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

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Reuters
ááááá Sunday October 3, 02:48 AM

ááááá Zimbabwe services failing and dangers lurk
ááááá By MacDonald Dzirutwe

ááááá HARARE (Reuters) - Five-year-old Zimbabwean Felicita Munyoro fiddles
with a soda can as she plays with friends, then bends to fill it with the
murky contents of a burst sewage pipe flowing past her house, oblivious to
the foul smell and the health dangers that lurk.

ááááá Across town in the capital Harare's leafy suburb of Borrowdale,
Takunda Hove has woken up early for the sixth day in a row, in order to
drive early to work and use the shower facilities because the water tap at
home has run dry.

ááááá "I have children here and I worry every day about the possibility of a
disease outbreak in the neighbourhood. I don't know if these problems will
ever be sorted out," says the 37-year-old father of three.

ááááá Hove plans to drill a borehole on his property, a luxury that the
majority of poverty-stricken urban dwellers, like Felicita's parents, cannot
afford. Frequent water cuts force them to trudge to neighbouring areas in
search of a piped supply, while others resort to hazardous wells and
streams.

ááááá In Harare, authorities recently announced 18-hour daily water cuts in
most residential suburbs, blaming the cuts on a decrepit main water pump
station servicing the city.

ááááá The water shortage is the latest scourge to hit Harare, once one of
Africa's cleanest urban centres and dubbed 'the Sunshine City', but which
like the majority of Zimbabwe's towns has seen a degeneration of basic
services as an economic crisis bites.

ááááá FALLING REVENUES

ááááá Urban councils, largely run by the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), say falling revenues and interference from
President Robert Mugabe's government have left them ill-equipped to cope
with growing populations.

ááááá Built in then colonial Rhodesia to cater for a smaller population,
Zimbabwe's urban infrastructure is creaking under the weight of hundreds of
thousands of people who have flocked from the rural areas in search of jobs.

ááááá Road potholes lie unrepaired for years while burst water and sewer
pipes are common in most residential areas.

ááááá Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, the MDC mayor of Zimbabwe's second city of
Bulawayo and chair of all urban councils, says a government freeze on rates
payments has crippled city budgets.

ááááá Figures show that Bulawayo needs more than 360 billion Zimbabwe
dollars (38 million pounds) for its 2004 budget, but will only be able to
raise half the amount because of the rate freeze.

ááááá "Since the freeze on rates we are suffering, we live from hand to
mouth. We are now allocating the few resources on priorities so that
services do not totally collapse," Ndabeni-Ncube told Reuters.

ááááá "We are aware of the health threats posed by water cuts and the
garbage that is sometimes collected only after a fortnight."

ááááá MDC councillors see the rates freeze as a deliberate ploy by Mugabe's
ruling ZANU-PF party to woo back urban voters who blame the government for
the country's economic problems and have largely rallied behind the
opposition at elections since 2000.

ááááá RATE HIKES NOT JUSTIFIED

ááááá The government argues that rate hikes are no longer justified because
the country's economy, grappling with one of the highest unemployment rates
in the world is rebounding under a new monetary policy which has stabilised
prices and the Zimbabwe dollar.

ááááá But most residents still have to contend with erratic water supplies
as cash-strapped councils struggle to procure imported treatment chemicals
while burst sewer pipes and mounting rubbish piles pose a serious health
hazard.

ááááá "This is not the image of a city we want in the 21st century," said
Michael Davies, chairman of the Combined Harare Residents Association.

ááááá "The threat of diseases like cholera is real not only in Harare but in
all cities. Provision of vital services like water and rubbish collection
are the bedrock of a city."

ááááá With over 70 percent unemployment, unregulated street vending has
mushroomed in most cities, often in areas without the necessary sanitary
facilities like garbage bins.

ááááá Last month the MDC announced it was withdrawing all of its councillors
from the capital's municipality, saying the government had made it
impossible to effectively run the city.

ááááá But local government minister Ignatius Chombo blames the rundown state
of Zimbabwe's cities on incompetence by an opposition party he says has
failed to live up to the expectations of the electorate.

ááááá As the political tug-of-war rages on, Felicita Munyoro dices with
disease each time she ventures out to her filth-ridden playground, while a
leisurely bath at home remains a pipedream for suburban dweller Hove.
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Sunday Times (UK)

ááááááááááá October 03, 2004

ááááááááááá No escape for England as Zimbabwe boycott ruled out

ááááááááááá With the investigation into racism in Zimbabwean cricket
struggling to make progress, Michael Vaughan and his squad are destined to
go ahead with the controversial tour, reports Simon Wilde

ááááááááááá TALK of Fica, the global players' union, calling a boycott of
Zimbabwean cricket has been dismissed as "very premature" by Tim May, the
union's chief executive. His statement probably removes the last obstacle to
England's tour of Zimbabwe going ahead next month.
ááááááááááá Fica, which has never discussed a boycott, will hold an
extraordinary general meeting once the outcome of the International Cricket
Council's (ICC) investigation into allegations of racial discrimination in
Zimbabwean cricket has made its recommendations. But given the ICC inquiry's
inability to cross-examine witnesses - it has had to be satisfied with
receiving written statements from them - the chances of the Zimbabwe Cricket
Union being condemned are slim.

ááááááááááá May played down the possibility that Fica might take matters
into its own hands, saying it placed its trust in the racism investigation
and the ICC to handle the issue properly.

ááááááááááá "I have never heard any talk of a player boycott of Zimbabwe
cricket, and I think I might have done," he said. "It has never been
discussed at Fica level. A lot of things would have to happen before that
was considered. The panel in control of the investigation into racial
discrimination needs to provide a recommendation to the ICC before the
executive board meeting in Pakistan (on October 16-17). From a Fica
perspective, we're an interested party in that outcome, and if that outcome
indicates racial discrimina- tion, then Fica's position would be that we'd
want the ICC to act accordingly.

ááááááááááá "We've been banging this drum continuously, because the ICC has
as one of its core values in its strategic plan that the game must be free
of discrimination, whether it be through religion, colour of skin or
whatever. We expect the ICC to uphold its values.

ááááááááááá I have confidence that it will handle this case properly.

ááááááááááá "We have had several communications with the Zimbabwe
cricketers. We are aware of the players' side of the story and are
supporting the players. There's a high level of concern for the Zimbabwe
cricketers as fellow professionals."

ááááááááááá May said he had not given up hope of some of the white "rebels"
returning to the team. "I don't think it's remote that some play again. I
have faith in processes, and proper processes typically bring about proper
outcomes."

ááááááááááá Geoff Marsh, who has just returned to Australia after three
years as Zimbabwe coach, said: "The whole thing is very sad. I would like to
see all parties involved get all the players back playing again because at
the moment there's too many good cricketers not playing for the country.
Since the World Cup there's been many people, non-white and white, wanting
to play the game, and it would be sad were it to continue falling from the
heights it reached five years ago. It's sad that some of the England players
are not going. They've obviously got their reasons."

ááááááááááá Michael Vaughan's agent, Neil Fairbrother, said the England
captain had never doubted that he would lead the tour: "He sees it as his
responsibility. (Coach) Duncan Fletcher saw him as one of the players who
needed rest, but Michael's view has always been that he must lead the side.
He could not hand the job to somebody else. It's been said he accepted
through gritted teeth, but I don't think that was the case."

ááááááááááá Fairbrother's comments support the contention of David Morgan,
the England and Wales Cricket Board chairman, that it was always
á"understood" by the England management that Vaughan must lead the tour.

ááááááááááá Given that the England players have agreed to stick together as
a team on the issue, it must be considered unlikely that - for all the
inevitable soul-searching - any member of the 14-man squad will withdraw
between now and their departure on November 15. Darren Gough has said there
remains much to talk about in the next few weeks, but he conceded: "We have
to send a team, so why pass the buck?"
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The Scotsman

Flower laments possible death of Zimbabwean cricket

IAIN FLETCHER

ON OCTOBER 16-17, the ICC executive board, the international governing body's
real power, will convene in Pakistan and discuss the ongoing problem with
Zimbabwean cricket. If, at this meeting they decide that the Zimbabwe
Cricket Union (ZCU) has actually pursued a policy of active racism or
systematic racism, as is claimed by the 15 rebel players led by former
captain Heath Streak, then the ICC will have little option but to strip the
country of both one-day and Test match status. This will, of course allow
England to abandon their own tour their next month. It would be a brave and
bold decision by the Executive Board but there is a growing groundswell of
opinion that the pitiful performances of some of the lesser nations are
starting to adversely affect the image of the game and Zimbabwe have been
one of the most inept since the departure of the 15 players.

The recent Champions Trophy highlighted the problem and the current one-day
triangular tournament in Pakistan involving Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe has
already proved a tournament between two countries with the other providing
nothing more than net practice.

"What is happening at the moment is actually going to be the death of
cricket in Zimbabwe," said Grant Flower, one of the 15 rebels and brother of
Andy who famously wore a black armband during Zimbabwe's first world cup
match last year to protest against the "death of democracy in our country".

"The side are not good enough as it is and a lot of hard work over many
years is being wasted," he continued. "If the ICC force the ZCU to act then
something can be done but if they decide that the racism has been personal
and isolated to a few instances, then Zimbabwean cricket will really
struggle."

Not that it will involve Flower himself.

"I don't think I'll play international cricket again," he said. "I've
already been told by one of the board that even if it is resolved, they didn't
want me back. That is why I've signed a two-year contract to play county
cricket in England for Essex. I'm a professional cricketer and I have to be
employed and if it is not for my country then I have to find someone to play
for."

However. the chances of an amicable resolution are slim. Earlier this week,
ICC president Ehsan Mani described himself as "disappointed" after the
initial hearing in Harare between the ZCU and the players "did not go the
distance".

The two-man panel, India's solicitor-general, Goolam Vahanvati, and South
African high court judge Steven Majiedt, failed to hear oral submissions
after both parties failed to agree on whether the ZCU could have three board
members present during the submission of evidence by the players. The
process has now moved to written submissions but with neither party wishing
to concede ground on even the smallest issue, it looks set for an ICC
adjudication.

The situation, however, does give those England players reluctant to tour
some hope and would save the ECB further embarrassment after having
confirmed that Andrew Flintoff was missing the tour for reasons of rest, to
have him publicly state that he had informed them a week before of his
intention not to tour Zimbabwe for personal reasons. Ever since the debacle
in last year's World Cup, the issue of touring Zimbabwe has haunted the ECB
and such mistrust has developed between the players and administrators that
players are now less inclined to "toe the party line". Flintoff has clearly
stated that he was not touring, as did his friend, Stephen Harmison. Marcus
Trescothick however will be absent, resting.

Flower will also be in England despite still owning a house in Zimbabwe.

"I still have interest in Zimbabwe but tend to be careful what I say," he
added. "What is good though is that next year I will be playing with my
brother again. When we left the field in Port Elizabeth after our final
group match in last year's World Cup, I was emotional because I thought it
was the last time I'd play with Andy, but now we are both at Essex."

Andy joined after the World Cup as an overseas player but Grant has taken
advantage of the Kolpak ruling and is playing under European Union
regulations.

Up to 30 "Kolpak" players are expected to play county cricket next season
presenting the ECB with another contentious issue.

"The Kolpak arrangement clearly benefits me," explained Flower. "Since I was
18 I've travelled every winter to play cricket, league or international, and
as a professional player I need to earn. If that is in England as a county
pro then that suits me but I can see that it does cause problems. If lots of
spaces are being taken by Kolpak players then the young English players may
struggle. I can see the anti-Kolpak viewpoint but from a personal angle I
have to accept that it has been fought in the courts and allows me to work.
As a Zimbabwean, I have to make a new start, a lot of the players do because
of what is happening to Zimbabwean cricket, and this has allowed me to do
that."

If the dispute between the Zimbabwean players and the ZCU is not resolved,
many more may follow Flower and take advantage of the Kolpak ruling. Streak
himself is an overseas player for Warwickshire but if his international
career is over, the club may seek to strengthen their team by playing him
and signing another overseas star.

A lot hinges on the executive board meeting in Pakistan in two weeks.
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Sent: Saturday, October 02, 2004 7:13 PM
Subject: Skin colour is irrelevant

Dear Family and Friends

"Land to the people!" has been President Mugabe's call for the last four
years and seven
months. It was a call that saw almost a million people in the form of
farmers, farm workers
and their families and extended families being made jobless, homeless and
destitute. It was
also a call that saw Zimbabwe go from being a regional seed and food
exporter to a destitute
beggar in less than four years. "Our Land is Our Prosperity!" was the call
that persuaded
ordinary rural peasants to go and squat on commercial farms around the
country. This call
led to hyper inflation soaring to over 600% in January this year and a
massive brain drain
with more than three million people streaming out of Zimbabwe. "The Land is
the economy!"
was another slogan which our government shoved down our throats while over
300 opposition
supporters were killed in political violence and foreign journalists were
expelled from the
country. "Our land! Our Land! Our Land!" was the increasingly hysterical
call by the
government as they clamped down on freedom of speech, movement, association
and publication.

While all of this went on most of Zimbabwe's African neighbours have kept
shamefully quiet.
Perhaps they believed the scores of hateful racist speeches that have been
spouted by our
leaders or perhaps they were scared that they'd be called racists if they
criticised events
in Zimbabwe. In the last three weeks some diabolical things have been going
on in Zimbabwe
and yet still our African neighbours cannot find their voices. Hundreds of
black peasant
farmers and their families have been forcibly evicted from the land they
have been living on
since February 2000. Evictions have apparently been undertaken by soldiers
and police who
have set light to people's homes and left peasant farmers with their wives,
children,
furniture and livestock stranded on the side of main highways.

Quoted in the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper last week, one evicted peasant
farmer said: "We
are convinced that the government is now evicting us from the farms to pave
the way for Zanu
PF officials."

White commercial farmers lived in fear and were powerless when the
Zimbabwean government
came and grabbed their farms in 2000. Black Zimbabwean farmers are now also
living in fear
for the powerlessness that is about to engulf them as our government kicks
them off the
farms too. Skin colour is irrelevant, we are all victims. Events in Zimbabwe
have surely now
become the shame of Africa.

Until next week, with love, cathy

Copyright cathy buckle 2nd October 2004
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Zim Standard

Mafikizolos face the axe
By Loughty Dube

BULAWAYO - The Politburo has endorsed the formation of a high level Zanu PF
committee tasked with coming up with strict guidelines to be used in vetting
party members vying for positions.

The guidelines will be implemented next month before members can participate
in the Zanu PF primary elections in preparation for the 2005 general
elections, The Standard can reveal.
Party sources say the move is designed to weed out new comers who are
denigrating senior party leaders as well as those trying to buy their way
into positions.

The insiders said the feeling among the old guard in the party who have come
under threat from young and ambitious politicians is that eight years of
diligent service to Zanu PF be one of the conditions to be applied in
determining one's eligibility.

If approved by the committee to be chaired by Speaker of Parliament,
Emmerson Mnangagwa, such a requirement could slam the door in the face of
newcomers such as Jonathan Moyo who have gone around their constituencies
dishing out donations to the electorate.

Mnangagwa could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The Zanu PF national chairman, John Nkomo referred The Standard to Elliot
Manyika, the party's national commissar saying he (Manyika) was better
placed to talk about the vetting process.

Manyika, who is expected to spearhead the restructuring exercise of party
provinces in anticipation of the primary elections, could neither confirm
nor deny that such a committee had been formed.

"On that matter, please can you contact me after two weeks. I will then be
in a position to give you all the details but not everyone who wants to
contest primaries will do so," said Manyika.

Nathan Shamuyarira, the Zanu PF spokesman yesterday said: "Deliberations or
minutes of the Politburo are confidential, so I don't have anything to say
about that."

However, a politburo member who spoke to The Standard on condition of
anonymity confirmed the move yesterday.

"We have come up with our own guidelines and like any organisation, we want
to avoid a situation whereby people abandon the party only to return and
cause confusion," said the politburo member.

Other party sources said the move to appoint a vetting committee had been in
the pipeline for a long time but featured on the agenda during a recent
politburo meeting after senior party officials spoke strongly about the need
to tighten the vetting process.

Party heavyweights led by national chairman, Nkomo, have in the past few
weeks come out in the open saying they would not let new comers destroy Zanu
PF.

News about the committee comes two months after Nkomo stopped some ambitious
party members from imposing themselves as official party candidates without
going through the Zanu PF primary elections.

"A lot of young aspiring candidates are not going to make it through the
rigorous vetting process and those that will make it are likely to contend
with the Zanu PF old-guard who are easily going to satisfy the tough
conditions set out," said the source.

The source said the party had resolved that those that will contest next
year's elections should have been members of Zanu PF for a period of not
less than eight years. The move is likely to throw a lifeline to the old
guard facing a stiff challenge from younger contenders.

Party insiders said those who are likely to be disqualified from the party
in primaries include members who have been hauled before the disciplinary
committee and those that are facing allegations of corruption.
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Zim Standard

Fuel black market returns
By our own staff

A thriving fuel black market has resurfaced in the country as the crippling
shortage of the commodity continues with no solution in sight, The Standard
has established.

The situation is most critical in major cities such as Harare and Bulawayo
and enterprising individuals are taking advantage of the crisis to sell fuel
on the black market at exorbitant prices.
Other urban centres such as Gweru, Kwekwe and Kadoma are also facing fuel
problems as they have been receiving intermittent supplies.

Capitalising on the situation, black marketers are selling five litres of
petrol in Harare at an average price of $45 000, translating to $9 000 a
litre.

The situation is more critical in Bulawayo where a litre of diesel has
ballooned from the pump price of $3 700 to $16 000 at the black market while
petrol costs $15 500 a litre from a mere $3 600.

"This is the time to make money. We will empty this tank and sell the petrol
instead of toiling for nuts the whole day," said a commuter omnibus driver
after filing his tank at Jovenna Petroleum Service Station along Nelson
Mandela Avenue in Harare.

A snap survey last week in Bulawayo indicated that major service stations
had not received petrol, diesel, unleaded and paraffin during the past two
weeks resulting in the prevalence of the black market.

Garage owners in Bulawayo said the crisis started on 12 September 2004 and
garages which were lucky were receiving a mere 5 000 litres instead of the
normal 40 000 to 50 000 litres a day.

In an interview, Bulawayo Service Station Manager, Audrey Kleinworth, said
the prices of petrol, diesel, unleaded and paraffin had drastically risen
owing to the shortage.

At most service stations in Harare and Bulawayo, the picture is one common
during the critical fuel shortages more than a year ago, with long queues
being the norm.

Bulawayo city council expressed concern that their operations would be
severely affected by fuel shortage with the collection of refuse being
threatened.
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Zim Standard

Churches call for peaceful 2005 elections
By our own staff

WITH just six months to the March 2005 parliamentary elections, religious
leaders say political parties should be free to campaign, while campaigning
should be peaceful.

The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference (ZCBC) yesterday called for a
"credible electoral process", whose outcome will be a people's choice with
local and international recognition.
They also said voters were entitled to peaceful times before, during and
after next March's parliamentary elections.

In a joint pastoral letter yesterday the bishops said the period before
elections was a time for voters to assess their candidates and see if they
were good prospective leaders.

A similar message from the Methodist Church reinforced their call. The
concerns come against reports by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum that 52
people were reportedly assaulted while 1 061 others were tortured in
connection with the 2002 presidential election. The pastoral letter said:
"Good leaders aspire to serve and not be served, are accountable and
responsible, value truth and have respect for human dignity."

The concerns by the bishops come amid reports of inter and intra-party
fighting especially between the ruling Zanu PF and the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) ahead of primaries to choose candidates who will
represent the parties in next year's parliamentary elections.

For the bishops, if an atmosphere of peace, freedom and fairness during
elections exists, Zimbabwe should really be proud to invite both local and
international observers to witness democracy in action.

They appealed to the media in Zimbabwe to serve all sections of society. The
bishops said: "It is important that all political parties have access to
media coverage so that they can inform citizens about how they intend to
govern if they are elected into power."

In a criticism of the State-controlled media in the country, the bishops
said: "This is an abuse of State structures that leads to various
consequences like media propaganda, favouritism and discrimination against
those seen as disloyal."

They were making these observations because previous elections were marred
by "a lot" of violence leading to controversial results, they said.

The outgoing Methodist Church leader, Bishop Cephas Mukandi, urged all
Christians to avoid being used by politicians as next year's parliamentary
elections approach.
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Zim Standard

War vets challenge top Zanu PF chefs in polls
By Caiphas Chimhete

MORE veterans of Zimbabwe's liberation struggle are this year challenging
senior ruling Zanu PF party officials, setting the stage for tough Zanu PF
primary elections, The Standard can reveal.

Previously, very few war veterans contested the parliamentary elections, let
alone openly challenged senior Zanu PF politicians in their constituencies.
In the 2000 parliamentary and 2002 presidential polls, war veterans were at
the centre of the Zanu PF campaign strategy, without themselves vying for
parliamentary seats.

The former freedom fighters spoke to The Standard last week and said they
were tired of being used by politicians, who forget about their welfare soon
after the elections.

"For a long time we were being used as the campaign tools by some
politicians. Now we are saying enough is enough, we also want those
positions of influence. We can't live in their shadows forever," said one
war veteran, who requested anonymity.

War Veterans' Association chairman, Jabulani Sibanda, said former freedom
fighters were contesting in almost all constituencies countrywide because of
the "reawakening of the revolutionary spirit" among the ex-combatants. He
said war veterans had resolved to support each other during Zanu PF primary
elections.

Sibanda said the spirit was revived after war veterans invaded white owned
commercial farms in 2000.

"After independence, we relaxed because Britain had promised to fund the
land reform programme, but after realising that what we fought for is not
coming, we decided to take the battle further by encouraging our members to
contest parliamentary seats," he said.

Sibanda is challenging governor Obert Mpofu in Matabeleland North. Mpofu is
a politburo member.

War veterans are also challenging other Zanu PF heavyweights.

Didymus Mutasa, the Minister of Anti-Corruption, faces a strong challenge
from James Kaunye, a war veteran who was heavily assaulted by Mutasa's
supporters recently.

Foreign Affairs Minister and Politburo member, Stan Mudenge, faces Retired
Major Kudzai Mbudzi, again a war veteran, in Masvingo North.

Even Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Zanu PF secretary for administration who wants
Kwekwe constituency is facing stiff competition from a war veteran, Retired
Brigadier Benjamin Mabenge.

Asked by The Standard on Friday whether he would challenge Mnangagwa who is
a political heavyweight not only in the Midlands but nationally, Mabenge
said: "Maybe yes, maybe no. I can't say much at the moment. Anyone can be
challenged. I am watching the situation."

Another war veteran, Chinx Chingaira, has also entered the race and is
challenging Gibson Munyoro in Makoni West.

Mbudzi said war veterans, ex-detainees and mujibhas and chimbwidos in
Masvingo had resolved to support each other during the Zanu PF primaries.

"With the mujibhas and chimbwidos on our side, which is basically the whole
of Zanu PF, I don't know who would vote for these politicians. We cannot
have people who were not part and parcel of liberation struggle leading us,"
said Mbudzi.

In recent years freedom fighters had the audacity to challenge senior Zanu
PF politicians in the party's primaries. Among the ex-combatants who broke
the 'tradition' were Margaret Dongo and Irene Zindi, who became MPs for
Sunningdale and Hatfield respectively.
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Zim Standard

ZBC takes up farming
By our own staff

AFTER championing the government's controversial "agrarian revolution" the
public broadcaster, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH), has decided to
practise what it has been preaching during the last four years.

A regional, town and country planning notice last week announced that ZBH
formerly the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation is planning to carry out
horticultural operations at Pockets Hill in Highlands, Harare.
The notice says: "The proposed horticultural use is temporary. It has been
necessitated by the current need to generate foreign currency, which is
intended to sustain and enhance broadcasting services of the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Holdings."

According to the notice, the affected portion of land is reserved for the
future expansion of the broadcasting station but will not be needed for the
next 10 years.

In terms of the Borrowdale Racecourse Local plan, horticulture is not freely
permitted nor subjected to special consent procedure of Harare City Council.

An application has been lodged with the Ministry of Local Government, Public
Works and National Housing seeking authority to carry out the proposed
horticultural operations.

Rino Zhuwarara, the executive chairman of ZBH, was not immediately available
for comment yesterday.

Meanwhile the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has garnished the accounts
of the ZBH over unpaid taxes amounting to more than a billion dollars.

Sources at the national broadcaster revealed to The Standard that the
company has not been remitting tax to Zimra since March this year leaving
the company in a debt of $1,3 billion in unpaid taxes.

According to findings of the Parliamentary Committee on Transport and
Communications' investigations, ZBH has been making serious losses because
of political interference and dwindling advertising volumes.

ZBH sources told The Standard that the move by Zimra had seriously affected
all the other subsidiaries.

Zhuwarara would not elaborate on the position of the company. He said
everything had been resolved.

"That has since been resolved and it is not going to be a serious problem
since we paid up our dues. They (Zimra) were just collecting revenue," said
Zhuwarara before switching off his mobile phone.

However, sources from ZTV said the problems were worsened by a ban on
adverts from companies considered "politically incorrect".

"Adverts from Econet and PSI, for example, are not accepted on ZTV because
the government associates them with the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC). Imagine how much the television station could rake in from
these organisations alone," said a source.
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Zim Standard

Stop dishing cheap money, IMF tells RBZ
By Kumbirai Mafunda

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe should stop bailing out companies through cheap
money initiatives because such schemes promote inflation, the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned.

Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono, on his eleventh month in office, says he
is on target to contain runaway inflation to about 200% by December. Gono
says his monetary measures are bearing fruit as evidenced by the softening
levels of inflation since February.
In August, the government's Central Statistical Office (CSO) said it pegged
Zimbabwe's inflation rate at 314%.

However, the IMF fears cheap money being doled out by the Reserve Bank
through schemes such as the current distressed companies' funds, could fuel
demand-push inflation, which arises from increased money supply.

The IMF urged the RBZ to allow market forces "be permitted to determine
interest rates" and that concessional lending to selected borrowers be
phased out.

Through the much-lauded Productive Sector Fund (PSF), the central bank has
been parceling out funds to stressed sectors of the economy at concessionary
rates to cushion producers and exporters against high bank interest rates.

Since its inception, the RBZ fund has dished out nearly $1,5 trillion to
mainly private companies. The facility initially attracted a highly negative
interest rate of 30% but was later reviewed to 50%.

Free market economists contacted by Standard Business shared the IMF's
concern although others said its recommendations suggest chopping down the
tree on which the progress of a country depended upon.

"It (the cheap money initiative) should be gradually removed and relegated
to small to medium companies," says Witness Chinyama, Kingdom Financial
Holdings Group Economist.

Already there are reports that several beneficiaries of the funds are
abusing the programme by investing and committing the cheap money into
non-core projects and investments.

Besides the PSF facility, borrowers have also helped themselves to a $60
billion agricultural loan facility that was administered by the State's
Agribank.

The central bank say 200 farmers have been identified as having abused the
loan facility by purchasing luxury vehicles and houses. Other beneficiaries
have offloaded the funds on the money market to hunt higher returns before
they repay the loans.

The PSF facility runs up to June 2005 for exporters and December 2004 for
non-exporters.

Among the main beneficiaries of this facility is the manufacturing sector
which chewed up to $683 billion, agriculture $522 billion, mining $115
billion while transport accounted for $69 billion.
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Zim Standard

Couple loses fight to evict lawyers from farm
By our own Staff

A Chinhoyi magistrate has reversed a peace order granted to an elderly
farming couple against Harare legal practitioners, Johannes Tomana, Joseph
Mandizha and Wilson Manase, stopping them from interfering with operations
at their Maryland Farm in the Darwendale area.

The couple had sought and was granted a peace order stopping the lawyers
from going to the farm, but the lawyers filed opposing papers.
The magistrate said in applying for the peace order, the couple had sought
to involve the court in settling the farm acquisition dispute, which was
before the Administrative Court.

"In other words, this court is not convinced that this is a mere application
for a peace order as it incorporates several issues that stand to be
determined by the Administrative Court.

"The applicant would want this court to rule that they be allowed to stay on
the farm, a farm that has been acquired for resettlement purposes by
government but this court has neither the jurisdiction nor the inclination
to decide such a matter."

According to papers filed at the Civil Law section at the Chinhoyi
magistrates' court, the lawyers went to the farm, which has been divided
into three blocks and told the farm manager, Pieter Gertenbach, that they
were the new owners of the property.

The farm also boasts three luxurious mansions.

Part of the affidavit signed by Gertenbach says: "On 3 September 2004, Mr
Tomana and his relatives threatened to have us arrested if we remained on
the farm. On 19 September in the morning, Matthew Chaminyoro and Tichaona
Chitika arrived at the farm together with some youths and blocked the gate
leading to my house. The group sang and beat their drums through the night
until morning of 20 September. This group was under the influence of
Johannes Tomana who stayed at the gate through the night."

Kestell Bezuidenhout, the owner of the farm said in August he was arrested
on charges of violating sections of the Land Acquisition Act.

"The police officer was driven to my home in Avondale, Harare, in a BMW
vehicle, which belongs to a legal practitioner, Mr Johannes Tomana and
driven by his son."

Bezuidenhout 76 and his wife aged 71 wrote an impassioned plea to the
Minister of Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement, John Nkomo objecting to the
compulsory acquisition of their farm.

They said their farm was in full production, producing tobacco, seed maize
and beef.

The farm, which the couple bought in 1983, employs 230 people.

"Eleven years ago, it was found that I have cancer of the bladder. Five
years ago I had a cardiac by-pass. My wife also has a heart condition. We
are too old to start elsewhere," reads part of the statements made by
Bezuidenhout.

"Honourable minister, please give your kind consideration to the delisting
of Maryland Farm. Everything we as a family have worked for over all these
years is tied up in this land, improvements and machinery," pleaded
Bezuidenhout in his letter to Nkomo.
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Zim Standard

Health disaster looms as water crisis persists
By our own Staff

FAILURE by the Harare City Council to address the water crisis is impacting
negatively on the day-to-day running of public institutions as well as
private companies and posing a serious health hazard in the city.

For days, hospitals, clinics, schools and companies in high density areas
and the industrial areas go without water, The Standard has established.
Most of the officials from the institutions who spoke to The Standard said
the situation could soon develop into a health disaster.

Jameson Gadzirai the spokesperson for the Combined Harare Residents'
Association (CHRA), said the situation was getting out of hand as the city
council was making no effort to inform the residents about the interruptions
to water supplies.

"Residents are not informed about the water cuts. Water is just cut at
random. This is because the council is concentrating on party
politics,"Gadzirai said.

He said that despite complaints from the public on a daily basis the "city
council has remained dumb".

He blamed the failure by the city council to resolve the water crisis on
leaders who are more concerned about staying in power while ignoring
"genuine concerns".

Tonderai Mukeredzi, the spokesperson of the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe
(CCZ) said: "The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe would like to call for a
permanent solution to the water crisis in Harare so that consumers get value
for the rates the are paying.

"There is need to regularise the quality of water in Harare at the moment.

"Water is a basic need and human right and the city fathers have continued
to violate consumers' rights to safe, clean and uninterrupted supply of
water with impunity.

"CCZ condemns the intermittent water cuts in the absence of contingent
measures such as the provision of water bowsers. We believe this amounts to
poor sanitation which may in turn cause disease outbreaks."

Mukeredzi also said the CCZ wants the government to treat water supplies
seriously by "prioritising resources" and funds allocated to water
development.

Sipiwe Ngwerume, programme co-ordinator at Chiedza Home, an HIV and Aids
patients sanctuary in Glen View said the centre was sometimes without water
for up to four days.

"For the past week, we were without water from Monday to Thursday. Everyday
in the morning we are sometimes without water and life is becoming very
unbearable. Can you imagine dealing with patients without water? It's very
unhealthy," said Ngwerume.

She said they were queueing for hours with other desperate residents at Glen
View Hall.

Schools in the high-density areas with enrolments of more than 2 000 also
complained of water cuts saying they were unable to maintain a healthy
environment without water.

A teacher at Tafara High 2 said the problem was serious and at times they
were forced to send children back home.

"We have raised concern with the city council over the issue and they
promised to improve the situation but nothing has been done. At times we are
forced to disrupt classes yet it is the third term of the year, when
students should be writing their final examinations," said the teacher.

In other schools, the city council has promised to provide water bowsers
after they complained but these are still to be delivered.

Investigations by The Standard revealed that most people from low-density
suburbs were sinking their own boreholes in order to complement the poor
supplies from the council.

Sibongile Chuma of Glen View said although they had constant interruptions
to water supplies almost on a daily basis, their bills continued to be very
high every month.

In Mabvuku, Tafara, Msasa Park, Glen Lorne, Greendale and Cranborne among
others, the situation has remained desperate with residents going for days
without water.
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Zim Standard

Moyo slammed over arrests
By our own Correspondent

INFORMATION Minister Jonathan Moyo should have investigated the facts before
ordering the arrest of Zimbabwe Independent journalists in connection with a
story they wrote about President Mugabe's use of an Air Zimbabwe plane
earlier this year, a senior lawyer told a magistrate's court on Friday.

Describing Moyo's actions as "overzealous", Advocate Edith Mushore said Moyo
could have caused "embarrassment to the President" by sensationalising a
true story on Mugabe's use of an Air Zimbabwe plane carried by the
Independent earlier this year. The story published on January 9 said Mugabe
had "grabbed" an Air Zimbabwe plane during his Far-East holiday and business
trip.

Mushore said that former Independent editor, Iden Wetherell, ex-news editor,
Vincent Kahiya, and reporters Dumisani Muleya and Itai Dzamara did not
defame Mugabe as alleged because the story was essentially correct.

She said Moyo contradicted himself in his angry denial of the article by
claiming the story was a "fabrication", while in the exact same piece he
effectively confirmed it was true. The journalists were arrested on January
10 on allegations of criminal defamation against Mugabe.

"There is no reasonable suspicion that the four accused committed the
offence of criminal defamation based on the factual reporting," Mushore
said. "It was established in The Herald of the following day (January 10)
when Minister Moyo had conducted his own enquiry into the story that the
facts were true, and when he confirmed that the story emanated from Air
Zimbabwe itself, and that the President did take the plane to the Far East."

Moyo told The Herald that Air Zimbabwe sources of the story would be dealt
with.

Mushore said that Moyo himself confirmed that the story was not
"fictitious", but then referred to the story as being "blasphemous", in the
following day's publication of The Herald. She said former Air Zimbabwe
managing director Rambai Chingwena also confirmed the story as being true,
in The Herald but tried to play it down by focusing on protocol matters.

"The accused were arrested and detained at the behest of the complainant,
who clearly was the minister not the president," Mushore said. "The police
had acted excitedly when they arrested the four accused, as they recommended
to the AG's office that bail be opposed."

"When the matter was brought to the Attorney General's Office, sanity
prevailed after a proper consideration of legal principles," she said."This
was after the four accused had spent the entire weekend in Police custody."

"The AG's office agreed on a low bail of $100 000 for each of the accused.
This Honourable Court immediately brought that figure down to $20 000 for
each of them thereby demonstrating to the complainant the triviality of the
matter and thereby suggesting that the State would have great difficulty in
securing conviction." Mushore said the media had an important role to play
by informing the public and holding public officials accountable.

A ruling on Mushore's application for the journalists to be removed from
remand will be made on November 1.
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Zim Standard

'Green Bombers' terrorise Manicaland
By Caiphas Chimhete

NOTORIOUS Zanu PF youth militia and war veterans have imposed a "curfew" in
parts of Manicaland as politically motivated violence rocks the province
ahead of next year's parliamentary elections, The Standard has been told.

Political violence is rampant in Makoni West and East, Mutare Central as
well as Chipinge North and South, where some opposition supporters have fled
their homes, six months before the general elections.
Several Zanu and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters were last
Saturday brutally assaulted by "Green Bombers" in Chipinge after they
refused to attend a Zanu PF restructuring meeting held at Mabhiza Growth
Point.

"People in the area told the youths that they would not attend Zanu PF
meetings because they were denied food. That is when hell broke loose. That
night, they moved from house to house beating up people," said a source.

The Standard last week reported that youth militia and war veterans were
denying non-Zanu PF members maize meal which is only available at the Grain
Marketing Board (GMB) depot in the district.

Two of Saturday's victims, Nyeredzi Simango and Denis Macheka, both of
Mabhiza village, were hospitalised at Chiredzi Hospital after the attack.

An official at the hospital confirmed they admitted the two.

"They were in bad shape but are recovering. One had a deep cut to the head,
while the other had wounds all over the body," said the official on
Thursday.

Chipinge South MP Wilson Kumbula also confirmed that Zanu PF youths and war
veterans injured several people from his constituency during an attack. He
said eight supporters who retaliated were later abducted, beaten up and
handed to the police, where they were charged for public violence under the
Public Order and Security Act (Posa).

Their lawyer, Langton Mhungu, said the eight MDC activists who, on Thursday,
appeared before Chipinge magistrate, Thembelani Khumalo, facing charges of
public violence, were out on a $30 000 bail. They will appear at Chisumbanje
Circuit Court tomorrow (Monday).

Since the Zanu PF restructuring meeting, the "Green Bombers" have imposed a
curfew in Chipinge, prohibiting free movement after 8:00PM.

"They patrol every night and if they come across you, you know you are in
trouble. We have received a lot complaints from our members there," said
Pishayi Muchauraya, the MDC spokesperson for Manicaland province.

In another incident of politically motivated violence, Wilson Vhuso was
attacked by suspected Zanu PF youths who asked him why he worked for Kumbula
and not for the ruling party.

"One of my workers (Wilson Vhuso) was severely assaulted by the police. It
is useless to report the cases to the police because Chinyoka (the
officer-in-charge at Chisumbanje) does nothing about it," said Kumbula.

Chinyoka could not be reached for a comment.

Muchauraya said it was increasingly becoming difficult for opposition
supporters to live a normal life in Manicaland because of violence.

"Generally the police in Chipinge are behaving like Zanu PF activists
because if an MDC supporter goes to report after an attack they arrest him
or her instead of arresting the perpetrators," he said.

In Chipinge North, Muchauraya said, Zanu PF youth militia and war veterans
last week torched two huts belonging to opposition party supporter,
Takasiyiwa Majede, in Musani village.

"One of the victims is Takasiyiwa Majede of Musani who was severely beaten
together with his wife before they set his house on fire. We reported the
matter at Chipangayi Police Station, giving the names of the people involved
but no one was arrested," said Muchauraya.

There have also been reports of violence in Makoni East and West, where some
MDC supporters now fear for their lives. In Mutare Central, several homes
belonging to MDC supporters have been attacked during the past two months.

But Zanu PF Manicaland provincial chairman, Mike Madiro, said he was not
aware of the latest wave of violence in the province.

"I need to check on the specifics if ever it happened. But Zanu PF as a
party does not condone violence. We want people to campaign peacefully,"
said Madiro, who added that Zanu and MDC might be concocting stories of
violence because they know "their days in province are numbered".

Allegations of selective arrests by the police come barely two weeks after
Police Commissioner, Augustine Chihuri, declared that he would arrest all
perpetrators of violence despite political affiliation.
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Zim Standard

Police blitz leaves commuters stranded
By Valentine Maponga

A police blitz, which put out of operation nearly 1 400 commuter buses, has
left residents of Harare and Chitungwiza stranded for transport. Commuter
buses found with inadequate papers or being unroadworthy were taken off the
road and sent to the Vehicle Inspection Depot for inspection.

While the police say they have arrested 1 382 operators and raised more than
$37 million through fines, the cost to commuters is considerable. They are
never at work on time or reach home late at night.

Margaret Mawere of Chitungwiza wakes up at 4.00AM everyday to prepare
breakfast for herself and her two primary school children before leaving for
work.

Mawere, a secretary at a consultancy firm in Mount Pleasant, says going to
work every morning has become a frustrating struggle .

"By 6.00AM I have to be at the bus station to catch a commuter omnibus to
Harare. If I am lucky, by 7.30 am I could be in Harare where I then must
find transport to Mount Pleasant."

After knocking off at 4.30PM, she begins another "struggle" to get back
home. "Due to transport shortages, I usually get to the city centre at 6 PM
before battling to get to Chitungwiza. I get home late at night usually at
around 10 PM and this means I rarely see my children in the evenings because
every time I get home they are asleep."

After going to bed at 11PM, she only has five hours to sleep before
repeating the daily grind of going to work and returning home to her
children.

For Mawere and thousands other commuters getting transport to work has
become a daily nightmare because most commuter omnibuses are grounded due to
shortages of spare parts or the police have not impounded the vehicles
because they are not roadworthy.

The problem is more evident during peak hours when available commuter
omnibus drivers opt for shorter routes, leaving commuters bound for
Chitungwiza, Mabvuku and Hatcliffe stranded.

Gregory Mlambo also of Chitungwiza, narrated his daily ordeal to find
transport to and from work.

"When I get home, I just eat and sleep because I will be very tired from
standing in the long queues for transport. The problem continues because we
have to wait for transport again every morning. You will be very lucky to
get to work on time," he said.

Every evening, thousands of people line up along major roads flagging down
the few commuter buses still on the road and private cars.

Many risk being run over by vehicles as they jostle to be first on any bus
or vehicle which stops. And when it gets very dark, they risk falling prey
to thieves, who prowl bus stops.

Tambudzai Makwara of Kuwadzana says she has become a stranger to her family.
"I have been here since half past five. It is almost two hours since I
joined this queue and its getting dark. This is a real disappointment
because there are no buses," said Makwara who now arrives home each day to
find her two children asleep.

A number of workers, who stay in surrounding suburbs such as Mbare, Warren
Park, Arcadia, Belvedere and Eastlea, now resort to walking to and from
their workplaces.

Lovemore Zimuto, a welder at an electrical company in Harare's Workington
industrial area, said he walks because he cannot afford to be late for work.
"I feel I should be able to get a bus home and rest because I work very
hard, but I've got no choice. I walk, because I want to keep my job," said
Zimuto, who stays in Warren Park.
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Zim Standard

ESC fails to pay monitors
By our own Staff

BULAWAYO - The Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) has failed to pay
about $8 billion to monitors it engaged for the mobile voter registration
exercise held in the country a few months ago, an ESC official has
confirmed.

The government-funded commission recruited 800 monitors from around the
country's 10 provinces between April and July this year to monitor the voter
registration, deaths and births registration exercise that began on April 28
and ended on July 15. The ESC is yet to pay them.
Some of the disgruntled monitors who spoke to The Standard on condition of
anonymity said each province had about 80 monitors. Each of these, they
said, was owed about $10 million by the commission.

"When the ESC engaged us in April, our initial agreement was that we would
be receiving the sum of $130 000 a day with our payments coming once every
two weeks. We honestly and faithfully did our work but surprisingly, the ESC
is not forthcoming and we are very disappointed," said one male monitor
based in Bulawayo.

Another monitor said: "We are not so sure as to whether we will be able to
recover our $10 million a person because the coordinators of the mobile
voter registration exercise are scattered all over the country. Maybe the
solution is going to the courts."

ESC spokesperson, Thomas Bvuma, confirmed to The Standard on Friday that his
organisation had failed to pay the monitors. "It is true that we have not
paid these monitors but we are busy running around in order to raise their
money from our sponsors, he said.
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Zim Standard

Zanu PF intensifies vote-buying

EVERYTHING the government and the ruling Zanu PF are pursuing and
implementing between now and March next year will be dictated by fear of
losing the 2005 parliamentary elections.

This suggests its alliance with the war veterans cannot be relied on to
deliver total victory.
The decision behind the move to pay millions in gratuities to former
political prisoners, detainees and restrictees is prompted by Zanu PF's fear
and uncertainty about its prospects of being re-elected for another term.
There are several precedents of vote buying by the government and ruling
party to support this view.

In the early 1980s and 1990s it was the promise of land, free education,
health and housing for all, as well as violence if the first four "carrots"
did not appear to produce the expected outcome.

However, in the late 1990s after failure of the Economic Structural
Adjustment Programme (ESAP) all pretence at enticing voters was dropped in
favour of brute force, spearheaded by war veterans, who had benefited from
the government's hefty gratuity packages.

The alliance with war veterans ensured the ruling party of foot soldiers for
its campaign for the 2000 parliamentary elections and the 2002 presidential
poll. The strategy helped the ruling party back into the driving seat and
hence recourse to the same tactics ahead of next year's parliamentary
elections.

Last week the government gazetted the Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees and
Restrictees Bill, which seeks to dole out billions of dollars to those, who
in one way or another were involved in the struggle for independence.

In addition it is proposed that there be a scheme providing free education
at a State or government primary, secondary and tertiary educational
institution; a medical and dental scheme offering free medical and dental
treatment also covering spouses or dependents of the ex-political prisoners,
detainees or restrictees.

The Bill also provides for a funeral assistance and a monthly pension
payable to an ex-political prisoner, detainee or restrictee, which shall not
be less than the minimum salary received by a member of the Public Service
at any time, and a monthly survivor's or child's pension payable to
dependents.

The intention behind this strategy is to create another layer of people, in
addition to the war veterans, who will campaign and are committed to
ensuring that Zanu PF wins, because its victory will safeguard their
interests.

But uncertain whether this will guarantee the victory it desires, the
government is compulsorily acquiring 40 farms and properties surrounding
Harare for urban housing development. While this is presented as a move
expected to address the critical housing shortage, in reality it is a
strategy to wrest the capital from the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC).

It is instructive to note that in both the case of the vetting, confirmation
and pay out processes in relation to ex-political prisoners and others on
the one hand and servicing of stands on farms bought for urban housing on
the other these are unlikely to be implemented before March 2005.

The voters will only realise when it is too late that the promised payments
or stands will remain unrealised and unachievable. If the government were
genuinely committed to compensating former political prisoners, detainees
and restrictees it would not have waited 24 years. Additionally, provision
of housing would not have been forgotten after 2000.

Both the government and Zanu PF are determined to abuse voters once more for
their own selfish ends, namely securing an electoral majority.

In order to establish how genuine the government's concern for the plight of
the ex-political prisoners and others is, it is important to consider the
plight of widows of national heroes. They are neglected.

But the government also makes these promises and decisions in order to
complicate matters. In the event that it loses the parliamentary elections,
the intention is to create expectations that will form the basis for
possible discontent for any administration that might come after it.

The lesson is that the government and the ruling party use voters and freely
discard them whenever it is convenient. The fate of families at Whitecliff
Farm and settlers who invaded farms in 2000 is a case in point. They are now
being asked to move out because they served their purpose and must now be
deployed as cannon fodder in another election campaign. Alternatively the
evictions could be aimed at moving voters to constituencies where the
outcome of a poll can be predetermined.

But these are desperate times and people are being driven to extremes in
order to keep the wolf from the door. One of the lessons learnt from the War
Victims' Compensation Fund is that a lot of undesirable and undeserving
characters end up abusing the fund. The same fate awaits the fund for
ex-political prisoners, detainees and restrictees.

Undeserving characters will access the fund, while others of questionable
standing within the associations representing the ex-political prisoners,
detainees and restrictees will see this as an opportunity to make easy
money.

In the case of stands, the majority of people queuing up will be those
already with houses elsewhere. They will put forward names of relatives and
friends, for a fee, while claiming ownership of the stands where they will
construct rented accommodation.

Those desperately in need of houses right now do not even have the resources
for building houses because of the prevailing economic hardships - thanks to
the government's policies that have thrown millions of people out of jobs
and appear determined to transform the economy into one huge informal
sector.

Let no one be fooled by Zanu PF's concern for ex-detainees and those without
a roof over their heads. It is all part of the strategy to win votes. Then
after the win - forgotten!
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Zim Standard

Let them eat hamburgers
overthetop By Brian Latham

THE government of a troubled central African nation has said there will be
no shortage of food this year, despite startling evidence to the contrary.

Still, authorities say that, faced with highly unlikely food shortages, the
people could always eat hamburgers. Scientific evidence provided by 250
million overweight Americans showed that hamburgers staved off starvation,
particularly among poor inner-city populations.
But when contacted for comment, hamburger giant MacDonald's said it had no
plans to venture into the food aid business. Nor was it considering opening
a new franchise rumoured to be called Zany Mac's Hamburger Hut.

Meanwhile deeply troubled central Africans wondered what their government
knew that they didn't. Promises of abundant food seemed unlikely to
materialise given an unprecedented low level of deliveries.

An anonymous spokesman from the just functioning Can't Farm Union said that
the figures were "positively alarming" and indicated looming shortages for
the fourth year running.

This was dismissed by the ruling Zany Party where a spokesman said, "Well,
they would say that, wouldn't they?" The Zany spokesman said that the Can't
Farm Union was not qualified to comment on the issue because its members
can't farm.

Meanwhile analysts told Over The Top that it could well be true that there
would be sufficient food in the troubled central African basket case.

But they said the food would be imported from places like Argentina.

"It is obvious that one result of our glorious agrarian revolution has been
the skill with which Argentinean farmers are able to make us self-sufficient
in food," said an analyst.

"All the packaging and all the labels saying 'Produce of the troubled
central African nation' and 'Gift of the Zany Party' will have 100 percent
local content," the analyst added.

Zany insiders said it was of paramount importance that the troubled central
African nation maintains its self-sufficiency in food supply until next
year's general election.

It is thought that the troubled central African country's last election may
have been unduly influenced by bags of food labelled "Gift of the USA" and
"Gift of the European Union."

Both the United States and the EU have been accused of being allies of the
opposition More Drink Coming Party.

"The treasonous More Drink Coming Party is trying to turn the troubled
central African nation into a colony," said a Zany insider. "It is better by
far that the people depend on us for their food and that they show proper
gratitude by voting for us."

Meanwhile the troubled central African nation's confused agriculture
ministry said it would end all future food shortages by forcing new farmers
to grow a minimum hectarage of maize. It did not say how it would enforce
this strange regulation, or whether it would guarantee sufficient rain to
make it grow.

Still, it said by forcing farmers to grow maize for next year, it was not
admitting there would be a shortage this season. Instead it claimed there
was more than enough food to feed hungry troubled central Africans, but that
it was taking the measure to make certain that there was even more than
enough in years to come.

Meanwhile more serious analysts said they were deeply worried. Serious
predictions based on production figures in previous years indicated that the
troubled central African country would be importing food "for some time to
come."
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Zim Standard

World losing patience with Zim

THE Zimbabwean crisis has been raging on for about five years now. Various
attempts at resolution have been tried at different levels to no avail. The
first significant attempt was the Abuja Agreement of 2001, which
unfortunately reduced the crisis to a conflict over land between Britain and
Zimbabwe.

After the controversial 2002 presidential election, Zanu PF and MDC tried
unsuccessfully, despite prodding by Presidents Thabo Mbeki of South Africa,
Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Bakili Muluzi of Malawi to engage in
dialogue. The Commonwealth also tried to mediate to no avail. Throughout
these attempts, Zimbabwe succeeded in embarrassing her friends, losing
international goodwill and isolate herself.
In 2003, in a submission to The Zimbabwe Independent, I wrote that for any
progress to be made civil society had to be involved as a third force for it
was observed then that the reasons for the breakdown of the "talks about
talks" between the two major political parties bordered on trivia. It was
also observed that the Zimbabwean crisis was bigger than the two parties
combined and that any attempt to resolve the crisis that left out civil
society was bound to fail.

I do not seek here to celebrate my vindication but rather lament our
penchant as a nation and people to miss opportunities and self-destruct.

Barely six months before the next parliamentary election, Zimbabwe is still
saddled with the crisis and in much need of a political settlement. After
the fallout with much of the international community, Zimbabwe's last pillar
of defence appears to be SADC.

Failure to abide by the recently adopted SADC principles and guidelines on
democratic elections would be suicidal for Zimbabwe. Despite statements to
the contrary, Zimbabwe and the Zanu PF government in particular crave
international recognition, approval and solidarity.

Because of this, Zanu PF has to a very large extent governed or ruled by the
law no matter how unjust, bad or skewed that law is. It should also be noted
that Zimbabwe has been quick to identify, on paper that is, with good
international principles and conventions. As has become common our country
has always come short on practice. It could be argued that as before,
Zimbabwe can still violate the SADC protocol with impunity. This would be
foolish and suicidal as the world is fast losing patience with Zimbabwe.

It has been pointed on countless times that Zimbabwe needs the world more
that the world needs Zimbabwe. This is the cold reality. It becomes more
poignant given the fact that Zimbabwe is a small, landlocked and disease
ravaged country that is prone to droughts.

Since the manifestation of the Zimbabwe crisis, the world had been very
patient with Zimbabwe. In recent months there has been growing impatience
with Zimbabwe as demonstrated by being sidelined in different meetings and
fora. The country has also lost out on hosting any of the African Union's
(AU) prestigious institutions. Our hasty departure from the Commonwealth and
escape on a technicality from censure by the AU are indications of growing
isolation.

While an all people's conference remains desirable and the best way forward,
it is most unlikely now given the timing. Zanu PF would not want to be seen
to be capitulating to any form of pressure a few months before a major
election.

However, the fact remains that talks are indispensable. A perfect
opportunity presents itself in the form of electoral reforms. The nation and
the region expect the 2005 parliamentary election to be held under a new
electoral regime. Zanu PF and the government of Zimbabwe indicated long
before Mauritius their commitment to reform. Talks between the two major
parties in parliament over constitutional amendments should not raise
suspicion. In the absence of a new constitution, we feel this is the best
option.

At a recent Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) regional workshop on
electoral reforms, Dr Shamuyarira pointed out the need to engage the MDC if
electoral reforms that the governing party was considering were to be
effected. Dr Shamuyarira's reforms, which mirrored in some sections the
proposal by civil society and other progressive forces, centred on
constitutional reforms.

The MDC responded by demanding changes that go beyond the mere
administration of elections but also challenged the environment of the same.
They demanded the repeal of POSA, AIPPA, BSA, the return to professional
conduct of the security services etc. and the withdrawal of the NGOs Bill.
This in my view is the basis for negotiation.

Soon after the SADC meeting, ostensibly at the lack of progress by Zanu PF,
MDC announced withdrawal from all elections until after the SADC principles
(read their concerns) were adhered to. Zanu PF responded by gazetting the
NGOs and the ZEC Bills.

It should be pointed out that the Bills kill both the spirit and letter of
the SADC principles. Critics would point out that Zanu PF is used to
swimming against the current and they would proceed with the reforms without
sanction. As submitted herein it would be suicidal as the world has changed
so much since 2000.

The flexing of muscles by the two parties could be viewed as another level
of negotiation albeit at a very informal and unhealthy level. It should be
pointed out that this is not the time for muted dialogue.

Wally Mbofana

Harare
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Zim Standard

Playing politics with food is dangerous

PRESIDENT Mugabe has declared the 2003 to 2004 agricultural season a "bumper
harvest", but what is of concern is that the provincial governors of
Masvingo, Matabeleland South and North were recently reported in the press
appealing for urgent food relief because the lives of the masses were at
stake.

Not even Joseph Made, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Develoment, who
has always struggled to pretend that his ministry is doing fine to return
Zimbabwe to its status as bread basket of Southern Africa can disguise the
impending food crisis.
Playing politics with food is tantamount to burying people alive.

Right now the greater part of Chivi district in Masvingo province is under
serious threat from famine following a poor harvest, but what I find
disgusting is that when Care International, a non-governmental organisation
(NGO), was ready to make sure no one dies of hunger, it was eventually
booted out of the district on political grounds.

I understand there were some problems with the NGO, but in my view it didn't
warrant the kind of action taken against it. All it required was correction,
perhaps through negotiation.

When was the last time the President visited Binga? Is hunger and starvation
there new to him? Almost each and every season people in Binga end up
scrounging for roots to save themselves from starvation. Who cares about the
reported and unreported cases of death by starvation occurring in that
God-forsaken area?

I say this because of President Mugabe's uncalled for attack against the
Bulawayo Archbishop Pius Ncube for allegedly exposing starvation to which
the President said: "Where are you getting all that! Where in Zimbabwe have
people died of hunger?"

I believe that all the claims about a bumper harvest are just but a move by
the old man to try and bolster the impression that the controversial
agrarian reform was a remarkable success hence there is enough food for the
nation.

MP for Guruve (Zanu PF) Edward Chindori Chininga, made what I consider a
commendable move when he recently urged the government to conduct an urgent
food assessment survey in the country in order to establish areas that are
seriously in need of relief food. So was the Minister of Public Service,
labour and Social Welfare, Paul Mangwana, who was reported as telling the
Parliament that the country needed 177 000 tonnes of maize to feed people.
Does this prove Mugabe wrong?

Finally, the President's continuous attacks on the NGOs at the height of
such starvation can only be made by a government insensitive to the plight
of its citizens.

Jeffrey-O-Muvundusi

Pumula

Bulawayo
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Zim Standard

Mining problems loom as 3000 get retrenched
By Kumbirai Mafunda

MORE than 3 000 employees have been forced out of employment in the mining
sector in the past four years and more employees face a similar fate if
government presses ahead with forced cessation of mining shares to promote
black empowerment.

Since 2000, most mines predominantly those owned by the government, have
been laying off workers as viability constraints worsen in the
capital-intensive sector.
Of the 3 006 workers, 2 811 were working for public-owned mines run by the
Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), which represents the mines
owned by the government, while 255 were employed by multinational companies.
ZMDC, which had 10 mines in operation at its inception, has since closed
four, namely Mhangura, Alaska, Kamativi and Joyce. Three mines Sabi,
Elvington and Munyati have retrenched massively.

Worker representatives say the rate of retrenchment has increased by
approximately 45% since the early 1990's.

The latest report on retrenchments in the mining sector commissioned by the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, say the demise of the ZMDC reflects a
public policy that has gone wrong. The loss of viability arising from lack
of cheap finance and the unstable macro-economic conditions were also cited
as the main causes of the retrenchments.

"Gross mismanagement coupled with poor corporate governance and the
inauspious economic conditions have conspired to undermine the viability of
ZMDC," reads the report.

Mining experts say the number of employees in the sector has shrank to 38
000, down from an average of 55 000 due to a combination of compulsory
retrenchments and labour flight.

The exodus in the sector, miners say, is reflective of the freefalling
economy, which is limping from a 314% annual inflation and hard cash
shortages.

Well drilled mining experts among them geologists, metallurgists,
electricians, electrical and mechanical engineers are finding ready jobs in
countries far afield as New Zealand, Australia and the US lured by better
remuneration. Some are trekking into neighbouring countries like Zambia,
South Africa and Botswana.

The Chamber of Mines has already warned the interference in the
privately-run mining sector could spell the end to the country's only
remaining prosperous sector.

"It just adds more problems. Even the government must know that," remarks
Rob Davies, an economic consultant.

A new mining Bill meant to lay claim to nearly half ownership of all the
country's privately-owned mines, has sent shivers down the spines of most
investors and awaits approval by Parliament.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says the job creation
sectors of the economy have been a major casualty of the ruling Zanu PF
government's emotional behaviour and political greed.

"The nationalisation of mines will be the last straw to break the back of
the horse," says Tapiwa Mashakada, the opposition party's shadow finance
minister.

The contribution of mining to both Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and
employment has steadily deteriorated over the period 1980 to 2002. In 2002
the mining sector only contributed a paltry 1,4% to GDP down from 8,8% in
1980. Although the mining sector used to employ 6% of total formal sector
employment this figure has sharply declined to a measly 0,8% in 2002.

Miners say production is slowed down by the support price, which is lagging
behind operating costs creating cash flow problems for them.

The unending shortage of foreign currency and the inefficiency of the gold
pool facility is also disrupting production. As long as these issues are not
dealt with decisively production will decline persistently, say miners.
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Zim Standard

Zim to miss out on UK debt forgiveness
By Kumbirai Mafunda

ZIMBABWE, burdened with a staggering external debt, looks set to miss out
from a debt cancellation initiative being considered by the United Kingdom
government to help impoverished and reforming countries.

Gordon Brown, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, last week pledged London
would write off its share of debt owed by the world's poorest countries.
Brown's initiative will free the governments of poor countries from the debt
burden and allow them to devote a higher proportion of their budgets to
education, health and economic development.

"We will pay our share of the multilateral debt repayments of reforming
low-income countries," said Brown in a speech to 400 debt-relief and
fair-trade activists gathered at St Bartholomew's Church in Brighton, UK.

But local economic analysts said the six year-old frosty relationship
between London and Harare could rule out Zimbabwe from benefiting from the
initiative.

President Robert Mugabe's administration is battling its worst political and
economic crisis since independence from UK in 1980 and accuses the British
government of promoting a "regime change" in Zimbabwe by supporting the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

"The international community are linking debt forgiveness to economic
performance and Zimbabwe is internationally unaccepted. So the potential
lies in the medium-to-long term and not at this moment," observes Eric
Bloch, a respected economic pundit.

Although the central bank has resumed symbolic debt repayments to
institutions such as the IMF, economists warn this will further cripple
Zimbabwe's economy and strangle funds needed for vital social spending.

Presently, Zimbabwe is weighed down by total external debt of about US$4
billion in 2003, and which might have shot to levels above US$6 billion. The
failure to service debt is blamed on the drying up of foreign financing.

The UK holds about 10% of the total debt owed by Zimbabwe to the World Bank
and other development banks. Besides the UK, Zimbabwe also owes bilateral
public debt to the US and several European countries.

So bad is Zimbabwe's debt position that multilateral lenders such as the
IMF, World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) have severed
ties with Harare.
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Zim Standard

'Comfort zone' behind Zanu PF reforms
Sundayopinion By Takura Zhungazha

ZANU PF, by agreeing to electoral reforms, whether democracy activists
believe them to be progressive or merely cosmetic, has reached its "comfort
zone". It is confident that these electoral reforms obviously do not pose a
significant threat to its hegemony in Zimbabwe.

If anything, the electoral reforms, instead of strengthening democratic
transition in Zimbabwe, will ultimately serve to assist the ruling party
assert its legitimacy in the region, the continent and to a greater extent,
stall the international pressure put up against it.
The ruling party is so confident of itself that it probably does not view
the opposition as a serious political threat anymore. It has won all of the
parliamentary by-elections held this year and the opposition has, in return
responded with protestations that do not significantly affect the domestic
political dynamics of the country, and therefore the ruling party has
limited reason to be panicking.

This is what constitutes Zanu PF's comfort zone; a zone that has emerged
from its ability to harness not so much political support or inactivity from
other African governments, but more from its ability to diminish, through
legislation, ideological output (in the form of resurgent nationalist
patriotism) and patronage systems sustained by food aid, Sate funds and
anti-corruption crusades. Zanu PF has also managed to stifle the
opposition's ability to mobilise and continue the struggle for democracy in
Zimbabwe.

At the risk of giving the Soviet style State embedded intellectual Tafataona
Mahoso petty opportunity to take empty pot-shots at me, Zanu PF's "comfort
zone" has not been because of any spectacular political calculation let
alone the political genius of President Robert Mugabe.

If anything, this comfort zone has emerged largely through the inability of
Zanu PF to practise political genius but instead to consistently resort to
brute force to push its weight around on the domestic political front. At
the same time, and it must be said, the opposition has allowed itself to
lull Zanu PF into a comfortable state of political being by mixing up too
many issues and strategies all accompanied by a strong element of
inconsistency thus offering Zanu PF the opportunity to encroach on political
gains made by pro-democracy activists.

The intention here however is not to analyse the whereto's and wherefores of
why the opposition movement's strategies have faltered, because that would
be giving away too much to the enemy. Instead the purpose of this discussion
is to demystify Zanu PF's "comfort zone" and expose its serious
vulnerabilities and thus step up knowledge of the struggle for democracy by
the people of Zimbabwe.

One of the over-reported and perhaps, difficult issues to understand is the
issue of Zanu PF's succession debate. The numerous allegations both in
public and in private that Zanu PF faces a succession problem is to say the
least, exaggerated. Even though Mugabe has promised to retire after his term
of office expires, there is ample evidence that Zanu PF is taking it one
step at a time and that the tensions do not run as deep within the entirety
of the party as they do among a number of leaders there.

The electoral reforms that are being proposed by Zanu PF, even though their
final and actual content will not be clear until they are brought before
parliament, indicate a party if not on the resurgence, then at least
self-assured of victory in the next parliamentary elections.

The capitulation of Zanu PF to these reforms has not necessarily been
attributed to either the opposition or Zimbabwe civil society. Instead they
are largely attributed to the pressures that SADC under the tutelage of
South African President Thabo Mbeki and Mozambique's President Joaquim
Chissano have put on Mugabe's dictatorship.

However, the ease with which Zanu PF announced these reforms is frightening
to say the least. It is a sign of a very confident political party that can
afford to continually ignore the national significance of the opposition and
engage in fights about internal primary elections as well as allow debate
over who succeeds its current First Secretary, Robert Mugabe.

The succession issue therefore becomes mere speculation, almost idle play
within a confident resurgent party. This is the case especially now where
there is no urgency within the entire structure of the ruling party to see a
transition process and even if there was, discussion on it is dependent upon
the pronouncements made, not by the Zanu PF Central Committee let alone its
annual congress, but by the incumbent, Mugabe. This may all sound rather
simplistic but there are critical factors to be considered here.

The contestations between what is called the old guard of the party, mainly
represented by the likes of Vice President Joseph Msika, Special Affairs
Minister John Nkomo, and Members of Parliament Kumbirai Kangai, with the
latecomers, in the form of Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, Minister of
State for Information and Publicity, Jonathan Moyo and Minister of Labour,
Public Services and Social Welfare Paul Mangwana, is more a battle for
legitimacy, accruement of wealth and seniority.

Legitimacy, in the sense that the likes of Moyo seek to come of their own in
the political environment of Zanu PF, to wean themselves of their appointed
status and even in the process enhance their legitimacy with Mugabe by
becoming elected members of parliament.

Accruement of wealth, in the sense that is represented by the Kondozi farm
saga, as well as the continued accusations that senior Zanu PF persons
acquired more than one farm from the chaotic land reform exercise. Seniority
in the sense that Mugabe's appointments to his cabinet of virtual unknowns
has ruffled the feathers of the old guard and therefore conflict with these
"young ones" is only but an expected consequence.

Zanu PF's comfort zone therefore begins to derive from the abstract
speculation about succession which is really all about bump and grind
politics before a parliamentary election.

In other words, the succession issue must be dressed down to its bare
necessities. I do not think that Jonathan Moyo harbours, for once, the
ambition of becoming the President of Zimbabwe immediately after Mugabe.

He seeks to secure his own political future in the event that Mugabe leaves
office given his precarious dependence on the latter for legitimacy in Zanu
PF. This is the same for Speaker of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa, who after
losing an elected seat in the 2000 parliamentary elections, has been
struggling for relevance in the party.

To assume that people in Zanu PF are such long term schemers as to project
taking over in 2008 when Mugabe retires, is highly speculative both of
political events, as well as the intelligence and vision of those people
cited as potential successors to Mugabe.

Zanu PF's pleasure with itself and its survival strategies is seen in the
utterly simplistic promises made about electoral reforms. The issue of
voting in one day as well as having transparent ballot boxes is both token
and insulting to the opposition.

It is a big political statement of confidence and surety of a foreseen
victory by Zanu PF which hopes that the opposition, regional leaders and the
international community are na´ve enough to believe this makes the elections
free and fair.

In its comfort zone, Zanu PF is attempting to simplify Zimbabwe's ongoing
struggle for democracy as being one about electoral mechanisms. Electoral
mechanisms are one thing, defining political processes are another.
Elections tend to make power seem as an end game of competing parties and
Zanu PF is comfortable with portraying the opposition as just another player
in a zero-sum game. This of course is far from the truth.

The people of Zimbabwe are fighting for democracy, albeit with numerous
setbacks and the opposition is the vanguard in this struggle. Zanu PF seeks
to subvert the vanguard stature of the MDC and thus appropriate for itself
the eternal legacy of having led the one and only struggle in Zimbabwe, that
of independence.

There are many other issues that have not been raised about Zanu PF's
comfort zone, especially in relation to Minister of Local Government
Ignatious Chombo's arrogance in dealing with local councils. This may be the
subject of another discussion.

The intention here has been to indicate how the electoral reforms being
proposed and most likely to be implemented by Zanu PF are the symptoms of a
party in a comfort zone, a party that is sure of itself and confident of a
victory in next year's parliamentary elections.

South African President Mbeki and Mozambique's Chissano have never had
influence over the Zanu PF regime to argue that Zanu PF is capitulating to
regional pressure. The opposite could possibly be true, regional pressure is
capitulating to Zanu PF and the latter's confidence oozes as it easily
concedes to reforms that it knows will not result in its being voted out of
power.

Pius Wakatama was unable to write his column this week due to cricumstances
beyond his control.
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