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

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Mugabe buys six jets to 'defend airspace'
          April 13 2005 at 02:14PM

      By Michael Hartnack

      Harare - President Robert Mugabe's government has acquired six fighter
jets "to deal with any challenges", state radio reported on Wednesday.

      It did not disclose the supplier or the price tag, but the report
first named them as the "K-8" and then the "K-fighter".

      The aircraft appeared to be the K-8 advanced jet trainer, a Chinese
copy of the British Aerospace BAE "Hawk", said Michael Quintana, former
editor of Africa Defence Journal.

      The Hawk was supplied to Zimbabwe by then Conservative prime minister
Margaret Thatcher soon after independence in 1980. But Tony Blair's Labour
slapped an embargo on spare parts in 2000 to protest at human rights abuses.

      Quintana said Egypt bought K-8 trainers from China a price tag of
$20-million each.

      "If the country had to save up for these, no wonder we are
experiencing shortages of petrol (gasoline)," Quintana told The Associated

      The radio broadcast quoted air force acting director of operations,
Group Captain Builtin Chingoto, as saying the new fighters were meant to
keep up with fast changing technology.

      "They will go a long way to improve the operations of our air force in
order to defend the country's air space and territorial integrity," he said.

      "They will enable the force to deal with any challenges."

      Mugabe described Britain as an "enemy country" on the weekend and said
he was continuing to wage what he called a "chimurenga" or civil war against
the remaining whites for control of natural resources, particularly land.

      Claiming a two-thirds majority in March 31 parliamentary elections, he
said "the nation had mobilised through the ballot box to repulse

      Seventy percent of Zimbabweans live in absolute poverty, with five
million of its 11.6 million people dependent last year on international food
aid. Hospitals lack medicines and food, while schools lack desks, books and
writing materials.

      Official figures showed Zimbabwe's inflation rate fell to 123.7 in
March, down 3.5 percent in February, the government-controlled daily The
Herald said in a report on Wednesday.

      The K-8 flies under the speed of sound (950km/h) and has limited
combat ability. It has already been supplied to the Namibian and Zambian air
forces, Quintana said.

      He said that while engaged in the Congo civil war, Zimbabwean forces
acquired three MIG-23 interceptor fighter-bombers from Muammar Gaddafi's
Libyan government. They have been seen at recent ceremonial fly pasts
here. - Sapa-AP
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Comment from The Mail & Guardian (SA), 12 April

Flawed system 'must go'

Rapule Tabane

Lovemore Madhuku is a political commentator and head of the National
Constitutional Assembly, a coalition of civil society groups agitating for
constitutional reform in Zimbabwe. He suggested that the opposition boycott
the elections and not legitimise government repression. He did not cast his
vote. Two weeks ago, he was detained briefly for making "unsubstantiated
allegations" against the government.

As an outspoken critic of participation in the election, what is your
assessment of how the elections actually turned out?: The results were
predictable. There was no way that the Movement for Democratic Change [MDC]
could suddenly expect a miracle when it had no access to voters for four
years. The MDC was only able to move to rural areas four weeks before the
elections. Its leadership was naive to think that if you arrive at a new
place, speak to people and they cheer, you could then think they would vote
for you. Voters are engaged over a longer period of time. The conditions
that the MDC had presented as a sine qua non of participation in elections
did not change so I don't know why it still participated in the elections.

You have insisted that there is no point in participating in elections
unless there are constitutional reforms. What are these reforms?: We want
the elections to be conducted by an independent electoral commission. We
also want the scrapping of the clause that guarantees the president 30 seats
before the elections. We also need an independent body that regulates the
media. We also oppose laws that give police powers to authorise meetings.

What difference would that make to the outcome of elections?: They would
create a free environment for all political players. All parties will be
able to campaign wherever they want in the country. We need mechanisms that
would announce in a dramatic way that things have changed in this country.
They would create confidence that you can still vote against the ruling
party and be patriotic. Are you aware that there are many voters who believe
that to vote for the MDC is to be unpatriotic?

Realistically, do you think Zanu PF will accede to these demands?: We have
not tried hard enough before to push for change. If there was united popular
mass pressure, Zanu PF would shift. If we had at least 10 000 people on the
streets of Harare and thousands in other towns across the country, it would
have to listen. Let's see how it reacts to mass power. Is it ready to kill
people because they want constitutional change? We are not calling for
[President Robert] Mugabe to resign and be replaced by MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai. We must acknowledge the value of the liberation struggle and his
contribution, but we must say we want to broaden the freedom they brought.

How would these people-driven constitutional reforms happen in practice?: We
want the creation of a framework where people can freely express their
views. Government must formulate a process whereby a committee can be
appointed to look at all proposal documents, including the constitution that
was rejected in 2000. Civil society, the opposition and the government can
all sit down to produce a draft document. Then we either constitute a
constitutional assembly or a conference, to debate the proposals of what
makes a good constitution, and agree by consensus. Once that has happened,
the president can take the constitution to a referendum.

Is there a role for the international community, which has ostracised the
Zimbabwean government, in all of this?: It should try to persuade Mugabe
that as head of government he must accept the wishes of the Zimbabweans. It
must support those who are fighting for democracy here. It must understand
the nature of the crisis here. That means understanding that we are not
fighting to kick out Mugabe and replace him with Tsvangirai, but to get the
president freely elected by the population.

In particular, what role do you see for President Thabo Mbeki, whose quiet
diplomacy has failed to produce results so far?: South Africa's influence is
quite critical. Mbeki must push Mugabe to ensure that when the next
elections are held, there is no controversy about the elections. He must
insist that the next two to three years are used usefully so that when the
next elections are held, the constitution will be legitimate.

The MDC took a hammering in the elections even though it complains about
irregularities. Will people still look to the party to deliver them from
Mugabe?: It depends on what it does. It must realise that its loss was owing
to a flawed system and it must mobilise Zimbabweans to change that system.
But, if it is still obsessed by minute details such as results being
tabulated late or figures that it does not like, people will lose interest
in the MDC. Tsvangirai must do less talking and start focusing on the bigger
picture. This thing of trying to create the impression that Zanu PF has
totally no support is wrong and must end. Even if free and fair elections
were held soon, Zanu PF would still be a formidable party.
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      Zimbabwe's MDC considers 'democratic resistance'

      Wed April 13, 2005 6:02 PM GMT+02:00
      By MacDonald Dzirutwe

      HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's opposition said on Wednesday it may
resort to "democratic resistance" against President Robert Mugabe over its
allegations of vote rigging in a parliamentary election last month.

      The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on Tuesday filed the first of
a series of planned court cases it hopes will prove the March 31 vote was
stolen by Mugabe's ZANU-PF.

      But on Wednesday the MDC, which has said it has lost faith in
Zimbabwe's judiciary, said it was considering other forms of protest action.

      "The legal action that will be taken will not be the primary form of
democratic resistance against electoral fraud," MDC secretary general
Welshman Ncube told a news conference in Harare.

      "We are going to devise a programme of political action; it is being
worked out," Ncube said without elaborating.

      MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was more cautious in his comments when he
rejected the results of the poll which gave ZANU-PF the two-thirds
parliamentary majority it needs to change the constitution and cement its
hold on power.

      Tsvangirai, who is facing treasonable charges of orchestrating mass
protests after Mugabe's controversial re-election in 2002, said it was up to
the people of Zimbabwe to decide if they will take to the streets this time.


      Ncube said the MDC was consulting its members on the form of the
action to take.

      "When the specific action has been decided upon as to its form, as to
its content as to its time, the public will be advised appropriately," he

      The MDC won just 41 of 120 elected seats -- 16 down on its 2000
performance. ZANU-PF swept 78 seats and one went to an independent

      But a further 30 seats in the 150-member house reserved for
presidential appointees and traditional chiefs ensured ZANU-PF got a
two-thirds majority.

      The MDC's charges of electoral fraud are backed by major Western
governments but dismissed by most African observer missions who gave the
poll high marks.

      Ncube said the MDC was going to court to challenge the results for 13
constituencies "as a case study" on how the poll was rigged, but that
political action remained the party's primary focus.

      He alleged that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) was not in
charge of the March 31 poll, saying the army and intelligence agencies in
fact controlled the process.

      ZEC chairman George Chiweshe has denied the charge and said the
commission was fully in charge.

      In a 56-page report on the election, the MDC repeated demands for a
new constitution and for the government to disband its youth militia, to
stop using food as a political weapon as widely alleged and to repeal tough
media and security laws that have hobbled the opposition.

      The MDC said it had proof of fraud in 30 constituencies in four of the
country's 10 provinces for which the electoral commission had provided all
figures for votes cast.

      He said the ZEC had failed to account for the discrepancies of figures
in some constituencies announced by the commission and said its
investigations had shown that only 3.5 million voters were registered
instead of the 5.7 million announced by      ZEC.

      Mugabe and his ZANU-PF have rejected accusations of rigging this vote
or the last parliamentary polls five years ago and a presidential ballot in

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New Zimbabwe

The tribal warlords that rule Zimbabwe

By Ndaba Mabhena
Last updated: 04/14/2005 00:28:07
IN THE last four years Zanu PF, in their desperate quest for survival,
created some socio political space they littered with mantras like
'independence', 'land to the majority'a and 'sovereignty'.

This space was created by Zanu PF primarily so that they could have one up
on MDC, based on the notion that they are a revolutionary party and the only
factor that delivered Zimbabwe from colonial rule in 1980.

Zanu PF coined all manner of slogans, which they shouted themselves hoarse
throughout the four years. These slogans culminated in the anti-Blair
rhetoric which was concluded by 'Zimbabwe will never be a colony again'. In
their minds, they were calling upon Zimbabweans to recall their 'nationhood'
and once again reward the party by voting to keep it in power.

Zimbabweans know that Zanu PF has never been a national party. It's a party
that right at the time of formation sought to stand for the interests of
those that administer it, their friends and relatives. Today that value is

Zanu PF is a party that is founded on splitting Zimbabwe into two tribal
groupings, i.e Shona and Ndebele, whereby Shonas must provide national
leadership. Zanu PF, usually refered to as 'The Party', has always had in
their leadership deck Shonas taking up key leadership positions with a
lacing of Ndebele apologists making up the leadership elite numbers. The
party had to enlist the services of Ndebele apologists to paint a picture of
a government of national unity following the inconsequential 'Unity Accord'
signed in December 1987. The Ndebele apologists were to behave like gagged
guests at this party -- 'make no key decisions and above all don't raise
questions about the development of the other half of the country'.

In fact the mythical Zezuru factor in Zanu PF has dominated proceedings
since independence in 1980. Mythical in that there is nothing called Zezuru
but a group of minority migrants either from Malawi or Zambia. However, the
myth has only served a few individuals that have sold themselves as Zezuru.

Sadly when the MDC was formed sometime in 1999, it too was fashioned in Zanu
PF style. It was a coalition of Ndebele and Shona, this time Shonas of
mainly Karanga origin.

Maybe this was a recognition of two factors about the Zimbabwean political
leadership situation. Firstly, that when any tribal grouping seeks to
challenge for power they can not do so effectively without roping in a
second or third tribal grouping. Secondly, it may have been an expression by
both Ndebele and Karanga tribal groupings of them being fed-up with Zezuru
dominance in Zanu PF. The Ndebele should have thought as a group they have
not tasted the fruits of the 'Unity Accord' save for a few Ndebele
apologists in Zanu PF ranks. On the other hand Karangas could have been
tired of being labeled Shonas only for the purposes of maintaining the
national tribal balance in Zanu PF, yet benefiting nothing from the whole

So from that synopsis, it is evident the MDC represents Zimbabwean people
that have been, over the years, disenfranchised by Zanu PF governance.

Zanu PF has set the pace, by default, in nation building. Just to
consoliadate this fact Zanu PF has gone about with its nation building using
tribal politics and by the creation, post 2000, of the socio political space
that they sought to dominate.

Zimbabweans cannot afford not to respond to this challenge. If we don't
challenge, we would have let a chance for genuine nation building go

In response, all Zimbabweans need to embark on self leadership while we
search our souls on what kind and manner of national leadership will deliver
to freedom a united Zimbabwean nation. As individual Zimbabweans, we must
acknowledge that it is Zanu PF sponsored tribalism that is responsible for
the mess that the country finds itself in. With that recognition we should
then proceed and fashion our future.

As different tribal groupings, we should further acknowledge that our
separate futures are intertwined. One can never dream of one tribal group
taking over the national leadership. Zapu Federal Party and Zanu Ndonga are
compelling examples, the same as Inkatha Freedom Party in South Africa.

Going forward, tribalism has no future in formations that are going to
deliver Zimbabwean to freedom. Any tribalist formation can rest assured that
it will fail. Therefore, as we sit down and think about the future of our
country, our children and ourselves, let's not give tribalism another
chance. Should we do so we will inevitably delay our freedom. Tribalism is
and will never be sustainable.

Should anyone close to President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa read these
thoughts, let him know that trying to impose a Xhosa 'mornachy' on South
Africa is unsustainable. It may work now but will be undone in the future to
the detriment of Xhosas. Zimbabwe further provides another key example. In
future political formations, it will be unlikely that a Zezuru person will
be handed the mettle to lead.

As we speak Zanu PF are running short of pure Zezurus to impose on their
leadership structures.

Fear of nominating someone from another tribe to lead us, if they have all
the required characteristics of the desired leader, is tantamount to being
afraid of ourselves. We may experience fear in being led by someone who is
not from our tribe for fear of past perceived favours that we are supposed
to have enjoyed. But we have to manage that fear for the sake of a fearless
Ndaba Mabhena is a regular guest columnist on New and writes
from Harare

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Govt to go ahead with key constitutional amendments

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 13 Apr 2005 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party plans to
use its two-thirds parliamentary majority to change the constitution and
create a second chamber and the office of prime minister.

National political commissar Elliot Manyika told IRIN the party also
intended to "tighten legislation relating to land and economic reform, with
a view to giving statutory bodies more control over these crucial sectors
and core national assets".

President Robert Mugabe indicated soon after the 31 March elections that he
wanted to revisit aspects of the draft constitution of 2000. Among its
recommendations was the creation of a senate made up of traditional leaders,
retired politicians and other eminent Zimbabweans, as well as a new post of
prime minister.

Despite intense lobbying by government, the draft constitution was rejected
in a referendum in 2000, in a vote seen at the time as a sign of support for
the new opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Manyika said the House of Senate was necessary for strengthening
constitutional democracy and widening the process of parliamentary
decision-making, based on national consensus.

However, Daniel Molokela, a Zimbabwean analyst and human rights lawyer based
in South Africa, said the proposed consitutional amendments were meant to
entrench ZANU-PF's rule through the appointment of loyalists to crucial
legislative bodies.

"The House of Senate should be composed of experienced politicians who are
also experts in various disciplines: its purpose is to moderate and give a
professional finish to legislation proposed by the lower house. In the case
of Zimbabwe that is highly unlikely to happen, as most of the appointees
would be political failures with none of the required expertise," alleged

A political analyst at the University of Zimbabwe, John Makumbe, told IRIN
that none of the proposed amendments would ease the economic and political
crisis in the country. He said amending an already flawed constitution was a
pointless exercise, and called for an entirely new constitution drafted with
national consensus.

The National Constitutional Assembly, an NGO that has been campaigning for
constitutional reform, criticised the current constitution, saying it gave
the president too much power and allowed the ruling party to manipulate the
election process.
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Zimbabwe Judge Orders 2 UK Journalists Freed On Bail

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP)--A judge ordered two U.K. journalists freed on bail
Wednesday, two weeks after they were detained near a polling station during
Zimbabwe's parliamentary election.

Toby Harnden, 35, and Julian Simmonds, 45, of the Sunday Telegraph, had
pleaded not guilty to charges of violating Zimbabwe's draconian Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act by working as journalists without
government accreditation during the March 31 election.

The media laws, passed in 2002, have been used to control the media by
shutting down the country's only independent daily newspaper, the Daily
News, jail independent Zimbabwean journalists and expel or bar foreign

The two U.K. journalists also pleaded innocent to violating immigration
laws. Judge Never Diza said he would give a ruling on the case Thursday
afternoon. The charges carry a maximum penalty of two years' imprisonment.

President Robert Mugabe's governing party swept the March 31 elections,
though the opposition and international governments criticized the vote as
flawed, noting unfair reporting laws and widespread irregularities.

The government granted accreditation to some foreign media during the
ballot, but not all.

The U.K. journalists were arrested near a polling station in Norton, 30
miles west of the capital, Harare. They have been held longer than any other
journalists in Zimbabwe since the country gained independence in 1980.

They were granted release on Zimbabwean $1 million ($1=ZWD6,092.90).

Defense lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa asked that the charges be dismissed, saying
prosecutor Albert Masamha had failed to prove the two had been working as
journalists or had overstayed visas given to them when they entered the
country on March 20.

The prosecutor argued the visas were for tourism purposes and were good for
only a week.

  Dow Jones Newswires
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Zimbabwe boycott rejected
        By Michael Wines The New York Times
        Thursday, April 14, 2005

JOHANNESBURG Zimbabwe's main opposition party, defeated in a March 31
parliamentary election that it insists was rigged, said that it had decided
not to boycott Parliament in protest of the election results.
Paul Themba Nyathi, the spokesman for the opposition, the Movement for
Democratic Change, said at a news conference in Johannesburg on Tuesday that
the 41 legislators elected under the party's banner had a responsibility to
the voters who had elected them that overrode any objection to the overall
outcome of the balloting.
At the same time, party officials said that they had filed the first in a
series of legal challenges to individual legislative races in which they
believed the case for fraud was compelling. The party says that wide
variances between the official tally of votes and the totals reported in
specific elections are evidence of what it has called massive fraud.
Western observers have generally agreed with that conclusion.
Observers from African nations and a few of Zimbabwe's allies, hand-picked
by President Robert Mugabe, have called the vote free and fair.
The 41 seats won by the opposition was well below the 57 seats the party won
in its first parliamentary election in 2000. The ruling Zimbabwe African
National Union-Patriotic Front, called ZANU-PF, took 78 of the 120 seats
being contested, and an independent candidate won one.
Brian Raftopoulos of the University of Zimbabwe's Institute of Development
Studies said Tuesday that the opposition had little choice but to stay in
Parliament. "It would have been very divisive within the MDC had they stayed
out," Raftopoulos said.
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Institute for War and Peace Reporting

MDC Step Up Election Fraud Claims

Opposition report says it would have won the election if it hadn't been

By Fred Bridgland in Johannesburg (Africa Reports: Zimbabwe Elections No 29,

Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, has released a
56-page report outlining how it says President Robert Mugabe rigged recent
parliamentary elections in favour of his own ZANU PF party.

The document, released on April 11 under the title "Stolen: How the
elections were rigged", claims that without such manipulation, the MDC would
have won the vote.

"The MDC did not lose the election on March 31," the party's legal affairs
spokesman David Coltart told reporters in Johannesburg. "The people of
Zimbabwe lost the right to elect a government of their choice."

Coltart said the election, in which ZANU PF secured 78 of 120 directly
elected seats against the MDC's 41, was rigged in multiple ways.

"The results do not reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people," he said.
"They reflect the will of the ruling party to have a two-thirds majority by
whatever means necessary."

"In short, the entire electoral process and the election itself
fundamentally violated the Southern African Development Community [SADC]
principles," he added, in reference to a set of election guidelines set out
by the fourteen heads of state of the SADC, the most powerful regional
grouping, in the run-up to the vote.

The SADC leaders were acting in response to international criticism of
Africa's reluctance to insist that Mugabe conduct the election fairly.

The report claims that in six of Zimbabwe's ten provinces nearly 134,000
people, most of them young people who mostly favour the MDC and comprising
ten per cent of the electorate, were turned away from polling stations.

The MDC also alleges that there was widespread stuffing of ballot boxes
between the closing of voting in polling stations and the announcement of
results, after the Mugabe-controlled Zimbabwe Electoral Commission sampled
votes and realized there was strong support for the opposition.

The document, which claims it was already obvious on the ground that
Zimbabweans were ready for a new Zimbabwe and a new beginning, says the
situation has now been "made worse by the brazen theft of the election".

"If our demands [to reverse election results in twenty or more
constituencies] are not met immediately, we will continue our struggle," the
MDC's information secretary Paul Themba-Nyathi replied, when asked if the
party was considering Ukrainian Orange Revolution-style street protests in
an attempt to end Mugabe's quarter century rule. "We will avail ourselves of
all options available under Zimbabwe's constitution, as restrictive as they
may be."

"The people are with us," he added. "We are going to mobilise on the ground,
we are going to mobilise in the region."

An MDC spokesman told IWPR that the report was distributed in Johannesburg
as well as Harare because issuing it in the Zimbabwean capital alone would
have been a non-starter.

"It's unlikely the release would have attracted more than three
 journalists," he said, "the one remaining independent foreign newspaper
correspondent and two local pro-Mugabe newspapers who are entirely hostile
to us."

Fred Bridgland is IWPR's Zimbabwe project editor based in Johannesburg.
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Mail and Guardian

      Zanu-PF offers olive branch to MDC


      13 April 2005 08:03

            Lawmakers from Zimbabwe's main opposition party took up their
seats in Parliament on Tuesday despite their refusal to accept the outcome
of elections that they say were rigged by President Robert Mugabe's party.

            The group of 41 deputies from the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) were among 150 lawmakers who were sworn in, one by one, during a
two-and-a-half hour ceremony at Parliament.

            The MPs elected national Zanu-PF chairperson John Nkomo as their
speaker, who, in an address to the new assembly held out an olive branch to
the MDC.

            "Though we belong to different political parties, there is need
for us to be guided by national interests," said Nkomo.

            "The challenge of the sixth Parliament is to ensure that it
addresses national issues from a national perpective with the objective of
finding solutions to our problems as Zimbabweans," he said.

            MDC Vice-President Gibson Sibanda, who is also the opposition
leader in Parliament, congratulated Nkomo on his election as speaking and
described him as "a man of high integrity" who is "firm and fair".

            "It is my sincere hope that with his credentials and experience,
we are going to achieve a lot for the people of this country... to improve
the lives of many Zimbabweans who are suffering today," said Sibanda.

            There had been speculation that the MDC would boycott Parliament
following its claims of ballot-stuffing on elections day and intimidation
leading up to the polls that handed victory to Mugabe's Zimbabwe African
National Union Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF).

            But the MDC deputies, along with sacked former information
minister Jonathan Moyo, the only independent lawmaker, walked into
Parliament well ahead of the scheduled starting time.

            Moyo received loud applause from the opposition contingent when
he stood up to take the oath of office.

            The MDC, which has mounted the stiffest challenge to Mugabe's
25-year grip on power, has condemned the elections as "a massive fraud",
citing discrepancies between the number of votes cast and the results
announced by the national poll body.

            The party announced on Tuesday that it will this week file a
complaint before the new Electoral Court to nullify the results in 10

            The MDC lost 10 seats in the March 31 elections, down from the
51 it held before the polls.

            In the 2000 elections, held just one year after the MDC was
formed, the opposition party won 57 seats.

            Under Zimbabwe's parliamentary system, the president appoints 30
members to Parliament, among them 10 traditional leaders.

            The 20 other appointees include Cabinet ministers and government
officials who failed to win their seats in the elections.

            Among those appointed was former Parliament speaker Emmerson
Mnangagwa, who was tipped to succeed Mugabe until a falling out last year. -

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Daily News online edition

            Infrastructure development can boost food output

            Date: 13-Apr, 2005

            HARARE -- Rehabilitating irrigation schemes and major dams in
Zimbabwe's arid Matabeleland South province could help ease its perennial
food shortages, experts have said.

            Over the past 10 years the cattle farming province has had its
fair share of misfortune. The government has proclaimed the region a
disaster area every year since 1998 as a result of droughts, flooding and
pestilence - including outbreaks of foot-and-mouth which led to the death of
over a million head of cattle.

            Edward Mkhosi, a former provincial land-use planner with the
Agricultural Rural Development Authority in Matabeleland South, told IRIN
that if all the derelict irrigation schemes were revived, and existing water
resources put to maximum productive use, the province could feed itself.

            He said the province has more than 16 large irrigation schemes
and many smaller ones, which had all been neglected but could be revived
with government support and handed over to communities.

            "Matabeleland South can be a successful model of mixed farming -
it is cattle ranching territory and can also do very well as a crop-farming
area through irrigation ... This would guarantee local communities' food
security, if technical guidance is provided to farmers. What is lacking is a
coherent plan," Mkhosi said.

            Following a devastating drought in 1991/92 the government was
able to build six major dams in the province, with the assistance of donor
funding between 1995 and 1998, to ensure water and food security.

            However, Mkhosi noted that some of the bigger dams, such as the
Mtshabezi and the Zhovhe, near the town of Beitbridge on the border with
South Africa, were not being used at all.

            "In Gwanda and Beitbridge, many irrigation schemes were
destroyed by floodwaters during the Cyclone Eline floods of 2000. No repairs
have been done and some water engines that were swept away by flooding have
not been replaced. Smaller schemes and nutrition (vegetable) gardens have
also been neglected due to a lack of government support," he added.

            The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, Joseph Made,
told IRIN that although government had run short of money for its cattle
restocking programme and the rehabilitation of dams and irrigation schemes,
there were new national strategies to ensure food security.

            "Rehabilitating dams, irrigation schemes and reviving the cattle
herd remains a government priority in Matabeleland South. The developments
will be done in line with a national plan for the revitalisation of local
food security initiatives, in the form of community-owned irrigation schemes
and water resources. The cattle restocking exercise will get funding very
soon," Made said.

            "As the country's prime cattle producer, Matabeleland South will
get the biggest share of that allocation,"the minister promised.

            Made explained that the cattle restocking exercise had been
hampered by a lack of funds and persistent outbreaks of foot-and-mouth and
tick-borne diseases. Since last year the country has been unable to provide
regular dipping services to communal cattle farmers because of a shortage of
dipping chemicals.

            Renson Gasela, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
shadow minister for agriculture, noted that "cattle play a leading role in
the local economy of the province".

            "Besides rearing for sale, subsistence farmers use cattle for
draught power during the farming season. So the death of livestock in such
large numbers over the past four years has left the people even more
vulnerable to famine, even when there are good rains,
because they have no draught power (for ploughing)," said Gasela.- IRIN
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Daily News online edition

      Chitepo must have turned in his grave

      Date: 13-Apr, 2005

      PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's government has committed many blunders in
the last 25 years, some of them monumental. All governments are allowed a
certain quota of blunders - it's an unwritten covenant with the electorate.

      One of this government's greatest blunders was to take the people for
granted a few years into independence. People were believed to be so
ecstatic about independence, they were not expected to say boo! to the
government. But by 2000, the people had had it.

      Still, one blunder which must have provoked the wrath of one of the
few genuine national heroes lying at the Heroes Acre was Zanu PF's decision
to put up Victoria Fikile Chitepo as their parliamentary candidate in Harare's
Glen Norah constituency.

      Wherever his spirit is today, Herbert Chitepo, the former chairman of
the party, must have cursed in uncharacteristic indelicate language at the
indignity to which this same party subjected his widow in the election. She
lost by nearly 15 000 of the 19 709 votes cast.

      Now in her 70s, the South African-born national hero's widow was
pitted against one of the most charismatic, youngest and most fiery
politicians in the land, Priscilla Misiharabwi-Mushonga of the MDC. It's
hardly likely that Mrs Chitepo herself volunteered to be humiliated. The
most logical explanation could be this: Zanu PF knew they could not win a
single seat in Harare. They knew they could not even rig a victory in
Harare, except Harare South .

      So, they relied on the Chitepo magic. But Herbert Chitepo died in
1975, 30 years ago. There are still burning questions on the identity of his
assassins in Lusaka: were they agents of the Smith regime or of his rivals
for power in Zanu?

      His role in the liberation struggle is well-documented. But there have
been attempts for a long time since independence to highlight the heroic
exploits of only one man, Robert Gabriel Mugabe. At times, even Joshua Nkomo's
part has been relegated to that of a bit player.

      Not many young people can remember what pivotal role Chitepo played in
galvanising the people against colonialism, how he gave up what could have
been a glitzy, billionaire lifestyle as a high-profile and highly-paid
advocate, to join the struggle.

      Victoria, unfortunately, may be remembered only as a former Cabinet
Minister in Mugabe's government.That cabinet, as far as many young people
can remember, has brought Zimbabwe to its present state, a state which her
husband might not have imagined possible as he set about initiating the war
of liberation from Zambia.

      Not surprisingly, Victoria Chitepo lost to Priscilla, as Zanu PF must
have known she would. Her future, nevertheless, seemed assured: she must be
destined for the Senate, which Mugabe has created.

      This nearly bankrupt government can't afford the expense of an upper
chamber of parliament. That money would be better spent on food for the
hungry millions. But Mugabe has to look after many losers.

      There are only a few seats for the Non-Constituency Members of
Parliament and Mrs Chitepo was not among those announced by Mugabe on
Monday. But she must have asked herself:why me? The answer is almost
elementary in its simplicity: a desperate party will do desperate things.

      Zanu PF is in as desperate a fix as any other party which has run out
of new ideas and will throw everything, including political weapons of mass
destruction - rigging - to win an election.

      Zanu PF is not the party it was before independence. Corruption and
greed in high places have sapped it of all credibility. Time has taken its
toll on its resilience, its integrity and its regard for ordinary people.

      During the struggle most ordinary people were regarded as party
members by virtue of being the targets of the oppressor. After independence,
most of them slowly realised party membership could be dangerous to their
health, mental and physical. It was a form of imprisonment. They had to obey
the party or be cast out, which could mean ostracism or physical violence.

      By 2000, people knew Zanu PF was as dangerous to them as people as it
was to the country. Mugabe concocted the Tony Blair bogey for the 2005
election to lure the rural people and for urban voters not sophisticated
enough to actually believe an Ian Smith could return to rule the country,
with the help of the British.

      A cleaning woman working for the Harare City Council said she was
happy Zanu PF had won. "We don't want the whites (mabhunhu) to return." She
was reminded that the council itself was previously controlled by the
opposition MDC, until Ignatius Chombo worked out a devilish plot to destroy
that control. She grunted enigmatically.

      Yet if Mugabe's ploy had convinced the rural people to vote for Zanu
PF, why was it necessary to coerce to chiefs and headmen to terrorise their
people to line up behind them at the polling stations - and vote as they

      Chief Fortune Charumbira, celebrating his election as chairman of the
House of Chiefs, denied there had been any voting hanky-panky or that the
chiefs had taken any part in it. But he would, wouldn't he? Just as Mugabe
himself would insist that the electoral playing field was as level as it is
anywhere else in the world, in Africa, in the Sadc region, even in Asia and
Latin America.

      If his critics insist that he is stretching the truth a little too
far, or is being economical with it, he would challenge them to prove it. In
court? Which is where we would all turn away in disgust. Which courts?

      The courts deal with crime. In the estimation of many neutral
observers of the human condition, politics and crime are one and the same
thing. To steal an election must be considered a "high crime", but in
Zimbabwe this sort of theft has been so refined it is not even a
misdemeanor. Herbert Chitepo, considered one of the ablest advocates in what
was then Southern Rhodesia, must be turning in his grave - not only over the
humiliation of his widow - but also over how the law, the real law of the
land, has been humiliated as well.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Chihuri taken to court

Clemence Manyukwe Senior Reporter
issue date :2005-Apr-14

SACKED senior assistant commissioner Ngonidzashe Gambiza has dragged the
Commissioner of Police, Augustine Chihuri, the Minister of Home Affairs
Kembo Mohadi and two other senior police officers to the High Court seeking
The other top cops cited in court papers are Deputy Commissioner Godwin
Matanga and Senior Assistant Commissioner Mary Masango
Gambiza, the ex-head of the Police Internal Investigations Unit,  claimed in
legal papers that he was unfairly dismissed. He argued that the verdict to
fire him from his job was based on allegations  that he had submitted a
damning report to President Robert Mugabe claiming rampant corruption in the
Criminal Investigations Department (CID)'s Vehicle Theft Squad commanded by
Assistant Commissioner Steven Mutamba.
In papers filed in the High Court last year (Case No 8856/04), Gambiza
denied the allegations levelled against him and instead claimed that his
axing from the force was as a result of " malice."
"I contend that the dismissal or discharge is illegal and has no basis in
fact, but originate from conflict between the section I headed and the CID,
especially the CID Vehicle Theft Squad (VTS) where serious corruption was
unearthed,"  Gambiza said in his affidavit.
"The respondents failed to respond appropriately. Instead they moved against
me for unearthing very damaging criminal conduct in the VTS.
Annexure F shows a sample of members of the force arrested for corruption by
the internal investigations section."
The annexure has 40 members, but does not chronicle their crimes.
Gambiza argued that the police board headed by Masango, which presided over
his case, was improperly constituted as some members were his juniors and
claimed that from the onset, the board had been mandated to fire him.He
cited an example of the police Chaplain-General, Chief Superintendent
Marowa, whom he claimed at one stage, approached him and advised him to
retire before being fired for him to receive his full benefits.
Gambiza said he flatly refused to do so.
Gambiza claimed that his clashes with CID officers started when the VTS
failed to make headway into the theft of a police vehicle, two months
earlier, which was in the custody of an officer identified only as
After instituting investigations, Gambiza asserted, the police discovered
that a known criminal was driving the vehicle, and on further probing,
"obtained very damaging details about the conduct of some police officers at
the CID VTS."
Gambiza explained that his unit had enlisted the services of a former car
thief Godfrey Chirimanyemba and they had managed to recover that vehicle and
another belonging to the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).
Gambiza further alleged that after his dismissal last year, he was forced
out of his office by violent "gun-totting Police Support Unit details."
However, in his opposing affidavit, Chihuri denied having sacked Gambiza
arguing the dismissal was in terms of the Police Act.
The police commissioner said Gambiza had also lied that he participated in
the liberation struggle, which earned him a police (bravery) medal and
subsequent promotion he would not have got.
"Furthermore, the applicant's terms of reference did not entitle him to
undertake criminal investigations. In his case, he ended up usurping the
functions of the CID particularly VTS.
"He also communicated with and improperly influenced the Director of Public
Prosecutions to decline to prosecute ex-Detective Inspector Masombo for
obstructing the course of justice," reads part of Chihuri's affidavit.
According to a memorandum confirming Gambiza's discharge from the force and
signed by Chihuri, the former top cop allegedly engaged criminals and CIO
operatives not cleared by the Director General to investigate the VTS.
The memo further stated that Gambiza deliberately disobeyed orders from his
seniors that members of his unit such as Masombo be transferred.
Instead of appearing before Masango's disciplinary board in police uniform
as required by the Police Act, but came dressed in civilian clothes. The
Civil Division of the Attorney General's Office is representing the
respondents, while Charles Warara of Warara and Partners is representing

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Public health institutions deteriorate

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Apr-14

HEALTH conditions at public health institutions continue to deteriorate with
eyesore infrastructure and perennial drugs shortages, despite claims by a
senior world health official that Zimbabwe's health system is "still the
best in Africa."
At most government hospitals, there is an urgent need for suitable equipment
and medical supplies before the whole delivery system collapses.
This unhealthy situation is exacerbated by the shrinking levels of
professional staff - from nurses and doctors to specialists - for greener
Equipment at most government hospitals are obsolete and rundown. And when
the dilapidated machinery is sent for repairs it usually take ages to return
or be replaced because of lack of funding.
Recently, the Zimbabwe Hospital Services Trust Steering Committee (ZHST)
toured Chitungwiza Central Hospital together with captains of industry in an
effort to revamp the already tottering health system.
During the tour, it also emerged that the mortuary was failing to
accommodate bodies daily.
The mortuary, with a capacity of about 30 bodies, was overcrowded. Bodies,
including those of children, were piled on the floor.
 "Our mortuary is full to capacity, as you can see.
 So we have to pile the bodies on the floor," said the Medical
Superintendent Courage Nyatsvimbo.
Chitungwiza Hospital was recently uplifted to a Central referral centre, and
serves the community of Chitungwiza, Seke and surrounding areas with a
population of about one million.
At least 6 000 patients are attended to in casualty ward daily.
Chitungwiza Central Hospital is just one typical example of other major
public health institutions in Zimbabwe operating under strenuous conditions.
The mortuary at Masvingo General Hospital has a capacity of 17 corpses, but
sometimes accommodated up to 30 bodies.
At Marondera General Hospital, rodents were reportedly devouring bodies
awaiting collection from the mortuary.
In Murehwa, relatives are given a maximum of 24hours to collect their dear
departed, and risk having the body dumped outside to create space for
The district hospital mortuary can only accommodate three bodies.
Because of shortage of professional medical personnel, most health centres
in rural areas are manned by nurse aids that have restrictions on some types
of medication thereby referring patients to bigger hospitals mainly in urban
According to the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef), the health
delivery system in Zimbabwe has been greatly affected by the HIV and Aids
pandemic, declining economic performance, political polarization,
unfavourable environmental conditions (i.e. drought), policy constraints and
limited donor funding.
Unicef's recent statistics show that since 1980, the under five-mortality
rate has risen by 50 percent, meaning one in every five children is now an
orphan resulting from HIV and Aids.
The UN body said a child dies from Aids every 15 minutes against a
background of over 100 babies becoming HIV-positive daily.
Unicef also predicted that by end this year, about 160 000 children would
have lost one or both parents.
According to the ZHST, whose sole purpose is to revamp the deteriorating
conditions of public health institutions, many health systems are facing new
challenges in different parts of the world largely due to increased pressure
on them blamed on globalisation and the consequent mass movement of people.
The committee, chaired by Lovemore Kadenge, pointed out that: "The effect of
sanctions and the withdrawal of health support agencies are making
themselves felt particularly on the most vulnerable sector of the society."
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

New farmers accused

From Shame Makoshori in Kadoma
issue date :2005-Apr-14

A NEW crop of cattle ranchers allocated plots under the fast track land
reforms are threatening the survival of farmlands in Matabeleland South due
to poor land use practices, a senior government official said on Tuesday.
Natural Resources Board (NRB) director, Mutsa Chasi, told journalists
attending an agrarian reform reporting workshop that the cattle farmers were
disturbing ecosystems and causing environmental degradation. They are not
adhering to maximum livestock carrying capacity of the plots, in a bid to
maximise production.
"There is a prescribed number of livestock that can be reared at a given
ranch depending on the size of that land, but unfortunately the new farmers
are not taking this into consideration," Chasi said.
"In Beitbridge, for instance, the land use pattern that we implemented
requires that ranchers use grazing pastures nearer to their homes in the
first half of the year, and as the season progresses, move onto distant
She added: " To show the extent of the overstocking, the rain season is not
yet over but there are already  signs showing that they are going to deplete
the whole environment."
Chasi said, such poor land use practices destroy vegetation and the
repercussions are land degradation and declining agricultural produce as
less food would be available.
Vast tracts of land are eroded in Zimbabwe every year through such
impractices with researchers saying at least five tonnes of fertile soils
are deposited into Lake Kariba annually.
Chasi said while conservative efforts to stop the anomaly had been made
through deploying staff from the Agricultural Research and Extension (Arex),
the department of livestock production and veterinary services, no legal
instruments were in place to control overstocking. The African Institute for
Agrarian Studies (AIAS) says at least 57 percent of Zimbabweans lived in
ecological regions 4 and 5 incorporating Matabeleland South before the start
of the agrarian reforms.
Due to the arid nature of the belt, which receives less than 600 millilitres
of rainfall per annum, the entire region depends on livestock ranching.
However, perennial droughts stretching over a decade and sporadic outbreaks
of diseases such as foot and mouth and anthrax have severely hit livestock
production, a situation that has led to a depleted national herd and low
volumes of beef exports.
The participants fired a broadside at the government for concentrating on
policies and framework with little practical efforts to control poor land
use practices like overstocking and gold panning.
The journalists called on the government to immediately take corrective
measures to halt land degradation.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Bulawayo embarks on water conservation campaign

From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo
issue date :2005-Apr-14

AS BULAWAYO City Council's water supply dams dwindle, the local authority
has embarked on a vigorous water conservation campaign.
The city's director of engineering services Peter Sibanda said his
department would come up with core messages and water saving tips to be used
during the campaigns.
Sibanda said at the beginning of March this year the city's dams were 4,32
percent full with about 161 million cubic metres of water. This translates
to 19 months supply at the city's current consumption rate of 145-000 daily.
"Under these circumstances we urge residents to voluntarily
 reduce water consumption so
that we may sail through to the
next rain season.  Should this
 fail (reduction in water consumption) then more stringent measures will be
employed," warned Sibanda.
The director said the year 2004/2005 had a poor rain season with Mzingwane
dam, one of the city's major supplies declared empty midway in the rain
Sibanda said although the other supplier, Lowe Ncema dam was 74,98 percent
full, water could not be extracted because of  the nature of the dam.
Constraints have been encountered at the city's other dams, Insiza and
He said Insiza dam had no boosters and low water levels affected the amount
of inflow into the water works.
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Prices of basics soar in Zim
13/04/2005 10:31  - (SA)

Harare - Prices of basic commodities have increased sharply since Zimbabwe's
March 31 legislative elections, causing panic buying and fears of a return
to widespread shortages.

Economist Dennis Nikisi told the African news service IRIN News this week
that the country's foreign currency shortages were to blame for the current
situation, because "84% of inputs in the productive sector are sourced
through foreign currency".

Prices of basic goods were capped prior to the legislative elections, with
industry agreeing not to increase prices as "that might create discontent,
especially among the urban electorate", Nikisi explained.

However, prices of basic commodities began to increase immediately after the
March 31 poll, while the availability of goods contracted.

In its latest situation report the World Food Programme (WFP) noted that
"steep price increases in all basic commodities, and a severe shortage of
fuel and maize meal products [have been] reported".

The report also noted that "the price of some commodities has increased by
over 100%, while the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) [the state monopoly buyer]
is reported to be holding urgent consultations over the shortage of maize

When available, the price of maize per kilogram ranges from the equivalent
of US$0.27-$0.38, which is "well above the casual daily wage equivalent of

In order to maintain tighter control over foreign currency, the Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe has adopted a foreign currency auction system.

It involves the bi-weekly auctioning of foreign currency to the foreign
exchange market through the Reserve Bank.

Zimbabwe's inflation rate fell to just under 130% in February from a peak of
620% in January 2004. - IRIN News

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