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Massive power outage for 5th straight day in Zimbabwe capital

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: October 20, 2007

HARARE, Zimbabwe: A dozen main districts of the Zimbabwean capital were
without power for the fifth straight day Saturday. The state electricity
company blamed technical faults for the massive outage, the worst in months
of power shortages.

A power surge after a scheduled outage Monday blew a main high-voltage
supply cable, the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority said, the official
media reported. Power outages to ration supplies, known as load-shedding,
occur daily across the economically troubled southern African nation.

Officials also said the theft of cables and oil from transformer units had
left engineers - already facing chronic shortages of hard currency for spare
parts, equipment and gasoline - battling with mounting breakdowns.

Zimbabwe imports nearly 40 percent of its power from regional neighbors.
Earlier this month, Mozambique said it was reducing its output to its
western neighbor over a long-standing debt of US$35 million.

The five-day outage was the worst in memory in Harare, householders said.
Routine outages last between four and 17 hours and have forced many homes
and businesses to install gasoline-driven generators and inverters -
rechargeable battery packs to power lights and low-voltage appliances that
do not include kettles, refrigerators or stoves.

Several stores with shelves bare of the cornmeal staple and most basic goods
shut down early through the week to save generator gas.
Clinics and hospitals, usually spared power cuts, ran standby generators
Saturday, but staff at one clinic said patients were moved out after its
standby generator overheated and broke down during its first constant use.

A nearby blood bank cut back its operations and shifted blood stocks to
facilities in unaffected districts.

Householders with scarce meat and other perishables called friends across
the city to use fridge and freezer space.

One suburban cafe told customers Saturday to return later when the generator
had been "given a rest" and refueled. The suburb resounded with the sound of
generators placed on the sidewalk outside businesses, resembling the
aftermath of a war zone or disaster area.

In recent months, mothers and housewives in well-to-do suburbs have become
accustomed to doing laundry, ironing and cooking and filling hot water
flasks between midnight and dawn when regular outages are less likely.

On Thursday, a single U.S. dollar bought one million Zimbabwe dollars for
the first time on the rampant black market fueled by acute shortages across
the crumbling economy. Dealers reported the central bank buying at
unofficial rates to help pay for gasoline and power imports.

Official annual inflation soared to 7,982 percent, the highest in the world,
the state central statistical office said in an announcement Thursday.
Independent estimates put real inflation closer to 25,000 percent and the
International Monetary Fund has forecast it will reach 100,000 percent by
the end of the year.

Power, water and telephone outages have worsened sharply since the
government ordered price cuts of around half on all goods and services in
June to fight inflation. Many of those cuts, however, have since been
revoked.

In a shopping mall Saturday, one householder used a new greeting heard
increasingly often in Zimbabwe.

"Two out of three," he said - he had water and a working phone but no power.

His friend had "one out of three" - water.


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Instability could stunt sub-Saharan Africa growth - IMF

Reuters

Sat 20 Oct 2007, 12:04 GMT

By Stella Mapenzauswa

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is expected
to accelerate in 2007 and 2008, but weak policies and political instability
would weigh heavily on some countries, an International Monetary Fund report
said on Saturday.

The IMF regional economic outlook singled out Zimbabwe as likely to
experience an economic contraction of at least 6 percent this year, due to
worsening macroeconomic imbalances and a government clampdown on prices to
try and tame runaway inflation.

"Domestic demand continues to drive the expansion in sub-Saharan Africa,
with a strong contribution of investment reflecting the favorable economic
outlook and better policies," the report said.

It reiterated forecasts carried in a wider global report on Wednesday which
said sub-Saharan African countries were enjoying their best period of
sustained growth since independence, propelled by increasing commodity
exports, especially oil.

The earlier report said the region is expected to grow 6.1 percent this year
and 6.8 percent in 2008, up from a rate of 5.7 percent in 2006, with
inflation seen rising to 7.6 percent this year from 7.3 percent, then easing
to 6.7 percent in 2008.

Saturday's report said real per capita gross domestic product growth in
sub-Saharan Africa, which averaged 3.5 percent between 2003 and 2006, was
expected to reach 4.25 percent in 2007, although countries faced a challenge
in maintaining growth.

"Sustaining the current expansion ultimately rests on each country's ability
to use higher income to accelerate socioeconomic development.

"This, in turn, requires continued structural and institutional reforms to
increase productivity, boost resilience to shocks, and create conditions
that attract private investment to noncommodity sectors," it said.

INFLATION TO EASE

In most low-income countries, inflationary pressures should ease further due
to improved food supply and monetary policies, with the exception of places
such as Zimbabwe, which is in the throes of an economic meltdown widely
blamed on President Robert Mugabe's government.

Official data this week showed the southern African state's inflation,
already the highest in the world, hit a new record high of 7,982.1 percent
in September.

"Hyperinflation in Zimbabwe is fueled by rapidly deteriorating economic
conditions and shortages of basic goods," said the IMF.

"The instability in Zimbabwe is having adverse regional consequences as
traditional trade patterns are disrupted and Zimbabweans move to neighboring
countries for work."

The region's current account deficit was seen widening to 2.5 percent of GDP
in 2007 as a rebound in the volume of exports only partly offset rising
domestic demand.

External debt was projected to fall to 11 percent of GDP in 2007, a
three-decade low, thanks to rapid growth, comprehensive debt relief, and
debt repayment by countries including Angola, Malawi and Nigeria.

The IMF said African markets had shown little reaction to the recent
turbulence in global finance, with the notable exception of South Africa,
although this may change.

"Moreover, the repricing of risk might make it more difficult for African
countries to raise funds in global markets or to privatize," it said.


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Seven hospitalized with anthrax in Zimbabwe

Earth Times

Posted : Sat, 20 Oct 2007 07:03:03 GMT
Author : DPA

Harare/Johannesburg - Seven people have been hospitalized in Zimbabwe
with potentially lethal anthrax poisoning following an outbreak of the
animal-borne disease in a private game park north of the capital, reports
said Saturday. The seven have been admitted to hospital in the northern town
of Concession, said the state-controlled Herald newspaper.

The outbreak of anthrax - which is normally caught by humans if they
eat the meat of infected cattle - occurred at Manzou Game Park in Mazowe,
said the paper.

There are sporadic outbreaks of anthrax in Zimbabwe. Last December
three people died in Goromonzi district east of the capital from anthrax
that they were suspected to have caught after either eating or handling
infected meat.


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Operation Sunset

www.cathybuckle.com

Saturday 20th October 2007

Dear Family and Friends,
It's been just over a year since three zeroes were removed from our
currency. That move in August 2006 was called Operation Sunrise and turned a
million into a thousand dollars and a thousand into a single dollar.
Thirteen new notes were introduced. They weren't bank notes, still had
expiry dates on them and were called Bearer Cheques. Now, just fourteen
months later ten of those notes are as good as useless, two are useful for
change but actually buy nothing and one new, bigger denomination note has
been introduced.

Zimbabwe stumbled distressingly through the money change a year ago. Great
armies of youths were disgorged onto our streets and they stood at
roadblocks demanding to see how much money we had on us. Cars, buses,
suitcases and handbags were searched and anyone found with more money than
stipulated by the Reserve Bank, had their money seized. On a lower level,
people with a million dollars in their bank or savings accounts, discovered
that overnight the zeroes had been removed and a million became a thousand.
Those lost zeroes are coming home to roost now as many investment centres
are announcing new minimum balances of a million dollars - anything less and
the accounts are being made dormant. Pensioners and others on fixed and
minimum incomes are losing their precious savings again.

Fourteen months down the line since the zero slashing and Zimbabwe is back
in that same ridiculous place again. The queues in the banks are huge, the
piles of money we have to carry around have reached satchel size
proportions, our regular bills are in millions and calculations run into
billions very rapidly. We've stopped using paper clips to hold notes
together and are back in rubber band land again. The prices of the few
things still available to buy are so large they we're all back to peering at
price stickers and counting the zeroes again. The money counting machines
which temporarily went into the storerooms are back out on the counter tops
and whirring their way through endless piles of almost worthless money.

Earlier in the week the official inflation rate was announced to be 7892%.
With virtually no food to buy in the shops, it's impossible to try and
understand just exactly how the food part of the inflation calculation is
made. However it's done, is a world away from what's happening on the
ground. When you've gone without a basic household product for three months
or more, you grab it when you see it and just hope you've got enough money
to pay for it. This week it was margarine. The last time this was openly on
sale it had been 100 thousand dollars On Monday a friend said she'd seen
margarine but it was 400 thousand dollars for a 500g pack. By Tuesday it was
gone. On Wednesday it was back, same brand, same size but the price had gone
up to 620 thousand dollars. By Friday there were only four or five packets
left on the shelf and the price had gone up again, this time to 720 thousand
dollars.

It's virtually impossible to live like this and everywhere, everyone longs
for change. For most of us the politics, the secret talks, the quiet
diplomacy and the rumours about succession have left the suffering of the
ordinary people completely out of the equation.We are waiting, just waiting,
for Operation Sunset.
Until next week, thanks for reading, love cathy.


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Political Theatre Rattles Ruling Party



Institute for War & Peace Reporting (London)

20 October 2007
Posted to the web 20 October 2007

Yamikani Mwando
Bulawayo

The authorities are attempting to squash a resurgence of political or
protest theatre, which is providing biting criticism of Zimbabwe's
leadership ahead of crucial elections early next year.

With the political and economic crisis in full swing, amid controversial
concessions made by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, to
the ruling party to amend the constitution for the 18th time, theatre
aficionados appear to have been provided with more than enough fodder.

However, this is increasingly proving to be an occupation of virtual
daredevils. Arrests and bans are coming fast and furious as state-sponsored
repression in this battered nation of more than 13 million people is
ratcheted up ahead of what are seen as watershed parliamentary and
presidential elections in 2008.

Earlier this year, Junior Information Minister Bright Matonga warned, after
the banning of a play, that political theatre is the "work of political
activists masquerading as artists".

The play that was banned was the hard-hitting The Good President by
Bulawayo-based theatre veteran Cont Mhlanga, who has been a thorn in the
ruling party's side since the 1980s with his protest plays. Mhlanga's High
Court challenge against the police action stopping the performances was
unsuccessful.

In September this year, a journalist and two actors in a play entitled Final
Push were arrested in Harare during a performance. The actors, Silvanos
Mudzvova, who wrote the play, and Anthony Tongani, were forced to perform it
a dozen times while in custody in front of police and intelligence officers.

According to a statement issued by Reporters Without Borders soon after the
arrests, Final Push makes fun of Zimbabwe's political crisis. Its title
refers to protest marches organised by the MDC in 2003, which were violently
dispersed by the police.

The play, along with Mhlanga's The Good President, which remains banned in
Zimbabwe, is material certainly likely to rattle the ruling party as
83-year-old president Robert Mugabe stands for yet another term in next
year's elections - despite signs of resistance from his former trusted
lieutenants.

The history of political or protest theatre in Zimbabwe can be traced to the
early 1980s, when the likes of Mhlanga began noticing the direction Mugabe
was taking, changing lanes from liberation war hero to autocrat.

The first signs were the Gukurahundi massacres, when the Fifth Brigade, a
crack army unit trained by North Koreans, was dispatched to areas thought by
the government to have haboured insurgents which Mugabe suspected belonged
to what was then the main political opposition, led by Joshua Nkomo. Nkomo
was later to become the country's vice president under a unity government,
with Mugabe at the helm.

However, it is the country's rapid decline from what was seen as a model
democracy for Africa to what is now regarded as a failed state that has fed
the creativity of theatre dons like Mhlanga. In apparent reference to the
age-old adage of the pen being mightier than the sword, the playwrights
remain defiant.

And the authorities have stood up and listened.

"Because we are seeing the arrests and the bans, it means we are saying
something," Raisedon Baya, an award-winning playwright whose productions
have fallen victim to political censure, told IWPR.

"But it has to be understood we are merely artists, not activists of any
sort. Yet, this is a point that has yet to make sense to the police, who
accuse us of dabbling in politics."

Mhlanga explains on his website about The Good President that "the third
scene is about the president celebrating and defending state violence on TV.
This is what President Mugabe did in March 2007 and this is what inspired me
to write the play".

This is art seemingly imitating life, and predictably, with the events here
in the past eight years, life in Zimbabwe has provided ample material to get
audiences - and the authorities - paying attention.

March 2007 is when images of a bruised MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirayi were
beamed across the world after members of the opposition party travelling to
a rally in Harare were battered by riot police. One person was shot and
killed by the police.

Early this month, Mhlanga announced that the state-controlled Chronicle, the
only daily newspaper in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city, had
refused to carry adverts of a play he had produced and directed.

The play, Overthrown, written by Stanley Makuwe, is set to be staged this
month, but Mhlanga says he was told by staffers at the daily that
"superiors" were not happy to publicise a play by someone known to be a
harsh critic of the regime.

Baya said he believes political theatre cannot be separated from the
people's everyday lives and therefore is inevitably on a collision course
with the authorities.

"Protest theatre was used during the apartheid years in South Africa to
replay the signs of the times then. It is no coincidence that it has
inspired Zimbabwe theatre artists," he said.

Though they have been met with arrests and intimidation, the playwrights
maintain they have not written anything treasonous.

Yet as the country approaches a watershed election next year amid growing
disgruntlement among the people, protest theatre appears to have provided
the sole platform for the probing of Zimbabwe's leadership, albeit on a
scale outside active political opposition.

"In my sector, the culture sector, in performing arts, the current situation
in the country demands not poetic theatre, not romantic theatre, but protest
theatre," said Mhlanga.

Yamikani Mwando is the pseudonym of an IWPR journalist in Zimbabwe.


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Harare Anglicans are urged to stand up to Kunonga

From The Church Times (UK), 19 October

By Pat Ashworth

Anglicans in Harare run the risk of excommunication by default, if they
agree meekly to be banished from the province of Central Africa, Robert
Stumbles, Chancellor of the diocese of Harare and Deputy Chancellor of the
province, has warned. His wake-up call includes urgent advice that a
"special synod" that the discredited Bishop of Harare, the Rt Revd Nolbert
Kunonga, has hastily planned for tomorrow cannot legitimately be held
without 90 days' notice. The meeting follows the Bishop's announcement last
month that his synod had "unanimously mandated" him at its August meeting to
withdraw the diocese from the province of Central Africa, supposedly because
the province held liberal views on homosexuality. The Bishop, an apologist
for Robert Mugabe, lives on a white farm from which he evicted black
workers. He is still answerable to the Church on 38 serious charges,
including incitement to murder, following a farcical non-trial in September
2005 and closure of the case by the Archbishop of Central Africa, the Most
Revd Bernard Malango. After the move to form his own province, he is now
being pursued by lawyers for the province of Central Africa for the return
of assets, including three vehicles, and for surrender of his authority as
signatory to two bank accounts. Anglicans in Harare must be made aware of
the truth of the present situation and the relevant church laws before
Saturday's proposed synod, Mr Stumbles warned on Monday.

Parishioners in the intended breakaway diocese could all, "through the
choice of their synod and Bishop, be excommunicated from Anglicanism".
Clergy ran the risk of being charged with schism, apostasy, wrongfully
contravening the laws of the province, and conduct unbecoming of a
clergyman. "Resignation or withdrawal from the province does not stop a
court enquiring into these offences," Mr Stumbles writes. The Bishop has
already flouted synod rules, by handing out agenda papers on the day of the
August meeting, instead of the required 18 days in advance. Mr Stumbles
notes that no copies of the laws of the diocese have been available for nine
years. As a consequence, most members are ignorant of the way the synod
should operate, and of their rights and duties as members. Mr Stumbles
notes, "almost incredulously", that a resolution appeared after the synod
which had not been on the agenda at all. "

It is apparently attached to a letter of 21 September 2007, written by
Bishop Kunonga to Archbishop Malango. It reads that ". . . this Synod
unanimously agreed to make a Diocesan Act that with immediate effect the
Diocese of Harare disassociates itself and severs relationship with any
individual group of people, organisation, institution, Diocese, province or
otherwise which sympathises or compromises with homosexuality. The House of
Bishops consented." In the letter, Bishop Kunonga described the resolution
as: "the full text of the Act as it was passed by Synod". Mr Stumbles
questions whether it was lawfully passed by the synod, and identifies many
flaws. He concludes: "Nowhere does it categorically empower the Bishop to
sever relations with the Province of Central Africa." He concludes: "The sad
saga of the Bishop's apparent ambitious autocracy continues. Anglicans in
the diocese of Harare and elsewhere have the right to speak out instead of
passively holding their breath and closing their eyes to what may lie ahead
through default."

Pauline Makoni, one of a number of parishioners banned from Harare Cathedral
by Bishop Kunonga five years ago, and a witness at his aborted trial in
2005, said of the Bishop's latest action: "Several years ago when I wrote
that he intended to form the Church of Kunonga in Central Africa, little did
any of us realise we would see that day come. The refusal of Archbishop
Malango to appreciate the severity of the charges that are still pending has
brought us to this pass," Mrs Makoni said on Monday. The Bishop of
Manicaland, the Rt Revd Elson Jakazi, followed Bishop Kunonga's lead later
last month by writing to Archbishop Malango withdrawing his diocese from the
province. Bishop Jakazi's own election was overshadowed by controversy, as
he was on the governing body that elected him Bishop. Bishop Kunonga's
seconder for the withdrawal motion is another confidante, the Archdeacon of
Harare, the Ven. Harry Mambo Rinashe. The standing-committee spokesman who
afterwards sought to justify the withdrawal was the Revd Morris Brown
Gwedegwe, vicar-general to Bishop Kunonga. Mr Gwedegwe, who has a criminal
record, was Bishop Kunonga's election campaign manager, and was rewarded
with ordination and the post of diocesan secretary after the Bishop's
consecration. Bishop Kunonga has no support from the other three Zimbabwean
bishops: the Rt Revd Godfrey Tawonezvi, Bishop of Masvingo; the Rt Revd
Wilson Sitshebo, Bishop of Matabeleland; and the Rt Revd Ishmael Mukuwanda,
Bishop of Central Zimbabwe. They issued a joint statement after the
Provincial Synod, reaffirming their membership of the province of Central
Africa.


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Provincial dean declares two Zimbabwe dioceses of Harare and Manicaland vacant

From Episcopal News (US), 19 October

Northern Zambia Bishop Albert Chama, dean of the Anglican Province of
Central Africa, declared the Zimabawean dioceses of Harare and Manicaland
vacant after receiving letters from the bishops of those dioceses announcing
their withdrawal from the province. In a statement, Chama said that Harare
Bishop Nolbert Kunonga and Manicaland Bishop Elson Jakazi and some of their
supporters had written to then-Archbishop B. A. Malango in late September to
tell him of their decision. "In our response to these letters we advised
them that it was impossible for them to withdraw the Dioceses of Harare and
Manicaland from the Church of the Province of Central Africa," Chama said in
his statement, "because a diocese in accordance with the Constitution of the
Church of the Province of Central Africa forms an integral part of the
Church of the Province of Central Africa, and therefore any act purporting
to withdraw a diocese is unconstitutional and uncanonical as this would
alter the very structure and constitution of the Province." The province's
constitution and canons "stipulate that any alteration of the Province
requires the approval of Provincial Synod after the Synod of each Diocese in
the Province has also approved," Chama said in his statement.

The process then requires that it be confirmed at Provincial Synod by a
two-thirds majority of those present, and the decision "has to be endorsed
by the Archbishop of Canterbury as not affecting the terms of Communion
between the Church of this Province, the Church of England and the rest of
the Anglican Communion," he said. Chama said that he had "accepted and
acknowledged that Bishop Nolbert Kunonga and Bishop Elson Jakazi by notice
of their letters had severed relationship, in their own private capacity,
with the Province of Central Africa and were no longer bishops of the Church
of the Province of Central Africa, from the dates on when the letters were
written." He then declared the dioceses vacant and said he would appoint
vicar generals for the two dioceses "whilst the necessary steps are taken
for the holding of an elective assembly to elect the next bishops of the
Dioceses of Harare and Manicaland." The move came after months of disputes
in the province during which time Kunonga claimed that he had engineered the
break-up of the province because some members, especially bishops, held
liberal views on homosexuality.

The English newspaper Church Times reported October 19 that Kunonga had
called a special synod for October 20 while provincial lawyers were
attempting to secure "the return of assets, including three vehicles, and
[Kunonga's] surrender of his authority as signatory to two bank accounts."
Earlier this year, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan William and Malango
visited Kunonga in Harare and issued a statement at the end of their
meeting, saying in part that they had encouraged Kunonga to develop "an
independent voice for the church" in response to the challenges of the
"deteriorating economic life of Zimbabwe and issues of human rights and
peaceful non-partisan protest." Kunonga, one of the small number of bishops
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams had not invited to the 2008 Lambeth
Conference, has been a supporter of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe who has
been accused of allowing the country to slide into ruin during his 27-year
rule.


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We'll clear our friend's name

This is Gloucestershire

09:00 - 20 October 2007

A Cheltenham couple are fighting to clear a Zimbabwean friend who was
wrongly accused of stealing a mobile phone.Francis Chizamu was thrown into a
cell and whipped and beaten by police after he was found with the phone.

Friends Tony Manners and Jill Jarvis, who live in Brockhampton, say they
sent Francis the phone as a gift, and he is a victim of the country's
corrupt regime.

The 35-year-old has refused to confess to the charge of theft and the couple
have stumped up cash for a lawyer to fight his case.

Mr Manners, 55, said: "It's a reflection of the way things are in Zimbabwe
at the moment.

"The police can be civilised. They aren't even armed in the streets but then
suspects are beaten into confessing. Francis isn't the type to give in like
that. We'll help any way we can."

Francis was whipped across the back and beaten on the soles of his feet by
police trying to get him to confess.

He called Mr Manners in the early hours of Tuesday. Mr Manners immediately
offered 687 to pay for a lawyer.

"He was distressed but he's out now and that's the main thing. It's
important now to make sure he gets a fair trial."

Mr Manners met Francis 20 years ago in Zimbabwe working as a builder and
surveyor.

He developed a business importing craft from Zimbabwean and other African
artists.

Francis was his local contact. He would find unknown sculptors with work Mr
Manners could import.

Mr Manners said: "We got to know his family. He has two young children.

"His wife was killed two years ago, which makes it even more distressing for
him. If he needs us to go out, we will.

"It would appear that someone has accused Francis of stealing their phone,
but we know Francis. He wouldn't steal anything."

"We help Francis and our other friends where we can."

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