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

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From Business Day (SA), 16 April

Zimbabwe may become newest 'collapsed state'

International Affairs Editor

A report from a Washington-based think tank, the Centre for Security and
International Studies (CSIS), released earlier this week says Zimbabwe may
become the world's newest collapsed state. The report says that in a
worst-case scenario SA may have to intervene militarily to restore order. It
says the worsening situation presents an opportunity for SA and other key
African governments, the western powers, as well as the United Nations, to
put aside past differences and put new energy into the search for a
settlement. "The African Union (AU) is best positioned to spearhead a
negotiating effort, if the SA government is prepared to provide strong and
impartial leadership, and if the AU effort is backed by substantial
international diplomatic and financial resources targeted to push the
policies towards political compromise."

However, it is the Southern African Development Community (SADC) that is
engaging Zimbabwe through a task force, rather than the AU. At the weekend
President Thabo Mbeki told African newspaper editors that the AU had not
come up with a position on Zimbabwe. The visit of the US Assistant Secretary
of State for African Affairs, Walter Kansteiner, to Botswana and SA could be
an attempt to lobby for Zimbabwe to receive attention at the AU meeting in
Maputo in early July. Among the reports' authors are two senior Africa
policy figures in the administration of President Bill Clinton, Stephen
Morrison, who heads the CSIS Africa programme, and John Pendergast, a
co-director of the Africa programme of the International Crisis Group, which
monitors world trouble spots. The other authors are Jennifer Cooke of the
CSIS and Jessica Bowers of the International Crisis Group. With major
military operations completed in Iraq, the US is under pressure to show that
other trouble spots also have its attention. The Palestinians and the
Israelis could soon come under pressure to start talks and as part of this
wider global push, Zimbabwe is likely to receive more intense attention from

The European Union has also shown interest in playing a mediating role in
Zimbabwe, so it is unlikely that the US would play this role alone. In
addition the Commonwealth could still play a potential role, particularly in
view of the report of its secretary general, Donald McKinnon, on the lack of
progress Harare has made on the grounds on which it was suspended from the
body. But the report says the US could still be distracted by reconstruction
in Iraq and Afghanistan and be unwilling to devote sustained attention to
Zimbabwe. It also says the US will need to overcome its own doubts that SADC
member countries are willing to look at a post-Mugabe future. The report
says the window for concerted action is increased by growing global
agreement on the nature of the crisis and its implications. "African
leaders, who in the past may have been loath to condemn President Robert
Mugabe's motives, can no longer fail to acknowledge his policies' disastrous
effects," it says. Adding to the space for a new diplomatic initiative, says
the report, is that SA's policy "appears to be quietly shifting". The
authors note President Thabo Mbeki's statement earlier this month in
Parliament that SA, "would not agree with actions that deny the rights of
Zimbabweans the opportunity to protest peacefully". Space for a settlement
is also being created by a shift in opinion by some in the ruling Zanu (PF)
party. Economic disintegration, diminishing opportunities for enrichment,
and ever more objectionable forms of violence are increasing scepticism
about policies, it says.
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MDC Press
16 April 2003

Mugabe's Fuel Hike Piles on the Misery for Ordinary Zimbabweans

Last night, Mugabe's Minister for Energy, Amos Midzi, announced that the retail price of petrol would go up 209.9% to Z$ 450.

This is an astronomical rise, and comes just two months after a previous hike of 95%. Given the parlous state of the economy and the spiralling rate of inflation, Zimbabweans are likely to suffer similar price increases in the not too distant future.

This increase also means that the price of every conceivable commodity in Zimbabwe will sky rocket as all producers who manufacture such essential goods as food and clothing also use fuel. Their overhead costs will also increase due to higher transport costs.

In real terms this increase means that for those vehicles which have 60litre tanks the cost of fuel rises from $8520 to $27 000. This is way above the net salary of a majority of ordinary Zimbabweans. Members of parliament earn an average net salary of $60 000. This astronomical increase means that MPs can only afford two tanks of fuel each month and nothing else. No food, no clothing and no rentals. It means that a trip to Bulawayo by car will now cost well over $60 000.

Those who travel by bus are likely to pay $15 000 one-way, well beyond the net salaries of ordinary Zimbabweans.

This increase is criminal when we consider the salary and incomes levels of the majority of the people of Zimbabwe. It proves beyond reasonable doubt that the Mugabe regime does not care about the plight of the people.

"Zanu PF lacks both the political will as well as the policy solutions to tackle the fuel crisis. In fact this unprecedented rise in the price of petrol is symptomatic of a dying and desperate regime. Their policy failures are now ubiquitous. Yet again Mugabe and Zanu PF have reneged on their promises to the people of Zimbabwe. Before February 2003 the regime claimed that the price of fuel would be kept at affordable levels. Everyone knew that the continued flagrant mismanagement of the economy would preclude the regime from keeping this promise.

The harsh reality of politically induced economic failure is becoming more and more pervasive. The latest fuel hike will mean thousands more Zimbabweans will be forced to go without food and travel by foot, adding another level of sufferance to their daily grind.

Only a restoration of democracy can arrest Zimbabwe's economic decline. The longer Mugabe and Zanu PF are at the helm in Zimbabwe the more prolonged the suffering of our beleaguered people.

Despite the inevitable hardships that will be caused by the fuel hike, Zimbabweans can take comfort from the fact that change is coming. The desire of Zimbabweans to bring an end to a daily life of misery is an unstoppable process. The successful stay away of 18/19 March demonstrated that Zimbabweans have had enough. The fuel hike will simply serve to accelerate the collapse of the Mugabe regime."

All Zimbabweans need to know that it is time to unite and reclaim their sovereignty. Collective lawful democratic mass action will be called soon, everyone needs to play their part to win back the independence of our country and secure the future for our children," said MDC Secretary General, Professor Welshman Ncube.

Notes to Editors:

  1. Zimbabwe has been in the grip of an escalating fuel crisis for the past two years
  2. In December 2002 Mugabe promised a Zanu PF congress in Chinhoyi that he would seriously address the fuel crisis
  3. In September 2002, the state-controlled 'Herald' announced a US$360 million oil deal with Libya. The announcement was to prove to be premature as the deal collapsed due to the inability of the Mugabe regime to honour existing debts.
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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Letter 1: From WF-AFRICA Digest

On Zimbabwe, a continuing thorn in the side of U.S. policymakers, the
official said its neighbours are finally beginning to realize "this is not
going well," and they are beginning to look at "the downside of giving aid
and protection" to Mugabe's tyrannical regime.  With the opposition MDC
movement "under incredible of its members of
Parliament have been beaten and tortured," he said, the goal of the U.S.
Government continues to be to push strongly for "supervised free and fair


Letter 2: From a Professor at the University of Zimbabwe

Justice should be done.  Surely God is for all.


All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.

Justice for Agriculture mailing list
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Fuel Hike Will Lead to Further Economic Decline

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

April 16, 2003
Posted to the web April 16, 2003


The latest fuel price hikes in Zimbabwe will badly affect consumers and
companies already struggling to keep their heads above water, warned local
economist John Robertson.

Robertson told IRIN that the fuel price increase had come at a time when
inflation had climbed to 228 percent and the country was experiencing power

Zimbabwe is suffering a serious foreign currency shortage, which has in turn
translated into serious fuel and electricity shortages. These have combined
to raise inflation and production costs.

The official The Herald newspaper reported that the pump price of petrol
"went up to Zim $450 [about US 55 cents at the de facto rate of exchange]
per litre and diesel rose to Zim $200 [US 24 cents] per litre with effect
from midnight" on Tuesday.

It quoted the minister of energy and power development, Amos Midzi, as
saying that "it will take a while for the impact of the increases to be
felt. But with these prices, I expect that with good management and
efficiency, Noczim [the state petroleum supplier] should be able to improve
the supply situation of fuel".

According to The Herald, Midzi said inflationary pressures had pushed up
fuel pipeline costs, such as transportation and storage, resulting in Noczim
selling fuel products at below procurement costs.

However, Robertson said the impact of the fuel price hikes, when fuel was
already in very short supply, would have a disastrous impact on the economy
and the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans.

"Everybody will be affected. We will be in a very serious predicament in
terms of moving production goods, getting food delivered and moving coal,
timber and heavy commodities to the factories. So, we will have a very
serious shrinkage in the volume of business being done.

"Coupled with this is the fact that we're now experiencing power cuts
because South Africa's [power parastatal] Eskom is getting very serious
about being paid, we owe them so much money [and lack the foreign currency
to pay the debt]," Robertson said.

He added that because of the energy crisis in Zimbabwe "we expect to see
worsening shortages of consumer goods in the shops and shortages of export
goods". This would further aggravate the foreign currency shortage in the

The economic problems could not be fixed without solving the political
problems besetting the country, Robertson noted.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said the latest fuel
price increase was a 209.9 percent rise "just two months after a previous
hike of 95 percent".

"In real terms this increase means that for those vehicles which have 60
litre tanks the cost of fuel rises from Zim $8,520 to Zim $27,000. This is
way above the net salary of a majority of ordinary Zimbabweans. Members of
parliament earn an average net salary of Zim $60,000," the MDC said in a

"This astronomical increase means that MPs can only afford two tanks of fuel
each month and nothing else. No food, no clothing and no rentals. It means
that a trip to [the second city] Bulawayo by car will now cost well over Zim
$60,000," the MDC added.

The party added that those who travel by bus were likely to pay Zim $15,000
(about US $280) one-way, "well beyond the net salaries of ordinary
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      Zimbabwe maize harvest could be 'nearly enough'
      April 16, 2003

      By Sapa-AFP

      Harare - Zimbabwe, rated as the worst off among six southern African
countries affected by famine since last year, could produce nearly enough of
the staple grain maize to feed all its 11.6 million people, a regional food
security agency has said.

      According to preliminary estimated harvest figures contained in a
monthly food security report by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network
(FEWSNET), the current season's maize, or corn, production should be 1.289
million tons.

      "This represents about 90 percent of five-year average production and
close to a 160-percent increase over the 2001/02 seasons's harvest," said
FEWSNET in its latest monthly food security update report.

      FEWSNET had predicted earlier that this year that maize production
could fall as much as 77 percent below the recent five-year average.

      The UN said a food security assessment survey is under way in Zimbabwe
and a full report will be made available next month and "form the basis of
any future appeals to donors".

      The World Food Programme said if the FEWSNET figures were accurate it
will mean that most areas will have enough food to last them for up to nine
months, but there would still be patches of famine.

      "There might not be a significant role for aid this year," said WFP
spokesman Luis Clemens .

      Until this month, maize supplies have been erratic and inadequate and,
where the staple grain has been available, it has been expensive, leaving at
least two-thirds of the population of nearly 12 million in a situation of
food insecurity.

      The famine that has stalked six countries in southern Africa has been
caused primarily by severe drought, but Zimbabwe's case was worsened by
President Robert Mugabe's chaotic and sometimes violent land reform
programme launched in early 2000.

      Under the reforms, land was taken from white farmers and redistributed
to landless blacks.

      But Mugabe himself admitted that all was not well with the exercise at
his ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party
annual conference in December.

      He said that some of the new black farmers to whom formerly
white-owned land had been allocated are still to take up the land and that
there were claims and counterclaims for other pieces of land.

      The resultant reduction of hectarage under maize was, experts have
said, bound to affect the harvest even if sufficient rain falls. - Sapa-AFP
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Go to hell, Mugabe tells Bush

      April 16 2003 at 09:44AM

      By Basildon Peta

President Robert Mugabe's ruling party has told the United States to "go to
hell" over its statement that Mugabe should step down and hand over power to
a transitional government pending new elections.

Zanu-PF said it was the US that should have a transitional government and
new elections because George Bush "was not elected".

"Instead of shouting instructions for Mugabe to step down, it's the
Americans themselves who need a transitional government to hold fresh
elections and replace the unelected Bush," said Zanu-PF information
secretary Nathan Shamuyarira.

"If the Americans don't want to accept our legitimacy, it is their own
problem. They can go to hell. There will be no new elections here."

      'He (Mugabe) stole the last one; we can't let that happen again'
Reports from Washington quoted the State Department as urging Zimbabwe's
neighbours to step up pressure on Mugabe to hand over power to a
transitional government, paving the way for new elections.

"What we're telling them is there has to be a transitional government in
Zimbabwe that leads to a free and fair, internationally supervised
election," a senior official was quoted as saying.

"That is the goal. He (Mugabe) stole the last one; we can't let that happen
again," said the unnamed official. "It has to be internationally supervised,
open, transparent, with an electoral commission that works."

He would not say whether Washington had received positive reactions to its
call, but said generally southern African neighbours were increasingly aware
of the problems posed by Mugabe's rule.

"The neighbourhood - meaning southern Africa - is realising that this is not
going well, this is breaking bad," said the official. "The food situation is
going to get nothing but worse, the economic scene is disastrous."

The official noted that Zimbabwe's economy was crippled by hyperinflation
and an unemployment rate of 80 percent and Zimbabweans were fleeing in
droves to become refugees in Botswana, Mozambique and South Africa.

In addition, the situation was hurting the economies of other countries in
the region, as potential investors steered clear.

"The neighbourhood is starting to realise that there is a downside to giving
aid and protection to Comrade Bob," said the official.

"There is stuff happening, there is stuff happening behind the scenes," the
official added, declining to elaborate.

But Shamuyarira said America's urging of Mugabe to quit was unacceptable.
The next parliamentary elections in Zimbabwe would be in 2005, followed by a
presidential election in 2008.

Any notion of bringing forward these dates would not see the light of day.

Shamuyarira said the only way to resolve the crisis was for the US and
European Union to accept the results of last year's
presidential election and "work with President Mugabe's elected government".

The elections had been recognised as free and fair by African and Southern
African Development Community observers.

"The only group that flatly refused to acknowledge the election was the
European Union. We refused to be bound by the EU's racist position.

Shamuyarira said: "If the Americans want to follow the EU, then it's their

The US Assistant Secretary for African affairs, Walter Kansteiner, is
visiting Botswana and South Africa later this month, partly to discuss the
situation in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe has failed to respond to appeals for reform from the
Commonwealth and its situation has worsened since suspension, says an
internal report by secretary-general Don McKinnon, leaked in London.

 This article was originally published on page 1 of The Cape Argus on
16 April 2003
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Massive Gas Price Hike in Zimbabwe Sparks Calls for General Strike
Peta Thornycroft
16 Apr 2003, 15:54 UTC

In Zimbabwe, a massive hike in the price of gasoline Wednesday has brought
calls from the political opposition for an immediate and indefinite general

Energy minister Amos Midzi announced a 209 percent increase in the price of
petrol late Tuesday. It is the second increase in fuel prices since
February, when the government doubled the price of fuel.

A liter of gasoline now costs $8.18 while diesel costs $3.64 a liter at the
official exchange rate of 55 Zimbabwe dollars to one U.S. dollar. Some
workers say it will now cost them more to get to work than they earn in

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change has denounced the increase and
warned of more strikes. The secretary-general of the MDC, Welshman Ncube,
said the increase was an open invitation for the people of Zimbabwe to take
the route of mass action against a government that does not deserve to
continue a day longer than necessary.

Last month the MDC called a two-day national strike that paralyzed commerce
and industry. The opposition said the strike was a call for reforms, to ease
growing repression and violence against its supporters.

Many workers said the opposition should call an indefinite strike
immediately in protest against the increase in the price of fuel and the
rate of inflation, which has now soared to 228 percent.

While urban commuters are reeling from the increase in fuel, industrialists
say they are struggling to keep their factories going, as cuts in
electricity have reduced their working days by half. The cuts have
aggravated the country's unemployment problem, with around 70 percent of
workers unemployed.
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FAO to Assess Food, Crop Situation

The Daily News (Harare)

April 16, 2003
Posted to the web April 16, 2003

Business Reporter

THE Food and Agriculture Organisation will assess the crop and food
situation locally amid indications that famine could spill over into 2004.

The assessment would be done in conjunction with the World Food Programme.

An official with FAO said: "We will begin a two-week assessment of crop
production prospects for the 2002/2003 farming season from 22 April."

The objective is to establish crop production levels and identify supply

"What we know is that Zimbabwe had a sub-normal season resulting in a below
normal rainfall pattern and that is a cause for concern," the official said.

Crop production was also affected by the haphazard land reform exercise.

At least seven million people are facing starvation and hunger-related
deaths have been reported in Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces.

In its April newsletter, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network said two
thirds of Zimbabwe's population would require food assistance.

Fewsnet said the cereal gap for the 2003/2004 period would be 561 189
tonnes, down from 1,4 million tonnes in the previous year.

Fewsnet said: "In some parts of Masvingo, Manicaland and Mashonaland
provinces, the meagre harvests from early planted cereal, groundnuts,
cowpeas, pumpkins and squash are complementing food aid in a marked way,
thereby further improving food availability.

"However, the food security situation continues to worsen in most rural
areas in the southern districts."
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      CIO quiz ZUPCO boss

      By Luke Tamborinyoka News Editor
      4/17/03 9:22:56 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), the country's premier spy
agency, has quizzed Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) chief
executive Bright Matonga about a controversial US$25 million deal to procure
50 buses for the state-owned firm, the Financial Gazette has established.

      Sources close to the CIO investigation said the spy agency was looking
into the circumstances surrounding ZUPCO's purchase of buses from Pioneer
Motor Company (PMC), the local franchise holder for South Africa's Scania.

      They said the state security agency was probing why only 32 of the
buses had been delivered to ZUPCO and the rest withheld for non-payment when
Treasury had disbursed $2.5 billion for the acquisition.

      According to information made available to this newspaper, the CIO
wanted the ZUPCO boss to reply to various allegations levelled against him
following revelations that the company had also bought the buses at $90
million each when the market value was $24 million.

      It was not possible to secure comment from Matonga on the matter this
week. The ZUPCO chief executive yesterday switched off his cell phone soon
after this reporter had introduced himself as a journalist working for the
Financial Gazette.

      The company's spokesman, Richard Mlambo, initially promised to respond
to several allegations against the company's top brass, but eventually said
he had forwarded all questions to Matonga.

      The ZUPCO boss was said to be in a meeting late yesterday.

      However sources said ZUPCO had indicated to President Robert Mugabe's
office that it had a large fleet to service urban commuters when in fact it
had only 32 buses, resulting in the CIO's involvement in the matter.

      The National Economic Conduct Inspectorate and the State Procurement
Board have already begun their own investigations into how ZUPCO awarded the
US$25 million bus contract to Pioneer Motor Corporation without going to

      "Matonga is being quizzed by the President's Office because Mugabe
thought that ZUPCO had a large fleet that would win over the urban
electorate, which mainly supports the Movement for Democratic Change," a
source who spoke on condition of anonymity said.

      "But he was obviously disappointed to learn that there was no such
large fleet to win the minds of thousands of commuters who spend productive
time in transport queues," the source told the Financial Gazette.

      He said CIO officers had already carried out several interviews with
senior personnel at the parastatal.

      Information at hand shows that the company has a large loan with
Metropolitan Bank, that requires the cash-strapped transport utility to pay
close to $400 million per annum in interest.

      It has also been established that a local supplier, Gift Investments,
could have supplied 50 buses to ZUPCO at only $9 million each for a
30-seater minibus, which would have saved the company about $72 million on
each of the 65-seater buses it bought through PMC.

      ZUPCO insiders said the CIO was also investigation allegations that
senior staff had been allowed to prejudice the troubled parastatal of
millions of dollars.

      The company is believed to have been prejudiced of $1.6 million when a
vehicle for a senior member of staff was repaired for $1.7 million when a
low quotation of $167 900 had been received.

      In February, Matonga and two other senior members of staff also
allegedly travelled to Malaysia on a trip company insiders suspect was meant
to facilitate the trio to obtain allowances in foreign currency.

      It is also alleged that on August 2 last year, Matonga used ZUPCO
money to pay $123 000 to a service provider for a cell phone bill incurred
before he joined the transport company.

      ZUPCO insiders said the parastatal's chief executive and other senior
officials made several trips to Zambia and received hefty allowances in
foreign currency.

      They allegedly instructed a company employee based in Lusaka,
identified as Mr Mudimu, to collect revenue for all ZUPCO buses plying that
route and pay it to an unnamed Zambian until a total of 12 million kwacha
was paid.

      "We obviously don't know what the money was used for, but such
behaviour, especially by senior staff, exposes the company's control systems
and allows cross border crews to embezzle cash," a source said.

      He added that ZUPCO also continued to use Edlan Security, owned by
Harare City Council security officer Joseph Chinotimba, even though tenders
had already been floated and another local security company had won the

      It is also understood that when the government held a public launch of
the ZUPCO fleet, the company subcontracted two companies, Team Trans
Services and East 24, to provide services to the function in a deal in which
the transport utility was allegedly prejudiced of almost $1.5 million.

      ZUPCO insiders said apart from Matonga, several managers at the
company had also been quizzed by the CIO over the allegations.

      It was not clear when the CIO investigation would be concluded and
what action would be taken against those found guilty.
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      Breakdown at colliery worsens power crisis

      Staff Reporters
      4/17/03 9:26:28 AM (GMT +2)

      A BREAKdown at Zimbabwe's sole coal producer, the Wankie Colliery
Company, this week worsened electricity shortages at a time some
manufacturers have been forced to cut production by 50 percent and are
anticipating operating costs to shoot up because of a steep fuel price

      Industrialists said the company, already operating below capacity
because of foreign currency shortages, experienced a breakdown on Monday
that sources within Wankie told the Financial Gazette had only been
rectified yesterday.

      Sources said the breakdown, the result of a technical fault, led to a
power blackout that affected Hwange and much of Matabeleland North as well
as parts of Bulawayo central.

      The breakdown also affected coal supplies to the Zimbabwe Electricity
Supply Authority (ZESA)'s main power generating plant, the Hwange Power
Station, the sources said, adding that the reduction in coal supplies and
the power blackout worsened electricity shortages resulting from ZESA's load

      ZESA, which imports electricity from the region and has been adversely
affected by severe hard cash shortages, began load shedding two weeks ago.

      "We had an involuntary breakdown from Wankie Colliery on Monday, which
really worsened everything," Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries acting
chief executive Farai Zizhou told the Financial Gazette.

      "To date, about 70 percent of Bulawayo has no power," he said.

      He said as a defensive measure, Bulawayo manufacturers had proposed a
"budgeting system" under which some companies would commit themselves to not
using electricity at certain times of the day.

      They would then resume production after some hours had elapsed.

      Industrialists this week said power rationing had hit manufacturers
very hard, with affected companies including the manufacturing divisions of
Delta Beverages, the Cold Storage Company, Willowvale Mazda Motor
Industries, Cochrane Engineering, Dimon Zimbabwe, Imperial Refrigeration and
Deven Motors.

      Many companies have been forced to work half days because of the power
shortages and others are said to have cut production by at least half, which
would worsen commodity shortages resulting from price controls and a decline
in agricultural output.

      Manufacturing output has also slumped because of foreign currency,
fuel and raw material shortages.

      Analysts say continued low production could ultimately force
manufacturers to lay off workers, increasing unemployment that is already
estimated at more than 60 percent.

      Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce chief economist James Jowa said:
"Right now industry is operating at around 30 percent of normal production
because of all these problems and the government does not seem to have a
solution to that."

      Zizhou said it was not possible yet to indicate how much money
companies had lost because of load shedding in the past two weeks, but that
some firms had suffered "gigantic losses".

      A senior economist with Zimbabwe Financial Holdings, Best Doroh,
added: "The economy is already reeling under a heavily adverse negative
macroeconomic environment and this will lead to reduced national output."

      Analysts said the impact of load shedding on local companies would be
compounded by the sharp increase in the price of fuel this week, which would
push up companies' operating costs and put pressure on prices and on

      The government on Tuesday increased fuel prices by between 68 percent
and 309 percent in an attempt to bring the cost of petrol and diesel in
Zimbabwe in line with other countries in the region.

      Economists said the fuel price hike could force inflation, which rose
228 percent in the year to March, up to around 400 percent by year-end. The
International Monetary Fund has however projected that inflation will reach
500 percent before the end of 2003.

      Transport is among the costs that are expected to rise because of this
week's fuel price hike, which has already forced some public transporters to
increase commuter fares.

      Transport costs for some workers have trebled from $6 000 a month to
around $18 000, which commentators said could put employers under pressure
to review workers' transport allowances.

      "It (fuel hike) is an increase that has a downstream effect on
commuters and companies," Kingdom Financial Holdings economist Witness
Chinyama told the Financial Gazette.

      "For companies it is actually worse because they also have to take
into account the effects of load shedding," he said.

      With price controls preventing manufacturers from recouping operating
costs that will escalate because of the fuel price hike, many might be
forced to further cut back on production, threatening their viability, the
analysts said.

      Economic consultant John Robertson said: "What all this means to the
economy is no tax profits and a reduction of sales tax, with the government
incurring the greatest losses.

      "But on another level, I see the opposition taking advantage of the
current situation to put more political pressure on the government."

      The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which last month
organised a two-day job stayaway that shut down most of industry, has said
it will go ahead with mass protests after the government rejected demands
for a negotiated political settlement.

      The protests, which are expected to include marches to President
Robert Mugabe's offices and residence, are supposed to press for a
resolution of Zimbabwe's political and economic crises.

      MDC shadow minister for finance Tapiwa Mashakada yesterday told
journalists that the government had no strategy to revive Zimbabwe's economy
and was experiencing a serious energy crisis as a result.

      He said: "If a country has no coherent energy policy to supply its
domestic and industrial sectors, then that government has failed."
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      Cabinet reshuffle expected soon

      Staff Reporter
      4/17/03 9:23:28 AM (GMT +2)

      A RESHUFFLING of Cabinet posts is expected in the next few weeks as
President Robert Mugabe makes new appointments to fill positions that have
been left vacant in the past month, senior government officials said this

      They said the President was expected to make appointments to the posts
of chief secretary to the Cabinet, attorney-general and Higher Education

      State Enterprises Minister Paul Mangwana is tipped to be moved to the
Attorney-General's Office after the retirement of Attorney-General Andrew
Chigovera last week, the officials told the Financial Gazette.

      Deputy Attorney-General Bharat Patel is also a top contender for the
same post.

      The officials said Transport and Communications Minister Witness
Magwende was expected to move to the Higher and Tertiary Education Ministry
to fill the vacancy left by the late Swithun Mombeshora.

      Mutare South Member of Parliament Christopher Mushowe, presently the
deputy minister of Transport and Communications, could be elevated to
replace Mangwende.

      "There is indeed going to be a reshuffle shortly to fill in the gaps
that are there and to make key appointments in the civil service which have
arisen due to retirements," a ZANU PF Politburo member close to the exercise
told the Financial Gazette.

      It was not possible to secure comment from Information and Publicity
Minister Jonathan Moyo and his permanent secretary George Charamba, who were
said to be in meetings yesterday.

      ZANU PF information and publicity secretary Nathan Shamuyarira however
said he was not aware of an imminent reshuffling of Cabinet posts.

      "I am not aware of a reshuffle, in any case, the President has the
right and it's his prerogative to make any changes to the Cabinet that he
deems necessary," Shamuyarira said.

      However, ruling party officials said they expected Mugabe to name
either Foreign Affairs permanent secretary Willard Chiwewe or Head of
Administration in the President's Office Misheck Sibanda as chief secretary
to Cabinet.

      The post was left vacant by Charles Utete, who retired this month.

      They said there were also plans to elevate Speaker of Parliament
Emmerson Mnangagwa and Special Affairs Minister John Nkomo to co-vice
presidents later this year.

      The move has been prompted by renewed calls by Vice President Simon
Muzenda to be allowed to retire, the ZANU PF officials said.

      Muzenda has just returned from China, where he had travelled for
medical treatment for an undisclosed ailment.

      The sources said parallel to the planned Cabinet appointments were
plans to appoint provincial governors for Harare and Bulawayo as well as
Mashonaland Central.

      Mashonaland Central, a ZANU PF stronghold, has been without a
substantive governor for the past two years.

      Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri is tipped for the post, the
sources said.
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      Govt hampers food aid plans

      Staff Reporter
      4/17/03 9:24:02 AM (GMT +2)

      DELAYS by the government in announcing how much food Zimbabwe will
harvest this year could hamper efforts to mobilise humanitarian aid for the
country, international donor groups and foreign diplomats in Harare said
this week.

      Relief agencies said while ongoing food programmes for Zimbabwe were
ending at the end of this month as planned, they could not plan for the next
relief effort until the government provided information on what it required.

      "Everybody is waiting for information," a United States Agency for
International Development official told the Financial Gazette yesterday.

      "It's getting late and we need to plan now, but it's difficult to do
so if there are various figures flying all over as is happening now," the
official added.

      Agriculture Minister Joseph Made could not be reached for comment on
the matter. Made has in the past indicated that his ministry was still
studying this year's crop to determine potential output.

      But sources at the Agriculture Ministry's crop forecasting department
said delays in announcing expected production output were because of
disagreement between their department and some senior government politicians
who wanted the department to put maize production this year at more than 1.2
million tonnes.

      They said this was because the government wanted to justify its
controversial land reforms by showing that production had not fallen since
the farm seizures that began in 2000, but that it had in fact picked up from
the about 500 000 of maize produced last year.

      "They want us to tell the world that maize production this year will
be between 1.2 million to 1.5 million tonnes," said an official, who spoke
on condition he was not named.

      A harvest in the region of 1.2 million or more would leave Zimbabwe
with a maize deficit of around 500 000 tonnes, much lower than the 1.4
million tonne deficit last season.

      The country consumes between 1.5 million to 1.8 milion tonnes of maize

      In its latest crop forecast, the United States-based Famine Early
Warning System Network (FEWSNET) has projected that Zimbabwe's maize output
could be around 1 289 000 tonnes.

      But aid agencies told the Financial Gazette that field officers on the
ground were reporting that some families would produce enough for
consumption but that the majority would harvest enough to last one month to
three months at the most.

      A senior official with a United Nations (UN) food agency said:
"Production this year is no doubt better than last year, but still there
will be a lot of people requiring aid. In fact, the FEWSNET figure of 1.2
million tonnes of maize is viewed by many as much higher than what will
actually be harvested."

      A Commercial Farmers' Union official, who declined to be named, said
according to the organisation's surveys, maize output this year would be
around 800 000 tonnes.

      Aid agency officials warned that continued delays in announcing
Zimbabwe's food relief requirements or underplaying the food deficit would
only hinder the international community's capacity to help Zimbabwe.

      The government last year refused until the last minute that the
country faced a serious food shortage, even after a survey by the UN's World
Food Programme (WFP) showed Zimbabwe faced starvation.

      The WFP this week said it would next week begin surveying Zimbabwe's
food aid requirements and that the study would be complete at the end of the
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      ZANU PF quizzes business over stayaway

      Staff Reporter
      4/17/03 9:24:39 AM (GMT +2)

      THE ruling ZANU PF party summoned business leaders to read them the
riot act over what it said was their backing for the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC)-organised job stayaway last month, it emerged this

      Sources privy to the discussions said representatives of industry and
bankers were called to the ZANU PF headquarters, where officials of the
ruling party's Harare province quizzed them about why they had closed their
companies during the two-day stayaway.

      The stayaway, called to press for resolution of Zimbabwe's economic
and political crises, last month shut down most of business across the

      Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Anthony Mandiwanza
yesterday confirmed that business had met with ZANU PF officials but
insisted they met the ruling party for ordinary consultations only.

      He said: "The truth of the matter is that we get consulted as business
from a broad spectrum of people. As business leaders, we have an obligation
to inform when we have been asked.

      "ZANU PF invited us for consultations only. Further than that, I will
not comment on the matter."

      Bankers' Association of Zimbabwe president Washington Matsaira, whose
organisation also attended the meeting at ZANU PF's Rotten Row headquarters
added: "It is not correct to say that we were singled out to meet with ZANU

      "The Bankers' Association of Zimbabwe, along with other business
institutions like Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, were involved in
consultations with a range of organisations who were keen to communicate
their views on important issues affecting the economy."

      He said: "We cannot discuss the contents of any such conversations as
this would be a clear breach of the confidentiality expected of the banking
sector. All we can confirm is that our consultations with all the various
stakeholders in our economy have been amicable at all times."

      ZANU PF information secretary Nathan Shamuyarira yesterday refused to
comment on the meeting between business and the party.

      The two-day MDC-organised stayaway, which virtually shut down industry
and commerce across the country, was the biggest protest against President
Robert Mugabe's rule since he controversially won a presidential election
last year.

      The opposition party has threatened to call for further protests
unless Mugabe bows down to a list of demands, among them that he calls a
fresh presidential poll.
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      Mayor flees Town House

      Staff Reporter
      4/17/03 9:25:14 AM (GMT +2)

      HARARE Executive Mayor Elias Mudzuri and other Harare City Council
staff yesterday fled Town House after being alerted of a planned
demonstration by ruling ZANU PF supporters.

      The ZANU PF activists, said to be from Mbare, allegedly forced vendors
and travellers bound for their rural homes to march with them to Town House,
the second time this has happened this month.

      Town House was closed from mid-morning yesterday to the end of
business after workers fled because they had been warned that a violent
group of ruling party supporters was marching towards the mayor's office.

      The group passed through Town House before joining their colleagues at
the offices of Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo, where they are
said to have sung songs denouncing Mudzuri.

      Mudzuri told the Financial Gazette that the group, which expected to
be addressed by Chombo, included President Robert Mugabe's sister Sabina.

      There was no comment from Sabina Mugabe, whose cell phone was
yesterday answered by a woman who refused this reporter permission to talk
to her.

      The woman however said Mugabe was "too old to do such a silly thing".

      Mudzuri said he had not been able to do any work yesterday because of
the protesters, who he said were being used as part of a plot by Chombo to
oust him.

      The opposition Movement for Democratic Change mayor has clashed with
Chombo several times since he was elected in 2002 and says the minister is
trying to remove him from his post.

      He told the Financial Gazette: "We are told Sabina was leading a group
of demonstrators who were singing that they are tired of me. Her
constituency is in Zvimba and I don't know what she was doing here in

      He said the ruling party supporters were said to have protested Chombo
's delay in removing the Harare mayor from office.

      There was no comment from Chombo, whose secretary yesterday said he
was in meetings.
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      3 killed, 94 assaulted in political violence

      Staff Reporter
      4/17/03 9:27:02 AM (GMT +2)

      THREE people were killed and 94 assaulted in politically motivated
violence between January and March, according to the latest report from the
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (ZHRF).

      The ZHRF, which groups non-governmental organisations working in the
field of human rights, said it had also received reports of 11 cases of
abduction, 131 of political intimidation and 164 of violation of freedom of
expression and movement.

      About 76 cases of people being displaced from their homes by political
violence were also reported in the period under review.

      The report said 159 people were also tortured in March, with cases of
torture rising from 16 in January and February.

      There were also 260 cases of unlawful arrest in the period under
review, with 103 of them reported last month alone.

      The report said most of the victims of political violence were
supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), with most
of the perpetrators said to be ruling ZANU PF activists and state security

      The government has however denied the involvement of the police, army
and Central Intelligence Organisation in political violence.

      The ZHRF report attributed the sharp rise in political violence cases
in March to the job stayaway called by the opposition MDC last month and the
by-elections held in Kuwadzana and Highfield at the end of March.

      "Disturbing incidents of violence and gross human rights violations
have been documented in the month of March, indicative that the human-rights
situation in Zimbabwe is deteriorating critically," the report said.

      "The bulk of these incidents surrounded two events: the mass stayaway
from 18 to 19 March and the two parliamentary by-elections in Highfield and
Kuwadzana constituencies in Harare."

      The two-day mass stayaway closed down most of industry, while the MDC
won the Highfield and Kuwadzana by-elections, which were followed by an
upsurge in political violence against MDC supporters in Harare's
high-density suburbs.

      The opposition has blamed the violence on members of the Zimbabwe
National Army (ZNA), allegations that the ZNA denies.

      Last week, the army said it had arrested 27 deserters who were
responsible for the human rights abuses.
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      Zimbabwe to have new independent Sunday newspaper

      4/17/03 9:28:02 AM (GMT +2)

      JOHANNESBURG - Owners of Zimbabwe's privately-owned Daily News - which
is highly critical of President Robert Mugabe's government - are to launch a
Sunday newspaper next month, a major shareholder said on yesterday.

      Strive Masiyiwa, founder of telecoms group Econet Holdings in Zimbabwe
and its Johannesburg-based sister company Econet Wireless International,
said: "We are now ready and the Sunday newspaper will come off the press
next month."

      The Daily News, owned by the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe in
which Masiyiwa is a shareholder, has emerged as one of the most critical
voices against Mugabe's leadership.

      But the paper denies that it is a mouthpiece for the main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change.

      "We need a professionally run independent weekly newspaper which can
act as an alternative voice to the government-owned publications. That is
why we are investing in a Sunday newspaper," Masiyiwa said in Johannesburg.

      He would not say how much cash was being invested in the venture. But
the Daily News is making losses and Masiyiwa helped keep it afloat last year
by an injection of his personal wealth.

      Daily News reporters have been among the most prominent victims of new
government press legislation passed last year and condemned as repressive by
journalists and media activists.

      Several of the paper's reporters have been brought to court to answer
charges of publishing falsehoods, and some cases are still pending.

      Apparent repression of the media in Zimbabwe and the nearby Kingdom of
Swaziland are among the issues worrying the 14-member Southern African
Development Community (SADC), according to South African President Thabo

      Mbeki told African editors this week that although SADC was concerned,
the bigger umbrella 53-member African Union - which he chairs - had no
formal view or position on Zimbabwe, facing its deepest political and
economic crisis since independence.

      The Zimbabwean government has dragged its feet on fully liberalising
the airwaves and maintains a monopoly via the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation (ZBC), which runs both national radio and television channels.

      The government also owns Zimbabwe's key daily and weekly newspapers.

      Zimbabwe's Supreme Court is yet to rule on legal challenges by a
private radio station and independent journalists on the constitution of the
ZBC monopoly and the new media law respectively.

      About 100 editors from 30 countries, inspired by cases of assaults on
journalists in countries like Zimbabwe and Algeria, called for effective
monitoring of harassment and intimidation of the media at a meeting in
Johannesburg last weekend.

      They also urged African governments to establish regulatory bodies to
safeguard independence of government-owned media, saying many African
leaders converted state media to their own private use, instead of promoting
the public good.

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      Zimbabweans worse off than at independence

      By Luke Tamborinyoka, News Editor and MacDonald Dzirutwe, Business
News Editor
      4/17/03 9:30:09 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE marks 23 years of self-rule tomorrow amid economic and
political turmoil that analysts this week said had left the majority of the
population worse off than when the country attained its independence in

      The analysts spoke as figures released by the Central Statistical
Office on Tuesday showed year-on-year inflation surging by a record high of
228 percent in the year to March, up from 220.9 percent the month before.

      Commentators said rampant inflation - forecast to reach 500 percent
before the end of the year - had shot up from below 10 percent at
independence, eroding workers' purchasing power and leaving them poorer than
in 1980.

      Experts estimate that more than 80 percent of Zimbabwe's 11.6 million
population is living in poverty, while the rest has experienced a marked
decline in their standard of living in the past four years.

      "There is a worsening of the standard of living for the majority of
people now than at independence," Century Holdings chief economist David
Mupamhadze told the Financial Gazette.

      "Things are not improving, they are getting worse," he added.

      University of Zimbabwe business studies lecturer Anthony Hawkins said:
"People are poorer than at independence. There has been a widening of the
wealth gap."

      Economists attribute the drop in Zimbabweans' standard of living
primarily to the government's fiscal indiscipline, a loose monetary policy
and other measures that have adversely affected the country's key economic

      A controversial land reform programme that has resulted in the
government taking over more than 90 percent of white-owned land has combined
with drought to cut agricultural output and food production by more than 60

      This has left close to eight million people in need of humanitarian
aid at a time that food imports have been hampered by severe foreign
currency shortages, the result of plummeting exports and the suspension of
balance of payment support by international organisa- tions.

      The hard cash crisis has also affected imports of fuel, electricity
and raw materials, and has combined with government-imposed price controls
to force several local companies to cut back on production or downsize their
operations, increasing unemployment.

      "The plunge of the economy did not just set off from a blue sky," the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said in its economic review
of the first quarter of 2003. "As has long been anticipated, the chickens
have now come home to the roost.

      "The government's loose fiscal policy (is) proven by the huge budget
deficits, which were recorded at -22.6 percent of GDP (gross domestic
product) in 2000, -16.5 percent in 2001 and -14.1 percent in 2002.

      "From an undiscerning eye, the figures appear to be on the decline,
yet this hides the fact that the country's central bank is buying back the
deficits, which must be much higher now than was the case in 2000."

      The MDC's shadow economic and finance ministries said GDP had fallen
from a -2.7 percent negative growth in 1999 to -11.9 percent last year,
while exports had dropped from US$3 billion in 1996 to US$1.7 billion in

      Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce chief economist James Jowa said:
"We have not achieved economic growth as a country, we have actually negated
the little we had achieved at independence.

      "This is a culmination of policies that have gone wrong."

      Unable to take sustainable corrective measures, analysts said the
government had resorted to repression to stamp out the discontent resulting
from the economic crisis and severe food shortages.

      They said the ruling ZANU PF had ironically adopted the kind of
repressive legislation used by the colonial government to crush dissent
before independence.

      Laws such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
and the Public Order and Security Act have been used to erode freedom of the
Press, expression, assembly and movement.

      MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube told the Financial Gazette: "The
government is punishing the nation for exercising the very freedoms that we
all fought for, especially the freedoms of speech, assembly and association.

      "The nation has been harassed, homes burnt and others beaten up,
arrested and tortured for showing a different opinion to that of the ruling

      "(President Robert) Mugabe and his cronies have turned against the
people and our challenge on Independence Day is how as a nation we can
liberate ourselves again and reclaim our power."

      Roman Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube added: "At least in 1980 we had
hope that our government would respect our culture and give us real freedom
of expression, association and other liberties that we fought for, but we
are being repressed by our own people.

      "We have a government that has made it its daily business to silence
civil society and all forms of opposition. It is very difficult to call for
celebrations from an oppressed people who have no money, no food, no cooking
oil and who struggle every day to survive."

      He said at least 1 000 people had been jailed in the past few months
in a bid to curb dissent. Most of those affected are supporters and
officials of the MDC, against which the government has launched a crackdown
in anticipation of extensive mass protests.

      The opposition party has said it will go ahead with street protests
after Mugabe failed to respond to demands for a negotiated political
settlement that analysts say could restore investor confidence and mend
Zimbabwe's relations with the international community.

      International multilateral agencies have suspended crucial aid to
Zimbabwe because of government policies that have eroded the rule of law and
property rights.

      Mupamhadze said: "The future lies with re-engaging multilateral
institutions. This is the only way to get a huge foreign currency injection
because our exports are not doing well.

      "The other issue is to restore viability in the agriculture sector
because when agriculture sneezes, every sector of the economy catches a

      A political commentator who spoke on condition of anonymity added: "We
all know there is nothing to celebrate and those in power must sit down and
see whether what they are doing is in line with the struggle for
independence for which many people died.

      "Someone must sit down and make sure fundamental freedoms, the very
foundation of the struggle, are restored so that the nation moves forward."
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      In God's hands

      4/17/03 9:22:04 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWEANS will tomorrow mark 23 years of independence amid
unprecedented economic and social haemorrhaging, and with very little, if
anything, to celebrate.

      As the nation prepares to go through the motions of honouring its
freedom, dark clouds are gathering on all fronts.

      Close to eight million Zimbabweans face starvation because of drought
and the government's ill-considered seizure of commercially productive land,
and their numbers are set to balloon as farmers bring in another meagre
harvest in the next few months.

      Indeed, as some people make plans to be with their families this
Independence/Easter weekend, a larger number of Zimbabweans besieged by
unrelenting fuel and foodstuff shortages will merely be engaged in the
struggle to survive another day.

      To worsen an already desperate situation, many manufacturers have
slashed production by at least 50 percent in the past two weeks in response
to power rationing by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority, a move
likely to increase commodity shortages in the next few months.

      As industry braces for tougher times ahead, the nation is anticipating
a significantly reduced tobacco crop to be brought to the auction floors at
the end of the month, at a time when Zimbabwe is in desperate need of the
foreign currency traditionally generated by the golden leaf.

      To cut a long story short, Zimbabwe - a nation that held so much
promise in 1980 - has this to show for 23 years of independence: record
inflation of 228 percent, unemployment of more than 60 percent, the
impoverishment of at least 80 percent of the population and infrastructure
that is crumbling because of years of neglect.

      Gross domestic product has been in decline for several years,
from -2.7 percent in 1999 to -11.9 percent in 2002 and a projected -15
percent in 2003.

      Investment and savings have fallen by between 60 and 70 percent in the
past three years and exports have plunged from US$3 billion in 1996 to
around US$1.7 billion last year.

      But as the nation limps from one crisis to another, there is no
indication that a solution is on the horizon.

      A recently launched economic revival programme is widely expected to
worsen the country's economic distress, like countless other policies
adopted by the government in the past four years.

      As Zimbabweans grapple with the impact of virtual economic collapse, a
panicky government has embraced repressive methods in an attempt to hold on
to power that much longer.

      But crisis-weary Zimbabweans are keeping their heads down, too busy
worrying about their economic survival to bother about the assault on their

      As an American state department official indicated this week that his
government was urging Zimbabwe's neighbours to step up pressure on President
Robert Mugabe to hand power to a transitional government, Zimbabweans were
bracing for opposition mass protests against Mugabe's regime.

      Frustrated by ZANU PF's rejection of a negotiated political settlement
that could pave the way for the international assistance that is crucial for
the recovery of the Zimbabwean economy, the opposition has resolved to press
for change through mass protests.

      Mass protests that could spark a bloody confrontation that will only
worsen the lot of long-suffering Zimbabweans and whose outcome is uncertain.

      Indeed, as Zimbabweans mark their 23rd year of independence and pray
for deliverance from a progressively deteriorating situation, only God knows
the fate of this once promising nation.

      May God help us all.
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       . . . AND NOW TO THE NOTEBOOK. . . . Idi Amin

      4/17/03 9:20:33 AM (GMT +2)

      A colleague has drawn Mukanya's attention to an article in the South
African magazine Pace's March issue.

      I quote at length from the article: "He (Idi Amin) first set about
weeding out the Langi and Acholi tribesmen in his army as he saw them as
Obote sympathisers. Tens of thousands of soldiers were killed and replaced
with men from Amin's Kakwa tribe.

      "He next recruited 15 000 loyal men and entrusted them with keeping
the peace. Unleashed upon the civilian population, these death squads raped
and tortured at will, hunting down all those who spoke out of turn - even
judges and archbishops were dealt with as political dissidents. Horribly
mutilated bodies were frequently discovered. Some victims were fed to the

      "Head of political studies at Wits University Professor Tom Lodge
says: 'even three decades later, no contemporary African regime matches Amin
's record of reckless brutality.'

      "The workload was so taxing for Amin's men that the Ugandan president
was eventually forced to commission the establishment of a torture facilty
in Nakasero. He called it the State Research Bureau. The bureau treated
prisoners to nails in the skull and broken or shattered limbs. They were
given hammers and encouraged to bludgeon each other to death.

      "By far the most chilling of Amin's eccentricities, however, was his
fondness for scolding his political rivals over dinner - after their
decapitated heads had been brought to him on a platter from the fridge."

      Mukanya wishes to register his disagreement with the respected
academic Lodge that the sheer brutal recklessness of Amin and his bunch of
thieving murderers has not yet been matched.

      We know of an African government not far from where Lodge lives that
has reduced to rubble an economy that was 10 times larger than Uganda's and
has reduced its people to oppressed beggars who have to queue for nearly
every basic commodity.

      Mukanya though entirely agrees with Lodge when he says: "Amin's rule
would have been shorter were it not for the extent to which his behaviour
was accepted by other African heads of government.

      "Even today, the destructive and arbitrary actions of Robert Mugabe's
administration have attracted very little censure from continental

      We hope President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, who has become infamous
in Zimbabwe because of his quiet diplomacy tactics towards the government,
reads this.

      Quiet Diplomacy

      Talking about Mbeki and his hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil
quiet diplomacy, Mukanya was rather disturbed to read in the Press that
Mbeki had told South African journalists that the region would soon be
looking into the deteriorating situation in Swaziland.

      Mukanya's advice to the Swazis is: do not hold your breath.

      It is better to seek salvation elsewhere than from this Mbeki fellow.
He can't be trusted!

      You can ask the Zimbabweans.

      He visited Zimbabwe ostensibly to help find an African-grown solution
to the country's crisis. And the next thing is he was telling the whole
world that things had improved in Zimbabwe and that sanctions against Mugabe
and his officials should now be lifted.

      It didn't bothered him that at the time, pro-government militias were
intensifying their crackdown on the opposition, with many suspected
opponents of the government brutally attacked, arrested or even killed.

      It's the whole army

      Last week, the gov-ernment was telling us the people in army uniforms
who in the past few weeks have harassed and brutalised innocent residents in
Harare were in fact about 23 soldiers who had deserted from the army and
were working with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
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      Collaborators always existed in the Church

      Dumisani Nkomo
      4/17/03 9:50:04 AM (GMT +2)

      The Church in Zimbabwe has come under great scrutiny of late in regard
to its role in the current crisis. There are those who strongly believe that
the Church has been too quiet, irrelevant and ineffective.

      It has been argued by some that the Church in Zimbabwe is part of the
problem. On the other hand there are those who argue that the church has
become too partisan and has immersed itself in opposition politics.

      I would like to argue that the Church, historically and biblically has
never been a homogeneous entity with one voice on issues pertaining to the
state, governance and justice. This in itself is not a weakness but a
demonstration that God has not reduced human beings to robots who have
homogenous political beliefs and convictions.

      However failure by the Church to speak out on evils perpetrated by
government may also be due to lack of a sound theological position on vital
issues of governance, justice and truth .The relationship between the Church
and state has all too often been reduced to the state defining what the
Church should and should not do.

      Pacifists have argued that the Church should stay out of politics and
leave it to the politicians. This in itself is a tragic misconception,
first, of the entire role of the Church, and second, of what politics is.

      It must be understood that the Church has a tripartite role of being
prophet, priest and king.

      As priest, the Church as a collective is called upon to pray for the
nation, it's leaders, communities, families and individuals. Limited
knowledge of the mandate of the Church has led some to believe that the
Church is supposed to merely pray and restrict itself to spiritual
activities. This is a clear negation of the other two roles of the Church as
prophet and king.

      As a prophetic voice, the Church has to speak out on issues of social,
economic and political justice. This is clearly epitomised by prophets such
as Jeremiah, Isaiah, Amos, Habakkuk and Micah. These prophets incurred the
wrath of the governing authorities of their day because they brought leaders
to account for their actions.

      God is as much interested in us going to heaven as he is in us living
a wholesome life on earth. The Bible is, for lack of an appropriate word,
"overflowing" with examples of how prophets rebuked kings for ill-treating
their people.

      Nathan cautioned David for his evil ploy to eliminate a rival suitor.
Jeremiah challenged the rulers of Judah to "be fair minded and just .to do
right and stop murdering innocent people" [Jeremiah 22.3.]. John the Baptist
chided the Emperor Herod for his adulterous relationship and paid the price
when he was beheaded for sport.

      If there is theological and moral precedence for the Church making a
stand against evil governors why is it that some Church leaders are openly
baptizing and sanctifying wicked deeds perpetrated by government officials?

      I would like to argue that historically and biblically there have
always been those within the Church who have collaborated with rogue regimes
for their own personal benefit, security or comfort.

      There are obvious examples are men of the cloth who have gained
notoriety for their support of the Robert Mugabe regime.

      These men of the cloth have virtually turned themselves into the
domestic pets if not household furniture of the state. Amongst these are the
likes of Bishop Kunonga, Rev Msindo and Andrew Wutawunashe who have
shamelessly baptized the government's various acts of spontaneous and
organised official thuggery.

      Such Church leaders who collaborate with rogue regimes do so with the
express intention of basking in the glory of state patronage. The Bible
gives an account of King Ahab who as head of a corrupt and oppressive regime
had a retinue of prophets who prophesied in his favour.

      These prophets delighted in singing praises of the evil king along
with other false prophets who reveled in making lies an official institution
in the kingdom of Israel.

      In our context, examples of Church leaders who have turned into praise
singers for the president abound. Instead of being a prophetic voice to the
nation, these bogus clergymen have sought to endear and ingratiate
themselves to the merchants of power in the public arena.

      In any case, back to our examples in biblical history; in the midst of
these false prophets were other genuine prophets like Micah who prophesied
in a manner incompatible with the wishes of the king.

      It so happened that whilst the false prophets were waxing lyrical
about how King Ahab would succeed over his enemies, the prophet Micah did
not mince his words at a time when it was too expensive to say the truth and
in no uncertain terms told the king that he was headed for total,
unmitigated defeat.

      In a manner, which our government would have been envious, Micah was
immediately arrested under their ancient version of POSA and placed under
inhumane conditions in prison (II Chronicles 18.26). The rabid paranoia and
schizophrenia of Ahab would have been the envy of the likes of Jonathan
Moyo, Mohadi and company.

      Interestingly, a certain Bishop Lamont from Umtali (now Mutare) was
arrested and subsequently deported in 1977 by the Smith regime for speaking
out against the oppressive and repressive fascist rule of the minority
Rhodesian government. At this time the likes of Bishop Abel Muzorewa and
Ndabaningi Sithole were busy licking the boots of Ian Smith and carving for
themselves pieces of power under the so-called internal settlement.

      Collaborators in the Church are not a new phenomenon; fellow
Zimbabweans, Kunonga and Msindo are merely fulfilling history by playing the
role of false prophets and collaborators.

      The present government has faithfully continued with the historical or
is it hysterical political machinations to silence prophetic voices in the C
hurch and amplify the noise of pseudo - state clerics whose mouths dribble
at the prospect of being official chaplains of his Excellency the President
of the Democratic and Sovereign Republic of Zimbabwe.

      In contrast Archbishop Pius Ncube who has emerged as the moral leader
of the nation with his uncompromising stand against the injustices that have
maimed the conscience of the nation has been subjected to endless
vilification and character assassination by the state media and in
particular the Chronicle.

      As if this was not enough, 23 pastors were arrested on the 28th of
February at the entrance of the Police General Headquarters in Harare for
peacefully demonstrating for peace in the land. This action was subsequently
condemned by the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (Daily News March 4
2003) and the Zimbabwe National Pastors Conference (Daily News March 7

      This lamentable incident happened two weeks after the police had
disrupted a meeting by church-based organis- ations to discuss the national
crisis at Northside Community Church. The president of the Evangelical
Fellowship of Zimbabwe, Trevor Manhango and other civic leaders were then
arrested in another demonstration of the state's inability to co-habitat
with truth.

      In its continuing persecution of the prophetic Church, the state media
claimed that Churches wanted to form a political party (The Chronicle March

      This once again was sure epitomisation of the fact that the government
regards with suspicion anything, which has even the smallest grain of truth
in it, because truth is a virtue, which is alien to the regime

      Its inability to co-exist with truth has led it to seek the dishonest
counsel of the likes of Rev Msindo who has the audacity to organise prayer
meetings on behalf of the state for the Church. The stance, which
"collaborators" have taken, is aptly exemplified in George Orwell's classic
Animal Farm.

      The character Moses, the tame Raven symbolises the Church. After
having been Mr Jones' pet for years, Moses like some Churches was hated by
most animals for his lies.

      In this instance, Mr Jones represents colonial governments, which used
Church leaders to pacify the local populace by fixing their attention on
distant heavenly realities whilst teaching them to endure the hardships and
repression of the earth.

      Moses the tame Raven was back after the rebellion (Independence).
Moses lived on an allowance of beer and bread from the pigs (the governing
authorities). His role was to divert the animals suffering (the people's
lot) from their present hardships and focus their attention on a place
called Sugar Candy Mountain.

      How many of our Church leaders have attempted to pretend that all is
well in the nation? How many Church leaders are tame Ravens who exist to
massage the egos of the state by praying for civic leaders to be good?

      Is this not like praying for a banana tree to bear apples when God in
his infinite wisdom created banana trees to bear bananas?

      Whilst collaborators have used their white collars (figuratively
speaking) to gain the favour of the ruling party, those who have steadfastly
stood for the truth should brace themselves for persecution from the state
and its repressive apparatus.

      Indeed contrary to popular belief the Church has not been completely
silent about the national crisis. Whereas this is the view that could be
intimated from Tanonoka J Whande (Daily News January 16). I would like to
argue that the Church has indeed tried to wake up from its slumber.

      Whilst radicals argue that the Church has been at its best talking in
its sleep, there are a number of indicators that some Church leaders are
true prophetic voices to the nation. Herein are a number of instances where
the church has made its silence clear.

      Methodist Bishop Mukandi of the Methodist Church warned high court
judges to resist pressure to subvert justice and encourage them to show
"selective justice that treats other children of God as second-class
citizens". (Daily News January 14).

      In addition, the Zimbabwe National Pastors Conference, the Evangelical
Fellowship of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Student Christian Movement and
Christians Together for Peace and Justice have consistently spoken out
against lawlessness, violence and civil laws such as POSA.

      However, the voice of justice and truth has at times been dimmed by
the noise of collaborators for a cup of tea with Robert Mugabe at the state

      Unfortunately, these false prophets shall always be with us because in
the Bible, prophets like Jeremiah, Amos and Habakkuk had to reckon with the
sweet lies of the religious establishment of the day that actively supported
the status quo. The good news is that no system can sustain itself through
lies, violence and ungodliness because whatsoever a man (or woman) sows,
that shall he or she reap.

      "Woe to him who builds a town with blood" Habakkuk 2.12.
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      $500 mln set aside for low-cost housing lies idle

      Staff Reporter
      4/17/03 9:33:31 AM (GMT +2)

      MORE than $500 million earmarked for low-cost housing projects is
lying idle in Zimbabwe's building societies because its intended
beneficiaries can no longer afford to access it, according to an official of
the Association of Building Societies of Zimbabwe (ABSZ).

      The official, Wilfred Mapfumo, said the funds were made available by
the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) but were no
longer being lent out because the low-income earners they were supposed to
benefit could not afford building societies' mortgages.

      High inflation and rising interest rates have affected the ability of
many Zimbabweans to borrow funds, making it difficult for those in need of
low-cost housing to access money to build their own homes.

      "I can say about $500 million of USAID funds is lying idle in all the
building societies in the country," Mapfumo said at a recent stakeholders'
meeting on low-cost housing.

      "When people pay back, the building societies are supposed to lend
this money out again to new beneficiaries, but this money is now
accumulating because the people who are ideally supposed to benefit cannot
prove that they are able to pay the mortgages back," he added.

      USAID has released more than $2.5 billion since 1994 to Zimbabwe's
five building societies for on lending to low-income earners at competitive
interest rates.

      Under the arrangement, the building societies were required to raise
50 percent of amounts lent to each applicant.

      Low-income families in Zimbabwe are considered to be those earning
about $16 000 per month, but Mapfumo said building societies were no longer
considering applications from people in this income bracket because they
could not pay back mortgages.

      He said it now costs more than $5 million to build one low-cost house
in Zimbabwe and financial institutions doubted the ability of low-income
earners to pay back such huge amounts of money.

      Zimbabwe's five building societies are the Central African Building
Society, the Zimbabwe Building Society, First National Building Society,
Intermarket Building Society and Beverly Building Society.
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      Load shedding set to play havoc with results

      McDonald Dzirutwe
      4/17/03 10:09:05 AM (GMT +2)

      LOAD shedding by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA)
could weigh down stock exchange-listed industrial concerns with June half
year-ends, slowing down the impressive financial results released by local
companies this year, analysts said this week.

      ZESA, whose imports of electricity and servicing of debts with
regional power suppliers has been hit by severe foreign currency shortages,
began load shedding this month because of a decline in electricity supplies.

      Market watchers said most companies were operating at between 50 and
70 percent of capacity because of the power cuts, while employees were
working half their normal working hours.

      The analysts said this reduction in production could affect the
quality of results posted by industrial concerns.

      "We see this load shedding playing havoc, especially for those listed
industrial companies that in the past year have produced good results that
are above inflation," an analyst with NDH Equities told the Financial

      In its market forecast for the second quarter of 2003, Kingdom
Stockbrokers said: "The quarter will continue to be extremely challenging
for management of listed companies, with the availability and pricing of
electricity likely to be critical."

      Highlighting its stock picks for the second quarter of the year,
Kingdom Stockbrokers said Ariston was likely to be the best performer this
quarter, buoyed by the new exchange rate announced by the government at the
end of February.

      The government devalued the Zimbabwe dollar from $55:US$1 to $824 in a
bid to boost foreign currency inflows.

      Ariston, an agri-processing concern whose half-year ends in March, is
expected to also benefit from increased volumes while analysts anticipate
that its interim financial results will spur its share price.

      "Ariston is benefiting from the significantly increased effective
exchange rate on first half earnings, compounded by good growth in the
volume of exports. We expect the share price to react positively to
half-year results to March 31, which are expected in late May," said Kingdom

      The Stockbroking firm forecast that Art, CFI, Delta, Econet and
Ariston would be the top five performing counters in the second quarter.

      Statistics obtained from ABC Stockbrokers and Kingdom Stockbrokers
show that Apex was the best performing counter in the first quarter of 2003,
with its share price jumping by 450 percent between January and March.

      General Belting, Powerspeed, ZSR, Clan and Apex were the top five
performing stocks during the first quarter of this year.

      Only two companies, Old Mutual and Barbican, saw their share price
tumbling in the first quarter, with their prices falling by 17 percent and
22 percent respectively.

      Meanwhile, the money market recorded a surplus of $13 billion on
Friday, from a deficit of $800 million last Monday, and was forecast to
remain in surplus this week.

      Dealers said the government had this Monday issued ad hoc Treasury
bills (TBs) in an attempt to raise $10 billion but rejected most bids
because investors were charging high interest rates.

      The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) issued a 91-day TB to raise $5
billion but only allotted $1.25 billion dollars at an average rate of 47.90
percent, up from last week's rate of 42 percent.

      The RBZ also issued another 91-day TB but rejected all bids because
the market was asking for high rates.

      "The government did come up with ad hoc TBs but managed to raise $1.25
billion only," a money market dealer with a local discount house said.

      "Despite the market surplus position, rates have stabilised around 60
percent. The government has lots of commitments like buying maize, while the
tobacco season is opening. So the RBZ will have to come back to the market

      Although money market rates have stabilised around the 60 percent
range, dealers say some deals are being clinched at rates of around 79

      Call rates were quoted at around 60 percent on Monday, easing from as
much as 70 percent last week.

      Seven and 14-day rates edged upwards to around 65 percent last week
but retreated to around 60 percent this Monday.

      The 30, 60 and 90-day TBs crept up to an average 55 percent from 52,
53 and 54 percent respectively last week.

      However unsecured instruments such as bankers' acceptances attracted
rates of more than 60 percent.

      Meanwhile, dealers on the foreign currency market said trading
remained low in the absence of significant foreign currency inflows
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      When dictators who live a lie go . . .

      Sydney Masamvu
      4/17/03 9:18:04 AM (GMT +2)

      SO it's finally over in Baghdad. The US-led forces are even sniffing
for Saddam Hussein right in his birthplace in Tikrit. That is how the man
preferred to go.

      He is being hunted down in his birthplace while his people celebrate
his departure.

      That is what happens or ought to be done when dictators who live a lie
are thrown out.

      Saddam is nowhere to be seen in a country that only four weeks ago he
claimed he was firmly in charge of, with Iraqis wholly behind him and ready
to butcher the invaders threatening their sovereignty.

      Now Saddam has a price tag on his head and the Iraqi people seem to be
more than ready to bring it to American President George Bush on a platter.
So much for the people's unwavering support!

      The events in Baghdad of the past week should be a lesson to leaders
the world over, southern Africa included.

      Scenes of jubilation in Mosul and Baghdad that accompanied the fall of
Saddam from power were really touching to say the least.

      But the mood of the people in the streets sent one clear message to
all leaders: this is the ultimate price dictators have to pay for living
under a delusional sense of popularity that is in fact induced by

      It is important to note that only three months ago, Saddam was
"overwhelmingly elected" as the president of Iraq.

      The jubilation that accompanied Saddam's ouster and the lack of
resistance from his loyalists and the people of Iraq would seem to indicate
that his electoral victory wasn't as overwhelming as he would have liked the
world to believe.

      In fact, those who were supposed to stand by him to the end melted
into the people when people power engulfed and asserted itself in Baghdad
and Mosul.

      The sight of Saddam's statues being pulled down and stamped on by
relieved and barefooted Iraqis was really sobering.

      One was left asking: did they hate the man so much ? Had he become
such a pain? How could they, the people that only a month ago Saddam boasted
were revolutionary and would repel any invader, forsake him in this way?

      The people around him, Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf
especially, didn't help Saddam much.

      Even as American marines were barely five kilometres away from him in
Baghdad, al-Sahaf refused to acknowledge their presence, let alone to accept
that the airport had been taken over.

      He had the guts to lie that all was well even as he himself was being
forced to hold a press conference in the streets because his ministry's
building was ablaze.

      Saddam's government insisted there was no crisis until the very end.

      The problem is that the political elite in any dictatorship, when they
are drunk with power, dismally fail to read the mood of the people.

      The behaviour of al-Sahaf and Saddam is typical of dictators.

      In their power-drunk stupor, they had wild visions of the Iraqi people
swooping on the Americans in defence of the Dear Leader.

      They forgot that even Joseph Goebbels' poisonous tongue did not save
Hitler when his world crumbled around him.

      God has always had a way of delivering his people from bondage. God
will not fail us.
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            Sudan, Zimbabwe escape censure at UN rights meeting
            April 16, 2003, 23:30

            The United Nations top human rights body rejected an European
Union motion condemning abuses in Sudan today and blocked a bid to put
Zimbabwe in the dock. The Commission on Human Rights narrowly rejected a
motion by the European Union on the "continuing violations of human rights
and international humanitarian law" in Sudan.

            The action automatically ended the mandate of the special United
Nations investigator on Africa's biggest country.

            On Zimbabwe, the European Union, with the backing of the United
States, had sought for the second year running to condemn rights
"violations" by President Robert Mugabe's government. However, African
countries led by South Africa voted to prevent any further action being
taken on the EU call, a similar outcome to last year.

            In its motion, the EU had accused the Mugabe government of
"numerous cases of assault and torture in a climate of impunity" as well as
"occurrences of violations of the freedoms of expression, opinion,
association and assembly". However, human rights activists and some Western
diplomats say the commission, which traditionally offers the chance to "name
and shame" countries that abuse rights, is growing increasingly reluctant to
point the finger at any state.

            In part this is because many member states have questionable
rights records of their own, but it also reflects irritation by many
developing countries at what they see as "double standards" on the part of
the richer nations. In rejecting the EU resolution on Sudan, the commission
went against the recommendation of its own special investigator who had
reported that human rights abuses continued in the country.

            "While civil society has become more pro-active and better
organised, the security apparatus continues to operate in impunity," Gerhart
Baum reported to this year's commission.

            Defeat for the EU motion, which also spoke of the "violations of
the rights of women and girls, including female genital mutilation" and the
use of "arbitrary arrest and detention", meant that Baum's mandate was not
renewed. - Reuters
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The Herald

Milk supplies improve

Herald Reporter
Supplies of fresh milk to some shops have improved over the past few days,
raising hopes that milk will soon be readily available.

The milk, most of which is the 500ml pack of the long-life Chimombe brand,
is selling at between $250 and $270, up from the old price of between $105
and $116.

The new price is almost the same as that of the 300ml packets that Dairibord
Zimbabwe was distributing last month. The small packets cost between $210
and $232 for fresh milk, and $252 to $282 for Lacto.

Dairibord was early this month fined $1,5 million for selling milk in new
size packs in contravention of the control of goods regulations.

The company was found to introduce the 300ml packets and abandoned the 500ml
packs without the authority of the Minister of Industry and International

After Dairibord was fined, fresh milk vanished from most shops.

While consumers greeted the resurfacing of milk supplies with joy, they were
sceptical about the price saying they did not understand how a 500ml packet
and a 300ml packet could cost more or less the same.

"It is really disgusting that we are made to suffer by unscrupulous
businesses. This should make the consumer watchdog and the Government
tighten their monitoring of the situation," said Ms Tambudzayi Muganhu of

Salespersons at some of the country's leading supermarkets said while milk
had resurfaced over the past few days, the supplies were far from

"Some days we get the milk and sometimes we do not. The ideal scenario would
be when we can have it everyday and consumers can get as much of it as they
want," said one salesperson. On Monday consumers could be seen jostling to
get as many Chimombe packets as they could from a city supermarket which had

Efforts to get a comment from Dairibord were fruitless.

A Dairibord spokesperson Ms Ruvimbo Mukuruva said the company would respond
to all questions pertaining to the milk situation in an advertorial that
would be published in The Herald today.

"What you want to know is the same information that we have put in the
editorial and asking me to give you the same information all over again
means we both do a double job," she said.
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