Joseph Msika blasted greedy businesspeople for starving
Zimbabweans of sugar by preferring to export it to neighbouring countries.
He said it was important for Zimbabwean businesspeople and producers in
general to put their country's interests first before riches. "The shortage
of sugar in the country is simply because of greedy businesspeople and
producers who are choosing to export the commodity leaving the local market
starved of key basic commodities like sugar and this emanates from greed
and, nothing else."

He said business people should always try to make sure that they satisfied
the local market before exporting their commodities. "Basically that is the
reason why we do not have enough sugar on the local market," said Cde Msika.
However, there has been some numerous reports in Masvingo that some
unscrupulous businesspeople were smuggling sugar to Mozambique and Zambia
while long queues form outside most supermarkets and shops countrywide as
soon as news of an impending delivery filter through.

Hippo Valley and Triangle - the two major sugar producers - have been
mulling plans to increase sugar cane production once the Tokwe-Murkosi Dam
in Chivi has been completed. Once the dam is complete, the area under sugar
cane in the Lowveld is expected to expand by between 10 000 and 15 000
hectares.


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Qatar flashes the cash at ‘Comrade Bob’

arabianbusiness.com
11 October 2007

Each week Arabian Business turns the spotlight on a leading company.

That's quite a bold move Qatar has just made...

Zimbabwe, you mean?

Too right. Where did that come from?

It's out of the blue. The rest of the world is puzzled at why the Gulf state would want to venture into a country on the brink of economic collapse, where people are starving in the streets and its president Robert Mugabe is facing serious charges of crimes against humanity.

Zimbabwe has the world's highest inflation rate, no?

Yes, it's officially 6,600%, in addition to chronic food and fuel shortages, and 80% unemployment.

And Qatar doesn't seem bothered?

Venessia Petroleum, a company run by a member of Qatar's ruling family, is pumping US$1.5bn into the troubled nation to build a 120,000 barrels-per-day oil refinery and a US$136m five-star hotel in the capital Harare. The company's official line is that it is "not concerned" with the political and economic situation and that it has been in the region for "quite some time".

What is Venessia Petroleum exactly?

It's chaired by Sheik Abdulaziz Bin Mohammad Bin Jabor Al-Thani and operates overseas as Venessia General Trading, established as part of the government's scheme to develop the country's energy sector. The company is also investing in hotels and oil storage facilities in Malawi and South Africa.

I see. And work on the newly announced project starts when, exactly?

After a feasibility study is conducted and examined, consultants will start to design the refinery by the end of this year.

And the oil, where will that come from?

Crude will be imported from Qatar and another Middle Eastern country, according to Venessia Petroleum's general manager Jawahr Zaidi.

Robert Mugabe must be pleased...

No kidding. Zimbabwe's president has been cosying up to Asian and Muslim governments for a while now, in an attempt to lure them into investing in the economically-shattered nation.

I'm not sure we'll see them queuing up...

You might be surprised. Zimbabwe has signed deals with China and Iran in the past two years to invest in mining, agriculture and engineering.

Attracting investment is one thing, winning a popularity contest is another.

True, Mugabe's not popular. ‘Comrade Bob's' policies to seize farms owned by the minority white population to resettle the black population have made him persona non grata in the West.

What about foreign company ownership?

The government has proposed a bill to transfer majority ownership to Zimbabweans. If this law comes into effect, it will force mining and banking companies to give up at least 51% of their control to Zimbabweans.


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Bank Chief Out on a Limb

Institute for War and Peace Reporting

Some say Gideon Gono is looking for a pretext to jump ship - if necessary by
getting the president to push him.

By Hativagone Mushonga in Harare (AR No. 138, 11-Oct-07)

For a senior Zimbabwean official, the central bank governor Gideon Gono has
become unusually outspoken against the official line, condemning a new bill
which will see foreign-owned businesses taken over.

Some analysts argue that as the economy continues to implode and the latest
government policies look more misguided than ever, the country's top banker
is looking for an exit route.

In the latest of several outbursts, the Reserve Bank governor publicly
attacked the government for pushing the Indigenisation and Empowerment Bill
through parliament. The bill would force foreign-owned companies, including
banks and mines, to surrender 51 per cent of their shares to indigenous
Zimbabweans.

The lower chamber passed the law on September 26; the upper house or Senate
approved it without amendment the day after Gono made his comments, and the
bill now only needs President Robert Mugabe's assent to come into force.

In an October 1 report on monetary policy, Gono warned, "We must avoid
schemes that create perceptions of instant gratification through grab, take
and run, and instead go into value-for-money, win-win types of acquisition.

He went on to suggest that powerful members of the elite were backing the
nationalisation scheme so that they could profit from it personally, as many
had done from the seizure of white-owned farms. That policy, launched in
2000, left many of the newly-appropriated farms in the hands of the rich and
powerful, even though it was advertised as a move to help the poorest
landless peasants.

"As monetary authorities, we also call upon government to ensure that the
empowerment drive is not derailed by a few well connected cliques, some who
are already making the most noise in ostensible support of this initiative,
who would want to amass wealth for themselves in a starkly greedy but
irresponsible manner, whilst the intended majority remain with nothing, as
happened in the past with respect to other government empowerment schemes,"
said Gono.

It was the second time in less than three months that Gono lambasted a
government policy. The first was over a June decision to force traders to
slash the price of basic goods and foodstuffs, in hope that this restrain
the massive inflation rate. Gono predicted that the immediate effect would
be to empty the shops and slash production - and he was soon proved right.

Gono has also been critical of the continuing policy of land seizures,
urging the government to end the policy and stop extending cheap credit to
the big-time farmers and instead focus assistance on smallholders.

When Gono took over as head of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in December
2003, he famously declared that "failure is not an option". Since then, he
has generally complied with Mugabe's vision of how to manage an economy, but
the most recent policy decisions have driven his free-market tendencies out
into the open.

Some observers believe that there is more to his new-found dissenting voice
than just principle, and that he is now determined to leave the
administration even if he has to get himself fired.

Lovemore Madhuku, who heads the National Constitutional Assembly, an
opposition-aligned group that lobbies for a new, more democratic
constitution, told IWPR that he believed that Gono wanted to leave
government while some of his reputation was still intact, so that he could
argue that he had done his best to turn the economy around but had been
prevented from doing so by the ZANU-PF-led government.

"He is frustrated. He is trying to find a way out; this could be by pushing
to be fired or being forced to resign," said Madhuku. "His initiatives have
not been working, and considering his statement that failure was not an
option, he wants out.

"He has not been listened to. Decisions are made in the [ZANU-PF] Politburo,
and Mugabe is the author of those policies."

Madhuku predicted that however keen Gono was to depart, "he will not be
allowed to do that until after the [2008 presidential and parliamentary]
elections".

Although ZANU-PF presents a monolithic face to the outside world, there are
factions within it that quietly oppose Mugabe's plans to stay on as
president after next March. A senior official in the faction of retired army
commander General Solomon Mujuru told IWPR that Gono had finally realised it
was time to go.

"He thought he was going to be prime minister and now he knows that was a
mere dream," said the ZANU-PF official, who asked to remain anonymous. "So
what's better - him leaving as a governor who failed and who presided over
one of the worst economies? Or leaving with some reputation and the
impression that it was not his fault but the fault of government policies
which he opposed and advised against?"

However, the source added that it was already too late, and Gono would have
no future in a post-Mugabe environment.

"I am sure he wants to be remembered as a central bank governor who stood up
to Mugabe, the only one that dared criticise his policies in public without
fear. If he were going to have a political career, that would have been his
selling point. But unfortunately, he has made too many enemies and knows
that after Mugabe he will not have a place in government," he said.

"The question now is: how far will Gono go and how much more will he say in
the next few months before the elections? And how long will Mugabe tolerate
his criticism?"

Hativagone Mushonga is the pseudonym of journalist in Zimbabwe.


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Goolwa woman lost in African adventure holiday

Adelaide Advertiser

BRYAN LITTLELY, SAM RICHES

October 12, 2007 02:15am

A YOUNG Goolwa woman on an African adventure holiday is feared drowned in a
whitewater rafting accident in a Zambian river.

A Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman confirmed that a 23-year-old South
Australian woman was missing, presumed dead.

Karleigh Baldock was believed to be on a six-week African holiday when she
took the rafting expedition on the Zambezi River on Wednesday.

It was understood the raft overturned in rapids and Ms Baldock lost her
lifejacket.

Her father, Kym, said yesterday that family members - Ms Baldock's mother,
Sharen, and brother Simon - had left for Africa.

Last night, Mr Baldock was still trying to contact relatives to advise them
Karleigh was missing and he was waiting for more updates from the
government. Consular officials in Harare, Zimbabwe, were working with local
authorities to try to recover Ms Baldock's body.

Friends and members of the South Coast community where Ms Baldock grew up
said last night that the "adventurous and athletic" young woman had
travelled to Africa alone from London, where she has been based since last
November.

Victor Harbor High School counsellor Colin Sibley said the news was "the
most numbing" he could imagine.

"Karleigh is regarded as a wonderful young person and she was held in the
highest regard at Victor Harbor high and in the community," Mr Sibley said.

"She's a beautiful young woman. She is outgoing and she charmed everyone who
came within her compass."

Friend Carly Depledge, who travelled with Ms Baldock to Bali in 2005 and was
last in contact with the missing Goolwa woman about a week ago, said she had
been looking forward to her African adventure.

"She's out there . . . she loves adventure," Ms Depledge said.

"She'll give most things a go, but she's definitely the sort of girl who
wouldn't do anything stupid."

Managers at SafPar, the company operating whitewater rafting tours in Zambia
refused to comment yesterday.

Parts of the Zambezi River are rated as "extremely difficult" whitewater
courses.


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Zimbabwe mediation - lessons from Lancaster House

Africa News, Netherlands

Posted on Wednesday 26 September 2007 - 16:39

Emily Wellman

" Who are you, Mwanawasa? Who are you? Who do you think you are?" No, these
are not words uttered by Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa' s psychologist
during an afternoon session on the couch. According to South Africa' s
Business Day these are words shouted at Mwanawasa by no other than Robert
Gabriel Mugabe, president-under-pressure of Zimbabwe

This comes as no surprise. Mugabe is no longer only under siege by the
international community, with some exceptions such as Malaysia, Libya, China
and Guinea-Bissau, his brothers and sisters of the South African Development
Community have now also had more than enough of Mugabe's dictatorial and
deceiving shenanigans.

With the crisis in Zimbabwe reaching incomprehensible levels from week to
week and with human suffering increasing at an alarming rate, the country
has been turned from regional breadbasket to international basket case.
Several SADC members have recently stepped up the pressure on Harare to
reform.

SADC increases pressure

Tanzanian diplomats reported that behind closed doors at the SADC heads of
state meeting in Dar Es Salaam in March of this year several presidents made
appeals to Mugabe to change his ways, even step down. SADC countries that
are said to be most vocal in their disagreement with President Mugabe are
Mauritius, Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana and South Africa. Behind closed doors,
that is. Angola and Namibia are seen to be Zimbabwe supporters.

What Mugabe's tantrum at the August SADC summit makes blatantly clear is
that he has no respect, nor ever will have, for certain of his fellow
African, let alone SADC, Presidents. He has no respect for Mwanawasa and no
respect for Mbeki. "Who are they?" In his mind they are junior presidents
who have no business telling a senior 'liberation hero' such as Mugabe
anything, let alone giving him advice on pension packages.

It is time SADC repaid Mugabe in kind. Mugabe only listens to and perhaps
even respects might, power and strength. He is a classic authoritarian in
that sense. This would also explain why he gets along so well with people
such as president-for-life Nguema of Equatorial Guinea, although Nguema's
oil may add to fostering the friendship. So what SADC needs to consider is
showing him as little respect as he gives them: bring diplomatic pressure to
bear.

Threaten expulsion from SADC, do not invite him to heads of state meetings,
or leave him out of a few meetings at the next summit. There are many
diplomatic measures that can drive home the message that the Zimbabwe
Presidency and Government are increasingly isolated.

Zimbabwe's possible exclusion

To strengthen this point all one has to do is draw some lessons from
Zimbabwe's history. More specifically from those infamous negotiations of
1979 which produced the Lancaster House agreement. These lessons are
critical for the South Africa lead talks. And they identify some challenges
for the success of these talks. At least for the prospect of true democratic
change in Zimbabwe.

The most important factor that assured a negotiated settlement in 1979 was
that the frontline states, Zapu and Zanu's strongest allies in the civil war
against Ian Smith's racist minority regime, were prepared to use coercive
measures against Zanu and Zapu in order to get them to truly commit to
negotiations and the outcome.

They were prepared to withhold any further support of Zapu and Zanu and
their armed forces. Mugabe specifically was told that his Zanla forces would
be kicked out of Mozambique and that its command would face arrest if he
didn't commit to a peaceful and negotiated settlement.

This earlier example puts paid to the myth that African states and
presidents do not use coercive incentives on each other. Let us look at the
leading southern African statesmen of the 1970s Nyerere, Machel and Kaunda.
They gave it to Mugabe straight - commit or face sanctions. And while he
would rather have returned to the bush, Mugabe recommitted to the
negotiations and to the outcome of Lancaster.

So there are a multitude of lessons to be learnt from the Lancaster process:
African leaders have used coercive measure against one another and actually
got things done as a consequence - it must be noted that they also brokered
extra financial commitments, carrots, from the international community for a
new Zimbabwe in return; Mugabe mostly, if not only reacts to the proper use
of sticks and carrots, namely the use of power and coercive measures in a
well timed combination with the use of freebees and financial assistance;
Mugabe is indeed the 'freedom fighter' style politician and always reverts
back to those strategies when necessary, he is conservative; and he would
rather fight than talk.

Most importantly SADC must close ranks and isolate fighter-president Mugabe.
The brotherhood is already in tatters over Zimbabwe. Consensus about not
only the use of incentives such as the 2005 SA conditional offer of
financial support and the now conditional SADC offer of financial support
must be counterbalanced by the timely use of sticks. If not, Mugabe will
continue to manipulate the region and build on the minority-complexes and
lofty pan-African ideologies of some of its leaders.

SADC Mediation

A big challenge to this end is South Africa's role as facilitator or
mediator. South Africa, despite a perceived political, ideological,
economic - depending on the analyst one listens to - unwillingness to use
sticks against the Zimbabwe state does not have much choice as the supposed
neutral mediator. If as mediator they would threaten coercive measures,
conflict management theory tells us the confidence of the Zimbabwe
Government would falter forthwith and the talks would break down.

However, if SADC is to entertain the idea of motivating the Zimbabwe
Government to truly commit to change, not only will they need to close ranks
but as the economic and political power house South Africa may need to play
a role in assisting with coercive measures.


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Doris Lessing Wins Nobel Prize in Literature

New York Times

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: October 11, 2007

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) -- Doris Lessing, author of dozens of works from
short stories to science fiction, including the classic ''The Golden
Notebook,'' won the Nobel Prize for literature Thursday. She was praised by
the judges for her ''skepticism, fire and visionary power.''
The Swedish academy's announcement was stunning even by the standards of
Nobel judges, who have been known for such surprises as Austria's Elfriede
Jelinek and Italy's Dario Fo.

Lessing, 11 days short of her 88th birthday, is the oldest choice ever for a
prize that usually goes to authors in their 50s and 60s. Although she is
widely celebrated for ''The Golden Notebook'' and other works, she has
received little attention in recent years and has been criticized as
strident and eccentric.

Even Lessing apparently was not expecting to win, the academy's permanent
secretary Horace Engdahl told The Associated Press.

''I've phoned her but there's been no answer. She was not sitting and
waiting for my call,'' Engdahl said. ''She doesn't know yet, and I'm afraid
she's out taking a stroll somewhere in the park and people will attack her
with the news.''

Lessing's agent, Jonathan Clowes, said the London-based author was out
shopping when the prize was announced.

''We are absolutely delighted and it's very well deserved,'' Clowes said.

However, American literary critic Harold Bloom called the academy's decision
''pure political correctness.''

''Although Ms. Lessing at the beginning of her writing career had a few
admirable qualities, I find her work for the past 15 years quite unreadable
... fourth-rate science fiction,'' Bloom told The Associated Press.

A largely self-taught author who ended formal schooling at age 13, Lessing
has drawn heavily from her time living in Africa, exploring the divide
between whites and blacks, most notably in 1950's ''The Grass Is Singing,''
which examined the relationship between a white farmer's wife and her black
servant. The academy called it ''both a tragedy based in love-hatred and
study of unbridgeable racial conflicts.''

A prolific author even in her 80s, Lessing was born to British parents who
were living in what is now Bakhtaran, Iran. Her many works include short
stories, essays and such novels as ''The Good Terrorist'' and ''Martha
Quest,'' the latter part of her semi-autobiographical ''Children Of
Violence'' series.

But to millions she is known for ''The Golden Notebook,'' published in 1962
and still a feminist classic although Lessing does not consider the book a
political statement.

''The burgeoning feminist movement saw it as a pioneering work and it
belongs to the handful of books that inform the 20th century view of the
male-female relationship,'' the academy said in its citation announcing the
prize.

Lessing was also cited for her ''vision of global catastrophe forcing
mankind to return to a more primitive life, noting such recent works as
''Mara and Dann'' and its sequel, ''The Story of General Dann and Mara's
Daughter, Griot and the Snow Dog,'' published in 2005.

''When you look at my life, you can go back to the late 1930s,'' she told
the AP in an interview a year ago. ''What I saw was, first of all, Hitler,
he was going to live forever. Mussolini was in for 10,000 years. You had the
Soviet Union, which was, by definition, going to last forever. There was the
British empire -- nobody imagined it could come to an end. So why should one
believe in any kind of permanence?''

Lessing is the second British writer to win the prize since 2005, when
Harold Pinter received the award. Last year, the academy gave the prize to
Turkey's Orhan Pamuk.

A seasoned traveler of the world, Lessing has known many homes, from Persia
to Zimbabwe to South Africa to London, where she lives on a quiet block in a
neighborhood long favored by artists and intellectuals.

Like Pinter, Pamuk and other recent Nobel winners, Lessing has a history of
political controversy. Because of her criticism of the South Africa's former
apartheid system, she was prohibited from entering the country between 1956
and 1995. Lessing, a member of the British Communist Party in the 1950s who
later rejected leftist ideology, had been active in campaigning against
nuclear weapons.

The literature award was the fourth of this year's Nobel Prizes to be
announced. On Wednesday, Gerhard Ertl of Germany won the 2007 Nobel Prize in
chemistry for studies of chemical reactions on solid surfaces, which are key
to understanding such questions as why the ozone layer is thinning.

Tuesday, France's Albert Fert and German Peter Gruenberg won the physics
award for discovering a phenomenon that enables computers and digital music
players store reams of data on ever-shrinking hard disks.

Americans Mario R. Capecchi and Oliver Smithies, and Briton Sir Martin J.
Evans, won the medicine award on Monday for groundbreaking discoveries that
led to a powerful technique for manipulating mouse genes.

Prizes for peace and economics will be announced through Oct. 15.

The awards -- each worth $1.5 million -- will be handed out by Sweden's King
Carl XVI Gustaf at a ceremony in Stockholm on Dec. 10.

------

AP national writer Hillel Italie in New York contributed to this story.

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