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Plot to expel all commercial farmers

http://www.thezimbabwetimes.com/?p=23478

October 6, 2009

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe plans to expel all white farmers from farms
and seize all the land, according to a document obtained by The Zimbabwe
Times.

The document, compiled by Zanu-PF, states that no foreigner should be
allowed to own rural agricultural land in Zimbabwe.

Mugabe has refused to accept white commercial farmers as Zimbabweans.

The revelation of the planned seizures came as the United Nations warned
that Zimbabwe would grow one-quarter of the food it needed to feed its
people, with the next maize harvest expected to drop to only 450,000 tonnes
or a 70 percent slump.

Zimbabwe needs 1.8 million tonnes to feed its people.

The document has been sent to Cabinet and to self-styled war veterans and
outlines the political goals of the campaign against white farmers.

The document appears to be a memorandum to Cabinet issued by the Minister of
Lands and Rural Resettlement, Herbert Murerwa on August 27, 2009.

Murerwa was not immediately available for comment on the document, but
Cabinet sources say the document has been tabled but faces stiff resistance
from MDC ministers.

"Land acquisition and redistribution is an ongoing process which should
continue given the incremental demand for land," says the document.

"Therefore government should continue to acquire land as provided for in the
Constitution. No foreigner should be allowed to own rural agricultural land
in Zimbabwe."

John Worsley-Worswick of farmers lobby group, Justice for Agriculture (JAG)
said the document has been widely circulated among white farmers and they
were alarmed by it.

"It makes a complete mockery of the global political agreement that
committed parties in the GNU to the return to rule of law," Worsley-Worswick
said. "It shows the regime is planning to forge ahead with the so-called
land reform programme even against everyone who has some of protection."

Commercial Farmers Union (CFU)† president Deon Theron said: "In short the
content of the document does everything needed to confirm the unjust,
corrupt and unsustainable position in which the commercial agricultural
sub-sector now finds itself as a result of the lack of transparency
associated with the land reform programme."

The document has been circulated widely in Zanu-PF, our source says, and has
prompted the recent round of invasions in which many white farmers were
violently evicted and farms brought to a stand still.

Farmers who resist, it says, should be prosecuted.

"Prosecution of farmers resisting to move off the acquired land should be
expedited," says the document, signed by Murerwa.

The document appears to support the violation of bilateral trade and
investment protection agreements protecting farms owned by foreigners.

"Agricultural land should be excluded from protection afforded by Bilateral
Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements," says the document.

"The Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement should continue issuing offer
letters, leases and permits to deserving Zimbabwean nationals. The A2 (or
large scale) beneficiaries who hold offer letters must be given occupation
of the farms allocated to them. The above recommendations are submitted for
Cabinet approval," says the secret document.† It assures there will be "no
going back on farm seizures".

Mugabe has threatened to unleash the police on white commercial farmers who
refuse to vacate land offered to indigenous farmers for resettlement. He
told a youth conference of his Zanu-PF party recently that the formation of
the inclusive government between himself, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara would not change the country's
stance on its sovereign rights to control its resources.

The remaining 400 of the country's formerly 4,600 white farms have been
targeted for acquisition and the CFU has warned that the disruption will
worsen food shortages.

The document appears to confirms critics concerns that the reform exercise
unfairly targeted a particular group, reinforcing an earlier ruling by the
SADC Tribunal that found the agrarian revolution to be unjust and racist.

There is a growing fear that violence will intensify as Mugabe, angered by
the continued defiance of the white farmers, steps up his election campaign.
The 85-year-old Mugabe has said elections will be held in two years time,
after the drafting of a Constitution, and has intensified his anti-British
rhetoric in recent days, blaming sanctions imposed by the US and its
European allies for the state of the agriculture sector and the economy.

Zimbabwe, which has faced food shortages since 2001 has in previous seasons
failed to raise food production because of violence on commercial farms that
are the country's biggest producers, poor weather and an acute shortage of
seed and fertilizer because of a poor performing economy that failed to
manufacture adequate quantities of the key inputs.

While violence has persisted on white-owned commercial farms, a failed
farming season this time round will be chiefly because of a lack of funding
that has seen farmers unable to purchase inputs that are readily available
in most shops across the country but are too expensive for most growers.

The World Bank last week said aid agencies would ramp up to US$74 million to
bankroll Zimbabwe's forthcoming agricultural season, but said the money
would not go through the treasury.

Michael Jenrich, an operations officer with the UN's Food and Agriculture
Organisation, FAO, said small farmers lacked enough fertiliser, seeds and
other inputs, but urged authorities to improve their management of the
nation's land rather than to rely on handouts to farmers.


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Zimbabwe parliament to weigh mine sector law reform

http://www.reuters.com

Mon Oct 5, 2009 7:59pm EDT

* Mining law changes in focus as parliament opens

* Investors worried over expropriation of assets

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's parliament will debate legal reforms
badly needed by the battered economy, including the crucial mining sector,
in coming weeks, but analysts say foreign investors will wait to see how the
laws are applied.

President Robert Mugabe opens a new session of parliament on Tuesday which
officials say will consider amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act and a
bill governing the operations of the central bank.

Mugabe told a mining conference last month that the government would pass a
law on the sector soon and would address concerns raised by an earlier draft
that would have given locals control of mining operations owned by foreign
companies. Several mining firms, including the world's two biggest platinum
producers, Anglo Platinum and Impala Platinum, have retained operations in
Zimbabwe but largely put new projects on hold, fearing the mines could be
taken over by the state.

Details of the new legislation have not been published, but analysts say
investors will be looking for a firm commitment by the power-sharing
government to private property rights and the rule of law.

"The new law will be very important but the most important issue for
investors will be to see how the law is applied in practice," said John
Robertson, a Harare-based economic consultant.

"We have such a bad history here now that nobody takes the government on its
word, and so any good words will have to be accompanied by good deeds," he
said.

INVESTMENT ON HOLD

After the collapse of commercial agriculture, mining emerged as Zimbabwe's
largest foreign currency earner, with gold alone bringing in a third of
total mineral export receipts.

Analysts say uncertainty over government policy will likely hold back big
new mining investment in Zimbabwe for years as many foreign investors are
still shaken by Mugabe's seizures of white-owned farms for redistribution to
blacks under an empowerment drive.

Foreign companies with operations in Zimbabwe include Angloplat (AMSJ.J),
Implats (IMPJ.J) and Rio Tinto (RIO.L) (RIO.AX), majority owner in the
country's biggest diamond mine.

Mugabe formed a unity government with opposition leader and arch-rival
Morgan Tsvangirai in February to try to end a decade-long political crisis
which ruined Zimbabwe's once prosperous economy.

But the fragile coalition between Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and Tsvangirai's
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is threatened by policy differences,
the slow pace of reforms and feuding over some top state jobs.

Besides the mining bill, the new session of parliament -- which runs for a
year -- is expected to consider changes to the operations of the central
bank.

Central bank governor Gideon Gono, a Mugabe ally, has had a strained
relationship with Finance Minister Tendai Biti, a senior MDC figure. Biti
will present the 2010 national budget to parliament next month.

The government says it needs up to $10 billion in foreign aid to help repair
an economy which saw inflation surge to over 500 billion percent in 2008,
according to the IMF.

In January, the government introduced foreign currencies to stem the
hyperinflation that had made the Zimbabwe dollar worthless. Inflation fell
to 0.4 percent in August from one percent in July.


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'Nobody takes the government on its word'

http://www.iol.co.za

††††October 06 2009 at 07:56AM

By Cris Chinaka

Zimbabwe's parliament will debate legal reforms badly needed by the
battered economy, including the crucial mining sector, in coming weeks, but
analysts say foreign investors will wait to see how the laws are applied.

President Robert Mugabe opens a new session of parliament on Tuesday
which officials say will consider amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act
and a bill governing the operations of the central bank.

Mugabe told a mining conference last month that the government would
pass a law on the sector soon and would address concerns raised by an
earlier draft that would have given locals control of mining operations
owned by foreign companies.

Several mining firms, including the world's two biggest platinum
producers, Anglo Platinum and Impala Platinum, have retained operations in
Zimbabwe but largely put new projects on hold, fearing the mines could be
taken over by the state.

Details of the new legislation have not been published, but analysts
say investors will be looking for a firm commitment by the power-sharing
government to private property rights and the rule of law.

"The new law will be very important but the most important issue for
investors will be to see how the law is applied in practice," said John
Robertson, a Harare-based economic consultant.

"We have such a bad history here now that nobody takes the government
on its word, and so any good words will have to be accompanied by good
deeds," he said.

Investment on hold

After the collapse of commercial agriculture, mining emerged as
Zimbabwe's largest foreign currency earner, with gold alone bringing in a
third of total mineral export receipts.

Analysts say uncertainty over government policy will likely hold back
big new mining investment in Zimbabwe for years as many foreign investors
are still shaken by Mugabe's seizures of white-owned farms for
redistribution to blacks under an empowerment drive.

Foreign companies with operations in Zimbabwe include Angloplat,
Implats and Rio Tinto, majority owner in the country's biggest diamond mine.

Mugabe formed a unity government with opposition leader and arch-rival
Morgan Tsvangirai in February to try to end a decade-long political crisis
which ruined Zimbabwe's once prosperous economy.

But the fragile coalition between Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is threatened by policy
differences, the slow pace of reforms and feuding over some top state jobs.

Besides the mining bill, the new session of parliament - which runs
for a year - is expected to consider changes to the operations of the
central bank.

Central bank governor Gideon Gono, a Mugabe ally, has had a strained
relationship with Finance Minister Tendai Biti, a senior MDC figure. Biti
will present the 2010 national budget to parliament next month.

The government says it needs up to $10-billion in foreign aid to help
repair an economy which saw inflation surge to over 500-billion percent in
2008, according to the IMF.

In January, the government introduced foreign currencies to stem the
hyperinflation that had made the Zimbabwe dollar worthless. Inflation fell
to 0.4 percent in August from one percent in July. - Reuters


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AG's office legally bankrupt - ZSF

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk/


Written by Christian Ncube
Monday, 05 October 2009 16:44
JOHANNESBURG - The Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum (ZSF), says the
persecution of activist Jestina Mukoko was evidence of the 'illegitimacy' of
attorney general Johannes Tomana (pictured).
The controversial Tomana was unilaterally appointed to his post by
President Robert Mugabe last year, contrary to the principles of the Global
Political Agreement. "Throughout this affair (Mukoko's abduction and trial)
Johannes Tomana has served only to produce further evidence of the morally
and legally bankrupt nature of his office and the illegitimacy of his
position as Attorney General," ZSF said in a statement.
The organisation joined the many proponents of democracy in
celebrating a rare victory for justice campaigners in Zimbabwe after the
ruling by the Supreme Court Justice that granted the renowned human rights
activist a permanent stay of prosecution.† ZSF called on perpetrators of
human rights violations over the years in Zimbabwe to be brought to book.
"The ZSF will continue to stand with the people of Zimbabwe during
this transitional period and join the demand for justice, freedom and the
rule of law. We hope that this victory for Jestina Mukoko will herald the
beginning of a new era. An era in which an independent judiciary, judicial
reform and a robust rule of law will hold the state and its agents
accountable for the violations that took place around the violent June
election run-off, and the numerous state operations before this, that have
denied Zimbabweans both their human and peoples rights. The ongoing human
rights violations in Zimbabwe will be exposed, and indeed at an appointed
time the perpetrators will be brought to book."


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Zim sitting on US$810m: Central bank

http://www.zimonline.co.za

by Own Correspondent Tuesday 06 October 2009

HARARE - Zimbabwe central bank governor Gideon Gono on Monday said the
country was sitting on a total of US$810 million from the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) and the African Export-Import (AFREXIM) Bank awaiting
Finance Minister Tendai Biti's authorisation for disbursement.

"IMF and AFREXIM Bank have advanced us a total of US$810 million that can be
put to productive sectors and there is no need for it to remain on the table
unused," Gono said.

He did not mention Biti by name.

The two men have publicly clashed over control of Zimbabwe's meagre finances
with each blaming the other of not acting in the best interests of the
cash-strapped nation.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor did not say when the AFREXIM Bank gave
money to Zimbabwe or disclose the terms of the loan. But Zimbabwe was last
month allocated US$500 million under an IMF facility meant to assist member
countries recover from the global financial crisis.

Gono and Biti have clashed over the IMF money, with the RBZ chief pushing
for immediate release of the funds to help boost key sectors of the economy.

Biti, a former top opposition figure who has pursued frugal policies since
taking over the finance portfolio after formation of a power-sharing
government over seven months ago, insists the IMF funds should be used only
after the government has set out clear goals and objectives in a national
budget due in November.

Biti, who is secretary general of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC
party, was not immediately available for comment on Gono's statements but
has in the past said he blocked release of the IMF cash to prevent it from
being diverted and abused.

Meanwhile Gono said 16 out of Zimbabwe's 26 banks had managed to meet the
new capital requirements threshold.

Under the RBZ capital requirements, commercial banks must have deposited
US$6.25 million with the central bank by end of last month while another
US$12 million has to be paid by March.

Gono, who has forcibly closed several banks before, threatened to close
institutions that fail to meet capital requirements. - ZimOnline


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Govt should prioritise health, education: Tsvangirai

http://www.zimonline.co.za

by Charles Tembo Tuesday 06 October 2009

HARARE - Zimbabwe's unity government should prioritise health and education
sectors that had collapsed after years of neglect and under-funding, Prime
Minister (PM) Morgan Tsvangirai said on Monday.

Tsvangirai, who formed a power-sharing government with President Robert
Mugabe last February to try to reverse Zimbabwe's decade-long economic
decline, spoke during a tour of Harare Central hospital, one of the two
biggest referral centres in the country.

The Premier praised efforts to restore services at the hospital and praised
staff for dedication to duty even in the face of hardships caused by the
government's inability to reward them adequately due to a lack of funds.

"When I visited last march, it was like a ghost hospital. It goes to
demonstrate that its not just a question of money but also of commitment and
a little resources will go a long way in achieving functionality," said
Tsvangirai.

Hospital chief executive officer Jealous Nderere narrated to Tsvangirai a
plethora of problems experienced by the institution ranging from staff and
drugs shortages to broken water systems.

"The hospital still has no hot water supply . . . the air conditioning
system in the theatres in the main hospital and maternity needs to be
replaced as it is now dysfunctional," Nderere said.

A report produced by Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe last month showed
that Zimbabwe's health and education sectors were still in dire straits
requiring urgent attention.

Zimbabwe's unity government has promised to revive the economy and restore
basic services but failure by Harare - which says it requires a total US$10
billion to get Zimbabwe on its feet again - to convince rich Western nations
to release grants and soft loans has hampered its ability to drive the
recovery effort.

Western governments insist they will not provide support until they see
evidence Mugabe.† - ZimOnline


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German delegation leaves with mixed feelings

http://www.zimonline.co.za

by Nokuthula Sibanda Tuesday 06 October 2009

HARARE - A German investor delegation that visited Zimbabwe last week was
impressed by the country's business potential but raised concern over
property rights and the rule of law, according to a statement released
Monday by the German embassy in Harare.

A unity government formed by President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai has failed to enforce the rule of law in the mainstay
agricultural sector where hordes of supporters of Mugabe's ZANU PF party
continue to invade private farms, casting doubts on the coalition government's
ability to ensure both property and human rights.

The embassy statement said the business delegation expressed concern about
recent threats to owners of farms and wildlife conservancies who, according
to local press reports, are under pressure to vacate their properties to
make way for senior ZANU PF politicians and members of the military.

"There are questions that remain open. These questions relate to law and
order," the statement quoted delegation leader, Andreas Wenzel, as having
said. "It is an absolute necessity for any investor that property rights are
guaranteed."

The German delegation that comprised officials from 24 companies met Vice
President Joice Mujuru and business leaders to assess investment
opportunities in the southern African country trying to emerge from a decade
of severe recession and political turmoil.

While Wenzel and his delegation expressed concern over property rights, law
and order they were however impressed with Zimbabwe's potential,
particularly its educated human resource base.

"Zimbabwe's asset is above all its people", Wenzel said.

A decade ago, Zimbabwe was Germany's second-biggest trading partner in the
region. This changed abruptly after 2000 when Mugabe launched his
controversial land reform programme under which the government seized
private white-owned farms for re-distribution to landless blacks.

The chaotic and often violent farm re-distribution programme saw the
government seizing farms owned by foreign investors including Germans and in
violation of bilateral investment protection agreements signed with foreign
governments as well as international law.

Land redistribution, that Mugabe says was necessary to correct an "unjust
and immoral" colonial land ownership system that reserved the best land for
whites and banished blacks to poor soils, is blamed for plunging Zimbabwe
into food shortages after Harare failed to support black villagers resettled
on former white farms with inputs to maintain production.

In addition, critics say Mugabe's powerful cronies - and not ordinary
peasants - benefited the most from the farm seizures with some of them
ending up with as many as six farms each against the government's stated
one-man-one-farm policy. - ZimOnline


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US denies sanctions hurt Zim

http://www.timeslive.co.za

Oct 5, 2009 10:21 PM | By Moses Mudzwiti

The US has provided evidence that sanctions targeted at President Robert
Mugabe and his cronies have had little effect on Zimbabwe's battered
economy.

Speaking at a press briefing yesterday, James Garry, the new US second
secretary in Zimbabwe, said trade between the two countries had doubled
since the sanctions were introduced in 2003.

Garry said: "American companies are doing business in Zimbabwe every day."

He said the only proviso was that US companies were not allowed to trade
with Zimbabwean citizens, or companies, on the sanctions list.

Garry said that, contrary to Mugabe's claims, the US has never used the
Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act to block trade with Zimbabwe.

Garry said the US act, which compels US citizens with voting rights on the
board of multilateral lenders to vote against Zimbabwe's attempts to access
loans, had not been implemented.

The US diplomat said Zimbabwe had already been disqualified from getting
more IMF loans - because it was in arrears with its loan repayments to the
institution - when the act was drafted.

Mugabe has blamed his country's economic collapse on "illegal" sanctions
imposed by the West. He says sanctions are the greatest threat to the unity
government.

Garry reiterated that targeted sanctions affect only Mugabe and his close
allies, who are accused of gross human rights violations.

† * Mugabe was expected to open parliament today. This time he is likely to
blame sanctions for his failure to deliver on his election promises.
Last year, Mugabe was booed and heckled by MDC MPs during his speech at the
official opening of parliament.

With the unity government partners at each other's throats, the opening of
parliament promises to be a volatile affair.

Yesterday, riot police were deployed all over the capital.


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Fears grow for future of Kingdom Meikles


http://www.ft.com/

By Richard Lapper in Johannesburg

Published: October 6 2009 02:49 | Last updated: October 6 2009 02:49

If Zimbabwe's coalition government is as keen as it says it is to attract
foreign investment then its actions against Kingdom Meikles, the country's
biggest listed company, looks like something of an own goal.

Early last month the hotel, banking and retail group was accused of
violating exchange controls and "specified", meaning its assets and shares
were suspended and two government agents appointed to run its affairs.

Both the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and President
Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF, which have been sharing power since February, were
party to the action.
But two weeks ago, Giles Mutsekwa, the MDC's co-minister of home affairs
publicly admitted that he had made a blunder.

Mr Mutsekwa has been ordered by the prime minister (and leader of the MDC),
Morgan Tsvangirai, to reverse the measure but an MDC official conceded that
this could be more difficult than it seems, arguing that there is even
uncertainty about who "has the legal mandate to specify or unspecify".

As of Monday, the company remained in legal limbo, its uncertain status
hardly reassuring for potential investors tempted by Zimbabwe's mineral
riches and encouraged by signs of greater economic stability since the local
currency - its value rendered worthless by hyperinflation - was replaced by
the US dollar and the South African Rand earlier this year.

"The MDC is well aware of the damage that this has caused for the country's
reputation as a destination of investment," says the MDC official.

And yet for most of the past three decades since Mr Mugabe came to power in
1980, Meikles was allowed to quietly get on with its business.

Even during this decade when Mr Mugabe dispossessed thousands of white
commercial farmers in a radical land reform, Meikles's hotel, department
stores and supermarkets have remained profitable and something of a
Zimbabwean institution.

As recently as 1996, the company raised $75m in an initial public offering
in London, the biggest amount raised by a Zimbabwean company, and by 2007,
its shares were worth $500m.

John Moxon, the 64-year-old former chairman, whose family owns 43 per cent
of the group, claims Meikles's difficulties began in 2007 when the group
merged with Kingdom, a black-owned bank in which it had been building up a
stake since the late 1990s.

The link-up had been orchestrated in anticipation of government policies
obliging largely white-dominated corporates to cede wealth and control to
black business.

Mr Moxon argues relations between the new black chief executive, Nigel
Chanakira, the founder of Kingdom, and senior managers at Meikles
deteriorated.

Earlier this year, shareholders voted to demerge the group, a move that
would have the warring parties at Kingdom and Meikles go their separate
ways.

That plan, however, seems to have fallen victim to the specification
measure.

Two weeks ago, shareholders gathering at the Meikles Hotel to conduct an
extraordinary general meeting in order to put that proposal into effect
found their way blocked by riot police.

Mr Moxon, who insists that the exchange transfers in question were approved
by the central bank, is preparing for a legal fight. But he fears the worst
and predicts that the company, which employs 4,500 people, will not "exist
in six months' time".

Speaking in Johannesburg, where he has lived since last year, he told the
Financial Times: "They will get in, pillage and loot the company
completely."

And he is predictably pessimistic about the implications.

"All this really shows is that Zanu-PF is fully in power and the MDC
incapable of influencing things," he says.

"I don't think the country has changed."


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We'll never be able to pay say rural parents


http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

Written by PRIVILEGE MUSVANHIRI
Monday, 05 October 2009 16:48
HARARE - Parents have expressed mixed feelings on the decision by the
Ministry of Education Sports and Culture to extend loans to students who
failed to register for November 2009 public examinations. (Pictured: David
Coltart)
Maidei Chibvongodze, a parent from Harare's Mufakose suburb said, "I
welcome the latest announcement by government. At least my two children who
are seating for Ordinary and Advanced level can now have the hope to sit for
their final examinations. I had failed to raise the money for the fees. I am
a widow and not gainfully employed."
She said it would be a mammoth task for her to raise the required fees
by January 2010.
David Nyariri from Chiweshe said the announcement was welcome but
still discriminatory to rural students whose parents do not have any
meaningful source of income.
"Minister Coltart's announcement is a reprieve to most parents but I
feel the decision is still discriminatory. Most rural families are failing
to raise a dollar to pay for maize meal at local grinding mills. They have
to do butter trade with the millers. One has to carry an extra gallon as
payment for a bucket of grain to be processed at the grinding mill. How then
do you expect such people to raise US$60 for the payment of six or three
subjects for Ordinary and A level?" Nyariri said.
Fears are also that the maximum of six subjects per student applying
for government assistance would disadvantage brilliant pupils who would have
liked to write eight or 10 subjects of their choice.
The Minister of Education Sport and Culture, David Coltart, announced
on Thursday that the deadline for the 2009 public examinations was now set
for Friday October 16 and prospective students could make arrangements to
pay exam fees on a loan basis.
He said those registering from now would make monthly payments up to
January 31, 2010.
Over 70 percent of prospective candidates had failed to raise the
US$10 and US$20 per subject for Ordinary and Advanced Level by 22nd of
September which had been set as the deadline for registration.
Teachers unions strongly criticized government's insistence on closing
out prospective students who had failed to register, and a significant
number of students had stopped attending classes after the September
deadline with no hope of writing exams.
Once an example in Africa with an estimated 80% literacy rate,
Zimbabwe's education is in despair following years of economic meltdown
under the corrupt and oppressive Zanu (PF) regime.


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Zimbabweans dispute rosy IMF growth prognosis

http://www.busrep.co.za

October 2, 2009

Zimbabwe's fortunes seem to have improved. That is if the estimates of the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) are taken at face value. The IMF's World
Economic Outlook forecasts growth of 3.7 percent this year and 6 percent
next year.

A turnaround is taking place, now that the country's worthless currency has
been replaced, mainly by the US dollar, and once again there is food on the
shelves.

Of course, growth is off a very low base - after a 14.1 percent contraction
last year and a 6.9 percent contraction the previous year. But how realistic
are the IMF projections? As Reuters pointed out yesterday, the IMF figures
are in line with Zimbabwe's own forecasts, announced in July.

John Robertson, an independent economist in Harare, says they are off the
mark: "I can't find any evidence to support it."

He said estimates of this year's crop are in fact overestimates - possibly
deliberately so. And he doesn't expect next year's crop to be much better
because "farmers don't have the money to start cultivating".

As a result, although the rainy season is due to start, the farmers are not
ready to plant. "The commercial farms are likely to perform dismally," he
said.

Robertson said an earlier IMF survey showed it "wouldn't take much to fix
our infrastructure, but we haven't even started fixing it". As to the food
in the shops, Robertson said: "We're importing everything, where we used to
produce everything ourselves."

Zimbabwe was once known as the bread basket of Africa, but its economy has
been destroyed by gross mismanagement and land grabs that turned productive
farms into failing enterprises.

The economy won't come right until it receives a massive injection of
capital - and that won't happen as long as Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe
clings to power because both investors and donors know that it will end up
in the pockets of Mugabe and Co. page 4

Quality matters most

On Tuesday evening, the ANC held a debate on the proposed National Health
Insurance (NHI) at the Westville campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

The participants were Olive Shisana, the chairwoman of the ANC's NHI
technical task team, Zweli Mkhize, the chairman of the ANC sub-committee on
health and education, Sibongiseni Dlomo, the Health MEC for KwaZulu-Natal,
and Ngubekhaya Gobinca, the managing director of Qualsa Healthcare. The NHI
debate sought to encourage stakeholders in the health care industry and
ordinary South Africans to engage the ruling party on the proposal.

While illustrating that the medical aid schemes were not sufficient because
funds were exhausted before the end of the year, which meant those people
became the burden of the state, Dlomo told a story of how he had to pay
Entabeni hospital R6 000 last week because he had to take one of his
children there.

"My medical aid has run out for this year. Fortunately I don't have a sickly
family and I have not been to a doctor in the last two years."

Dlomo has a democratic right to use any health care facility that he wants
and he probably took his child there because Entabeni Hospital was
best-suited for the kind of treatment that the child needed.

But this is perhaps another indication that contrary to what the politicians
say about "not all is bad" at public hospitals, they also lack faith in the
system.

It is also an admission that the very same private hospital industry that
has been criticised is doing something right.

Shisana also said the government did not regulate the public sector like the
private sector and this would need to be corrected when the accreditation
process was done for NHI facilities.

That did not necessarily mean that the facilities would need to look like
"five-star hotels" as the private hospitals have been referred to. "We are
talking about the quality of service, not necessarily the nice bed," he
said.

Some would argue that it has never been the nice bed that meant quality
service, but rather the attitude of the staff, clean facilities,
availability of medication and the required equipment.

Taking a hit

The repercussions of Eskom's stalled process to procure electricity from
independent power producers have resulted in delayed payment on a Standard
Bank loan to Ipsa, the London- and JSE-listed independent power producer.

The £15.8 million (R194m) loan was due to be repaid today, but Ipsa said
this week it would be unable to do so unless it sold turbines originally
earmarked for its open-cycle gas turbines project at Coega.

The group has been trying to sell the four Siemens Westinghouse 501 DU
turbines since the end of last year, after it became apparent that the
procurement process would be delayed beyond the plant's envisaged mid-2009
start-up. It hopes to realise £100m.

Ipsa is indebted not only to the local bank, but also to manufacturers for
refurbishing the turbines to the tune of £10.7m, and to a firm controlled by
its chief executive, Peter Earl, to the amount of £800 000.

At Ipsa's gas-fired plant in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal, delays in signing a
power purchase agreement with Eskom have forced Ipsa to seek commercial
clients to allow the plant to restart.

The first-mover advantage that should have been enjoyed by the likes of Ipsa
and developers of the 1 200 megawatt Mmamabula energy complex in Botswana
(which is also awaiting the outcome of Eskom's funding model for clarity on
a power purchase agreement) has turned into a drawn-out wait-and-see
scenario as a result of the regulatory hiatus, combined with a constrained
lending climate.

Standard Bank may share this view as it has taken no action to enforce
security on the loan. But it must take a lot of teeth-gritting to express
optimism given the constraints at hand.

Edited by Peter DeIonno. With contributions by Ethel Hazelhurst, Slindile
Khanyile and Ingi Salgado


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Gold output low

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

Written by STAFF REPORTER
Monday, 05 October 2009 13:39
BULAWAYO - The country's gold deliveries are projected to reach at
least 4.5 tonnes by the end of the year, a far cry from yester year peaks of
27 tonnes.
Projections by the Chamber of Mines are based on the recent
liberalisation of the sector, a development that has seen a number mining
companies ramp up production. Victor Gapare the Chamber of Mines president,
said the rampant power outages continued to affect the operations of mining
companies.
"Load shedding is affecting production in a serious way. We have
suggested to the government that Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority be
allowed to raise new capital internationally thereby diluting government
ownership in a bid make it efficient," Gapare said.


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Water, water at last!


http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

Written by ARKMORE KORI
Monday, 05 October 2009 16:31
As I struggled to reach the water level in my shallow well my two-
year-old daughter pulled my trousers, shouting in a rather frightened voice:
'Dad, the bathroom is raining!'
Born at the zenith of the ruralisation of urban areas or in the
context of - in the words of renowned musician Hosiah Chipanga - tsime
kumusha, tsime kudhorobha (shallow wells in both rural and urban areas) huni
kumusha, huni kudhorobha (use of firewood in both rural and urban areas),
she had never seen water sprinkling from a 'pipe attached to the bathroom
wall'.
Yes, these were first drops of tap water in Mabvuku and Tafara after
at least two years. But whoever made it available in these unfortunate
suburbs qualifies to be a national hero: Save vakaoma (MDC is great),
celebrated many.
Zanu (PF) is missing in the equation of GNU's positive successes. In
fact, there is some form of labelling in GNU: what is bad, and what is done
badly belongs to Zanu (PF), and what is good belongs to MDC. Zanu (PF)'s
commitment to solving our problems is still invisible. Most urbanites
believe MDC is trying to restore service delivery, a problem created by Zanu
(PF), whilst Zanu (PF) is working hard to make them worse.

Hard-hearted Zanu (PF)
A popular case cited in Mabvuku and Tafara relates to areas that have
gone for months without electricity. Speculation suggests equipment to
restore electricity supplies was bought for the 'dark areas', but was taken
by Zanu (PF) heavy weights for installation on their farms. Whether these
allegations are true or false, they are politically damaging.
Said an old lady carrying a big bundle of firewood on her head: 'Zanu
(PF) ine hutsinye mwanangu. Inoda kungoona tichitambura chete. Tichasangana
paX.' (My son, Zanu (PF) is hard-hearted. It deliberately creates anguish.
We will never vote for it).
Of course, there are complaints that sanctions hindered the provision
of water to Harare. These are, however, completely unfounded considering
there are no sanctions against Zimbabwe as a nation, but only individual
sanctions applied to key members in the ruling elite.
Available resources were used to build political capital. Programmes
such as agriculture mechanisation, though sensible, were overshadowed by the
political dogmatism they attempted to create. A large chunk was drained on
food hampers (BACOSS), youth militia and posh vehicles for the party's
bosses. Nothing was spared for Harare's water and sanitation, including the
amount raided from NGO accounts by the Reserve Bank Governor. Yet the
MDC-administered ministry has managed to provide us with tap water, albeit
in the face of
worse contemporary sanctions namely Reserve Bank Governor and Attorney
General who are making Zimbabwe credit unworthy.
However, without trust and assurances of safety from city fathers,
there is still suspicion surrounding Harare's tap water supply. In 2006,
ZINWA admitted pouring raw sewerage in Harare's water reservoirs after Firle
sewerage treatment plant broke
down. It is not clear whether the country has managed to acquire
enough chemicals to make the sewerage contaminated water safe for drinking.
Most think they would consume 'recycled urine', therefore contract the
deadly cholera. Tap water is being used for watering gardens whilst water
from borehole or shallow wells is spared for consumption.
The other problem is related to payments. Since the GPA was signed,
most residents have been receiving water bills even when their taps were
dry. Should we pay for water that was not there? Earlier this month, the
City of Harare sent 'Final [payment] Demand'. Should we pay for services
that are not provided? We welcome water, and appreciate all the efforts
being made to restore service delivery in Harare, but only if there is some
fairness in billing.


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Zuma also guilty of quiet diplomacy - Wilmot


http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

Written by Christian Ncube
Monday, 05 October 2009 16:42
JOHANNESBURG -Wilmot James, the South African representative to the
SADC Parliamentary Forum, has bemoaned the lack of a clear policy on
neighbouring Zimbabwe on the part of South Africa.
He charged that President Jacob Zuma was maintaining the
widely-criticised quiet diplomacy approach of his predecessor Thabo Mbeki,
much to the detriment of both Zimbabwe and South Africa.
"South Africa does not have a credible foreign policy on Zimbabwe
because we have not consistently applied diplomatic pressure on Zanu (PF )to
live up to the Global Political Agreement (GPA). We have not applied quiet
but firm pressure via intelligence and defence on those around Mugabe to
exit and not be spoilers. We have not invested in the unity government to
get basic services restarted - without which the whole GPA deal is dead, and
we have not provided real assistance in helping the Government of Zimbabwe
to normalise relations with the rest of the world, especially the
International Monetary Fund and World Bank," James said in a statement.
He added, "The Democratic Alliance has already called for a
parliamentary debate on Zimbabwe. Our request sits on the Order Paper, but
is yet to be granted. The problem is that, without targeting objectives and
building a strategy to achieve those objectives, our diplomatic efforts in
Zimbabwe will continue to be indecisive and ineffective."
James' comments followed the hearing by the United States Senate
Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs last Thursday of further
testimony on possible strategic responses to the political and economic
challenges in Zimbabwe. This testimony forms part of ongoing efforts by the
Obama administration to build a cohesive strategic approach to Zimbabwe,
which balances the need to support the fragile coalition government with the
need to reprimand undemocratic influences.


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Makoni a CNN Hero

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk/

Written by Tinashe Mushakavanhu & David Nettleingham [Eds]
Monday, 05 October 2009 16:27
Betty Makoni's humble beginnings are paying off after she was
nominated for the 2009 CNN heroes' award. Little did she know that when she
decided to start a girls club with 10 students from a Chitungwiza school
where she was teaching to combat sexual abuse, it would grow beyond her
dreams to become the Girl Child Network (GCN). Within a couple of years, the
clubs proliferated 'like wildfire' throughout Zimbabwe.
At the age of six, Betty Makoni, along with nine of her playmates were
raped, all by the same man and she learned early on that girls and women
were helpless to protect themselves from abuse. She once said: 'There is no
greater set back for a woman than to grow up in a patriarchal system where
girls and women are down-trodden and abused to the extent that those who
perpetrate rape can go scot-free.'
Three years after being sexually abused, she witnessed her father
murder her mother. Through that experience of personal loss as a result of
domestic violence, an advocate was born.
'Something inside me snapped,' she said. 'I told myself no girl or
woman will suffer the same fate.' Her efforts in Zimbabwe will be
highlighted in an upcoming documentary, Tapestries of Hope.
Now in its 10th year, an estimated 60 000 girls are members of the GCN
Zimbabwe and thousands of girls have been transformed from so-called victims
into survivors and leaders. With over 700 girls clubs, 80 per cent of the
members live in remote parts of the country. Despite overwhelming obstacles,
including threats, detention and smear campaigns, Betty Makoni and the group
continue to champion the rights of the girl child today in Zimbabwe and
beyond.
In early 2009, Makoni teamed up with Priscilla Nyathi, a long-time
domestic violence activist who has helped minority girls and women find
justice in the court system in Essex, UK. Together they set up the Girl
Child Network Trust Fund UK with help from international partners. The fund
is fast gaining support in the UK and around the world. Many individual
women and girls are mobilizing in small groups to determine how best to
support each other.


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Zimbabwe's bishops: Truth about past needed to bring country together

http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0904424.htm

†Oct-5-2009

By Bronwen Dachs
Catholic News Service

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNS) -- For the "cycle of violence, humiliation,
oppression and exploitation" in Zimbabwe to stop, the truth about the
country's violence needs to be told, said Zimbabwe's Catholic bishops.

"We recommend that there be open and public admission that violence has been
part of our life and history," the bishops said, noting that "victims need
to tell their stories in a free and supportive environment" and perpetrators
"need to take responsibility for their sins."

In an Oct. 1 pastoral letter on national healing and reconciliation, the
bishops said "the church is prepared to offer the mechanism" and to "play a
significant role not only in healing and cohesion but also in the
much-needed reconciliation."

They said those who have used their positions of power "to direct, command,
plan or directly commit acts of violence should not be allowed to hold any
public office" that could be used to perpetrate further violence.

"For national reconciliation and healing to take place effectively, it is
necessary that the entire nation participates in a comprehensive,
all-inclusive, holistic and clearly defined national process underpinned by
strong political will and desire to reconcile and heal the nation," the
bishops said.

When Zimbabwe gained independence from Britain in 1980, "we all pretended
that we could start afresh in a new Zimbabwe without dealing with our past
or defining collectively what future we desired for our nation," the bishops
said.

"We pretended that the anger and hatred that had accumulated over many years
could simply vanish with independence. This failure to deal with our past
continues to haunt us," they said.

The southern African country's "political history is characterized by the
use of state institutions as partisan tools to support the ruling party,"
they said, noting that people "who have opposed the ruling party have been
marginalized and sometimes criminalized" and the lack of space for "healthy
political debates" has caused "frustration and resentment."

The main cause of conflicts in Zimbabwe "is the consistent violation of
human dignity and therefore human rights," the bishops said.

Noting that Zimbabweans have "a second chance" that they must use, the
bishops urged the government "to show political willingness by creating a
conducive environment for national healing, reconciliation and integration."

Under the deal that brought President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and
Morgan Tsvangirai's opposition Movement for Democratic Change into a
coalition government in February, the parties agreed to consider setting up
a mechanism for national healing, the bishops said.

There is a general admission in Zimbabwe "that our situation is a real
crisis which cannot be left unattended," the bishops said, noting that while
the deal that led to the coalition government has limitations they regard it
"as a moment of grace that can and should be turned into a new beginning."

"Genuine healing and reconciliation can only take place when the environment
is open, free and democratic," they said, noting that "when such an
environment does not exist, as is currently the case, the church commits
herself to working toward its establishment."

The bishops said Zimbabwe "is deeply divided" politically and, besides
having conflict between different racial groups, its painful history
includes "hurtful memories from ethnic rivalry" between the Shona and
Ndebele people.

"We, as leaders of the church, are committed to helping this country achieve
normalcy," they said.

Calling on all people of good will, the government and civil society "to
support this effort to heal those who have been wounded" in Zimbabwe, the
bishops said "restorative justice will help to heal those whose rights were
undermined and, with the help of the Lord, they will achieve reconciliation
and peace."

This is not "an easy or short-term task," they said, noting that they have
begun this work in caring for victims of "inhuman torture" and "desire to
complete it with the guidance of the Holy Spirit."

The bishops appealed "to the perpetrators of these atrocities, accomplices
and instigators of violence to acknowledge the evil deeds" and to make
restitution.

They also appealed to the victims to forgive, noting that this is difficult.

"Do not expect total compensation but what the community can afford," they
said.

"We are all guilty, for those who have been victims at one time have been
aggressors at another, and many more have done nothing in the face of
atrocities perpetrated before their eyes. Today, we all need healing from
these hurts and from our guilt," they said.

Noting that reconciliation is a "demanding responsibility which calls for
great commitment, dedication and sacrifice," the bishops said a framework
for national healing and reconciliation drawn up by Zimbabwe's churches and
civil society in May "could serve as a starting point for healing our
nation."

The framework "proposes a comprehensive process for intervention" by the
government, the church, civil society and other sectors, they said.

END


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Foreign tourists shun Kariba‏

http://www.zimeye.org/?p=9549

By John-Chimunhu

Published: October 5, 2009

(Harare)A dilapidated airport that has not had a commercial flight for
years, a phone system that hardly ever works and general security fears are
keeping cash-rich foreigners away from this pristine tourist centre,
industry executives have said.
One official, Kuda Magezi, managing director of Monkey Safaris said Kariba,
considered to be Zimbabwe’s second most attractive tourist resort after the
Victoria Falls had been dogged for a long time by problems of infrastructure
and accessibility.
“Kariba has always been a safe destination but foreigners are not coming in
large numbers as expected,” said Magezi, whose company manages houseboats
and is developing a safari camp.
“We are now concentrating on attracting locals, especially companies who are
trickling in for meetings, product launches and other functions.”
Magezi said due to the global recession and security considerations, many
tourists had indicated they preferred to fly directly to Kariba instead of
going to Harare and then connecting by road. Since commercial flights were
stopped at the height of international travel bans against Zimbabwe,
travellers to Kariba can only access the resort by road, travelling for four
hours through territory infested by Zanu PF militia who are rampaging
through commercial farms in Mashonaland West province.
Another executive, Ronald Sithole said the communication system in the area
was ‘appaling’.
He said there were severe network problems and it generally took hours to
get a connection, something which tourists disliked.
Sithole said tour companies had made massive investments in hotels and
modern houseboats but it would take time to bring the tourists back. This
once-popular fishing, game-viewing and bird-watching venue used to attract
thousands of foreigners before Zimbabwe descended into chaos triggered by
President Robert Mugabe’s disastrous land reform policy which has seen
thousands of white farmers and businessmen being expelled from the country
since 2000.
Meanwhile, concerns have been raised about the presence on Lake Kariba of
rusty old boats used for kapenta fishing by locals. This correspondent saw
boats with broken floor boards and leaky interiors, with one expert saying
it was only a matter of time before a serious accident happened. Apparently,
the authorities are not carrying out routine inspections as required by law,
it emerged.


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Justice In Zimbabwe

http://www.voanews.com/
The Following is an Editorial Reflecting the Views of the US Government
05 October 2009
Zimbabwe human rights activist Jestina Mukoko at a news conference in Harare, Thursday 1 Oct. 2009
Zimbabwe human rights activist Jestina Mukoko
Despite progress in stabilizing Zimbabwe’s devastated economy by the new transitional government, the anti-democratic and abusive practices of Robert Mugabe and his followers continue to cast a cloud over the once prosperous Southern African nation.

Hardliners in Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party continue to violate human rights and refuse to fully and faithfully implement the Global Political Agreement. Authorities have conducted a sustained campaign of political arrests and prosecution of opposition party members, lawmakers, and members of civil society.

However, Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court recently dismissed trumped-up terrorism charges against a prominent and award-winning human rights activist, Jestina Mukoko, and ruled that she was terrorized when state security agents arrested her late last year.
Demonstrators protest re-arrest of Zimbabwean rights activists, inluding Jestina Mukoko, in Harare, 5 May 2009
Demonstrators protest re-arrest of Zimbabwean rights activists, inluding Jestina Mukoko.


Ms.Mukoko was taken from her home by armed men last December and held in secret locations for more than 3 weeks as authorities tried to force her to confess to a plot to topple the government. Hospitalized for beatings she suffered in captivity, she was released on bail in March, but briefly jailed again in May.

The court, in its ruling, said Ms. Mukoko had been abducted illegally and tortured and it dismissed all charges against her. Amid the continued politicized arrests and prosecutions in Zimbabwe, it was a rare act of judicial independence, and the United States applauds it.

One ruling does not signify a trend, but in this case it does raise hope that other judges may be inspired to follow suit and lead the nation back to the rule of law.

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