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Zimbabwe economy limps into anniversary

The Times, UK April 18, 2006

            From Jan Raath in Harare

            THE first time that Anna was arrested, two policemen confiscated
her box of tomatoes, bananas, popcorn and a couple of cigarettes and ordered
her to pay an on-the-spot fine of Z$250,000 (65p) for illegal vending.
            When she refused to pay they took her Z$160,000 takings for the
afternoon, put it in their pockets and left. Two days later Anna was caught
by the police with her goods spread out on a sack. They told her to bring
her goods with her to the police station.

            On the way the police asked how much money she had. "Nothing,"
she said. They said she could go. "No," she said. "I want to go to the
police station. I have done criminal things. Let's go."

            "What's your name?" they asked aggressively. She told them. "You
are too cheeky," they said. "Yes," she said, "I am too cheeky." She strode
back to her corner, triumphant. Anna started trading on the street to pay
her two children's school fees. For millions of Zimbabweans, informal
trading on a tiny scale has become the difference between life and

            President Mugabe has declared the activity illegal. Every day
thousands are arrested in police raids and lose their earnings and their
goods, or have them smashed.

            "I will be back there every day, selling," Anna said. "They can
come. I am no longer afraid of them."

            This is the reality of Zimbabwe as the country commemorates
today the 26th anniversary of independence from Britain. Mr Mugabe has
presided over the ruin of the country's economy, once one of the strongest
in Africa. The rapid impoverishment of Zimbabweans has been compunded by the
destruction of the homes of nearly one million people, who have also been
banned from making a living in his notorious "Operation Remove the Rubbish",
which continues after 11 months.

            Last week the World Health Organisation said that Zimbabwean
women had the lowest life expectancy in the world, at 34 years. The country
has the highest inflation, at 913 per cent. The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe
estimates that a family of six needs Z$35 million a month to survive. Six
years ago Z$1 million dollars would have bought a whole block of luxury

            State school fees have recently risen by 1,000 per cent.
"Zimbabwean children are faced with some of the worst hardships confronting
children anywhere in the world," a Unicef spokesman said.

            John Makumbe, a political commentator, said: "Life has become
unbearable and unaffordable. These people are waiting to vent their anger
through mass demonstrations. We are on the brink. The element of (ordinary
Zimbabweans') fear is overrated. That point is going to become clearer in
the next few months."

            Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of what appears to be the dominant
faction of the divided Opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change, is
capitalising on the rising mood of defiance.

            He has promised in recent weeks that he will lead street
protests to bring down the Government and has said that he is prepared to
die doing so. He has hinted that the movement will start next month.

            Mr Mugabe responded with a stark warning to Mr Tsvangirai: "If
he wants to invite his own death, let him go ahead."

            John Robertson, an economist, said: "We are in a tinderbox
situation. If something starts, it can become complete collapse and it can
be started by street violence. They will call the soldiers out, but the
soldiers may turn their guns on their leaders. They are having as difficult
a time as everyone else."

            BACKWARDS STEP


            Name Rhodesia
            Capital Salisbury
            Government White minority rule under Prime Minister Smith
            Cost of loaf of bread Z$0.20
            Land 4,500 white farmers own 70 per cent of fertile land
            Adult literacy 70 per cent
            Life expectancy 58
            GDP per capita (real terms) US$3,377


            Name Zimbabwe
            Capital Harare
            Government Nationalist ZANU-PF party under President Mugabe
            Cost of loaf of bread Z$90,000
            Land Farms seized from white ownership
            Adult literacy 91 per cent
            Life expectancy 37
            GDP per capita US$2,100

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Mugabe puts security forces on alert

Zim Online

Wed 19 April 2006

      HARARE - Zimbabwe has put security forces on alert as President Robert
Mugabe on Tuesday again signalled he was ready to ruthlessly crush street
protests planned by the opposition against his government.

      Addressing thousands of people celebrating Zimbabwe's 26th year of
independence in Harare, Mugabe warned opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party leader Morgan Tsvangirai that he would be "playing with
fire" if he ever attempted to instigate a Ukrainian-style revolt against his

      Tsvangirai has in the last three weeks toured major cities mobilising
supporters for mass protests against the government whose date he has not
yet announced.

      Senior army and police officers who spoke to ZimOnline on Tuesday on
condition they were not named said the security forces had been put on high
alert and had since the Easter holidays intensified anti-public riot drills
to keep them in shape to quell MDC -led protests.

      The police have in the last week also used the Israeli-made anti-riot
water cannon trucks in the drills according to a senior inspector at the
police's Morris Depot in Harare where some of the drills have taken place.

      The water cannons, four of which were on display at the National
Sports Stadium where Mugabe addressed the independence gathering, were
acquired from Tel-Aviv about four years ago but had remained unused because
there have been no significant clashes between the government and the
opposition on the streets.

      "We have been using them (water cannons) for the past days to train
some police officers in anticipation of the protests," said the police

      Soldiers and police officers, including those on leave have been put
on standby in case they may be required for urgent duty, while members of
the police's anti-riot squad told of how they had been ordered to be always
in "full anti-riot gear" in readiness for any eventuality.

      A junior officer in the anti-riot squad said: "We have been told to be
always alert as Tsvangirai is threatening violence. We were told that
everyone should parade in full riot gear at Morris Depot and Chikurubi
police camp where everyone is supposed to go through some anti-riot drills.

      "We were also told not to put money (by backing Tsvangirai) ahead of
our country as there is no monetary value that can be attached to Zimbabwe
as most people died for it."

      It was not possible to get comment on the matter from the Zimbabwe
National Army's public and press relations office but police spokesman Wayne
Bvudzijena said the security forces' state of preparedness was because they
believed there was a threat to peace and stability in the country.

      "Whenever there is a security threat in the country, we will always
put our men on standby. We have the mandate to protect innocent civilians
against politicians who want to fan violence in the country .. (we)
obviously do not want to be caught unawares," Bvudzjiena said.

      In addition to stepping up anti-riot drills, the police have also
increased their visibility on the streets of Harare, erecting roadblocks on
nearly every major road leading into the capital city's centre.

      At the roadblocks the police, some armed and some not, search cars for
weapons that could be used to commit public violence.

      Tuesday's deployment of the awesome water cannons at the sports
stadium while Mugabe was addressing the public was also the first time they
have been hauled before the public in the presence of Mugabe, in what could
have been an attempt to forewarn the public on the futility of rising up
against the government.

      The police and the army have been the backbone of Mugabe's 26-year
rule, ruthlessly suppressing dissension and protests by the MDC and civic

      But Tsvangirai, whose MDC was weakened when it split into two last
year, has vowed to mobilise Zimbabweans to take to the streets to demand
Mugabe paves way for a transitional government that will be tasked with
spearheading the writing of a new and democratic constitution that would
lead to free and fair elections under international supervision.

      Political analysts say although Zimbabweans have largely been cowed by
Mugabe's tactics of routinely deploying security forces to crush street
protests, a crumbling economy has fanned public frustration with the

      Zimbabwe is battling a six-year recession dramatised by acute
shortages of foreign currency, fuel and food while the rate of joblessness
is around 70 percent and the world's highest inflation rate of 913 percent,
scaled in February. - ZimOnline

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Mugabe threatens to crush street protests, seize mining firms

Zim Online

Tue 18 April 2006

      HARARE - President Robert Mugabe used Zimbabwe's 26th independence
celebrations to warn the opposition he will ruthlessly crush street protests
against his government and to remind foreign-owned mining firms he was still
contemplating seizing shareholding in their businesses.

      Mugabe, who was addressing a several thousands of people gathered at
Harare's National Sports Stadium for the celebrations, warned opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party leader Morgan Tsvangirai he was
"playing with fire" by attempting to instigate a Ukrainian-style revolt
against his government.

      "There are some who say they no longer want elections saying they now
will change the government through mass protests .. I warn them, they are
playing with fire and they should stop," said Mugabe, who was speaking in
the vernacular Shona language.

      Tsvangirai, who says the MDC has lost faith in elections because
Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party always rigs them, has in the last three
weeks toured major cities mobilising his supporters for mass protests whose
date he has not yet announced.

      The opposition leader says the street protest are meant to force
Mugabe to pave way for a transitional government that will be tasked with
spearheading the writing of a new and democratic constitution that would
lead to free and fair elections under the supervision of the international

      But Mugabe, who last month told Tsvangirai street protests would be a
"dice with death", vowed never to leave office because of public protests
and mockingly told the opposition it would be "trimmed to size" if it ever
attempted to gain power through "mob action".

      The Zimbabwean leader, who last month said a draft law proposing to
force foreign-owned mining firms in the country to surrender 51 percent
stake to the government and local blacks was not government policy but only
a position for debate, appeared to backtrack on that position insisting that
his government wanted a balance in mine ownership.

      "We shall be bringing up policies and the regulatory measures to
effect balance that we would like to see between those who hold shares and
Zimbabweans," said Mugabe, whose government has in the past six years seized
land from whites without compensation for redistribution to landless blacks.

      The land seizures that Mugabe defended as necessary to ensure a fair
distribution of land between blacks and whites are largely to blame for food
shortages in the country because the newly resettled black farms did not
have cash or other resources as well as the skills to maintain production on
the seized farms while the government, itself facing severe cash problems,
could not give back-up to the new land owners.

      The country's Chamber of Mines has warned any seizure or forced sale
of stake in mines to the government and local blacks is certain to lead to a
collapse of the mining sector, now the country's largest hard cash earner
after the collapse of agriculture. The mining sector is also the only one in
the country still enjoying a significant presence of foreign investors.

      Zimbabwe is grappling a severe economic crisis that has spawned
shortages of food, fuel, essential medical drugs, electricity and just about
every other basic commodity. Inflation is pegged at 913 percent while
conservative estimates say unemployment is more 70 percent.

      Critics blame repression and wrong policies by Mugabe for ruining
Zimbabwe's once brilliant economy. But the veteran leader rejects the charge
saying Zimbabwe's problems are in fact a result of sabotage by Western
governments opposed to his land reforms.

      Mugabe also used the independence celebration to heap more scorn on
the West which he accused of attempting to put Zimbabwe on the United
Nations Security Council agenda but were blocked by "progressive states"
that are friendly to Harare. - ZimOnline

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Police in Bulawayo launch fresh blitz against vendors

Zim Online

Wed 19 April 2006

      BULAWAYO - Police in Bulawayo have launched a fresh blitz against
street vendors and foreign currency dealers in a campaign which residents
say is reminiscent of last year's controversial clean-up exercise.

      Residents in Zimbabwe's second biggest city of Bulawayo, told
ZimOnline yesterday that the police had intensified the campaign against
vendors and the homeless with over a hundred people being arrested last
weekend alone.

      The residents said the police were being aided in the operation by
Bulawayo municipal police.

      Bulawayo executive mayor, Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, confirmed the
participation of municipal police in the exercise saying the police had
requested assistance from his municipal police to rid the city of "criminal

      "We provided the manpower after the police approached us to help them
round up the illegal traders in a bid to reduce crime in the city," Ndabeni
Ncube said.

      The police could not be reached for comment on the matter last night.

      But vendors who spoke to ZimOnline said they were arrested at the
weekend and were only released from Bulawayo central police station after
they had paid admission of guilt fines.

      "The majority of vendors and homeless people have been arrested in the
city and those who were lucky were made to pay admission of guilt fines
while some are still detained at the central police station," said a vendor
who had just been released.

      Some vendors said they had been assaulted by the police despite having
valid business licences from the city council to carry out their activities.

      The latest crackdown by the police comes almost a year after the
Harare authorities carried out a similar exercise which displaced about 700
000 people and directly affected another 2.4 million people, according to a
report by the United Nations.

      The UN envoy who compiled the report, Anna Tibaijuka, criticised the
home demolition exercise by President Robert Mugabe's government as a gross
violation of the rights of the poor.

      But Mugabe rejected the criticism insisting the clean-up exercise was
necessary to rid cities and towns of squalor. - ZimOnline

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Tourism body shelves plans to spruce up Zimbabwe's battered image

Zim Online

Wed 19 April 2006

      HARARE - The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has shelved an ambitious
public relations campaign to spruce up Zimbabwe's battered image due to lack
of funds and lack of interest from some key stakeholders, ZimOnline has

      Tourism industry sources close to the botched campaign said the
exercise, which was supposed to have started early this year, had been put
on ice because of the huge financial resources required to see the project

      "To be effective the campaign needed an international and domestic
blitz, targeting our key source markets and local stakeholders such as the
media, industry and government departments," said one source, who was
involved in organising the campaign.

      "This obviously meant the injection of massive financial resources
running into hundreds of billions of dollars," he said.

      No comment was available from the ZTA or its parent Ministry of
Environment and Tourism.

      At least three teams of advertising, marketing and public relations
consultants had been identified to manage the campaign.

      They were required to, among other things, come up with a new slogan
for the country to replace the current one that identifies Zimbabwe as
"Africa's Paradise".

       It was felt by both the ZTA and other players in the tourism sector
that the slogan was no longer appropriate, given Zimbabwe's current status
as one of the world's pariah states.

      The consultants were also required to produce generic logos adaptable
to all sectors of the economy. The idea was to come up with logos along the
lines of the Proudly South African campaign.

      The sources said the campaign failed to win favour among all key
stakeholders, with some arguing the exercise was ill-timed in light of the
volatility of the political and economic situation in the country.

      "The general feeling is that it will be an exercise in futility to try
to sell the product called Zimbabwe under the present environment. For
starters, there seems to be no common agenda among key stakeholders," said
the source.

      He noted that the situation has not been helped by the careless
statements by senior government officials.

      These included statements such as that the government wanted to take
over the fertiliser and mining industries, and that state security agents
were ready to use live ammunition on anti-government demonstrators. -

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"Zimbabwe's Heritage of Violence": Sokwanele Comment on the 26th Anniversary of Independence

Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe

Sokwanele Comment: 18 April 2006

Zimbabwe has a history of violence, in both the public and the private sphere. Pre-colonial narratives disclose on-going conflict within clans over succession, and between clans over the process of state-building. The nineteenth century brought invasions by Zulu off-shoots and the occupation of the western part of the country by Mzilikazi's Ndebele, followed by European invasion and conquest. Violence became the instrument again to dislodge coercive settler rule and achieve independence with majority rule in 1980. By 1980, Zimbabweans could hope for a peaceful development, but too many had learned a fearful lesson - power is gained and retained by the use of force. The use of state perpetrated violence as a political weapon has marred our post-independence history and deprived us of the opportunity to establish a democracy based on the will of the people.

The private sphere is less transparent, but few would dispute that violence is also prevalent in our personal relationships and in our institutions, whether it take the form of domestic disputes, disciplining of children, or sexual assaults on young girls and women.

The effects of violence and torture on human beings, whether it occurs in the public sphere, perpetrated by political enemies or state institutions, or whether it occurs within families, has been well documented by research in many countries. While some personalities are less affected, many bear deep scars which cripple their ability to form normal relationships throughout their lives. Unable to trust other people, the victims, traumatized and often emotionally disabled, live with suppressed anxieties and fears, while the perpetrators' guilt and their memories of what they have done to others leads all too often to mental disturbance.

We are talking here not just of the effect on the victims; perpetrators of violence, too, are affected. Violence takes two, just like the tango. But violence in Zimbabwe does not conform to the classic dance routine. The normal, right-side-up and justice-based version of violence in fairy tales and mythology presents us with the evil, ugly (often male) perpetrator, who ravishes the innocent, beautiful (usually female) victim. The perpetrator is punished, the victim is rescued by prince charming, and equilibrium is restored.

That is the fairy tale. The Zimbabwean reality is quite different - in fact the very opposite. In Zimbabwe, the perpetrator is excused, if not glorified. It is the victim who is blamed for not avoiding the violence. Whether it is a girl who is raped (she should not have been there, or have tempted the perpetrator), a child who is beaten (he was disobedient), a wife who is thrown out of the house (she was a witch, or she did not serve her husband well enough), a white farmer beaten to a pulp (his ancestors stole the land and he didn't give it back), or the tortured opposition member (he was working against a legitimate government) - the perpetrator is blameless. It is the victim who is seen to have caused the violence. In the public sphere, we have had amnesty after amnesty excusing perpetrators of unspeakable brutality and cruelty performed in the name of the state or of a political party. Domestic violence is routinely dismissed or ignored not only by the police who receive reports, but also by family members who try to persuade a woman that to be a victim is her destiny.

How did violence become so deeply ingrained in our culture, our relations with each other and our relations with the state? And how can the victims be held responsible? Is there no obligation on the perpetrator to stay his hand, to contain his emotions, and to find peaceful ways to resolve disputes?

Apparently we approve of physical force to achieve, not tranquility, but submission. And this lesson is learned, not first in the political or public sphere; it is learned initially in the home. Most children experience violence first in the home, then in the school. At home many - not all of course - witness violence between adults, most frequently perpetrated by their fathers against their mothers. They learn that it is acceptable; it is the privilege of the perpetrator and must be suffered and tolerated by the victims. Not because the perpetrator is right, but because he has the power. A substantial number of girl children experience sexual assault from early ages; they learn to suffer and to keep silent. And almost all children are "disciplined" by physical beating. By the time they reach school they are well socialized to accept beating, pinching, and slapping by teachers, which not infrequently becomes unacceptably abusive, intended to humiliate and rob a child of his dignity rather than to punish. Children learn to become victims of superior force backed up by the authority of a revered institution.

The next step in their socialization for violence is even more frightening - they are taught to become perpetrators of violence. This occurs in the training of police, where the young people are told that they must have the civilian beaten out of them. But it also takes place in some of the "best" of our secondary schools, particularly boys schools. The "prefect system", passed down from the English "public school", the molder of colonial officials, requires senior pupils, rather than teachers, to become responsible for the discipline of younger boys. Their duty is not to be leaders by example, by creativity and by sensitivity; their duty is to punish. They are permitted to exert considerable brutality, humiliating younger children by forcing them into uncomfortable positions, crawling on gravel on hands and knees, carrying heavy bricks. School administrations with little understanding of the means of developing leadership and morality support the prefects in the name of school discipline. There is little protection for the victimized. In one prominent religious boys secondary school a headmaster recently told his pupils that they must not report to their parents if they are punished by prefects; those who do have been further victimized. Where are the checks which would prevent the system from becoming abusive? What are these boys learning, both prefects and their victims? They are learning that there is no justice, that brutality and sadism rule. They are learning that when it is your turn to be victim, take the medicine and be quiet, and wait until it's your turn to perpetrate violence yourself. You will get back at those who tortured you by torturing other innocents. Boys at this particular school in the junior forms will complain about their treatment, but those in the senior forms will tell you it's all right "because we were treated like that". Do as was done to you, not as you would like others to do to you.

We should not be surprised then that the experience of the family and the school is carried over smoothly into the public sphere. We are a nation of victims and perpetrators of violence. When we are not in power we will be abused and suffer injustices. When we see that we are being exploited and cheated by those holding political power we will shrug our shoulders and say "what can we do?" But when we get our own chance, we will be every bit as brutal as those who tortured us. How else do we explain the ministers who sit happily at the cabinet table with those who tortured them a generation ago? Victims of trumped-up "arms cache" charges preside over the same fabrications against others twenty years later. They seal their lips, keep quiet about their own mistreatment, and allow the torture of others.

As a people our solution to all conflicts is not to seek justice, to instill respect for human dignity and protect the powerless. Our solution is to resort to the coercion which is allowed by unrestricted power, a coercion which robs both victim and perpetrator of their ability to respect each other. We teach our children in our homes and in our schools that the powerful rule, with brutality if they choose; the weak must not offend them or provoke, for there is no justice, no reconciliation, only an endless chain joining one cohort to the next - first we become victims, then violators.

Are we surprised that our political life is plagued by violence and coercion? We shouldn't be; it is all one seemless garment. Once we accept that human beings can be humiliated and abused we take on the roles, depending on our status in a given situation. Ian Smith taught us that only superior violence could dislodge a recalcitrant undemocratic regime; but once that regime was dislodged, we continued to allow violence to be the ultimate determinant in our political relationships. We simply took over the machinery from our predecessors and turned it on each other.

This is our heritage; will it also become our future? Is it possible to change? How do we build a democratic society, where many voices are heard, where persuasion and enlightenment prevail to create a political consensus, not violence and submission? It is not easy, given such a legacy. Those who are cowed, as are most Zimbabweans today, would rather suffer in silence than raise their voices in their institutions or march in the streets to exercise their rights. Journalists write about street protests as if they were inevitably violent, failing to understand the non-violent nature of civil disobedience. The present political opposition has seen that the violent way has brought disaster, and have vowed this time to dislodge a tyrannical regime through non-violent action. But they cannot resist using violence and intimidation (the threat of violence) themselves; they already seek to use coercion to establish hegemony in what they consider their own territory. Is it the only way they know? Have they not yet understood that the democracy and social justice which they claim to espouse cannot be built through coercion?

Change is always possible, but it takes a great amount of commitment and effort by those who wish to eliminate this culture of intimidation - violence on the one side and fear and submission on the other. It is, however, necessary, unless we are prepared to continue to replace one cycle with another of the same, with new perpetrators and new victims each time around. What can be done?

The most important thing is for political leaders to speak for non-violence, to practice it within their own organizations, to teach their followers the discipline of non-violence and to punish those who depart from its principles. And then they must go further, to teach them democratic and non-violent means of political organization; loyalties need to be built by open policy debate, argument and persuasion, in order to create a new politics that depends not just on tribe or personality and artificial unities, but binds people on the basis of ideas, and commitment to just solutions by leaders who respect others as human beings.

The day has not yet come for a public reckoning in which those who have brought suffering and confusion to our nation will be held to account. But some day it has to happen. We allowed the Rhodesian government and their adherents to go free for the sake of independence; we allowed the perpetrators of gukuhurundi to go free because we were forced to submit to them; we have so far allowed the perpetrators of violence against the MDC to go free. Only those who commit violence against members of ZANU PF are called to account. The impunity must come to an end. If we are ever to end the acceptability of public violence as a political instrument, people who promote it have to be punished, and punished publicly. That is the beginning. It will have to be accompanied by steps to build a political culture based on respect for difference, and the development of skills and commitment to peaceful methods of conflict resolution.

But what about our socialization as young people? What about the violence and abuse in our homes and our schools? It is important that we also deal with these problems, to stop our youth from learning to become victims and perpetrators at a young age. Violence in our institutions can only be effectively dealt with over a period of time, with the lead being taken by a government that itself eschews violence. Government must create the moral leadership which makes abuse in the schools unacceptable socially and legally. There are already strict controls on physical punishment in schools, but they are largely ignored by staff and administration, and parents who complain on behalf of their children find their children further victimized. This attitude can only be stamped out by a Ministry of Education committed to do so and by creating a framework for whistle blowing and complaints that will not punish the complainant. The same applies to violence in the home. It requires a cultural change, which comes slowly, and will only take place if a public mood which condemns violence is created by social and political leaders, who then introduce legislation and enforcement measures to reduce it.

For the moment we continue, entrapped in our various cycles of violence. Those who dream of an early political change to rescue us from this tragedy, need to study carefully how deeply all this abuse and the trauma it causes is embedded in society, and commit themselves to a long-term programme of social change. The peace-builders have a great deal of work to do. They must not only heal the wounds of past violence; they must also show the people that violence of any kind, whether public or private, degrades a human being, whether he is victim or perpetrator. Only when we are prepared to change some of these essential elements of our culture will we be in a position to take meaningful strides towards a peaceful Zimbabwe based on justice, not power.

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Everything is better in Zimbabwe

The Telegraph
Peta Thornycroft
President Robert Mugabe has locked up, beaten and deported scores of journalists and Peta Thornycroft, a Zimbabwean, is one of the last remaining independent reporters still there, battling against logistical and security hazards and the world's fastest shrinking economy.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Posted at: 10:16

Many of the couple of hundred white Zimbabwe farmers now working in two neighbouring countries, Zambia to the north and Mozambique across the eastern border, remain homesick.

"Everything is better in Zimbabwe, you find that out when you leave," said a woman in a pre Easter queue in a South African bank in a shopping centre ten minutes north of Harare’s city centre. It’s a pretty cluster of small shops and eateries among lush gardens and palm trees at odds with most of the rest of Zimbabwe.

This woman and her husband were kicked off their farm three years ago, along with about 3000 colleagues and hundreds of thousands of their workers, the most skilled in Africa. Many evicted farmers, usually the more prosperous, went to Australia and New Zealand, but this couple wanted to remain in Africa. They were lucky when they got a farming job in Zambia where agriculture was never developed.

Parts of Zambia have been transformed by farmers President Robert Mugabe didn’t want. "No matter how bad things are in Zimbabwe it is worse in Zambia. We didn’t realise that when we left. Everything works better in Zimbabwe. It’s also much more expensive there so we often come home to shop."

Officially Zimbabwe’s inflation is nearly 1,000 percent. The economy was powered by agricultural exports produced by white farmers and hundreds of downstream industries survived on the back of commercial agriculture. It was so developed, in African terms however, that even now Zimbabwe probably still creaks less than all of the rest of Africa, except for two neighbours, Botswana and South Africa.


Typical meanderings of "the lost white tribe of afrika". The woman quoted obviously comes from a different Zimbabwe to the one I left three years ago and to the one I still hear amazing horror stories about, from friends who cannot leave. Sounds like she has started to believe the evil regimes' propaganda and wishes to propagate it too.Even the most backward african state can only be better than a debt-ridden , corruption-ravished skeleton. There is NO infrastructure and cannot be while evil reigns. You have a new life - be thankful - others cannot , both black and white. Get over your fond dreams of former glory and make the most of a new world. It has glorious sunsets , sceneries , oportunities and people too - open your eyes. The past is dead!Long live the future.
Posted by Dave Botha on April 18, 2006 11:20 AM

Madam With all due respect, if it's so good there, why don't they go back? I have met up with a number of ex-Zimbabweans in Zambia and even DRC and none of them would agree with you.
Posted by Stuart on April 18, 2006 1:18 PM

I have to believe you that White Farmers in Zimbabwe enjoyed the highest living standards, had low wage workers and at times things do work in Zimbabwe. You are the second white Zimbabwean to state that. Zimbabweans should and must welcome back Zimbabwean white Farmers. They are our people and we know them.
Posted by Zwelithani on April 18, 2006 2:01 PM

Everything in Zimbabwe is so bad that it has become so unbearable. Those surviving in the present conditions are only doing so by the grace of God. I am a nurse in the UK and have just been to see my parents in Zimbabwe. Groceries are being bought at prices parallel to UK prices yet salaries are so low. Few can afford a loaf of bread everyday. It is a pathetic situation no-one wants to be in. The health system,roads, schools, starving people you name it, is beyond misery. Count yourself lucky! I do not think you are in touch with reality.
Posted by Menesia on April 18, 2006 2:18 PM

I'm not sure the lady is in any way sticking up for the regime in Zim, just making observations based on her own experience. The shopping precinct in Borrowdale is probably infinitely better than some places in Zambia,cut her some slack, she probably abhors the Mugabe regime as much as anyone.
Posted by David Norris on April 18, 2006 2:29 PM

The lady who says that it is better in Zimbabwe expresses the same or similar sentiments most of us used to express during our lives in exile. South African author, Lewis Nkosi, captures such sentiments in "Home and Exile." A lot of Zimbabweans in the diaspora, no matter how successful they are, miss home, in spite an autocratic and totalitarian and repressive regime. I would like to believe that the sentiments of the now expatriate white lady are those who is home sick. It is doubtful that any sane person out Mugabe's regime would have a single nice thing to say.
Posted by Nhanhure Chipanduranyika on April 18, 2006 3:41 PM

Let the lady say out her opinion. Even for some of us who left home, we still think home is best. So don't slander her for being honest.
Posted by Vida on April 18, 2006 3:45 PM

I have travelled extensively within southern and central Africa. I concur with what the lady has said. Despite the economic upheaval going on in Zimbabwe things do work well. The infrastructure in Zambia, Malawi, Mocambique, DRC and Tanzania is shocking to say the least. Despite the massive problems that are confronting the Mugabe regime the state structures are still intact and you have to give Mugabe credit for that. I am not saying Mugabe is right but he ahs received very unfair villification without being given the right of reply. The Zimbabwean government's arguement regarding the land issue has not been fully explored and given the airing it needs so that when individuals debate the issue they make an informed decision. The other issue is that you cannot compare Zimbabwe or Africa to the west. It is a matter of record that Africa is the poorest continent in the world as well as the most undeveloped.
Posted by Tiri Dziva on April 18, 2006 4:14 PM

It's a fact that things are so much better in Zimbabwe than the rest of Africa.However the sad reality for our generation is that we can never get used to 2000% inflation, 36 hour queues for fuel, 4 hour queues for cash withdrawals, empty shelves, 80% unemployment, lawlessness and increasing corruption. The lady above obviously wishes she could go back to the "good old day" when she had a large farm with a couple of swimming pools, 5 maids and 300 workers living in small mud huts somewhere at the back of her farm where there is an infestation of mosquitos and snakes. In the days where she used to pay her workers peanuts and give them the harvests which weren't good enough even for her dogs. In the middle we have the ones still on their farms, white, still getting government grants, why?? Are they government puppets? No, because their hard work and contribution to our society is fully recognised and appreciated. So who really is the villian here. Leaders or White farmers? You decide for me both needed to be rid of.
Posted by Jermaine Madara on April 18, 2006 4:33 PM

Home is always best, no matter what. I always say, when push comes to shove, and you are asked, what country would you die for? The country you choose is your home. I think if we all had a choice, we would never leave home. I am an African Zimbabwean. I have nothing against the white Zimbabweans. It was a white Zimbabwean teacher who recognised my talents and encouraged me to develop them. I have honoured her with an award I give every year at my former high school in her name. It was a white Zimbabwean woman who mentored me at the beginning of my career. Reality and politics are two different things. Right now they are affecting our race relations, but hopefully, not always. I have faith in Zimbabwe. We are gonna make it out of this dark tunnel one day, and everyone is welcome to come home.
Posted by Susan on April 18, 2006 4:54 PM

Let me dream......... What would Zimbabwe be like today if the Land Apportionment Bill had not been enacted in 1923? Ideas please!
Posted by Alan on April 18, 2006 5:19 PM

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Zimbabwe plans to hold lavish party despite dying economy

The Star

April 18, 2006 Edition 4

Harare, Zimbabwe - Zimbabweans mark 26 years of independence today with
little to celebrate amid deepening economic hardships, personal tragedies
and a rapidly widening gap between the rich elite and the poor majority.

President Robert Mugabe's ruling party yesterday said it was "disturbed"
that young Zimbabweans, in particular, showed no pride in their nation's
independence from colonial-era white rule after a bitter seven-year bush war
in which at least 40 000 fighters died.

Lavish celebrations are planned throughout the country, including an address
by Mugabe.

Linda (22), an unemployed office clerk, won't be going. Known as a member of
the Freedom Generation, born after 1980, she benefited from free education
and health care as a child, achieving modest school results.

Linda - who wouldn't give her last name for fear of reprisals - now hangs
out in a seedy Harare bar, looking for customers. She said she is aware of
the dangers of prostitution in a nation where at least 3 000 die of HIV/Aids
related illnesses each week.

She said some men pay more for unprotected sex.

"What can I do?" protested Linda, in a now-common Zimbabwe refrain. "I have
to eat."

The vast and growing disparity between the poor and a rich elite of about 5%
of the population is blamed largely on corruption, black market
profiteering, favoritism in official contracts and land deals and the
peddling of political influence.

Unemployment exceeds 70% and inflation is the highest in the world at 913%
on basic goods. About 3,5-million Zimbabweans, many professionals, are
living outside the country.

Disruptions in the agriculture-based economy after the often violent
seizures of thousands of white-owned farms since 2000 have led to acute
shortages of food, petrol and medicines.

The weak Zimbabwe dollar has hit health, education and other public
services. Absenteeism from schools has soared in the wake of frequent fee
increases. - Sapa-AP

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China and Zimbabwe love affair turns sour

The Australian

Rowan Callick, China correspondent
April 19, 2006
AS China's President Hu Jintao flies in to Seattle today, American critics
are looking sharply at Beijing's cosy relationships with African leaders.
Peter Brookes of the Heritage Foundation wrote in The Weekly Standard that
China was "shoring up some of Africa's most odious regimes".

Mr Hu will fly from the US to Saudi Arabia, then to Morocco, Nigeria and

In a typical example, China's trade with oil-rich Nigeria has soared from
$US384 million in 1998 to $US3 billion ($4.1 billion) last year.

In South Africa, the most successful economy in the region, 28 per cent of
business owners said in a recent survey that Chinese imports were their
greatest threat.

But Beijing's great play for African resources and diplomatic dominance of
the continent is already fraying at the edges.

When Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe visited China last July, he received
the full red-carpet treatment, in contrast to his pariah status in most of
the Western world.

Mr Mugabe, a Marxist and admirer of Mao Zedong since his political youth,
told Zimbabweans on Independence Day: "We have turned East, where the sun
rises, and given our back to the West, where the sun sets."

But last weekend The Zimbabwe Independent editorialised: "The deals that he
trumpeted then have yet to come to fruition. The Chinese dream is

Although Zimbabwe, which is celebrating the 26th anniversary of its
independence from Britain, was accorded "approved tourism destination
status", few Chinese comrades have been attracted.

Arrivals have declined 70 per cent since state-owned Air Zimbabwe began
flying to Beijing last year, and the operations to "where the sun rises" are
now running rivers of red, losing more than $1 million a month.

A claimed deal through which China would finance a thermal power station and
provide a loan to keep the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority afloat has
not materialised. Electronic firms and agro-processing plants that were also
supposed to be coming from China have failed to arrive.

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

"The reality was that nothing would come Zimbabwe's way on the house. The
Chinese, like any economic power, demand international commercial rates for
whatever services they render Zimbabwe."

One Chinese venture is proceeding to plan, however. The China State Farms
and Agribusiness Corporation has leased from the Zimbabwe Government a
number of farms seized at gunpoint from white farmers.

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Mugabe warns opponents against "playing with fire"


By MacDonald Dzirutwe and Stella Mapenzauswa

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe vowed on Tuesday to
crack down mercilessly on opponents he said were trying to topple him
through violent protests.

"I want to warn them that they are playing with fire," Mugabe told thousands
at a sports stadium in a speech marking Zimbabwe's 26 years of independence,
all of it under his rule.

It was Mugabe's second warning since his main opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai of
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), called last month for street
protests to end his long rule.

Zimbabwe is battling its worst economic downturn since independence from
Britain, dramatized by the world's highest inflation rate, unemployment
above 70 percent and shortages of fuel, food and foreign currency.

Mugabe departed from his prepared text to deliver his warning, speaking in
both English and the local Shona.

"Anyone ... who dares lead any group of persons to embark on a campaign of
violence ... will be inviting the full wrath of the law to descend
mercilessly on him or those who follow him," he said.

Political analysts say the government is concerned that Tsvangirai's call
could be heeded by Zimbabweans, many of whom are increasingly unable to cope
with a crumbling economy.

Tsvangirai last month threatened to lead a campaign of peaceful mass
protests, prompting a warning from Mugabe, 82, that he would be "dicing with

"There are those who dream governing this country. I want to tell them that
dreams are only dreams, they should end at home," Mugabe said to cheers from
the crowd.

Some at the rally expressed skepticism about the success of any opposition
protests, but equally doubted Mugabe's government had any fresh ideas to
solve the country's deepening crisis.

"I think these guys have no new ideas to solve all problems confronting us.
They have done their part and I think someone else should take over for a
change," said 25-year-old Kennedy Chikuse, who said he had come to watch a
soccer match scheduled for later in the day.


Mugabe revised down the economic outlook, putting growth at between 1-2
percent on the back of officially projected growth of 9 percent in the key
agriculture sector.

The government earlier put 2006 growth at 2-3.5 percent, but independent
analysts see the economy shrinking even further after contracting by about a
third over the past six years.

Mugabe reiterated that his government was seeking a 51 percent controlling
stake in foreign-owned mines, backing a proposal which has fanned fears
among foreign investors.

Mugabe has in recent years used his public speeches mainly to rail against
Britain and the United States, accusing them of campaigning for regime

The two countries have led limited Western sanctions against the government
over charges of political repression and vote rigging.

Mugabe co-led the 1970s guerrilla war against white minority rule in the
then British colony of Rhodesia and was revered in his early days in power
as a nationalist hero.

But the memory of that struggle is lost on many jobless young Zimbabweans,
who are fleeing in their hundreds of thousands to neighboring South Africa
and beyond.

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Joint food survey off

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

JOHANNESBURG, 18 Apr 2006 (IRIN) - The Zimbabwean government has called off
a joint crop and food supply assessment mission with the UN's Food and
Agricultural Organisation (FAO), said humanitarian sources.

FAO was prevented from carrying out similar surveys in 2004 and 2005.
Humanitarian agencies in Zimbabwe said the government's decision to call off
the FAO mission was related to a UN World Health Organisation (WHO) report,
which said the country's women have the shortest lifespan in the world.

"They [Zimbabwean government] are very upset about it ['The World Health
Report 2006' by WHO]," said an aid worker. The study results released
earlier this month were based on 2004 statistics indicating that Zimbabwe's
women now have an average lifespan of 34 years - the lowest in the world -
while that of men is 37 years. The Minister of Health and Child Welfare,
David Parirenyatwa, has reportedly declared these statistics false.

Agriculture Minister Joseph Made told IRIN that the government was going to
conduct crop and food supply assessments on its own, without the involvement
of local and international NGOs. "The government has the capacity to do the
task at hand. We will only invite others where we need help." Last week, he
insisted that the only legitimate surveys would be those carried out by a
special government committee headed by the Central Statistics Office.

The FAO said it was aware of press accounts that Made was not pleased with
"backdoor" assessment missions, but was still awaiting an official response.
"FAO is always ready to assist member countries with such missions but the
organisation must maintain its credibility and capacity to speak freely and
openly regarding the mission's findings," said John Riddle, FAO spokesman.

"These statistics are needed by the government and the people of Zimbabwe -
not all these other foreign agencies competing to [be part of] the
assessment. Once the figure is given, it will be up to us to decide on what
to do next," Made told IRIN. He refused to be drawn into giving a crop
estimate, but insisted that the harvest would be better because the rains
had been good.

The Ministry of Agriculture has started sending officials into the
countryside to carry out this year's pre-harvest food security survey.

"We are deploying officers to all provinces, districts and wards. We need
one week to carry out the assessment. If all goes well, the results will be
ready by late next week, but only through the Ministry of Agriculture," Dr
Shadreck Mlambo, a senior official with the Agricultural Extension Services,
told local media at the weekend.

Deployment of the officials comes amid concerns that Zimbabwe, which is
facing acute food shortages, will have another serious grain deficit this

Although the government insists that this year will see improved harvests,
independent food security organisations have warned that the country may not
produce enough to be food secure in 2006. The last two independent surveys
published were conducted by the US-funded Famine Early Warning Network and
the US Department of Agriculture. Both forecast deficits, with maize
production estimated at between 700,000 mt and 900,000 mt, compared to a
domestic demand of 1.4 million mt.

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Little to celebrate as country turns 26

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

HARARE, 18 Apr 2006 (IRIN) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe assured his
countrymen on Tuesday that there was a ray of hope, predicting the economy
could grow by one or two percent - the first positive move in eight straight
years of recession.

Addressing low-key celebrations to commemorate independence from Britain 26
years ago, a frail-looking Mugabe said the government planned to stabilise
the economy in the next six to nine months "by focusing on food security and
increased agricultural production" and "foreign exchange generation",
accompanied by "aggressive marketing of Zimbabwe as a conducive investment

Zimbabweans are suffering shortages of food, foreign exchange and fuel, and
an inflation rate in March of 913.6 percent. Mugabe's projected agro-led
growth is despite estimates that Zimbabwe will again be unable to feed
itself this year.

Mgcini Nyoni, an economic analyst, was nonplussed by Mugabe's optimism. "We
have the worst inflation in the world, high unemployment, a collapse of the
agricultural and manufacturing sector - so that does not conjure up images
of an improving economy."

A chaotic land reform programme beginning in 2000 accelerated Zimbabwe's
economic decline, although the government insists it has been the victim of
"sanctions" by key donor countries in punishment for the seizure of
white-owned farms.

A crowd of around 15,000 came to the 60,000-seater National Sports Stadium
on the outskirts of the capital, Harare, where Mugabe, 82, appealed to the
youth not to join the brain drain leaving Zimbabwe.

"If you go away, who will build your country? Please don't run away from me,
I am one of you ... When you get to the United Kingdom, they will give you
dirty, menial jobs." An estimated three million Zimbabweans out of a
population of 13 million are living outside the country.

Mugabe's speech provided some cheer for the armed forces: "We know the
conditions of living and salaries of our forces are deplorable. Government
is dedicated to reviewing these salaries and conditions of service in order
to enable members of our forces to be more comfortable than they have been

The move was widely expected after the Zimbabwe National Army Commander,
General Constantine Chiwenga, had reportedly warned of discontent in the
ranks over salaries.

Flashes of the old fist-waving Mugabe returned when he warned the leader of
a faction of the opposition, Morgan Tsvangirai, not to go ahead with
proposed street demonstrations against his rule.

"Anyone, therefore, who dares lead any group of persons to embark on a
campaign of violence or terrorist activities, will be inviting the full
wrath of the law to descend mercilessly on him or on those who follow him.
You will be playing with fire!"

Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for the Tsvangirai faction of the Movement for
Democratic Change, said Mugabe's statement was an attempt to frighten
Zimbabweans who wanted to embark on peaceful demonstrations.

"We just regard those as his geriatric convulsions," Chamisa said. "Mugabe
has no solutions to the problems facing the people of Zimbabwe, and that is
why he can use threats against his own people."

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Mugabe ready to meet teachers face to face

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Apr-18

 PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday said he was prepared, not through his
government arms, to meet representatives of teachers and discuss their
conditions of service and salaries with a view to improve their economic

The President was speaking at an independence celebration party he hosted
together with the First Lady, Grace Mugabe, for school children from the
country's 10 provinces.
"Let us discuss problems whenever they arise even at my level you are free
to discuss with me. You are free to come to me with the problems whenever
those below could have failed," President Mugabe said.
Earlier, the president had acknowledged that teachers were working under
difficult conditions.
He said: "I sympathise with them (teachers) because they are doing hard work
under difficult conditions. We will remain very cognisant of the problems
they are facing. I will never accept it that they must toil like slaves
without benefit. True, they have a national duty to perform, but not without
rewards and benefit."
The lowest paid teacher is currently earning a net salary of $8 million with
the highest pocketing approximately $12 million.
President Mugabe added the teachers had a pivotal role to play in the
development of children.
"Teachers should see you develop not only physically, but mentally and
spiritually," he said.
The Head of State urged the youngsters to take their education seriously
saying those who sacrificed their lives in the liberation struggle did so
the future generations would have a better life.
The President said children had a right to education, but warned that those
who engaged in social vices like theft and robbery would be sent to prison.
President Mugabe added that a lot of people sacrificed their lives for the
He then castigated former Rhodesian leader, Ian Smith.
"You are all children, firstly, of your father and mother, secondly of
communities in which we all live, and finally you are children of Zimbabwe.
"Ian Smith wanted you to be children of Rhodesia named after the colonialist
Rhodes. Rhodes had no children, he
was a homosexual and we rejected that," he added.
He also attacked those who aligned themselves to Smith during the
short-lived Zimbabwe-Rhodesia of 1979.
The party, an annual event, was attended by government officials including
Minister of Education, Sport and Culture, Aeneas Chigwedere, Harare
provincial governor, David Karimanzira and the Deputy Minister of Youth
Development and Employment Creation, Saviour Kasukuwere.

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MDC deny talks with Zanu PF via Kofi Annan envoy

      By Lance Guma
      18 April 2006

      The Movement for Democratic Change has distanced itself from press
reports suggesting it is in talks with Zanu PF about setting up a
transitional government. Some reports had said United Nations Secretary
General Kofi Annan had tasked a former representative of the UN to broker
some form of negotiated settled. The former spokesperson for the under
Secretary-General for Peace Keeping Operations based in Harare, Leonard
Kapungu, is alleged to have already met MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai 'to
sell him the plan.' Party spokesman Nelson Chamisa says the story is
speculative and untrue.

      He described it as an attempt to tarnish the party leadership by
giving the impression they were in bed with Zanu PF. 'Clearly it's a
speculative piece which is meant to try and paint a negative image about the
party leadership and its principles,' he told Newsreel. Chamisa says the MDC
has already laid out its roadmap for the restoration of legitimacy in
Zimbabwe and they are very clear about how to achieve it. 'Its very
regrettable we have to comment on distortions and half truths,' Chamisa
added. A new constitution followed by free and fair elections is the only
route to restoring legitimacy in government and any other compromise will
not work he said.

      Zimbabweans have had to endure one frustrating year after another with
no sign things will change. The political and economic situation slides from
one low point to another while setting world records for all the wrong
reasons. The country has the fastest shrinking economy, the highest
inflation rates and its human rights record ensures it is always in the top
ten worst offenders list. Debate currently surrounds what would make for a
suitable solution to the country's crisis, with some favouring dialogue with
a reformed wing of the ruling Zanu PF while others advocate a complete
change of government.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Tsvangirai faction and ZANU PF to wed in 'transitional' govt


      April 18, 2006

      By Andnetwork .com

      PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has agreed in principle to an ambitious plan
for a transitional government made up of opposition and ruling Zanu PF
officials when his term expires in 2008, New can reveal.

       The negotiated settlement of Zimbabwe's political impasse is being
planned as United Nations secretary general Koffi Annan's "last hoorah"
before he retires in December, diplomatic sources told New
      Annan is pinning hopes of a breakthrough on Leonard Kapungu, the
former Representative of the UN Under Secretary-general for Peacekeeping
Operations at the SADC Regional Peacekeeping Centre in Harare. Kapungu now
heads an NGO called the Centre for Peace Initiatives in Africa.

      According to sources, Kapungu has already met Morgan Tsvangirai,
leader of a splinter group of the fractured Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) to sell him the plan.

      A western diplomat told New from Harare: "The plan has
been approved by the Americans and the British. Koffi Annan will delay his
long promised trip to Zimbabwe until all details of this political
settlement have been agreed and he will announce a major political
breakthrough in Harare as his last hoorah before he quits."

      The diplomat said Zanu PF officials loyal to the powerful faction led
by Vice President Joice Mujuru were "very receptive" to the plan as they see
it as an opening to outmanouvre another faction led by Emmerson Mnangagwa in
Zanu PF's internal power play.

      The plan for the transitional government is a striking replay of
similar attempts by Mnangagwa's Zanu PF faction to negotiate with the MDC
last year before it was foiled by Mujuru's group.

      Tsvangirai recently stoked up the political flames when he threatened
to lead mass protests against Mugabe's government. Mugabe swiftly responded,
warning his chief political nemesis for the past six years that he was
"dicing with death".

      Despite the two leaders' tough-talking in public, sources say the
economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe has frustrated both Tsvangirai and
Mugabe in equal measure and a negotiated settlement appears to be favourable

      Nelson Chamisa, a spokesman for Tsvangirai's group appeared to break
with his party's openly expressed view that it would not negotiate a
political settlement with Zanu PF when asked for his reaction Sunday.

      Chamisa said: "The party would welcome any initiatives that seek to
address problems our country is facing. Our position is that the party would
welcome demestic, national and international intervention."

      He added: "We are not exclusive on who is going to be
engaged...solving our problems requires all stakeholders to get involved and
that includes those in Zanu PF."

      At a recent rally in Chitungwiza, during which he announced that his
group would participate in future elections, Tsvangirai dropped a hint of
the negotiated settlement when he said the country would have a new
constitution soon, without explaining.

      As part of the plan, President Mugabe would step down in 2008 and
appoint a successor. The leader of that transitional government will then
invite opposition politicians and civic leaders into the coalition
government to reflect on the country's ethnic and gender balance, sources
said. That will lead to harmonised Presidential and Parliamentary elections
in 2010.

      A source said: "A new constitution is one of the areas being
negotiated. From Zanu PF's point of view, they want to ease Mugabe's
successor into power with minimal resistance and they hope this transition
government will send out a message to the international community that they
are reforming."

      The sources said the Mujuru-camp in Zanu PF, which has the political
support of Mugabe, also hoped wrapping in Tsvangirai's overwhelmingly
Karanga leadership team would compensate for the loss of Mnangagwa (a
Karanga), in the event of an internal fall-out within Zanu PF.

      The source added: "Mujuru's faction in Zanu PF, and Tsvangirai's
faction in the MDC are united on one thing: crushing any challenge from
Arthur Mutambara's MDC faction and in the coming weeks, we could see some
bold attempts to discredit them by hook or crook."

      In an 'Independence Day' message published on New,
Mutambara appeared to refer to the Mujuru-Tsvangirai plan when he said: "On
harmonization (mooted as Amendment 18 to the Zimbabwean Constitution), the
Zanu PF objective is to use its fraudulent two thirds majority in the
legislature to change the constitution in order to combine the Parliamentary
and Presidential elections in 2010, thus denying the people an election in

      "The idea is to have an unelected Zanu PF transitional president who
then gains the power of incumbency for two years before being subjected to
an election. The political demand should be for harmonization in 2008 not

      New understands that Sam Sipepa Nkomo defected from
Mutambara's faction to join Tsvangirai's group after holding discussions
with his relative and Speaker of Parliament, John Nkomo.

      John Nkomo, sources say, advised Sipepa Nkomo that he stood a better
chance of making it as a representative from Matabeleland in the
transitional government if he joined Tsvangirai's group.

      Repeated attempts to get comment from Kapungu were fruitless last

      Source : New Zimbabwe

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Documentary "Mugabe at Independence 1980"

For only the second time in the history of SW Radio Africa, Robert Mugabe speaks to the nation as we bring you a repeat of the Independence Day special, first broadcast in April 2003, documenting his pre-independence visions and promises and the reversal of policy that shocked many and destroyed the country.


Mugabe famously said in 1980; “Tomorrow is thus our birthday, the birthday of great Zimbabwe and the birthday of its nation. Tomorrow we shall cease to be men and women of the past and become men and women of the future. It is tomorrow then, not yesterday, which bears our destiny. As we become a new people we are called to be constructive, progressive and forever forward looking. For we cannot afford to be men of yesterday backward looking, retrogressive and distractive.”


Sadly, as Zimbabwe celebrates 26 years of Independence Mugabe has failed to be constructive or progressive. In fact he has indeed regressed. Inflation is the highest in the world, health and education have collapsed and 5 million Zimbabweans are estimated to be living outside the county.


The documentary “Mugabe at Independence 1980” looks at what he said versus what he did. Introduced and produced by Violet Gonda.


You can listen to the programme Hot Seat (today) at at 6pm (UK time)


If you miss the live broadcast ARCHIVES are posted after 7pm (UK time) - Hot Seat TUESDAY 18 APRIL 2006


Archives are kept for two weeks.


Violet Gonda
SW Radio Africa
Direct:    00 44 208 387 1415
Mobile:   00 44 795 874 1820
Fax:       00 44 208 387 1416

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Zimbabwe economy to grow 1-2 pct in 2006 - Mugabe


      Tue Apr 18, 2006 5:47 PM GMT

HARARE (Reuters) - President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday said Zimbabwe's
economy would grow by between 1-2 percent this year, the first time in 8
years, powered by a revival of the key agriculture sector.

Zimbabwe is in its eighth year of punishing recession seen in shortages of
food, foreign exchange and fuel, triple digit inflation, rocketing
unemployment and deepening poverty.

In December, Finance Minister Hebert Murerwa during a national budget
presentation said the economy was expected to grow by between 2-3.5 percent
in 2006.

"The economy is expected to grow by between 1-2 percent this year,
underpinned by agriculture with a forecast growth rate of 9 percent," Mugabe
said during a speech to mark the country's 26 years of self rule in Harare.

"Government (will) stabilise the economy in the next 6-9 months by focusing
on food security and increased agriculture production, foreign exchange
generation and mobilization through the full utilization of the idle
capacity in all sectors of the economy," said Mugabe.

This would be the first positive growth in gross domestic product (GDP) for
Zimbabwe after 8 years of decline, which critics blame on mismanagement by
Mugabe's government.

The International Monetary Fund and local analysts have all forecast another
decline in GDP this year and have warned the government to craft a
comprehensive economic package to rescue the southern African nation's

The unbridled inflation, at 913.6 percent in March, is playing havoc with
the finances of ordinary Zimbabweans, who must often now go shopping with
huge wads of cash for simple purchases that can end up costing millions of
Zimbabwe dollars.

Industry has also suffered, with the cost of doing business rising daily,
forcing some firms to fold. Most of industry is operating below 30 percent
capacity due to high inflation and foreign currency shortages.

"We had a better agriculture season than last year but that will not be
enough to kickstart economic growth. I do not agree with these projections,
we will see another contraction this year," James Jowa, an economist with
Harare finance house said.

Zimbabwe's key agriculture sector has plunged more than 40 percent, which
critics blame on Mugabe's policy of seizing land from white commercial farms
to resettle blacks.

Mugabe said the prospects of a better harvest this year meant the government
would be able to reduce food imports and divert the resources to develop and
rehabilitate its crumbling infrastructure.

Zimbabwe's crisis has been worsened by the withdrawal of aid by key donors
who cited policy differences with Mugabe, especially over the land seizures.

The veteran leader repeated on Tuesday that the economy had suffered from "a
spate of devastating droughts and an evil programme of unjustified

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SA group to march over Zim's 26 years of hell


          April 18 2006 at 08:35AM

      By Demian van der Reijden

      On the 26th anniversary of Zimbabwe's independence, the South African
Youth Communist League was due to embark on a protest march in
Johannesburg's city centre on Tuesday.

      "We think the situation for Zimbabwe's youth is quite depressing," YCL
national secretary Buti Manamela said at a press conference at Cosatu House
in Braamfontein on Monday.

      "Students and other youth are arrested on a daily basis, just for
expressing their disapproval of the government. We believe that the issues
in Zimbabwe are only addressed in South Africa just before, during and just
after elections.

      "But the atrocities take place on a daily basis, not only around

      "We cannot silently ignore what's happening in Zimbabwe. And it is a
South African problem as well: Zimbabwean refugees crowd Johannesburg's
streets, prostituting and committing crimes."

       The South African government should persist in working towards a
power change in Zimbabwe, Manamela stressed.

      "On Tuesday Zimbabwean officials will dish out meals to all
residents - for most of them probably the only warm meal this week.
Tomorrow, the Zimbabwean people will go back to poverty.

      "It is said that Zimbabwe is democratic, but 26 years after Robert
Mugabe replaced Ian Smith as president, I think we're not celebrating 26
years of democracy, but 26 years of hell."

      The YCL invited other youth organisations, including the ANC Youth
League, to take part in the march together with YCL members from other

      Manamela said the YCL wanted to reach as many people as possible to
create more awareness and set change in motion for its Zimbabwean comrades.

      "It took South Africa 350 years to achieve the democratic prosperity
we have now. In time, Zimbabwe's troubles will be overcome. It is just not
possible that Mugabe's government will be in power for ever."

      At the end of the march, at the Zimbabwean high commission, the YCL
was due to hand over its demands for the Zimbabwean government to its

      The YCL is demanding the end of all human rights abuses against youth,
the rebuilding of Zimbabwe's economy, the end of media suppression and the
immediate resignation of Mugabe.

      But, before they issue their demands, the march was to take them
through the city centre to Gauteng Premier Mbhazima Shilowa's office to hand
over their "Ten demands for 2015" to representatives of the government.

      The list contains demands for the nationalisation of land for communal
benefits, nationalisation of mineral wealth, the creation of a state bank to
finance developmental needs for youth, and the establishment of a youth
co-operative in each municipal ward before the next local elections.

      "For now, there's no way that South African youth can celebrate
democracy on June 16, considering the post-1994 situation most of them are
living in. Most initiatives taken so far to improve their lives or provide
opportunities did not have any effect at all," Manamela said.

      The YCL was also concerned about the situation in Khutsong.

      "We ask the government to reconsider the decision to demarcate
Khutsong from Gauteng, and integrate it to North West," Manamela said.

      "Further, we request an immediate by-election after the demarcation
process, as the current municipal representatives were elected by a mere
once percent of the 37 000 voters in the municipality."


      This article was originally published on page 8 of The Star on April
17, 2006

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Zimbabwe Defence Forces takes over government operations

      By Tichaona Sibanda
      18 April 2006

      A senior Zimbabwe National Army officer has confirmed long held views
that government is now under the control of the military.

      A Brigadier based at army headquarters in Harare told our Bulawayo
correspondent, Themba Nkosi over the Easter holiday that nearly all
government structures have been placed into the hands of the army.

      Almost all essential parastatals in the country are being run by
personnel seconded from the army. Recently defence forces commander General
Constantine Chiwenga took charge of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, ZIMRA.

      With the country's economy in freefall, compounded by escalating
shortages of basic commodities like mealie meal and bread, tensions are
running high.

      As a measure to clamp down on any dissent against the government
analysts say Mugabe has put the army in control of all essential government
institutions and parastatals that are significant to the regime's survival.

      Nkosi said the Brigadier told him the exercise has sharply divided the
army as only those from the former Zanla forces are being considered for the
top posts at the expense of former Zipra combatants.

      'Even those taking over the command of brigades are from the former
Zanla forces, so it is a case of not trusting anyone outside the Zanu (PF)
inner circles, despite the Unity Accord that brought together Zanu (PF) and
Zapu,' said Nkosi.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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UK cuts funding for public asylum lawyers

      By Tererai Karimakwenda
      18 April 2006

      The Legal Services Commission (LSC) which funds publicly supported
legal cases for asylum seekers in the UK has proposed drastic cuts in the
programme and is being accused of targeting immigration solicitors unfairly.
The Reverend Dr. Martine Stemerick who has been following developments in
immigration affairs of Zimbabweans in the UK reports that the LSC is
proposing to end the contracts of all immigration solicitors who do not meet
a 40% success rate in asylum case appeals. There has already been a 10%
reduction in the number of immigration solicitors' offices between September
2005 and February 2006. As a result fewer lawyers are now willing to tackle
asylum cases and their long drawn-out process. This spells problems for many
Zimbabwean asylum seekers who are relying on publicly funded solicitors.

      Dr. Stemerick said despite the fear of a flood of refugees from
Zimbabwe, the facts on the ground actually show that the numbers of new
cases have gone down and the proposed changes are not necessary. She said
the figures fell sharply in 2005 and for the 4 th year in a row. There were
only 384 new asylum applications in the last quarter of 2005. There is also
a backlog in asylum cases that is quite substantial. According to Dr.
Stemerick the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has warned
countries imposing tighter restrictions on refugees that they may be closing
the door to women and children who are being persecuted in their home

      Dr. Stemerick said the LSC proposals to cut funding were made without
parliamentary debate and with only 4 weeks of consultations. On the legal
side the Home Office has 8-10 solicitors representing them in court in the
case that will determine policy on Zimbabwe. They also have the resources to
go to Zimbabwe for research. But the other side, the Refugee Legal Council
representing asylum seekers, has only 2 lawyers whose funding has been cut.
This is very discouraging and Dr. Stemerick described it as a " David and
Goliath" task. She said all this needs to be brought to the attention of MPs
in the areas Zimbabweans reside.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Harare Considers 800% Fuel Price Rise to Market Levels


By Blessing Zulu
      17 April 2006

Zimbabwean drivers could be facing an 800% increase in the official price of
gasoline as the government contemplates an increase to the levels prevailing
on the parallel or black market. But the move could make it easier for
consumers to obtain fuel through authorized outlets, many of which are
already demanding free-market prices.

The stiff increase in the price of gasoline from Z$22,300 a liter to
$200,000 has yet to be approved by President Robert Mugabe's cabinet. But it
has been endorsed by the "stakeholders" committee convened recently by the
Ministry of Energy and Power. Diesel fuel, now going for $20,800 a liter, is
expected to see a similar rise.

State fuel distribution has been plagued by corruption - much, if not most,
of the fuel that is made available at the official price by the National Oil
Compny of Zimbabwe finds its way onto the black market where officials and
cronies reap huge profits.

In March, authorities arrested two senior officials of the ruling ZANU-PF
party, member of parliament Enoch Porusingazi, and Mutare businessman Esau
Mupfumi, on charges of fraudulently obtaining 1.3 million liters of diesel
fuel from NOCZIM for resale. Also, State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa
has threatened to confiscate agricultural property from resettled farmers
who have abused their access to state supplies.

Reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe asked independent
economist John Robertson of Harare why Harare is finally bowing to economic

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Zimbabwe backed on Caribbean tour


      Zimbabwe manager Andy Pycroft is confident the team can ignore the
politics and infighting at home and perform well in the West Indies.
      Zimbabwean cricket has been hit by a row over the running of the game
which has led to the loss of Test status.

      "We're looking at cricket not politics, and trying to prepare this new
side as quickly as we can," Pycroft said.

      Zimbabwe will meet West Indies in seven one-day internationals
starting on 29 April in Antigua.

      The tour originally included two Tests, but the Zimbabwe government
withdrew the team from all Tests this year.

      It also replaced the national board and retained controversial
chairman Peter Chingoka, who has been investigated by police and auditors.

      Former captains Tatenda Taibu and Heath Streak quit the side and left
overseas after personal threats and disputes with the board.

      "A lot of people have written Zimbabwe cricket off with the problems
they've had, but there is still a lot of potential there," Pycroft said.

      Pycroft, a former Zimbabwe batsman, said he was optimistic the team
would return to Test cricket next year.

      "We wouldn't be doing what we're doing unless we believe it was
possible for us to return to Test cricket," he said.

      "The timeframe has been set to try and get back into Test cricket in
February next year.

      "We've very much been focused on one-day cricket because we believe
that's the way to bring the side through and then get back into longer
cricket once we've got the experience that we need."

      Zimbabwe's 16-man squad will be led by Terry Duffin, who also
captained the team in the drawn series with Kenya six weeks ago.

      Pycroft added: "It's a very young side. The average age is only
something just over 20 years old, forced on us because of lot of players
have given up the recent past.

      "The side we've got together has been practicing hard over the last
five or six weeks. They are learning quickly and playing quite well. The
strength of the side is more in the bowling department. The batting is quite

      Zimbabwe will play seven games in the Caribbean, the first in Antigua
on 29 April.


      Zimbabwe squad: Terrence Duffin (capt), Chamunorwa Chibhabha, Elton
Chigumbura, Charles Coventry, Keith Dabengwa, Ryan Higgins, Anthony Ireland,
Blessing Mahwire, Keegan Meth, Tawanda Mupariwa, Edward Rainsford, Piet
Rinke, Vusumuzi Sibanda, Gregory Strydom, Brendan Taylor, Prosper Utseya.

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11 people die of traffic accidents in Zimbabwe

East Day, China

17/4/2006 17:23

A total of 11 people have been killed while 161 others injured in 132 road
accidents reported countrywide in Zimbabwe since the beginning of the Easter
holiday, local media reported yesterday.
Police spokesman Inspector Andrew Phiri said on Sunday that Masvingo
province had the highest number of casualties with three deaths while the
provinces of Mashonaland East, Matabeleland North and Midlands recorded two
accident-related fatalities each. Manicaland and Bulawayo both had a single
Phiri said most of the accidents were attributed to speeding, tyre bursts
and negligent pedestrians.
He also said last year, 29 people were killed while 447 others were injured
in 406 accidents reported countrywide.
He attributed the decline in the number of accidents this year to heavy
police presence on the country's major roads and road safety campaigns by
the police and the Zimbabwe Traffic Safety Board.


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MDCUK Assembly meeting

Sent: Tuesday, April 18, 2006 8:32 AM
Subject: MDCUK ASSEMBLY MEETING.-23/04/2006.

Please be advised that the MDC UK,meeting scheduled
for the 23rd of April will be held at this following

5 Bridgemill
22a Beswick Street
M4 7HR
Close to the Manchester City Stadium.

Time:12pm -3pm.

For directions please visit or contact Manchester
Chairman Mr Green Nyoni -07949811137.

MDCUK-Deputy Secretary,

Njabulo Ngwenya.


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ZCTF Report: Tyre Delivery

18th April 2006
Earlier in April, we went to South Africa to collect a load of second hand tyres for the vehicles in Hwange National Park which were very kindly donated by Kelvin Shewin of Tyax Trading, Johannesburg and Rolf Steyn of Independent 4 x 4 in Pretoria. Our sincere thanks to Kelvin and Rolf for supplying these much needed tyres.
To enable us to transport the tyres, we were assisted with a 3 ton truck, the use of which has been donated to assist in the Hwange crisis. We are extremely grateful to the sponsors of this truck, Mitsubishi Fuso, Caltex, Safari Centre, Getaway Magazine and Flame Lily Holidays for making this possible.
We returned from South Africa and loaded a further 8 brand new tyres onto the truck which were previously donated by Dunlop Zimbabwe. These were very large tyres and we did not previously have the means of transporting them to Hwange. Our heartfelt appreciation goes to Dunlop Zimbabwe for this very generous donation.
In accordance with National Parks regulations, we took the load of tyres to National Parks Headquarters in Harare for inspection before delivering them to Hwange. 
We arrived with the tyres at Main Camp, Hwange National Park on 11th April where they were received by various National Parks staff including the Provincial Warden and Warden Mafuka. 
We offloaded the tyres, 45 in total, at the Main Camp workshops because all the vehicle repairs for the whole park are done here and the tyres will be distributed to Sinamatella and Robins as required.
Warden Mafuka signed for the tyres. We found the National Parks mechanics hard at work in the workshops repairing the landrovers. We were told they have managed to get 4 landrovers back on the road thanks to the spares donated by the Hwange Conservation Society(UK). In addition to the tyres, we also delivered 9 x 10metre lengths of chain, a very valuable donation from Columbus McKinnon, Zimbabwe. These chains are necessary for animal rescue operations . 
We then delivered the empty truck to The Hide where it will be based. We took a drive through Sinamatella and Robins in our private vehicle which had followed the truck from Harare to Hwange and we found that the water levels in the pans are dropping rapidly now that the rains are over so we are going to have to work hard to ensure that all the pumps are functioning if we are to avoid a repetition of last year's water crisis. We will welcome any assistance with funds, fuel, spares etc. We are also looking into installing windmills at all the pans which will be a huge saving on fuel and maintenance because when the wind is blowing, the windmills will take over from the engines.
Tourists planning a visit to Hwange National Park will be happy to know that the National Parks staff in Sinamatella are hard at work repairing the roads which are showing a marked improvement as is shown in the photo below.
Johnny Rodrigues
Chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
Phone       263 4 336710
Fax           263 4 339065
Mobile       263 11 603 213

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