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Living in the wake of Zimbabwe's man-made tsunami

Sunday Independent (SA), 2 October

"We live like pigs. No, pigs live better than us. We eat berries from the bush, which is food for baboons. That is our life since the tsunami," said Roderick Tchakayika, a 48-year-old father of five, standing outside the remains of his neighbours' house, which was knocked down on June 19. He was talking about what Zimbabweans call their own "tsunami": a man-made event almost as extreme as the Asian disaster. It is three months since President Robert Mugabe sent in bulldozers that within hours flattened 4 000 homes in Hatcliffe Extension, about 30km north of Harare. Life was hard before, but it has since become unbearable. Most people of this suburb, who all owned small patches of land, which they call stands, on which they had built small homes, are living in pitiful circumstances. Most also lost their incomes as they were largely informal traders, also targets of Mugabe's "Operation Clean out Trash", whom police have been ordered to prevent trading again. Donors are helping. Unesco put up tanks for drinking water and the Roman Catholic Church is erecting up to 300 plastic shelters ahead of the summer rains expected within a month. Since Mugabe began his campaign against the urban poor, and following condemnation from the United Nations that up to 2,4 million people had been affected, the government is building some houses. In Hatcliffe Extension there are about 50, not yet complete, and no one there knows who will get them. "It will be the army or police, not us, as they say we voted for the MDC [the opposition Movement for Democratic Change]," Tchakayika said.
Miriam Sithole, 46, came from the rugged mountains of eastern Zimbabwe 15 years ago. Her husband has an occasional job as a carpenter in Harare. "I couldn't go because I must protect my stand," she said. "The house is gone. The kids are not going to school because our money is short for fees as we have to pay relatives to look after them." This is not Liberia or Somalia, this is bountiful Zimbabwe, with a temperate climate and vast resources, Africa's second most industrialised country until Mugabe began to dismantle it. Even in the worst of times, during the civil war of the 1970s and international sanctions against the minority white Rhodesian regime, there was enough food and foreign currency for essential imports. Zimbabwe is running on empty. There is no fuel except for the tiny minority with access to foreign currency, the inflation rate is the highest in the world at about 300 percent, most mines and the few surviving industries are on short shifts, and there is only one working fire engine in Harare. Most people in the poor, western suburbs of the second city Bulawayo are without water, not because dams are empty but because foreign currency is need to repair the pumps. At Epworth, an informal settlement south of the city, piles of bricks remain where they fell on June 19. A 57-year-old car mechanic whose small garage was demolished said: "We used to complain before the tsunami. We were wrong. Life was okay then, we just didn't know it."


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Africa to get food safety plan

News24

02/10/2005 20:45  - (SA)  


Harare - Africa is to adopt its first food safety plan this week at a 47-nation conference opening on Monday in the Zimbabwean capital to find ways of ensuring healthy meals on the world's poorest continent.
The four-day conference organised by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) "is expected to endorse the first-ever Food Safety Action Plan for Africa", a statement from the agencies said.
Food and water-borne diseases are estimated to cause about 700 000 deaths in Africa every year - one third of global deaths from food illnesses, according to the FAO and the WHO.
Deaths from food illnesses in Africa are close to rivalling those from malaria, a major killer that accounts for more than one million deaths worldwide, most of these in Africa, the two agencies said.
Poor safety controls also cause huge economic losses for the continent.
The failure to meet new food standards issued by the European Union in 2001 resulted in a 64% drop in exports from Africa of cereals, dried fruits and nuts, representing a loss of $670m, the FAO and WHO said.
The conference is to promote cooperation between African countries to ensure that food quality is being monitored.
"The conference is about making sure that food is wholesome and disease-free and the process of making sure that it's not contaminated," added David Nhari, chief analyst at Zimbabwe's food advisory board.
The conference on food safety comes as the World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that four million Zimbabweans are in need of food aid in the country.


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Displaced squatters return

The Zimbabwean, 30 September

By Mandla Mpofu

Bulawayo - Barely two months after being removed from Killarney and Ngozi mine squatter camps by police during the internationally condemned government exercise, Murambatsvina, close to 200 people have returned to these shanty towns in the periphery of the city. Those interviewed say they were dumped by government in the ‘middle of no where’ in rural settings alien to them as most of them are of foreign origin and the only place they call home are the shacks that were razed by government agents. "I could not stay in Lupane because I have no relatives there as I am of Zambian origin and my whole life has revolved around Bulawayo and therefore I could not adapt to the new environment," said one, identified only as Phiri. Although they are now back to where they say they are most comfortable, their future here is uncertain as police still carry out random raids on these areas. Besides impending raids, followed by nights in police cells before release, their main concern is the availability of food. Those at Ngozi mine, a refuse dump site, have over the years managed to forage for morsels to quench their hunger off the dirt dumped here, but since the worsening of the food crisis following the advent of the ruthless Murambatsvina, their chances of survival have been greatly reduced as fewer people can now afford to throw any food into their trash cans. The clergy who have been helping the displaced also find themselves in a quandary. By offering assistance they have come into direct confrontation with the government. The Bulawayo Council of Churches has been distributing food and other necessary aid to the displaced but this development is a stern test.


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Journal September 05

Journal September 05

 

I have been remiss in the pursuance of my journal. Many days I tell myself it is time to record impressions and events and then depression or inertia or the ever-present albatross of my manuscript intrudes. But I have just been away to RSA to fetch J, see B and recharge the batteries, so it is time to renew my jottings.

The journey down was perforce alone. As I have recorded before, a good part of my life has been spent alone behind the wheel of various land rovers, humming along through the long stretches of Africa where I have lived and worked. Time was when I thought I could use the time more productively to dictate into a tape recorder, but the noise levels are too high and in any case, one’s mind is better occupied in the mental equivalent of free-fall. And so it was on this trip. One has hours in which to indulge in introspection, speculation and simple day-dreams. The passing scene, so well-known and well-loved, shapes these mental meanderings, mirroring perhaps the landscape flowing past. Driving through Chivi, for example, reminds me that it was here as a young man that I slept on the banks of the Runde just up stream of the old low level bridge. And it was in the Runde, flowing in frightening flood that I attempted the insane rescue of some fishermen trapped on an island mid-stream. I’m sure I have told the tale before. It was characterised more by farce than drama.

The men were on an island in the river too far away to communicate with above the roar of the river. So P W, the Member-in Charge of BSAP Chivi, and I decided we needed to get closer to them. P had brought a long and heavy hemp rope with us and this we tied around my waste with P belaying me at the other end. In my underpants I waded into the rushing river and swam out as far as I could, landing on a large rock about half way to the stranded victims of the flood. From here I could just manage to make vocal contact. The small gathering of spectators were enthralled with the spectacle of their DC, in a pair of drooping underpants, and not a little curious as to his more than usual eccentricity. They assured me they were quite safe, had lots of food and was it fish I was after as they had more than enough to spare. They could do with a few women to tide them over the next few days but otherwise were self-sufficient. How was I proposing to get back to the main bank? A good question! This was achieved with some difficulty. I am a very strong swimmer but it still needed all P’s strength pulling on the rope to land my gasping body back on terra firma.

Like all sensible persons we made immediate tracks for the Rhino Hotel, the small pub on the Nuanetsi bank of the Runde. In a pair of wet, mud spattered shorts, a damp shirt, vellies and no socks I was sartorially unremarkable. I had no underpants, to be sure, as they had been ripped off me by the current, but no one but P knew or was interested in this fact. P’s grey shirt and khaki shorts would certainly not have qualified him for stickman on early morning parade. He looked more like a bedraggled postman in a thunderstorm. (It had been raining throughout our little escapade.) Thus we entered the bar.

Garth R (he of rugby three-quarter fame) was behind the counter in the bar reading a comic book. He served us without comment and returned to Superman, more interesting by far than two customers with a thirst. His father came in a few minutes later and in a rare moment of sobriety asked us if we had got wet!  The only person who did remark on our appearance was a South African tourist who said in a voice loud enough for us to hear that people like us should not be allowed into a respectable hotel. This reduced P and I to adolescent snuffles of laughter. Every year, the DC sitting as the licensing authority, renewed the hotel’s licence on the recommendation of the Member in charge!

The Bubi, where J and I always stop and spend the night, always puts me in mind of a trip I made fifty years ago in the first of all land rovers owned by the family- the short wheel base series one my father brought back from a trip to UK and one of the first to be seen in the Colony. I was accompanied by one P Pr. He was to be best man at R’s wedding in Lusaka, whence we were headed.

We stopped for the night at Bubi, camping on the side of the road opposite the hotel. P had never camped before. He was a city boy to the core. I had been camping all my life. When one travelled, one slept by the road side. Towards evening the desturi (custom Sw.) was to start looking out for a suitable spot where there were few people, a bit of shade and a rock or bush or two for seclusion. (Bubi had none of these but it had a pub over the road where cold beer was available and thus made up for the other camping spot deficiencies.) The wonder of those days was that you could pull off the road anywhere to make camp. There were no fences – or if there were there was often a convenient gate – and of course far fewer people. Best of all the threat of being robbed or assaulted was non-existent. So P Pr and I simply pulled a hundred yards off the road onto the banks of the Bubi and lit a fire. We walked over and had a beer or two in the bar, then strolled back, cooked up a mess of bully  and beans, rolled up in blanket and went to sleep.  Or rather I did. P it seems was a little less at home with this procedure and  confessed afterwards to lying awake for what seemed hours trying to adjust to the hard ground, the odd crawling insect or arachnid invasion of his blankets, the silence and the huge sky seen through the canopy of the Acacia alibida under which we lay. 

I was woken some time later by someone shaking me violently. P loomed over me his face a study in concern.

“What’s that?” he hissed.

“What’s what?” I retorted.

“That noise””
”What noise?
You did’nt hear it?”

“No!”

“Jesus! It was enough to wake the dead. Sounded like a lion roaring. Was it a lion? I’m sure it was a lion.”

“Dunno. Maybe!”

“Wake up! We have to get out of here.”

“If it was a lion roaring it means its eaten. Go to sleep.”

“HEHAW”.

(Why is the donkey’s bray depicted as heehaw? In my experience they say AHW HIHOHIHOHIHO!)

Pete’s lion brayed forth his indignant opinion of the way the world treated donkeys in general and him in particular. He was standing in the moonlight a few feet away and indeed made a loud contribution to the night noises around us.

“Peter. Is that your noise?”
”Yes.”

“It’s a donkey. Go to sleep!”

“Oh! Well it sounded carnivorous to me! Sorry.”

And some time later.

“Is that you laughing? It’s all very well for you. I am not a bloody savage - and a little more sympathy would be appreciated.”

Back in the present, I slept the night at the hotel.

Being alone I spent some time in the bar which I shared with two men from Chinhoyi and a nameless South African going home from a holiday at Kariba. It was a convivial evening and we were rather late going in to dinner of eland steaks so big they almost covered the entire dinner plate. After dinner one of my new friends disappeared to go the filling station for diesel. I asked him if there was diesel at the Mobil garage over the river and he said, no, this was a spot under some trees about three K.s up the road. Mystified I said no more and joined my other friend for a nightcap in the bar. A few minutes later our companion was back swearing fluently. His filling station had been compromised, he thought. There was no inviting fire, not figures rising to greet his approaching car. Instead there had been a mystery car parked off the road. “Bloody CIO or cops,” he ventured. “So I just turned round and came back.”

It seems the long distance hauliers drop off diesel to their friends at pre-arranged spots for them to sell to travellers in the know. My new friend was one such and had left five zvigubu (debis, jerry cans) against his return.  He lamented on about the unsporting behaviour of the law enforcers and downed a whisky. I went to bed as I wanted to be away early in the morning. As I wandered off to my room I reflected on his strange performance. The government has relaxed customs duty on fuel. It is quite legal to bring in up to 2000 litres of fuel duty free. My friend, in common with all our kind, much preferred to obtain his in this cloak and dagger fashion. Since 1965, I mused, we have become accustomed to this rather cavalier and swashbuckling approach to business and life in general. As one of them said in the bar apropos spending a few days in Johannesburg.

“Its bloody violent and full of villains. But otherwise its too easy. I would get bored. Here we have to make a plan every day.” To which his mate replied:
”Hundred! Like tonight! See what I mean? What, what, what!”

To those not familiar with the current vernacular.  “Hundred” means hundred percent. It can be used to denote total agreement, to proclaim the veracity of your own statement etc. “See what I mean.” Can be used in any shape or form, as an adjectival or adverbial phrase or as an interrogative – or simply as a comma or full stop. “What, what, what” said very rapidly is a sort of exclamation mark, or a phrase used to replace a word not readily to hand.

The Lion and Elephant must be one of the last hotels in Africa that still provides one with an early morning tray of tea or coffee. Mine came at the appointed time of 0430. I was away by five and at the Bridge by six. I sailed through the Zim side and was served by the most charming customs officer of my entire experience. She was a young woman in the wrong job. No scowl, no indifference, but instead a ready smile and a polite question as to why I wanted to take my computer printer with me. When  I told her it was so I could carry on with my work she said I was surely going on holiday and should not bother with such things!

The South African side was, by contrast, a slow and frustrating affair and attended by rude and unpleasant officers “clothed in a little brief authority.” We had to stand in a line in the courtyard for something like an hour before getting into the customs house. The time was made bearable by a middle-aged Ndebele about two ahead of me who entertained us to a long and detailed analysis of the Illuminati, who, he said he had studied at great length. He knew his subject and was an orator of note, periodically stopping his perorations to ask rhetorical questions –mostly directed at me. The audience appreciated his entertainment value and were vastly amused when he suddenly broke from the queue and with a hurried “they need me inside” shot to the front and through the door and went to the front of the line at the counters. Quite the novel queue jumper! But the point is that his presentation was coherent and more to the point, understood by all the Zimbabweans – a testament to their superior education. By contrast the South Africans were generally bemused by and therefore suspicious, of his loud and at times humorous speech. His assertion that Mugabe was an alluminatus, together with Bush and Mbeki met with particular Zimbabwean approval with much shaking of hands and laughter at such a preposterous notion –or was it?!

In any event I was on the road again by about seven and made good time down the new toll road to Pietersburg (now called Polokwane). My off road tires hum like a demented banshee on the tar and add to the hypnotic effect of long stretches of straight road. The mind dips into memories and flashes of familiar scenes trigger the recall of precious trips and childhood experiences. Pietersburg was the town from which we boys were entrained to go to school. The school train left for Pretoria at nine o’clock. Before I went to school and my brothers had chuffed off into the night,  I would camp with my parents at a spot about ten miles out of the town, for there was no thought of driving home the forty odd miles at night. We still had the old Tanganyika built box-body in those days and my parents slept in the back and I across the front seats. I can still see my father in the grey of early morning, pouring water from a two-gallon demijohn (an old wine container) into a billy to make tea over a low dawn fire, while the rest went into the canvas wash basin hung on concertina legs, in which he washed his face and shaved and cleaned his teeth. My mother would snuggle up in the bed over a hot mug of tea before chivvying me out of my nest to wash. She was a firm believer in a “clean morning face”, before we had a proper breakfast of bacon and eggs cooked by Dad to fortify us against the long forty miles back to the farm. These trips took a great deal of time. It was during the war and tires were hard to get and money tight, so ours were more canvas than rubber. Punctures were frequent. And then there was the one memorable trip when the back wheel came off and passed us on the road before sailing off into the bush.

When I passed Potgietersrust,  I decided to take the ‘short cut’ to Natal. The road turns off to Marble Hall and from there cuts across country through Middelburg to Bethel and Ladysmith to rejoin the main toll road to Durban near Escourt.  The first fifty kms or so traverses the Springbok Flats, drab and dusty at this time of year: bushveld as flat as its name implies.

Farmers ranch goats and cattle though I saw precious few of either. About half way across I saw a farm sign board announcing its owner’s name and the name of his farm: “Driebergen.”  Three Mountains! This was followed by a sign on the next farm turn-off. “Die Vlakte!” (The Flats!) I wonder what prompted this bit of laconic dialogue?

 Shortly afterwards I saw the first bit of green – a field of winter wheat irrigated from the Loskop dam another fifty miles further on. Slowly the countryside changed to rolling hills with acre upon acre of wheat, vegetables and grapes: the Grobelaarsdal Irrigation farms opened up after the second-world war. I recalled that I have a friend who inherited a farm here and eventually I saw a sign announcing the entrance to a farm. It bore the name C-ltt but the first name was not familiar so it must have been Ch- C-ltt’s son’s section. I never saw his signboard so carried on through the little farming “dorp” of Grobelaarsdal and so on up through a pass to overlook to the dam wall of the Loskop Dam. From here I journeyed on to Middelburg and hence to Bethel. It was now about half past three and I was getting weary. Bethel was a real little Afrikaaner dorp, a word which means town but implies a backward, rural and conservative village in the middle of nowhere, dominated by a DRC church and wide dusty streets, blue gums and  windmills.

The road was under repair and suddenly petered out at a t. junction with a sign that said “residents only” in one direction and “station” in the other. I obediently followed the road to the station as I most certainly was not a resident! It ended in the station yard. I back tracked and took the other road into the dorp. Despite not being a resident no impediment was placed in my way save huge speed bumps. I was totally at sea in the town and eventually pulled in at a filling station and asked an obliging farmer for directions. In response to my query he directed me out of the town but warned that the road ahead was full of detours and road works and I would be better advised to go straight to Ermelo and then join up with one of the major highways. I decided to ignore this sound advice and stick to my idea of doing the direct route. This took me by devious and very rough roads past somewhere called Kaffirkraal (the name will one day be changed I guess!) and then on to Morgenzon. Morgenzon consisted of the same dreary tin roofed houses, a huge church and a few little shops. I drove on headed for Amersfort another fifty kms ahead. The road continued rough and road works slowed my progress. The afternoon was gathering in and I decided to stop at Amersfort if there was anywhere to stay. There wasn’t. Another ubiquitous DRC church and surprisingly a mosque were its sole architectural offerings. I pressed on. In the late afternoon light this Highveld country has a golden charm of its own. High far horizons and rolling folds of hills misting into the distance with here and there a homestead marked by a dam, some willows and tall gum trees. It was rapidly getting dark as I arrived in Volksrust, at one time capital of the old Suid Afrikanse Republik if my history serves me right. After some difficulty I was directed to a a little German owned hotel where I spent a very pleasant evening and dined on Chicken schnitzel.

The next morning after a gargantuan breakfast I journeyed on and eventually hit the highway and emerged back into the “first world.”

South Africa is a country of stark contrast between the old rural “platteland” and the fantastically developed superhighways with their flashy staging posts where one can stop for fuel, meals and use the gleaming washrooms and lavatories.
I arrived at Ifafa in the early afternoon. I had cut off about 150 kms and added probably about five hours to my overall travelling time. But I had a great time and found a friendly stop over in Volksrust where I had had a wholesome meal at the bar with an enormously stout German South African – “I speak five languages: German, Afrikaans, English, Zulu and Bullshit!” He was an ESKOM linesman and recounted tales of working on the high pylons in winter with the temperature below minus 12 degrees Celsius. “Ten minutes up the pole then down again for your mate to take your place while you lie on the bonnet of the lorry engine to warm up. You cannot wear gloves for this work and your hands get blerry cold, man!”

After two weeks at the coast with J, B and our granddaughter S, we set off on the journey home. But that is another tale.

Rugare,

J


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Second wife triggers legal nightmare for Zimbabwe government minister

Zim Online (SA), 1/10/05

Harare - Zimbabwe Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa is enmeshed in controversy after he married a second wife in disregard of the country’s marriage laws, Zim Online has learnt. Chinamasa, who has crafted draconian security and Press laws that have shrunk democratic space in Zimbabwe, last July married 27-year old nurse, Chiedza Faith Velemu under customary law although he was already married to his first wife, Monica, under the civil law Marriage Act. The Act prohibits polygamy. According to sources close to the 58-year old Chinamasa family, Monica has threatened to take the matter to the courts to enforce her rights or to President Robert Mugabe for mediation. And as if that was not bad enough for Chinamasa his new wife, Chiedza, is said to have been pestering him demanding equal attention as well as an equal share of the family cake. "Monica is now demanding that he divorces Chiedza or she will take the matter to Mugabe or the courts if Mugabe does not settle the matter. She has given him up to December to put his house in order," said a source. Contacted for comment on Friday, Monica refused to take questions on the matter only saying: "Domestic matters have nothing to do with the press." Chinamasa could not be reached for comment as he was constantly unreachable on his mobile phone since Thursday. Efforts to reach him at his office were fruitless while Chiedza could also not be reached for comment. Sources said while Monica has been demanding that Chinamasa divorce his second wife in line with the country’s laws, Chiedza was pressing for equal treatment with her senior. "Chinamasa bought a farm in Headlands for Monica and Chiedza says she also wants a farm. He is in a catch 22 situation both legally and in his marital affairs," said a source.


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Mugabe sets Senate poll time, opposition undecided

Reuters, 1 October

Harare - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has set the end of November to hold elections for an upper-house senate, which the main opposition has said it may boycott. Analysts said indecision by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) could cost it seats if it decides to contest. The privately-owned Daily Mirror quoted Mugabe as telling a meeting of his ruling Zanu PF that his party was gearing for "senatorial elections which are scheduled for end of November." Mugabe used the Zanu PF's majority in parliament to push through constitutional amendments in August, making provisions for a 66-member senate, of which 50 members will be elected while the rest will be appointed. Mugabe argues that the senate is necessary to improve the quality of legislation while the MDC says it is meant to accommodate Mugabe supporters. The MDC has yet to make a decision, with top officials making conflicting comments on their position on the polls. It agonised over whether to boycott parliamentary elections on March 31, eventually deciding to field candidates only to receive a severe drubbing from Zanu PF, which won a two-thirds majority, enabling it to change the constitution. The MDC and Western governments said the polls were rigged.
MDC officials were unavailable for comment on Saturday but party leader Morgan Tsvangirai wrote in a weekly paper on Thursday that the senate polls were insignificant and would still be rigged by Zanu PF. "From the MDC, my position as president remains unchanged. Anyone wishing to partake in this process should therefore refrain from crying foul because Zanu PF's intentions are as clear as the September sky," Tsvangirai said in his article in the Finacial Gazette. But Welshman Ncube, MDC secretary general and some senior officials have said the opposition would contest the polls, which was seen by the media as a sign of a rift in MDC ranks. Analysts said the bickering would eventually cost the MDC if it decides to field candidates. "This is confusing the electorate and it could backfire as some of their supporters may decide not to vote because the party's position is not clear," Heneri Dzinotyiweyi, University of Zimbabwe lecturuer, told Reuters. The southern African country is struggling with a severe political and economic crisis that government critics blame on Mugabe's controversial policies, including his seizures of white-owned farms for redistribution to blacks and his use of tough media and security laws against opponents. Mugabe says his opponents have conspired with foreigners to sabotage Zimbabwe's economy over his land seizures, which he argues were necessary to correct colonial imbalances that left minority whites in control of the bulk of the prime farmland.


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Tsvangirai in new drive against Mugabe (Reuters’Chris Chanaka):-Response by Godwell Manyangadze

Zimbabwe’s

Original article @ http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/sep30_2005.html#Z14

 

 

Morgan Tsvangira’s new drive to rally public anger against a man so openly hated will not work because Tsvangirai has to rally that public anger when he is out of Zimbabwe. Tsvangirai’s MDC does not have to be part of Mugabe’s government and Morgan Tsvangirai has to call Robert Mugabe a tyrant, dictator and murderer openly.

 

Critics who talk about Zimbabwe’s situation do nothing but blubber in the papers like I am doing but at the end of the day, it is Morgan Tsvangirai to exploit these critics’ information to his advantage. Everyone knows about the Zimbabwe situation now. It is up to Tsvangirai to take advantage of the publicity already provided by these critics before people start doubting his leadership. Is he a coward and just doing it for his own financial benefit? It is time he becomes a refugee as well.

 

Tough security by Mugabe also means Tsvangirai should wake up and come up with his tougher security which can only be started outside Zimbabwe; where you are most likely to get sympathy, financial help and tactical know-how. Everyone now know there is no way opposition is going to win through the ballot from past experiences, so what the hell are you doing there – just watch your people die of hardships? Look inside the coffin of “dead Zimbabwe” and use a mirror as a Zimbabwe corpse then see what you see: OUR OWN FACES. The situation in Zimbabwe is a true reflection of how we think, eat, sleep, drink, behave and eventually die. In short we are pathetic.

 

Walking to work is not enough for Tsvangirai. He has to die going to work if he is to rule Zimbanwe. This is not going to be easy at all ladies and gentlemen, even if Mugabe goes out today, we need to piggy-back that country somehow in order to improve our standards of living, take it or leave it.

 

This walk to work is sure a publicity stunt because it is not enough at all. MDC is backing the economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe because MDC are part of Mugabe’s government. All those MDC MP’s are part of Mugabe’s government because they are working with him there in parliament. It is an ‘accessory to murder’ type of situation, unwittingly though.

 

Analysts were right when they sensed Zimbabweans’ reluctance to participate in mass protests. There is no way opposition can operate in Zimbabwe. You risk torture, hunger, death and victimisation among other things. This is why it is of paramount importance to get organised elsewhere; outside  Zimbabwe.

 

Unfortunately, our cream like the ones quoted by Mr. Cris Chinaka were only schooled but not educated. The schooled can only count the boss’s riches, read and write, interpret law but can not make important decisions. Especially those who interpret law are the most coward because they understand jail like they have been there. Most people can not even speak their minds freely on the phone. So what the hell are you doing there?  I am talking about those of us expected to do something.

 

Mugabe who is 81 is still in power because he has to safeguard his interests. He knows he is going to be held accountable for his actions by the people of Zimbabwe as well as the West. Never look up to the United Nations. Before you start killing each other the U.N will never come to your aid. They are doing business like anybody else but, but, I repeat, if you are to do your own business within the rule of law and without fear, you have to take out Mugabe and you have to do it with your brains not your fears. U.N. is not coming to your aid until there is a blood bath. U.N is for the rich. They do not care about the suffering of the ordinary, they are actually indirectly saying sort it out yourselves. Yes we want to sort it out ourselves but we are too poor to do so and that is why we have to get out to seek help and the only recognised party is MDC but the MDC is too innocent to lead.

 

How can Tsvangirai be fooled into a treason charge? Because he is not yet up to the challenge presented to him by the job, that to run Zimbabwe. So get out of Zimbabwe, seek the know-how and look for dedicated people to do this. If you can not sacrifice yourself, elect someone; not for the post but for the job. This is a dangerous job you are emulating and please do not take people for granted just for the money.

 

Need Man, Not Boys

 

Godwell Manyangadze.

 


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Cabinet reshuffle coming

Financial Gazette

Felix Njini
President Robert Mugabe is set to reshuffle his cabinet after the senate election, slated for later this year, as he moves to reconfigure his inner circle ahead of his expected retirement in 2008. Authoritative sources said President Mugabe's axe was hovering over the heads of Agriculture Minister Joseph Made, Minister Without Portfolio Elliot Manyika and Flora Buka, who heads the Ministry of State for Special Affairs responsible for Land and Resettlement. Buka's portfolio has effectively been taken over by National Security Minister Didymus Mutasa. President Mugabe has apparently been irked by his bloated "development" cabinet's failure to save the economy. Since the appointment of a new cabinet in April this year, the economy has further deteriorated, with inflation shooting up to 264.1 percent amid deepening food and fuel shortages. More than four million Zimbabweans require food aid to avert a humanitarian disaster, following yet another costly overestimation of the country's reserves of the staple maize by the agriculture ministry, headed by Made. The sources said the reshuffled cabinet would include a replacement for the late minister of indigenisation, Josiah Tungamirai, as well as accommodate former small to medium enterprise development minister Sithembiso Nyoni, who lost her position after failing to land a parliamentary seat within the mandatory three months of her appointment. Nyoni, now a government consultant on small to medium enterprises, was demoted two months ago.
The same sources said the impending cabinet reshuffle could also see the return of former finance minister Simba Makoni and the rise of Masvingo South Member of Parliament Walter Mzembi into government. Sources said Mzembi had curried favour with the powerful clique of Zanu PF officials aligned to retired general Solomon Mujuru. The Mujuru clique is reported to be working behind the scenes to consolidate its vice-like grip on power both within Zanu PF and the government ahead of President Mugabe's retirement. "Mugabe has expressed his frustration with some members of cabinet. There has been very little progress in moving the economy into the developmental thrust. The ministers are not doing their jobs properly," said an authoritative source. President Mugabe would also be seeking to reduce government expenditure by cutting down on the number of ministries, the source said. Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga professed ignorance of the reshuffle. "I am surprised that it is coming from you and not the President himself. If he is going to reshuffle, he will do so through the proper channels," said Matonga.


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SA, facing Zimbabwean immigrant flood, may ditch visas

SouthScan

London - South Africa's National Intelligence Agency has set up a commission to probe the mass migration of Zimbabweans into the country, fleeing economic collapse. At the same time moves have begun to scrap visa requirements with Zimbabwe in an acknowledgement that attempts to halt the flood are useless. NIA chief Billy Masetla said the issue was of "huge concern" and that an audit was necessary to evaluate the extent of the growing influx. While it is widely acknowledged that the numbers of Zimbabweans moving into SA illegally are huge, as with the numbers already living there, there are no precise figures. The numbers are likely to have been swollen by the recent shack clearances in Zimbabwe that left 700,000 Zimbabweans homeless and destitute and affected a further 2.4 million out of a population of around 12m.
The closest official account of migration comes from the 2002 census in Zimbabwe which gives the figure of 3-4 million who had fled the country, mainly for SA and Botswana, as well as Britain. In SA there is a backlog of 180,000 asylum seekers, mainly from Zimbabwe, still to be processed. In Botswana, where an electric border fence has been built, there is similarly no exact figure for the numbers of illegal Zimbabwean immigrants. However, in the first quarter of last year Botswana repatriated over 8,000 'illegals', which could give a total annual figure of those caught and sent back of over 33,000, with those who remain many times that number. The refugees are being sent back from SA and Botswana as fast as police can catch them, often within 48 hours, but frequently simply return for another bid. Now for the first time the SA government is acknowledging its inability to deal with the issue in this way, and Lesley Mashokwe, spokesperson for the department of home affairs, said negotiations were underway with Zimbabwe to scrap visa requirements. The talks are taking place as Zimbabwean justice and foreign affairs officials work on draft regulations to make exit visas mandatory for Zimbabweans going abroad, a development that has brought hefty criticism from the opposition in Zimbabwe.
In the rural areas of SA's far northern Limpopo province local residents, fearing the large-scale incursions, have called in the police for help. Already township residents in different areas of SA are mobilising against their local administrations because of corruption and inefficiency in providing services, and observers say the mass influx into the northern provinces will add to these pressures and heighten anxieties in government. NIA agents have already been deployed to keep an eye on local demonstrators as a means of monitoring rising civil unrest. The refugee influx is concentrated around Musina and Thohoyandou, but other areas of Limpopo are also affected. Police said they arrested at least 100 Zimbabweans a day in one district alone, and in one village near Makhado, villagers resolved to expel Zimbabweans. Refugees are living in rudimentary shelters in the bush near Tshivhilwi village, where about 200 people a day are arriving adding to the about 2,000 Zimbabweans already there. Police spokesman Superintendent Ailwei Mushavhanamadi was reported as saying the uncontrolled influx was "a very serious problem" and Masetla said he hoped political intervention "would give rise to the possibility of halting the economic meltdown". Meanwhile about 1,000 Mozambicans illegally in South Africa were being repatriated this month according to reports. The immigrants had been kept at the Lindela Repatriation Centre for the two weeks.


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Matonga lied

Fin Gazette


Staff Reporter
9/29/2005 9:27:22 AM (GMT +2)

DEPUTY Information Minister Bright Matonga last week took the official abuse of public media to new depths when he used the state-controlled Herald to peddle lies that a reporter with this newspaper had confessed to being part of a "smear campaign" targeted at the Ngezi legislator.

In his attempt to pre-empt and undermine a story The Financial Gazette carried last week - on a serious bribery scandal at the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) in which he, a former chief executive of the parastatal, is implicated - the deputy minister, while claiming that he did not "intend to abuse the media", did exactly that when he used The Herald to carry a shockingly false account of the conversation he had with our reporter.
Matonga conjured statements he attributed to the reporter, which sought to portray the deputy minister as a victim of a smear campaign, while alleging that the reporter had confessed to being a pawn in a grand plan hatched by "political rivals".
"I have been asked to rubbish you by some politicians from your province who thought they would be appointed to head your ministry. So I am under pressure," Matonga quoted the reporter as saying.
Unbeknown to the deputy minister, his telephone conversation with the reporter, Chris Muronzi, was conducted in the presence of Financial Gazette Editor-in-Chief Sunsleey Chamunorwa and another colleague, both of whom do not only refuse to corroborate Matonga's account but are also bewildered by the deputy minister's desperate claims.
Indeed it is unbelievable that a reporter would have such a conversation in front of his superior.
Contrary to Matonga's statement as quoted in The Herald, he was only reached for comment on the ZUPCO bribery allegations, to which he responded: "For starters, I don't have information to that effect. I left ZUPCO last year in July. If it is authentic information, then the police should have talked to me on those issues. As far as I am concerned it's not authentic and it's a smear campaign," said Matonga.
According to an audio tape, a copy of which is in the hands of state security agents and the police as evidence in the simmering graft case, Matonga stood to benefit from an inducement of US$3 000 for every bus supplied by Jayesh Shah of Gift Investment, along with ZUPCO chairman Charles Nherera.
Shah and Nherera, who is also the vice-chancellor of Chinhoyi University, are currently involved in a bitter wrangle over the bribery claims.
A police probe is already underway.


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Missing Zimbabwe athletes posing a mystery in Britain

Boston News

By Alana Semuels, Globe Correspondent  |  October 2, 2005
LONDON -- A group of high-profile soccer players from Zimbabwe has caused a media frenzy here and in Zimbabwe by failing to return home last week after a match in northern England.
The eight members of the CAPS United and Highlanders soccer teams did not join their teammates on the return flight from London's Heathrow airport Tuesday, generating speculation that they, like thousands of Zimbabweans before them, left behind their turbulent home country to make a life for themselves here.
Zimbabwe native Ezra Sibanda, who helped promote the sporting event, said that he spoke to the players and that all fear they may face sanctions and other reprisals if they return to Zimbabwe. Sibanda interviewed three of the players on his London-based radio show Afro Sounds FM, and said some players were thinking about applying to work here.
''If you go to Zimbabwe and ask anyone, 9 out of 10 people would say, if given the chance, they would move to England," Sibanda said. ''The players say, 'Why waste it -- why not take advantage of it?' "
There is still some dispute about whether the players have defected. Officials with ZimEvents, the Birmingham-based company that planned the match, said that while they had not been in contact with the players, they were on six-month visas and therefore in Britain legally for now. Zimbabwean media have reported that a special government commission is looking into the matter.
Defection by athletes is nothing new. But the nature of sports defections in Britain is taking on a form quite different from the often-romantic one attached to athletes who defected during the Cold War.
In the past few years, cricket players from Sri Lanka and India, golfers from Nigeria, and athletes of all sorts from Sierra Leone have come to Britain to play in games, and then disappeared before competition began. Often these players give up a high profile in their countries to work in menial jobs here, a sign of the pull Britain has on people from around the world.
The latest incident garnered additional attention because it occurred nearly three months after the subway bombings, and as British politicians are reassessing diversity and the ability of people from different cultures and countries to seek refuge and new lives here.
Immigration -- legal and illegal -- has been booming in Britain over the past two decades. About 1 in 4 people living in London was born in another country, and legal immigration alone has brought more than a million people to Britain over a decade, according to a recent report by the left-leaning Institute for Public Policy Research.
''It is certainly true that the UK over the last couple of years has become a major destination country," said Eric Neumayer, an associate professor at the London School of Economics who recently presented a paper showing that the UK has more lenient visa requirements than any other country, which could lead to more visitors overstaying their visas. ''The existing communities of immigrants inevitably mean they attract more new immigration," he said.
Steven Vertovec, director of the Center on Migration, Policy, and Society at the University of Oxford, said, ''The UK has stuck its neck out and said, we think migrants are good for the economy, both high-skilled and low-skilled."
But the ability of asylum seekers and other immigrants to move to Britain, and in some cases disappear, has put members of the Conservative Party on edge.
''It is vital, especially at this time of heightened terrorism, that Britain has control of her borders and knows exactly who is coming in and out of the country," said Patrick Mercer, the Conservatives's homeland security spokesman. ''Yet under Labor, just one-third of our main points of entry are manned 24 hours a day and there are now at least 250,000 failed asylum seekers in this country whose whereabouts we do not know."
If they do seek asylum, the Zimbabwean soccer players would face hurdles because they didn't apply as soon as they set foot on British soil. This means that if they overstay their six-month visas, they will become like the hundreds of thousands of other undocumented migrants who have entered the country legally and then did not leave when their visas expire.
For foreigners like the soccer players, it can be difficult to know how to proceed.
Ake Nigbo, 28, an immigrant from the Ivory Coast, came to Britain two years ago to study chemistry and escape his war-torn country. Nigbo, who is seeking asylum, lives in the Stockwell neighborhood in south London, where Brazilian immigrant Jean Charles de Menezes was fatally shot by police officers who errantly believed he was a terrorist suspect.
Nigbo thinks there are too many immigrants in London, but knows that many, like his friends and family from the Ivory Coast, feel that Britain is one of the few places they will be safe.
''What we need is to stay in our own country," he said. ''But we come to England because in our own country, we couldn't have peace."
© Copyright 2005 Globe Newspaper Company.


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Empowerment scheme demands $1.4 billion dividend

Financial Gazette
Audrey Chitsika
9/29/2005 9:22:33 AM (GMT +2)

FINHOLD Services (Finserve) - an employee-owned empowerment vehicle in the Zimbabwe Banking Corporation Limited (ZBCL) - has demanded over $1.4 billion in dividend payment from the retail bank's parent company.

Lawyers representing Finserve this month wrote to the Financial Holdings Limited (Finhold) chief executive officer Elisha Mushayakarara requesting a dividend payment within seven days. The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed Finhold operates two subsidiaries, namely ZBCL and Scotfin Limited. The group is also on the verge of taking over Intermarket Holdings, founded by fugitive banker Nick Vingirai.
It was, however, not clear at the time of going to print whether Finhold had responded positively to the request by Finserve, which has had volatile relations with the banking group that have often spilt into the courts.
This year, the Supreme Court had to end a dispute that arose after Finhold had nullified the Finserve empowerment deal, involving 16 million ZBCL shares.
"Following the conclusion of the appeal in this matter, wherein, the interests of Finserve were confirmed, we have been instructed to write to you requesting, as we hereby do, payment (of dividend) to Finserve, within seven days of the date of this letter, of:
"(a) the amount of $679 192 000.00 being dividends due to them as at March 31 2004, together with interest a tempore morae with effect from April 1 2004 to the date of payment; and;
"(b) the amount of $688 298 246.40 being the final dividend due to them as at September 30 2004, together with interest a tempore morae with effect from October 1 2004 until the date of payment," wrote Finserve lawyers Costa and Madzonga in a letter dated September 12.
Finhold spokesperson Joseph Muzulu expressed ignorance of the letter when contacted for comment this week. He said: "I am not aware of the letter and Mushayakarara is not around to comment. If I had seen the letter, I would be in a position to comment on the current situation."


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With ministers like these, who needs enemies?

Financial Gazette
>
9/29/2005 9:46:48 AM (GMT +2)

HAVING lurched from crisis to crisis, the erstwhile resilient Zimbabwean economy is finally caving in. What started off as a slow-motion economic collapse some 10 years ago is now accelerating on the back of increased international isolation.

Zimbabwe, previously the envy of many a Third World country at the attainment of independence in 1980 has, in very short period, been transformed into a land of contagion of uncertainty and fear shunned by circumspect investors and financiers. This has aggravated an unprecedented economic meltdown. Resultantly, long-suffering and disillusioned Zimbabweans, the majority of whom are living below the breadline, are marooned on an island of stagnation and utter misery.
Given the foregoing, the need for a deeper rapprochement with, not just East or West but the broader international community, cannot therefore be overemphasised. Yet the arrogant Zimbabwean government, which behaves as if the world owes it a living, continues to give the international community the middle finger.
We have here in mind the unfortunate utterances by government ministers who are given to dangerous populist posturing. A fortnight ago it was Transport and Communications Minister Chris Mushohwe, who left the nation deeply shocked when he told a CZI conference that government would forcibly take over white-owned firms. Not to be outdone, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa, the supposed government legal mind, was last week quoted in this paper saying that government would zero in on the remaining tracts of mainly white-owned commercial farmland. He categorically stated that bilateral agreements signed with different countries in respect of their nationals' investments would be cast aside.
Is government not risking being perceived as cutting and welding the land reform into a weapon for settling racial and political scores instead of moulding it into a genuine avenue of redress for those negatively affected by historical injustices? Also, why government would want to acquire more land when voracious multiple farm owners who turned the agrarian reforms into a land grab orgy are still illegally holding on to these farms and when only an estimated 44 percent of the land allocated so far is under productive use, befuddles us.
More importantly however, the timing of Mushohwe and Chinamasa's gaffes in view of Zimbabwe's desperate attempts to mend fences with the international community is perplexing, to say the least. Could there be anything more confusing, coming as it does at a time when more pragmatic arms of government have since said that Zimbabwe should instead work on a frame to regularise bilateral investment protection agreements (BIPAs) that were inadvertently adversely affected by the emotive land issue. Not to mention the fact that it introduces a discordant note to government policy over the fate of farms that fall under the BIPAs.
We have said it before and we will say it again. It is the style, form and approach of the violent seizures of farms under the fast-track land reform that - no matter how justified government thinks it is - was a major point of bitter attacks by the international community. And failure to honour bilateral agreements will do very little to help Zimbabwe shed the rogue state stigma. If anything, it can only make the situation worse because jittery fence-sitting foreign investors will stampede for the nearest safety bunker.
Our considered view is that, above everything else right now, infrastructural investment is a real lifebelt that could turn the tide for Zimbabwe's sickly economy. How then does the government hope to attract the much-hoped-for infrastructural investment when agreements are not worth the paper they are written on? What messages are the ministers' tragi-comic antics sending to the international community whose patience with Zimbabwe is, to all intents and purposes, wearing thin? And to think that President Robert Mugabe has pronounced 2005 the year of investment which means that an investment-led economic recovery should of necessity be ushered in by a recovery in investor confidence! Do the likes of Chinamasa and Mushohwe understand that economic progress is held back by the dead hand of their obsession with revolutionary mantras and hatred for the West which, ironically, is Zimbabwe's biggest export market besides South Africa?
This is why we have in the past wondered whether some of the ministers who have survived simply because there is no quality control in government, have enough gumption to realise the improbability and far reaching implications of what they say. From the examples cited above we do not have any reason to think that some of these ministers have the quality of being able to think what would be sensible to do in a particular situation. Otherwise, as not only key but also important voices in the inner circle of the ruling ZANU PF, which influences government policy, Chinamasa and Mushohwe should have realised that their utterances have grave implications. Which is why we dare ask: with ministers like these, which government needs enemies?


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And now to the Notebook . . Hero-makers

Financial Gazette


9/29/2005 9:11:30 AM (GMT +2)

Hero-makers
“INDEED, he was part of the external wing which kept the struggle going after the white settlers made open nationalist politics inside the country virtually inoperable.“

However, in 1977 Cde Hamadziripi differed with the party in a major way, differences which translated into an armed revolt which he masterminded while the party leadership was away, attending the ill-fated Anglo-American talks in Malta,” said the Great Uncle of the late veteran nationalist Henry Hamadziripi, who died last week and was denied any hero status whatsoever.
“Thereafter, he worked at cross-purposes with the party. He participated in the historic 1980 elections under the political umbrella of ZANU (Ndonga). Later, he would opt out of politics altogether,” the Great Uncle was quoted as saying in a statement deliberately issued to spite the bereaved family.
This is not the first (or is it the last?) time the sole custodian of the country’s hero status has denied the recognition to someone he disagreed with.
After the harsh decision on Hamadziripi, some people here and there grumbled. But what they didn’t know is that the Great Uncle was acting within his rights.
Over the years the cowards around him have made him such a powerful institution that when one refers to ZANU PF they are basically referring to him alone. The party is himself — and himself alone — and everyone else is a mere supporter, and that is why no one can dare challenge him.
Hero status is a personal favour which only comes from one person — the Great Uncle — never mind all the prattle about the politburo, the central committee and such decorative structures of “the party”! If he says “NO!”, that’s it. If he says a dog or a baboon is a national hero, then people will turn up at the National Heroes’ Acre in their droves to bury it! No questions asked. Just like when he imposed some very dangerously corrupt dunderhead to a very senior post within his party and government.
So Hamadziripi, who recruited some of the big names in ZANU PF today into the liberation war, is a lesser hero than Cain Nkala, Chenjerai Hunzvi and such other characters that lie interred at the “national” shrine because he disagreed with “the party”? Because he contested the 1980 elections under the ZANU (Ndonga) ticket? Just like all other “enemies” such as Ndabaningi Sithole and Abel Muzorewa? Yet some people are buried there more on account that their spouses are or will be buried there than anything else.
But we claim to be pursuing a policy of national reconciliation . . . even if it means some people are not forgiven even in death!
From now onwards, can anyone show good cause why that place should be called National Heroes’ Acre? It is ZANU PF Heroes’ Acre. Nothing more!
Hopefully, those who are personalising and monopolising this posthumous privilege will also get the chance to enjoy it themselves. In some countries, countries not very far, the end of the circus has not been beautiful. Hopefully, in our case it will be.
Bira season
So it has moved to biras? The official madness has moved to these overnight séances which one really wonders if they have the effect of improving the lives of an ordinary famished Zimbo.
Maybe CZ is naturally prejudiced on this one, but he cannot help wonder how these barren séances will deliver fuel, food, democracy or even common sense among a whole panoply of basic life essentials we dearly miss in this country?
Where were these chiefs and their spirit mediums in the past five years when the country has been exposed to baking drought?
The world is full of fools, but it looks like Zimbos have decided to upgrade foolishness into a fine art! Can this come to an end? Please!
And did you notice how each and every traditional chief said: “We have to appease the spirits; people are suffering”?
Media watched!
So this week Cde Tazzen and his dear guest thought it seemly to dwell on trivialities and in the process conveniently ignore real stories that made news last week. Stories that unriddled the conundrum about why — in the middle of mass starvation — some people are getting shamefully fat . . . kickbacks from bus tenders.
Anyway, we appreciate the fact that his job security is a bit tinkling, so he would not want to fast-track himself to the village. But is it not wise for one to start preparing for a safe landing when it becomes clear that the inevitable is near?
It was curious this week that confused deputy (Mis)Information minister Bright Matonga (he insists his surname should be pronounced like Maton’a), who is one of the several public officials threatened by this unfolding kickback scandal, at the weekend donated a princely sum of $100 million to schools in his Mhondoro constituency. Curious, isn’t it? Moreso when the man has the gall to tell all and sundry that “ndakangokorokoza-korokoza.” Kukorokoza kupi?

cznotebook@yahoo.co.uk


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Malawian president bars local anti-Zimbabwe protests


2004/10/18 22:17:56
 Oct 19, 2004 (BBC Monitoring via COMTEX) -- Interdenominational prayers which a group of NGOs organized in Blantyre last Saturday [16 October] to seek divine intervention against an amended NGO bill in Zimbabwe failed to take place following President Bingu wa Mutharika's last minute decision which led to police barring entry to the BAT [British American Tobacco] ground scheduled, venue of the prayers.
 Mutharika is meeting 10 NGO leaders this morning to ask them not to hold any prayers or demonstrations for fear of destabilizing Malawi's relations with Zimbabwe. One of the organizers of the prayers Rafiq Hajat said he was summoned to the office of the commissioner of police (South) together with another organizer Emmie Chanika where they were told to cancel the prayers until they meet the president. "But while we were locked up in the meeting which lasted for 90 minutes, a group of police officers were deployed to the BAT ground to stop the prayers," said Hajat. He said although the police convened a meeting with the NGO leaders, they had already decided to stop the meeting. "It was already a forgone conclusion and not negotiable and the meeting was a cynical ruse to keep the main organizers occupied while their support systems were being quietly dismantled in the background," said Hajat. He said Malawi is still a police state which is "under polite democratic camouflage". Human Rights Consultative Committee (CHRR) national coordinator Rodgers Newa confirmed that 10 NGO leaders will meet Mutharika at 10 a.m. Monday [18 October]. [Passage omitted]
 Source: The Nation web site, Blantyre, in English 19 Oct 04
 BBC Mon AF1 AFEau 191004/


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Mugabe forecasts end to Zimbabwe fuel crisis

 
Business Report

September 29, 2005

Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has told his ruling party that he expects the country's fuel supply to increase in the days and weeks ahead, newspapers reported on Thursday.

Reports said the 81-year old leader made the pledge in remarks to hundreds of ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) supporters in the capital Harare on Wednesday.

"Fuel supply is expected to increase in the next few days and will gradually improve in the next few weeks," the state-controlled Herald newspaper quoted Mugabe as saying. He did not specify what measures were being taken to boost the fuel supplies.

Zimbabwe has been in the grip of its worst fuel crisis ever for the past several months. The shortages have crippled urban transport and emergency services in major cities.

Bakeries are short of diesel to run ovens, and the national airline has been forced at times to postpone international flights due to a shortage of aviation fuel.

Farming experts have predicted another poor agricultural season due to the shortage of fuel needed for planting. They say shortages of fertiliser, seed and crop chemicals that stem from a lack of hard cash will worsen agricultural prospects
Mugabe forecasts end to Zimbabwe fuel crisis
September 29, 2005

Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has told his ruling party that he expects the country's fuel supply to increase in the days and weeks ahead, newspapers reported on Thursday.

Reports said the 81-year old leader made the pledge in remarks to hundreds of ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) supporters in the capital Harare on Wednesday.

"Fuel supply is expected to increase in the next few days and will gradually improve in the next few weeks," the state-controlled Herald newspaper quoted Mugabe as saying. He did not specify what measures were being taken to boost the fuel supplies.

Zimbabwe has been in the grip of its worst fuel crisis ever for the past several months. The shortages have crippled urban transport and emergency services in major cities.

Bakeries are short of diesel to run ovens, and the national airline has been forced at times to postpone international flights due to a shortage of aviation fuel.

Farming experts have predicted another poor agricultural season due to the shortage of fuel needed for planting. They say shortages of fertiliser, seed and crop chemicals that stem from a lack of hard cash will worsen agricultural prospects

Despite this, Mugabe was upbeat about his country's prospects for food production, according to a report in the private Daily Mirror newspaper.

"If the rains come this year it will be a turning point in our history as we will be able to shame those detractors who say that we are unable to produce enough to feed our people," the paper quoted him as telling his supporters.

Zimbabwe is experiencing its fourth consecutive year of food shortages. A recent heat wave broke on Wednesday with light rain in some parts of the country. Weather experts are predicting an above average rainy season this year.

However, farming experts have warned that Zimbabwe is unprepared for the coming agricultural season.

Once dubbed the breadbasket of southern Africa, Zimbabwe is now importing at least 15 000 tonnes of the staple maize a week and aid agencies predict more than a quarter of the country's 11.6 million people will require food aid by March next year. - Sapa-dpa


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