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Moyo spills the beans

Zim Independent

            Dumisani Muleya

            FORMER Information minister Jonathan Moyo, who was also a Zanu
PF politburo member, has made startling revelations about the ruling party's
power struggle exposed by the dramatic Tsholotsho episode.

            Moyo's astonishing disclosures come at a time when the fight to
succeed President Robert Mugabe is intensifying.

            The succession battle is threatening to split Zanu PF as senior
officials contemplate breaking away to wrest control of state power from
outside the party.

            In an article this week (See "Opinion" section), Moyo divulges
graphic details of the Tsholotsho saga which he says was part of a major
effort to reform Zanu PF from within to save it from possible electoral

            Moyo said the Tsholotsho Declaration was part of an intricate
web of events around the succession issue which played themselves out in
party structures. This included issues like the appointment of a Zanu PF
reform committee in 2000 and a succession committee in 2003 to deal with the
party's damaging leadership wrangles.

            Attempts by senior Zanu PF officials linked to the Solomon
Mujuru faction to force Mugabe to resign at the party's December 2001
special congress in Victoria Falls and to manoeuvre Joice Mujuru to become
party commissar after the death of Border Gezi were also part of the power
struggle, he said.

            There were also efforts by MPs at a Zanu PF central committee
meeting in 2002 to move a motion of no confidence in Mugabe, he added.

            Moyo said the Tsholotsho Declaration was crafted by a committee
of provincial chairmen and governors under the chairmanship of Zanu PF
commissar Elliot Manyika at three meetings.

            The first two meetings were held in Harare on August 16 and 23,
2004 and the third one, which endorsed the declaration, in Mugabe's home
area of Zvimba on August 30 ahead of the party's congress in December.

            "The first meeting of Zanu PF provincial chairmen and governors
that specifically deliberated on the principles of the Tsholotsho
Declaration, chaired by Manyika, took place in Harare on August 16, 2004. A
week later on August 23, 2004 another meeting was again held in Harare,"
Moyo said.

            "During the August 23 meeting seven provinces, except
Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central and Harare, voted for the Tsholotsho
principles. A final meeting was held in Zvimba, President Mugabe's home
area, on August 30, 2004. At this crucial meeting the vote for the
declaration increased from seven to eight provinces after Chen
Chimutengwende, as chairman of Mashonaland Central, added his vote."

            Moyo said from that point on, the then Zanu PF administration
secretary Emmerson Mnangagwa was clearly gliding to power until his plan was
scuttled by an emergency politburo meeting held on the same day as the
Tsholotsho meeting on November 18, 2004. The politburo amended Zanu PF's
constitution "unlawfully" to facilitate Mujuru's rise, he said.

            John Nkomo and Nicholas Goche, he said, sabotaged Mnangagwa's
plan by "misleading" Mugabe about the Tsholotsho principles.

            Moyo is suing Nkomo for defamation over the Tsholotsho saga.

            Moyo says the Tsholotsho Declaration had four principles,
including that the top four Zanu PF positions - president, two
vice-presidents and chairman - "should reflect Zimbabwe's regional diversity
and ethnic balance among the four major ethnic groupings, Karanga, Manyika,
Zezuru and Ndebele", among other things.

            This is why in terms of the Tsholotsho grand plan, after the
2004 congress, Zanu PF's top leadership would comprise Mugabe, Mnangagwa,
then Women's League chair Thenjiwe Lesabe and Chinamasa. Moyo said the
Tsholotsho Declaration was communicated to Mugabe through party structures.

            "There was nothing clandestine or sinister," he said.

            However, things started going wrong for Mnangagwa in September
when Mujuru's camp, outmanoeuvred in the early stages of the power struggle,
started moves to outflank the Mnangagwa faction, he said.

            Moyo said a week before the Zanu PF Women's Congress on
September 2, 2004, the Mujuru camp convened a meeting in Beatrice with
officials from the three provinces which had opposed the Tsholotsho
principles on August 23 to "throw spanners at the works".

            Mugabe and his wife Grace played a key role in supporting Mujuru's
candidacy, Moyo said. He said after the death of Vice-President Simon
Muzenda there were many succession meetings by both factions in such places
as Beatrice, Ruwa, Mazowe, Masvingo, Gweru, Kwekwe and Harare.

            Moyo's narration covers events spanning a period of four years.
The 2000 reform committee comprised Nkosana Moyo, Patrick Chinamasa, Olivia
Muchena, David Parirenyatwa, the late Moven Mahachi and Moyo but its
recommendations on structural reform were rejected.

            The succession committee had Solomon Mujuru, Sydney Sekeramayi,
Nkomo, Obert Mpofu, Didymus Mutasa, Chinamasa, Stan Mudenge, the late Josiah
Tungamirai, Manyika and Goche as its members. But it was disbanded after a
Zimbabwe Independent story about its infighting.

            The campaign for reform followed the opposition MDC's near-shock
victory in the 2000 general election and gathered pace after the disputed
presidential poll in 2002 and calls for a "Final Push" in 2003. Moyo said
the "Final Push", even though it failed, shocked Zanu PF into inter-party
talks with the MDC after the stalled dialogue facilitated by South Africa
and Nigeria.

            He said some Zanu PF MPs, who  included former Zvishavane
legislator Pearson Mbalekwa, "came within a whisker of moving a no
confidence motion against Mugabe at a Zanu PF central committee after the
2002 disputed presidential election in favour of an otherwise reluctant
Simba Makoni".

            Moyo said after the November 18, 2004 politburo meeting,
Chinamasa, who read out Mnangagwa's speech in Tsholotsho the same day, six
provincial chairmen and other top party officials gathered at the Rainbow
Hotel in Bulawayo to restrategise. He said they were angry but decided
against defying the politburo.

            A few days later Mugabe made it clear he wanted Mujuru. This,
Moyo said, was after Goche, who controlled the state intelligence service,
convinced Mugabe to believe the Tsholotsho Declaration amounted to an
attempted palace coup.

            Mugabe told  him at a meeting on February 17 last year that if
Tsholotsho had succeeded he would not have accepted the outcome.

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Mutambara meets Mbeki

Zim Independent

            THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) faction led
by Arthur Mutambara met with South African President Thabo Mbeki at his
Union Buildings offices in Pretoria last week to discuss the current
Zimbabwean crisis.

            Diplomatic sources said the MDC team - comprising Mutamabara,
deputy leader Gibson Sibanda, secretary-general Welshman Ncube and deputy
secretary-general Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, met Mbeki for more than
two hours. Mbeki has been involved in the Zimbabwe issue since 2000 although
he appeared recently to have washed his hands of it.

            "Mbeki met the MDC last Thursday and they discussed the state of
the opposition and other issues in relation to Zimbabwe's political and
economic problems in which South Africa has an interest," a senior diplomat
said yesterday.

            "The meeting was part of Mbeki's efforts to help Zimbabweans to
find a solution to their challenges."

            It was the first time the MDC group has met Mbeki since
Mutambara became its leader in February. Mbeki had last met Sibanda and
Ncube in October following the MDC split over the senate election.

            Sources said Mbeki was happy with Mutambara's attempt to
"rebrand" the MDC to shed its  alleged "Western puppet image" which
discouraged many African governments from supporting its agenda.

            "Mutambara told Mbeki his faction was Pan-Africanist,
anti-colonial, anti-imperialist and supported regional and African economic
integration as well as Nepad, and he was very pleased," a source said.

            "Mutambara also said his political allies in Africa included the
ANC, PAC, Cosatu and the South African Communist Party. He said he had
nothing to do with the Democratic Alliance (DA) and its leader Tony Leon.
Mbeki liked it."

            Mutambara told a public meeting in Harare on Tuesday evening the
ANC and its alliance partners were his faction's political allies. He said
South Africa's main opposition, the DA, was not his ally.

            Founding MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who now leads the other
faction, refused to attend last October's meeting with Mbeki. - Staff

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Land invaders target lowveld sugar estates

Zim Independent

            Augustine Mukaro

            A FRESH wave of farm takeovers hit the southeastern Lowveld this
week with Zanu PF supporters and land officers seizing five plots with a
read-to-harvest sugarcane crop.

            The farm owners, most of them South African nationals, have
since appealed to the South African embassy in Harare to intervene.

            In a letter to Willem Geerlings, first secretary at the SA
embassy, which was copied to the Commercial Farmers Union, the farmers
alleged that a Chiredzi lands officer, identified only as Mukonyora and one
Guruvheti and an A2 farmer, one Jambaya, invaded Hippo Valley Settlement,
Holding 16, giving the owner 30 days to vacate the property.

            "Today, April 11, 2006, the Chiredzi lands officer Mukonyora and
Guruvheti arrived on the farm to inform Wayne Petzer that the remainder of
the farm has been taken over and that he has 30 days to get off," reads the

            "The lands officer and the new A2 farmer Jambaya then walked
around the homestead and stated that: Petzer could cut one block of cane
(approx 5ha) and then the rest will be taken by them and Petzer will receive
compensation for the balance."

            The team demanded that the farmer should leave behind air
conditioners, a borehole pump, a swimming pool pump, a hammer mill and two
tractors which they had previously seen on the property.

            "On the property there is a main homestead, a self-contained
cottage and a large separate snooker room with kitchenette and toilet.  The
lands officer Guruvheti wants to immediately move into the snooker room.
They insist that the current people in the cottage must move out immediately
and that Petzer should have moved out by May 11, 2006," the letter says.

            The sugar-milling season starts on April 20, showing that the
farm takeovers are targeted at reaping the sugarcane crop.

            Farmers in the area said harassment of sugarcane growers have
been prevalent in Chiredzi particularly towards the harvest period, as some
unscrupulous elements wanted to benefit from the crop.

            "The land officers have a long history of plot-hopping antics,
especially Guruvheti," one farmer said.

            "We suspect that Guruvheti is still running his other plot on
Fairrange (Mapanza) where he has placed a relative."

            Other farmers facing problems in the area include those on farms
14, 12, 17, 51 and 13, who have applied for A2 status without getting a

            At farm 13, the owner, Pierre Guimbeau, who applied for A2
status on March 14, 2006 was surprised to be visited by a Mr Nyokwe, a
Masvingo province lands officer, on April 9, armed with an offer letter
dated March 28, 2006, Ref: LLRR 704 and signed by Lands minister Didymus

            "Nyokwe is transferring from Farm 53, where he averaged 10ton/ha
last season and has since abandoned this plot," one farmer said.

            "Nyokwe says he wants to negotiate the crop with Guimbeau who
has put in all the inputs into this crop."

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Press institute slams AU for slow action on Zim

Zim Independent

            Tendayi Mukandi

            THE International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of
editors and media executives, has expressed disappointment at the slow
progress made by the African Union in tackling Zimbabwe's poor human rights
            record, particularly on freedom of the press.

            In a letter to the chairman of the African Union, Denis
Sassou-Nguesso of Congo Brazzaville and United Nations Secretary-General
Kofi Annan, dated April 4, the institute  said the African Commission on
Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) had on numerous occasions urged the AU to
condemn "Zimbabwe's abysmal press freedom record" but  nothing had been

            "To this day, these attempts have foundered for reasons ranging
from improbable excuses by the Zimbabwean government, to the AU's desire to
focus on procedural matters and alleged reporting irregularities rather than
human rights abuses," the IPI said.

            In June 2002 the ACHPR sent a delegation on a fact-finding
mission to Zimbabwe that produced a "strongly worded" report calling on the
Zimbabwean government to promote a climate conducive to freedom of

            Controversial legislation undermining the freedom of expression
was criticised in the report.

            At the AU's third summit in July 2004 the press institute says
there were plans to discuss the summary of the delegates' findings as part
of the ACHPR's  annual review on Zimbabwe but the decision was later

            The decision was later rescinded after the Zimbabwean government
successfully argued that it had not had an opportunity to examine the

            According to the Zimbabwean government, the report had been sent
to the wrong ministry thus preventing an assessment of its contents.

            After the AU's 38th session  held in Banjul, The Gambia, the
ACHPR  passed a December  5 2005 resolution  calling on the government of
Zimbabwe "to respect fundamental rights and freedom of expression" and to
allow a second fact-finding mission to enter the country but the plea was
turned down.

            The IPI  pointed out  that efforts  by the ACHPR to try and
drive its point home at the AU summit in Khartoum, Sudan, in January this
year were again fruitless as the council of ministers rejected yet another
report on Zimbabwe claiming that it contained "irregularities and procedural

            The IPI said four years have now elapsed since the original
fact-finding mission came to Zimbabwe and the AU was failing in its duty to
uphold human rights.

            "While it is entirely proper for the Zimbabwean government to be
allowed time to reflect on any report containing allegations of human rights
violations, it is wholly inappropriate that the AU should allow
transparently obvious delaying tactics to derail the process of criticising
the Zimbabwean government abuses," the IPI said.

             The IPI feels the failure by the AU to take action on ACHPR's
criticism of Zimbabwe   may   be jeopardising the credibility of Nepad's
African Peer Review  Mechanism (APRM).

            "The ACHPR statement on Zimbabwe requires a review by Zimbabwe's
peers in the AU and if that is not forthcoming, the world may be led to
believe that the Nepad APRM lacks substance," it said.

            The IPI called on the AU to reassess the Zimbabwean situation
and to re-examine reports by the ACHPR  as a test on African democratic

            "IPI believes that Zimbabwe represents an important test for
African democratic institutions and  it is essential  that the AU places the
importance of human rights and freedom of the press above what appears to be
a deep-seated reluctance to criticise African leaders."

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Harare council recruits more youth militia

Zim Independent

            IN a move that clearly exposes political patronage, the
commission running the affairs of Harare has ordered the city's human
resources department to deploy 129 national youth service graduates to
various council departments.

            Council minutes dated March 13 show that the commission's
executive committee resolved that council should recruit the militia for
vacant positions in council service.

            It was resolved that "the acting human resources director
consider national youth service graduates who do not meet the recruitment
criteria for the vacant positions in the Harare municipal police division
for other vacant positions in council service".

            Sources at Town House said the militia were initially engaged by
council soon after the dismissal of MDC executive mayor Elias Mudzuri to
deal with vendors and street-kids but could not be formally employed as
municipal policemen since they failed to meet recruitment criteria.

            "The committee approves the redeployment of 129 graduates to
vacant positions of general labourer in various council departments," the
minutes said.

            Following the engagement of the militia in the municipal police,
residents have complained of the brutality of council workers. Recently
there have been reports of municipal police in the traffic unit terrorising
motorists in the city centre.

            The latest incident involved a businessman who was beaten for
changing a flat tyre in a designated parking area the city centre. - Staff

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Ministers, party officials accused of looting Kondozi equipment

Zim Independent

            Augustine Mukaro

            SOLDIERS deployed at Kondozi Estate under Operation Maguta have
accused ministers and senior Zanu PF party officials of looting equipment
from the estate.

            Colonel Ronnie Mutizhe, a senior army officer in charge of
Operation Maguta in Manicaland province, revealed to Vice-President Joice
Mujuru that the army could not fully utilise the land because equipment had
been taken by government ministers and party officials. Mujuru went to
Kondozi last Saturday during her tour of Manicaland province.

            Only 40 out of the 224 hectares of arable land on the former
flourishing horticultural concern was put under a maize crop this season.

            Sources who accompanied Mujuru on the tour said she was
surprised to observe that the once productive farm was underutilised and
demanded to know why.

            "Mutizhe had no option but to disclose that the equipment had
been snatched by Zanu PF officials, some of them ministers accompanying the
vice-president," the source said, adding that: "He proceeded to name some of
the ministers who were later cautioned by Mujuru."

            Mujuru was accompanied by ministers Didymus Mutasa, Munacho
Mutezo, Joseph Made, Christopher Mushowe, deputy minister Saviour Kasukuwere
and members of the Manicaland provincial leadership.

            Contacted for comment, Kasukuwere who could neither confirm or
deny the allegations, said he was sitting in his car when the vice-president
quizzed the army. "I didn't hear the reasons because I was sitting in the
car," Kasukuwere said.

            Efforts to contact Mutizhe at 3 Brigade where he is based were

            Sources said the Manicaland provincial leadership, which played
a pivotal role in the quasi-government Agricultural and Rural Development
Authority (Arda)'s takeover of Kondozi in 2004, took advantage of the
confusion to seize some of the equipment for themselves.

            The looting on Kondozi first came to light when Barclays Bank of
Zimbabwe failed to recover billions of dollars worth of equipment invested
at the farm in Odzi district.

            Former Manicaland governor and Energy minister Mike Nyambuya,
former provincial chairman Mike Madiro, provincial war veterans chairman
Robert Gumbo and ministers Made and Mushowe had a hand in Arda's takeover of

            "When Barclays' evaluation team visited the farm to make an
assessment and put a price on the movable equipment, most of it had gone
missing," sources said.

            When Kondozi was invaded it lost trillions' worth of equipment,
which included 48 tractors, four Scania lorries, five Nissan UD lorries,
several T35 trucks and 26 motorbikes. Hundreds of tonnes of fertilisers and
chemicals were also lost.

            Even equipped with a High Court order, Barclays failed to
repossess the farming equipment at Kondozi due to political meddling.

            Sources said independent evaluators who visited Kondozi to put a
price on the equipment revealed massive looting resulting in negotiations of
sale between Barclays and Arda breaking down.

            "The findings of the evaluators indicated that most of the
equipment had been taken to influential people's farms while the few that
could be accounted for were found at other Arda estates," sources said.
"Tractors, trucks, motorbikes as well as fertilisers and chemicals have been
recorded as missing items."

            The High Court granted Barclays an order to repossess all
movable farming equipment at Kondozi farm in May 2004 and confirmed it in
June the same year.

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War vets reject new executive

Zim Independent

            Loughty Dube

            A STORM is brewing in the war veterans association after a
meeting called to introduce a new Bulawayo provincial executive at Entumbane
on Sunday nearly degenerated into a fistfight as supporters of the old
executive claimed bogus war veterans were being imposed on the province.

            Riot police had to intervene at the meeting to stop the feuding
groups from fighting amid futile pleas for calm from the chairman of the
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association reorganising
committee, Andrew Ndlovu.

            The meeting, which was called by Ndlovu to introduce a new
committee led by Thoriso Moyo-Phiri, was also meant to discuss a proposed
Bill that will change the war veterans association from a welfare
organisation to a security body under the Ministry of Defence.

            However, all hell broke loose when Ndlovu introduced the new
executive to the war veterans as members queried their credentials and
claimed that some of them were bogus.

            The new executive was elected in February this year after a vote
of no confidence was passed in the Themba Ncube-led executive.

            Ncube was suspended from Zanu PF together with six other party
chairmen after he attended the  Tsholotsho meeting in December 2004 that
President Mugabe said was a plot to block Joice Mujuru's ascendancy to the

            National war veterans chairman Jabulani Sibanda was also ousted
from his post and since then the association has been plagued by infighting.

            Dumiso Dabengwa, one of the restructuring committee members
appointed by President Mugabe last year, said he had not been briefed on the
latest incident since he was in Harare over the weekend.

            "The incidents you are referring to occurred when I was in
Harare and at the moment I cannot comment since I have not yet been briefed.
I can only comment on the matter after I have been briefed," Dabengwa said.

            Members of the association also said they did not recognise the
new executive since there were no elections but members were handpicked.

            President Mugabe last year appointed a restructuring committee
that comprises Retired General Solomon Mujuru, Retired General Vitalis
Zvinavashe, former Zipra supremo Dumiso Dabengwa and Ndlovu.

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News agency blames govt for crisis

Zim Independent

            NEW Ziana has blamed government for pushing it to the brink of
collapse by compelling it to embark on loss-making ventures for political
reasons and failing to recapitalise it for four years.

            Appearing before the parliamentary portfolio committee on
Transport and Communications chaired by Zanu PF MP for Makonde Leo Mugabe on
Monday, New Ziana chief executive officer, Munyaradzi Matanyaire, said the
decision to increase community newspapers from four to the current 10 as
well as the intended launch of a radio station and satellite television
service had not been made by the board or management but by their

            The radio station and television satellite service are meant to
target Zimbabweans abroad.

            "There are 10 titles, not because the board or management deemed
them viable. It was a requirement given by our principal," said Matanyaire.

            "Because some of them are political imperatives we went in fully
aware that we could not make money," he said.
            Matanyaire also said he was of the opinion that a bid to secure
funding from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe would not succeed because they
would not generate any profit.

            He said when New Ziana unbundled into three business units
government failed to provide grants in 2005 and this year as envisaged.

            Matanyaire submitted a turnaround report in which the news
agency said it requires $250 billion to be sourced from the RBZ and
treasury. - Staff Writer.

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Mugabe succession crisis rocks govt, party

Zim Independent

            Dumisani Muleya

            PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's volatile succession struggle has
become more explosive than ever with the fiercest fights breaking out in
party and government structures ahead of a constitutional amendment to
manage the issue.

            Sources said infighting in the ruling Zanu PF has intensified as
ministers, government and party officials, and MPs clash over control of the
party along factional lines.

            This comes as Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa prepares to
table an 18th amendment to the constitution to postpone the scheduled
presidential election from 2008 to 2010 as part of measures to manage Mugabe's
increasingly divisive succession tussle. Zanu PF MPs are being marshalled by
party leaders to close ranks over the issue.

            Sources said the succession struggle is fast becoming a
cutthroat fight with fierce clashes erupting at various levels within the
party and government.

            "They are fighting everywhere you find them," a source said.
"Clashes are now to be found at the politburo, central committee, and other
lower levels of the party. In government, that is cabinet and parliament, as
well as in key state institutions, the fights around the succession issue
are going on."

            This week the ruling party called an emergency caucus meeting in
a bid to quell rivalry among its Lower House MPs and senators. The
legislators had been drawn into the vortex of the succession conflict.

            This follows reports of wrangling between Finance minister
Herbert Murerwa and the Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono as well as clashes
between Chinamasa and Attorney-General Sobusa Gula-Ndebele.

            The Zanu PF power struggle - which is threatening to rock the
party to its foundation - has complex scenes, plots and sub-plots
intertwined with the country's political direction and economy.

            The power struggle is being fuelled by the realisation that it
is almost a fait accompli now - although the situation remains fluid - that
Vice-President Joice Mujuru will succeed Mugabe, supported by Speaker of
Parliament John Nkomo and State Security minister Didymus Mutasa as her
deputies, sources said.

            The sources, however, said Mujuru prefers politburo member Obert
Mpofu to Nkomo as vice-president. Elements from the intelligence community,
on the other hand, want former Zapu intelligence supremo Dumiso Dabengwa in
that position.

            Simba Makoni is said to have once again vanished from the
picture, although he remains "Plan B" for both retired army commander
General Solomon Mujuru's and party luminary Emmerson Mnangagwa's factions.

            Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi is also "Plan B" for the
Mujuru camp.

            To confirm the line-up comprising Mujuru, Nkomo and Mutasa, an
amendment to the Zanu PF constitution to remove the clause - inserted on
November 18, 2004 to block Mnangagwa from outmanoeuvring Mujuru - has to be

            The provision says that one of the two second-secretaries
(vice-presidents) of Zanu PF has to be a woman. Plans are already under way
to change this.

            Sources said the succession issue also has a new dimension.
While Mujuru is now almost certainly assured of succeeding Mugabe, her
chances were being threatened by a fierce stand-off between Mugabe and the
Mujuru camp. They are at odds over the time-table of the president's

            Sources said the Mujuru camp wants Mugabe to quit now, but the
president is riled by any efforts to stampede him out of office.

            The situation is further complicated by the fact that the state
security agencies - intelligence, army, and police - are also roped in to
the battle although their loyalty now firmly lies with Mugabe and nobody

            There are also feuding camps within the Mujuru faction, further
making matters worse.

            The amendment, which is being marketed through the setting up of
the proposed Human Rights Commission, will introduce a constitutional clause
changing the current provision that says if a sitting president becomes
incapacitated or is unable to continue for whatever reason, a fresh election
will be held within 90 days.

            Sources said the new clause will say if the incumbent fails to
continue in office a designated vice-president will take over for the rest
of the term.

            This, as first reported by the Zimbabwe Independent last year,
will assist Mujuru in her bid for ascendancy. The plan is to ensure Mugabe
goes in 2008 and Mujuru takes over as an interim president, elected by a
two-thirds majority of both houses of parliament, from 2008 to 2010.

            Mujuru takes over as Zanu PF leader in 2009 and becomes
presidential candidate in 2010.

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Hwange suffers major setback

Zim Independent

            Dumisani Ndlela

            HWANGE Colliery Company's turnaround suffered a major setback
after the coal miner hit an aquifer, an underground layer of earth, gravel
or porous stone that yields water, at its prime 3 Main underground mine,
businessdigest established this week.

            Close to US$160 million is now required to salvage the situation
at the coal miner, whose planned rights issue last year to raise cash
equivalent to US$80 million for capital equipment hit a brickwall after one
of the major shareholders, British tycoon Nicholas van Hoogstraten, demanded
that the company seek funds offshore since the projects required foreign

            Hwange's managing director, Godfrey Dzinomwa, told
businessdigest at the group's analysts briefing recently that Hwange was now
engaged in talks with foreign bankers associated with some shareholders to
raise enough cash for offshore purchases of equipment and machinery.

            There has been speculation that Van Hoogstraten was spearheading
the talks between Hwange and the foreign banks.

            The production problems at the colliery have cast a pall on the
coal supply situation in the country, with sources indicating that
industrial operations as well as agricultural processes had already started
feeling the pinch from inadequate coal supplies.

            Sources indicated that production at the 3 Main mine had been
halted, and the company was now pinning its hopes of a new opencast mine
called Chaba, hurriedly opened over a month ago to curtail a crisis.

            Sources indicated that the situation at the colliery company was
dire, with a complete replacement of antiquated equipment required.

            The 3 Main mine had been built using old equipment from the
closed M Block Mine. Chaba, for which the government had given Hwange the
directive to seek foreign partners to raise foreign cash for capital
equipment, had also been opened using old, disused equipment from the closed
mine after failing to attract reputable foreign investors.

            Chaba requires close to US$40 million for the purchase of
minimum equipment to start meaningful operations.
            As it were, sources indicated, the old equipment did not
guarantee efficient mining operations.

            Sources said as a result of the closure of the 3 Main Mines,
Hwange had moved mining operations over 20 kilometres away from the
processing plant. Mining had been taking place within five kilometres of the
processing plants.

            The situation had been compounded by the fact that only five
haulage trucks were operational. Fifteen others had been grounded because of
lack of imported spare parts.

            In a notice to stakeholders in February, Hwange marketing
manager Clifford Nkomo said the company had "experienced unforeseen
breakdowns in its haulage equipment, which were aggravated by the heavy
rains, during the month of January 2006".

            He said orders for the acquisition of new equipment had been
made "which should be received during the second quarter of the current

            He said Hwange would open Chaba, an "opencast mining area whose
reserves are shallower than current workings, and can be accessed faster and
at a more favourable cost".

            "Given the above measures, we would like to assure our valued
customers that coal production is not only expected to normalise shortly,
but to increase to levels which exceed national demand in the medium term,"
Nkomo said.

            But industry sources said major industrial firms had already
started importing coal from Botswana and South Africa, but indicated the
Winter Wheat crop was likely to suffer because of inadequate coal supplies
to Zesa.

            The 3 Main mine had been built using old equipment from the
closed M Block Mine. Chaba, for which the government had given Hwange the
directive to seek foreign partners to raise foreign cash for capital
equipment, had also been opened using

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Cash-strapped Zesa to fork out $2 trillion

Zim Independent

            Dumisani Ndlela

            CASH-STRAPPED power utility Zesa will have to fork out $2
trillion to pay back investors for Megawatt bills it issued to the market
over a fortnight ago.

            The 180-day tenor bills, issued on March 29 to raise $500
billion to finance power imports and coal purchases, were slightly

            The interest charge on the bills amounts to $1,5 trillion over
the 180-day period.

            Market sources said investors had subscribed for the Megawatt
bills on the basis of an irrevocable government guarantee after strong fears
that Zesa could default.

            Zesa said the bills were secured by "a sinking fund managed by
Genesis Investment Bank into which ring-fenced revenue streams will be
deposited by the issuer".

            Market analysts said the power utility was unlikely to mobilise
enough revenue from tariffs to pay investors on maturity, raising the
possibility of Zesa coming back on to the market to raise further cash for
payment of maturities.

            "They are slowly sinking into a dept trap," a bank economist
told businessdigest. "Technically, they'll default. The burden will fall on
government to pay for the bills on maturity."

            Zesa recently took flak from Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor
Gideon Gono over plans to increase tariffs.

            Gono, in a letter to President Robert Mugabe and cabinet, said
an analysis of Zesa's domestic debt revealed "glaring imprudent commitments
through short-term Zesa bonds and Megawatt bills, which were largely
financing consumptive outlays".

            Gono alleged that Zesa had adopted a "costly super-structure"
swallowing 65% of its total revenue through salaries and wages at the
holding company.

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Tsholotsho saga: the untold story

Zim Independent

            By Jonathan Moyo

            AS President Robert Mugabe's days in office become numbered with
less than 23 uncertain months before the expiry of his current disputed
tenure that will end his controversial rule since 1980, the ruling Zanu PF
is finding itself in a triple trap that is turning its long delayed and now
acrimonious search for Mugabe's successor into an ill-fated affair.

            This is due to the unresolved consequences of the increasingly
topical yet hitherto undefined Tsholotsho Declaration of November 18, 2004
whose ghost is now haunting Zanu PF succession politics.

            Because I am one of those who were intimately involved in the
Tsholotsho Declaration, and because some Zanu PF politicians and sections of
the media have claimed that I am the architect of that declaration which
they say was a coup plot when it wasn't, I believe that it is now in the
national interest for me to make a full disclosure of what I know about the
content of this declaration and its wider national implications without fear
or favour.

            But first let me explain what I mean by Zanu PF's triple trap.
It has three components which are: the virtual collapse of the economy with
the present 913,6% inflation galloping towards 1 000% beyond any remedy by
the Zanu PF government which is now in a policy paralysis; the growing
international isolation of Zimbabwe, which is now a pariah state that can no
longer be redressed without a comprehensive programme of political and
economic reform in constitutional and structural terms; and, the Tsholotsho
Declaration whose burning fires threaten to leave Zanu PF in political ashes
unable to turn around the economy and to restore Zimbabwe's international

            While the first two components of this triple trap have received
wide media coverage in terms of their content and consequence, there has
been between little and nothing said to define the actual sum and substance
of the Tsholotsho Declaration.  Yet this declaration continues to influence
Zimbabwe's political landscape.

            But President Mugabe and his Zanu PF cronies have to this day
continued to assert and peddle outright falsehoods about the Tsholotsho
Declaration, glibly claiming that it was a coup plot.  What then is the
Tsholotsho Declaration and why is it stubbornly refusing to fall away from
the centre of politics in Zimbabwe to become forgotten history?

            The Tsholotsho Declaration is made up of the following four key
principles that define its political thrust: that the top four leadership
positions in the ruling Zanu PF - president and first secretary, two
vice-presidents and second secretaries and national chairman - which make up
the party's presidency, should reflect Zimbabwe's regional diversity and
ethnic balance between and among the country's four major ethnic groupings,
namely Karanga, Manyika, Zezuru and Ndebele in order to promote and maintain
representative national cohesion, development,  peace and stability while
fostering a broad-based sense of national belonging and identity; that the
top position of president and first secretary of the party should not be
monopolised by one sub-tribe (or clan) but should reasonably rotate among
the four major ethnic groupings; that the filling of these top four
positions should not be by imposition by the party hierarchy but through
democratic elections done by secret balloting; and, that the filling of the
top four leadership positions and the democratic elections should be defined
and be guided by and done in accordance with the constitution of the party
to promote the rule of law within the party as a foundation for maintaining
the rule of law in the country.

            While this declaration was debated and adopted through the party's
provincial structures and affirmed in Bulawayo following the much talked
about Dinyane speech and prize-giving day in Tsholotsho on November 18,
2004, it is not to be found in any written document as such, even though
Nicholas Goche, former Minister of State for National Security and Zanu PF's
secretary for security, maliciously tried in vain to conjure up some false
paperwork not worth the ink on it dramatised by his widely publicised
embarrassing lie that Patrick Chinamasa and me travelled to Tsholotsho on a
private plane belonging to John Bredenkemp.

            The reason there is no written document is because the
declaration was a culmination of a protracted internal Zanu PF process of
debate, discussion and consultation that started soon after the June 2000
parliamentary elections in which the opposition shocked the ruling party
into serious self-doubt by getting 57 out of 120 seats.

            Up to now the Tsholotsho principles are still shared by all
sensible Zanu PF officials and members outside the ethnic coterie which has
ruled Zimbabwe since 1980 without break. Most level-headed Zimbabweans
would agree that it is unhealthy to institutionalise tribal and village
politics as the current Zanu PF clique in power has done.

            The results of such kind of an anachronistic political culture
and practice are there for all to see.

            One notable Zanu PF response to the opposition feat after the
2000 election was Mugabe's appointment to the cabinet of a significant
number of individuals that did not at the time hold any senior positions in
the ruling party and some who were not even members of Zanu PF.  Examples
include Nkosana Moyo, Samuel Mumbengegwi, July Moyo, Francis Nhema, Joseph
Made, Patrick Chinamasa, Simba Makoni and myself.

            Another equally notable response was the establishment of a
reform subcommittee by the Zanu PF central committee to look into the
reasons why the ruling party had fared badly in the 2000 election and to
make recommendations for the modernisation and democratic reform of the
party to bring it up to speed with what was then seen as the changed and
changing interests of Zimbabweans.  That subcommittee was noteworthy because
its composition was made up of people who were not senior in Zanu PF and
some who were not even members of Zanu PF at the time.  These included
Nkosana Moyo, Patrick Chinamasa, Olivia Muchena, David Parirenyatwa, Moven
Mahachi and myself.

            This subcommittee came up with radical recommendations for
reforming Zanu PF by transforming it from a party of the past based on
patronage and arbitrary rule by the old guard led by President Mugabe,
dominated by one ethnic grouping, to a modern party based on democracy,
merit and the rule of law.  Unfortunately, these recommendations never saw
the light of day as they were steadily subverted by the dominant old guard
and eventually abandoned as the subcommittee died a natural death after the
December 2000 Zanu PF special congress.

            But some members of the subcommittee, especially those who were
co-opted into the Zanu PF politburo at the December 2000 special congress,
kept alive some of its recommendations and pursued them through their party
portfolios.  This started the protracted process of debate, discussion and
consultation that eventually came to be known as the Tsholotsho Declaration.

            As part of this process, there were vigorous attempts
spearheaded by some politicians linked to Solomon Mujuru's camp that reached
boiling point at the December 2001 Zanu PF national people's congress in
Victoria Falls to pressure President Mugabe to step down and retire ahead of
the 2002 presidential election.

            The same politicians tried but failed to get Joice Mujuru
elevated to the position of national commissar after the death of Border
Gezi, leaving Elliot Manyika to scrape through with support from outside
Mashonaland provinces.

            Again, as part of the same debate, discussion and consultation
process, some Zanu PF backbenchers in parliament who had chosen Webster
Shamu to lead them and who included Pearson Mbalekwa and Saviour Kasukuwere
came within a whisker of moving a no confidence motion against Mugabe at a
Zanu PF central committee after the 2002 presidential election in favour of
the otherwise reluctant Simba Makoni.

            This process of seeking to internally reform Zanu PF widened and
deepened in the wake of two unrelated events that presented a common reform
opportunity in 2003: One was the failure of the MDC's "Final Push" campaign
in July and the other was the death of Vice-President Simon Muzenda in

            Even though it failed in the end, the MDC's 2003 "Final Push"
campaign sent shockwaves within Zanu PF by demonstrating the readiness and
willingness of huge numbers of Zimbabweans to take to the streets or stay at
home and bring public life to a crushing standstill to get Zanu PF out of

            Some reformists within Zanu PF, some linked to the 2000 reform
subcommittee that had become defunct, took maximum advantage of the
shockwaves of the failed MDC "Final Push" campaign to open dialogue with the
MDC on constitutional reforms against the backdrop of the failed South
Africa/Nigeria brokered Zanu PF/MDC inter-party talks in 2002.

            The reasoning at the time was that because Zanu PF did not then
have a two thirds majority in parliament and because the old guard believed
then that there was no likelihood of Zanu PF winning a two thirds majority
in any future parliamentary election, it was opportune and strategic for
Zanu PF reformists to engage the MDC and to agree on constitutional reform
by taking advantage of the fact that the MDC had been weakened by its failed
"Final Push" campaign and was therefore ready to compromise while the
dominant Zanu PF old guard had been scared to death by the near success of
the "Final Push" campaign.

            This is the understanding that inspired the constitutional
negotiations between Chinamasa and Welshman Ncube leading to their agreement
on a draft new constitution that remains an important talking point to this

            In the aftermath of the death of Vice-President Muzenda, the
reformists within Zanu PF and others merely vying for political power for
its own sake became particularly active within the context of the debate,
discussion and consultation that started after the 2000 parliamentary
election because there was now a key vacancy in the top hierarchy of the

            It was clear that whoever filled the vacancy would be the
successor to President Mugabe. Between October and November 2003 a lot of
meetings were held at places such as Beatrice, Ruwa, Mazowe, Masvingo,
Gweru, Kwekwe and Harare to find a candidate to fill the vacancy.

            The momentum then was with those who favoured Emmerson Mnangagwa
and the crescendo of his support reached fever pitch in December 2003 at the
Zanu PF annual people's conference in Masvingo.

            But the fact that the Zanu PF annual people's conference in
December 2003 was not asked to fill the vacancy meant that Mnangagwa was
denied a sure win opportunity and other interested parties, especially those
linked to Solomon Mujuru's camp, were relieved by this as they got an
opportunity to regroup and live to fight another day ahead of the 2004 Zanu
PF congress which was certain to fill the vacancy.

            In early 2004 a clandestine meeting was held in Ruwa by some key
politicians linked to Mujuru's faction to discuss Mugabe's succession,
identify his successor and design a strategy for that agenda.  That meeting,
aware of the growing sentiment within the party against the monopolisation
of the position of president and first secretary by one ethnic grouping and
the need for ethnic balancing, identified Simba Makoni as the preferred
successor to Mugabe.

            A succession committee to move things forward was proposed with
two representatives from each of the party's 10 provinces except from
Mashonaland West, Midlands and Bulawayo which were excluded.

            Solomon Mujuru and Sydney Sekeramayi were proposed as
representatives for Mashonaland East; John Nkomo and Obert Mpofu for
Matabeleland North; Didymus Mutasa and Patrick Chinamasa for Manicaland;
Stan Mudenge and the late Josiah Tungamirai for Masvingo; Elliot Manyika and
Nicholas Goche for Mashonaland Central while Harare was left pending.

            Some of the members of this succession committee got recklessly
busy and engaged in a number of consultations and this triggered all sorts
of reactions, some positive and others very negative, which soon overwhelmed
the committee into inaction after some crippling questions were raised about
its authenticity and mandate.

            The fact that the committee fell outside party structures, that
it operated clandestinely and that its composition was incomplete,
unrepresentative and thus suspect did not help matters.

            By the time of the Zanu PF Youth Congress on July 1 2004, the
four key principles of the Tsholotsho Declaration as defined earlier had
been widely debated and were now broadly shared within Zanu PF although some
elements among the old guard remained unhappy with those principles as
events later showed.

            What is particularly significant is the fact that the principles
of the Tsholotsho Declaration and their procedural implications were the
subject of three joint meetings of Zanu PF provincial chairmen and
provincial governors under the chairmanship of Manyika, the party's national

            This is very significant in so far as it proves that there was
nothing clandestine or untoward about the application of the principles of
the Tsholotsho Declaration on November 18 2004 because it was the
culmination of properly constituted party structures with the knowledge of
the top leadership, including Mugabe.

            * To be continued next week.

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Candid Comment with Joram Nyathi

Zim Independent

            It's an insult - and intellectually dishonest

            THIS is what Nathaniel Manheru said in the Herald recently in
defence of dictatorships and summation of the African psyche: "Going by what
is happening in Ethiopia and Kenya," he wrote, "it is clear Africans forgive
their tormentors, sooner rather than later, forgive and even yearn for the
return of the deposed strongman, than imagining or inventing totally new
ones, unrelated to excesses that have endured before. Africa seems incapable
of imagining futures outside of what it has endured."

            That was his angry reaction to President Olusegun Obasanjo's
decision to accede to the request by newly-elected Liberian leader Ellen
Johnson-Sirleaf to hand over former strongman Charles Taylor to answer
charges of "crimes against humanity". He said Obasanjo should have followed
Zimbabwe's example on Mengistu Haile Mariam or Saudi Arabia's hosting of
what should rank as the scum of the African conscience, Idi Amin.

            I wasn't sure whether he was angry on behalf of the humanity in
Liberia and Sierra Leone who had their limbs amputated as part of Taylor's
regional campaign of terror, the humanity in Uganda who were disembowelled
by Amin and had their bodies fed to crocodiles or on behalf of the dictators
themselves that he claims their victims "yearn" for their return.

            It was convenient to leave this a moot point because Ethiopians,
Liberians and Ugandans wanted these dangerous recidivists tried and punished
for their crimes. Zimbabwe has refused to surrender the butcher of Addis
Ababa to the Ethiopian authorities. Whatever the reasons for this posture,
they have contributed to the way we are perceived by the rest of the world -
an outpost of tyranny.

            On Manheru's claim that Africans love their "tormentors" and are
"incapable of imagining futures" outside of what they have "endured", one
question should suffice if he can answer it: what motivated nearly 50 000
Zimbabwean men and women to sacrifice their lives for Zimbabwe if not that
they were "imagining" a future as a free and independent people? Can
anything be more patronising and insulting of one's own race?

            This week he outdid himself. He was angry on behalf of unnamed
patriots over a cartoon done by Tony Namate for the Zimbabwe Independent,
captioned "26 years of bird flu". Namate's name, he opined, "is used to
indigenise what at the core is a Rhodesian thought and view of African
independence. I know and can recognise self-deprecation when it's presented.
We do not have it in this case."

            An African mind is evidently incapable of such abstract thought,
I assume. It must be the Rhodesians. Africans are incapable of imagining a
better future beyond a construct given them by their oppressor. That
illogical logic then takes us back to a yearning for Ian Smith's return to
sustain Manheru's thesis!

            He gave the cartoon an outlandish interpretation, claiming
Namate's depiction of the cockerel questioned the "fact of Independence, not
the credentials of those managing it". It is like blaming food shortages not
on incompetent farmers but on agriculture as a science. Even as a metaphor,
how can one possibly criticise "government" outside those who frame its
policies and the agencies that should implement them?

            Manheru's deceit is further exposed when it is noted that the
cockerel is not a national symbol but a party one.

            Our Independence came with "Zimbabwe" in 1980 and the symbolic
expression of that sovereignty is our national flag. Why then the attempt by
Manheru to excite and incite hatred against the Independent by conjuring up
false national symbols? Do Herald readers come that cheap? Why does he
interpret our current problems as a given and not the result of conscious
political and economic decisions that went wrong?

            The answer is to be found in his strange logic: Africans are
perpetual victims of a vile colonial past and should not accept the
consequences of their actions. It is a denial syndrome typically suffered by
state ideologues.

            I was also alarmed by Manheru's attempt to assume the moral high
ground about who can comment on who should be a national hero. That is one
subject I believe everybody should be free to debate without Manheru setting
arbitrary parameters. We should all be equally free to criticise the
decisions of those who, because of their seminal role in the liberation war,
think they are infallible.

            Who is Manheru to pronounce the hero's curse over the bodies of
James Chikerema and Ndabaningi Sithole about their war credentials when the
rest of us are not allowed to comment? And isn't Morgan Tsvangirai speaking
to the future that Manheru claims we can't even imagine?

            The 1970s liberation struggle and the current fight for
democracy amply demonstrate that Africans can in fact imagine a future
better than the past and the present. And Manheru should know that giving
sanctuary to former dictators cannot be counted among the virtues of

            However, there is another view of Manheru's assertion which
yields a brilliant shaft of light that could illuminate the arcane gloaming
of our political institution. His claim that attacking government

            amounts to a desecration of the "fact of Independence" beyond
criticism of those who have mismanaged it makes a hostage of those in power.
It is not their incompetence nor their stars that are at fault.

            The problem is providential. It is the piece of land between the
Zambezi and the Limpopo that is not amenable to proper governance. That
should explain why nobody can fire anyone in government. Similarly, nobody
has a conscience to resign for bungling. It is all a matter of

            It is very convenient and makes perfect sense!

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Economic meltdown stirs panicky response

Zim Independent

            Dumisani Muleya

            THE recent declaration of a virtual state of emergency in the
economy through the setting up of the shadowy Cuban-style Zimbabwe National
Security Council (ZNSC) to run the economy on a crisis management basis has
all but confirmed the policy paralysis gripping government.

            The move - which reflects serious panic in the corridors of
power - also shows government's implicit awareness of the potentially
damaging political consequences of the current economic meltdown.

            The ZNSC, chaired by President Robert Mugabe, will run the
economy on an emergency basis - as in Cuba where "anguish committees" manage
the economy.

            The Cuban economy is run by a Council of State assisted by such
committees, although the government has devolved some authority to
ministries and enterprises in recent years. The state has a major role in
the economy and private enterprise is limited although the situation is
gradually changing.

            Under the slogan "Socialism or Death", the Cuban regime
continues to proclaim Cuba a socialist state with an economy organised under
Marxist-Leninist principles. Most means of production are owned and run by
the government. About 75% of the labour force is employed directly by the

            Mugabe tried to do this and failed and now wants to try again,
although this time it is crisis management rather than socialist principles
that are driving the process. The major sectors of the Cuban economy are
tourism, nickel mining, and agriculture, especially sugar and tobacco.
Sugar, long the mainstay of the Cuban economy, was surpassed by tourism in
the late 1990s as the main source of foreign exchange.

            The Cuban economy suffered a 35% decline in gross domestic
product between 1989 and 1993 because of the loss of Soviet subsidies. In
October 1990, Cuban leader Fidel Castro announced that his country had
entered a "special period in time of peace" and that the economy would
function as if in time of war until the crisis had been resolved.

            This appears to be the mentality within the Zimbabwean
government. The ZNSC will apparently run the economy like Cuba's Council of
State until the current crisis disappears, something which is unlikely if no
fundamental political and economic reforms are undertaken. Cuba learnt this
the hard way.

            In the local scenario the state security establishment will
effectively run the economy as it cross-cuts the emergency sub-committees
which have been set up to perform a rescue operation.

            This confirms the view that the Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) and the Joint Operations Command (JOC), comprising the
intelligence service, army, police, prisons and registrar-general's office,
now virtually  run the country and are involved in a gamut of issues from
security to the economy.

            Observers say the state security establishment has no credible
economic  knowledge, capacity or the means to pull Zimbabwe out of the
current morass. They say the prevailing situation requires a political
solution and economic measures supported by the international community.

            The ZNSC initiative only validates the view of a growing police
state in Zimbabwe run by the state security apparatus. JOC's role has become
more pronounced in recent years largely due to the failure of civilian
public officials. This confirms the institutional and policy failures of
Mugabe's government.

            Involvement of the JOC in economic matters will almost certainly
ensure that the command economy becomes more deep-rooted again as shown by
the return of price controls last week.

            Government bureaucracy is already heavily militarised. Serving
or retired army officers are to be found in government departments,
parastatals, electoral institutions and quasi-government organisations
performing the roles of civilians.

            Military rule takes various forms which include army control
where the generals direct events from barracks, arbitration in which the
army comes in as conflict managers between political parties or the
government and opposition parties, and army veto where the military vetoes
some civilian decisions.

            There are also crypto-military democracies in which it is
difficult to tell where army interventions begin and end and civilian rule
starts and ends.

            Anecdotal evidence shows the military - through its retired and
serving officers - might be pulling the strings in civilian government
issues, but there is still no decisive proof that army authority has taken
root and is now the basis of governance in Zimbabwe.

            Although there is no discernible military rule in Zimbabwe,
beyond the manifestations of indirect interference by JOC, what involvement
there is shows the executive's erosion of confidence in public officials and
encroachment of the armed forces - apparently by invitation - in civilian

            While this might serve the self-preservation needs of the ruling
elite at the moment, it creates problems for future governments which may
have to struggle to uproot an entrenched military culture in civilian

            The ZNSC, chaired by Mugabe, instructed chief secretary to the
president and cabinet, Misheck Sibanda, at a meeting on March 17 "to
establish sub-committees that will provide technical inputs covering various
structural and sectoral issues".

            Sibanda is also chairman of the newly set up Technical Committee
of Experts which will coordinate activities of the ZNSC, a key part of the
recently established National Economic Development Priority Plan.

            The Sibanda team duly formed its taskforces under the National
Economic Recovery Committee at a meeting held on March 20.

            There have been numerous economic recovery plans since 1991, all
of which have failed.

            Recent studies have shown Zimbabwe has the fastest-shrinking
economy in the world - outside of a war zone. The economy has shrunk by 10%
in 2003, 4% in 2004 and 7% in 2005. Negative growth is also expected this

            It also has the highest inflation in the world at 913,6%,
followed by Iraq at 40%. It is feared inflation will soon hit the 1 000%

            Countries reeling from bouts of civil war such as Sudan, Somalia
and Ivory Coast and poverty-ridden ones like East Timor, Afghanistan and
Guinea-Bissau have lower rates of inflation than Zimbabwe, which is not
classified a poor country by the United Nations even with its current

            Zimbabwe is endowed with human capital and natural resources.
This is why the prevailing situation is such an indictment of the current
system, whose regime has distinguished itself for being corrupt and
incompetent. No amount of revolutionary demagoguery can mask this reality.

            Mugabe's rule has become costly and unsustainable. His continued
hold on power is proving to be an active agent of economic decline, poverty
and socio-political instability. The collateral damage of Mugabe's reign on
regional economies is also ominous.

            Zimbabwe's rampant inflation is soon expected to break the 1
000% mark as government continues to print money on a massive scale to keep
itself in power. After reaching the four-digit inflation level, Zimbabwe
will plunge into a spiral of hyperinflation. No incumbent regime in recent
modern history has ever been able to survive such conditions.

            Mugabe has come out in defence of printing money, a move which
all but confirmed the policy bankruptcy of his government. For a president
who is supposed to be an enlightened economist - with a chain of seven
university degrees - it shows how the leadership is out of its depth.

            A study titled Macroeconomics in the Global Economy by Jeffrey
Sachs and Felipe Larrain B, notes the main causes of inflation are
revolutions, wars, civil strife and exogenous factors, which all inevitably
lead to the printing of money. Printing money increases money supply growth
and hence inflation.

            For the US, before the 20th century, the main cause of
inflation - which peaked at an annual rate of 5 570% and 40% monthly in
1864 - was printing money to finance the civil war. At one time over 80% of
the total US government financing was from paper money. The same situation
gripped Europe after wars.

            During the 1980s, hyperinflationary conditions developed in many
Latin American countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru and
Nicaragua, and in the former Yugoslavia. The situation in Zimbabwe is
different from these countries but the conditions for hyperinflation already
exist. The economic indicators, unemployment, interest rates, exchange rate
and business performance, are grim.

            Corruption has also reached alarming levels. Government and the
ruling Zanu PF officials are falling on each other to strip the economy of
its assets and loot whatever remains. The officials have descended on the
cadaverous economy like vultures. They have taken farms, safari companies,
they are looting minerals and now they want to grab mines.

            They are also abusing public assets for private gain. This has
been openly acknowledged by government itself but nothing is being done to
save the economy. Rent-seeking behaviour in the public and private sectors
is also rampant. These issues are accelerating economic collapse.

            The ZNSC will not be able to reverse the economic decline under
the current circumstances, not in a "thousand years" as the Reserve Bank
governor Gideon Gono recently observed in an eerie echo of former Rhodesian
rebel leader Ian Smith's famous comment on the prospects of majority rule.

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Who eats the billions for the sick?

Zim Independent

            By RES Cook

            I HAVE just seen an advertisement for an executive director for
an NGO, the Southern African Network of Aids Service Organisations.

            The salary offered for this post, to be based in Harare, is US$6
000 per annum.

            At the interbank rate that converts to about $600 000 000 and to
about $1 380 000 000 at the parallel market rate.

            In an unrelated news item I have just read that "the Consumer
Council of Zimbabwe says that an average family of five requires at least
$35 000 000 every month but an average middle class citizen earns just $15
000 000".

            An average "middle class citizen" earns $15 million per month
and an executive director of an NGO based in Zimbabwe will earn in reality
well in excess of $1 billion per month!

            And I foolishly thought that NGOs were there to selflessly serve
the poor, the sick, and the needy.
            No wonder NGOs so desperately defend themselves when threatened
by the Zimbabwe government - there is so much at stake!

            Most of it presumably the salaries and perks of staff who are
more closely connected in lifestyle to Zimbabwe's ruling elite of
kleptocrats than to the suffering masses they purport to serve.

            "The poor, the sick and the needy" are certainly a multi-billion
dollar industry.

            It's just unfortunate that "the poor, the sick, and the needy"
don't see much of the billions - in Zimbabwe or indeed anywhere else.

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Sun continues to rise from the East but brings no manna

Zim Independent


'WE have turned East, where the sun rises, and given our back to the West,
where the sun sets," President Mugabe told Zimbabweans on Independence Day
at the National Sports Stadium last year.

He added: "The hostility we have faced from Western countries in response to
our land reform programme has taught us to diversify our source and export
markets.  We have turned East, we have turned to our region and other
sub-regions on our continent.  With this support, we have started building
mutually beneficial partnerships that will help us build a strong national
economy, our ultimate goal."

To buttress his point, President Mugabe visited China in July last year
where his handlers said new agreements had been secured, including a US$6
million deal to import maize, financing of the expansion of Hwange thermal
power station and a loan to the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority.

As part of the tie-up China sold Zimbabwe planes and buses and transformers
to Zesa. Zimbabwe was also granted the "approved tourism destination status"
to open the country to Chinese tourists. As part of the plan, Air Zimbabwe
started to fly to Singapore and Beijing in the hope that our planes would
bring back loads of Chinese tourists.

The Chinese dream is collapsing as exemplified this week by admissions by
the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority that all was not well on the Chinese front.
Arrivals had declined 70%, the sharpest decline of any source market.

That is not all. It has been reported that the planes flying to the Far East
have been making huge losses of up to US$980 000 every month. That is the
cost of looking east.

There is no visible Chinese investment in electricity generation and the
country has a huge power deficit.

We warned that the euphoria about "looking east" would not benefit the
country as long as Zimbabwe did not have foreign currency and was instead
reducing itself to a dumping ground for substandard Chinese goods.

The government had experienced a similar delirium in 2001 when it tried to
forge ties with Malaysia. We are still waiting for electronic firms and
agro-processing plants which we were told would be set up under numerous
trade deals. The much-heralded YTL deal with Hwange power station in 1997
was stillborn.

The reality of trade with the Far Eastern countries, which we pointed out
early on, was that nothing would come Zimbabwe's way on the house. The
Chinese, like any economic power, demand international commercial rates for
whatever services they render to Zimbabwe. This entails the country
generating forex, which it is not doing, hence there have been no real
benefits from looking east.

This explains why another Look East venture - a US$200 million deal with the
Iranian government to refurbish the Kariba hydro power station - has not
taken off. Zimbabwe cannot raise the US$30 million deposit agreed in the

Despite the bold Look East statements, Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono
last year burnt the midnight oil printing cash he used to buy foreign
currency to repay IMF debts. Of late President Mugabe has been making
overtures to the West through talk of "building bridges" with Britain.

The West has set conditions for any future engagement which are premised
mainly on Zimbabwe observing democratic norms and principles -  a big task
from the current regime which has never admitted any wrong-doing in
abridging citizens' fundamental rights.

The decision to look east was based on the thinking that the Asian Tigers
supported Zimbabwe's disastrous land reform and human rights policies and
hence aid would flow in without issues of democracy being raised. Zimbabwe
can be assured of moral support from China on these "internal affairs". That
is about all there has been so far.

But despite extended periods of looking at the rising sun, President Mugabe's
government has not been blinded to the benefits of forging ties with the
West. It has put out a US$277 million appeal for humanitarian assistance and
we can be sure China's contribution to that basket will not constitute the
largest package.

It is the usual arch-enemies - the USA, the UK and other Western countries -
that will show up when real friends are needed.

Mugabe could soon learn that those who burn bridges usually find it
difficult to rebuild them.

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Achieving tourism turnaround

Zim Independent

By Eric Bloch

THROUGHOUT last year, Environment and Tourism minister Francis Nhema,
officials from his ministry and many others in government as well as the
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) waxed eloquently and enthusiastically about
the tremendous recovery of the Zimbabwean tourism industry, as evidenced by
considerably greater numbers availing themselves of the magnificent
facilities provided by the industry.

So often did they reiterate their contention that Zimbabwean tourism was
enjoying a positive turnaround that they soon convinced themselves that that
was fact.

In contradistinction, those on the ground, being the tourism operators, know
full well that the reverse was the case and, far from an upturn in
patronage, the decline that begun to set in almost six years ago was

They were sadly aware that they were selling fewer bed nights, and markedly
lesser tickets for the diverse activities and flights, and very much else.

And, just as chickens come home to roost, so too the truth will eventually
become known. Recently the authorities had no alternative but to acknowledge
the realities, for upon release of the 2005 statistics it became evident
that the industry had sustained an overall decline of 49% (and that after
very considerable contractions already experienced over the previous five

In part the 2005 shrinkage in tourism was due to fewer tourist arrivals in
Zimbabwe, in part because many of those who did come stayed for shorter
periods than the average length of stay in prior years, and in part because
fewer and fewer Zimbabweans could afford the luxury of patronising tourism.
The rampant hyperinflation that has characterised the Zimbabwean economy has
very considerably eroded spending power for most.

More and more are having to budget far more intensively than in the past,
and must restrict their spending to absolute essentials. As important as
holidays are, to maintain and enhance health and as a diversion from the
rigours of daily life, nevertheless they cannot credibly be justified as
essentials, and hence they are among the first of budgetary deletions for
those who find it increasingly difficult to make ends meet.

Insofar as the decrease in regional and international arrivals is concerned,
the authorities would have all believe that that decrease is almost wholly
due to Zimbabwe's negative image, and that that negative image is unfounded,
and occasioned only by the malicious dissemination of falsehoods by Zimbabwe's

The authorities are correct that a major factor in the continuing reduction
in tourist arrivals is attributable to Zimbabwe's extremely abysmal image
abroad, but that image has been created by Zimbabwean circumstances,
exacerbated by government's absolute inability to recognise and acknowledge
unpalatable facts, or to do anything constructive to address those facts,
and not by enemies beyond Zimbabwe's borders.

The perception of many international tourists is that Zimbabwe is a haven
for the lawless, and therefore unsafe. They read of white farmers being
brutally murdered, as occurred only two months ago, but very rarely read of
the murderers being apprehended, tried and convicted.

In contradistinction, they also read many instances of persons being
arrested on blatantly spurious grounds, and incarcerated for prolonged
periods of time before, occasionally, being brought to trial. And they hear
of frequent instances upon which the so-called guardians of law resort to
brute force, disregarding the fundamental principles of justice and human
When they do hear such allegations, they accept them as fact, on the one
hand because of the extent of the abuses of power during Operation
Murambatsvina, and on the other hand because the frequency of the
allegations is seen as giving them credibility. They are also aware of the
magnitude of crimes against people, ranging from an extensive number of
carjackings to numerous cases of armed robberies, and an extensive number of

Such an image is seen to be, very substantially, factually correct,
particularly because reports of such criminality are not very rare, but
extremely frequent.

The second key perception is that Zimbabwe's economy is so distraught that
it is unable to cater for the normal and usual needs of the tourist.The
visitors who contemplate travel to Zimbabwe are concerned that, having flown
in to Harare Airport or Bulawayo's Joshua Nkomo International Airport, there
would   thereafter be no flight to take them to Victoria Falls, due to a
lack of aviation fuel, or an absence of essential aircraft spares.   And
they are concerned as to whether, if they do reach their destination, there
will be the flights to enable them to access their scheduled departure from

In like manner, they are concerned whether, while in Zimbabwe, fuel will be
available for game-viewing drives and river cruises, whether the
air-conditioning systems of the hotels will be operative, or out of
commission due to lack of spares, and how often will they be inconvenienced
by power-supply breakdowns. They also fear a lack of access to normal
tourist perquisites, such as camera film.

The negative perceptions are reinforced by concerns that Zimbabwe has become
an extremely expensive destination. In part that is a psychologically driven
perception by the wide-ranging usage of three rates of charges by hotels,
safari operators and activity providers, applied according to whether the
tourist is a Zimbabwean resident, a resident of a neighbouring territory, or
resident further afield.

In part the periodical high cost of Zimbabwean tourism is due to the country's
very pronounced inflation, which is partially driven by the rates of
exchange in the "alternative" parallel and black markets (such as fuel
costing about $200 000 per litre, as distinct from the official price of $22
000 per litre,) while the tourist must exchange his currency in official
markets, at rates approximately half of those in the alternative markets.

The costs for the tourist to Zimbabwe are very considerably increased by the
massive charges raised by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife
Management, who now levy gargantuan charges for each and every entry into
the Victoria Falls Rain Forest, and into any national park.

In some instance it is a case of multiple charges, such as upon entry into
Matopos National Park, and then prior to ascending World's View. Not only
are there immense charges upon entry to national parks, but often also an
array of other charges, such as fees for launching boats on Lake Kariba.

For those tourists who are motorists, there are other duplications of
charges, such as the levying of carbon tax upon entering Zimbabwe, and then
$1 000 built into every litre of fuel purchased.

It is not unsurprising, therefore, that so many decide that their tourism
patronage should be targeted at Zambia, Botswana, South Africa, Kenya and
elsewhere, rather than Zimbabwe  (to such an extent that Zambia now
proclaims itself on CNN as "the home of the Victoria Falls").

Zimbabwe has a wealth of tourism attractions, including the spectacular
magnificence of Victoria Falls, the grandeur of the Matopos, its outstanding
wildlife resource in Hwange National Park, Matusadona, the Save Conservancy
and Gonarezhou as well as Lake Kariba, Nyanga, Vumba, Chimanimani, Khami
Ruins and much more.

What it no longer has is a tourism-conducive environment, and it needs to do
something to re-create it.

Until now, all it has done is to bewail the tourism decline, blame others
for it, or delude itself that the decline has been halted and reversed (such
as the now endless claims of one and two years ago that all the tourism
support lost from Western markets had been replaced with a tremendous
development in arrivals from tourists from the East (all of 28 000 in 2004)
and that, therefore, tourism was enjoying a recovery and upturn).

It is time that the facts be recognised, acknowledged and addressed,
including restoration of law and order, achieving genuine economic recovery,
containing charges, and then resorting to genuine tourism promotion, and
powerful publicity evidencing the changes which will have transformed
Zimbabwe to one of the world's greatest tourist destinations.

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Ministers should show us which side is greener

Zim Independent


            NOTHING better illustrates the delusional character of the
regime than Vice-President Joice Mujuru's claim that "the economy is
beginning to take off".

            "We have noticed how the economy is beginning to take off and we
are saying everyone should join the recovery train while the sun is still
shining because there is no reverse gear," she said during a tour of
Dairibord last week.

            Who has "noticed" that "the economy is beginning to take off"?
Certainly not any economists we know of.

            Inflation is inching up to the 1 000% mark, GDP is continuing
its slide, investors and tourists are staying away in droves while
forex-generating industries such as tobacco are hitting record-low output.
The same goes for any other sector you care to mention such as

            So where do people like Mujuru get this information, invisible
to the rest of us, that "the economy is beginning to take off"? Very simply,
they invent it. Word goes out from the President's Office that this is the
message for the month. And everybody repeats it.

            Amazing isn't it? An entire nation run upon the basis of

            "The time has come for all our children who fled the country in
search of greener pastures to return home where the grass is becoming
greener by the day," Mujuru urged.

            Fat chance. Let's see the children of Zanu PF officials,
including ministers, return home first. That will give us an indication of
where the grass is greener!

            We noted a significant observation by the head of a visiting
Indonesian media delegation last week. While the story looked very much like
one in which Information minister Tachaona Jokonya hoped the Indonesian
journalists would "counter Western propaganda" by telling the "true story"
about Zimbabwe, Dr James Pardede, director of Media Partnership in the
Indonesian Ministry of Communications and Information, said the government
"still needs to convince the international community that Zimbabwe is a safe
and conducive place for investment".

            We were delighted that Jokonya and other officials present,
including presidential spokesman George Charamba, were able to hear that.

            And how can we get it across to Jokonya that for the media to be
"pivotal in development" there has to be public accountability? The
Indonesian press delegation thanked Zimbabwe for its help for tsunami
victims. But have we ever been told how much was raised?

            We were impressed by Pardede's title. Clearly Indonesian
officials see their role as one of media partnership rather than

            Confrontation was very much in evidence this week as the Herald's
Nathaniel Manheru columnist attacked the Zimbabwe Independent for publishing
a cartoon featuring a jongwe afflicted by bird flu.

            The cartoon by Tony Namate used the disease imagery to
"graphically communicate the newspaper's view of African self-rule", Manheru
predictably claimed.

            Since Zimbabweans were foolish enough to contract it on April 18
1980, he argued, "the only solution is mass liquidation".

            "However liberal one is with one's semantic range, it is clear
what comes in for savaging through this cartoon is the fact of Independence
itself, not the credentials of those managing it."

            Manheru has evidently been very liberal in his semantic range
taking us in one hop, skip and a jump to the doors of mass liquidation!

            Since when has the jongwe been a national symbol? Manheru
craftily interprets a cartoon on the ruling party's 26-year record of
misrule, corruption and national impoverishment as an attack upon the very
concept of a free and independent Zimbabwe.

            This is of course all part of a Rhodesian conspiracy to
discredit the people's government, we are told.

            Isn't this the ultimate dishonesty? That commentary upon the
betrayal of the liberation struggle by a selfish and ideologically bankrupt
elite "challenges the essence of (our) Independence (and) our collective
being as an independent African people".

            How convenient! If you think along these lines then all notions
of accountability become part of a Rhodesian plot to reverse revolutionary
gains so the ruling party has no need to explain why Zimbabweans are today
poorer than they were in 1953!

            People who were not fighters, mujibhas or chimbwidos, now have
the cheek "to excoriate living heroes who today decide who shall lie at
Heroes (Acre) and who shall not".

            So, it is the defence of the "living heroes" that our writer is
most concerned with. We thought so. He says he "warned" and "berated"
Financial Gazette editor Sunsleey Chamunorwa last year for suggesting our
Independence was an act in futility. He can now see what his editorial
inspired, Chamunorwa is told with a wag of the finger.

            But nobody in the press community is going to swallow this
self-serving nonsense. Hankering after a lost Rhodesian kingdom is a
convenient myth generated entirely by the ruling party. It is the
self-appointed guardians of the liberation legacy and their betrayal of that
struggle's own hopes and aspirations that Manheru finds an unsuitable topic
for public scrutiny.

            Namate deserves the nation's thanks for smoking out these
apologists for a failed state. It is a state that has failed its people and
they know it.

            Amidst all this spin, we are delighted to have a statement from
the Swedish ambassador that the state's claim that Posa is similar to
Swedish press legislation is a "lurid comparison" whose "source" remained

            We think we know where it came from: the Stalinist ideologues
who deliberately misinterpret court rulings to prevent newspapers from
reopening. But skol anyway Sten.

            We were interested to read about President Mugabe celebrating
the 31st anniversary of his "crossing" into Mozambique. The Herald article
was written in hagiographical terms. The president recalled "vividly" that
it was on a Saturday when he ascended, sorry crossed, into Mozambique to
start the armed struggle. Moven Mahachi had driven him and Edgar Tekere to
Nyarufaru estate in Nyanga.

            Don't we recall Sister Aquina playing some role in all this? Or
has she been airbrushed out of the story? And the armed struggle had of
course commenced 10 years earlier. Mugabe had to sit around in Mozambique
for several months cooling his heels before being admitted to the camps by a
sceptical Zanla leadership. The Herald omitted these details.

            We are keen to know about the man who "pulled out his pistol and
fired warning shots" at MDC supporters who were allegedly attacking a house
in Glen View two weeks ago. He was wearing a Zanu PF T-shirt, we are told.
He managed to drive off to Glen View police station where he made a report.

            Who was this Zanu PF supporter and what was he doing with a
pistol? The Herald didn't tell us.

            Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said the police would not
tolerate political violence and warned that the "long arm of the law" would
deal with offenders.

            The long arm of the law however has yet to catch up with Joseph
Mwale. Could Bvudzijena please explain why?

            In this age of hyperinflation we expect the price increases that
assail us every day. But one price hike struck Muckraker as particularly
pernicious. The company that runs the airport parking lot has put its
charges up to $450 000 an hour, from $200 000. And it warns that anybody
parking elsewhere will be clamped or towed away.

            Needless to say, the company, Car Safe, is a subsidiary of a
parastatal, the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe. So don't expect any
outcry from the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe!

            Here we have a state-related company imposing extortionate
charges upon a captive public and warning them that they had better pay up
or pay $2 million to have clamps removed and $5 million if they are towed

            Supposing the flight you are awaiting - perhaps because of
another state company's inability to stick to schedules -- is delayed, your
$450 000 multiplies every hour. This is iniquitous by any definition and the
minister responsible should be made to explain to parliament why the public
are being fleeced in this way.

            It was good to see our old friend Chris Mutsvangwa back in the
news, extolling the virtues of trade with China where he is our ambassador.
China was "the factory of the world", he said and African countries should
take advantage of the opportunities arising.

            The Herald story then ran on to praise China without telling us
whether it was Mutsvangwa's views being expressed or the writer's. It
included this significant paragraph: "China's loan and its policy of
non-interference has given Angola the power to turn down an IMF loan which
attaches stringent conditions on economic transparency, auditing of books
and corporate governance concerning its oil contracts."

            So there you have it. The Chinese will relieve countries like
Angola of the need to have transparency, auditing of books or good corporate
governance. Oil revenues can thus be skimmed by a powerful elite who will
vote for China's foreign policy objectives at the UN. All very cosy you

            Mutsvangwa said it was about time Zimbabweans shook off "the
zhing-zhong myth". All the top business schools were teaching the importance
of doing business with China, he said. But he didn't say that the Chinese
economy was booming because investors find it a rewarding place to do
business. Can we say the same of Zimbabwe which is still locked in the
disastrous economics of Chairman Bob's Great Leap Forward?

            Still on China, we were alarmed to read an unpatriotic report in
the Sunday Mail that Chinese tourist arrivals to Zimbabwe had declined by a
massive 70%. Despite Zimbabwe being granted "approved tourism destination
status", Chinese visitors have notched the "highest decline recorded from
any source market", the paper reported in a rare moment of truth-telling.

            Instead, tourists were going to South Africa and Zambia "which
have shown purposeful marketing". This was the version given by Zimbabwe
Tourism Authority chief executive officer, Karikoga Kaseke, who said the
reason for the decline was lack of appropriate marketing strategies and poor
market research.

            Yet we were told that the granting of approved tourism
destination status would bring us all the foreign currency the country ever
needed because of the huge population of China. The said status means China
"compels" its citizens to "visit status-certified countries", said the Mail
helpfully. We think China hasn't been using enough force for its citizens to
come and enjoy Zimbabwean hospitality. They have instead made independent
decisions once outside the national border. The biggest presence has been in
the area of substandard textile products that have ruined the local
industry. So much for the Look East policy.

            But we have no doubt all this was a result of poor research and
putting political considerations ahead of commercial interests. Ask Air
Zimbabwe executives.

            Last week we ended our column with an installment in which an
"alleged lion" had "mould" a resident of Cowdray Park in Bulawayo. We
thought this would help the writer of the City Courier story learn a thing
or two. But they have repeated the "mouling", despite all our efforts.

            They have even added a blockbuster of an intro to another story.
This one is headed: "Free for all as husband snatcher receive thorough

            Here goes the paragraph: "Cowdray Park residents were treated to
free drama when a 35 year old woman was thorourly (sic) beaten Sunday for
allegedly (?) another woman's husband last week attacked by her lover's wife
(name supplied). According to sources, the owner of the husband got wind of
her husband's illicit affair from one of her neighbours."

            PGA. The City Courier is not for students aspiring to learn
English. Those wishing to pursue journalism as a career are particularly
advised to avoid its toxic fallout.

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Vital statistics

Zim Independent

            Editor's Memo

            Vincent Kahiya

            THE World Health Organisation's revelation last week that
Zimbabwe's life expectancy for women had dropped to 34 was immediately
seized on by government which dismissed the statistics but did not give the
nation the correct figures on the  lifespan of an ordinary Zimbabwean. What
a shame!

            The statistics from the WHO are emblematic, especially coming on
the eve of the country's 26th Independence anniversary.

            No matter how much our government tries to deny the fact that
Zimbabweans are now living shorter lives largely due to poverty, stress and
disease, the evidence abounds in the high mortality rate from HIV and Aids
and other communicable diseases due to a failing health delivery system.

            Health minister David Parirenyatwa could have done government a
great service by telling us what the life expectancy is at the moment.

            He did not and I will therefore rely on figures produced from
international research to prove that human development in Zimbabwe has
degenerated significantly during the tenure of President Mugabe's

            The United Nations Development Programme in its 2004 Human
Development report said life expectancy at birth for Zimbabweans was 33,9
years, representing an index of 0,15. The country with the highest index was
Norway with 0,99. The report said there was a 74,8%  probability of an
average Zimbabwean not reaching the age of 40.

            According to the report, between 1970 and 1975 life expectancy
for the then Rhodesia was 56. The report also records an increase in child
mortality of up to 1 100 per 100 000 live births. The number of health
personnel has continued to decline with the report revealing that there are
six physicians per 100 000 Zimbabweans. The figure could be lower now with
the continued emigration of doctors.

            I am sure the Health minister is familiar with the chaos at the
casualty sections of Parirenyatwa and Harare Hospitals where junior doctors
manning these crucial points are evidently overwhelmed by the throng of sick
patients. I have seen patients dying on stretchers before being attended to
and others, barely breathing, being bundled into cars by relatives because
there is nothing the hospital can do to assist.

            There are the more familiar statistics of HIV and Aids infection
at 24%, unemployment is above 75% and inflation at 913,6%. All these factors
subtract large portions of our lives.

            It is undeniable that Zimbabweans are getting poorer by the day.
Independence Day on Tuesday should be a time for the national leadership to
reflect on the country's human development instead of the banal rhetoric on
sacrifices, dedication and commitment of three decades ago.

            We will always be reminded of the "great strides" made in the
first 10 years of Independence in health, education and infrastructural

            This is all there is now as hospitals built after Independence
do not have nurses, doctors or drugs; schools do no have furniture and books
while roads and other key infrastructure are in a state of decay.

            But our government, entombed in crocodilian political dogma, has
chosen to sing about past glory and in the process demonstrating a stunning
paucity of ideas to bring the glory days back when teachers could afford to
buy cars and houses. A teacher's salary today cannot buy a full tank of

            Parirenyatwa's denial that life expectancy has plummeted is
consistent with government's handling of the current woes. The strategy is
to convince the world, including impoverished rural and urban dwellers, that
there is no crisis in Zimbabwe. "What crisis?" government apologists have
asked tongue in cheek.

            Then there is another futile exercise to portray Zimbabweans as
a happy lot because the land reform programme resolved all our problems.
President Mugabe on Independence Day last year reminded us of how happy we
are as a nation.

            "We have resolved the long outstanding land question and the
land has now come to its rightful owners, and with it, our sovereignty as
well," he said. "Our people are happy and contented and that is all that

            No, what matters at the moment is survival. Can I challenge our
dear leader to go shopping on a teacher's salary after the poor tutor has
paid his rent and put aside cash for bus fare. Happy shopping for our
Independence anniversary.

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As A Matter Of Fact

Zim Daily

            Thursday, April 13 2006 @ 12:01 AM BST
            Contributed by: Zimdaily
            In an article headlined "Mugabe Secretly Negotiating Immunity
From Prosecution" published in our Monday edition we quoted WFP estimates of
3.3 million people in urgent need of food aid in Zimbabwe and that the
figure was expected to rise to 5.5 million by June. As a matter of fact the
WFP is feeding 4 million people in Zimbabwe and they expect the figure to go
down by June. Our estimates on the figures were incorrect. We apologise for
any damage caused by the article.

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Makwavarara Arrogant And Insensitive - CHRA

Zim Daily

            Thursday, April 13 2006 @ 12:02 AM BST
            Contributed by: correspondent
             By CHRA

            Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) rejects this
continued knack for luxury by the City of Harare, particularly where it
regards Sekesai Makwavarara, the Chairperson of the illegal commission
running the affairs of Harare.

            Last month, the commission chairperson wanted the City of Harare
to fund the purchase of $35 billion worth of new curtains for the mayoral
mansion, which she does not deserve at all. She is not Harare's mayor;
neither does she have the mandate of residents to be at the helm of the City
of Harare. Only last week the commission approved a move to purchase luxury
vehicles for the workforce.

            The Standard (9/4/06) reported that Makwavarara is involved in
fresh controversy at Town House after she requested payment of $103 million
for a decoder and satellite to be authorised. It was established that she
had a satellite and decoder installed at the mayoral mansion without the
commission's approval.

            The Harare Commission always bullies residents into funding its
luxury without providing services that are a top priority to residents. The
attempt by the municipality to solicit residents' views on the need to
borrow over $13 million from the open market is a cover-up because they
refuse to listen to residents' views.

            About $1, 1 trillion would purchase 183 one-tonne trucks at an
average cost of $6 billion each and 90 sedans going for averagely $3, 6
billion. Other items they want residents to purchase for their luxury are
executive desks at about $50 million, office chairs and refrigerators.

            CHRA is saddened by this trend at Town House where they
prioritise peripheral matters ahead of substantial issues of refuse
collection, repair of burst sewer and water pipes, water treatment and
supply, road repairs and the plight of victims of Operation Murambatsvina
who continue to suffer, almost a year after the demolitions and

            The continued failure by the commission to organise fresh
elections in Harare is clear testimony that they are only serving political
interests of the ruling party and the government. More so, this is
unparalled propensity to spend on non-key issues. CHRA reiterate that
elections to choose councillors and mayor should be held urgently to return
Harare to its rightful status of 'Sunshine City'. This is the sure way to
have accountable and representative governance.

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Boycott Zanu-PF Banks and Businesses - MDC

Zim Daily

            Thursday, April 13 2006 @ 12:05 AM BST
            Contributed by: correspondent
             The opposition MDC will soon call on all Zimbabweans to boycott
businesses and banks run by people linked to the ruling Zanu PF party in a
move aimed at ratcheting pressure on President Mugabe's inept
administration. The main opposition party is set to publish a list of such
enterprises soon. Party sources told Zimdaily that "the MDC need to publicly
identify the banks and businesses bankrolling the Zanu PF machinery because
the party derived its dictatorship and authority from those institutions
whose funds were being used to abuse Zimbabweans."

            Zimdaily heard the strategy is the brainchild of the party's
shadow ministry of Home Affairs and the shadow Economic Affairs portfolio.
The news have been received with great joy by long suffering Zimbabweans. In
a snap survey carried out in the streets of Harare, most people said they
believed in the MDC's new strategy to cripple Zanu PF financially. A mother
of three who declined to be named said MDC's plan for business boycotts was
the best idea that Zimbabweans, fed up with "the illegitimate regime of
President Mugabe", could effectively implement without bothering themselves
with street protests which potentially could result in the death of

            State Security minister this week threatened to use guns on
unarmed civilians if they heeded calls for mass protests made by MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai. "Mass protests will only succeed once the government and
its sidekicks have been reduced to paupers," she said. "It's the money that
is financing this regime. The MDC should now help desperate Zimbabweans by
compiling a comprehensive list of businesses to be targeted. The people are
ready to silence Zanu PF as long as the MDC carries this campaign to the
masses." The mother, with her last born baby strapped to her back, told
Zimdaily that any business needed money to function properly and Zanu PF
remained in authority simply because its financial base had not been

            A man who only identified himself as Mishrod said if the
government could make its people suffer economically, then Zimbabweans
should retaliate. Chimuti Tongoona, 56, from Gokwe, said the effectiveness
of that strategy depended on the MDC's information dissemination and
Zimbabweans' seriousness. "There are people who are getting rich through
dubious means," he said. "This idea has come out as a result of the
prevailing economic hardships. Out of that suffering, people are desperate
for ideas that can save them."

            Shadreck Maruma, 32, of Hatcliffe, said the MDC's call was
dangerous as it sought to destroy other people's lives. He said the only
solution to Zimbabwe's economic hardships was through dialogue between the
MDC and Zanu PF. "The economic hardships we face are complex," he said. "The
best way to get out of the crisis is through peaceful discussions where
differences are resolved. "You can't punish your children by refusing them
the right to buy things they want from some businesses because they are run
by Zanu PF supporters."

            A 62 year old businessman from Borrowdale, said boycotting
businesses and withdrawing money from banks run by Zanu PF officials was the
best the MDC could have thought of, given the readiness of the police and
army when dealing with demonstrators. "That boycott call is one thing that
can counter the current Zanu PF strength," he said. "I appreciate the MDC's
new approach because the government has a tradition of using force to cow
people into submission. But Zanu PF and its diehard businessmen will have no
control over people withdrawing their money from their banks. Those banks
will collapse within months if people just make the sacrifice."

            Stephen Mazorodze, 26, of Gutu in Masvingo, said it was useless
for Zimbabweans to continue supporting institutions that oiled human rights
abuses, dictatorship, rape, torture and starvation of opposition supporters.
He said it was better for Zimbabweans to suffer once and for all and enjoy
the rest of their economic life. "At least the boycott will bring the
much-needed change. Some of these people are getting richer and richer
through our suffering. We put our money in their banks and they take that
money to support Zanu PF projects which have not benefited us."

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Are People Ready For An All-Inclusive Encounter Against Mugabe's Tyranny?

Zim Daily

            Thursday, April 13 2006 @ 12:01 AM BST
            Contributed by: correspondent
            By Jack Zaba

            For a long time now many of the struggling people of our
embattled country have been calling for a Zimbabwean Prometheus who would
dare to steal the Zanu PF gods' fire and bring the flame of peace and
prosperity to the nation. Many have called for one man who has already
established his political base, Morgan Tsvangirai, to transform himself into
a real hero of the people by leading the people en masse, to drive away a
certain octogenarian who still fools himself that he is the messiah of the
people, out of the State House.

            Zimbabwe is an erudite nation, and its people are really
conscious of their plight. They know who is behind the lack of food, who
causes them to be flogged and harangued by certain uniformed men who call
themselves a professional police force. Our people are aware of who the
author of our current predicament is. The citizens of this country are
always ready to proffer solutions that lead to the amelioration of our
pathetic state of affairs.

            So this country is an embodiment of virtue and valour. After
having concurred that the present occupant of the presidential seat and his
so-called two thirds majority rigged themselves into power, they gave the
"losers" time to coalesce and re-strategise. It has been exactly a year now
years now since the historic rigging of parliamentary election by our dear
"comrades" in Zanu PF and four years since the rigging of that presidential
poll. The presidential election was the people's hope of ending oligarchy,
tyranny or dictatorship, but it failed dismally.

            The people's aspirations fizzled into thin air. The country
plunged further into more severe manifestations of dictatorship stemming
from the birth of obnoxious pieces of legislation like the Public Order and
Security Act and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act,
Criminal Codification and Reform and the so-called 17th Amendment. The
people faced retribution for daring to give Tsvangirai and his deputies more
than a million votes. Now the citizenry has realised that elections only
serve to give plastic legitimacy to a dictator's stolen power.

            There is now need to refocus and devise more sophisticated but
effective means of dealing with our dictator. The people's minds were then
filled with the need for collective action in the form of civil
disobedience, mass protests or general confrontation with President Mugabe.
They suggested Tsvangirai should lead the pack and give his blessing to mass
action at the just ended congress. So I have heard that it is now becoming a
reality that mass action is imminent. But I am sceptical of the sincerity of
those who are calling for the mass action. Are they ready to face the
vicious bull called Mugabe? Wasn't it a call from people who just think they
will be spectators as the gravy train glides through?

            Do they know what mass action really entails, especially when
dealing with ruthless dictators like our own President? In short, the issue
of civil unrest within a dictatorship entails a people's preparedness to
lose limb or life. The impetus to any mass uprising is the general readiness
to lose what one has jobs, cars, wives, husbands, wealth, education in
pursuit of freedom which is valuable as the sole way to live prosperously.
As long as you dread the sight of the sophisticated armoury of this regime
being exhibited by our morally prostituted police force, then you are not

            There is a need for mass action and the numbers are there, as
well as the grand strategies, but I don't know if our people, including the
police and soldiers, are ready to lose their jobs now in search of a better
future tomorrow. Are the hungry students in our tertiary institutions ready
to lose or temporarily stop their education now and deal with the greatest
impediment to prosperity Mugabe? This is the psyche that needs to engulf the
people, that of self-sacrifice now, in trying to save the future and

            If we believe Tsvangirai is the man, then get prepared to be
with him when he chooses first to sacrifice his life by calling for mass
action. It should be a known fact that life would be lost, as much as it was
lost during the liberation war, but that is no excuse for one to avoid being
part of the historical fight against Mugabe's tyranny. It happened in
Indonesia and Suharto was dumped.

            It happened when Venezuelans protested with remarkable success.
Even on our own continent Ravalomanana and his determined supporters deposed
Ratsiraka. So mass action is a possible solution, but it only needs the
right ingredient a determined people. Those who despise fear, those who take
fear as an inexcusable infirmity should lead the struggle. The leadership
can be there but without the people it will be a typical case of fish out of
water. The people are the vital cog of any revolution, as they fight for the
general good. We need a well-calculated move. Let us give Tsvangirai et al
more time to map out efficacious strategies. Just be ready to be there when
the time comes, it's an all-inclusive encounter. I will be there too.

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Supplementary budget on the way

The Chronicle

Business Reporter

Government is considering a third supplementary budget in four years to
rescue ministries battling to sustain operations due to high inflation,
which has severely reduced the purchasing power of initial fiscal
allocations, a senior Government official said yesterday.

The official said consultations were still ongoing, but said the
supplementary budget would only address urgent capital requirements.
"A supplementary budget will presented in June or July this year but this is
subject to approval from key economic stakeholders," said the official who
preferred anonymity.
He said ministries have been lobbying the Ministry of Finance for additional
fund, saying high inflation that has eroded the purchasing power of
allocated funds in the 2006 budget.
"Many Government departments are failing to pay for services rendered
because funds allocated to them have been eroded by inflation," said the
The Minister of Finance, Dr Herbert Murerwa, presented the 2006 a $123, 9
trillion national budget for in December last year when inflation was at
585,8 percent. It has since increased to 913, 6 percent in March and is
projected to pass the 1000 percent mark by April, affecting Government's
expenditure targets and fiscal planning.
Figures releases by the Central Statistical Office last week show that the
cost of goods and services had increased by more than five times between
December and March.
"Already, the majority of civil servants are lobbying for salary adjustments
because their earnings continue to be eroded by inflation, a factor that
really calls for immediate allocation for additional funds from the
Treasury," said the official.
In the 2006 budget the income tax threshold was increased from $1,5 million
per month to $7 million a month but such figures are far beyond the poverty
datum line now at $35 million.
Zimbabwe has had a supplementary budget every year since 2000, except for
Analysts said the supplementary budget was unavoidable given the rise in
inflation between January and March this year.
"Given the problems facing key ministries in servicing debts and other
payments, it is apparent that the Government will have to have a
supplementary budget," said Mr Farayi Dyirakumunda of Interfin Securities.
He said inflationary pressures were wrecked havoc with ministerial budgets,
with long term almost impossible.
A lecturer in the Faculty of Commerce at the National University of Science
and Technology, Mr Oscar Chiwira, said it was not suprising that ministries
had exhausted funds.
"A supplementary budget is inevitable because Zimbabwe is experiencing a
hyperinflationary climate that has resulted in some ministries struggling to
pay for crucial services," he said.
Mr Chiwira said that the hyperinflationary climate had resulted in the
ministries of Education as well as Health commercialising services to raise
additional cash.
"The recent increases in educational fees and health fees is an indication
that ministries are now commercialising services to generate funds needed in
sustaining operationss," he said.
Mr Chiwira urged Government to shift from an annual budget system to a
quarterly budget system until inflation becomes manageable.
"A quarterly budgeting system is required so that the Government will review
its fiscal policy on the basis of inflation," he said.

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Sipepa Nkomo follows Chebundo in ditching Mutambara MDC faction

                    Nkomo follows Blessing Chebundo in deserting the Arthur
Mutambara-led MDC.

      By a Correspondent

      REALISING that he probably had backed the wrong horse, former
Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) chief executive, Samuel Sipepa
Nkomo, has resigned as deputy national director of elections in the Arthur
Mutambara-led MDC camp and defected to the stronger and popular camp led by
Morgan Tsvangirai.

      Nkomo becomes the second member of the national executive of the group
to cross the floor this week after Kwekwe MP Blessing Chebundo's
resignation. Paul Themba Nyathi, the Mutambara faction spokesman, confirmed
Nkomo, who deputised Chebundo, had also resigned. "Sipepa Nkomo has
resigned. Like Mr Chebundo, he only stated that he was resigning for
"personal reasons". "We wish them good luck. Like we have always said, the
struggle is not a stroll in the park. Those who have difficulties stomaching
the pressures of the struggle will opt out but we will not stop them. We
respect their decision." Nkomo lost his job as CEO at the ANZ, publishers of
the banned Daily News and The Daily News on Sunday, after the chose to stand
for senatorial elections under the Welshman Ncube camp. He lost to a Zanu PF
candidate. Nkomo is currently awaiting trial for corruption and fraud crimes
he committed a few years ago while he was head of the Mining Industry
Pensions Fund (MIPF). He is expected back in court on 10 July.

      Many more resignations are expected from the Mutambara faction. In the
UK, MDC executive leaders from the Mutambara camp have already announced
they are quitting. Mutambara's national chairman, Gift Chimanikire, who was
elbowed out of the race for the presidency of the faction to pave way for
Mutambara, is also reported to be contemplating leaving the camp.

      The state-controlled Herald newspaper quotes Nyathi as saying: "We
just hear rumours that he is contemplating doing that (crossing the floor)
but there is nothing official."He said the defections were not a reflection
that the faction was "losing grip" of its membership but a development that
is to be expected in any struggle. ''Even in Zapu such things happened. It
is nice to work together but such (decisions) are not pre-determined. People
make their own decisions."

      "Part of the problem could be to do with the bubble on the figures
game being played by the other group but that bubble will eventually burst,"
said Nyathi in apparent reference to the Tsvangirai's well-attended rallies
over the weekend.Tsvangirai is expected to roll out his party's programme of
mass protests against continued Zanu PF rule in the country soon.

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Zim govt threatens to shoot protesters

The Mercury

      April 13, 2006

      By Basildon Peta

      Harare: The Zimbabwe government yesterday hinted at ordering the
police and army to shoot citizens who heeded calls by opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai to join mass protests aimed at forcing president Robert
Mugabe to institute political reforms.

      State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, who is also in charge of the
spy agency the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), reminded Zimbabweans
that the ruling Zanu-PF party had "shed blood before" to liberate the
country from colonialism and would not hesitate to do so again to maintain
its grip on power.

      Mutasa's remarks come soon after Mugabe himself vowed to kill
Tsvangirai, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) President, if
Tsvangirai proceeded with plans for mass action.

      But a defiant Tsvangirai said he was prepared to die to free Zimbabwe
from Mugabe's dictatorship.

      "All dictators die. Mugabe might of course kill me first, but he will
find me waiting for him in heaven," Tsvangirai said.

      Apparently, the Zimbabwe government has been rattled by the good
attendances at Tsvangirai's rallies since he held a congress of his faction
last month. The congress itself was attended by 16 000 delegates.

      Tsvangirai wants to use the protests to force Mugabe to institute
political reforms, including the re-writing of a new democratic
constitution, before free and fair elections are held. - Mercury Foreign

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Jokonya, Mahoso file Daily News challenge

New Zimbabwe

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 04/13/2006 11:32:06
ZIMBABWE'S Information Minister Tichaona Jokonya and the country's media
hangman Tafataona Mahoso have petitioned the High Court to dismiss with
costs The Daily News' application to be deemed registered.

In court papers filed this week, Jokonya and Mahoso argued that the court
does not have jurisdiction over the matter.

Jokonya and Mahoso are arguing that the MIC and the Information Minister are
the ones vested with powers to deal with the registration of newspapers.

Jokonya said after the High Court ruled that the Media and Information
Commission (MIC) must be recused from the Daily News application, he at one
time thought of setting a special board but was advised the Attorney General's
office that he did not have powers to do so under the governing and
restrictive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).

Jokonya added that if he is to follow the judgment, the act should first be

The submissions by the two is in response to an application in the High
Court in which the acting ANZ chief executive officer John Gambanga said the
commission was in violation of Section 66 of the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa) which stipulates that the MIC must deal
with an application within a month of its submission. Gambanga also cited
Section 8 of Statutory Instrument 169 (c) of 2002 that stipulates that the
MIC should give written reasons for either granting or refusing the

However, Jokonya said the MIC had done nothing wrong in dealing with the
Daily News application and would not dissolve it.

"I submit that I still retain confidence in the entire membership of the MIC
and therefore, I do not wish to remove it. I have no reason to invoke
provisions of section 40 (3) of Aippa as no member of the MIC has done
anything in respect of this matter," said Jokonya.

Mahoso added that his commission had not acted "unlawfully" or
"unreasonably" and called for the ANZ case to be dismissed.

Said Mahoso: "I am realiably advised that the relief sought by the applicant
is not competent as it seeks to persuade this hounorable court to exercise
administrative functions that are otherwise the privy of the respondents.

"I am further advised that a competent prayer would have been a prayer that
is in line with section 4 of the Administrative Justice Act. As it stands
the MIC did not act unlawfully, unreasonably nor did it fail to supply its
reasons for not acting. It must be dismissed with costs."

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