The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Mugabe threatens Tsvangirai with death over protests

Zim Online

Sat 1 April 2006

      HARARE - President Robert Mugabe on Friday threatened Zimbabwe's main
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai with death if he went ahead with planned
street protests to remove his government from power.

      In a fiery speech to thousands of mourners at the burial of his former
personal bodyguard, Winston Changara, at the Heroes Acre shrine in Harare
yesterday, Mugabe scoffed at the planned protests saying his government was
ready to deal with the street protests.

      "We hear others say we want to go into the streets to demonstrate, to
unseat a legitimately elected government. It will never happen and we will
never allow it.

      "If a person now wants to invite his own death, let him go ahead,"
Mugabe warned in his vernacular Shona language.

      Two weeks ago, Tsvangirai told about 15 000 delegates attending his
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party congress in Harare to brace for
mass protests against Mugabe whom he accuses of ruining the country's
economy. The opposition leader warned of "a long bustling winter" across the
country to see off tyranny.

      But the Zimbabwean government, which has in the past violently put
down street protests, warned Tsvangirai that it will not allow him to
instigate an uprising against it, saying the protests could lead to
bloodshed and that Tsvangirai himself could be "physically eliminated."

      Mugabe said if Tsvangirai wanted to assume power in Zimbabwe, he and
his party should follow the electoral process.

      "You cannot intimidate us. We have been jails sacrificing our lives
for the independence of our country," Mugabe said.

      "Do you know where we came from?," he asked ominously.

      As has become his custom during burials of senior government
officials, Mugabe also took the occassion to launch yet another vitriolic
attack against British Prime Minister Tony Blair and United States President
George W Bush for causing Zimbabwe's economic woes.

      Changara died on Monday at Parirenyatwa Hospital after a short
illness. Colleagues within the police force said Mugabe's bodyguard died a
bitter man after he was last year suspended from his post following damaging
allegations that he had indecently assaulted Mugabe's wife, Grace.

      But Changara was reinstated to his former post two months ago after a
committee set up to probe him cleared him of the charge. - ZimOnline

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Human rights group says rights violations on the rise

Zim Online

Sat 1 April 2006

      HARARE - A report compiled by a local human rights group says there
has been a sharp upsurge in cases of human rights violations by President
Robert Mugabe's government with at least 1 070 cases of rights abuses being
recorded between January and February this year.

      The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, which monitors rights abuses by
the Harare authorities, says most of the violations took place during
protests by students and civic groups during the first two months of the

      Civic groups like the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), have staged
demonstrations in most cities across the country protesting against the
deteriorating economic situation in Zimbabwe which has seen inflation
shooting beyond 700 percent.

      There have also been a number of demonstrations across the country by
students in state universities and tertiary colleges protesting against a
more than 100 increase in tertiary fees.

      "It is with regret that the Forum notes that in all these
demonstrations, the police assaulted some of the demonstrations.

      "The forum also highlights the case of a member of the public who was
severely assaulted by members of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) for
allegedly stealing from a firm belonging to the wife of an army General.

      "The forum deplores such abuse of power as a means of settling
personal vendettas by people who appear to consider themselves above the
law," reads part of the report.

      The report says there were 39 cases of assault, 417 cases of violation
of freedom of expression and association, 15 cases of political
discrimination or victimization and 320 cases of unlawful arrest and

      The Forum said more than 5 000 human rights violations including four
murders were recorded last year.

      Human rights groups accuse Mugabe of perpetrating serious human rights
violations against political opponents. But Mugabe denies the charge
insisting the charges are cooked up to tarnish his image.

      Last week, the Harare authorities said they were planning to set up
their own human rights commission to deal with cases of human rights
violations in the country. But human rights and civic groups dismissed the
plans saying it was a ploy by Harare to cover up its own human rights
excesses. - ZimOnline

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Patients bring own food at Zimbabwean hospital

Zim Online

Sat 1 April 2006

      MASVINGO - A provincial hospital in Zimbabwe's Masvingo town has run
out of food forcing patients to bring their own food in what clearly
captures the collapse of the country's once revered health delivery system.

      A source at the hospital who refused to be named because he is not
authorized to speak to the Press told ZimOnline on Friday that the hospital
had no money to buy critically needed food supplies for patients.

      He said the hospital had resorted to offering just a single meal a
day, down from the three meals they used to offer patients.

      "We are now getting just one meal a day and we have been advised of
the problem. Breakfast is now a thing of the past. The situation has
adversely affected some of us who were referred here from as far as Chiredzi
since our relatives are unable to bring food to us daily.

      "Even the meals that are being offered are of poor quality since we
feed either on beans or cabbages which are badly cooked," said Arnold
Manjengwa, a patient.

      Contacted for comment, Masvingo provincial hospital superintendent
Amadauef Shamu confirmed the crisis but said the  problem affected other
hospitals across the country.

      "The problem is not unique to Masvingo hospital alone but to all
hospitals. I would advise you to speak to the permanent secretary in the
Ministry of Health for more information," he said.

      Zimbabwe's health delivery system is in shambles after years of
under-funding and mismanagement by President Robert Mugabe's government.

      Essential medical drugs are also in short supply at government
hospitals because the authorities do not have the foreign currency to import
the commodities. - ZimOnline

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No E Guinea oil deal for Mugabe


      Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea did not sign an oil deal during
President Teodoro Obiang Nguema's visit to Harare, President Robert Mugabe
      He said the two countries had agreed to boost economic ties and that
Zimbabwe would be "delighted" to get fuel from Africa's third largest

      Mr Obiang visited Zimbabwe two years after the authorities there
helped foil a plot to oust him.

      Zimbabwe has chronic shortages of fuel, due to a foreign exchange

      "There were no negotiations as such on the issue of oil, but our
ministers will go into that. We will be delighted if an opportunity existed
to import fuel," Mr Mugabe said.

      Zimbabwe's leader also said Africans must be wary of foreigners "who
will dig up all our resources and take them abroad".

      Simon Mann, the British leader of the alleged coup plot against Mr
Obiang, is still serving a jail sentence in Harare after the plane on which
he was travelling landed there in 2004, on its way to Equatorial Guinea.

      More than 60 men arrested with him - most of them South African
citizens of Angolan origin - were released last year after serving a year's

      Others remain in prison in Equatorial Guinea.

      Zimbabweans have endured shortages of fuel and basic foodstuffs in
recent years, as a result of a foreign currency shortage.

      The government blames the crisis on sanctions, while its opponents say
a controversial land reform programme is responsible for a sharp drop in
agricultural export earnings.

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Mugabe Criticizes Whites As 'Supremacists'

Yahoo News

By ANGUS SHAW, Associated Press Writer

HARARE, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe criticized his nation's
tiny white community Friday, saying few were repentant of colonial-era
injustices against blacks or had integrated with blacks.

Mugabe said he and veterans of the guerrilla war that ended white rule and
led to independence in 1980 were determined to fight "to the end"
unrepentant whites who still believed in the supremacy of their race.
"White supremacists refuse to accept the equality of mankind," Mugabe told
mourners at the state funeral of assistant police commissioner Winston
Changara, 52, a former fighter in the independence war, who died in Harare
on Monday.

Mugabe said Changara volunteered as a guerrilla trainee at age 20 to fight
colonial atrocities against defenseless blacks.

He said whites in Zimbabwe and the rest of southern Africa refused to
integrate with blacks.

Zimbabwe's economy has been in free fall since Mugabe's government began
seizing thousands of white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to
blacks in 2000, disrupting the agriculture-based economy and leading to
acute shortages of food, gasoline and essential imports. Inflation has
soared to 782 percent in the past year.

More than 3,000 people a week die of


AIDS-related illnesses, while U.N. agencies estimate that about 4 million
people are in need of food.

Last year, some 700,000 people lost their homes or livelihoods in a
government demolition campaign aimed at street vendors, market stall holders
and allegedly illegal housing.

Mugabe has frequently hit out at Zimbabwe's declining white minority,
accusing them of supporting opposition to his rule with the backing of
Britain, the former colonial power, and the United States.

Fewer than 400 white farmers are still on their land. Whites in Zimbabwe
number an estimated 30,000, down from 275,000 in 1980.

Mugabe had accused whites of orchestrating his defeat in a 2000 referendum
on constitutional changes that would have entrenched his powers, his first
defeat at the polls since he led the nation to independence.

He said Friday the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change had
threatened to protest economic hardships, but any protests would not be
allowed to cause upheaval.

"Whether there is poverty, whether there is hunger, Zimbabwe is your
country," he said.

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Minister: Zim arms-cache saga 'far from over'

Mail and Guardian

      Harare, Zimbabwe

      31 March 2006 12:43

            Zimbabwe's arms cache saga is "far from over" even though the
state has dropped charges against eight of the nine accused, a cabinet
minister was reported as saying on Friday.

            "People should not read anything into the state's withdrawal of
charges against [opposition] Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activists
before plea," said the Manica Post newspaper, quoting Home Affairs Minister
Kembo Mohadi.

            Nine people, including four members of the MDC, were arrested in
the eastern city of Mutare early this month after weapons were found at the
home of white security expert, Michael Hitschmann.

            State media claimed the MDC was behind a plot to unseat the
government and cause President Robert Mugabe's official motorcade to have an

            But it later emerged that Hitschmann was a registered arms
dealer. The state went on to drop terrorism charges against the MDC members
and four police officers who had also been arrested.

            Only Hitschmann remains in custody.

            "A lot of stories are now being told but the truth is that the
state just withdrew charges before plea and will proceed by way of summons
when the cases are ready for prosecution," the minister told the Manica
Post, which is published in Mutare.

            "Our investigations are in progress and I am not at liberty to
disclose how far we have gone, but I want to assure you that more suspects
will soon appear before the courts," said Mohadi.

            The MDC says it has no plans to remove Mugabe violently. -- 

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Floods likely to hit parts of Zimbabwe


          March 31 2006 at 12:10PM

      Harare - Flash floods are expected soon along the Zambezi and Limpopo
rivers in Zimbabwe and villagers have been asked to move to higher ground,
reports said Friday.

      Pounding rains have caused the Zambezi river to flood in nearby
Namibia and the floods are expected to spread, said the Herald newspaper.

      "There is a likelihood that the water levels in the Zambezi River will
rise very rapidly," said Madzudzo Pawadyira of the Civil Protection Unit.

      The Zambezi flows along Zimbabwe's northern border, while the Limpopo
forms the southern border of the country.

      "People living along the rivers have been asked to move away as a
precautionary measure against being swept away by the floods while fishing
and recreation activities have also been discouraged," he added.

      Many Zimbabweans have got used to drier conditions over the last few
years but this time rains have been pounding much of the country for several
weeks, leading to muted hopes of better crops.

      "Although widespread flooding is not expected at this juncture, the
same cannot be said for the near future," said Pawadyira.

      In a separate report, the Herald said bad weather forced a South
African Airways plane to abort its scheduled landing in Harare on Tuesday.

      The pilot circled the capital for two hours before heading back to
Johannesburg, the paper said. - Sapa-dpa

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You can make a difference

Sent: Saturday, April 01, 2006 3:39 AM
Subject: You can make a difference

Making a Difference.

We all underestimate what we can and do achieve in our own small corners of
the globe. Because of this we often feel helpless and inadequate in the face
of the monumental problems and issues that the world puts in front of us
each day.

One person in my own experience stands out as an example of what we can,
each of us do, to impact our world.

He was a skinny, pimple faced kid of about 14 years of age when he first
came to our notice. The secular, material community in which we lived would
not have given him the time of day but we recognized a deep commitment to
his faith and personal determination to make a difference.

We had a problem - the leader of the student group we were dealing with had
got one of the members pregnant and had to be replaced and expelled.
Although the group was quite mature - most members were older than our
skinny kid, we felt that he was the only one with the qualities to lead. We
made him chairman.

After a rocky start he made a good leader and the group grew in numbers and
in effectiveness under his leadership. After 4 years he left school and at
his parents insistence he went to Cape Town University where he obtained a
BA and then an LLB. As soon as he had qualified as a lawyer - he left for
the United States where he took a degree in Theology.

His mother was a superb woman - a real example of the biblical wife and
mother. With three sons and an academic husband she came from heartland
Afrikaner stock in South Africa. In fact her roots went back to the very
start of the Afrikaner as an African tribe in the early days of Dutch and
Huguenot settlers in the Cape.

While living in Zimbabwe she made a significant contribution to the growing
movement of Women's Clubs. She also raised her three boys and ran a home
that was always welcoming. Not a Christian at the time, she allowed her
youngest son to follow his heart in matters of faith. At Independence in
1980, they decided to move back to South Africa and they emigrated to

After some time in South Africa tragedy struck, his mother had a severe
stroke that left her unable to speak or walk, or even bathe herself. Our
skinny kid, now a graduate and a lawyer, immediately left his job and moved
to Bloemfontein to care for his mother. For over a year he gave her his
undivided attention, teaching her how to speak again and helping her to walk
with the aid of a walking stick.

Some time later my wife and I were passing through Bloemfontein and we
decided to pop in and see her. She met us at the door on her walking sticks
and took us through to the lounge where we had tea together. There she told
us - unforgettable to us - how her son had loved her back to life and then
through his love, she had come to know the love of Christ. In a moving
testimony she said, mixing up her English and Afrikaans, "If I had to go
through again what I have experienced since my stroke, to find Christ and to
experience the love and care of my son, I would gladly make the sacrifice."

She was a magnificent woman - well educated, caring and warm, the epiphany
of a mother and a wife. Even after the stroke, struggling to walk and speak
her character shone through.

Our skinny kid was not finished - he abandoned law and went into the
Ministry. Soon he was living on the outskirts of Soweto - he was not allowed
to live in the Township because he was white. He supervised 6 Churches, a
training school for lay leaders and the work of the CU in several local
Universities. He was shot at and threatened several times. His wife sent him
off to work every day, not knowing if he would return. His view was quite
simple - the future of South Africa would be decided in Soweto - and that
was where he had to be.

He is now the Bishop of Johannesburg with responsibility for over 100
Churches, a large congregation at Mid Rand and two schools, three
universities and the training school for lay leaders in Soweto He is the
kind of South African who has made a difference - first in himself,
overcoming personal disadvantages and a stammer, then in his family where he
showed himself to be all that a mother could want from a son. Then in his
own family and now in his Church and the Community he lives in. He is no
superman - just someone who has made and is making a real difference in a
hard place.

I am just reading a book about South Africa in the bad old days of
apartheid. I am again appalled at what went on during those days. If I had
not seen it with my own eyes I would never have believed that South Africa
could go through the process it did from 1989 to 1994. To emerge from that
transition from apartheid to democracy with a government based on respect
for the rule of law, democracy and freedoms of speech and association to me
is an ongoing miracle. But perhaps it was not a miracle in the biblical
sense - perhaps it was just the combined effort of hundreds of skinny kids
with a clear concept of who they are and what they can do to change things
and people.

If I was to take myself back to 1987 when I was struggling with the Beira
Corridor project and we had thousands of troops protecting the railway, road
and pipeline systems linking Zimbabwe to the sea from South African inspired
and funded destabilization. If I had lived in Soweto in those difficult days
and looked up at the mountain that was Afrikaner nationalism and apartheid,
I would have felt hopeless and full of despair. But life goes on - not
always for the better, but eventually, if enough of us push and pull, the
right things happen and things change.

You can make a difference in Zimbabwe, perhaps not a dramatic difference but
a real one. Be an agent of change in your family; love and care for them,
hold them together. You can be an agent of change in our society by working
against what is evil here and helping others to do the same. You can help
Zimbabwe become another miracle country - still with problems, but coming
out of the morass we are in and looking forward to a more hopeful future by
just doing what you can where you are with what you have got.

Believe me - we can make a difference and find real fulfillment and
accomplishment in what we have done together.

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 31st March 2006.

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Suburb Goes for Four Days Without Power

The Herald (Harare)

March 31, 2006
Posted to the web March 31, 2006


RESIDENTS of Kuwadzana suburb in Harare have gone for four consecutive days
without electricity, a situation they say is affecting their day-to-day

Power, which went off on Monday afternoon, had not been restored by late
yesterday. The power outage has been blamed on theft of transformer oil from
a substation in the suburb. This comes at a time when Zesa Holdings last
week arrested nine people after they were found in possession of stolen
electricity equipment and cables. Yesterday disgruntled residents said due
to the power failure, they had lost a lot of perishable foodstuffs. "Zesa
Holdings must do something quick to assist us because the problem is causing
untold suffering to us," said Mr Albert Mukasi.

Firewood vendors are cashing in on the situation and three pieces of wood
weighing less than two kilogrammes were being sold for $60 000. While
firewood vendors in the suburb were registering brisk business, scores of
desperate men, women and children invaded nearby bushes in search of
firewood. "The power outage is causing a lot of inconveniences to us as we
are throwing away many perishable goods," he said. He said the power cuts
were causing unnecessary expenses considering the current economic woes. "A
candle that does not last for long costs $80 000 and a family of six people
requires about four candles per night," he said. Residents fear thieves may
soon take advantage of the darkness that has engulfed the suburb. "I get
home late after work, therefore, I am now scared to walk home in the
darkness in case I get robbed of my goods or killed by robbers," Daniel
Musuka said.

Business people in the suburb said they had lost potential revenue during
the three days they had gone without electricity. "We had to throw away
large stocks of chicken," said a businessman at Kuwadzana 4 Shopping Centre.
On Monday Zesa Holdings security and policemen in a joint operation, caught
two suspects stealing from a substation in Mabelreign. This led to the
subsequent arrest of seven others and the recovery of an assortment of
equipment and cables in Highfield, Glen View and Glen Norah. The equipment
rec overed was from TelOne, Zesa, National Railways of Zimbabwe and Harare
Municipality. After their arrest, the suspects led security men to where
they sold stolen equipment resulting in some of the electric cables and
transformers being recovered. "Zesa gets so many claims from customers about
power interruptions in their houses but these power cuts are a result of
vandalism," said Zesa Corporate Communication Manager, Mr James Maridadi.

He said vandalism costs the company about $5 billion dollars every week from
its infrastructure, forcing residents to suffer. "When people remove the
transformers they cause high voltage in the homes, which destroys electric
gadgets and also causes blackouts and a number of electricity problems," he
said. TelOne had failed to restore normal services because more and more
equipment was removed soon after it was repairs. "We had to inform our valid
customers that we were suspending our services because people were
continuing damaging and removin g the cables," said TelOne Security Manager
Mr Ben Chirongoma. He also urged the public to assist in reducing the

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EU Sugar Reforms Likely to Hurt Zim

The Herald (Harare)

March 31, 2006
Posted to the web March 31, 2006


ZIMBABWE is projected to incur a revenue loss of US$19 million when the
European Union (EU) sugar reforms come into effect. The EU sugar reforms
come into force on the July 1 this year although quota sugar price cuts have
been extended to start in 2008.

"Our industry will not be affected even if the new reform starts working,
but if the quota price cuts come into effect in 2008 we are expecting to
lose close to US$19 million in potential revenue," Zimbabwe Sugar
Association secretary Mr Steve Frampton said yesterday. Under the proposed
reforms, the quantity of sugar produced by EU farmers is expected to drop
from the current 174 million tonnes to 14,6 million tonnes annually. Farmers
will then be compensated through direct financial payments, though these
will cover not more than 60 percent of their losses. Preferential prices for
sugar from ACP member states will also decline by 17 percent in 2008 and 36
percent between 2009 and 2010. "Our quotas are not going to be affected but
the cut in price will hit the industry," said Mr Frampton.

Zimbabwe exports sugar to EU and has a 12 000 tonne quota ag reement with
the United States of America, ACP and Special Preferential Sugar quota. The
EU has drawn up a plan to compensate poor countries for revenue loss and
will pay up to 40 million euros which other nations have said may not be
enough for producers who export all their sugar and import to meet demand.
In mid-2004, the World Trade Organisation ruled that EU farm subsidies were
unfair after complaints from Brazil, Australia and Thailand. The EU's sugar
subsidies have attracted criticism from anti-poverty campaign groups. They
argue that wealthy European farmers are getting handouts that make it
difficult for farmers in developing countries to compete. Brazil, the
world's biggest producer and exporter of sugar, says its sales could soar by
as much as US$700 million a year once the EU removes subsidies.

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Milosevic, Saddam, Taylor. Who's next?

      Reed Brody International Herald Tribune

      FRIDAY, MARCH 31, 2006

      NEW YORK The transfer of former Liberian president and war crimes
suspect Charles Taylor to the UN-backed Special Court on Sierra Leone is
more evidence that the world has become a less hospitable place for people
who are accused of committing atrocities.

      The arrest of Taylor, the principal culprit for West Africa's descent
into brutal civil wars, was an extraordinary moment for the people of the

      It also shows how far we have come from the days when dictators could
terrorize their people, secure in the knowledge that they would never be
brought to book.

      Until recently, it seemed that if you killed one person, you went to
jail, but if you slaughtered thousands, you usually got away with it.

      Times change, however. Just ask Augusto Pinochet or Saddam Hussein.
The establishment of the war crimes tribunals for Rwanda and the former
Yugoslavia, and the International Criminal Court, represents a new
determination by the international community to seek punishment of the worst
international crimes. The death of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in
a jail cell in the Hague was another reminder that despots are no longer
assured of spending their golden years in quiet retirement.

      In Africa, the International Criminal Court is probing war crimes in
the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and, most importantly, the Darfur
region of Sudan.

      But African leaders have been notoriously reluctant to bring one of
their own to justice - perhaps fearing that the precedent may come back to
bite them. Mengistu Haile Mariam, whose "Red Terror" campaign in Ethiopia
targeted tens of thousands of political opponents, now lives in Zimbabwe
under the protection of President Robert Mugabe.

      No attempt was made to bring back Idi Amin, accused of massive crimes
in Uganda, from the comfortable Saudi Arabian exile where he died in 2003.
Amin's equally brutal successor Milton Obote died last year in Zambia
without ever facing justice.

      Now that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia and Olusegun
Obasanjo of Nigeria have collaborated to get Charles Taylor to trial,
perhaps a psychological barrier has been broken in Africa.

      The next test case for African leaders is that of the former dictator
of Chad, Hissène Habré, accused of thousands of political killings and
systematic torture during his rule from 1982 to 1990.

      The evidence against Habré is strong. Thousands of documents that I
discovered in the abandoned headquarters of Habré's political police show
how it hunted down the regime's suspected opponents.

      The lists of dead prisoners add up to 1,208, confirming what I heard -
that most of those who entered Habré's dungeons, including one at the
presidential compound, never came out alive.

      A group of Habré's victims followed him to Senegal, where he lives
opulently off the fruits of a last- minute looting spree of the Chadian

      A Senegalese court indicted Habré for crimes against humanity but,
after political interference, higher courts ruled that he could not be tried
there for crimes committed abroad.

      Habré's victims searched elsewhere for justice and found a Belgian
court to take the case under that country's long-arm "universal
jurisdiction" law. Chad, which does not want Habré back and could not offer
him a fair trial, invited the Belgian judge to Chad to carry out his

      Last year, after a four-year probe, the judge indicted Habré and
Belgium requested his extradition from Senegal. The Senegalese government,
under pressure from Habré's well-paid supporters (and reportedly from
several other African leaders) once again ducked the case, "transferring" it
to the African Union.

      In January, the African Union created a committee of legal experts to
recommend what to do with Habré. The jurists will report back to the AU
summit in July, but several African leaders - including AU President Denis
Sasso Nguesso of the Congo Republic - have already ruled out his extradition
to Belgium.

      Some have argued that it would be an insult to African dignity if
Habré were sent to Europe to be tried. But the fact is that Senegal refused
to prosecute Habré when it had the opportunity to do so, and in the 15 years
since Habré was ousted, no other African country has asked for his
extradition. Belgium thus represents the victims' only real hope of holding
Habré accountable.

      Africans deserve justice. Now that Charles Taylor is in the dock,
Hissène Habré must be next.

      (Reed Brody is special counsel with Human Rights Watch.)

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Gold panners invade graveyards

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Anna Chibamu in Bindura
issue date :2006-Apr-01

Gold panners in Mashonaland Central have now extended their illegal
activities to cemeteries, a trend that has invited the ire of many locals,
among them Chief Negomo of Chiweshe.
The invasion of cemeteries is said to be rampant in Concession and Bindura.
 Chief Negomo said reports of human remains being exposed by gold panners at
the graveyards had come to his attention.
"Such people should be fined heavily as they are destroying our forests and
causing a lot of land degradation, especially in Concession.The $25 000 fine
is not enough to deter these panners," said Chief Negomo.
He called on the government to speed up the strengthening of legislation so
that the culprits are either fined heavily or jailed. He said many people
had no claims or permits to carry out those activities.
Police in Bindura confirmed yesterday that the reports of the panners
invading graves.
Mashonaland Central police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Taurai Machekera
however denied reports that human remains and blankets had been seen as some
residents at Ran Mine in Bindura had alleged.
Machekera said no reports had been made in connection with human remains
being exposed. He said he would soon send a team to investigate the
allegations in those named places.
"Gold panners have always been a problem in this province. They should seek
relevant papers as their habit of panning is illegal," he said.
He also urged farm owners to guard against these panners and warned that
raids were now being carried on a daily basis. There have also been claims
of reports of human remains being found on river banks were the panners go
to look for alluvial gold.
Rodgers Mutiro of Concession told The Daily Mirror that he once came across
a human scalp while he was crossing a Murodzi River.
He said the scalp was very small in size.
"I think it was a baby scalp as it is the tradition that babies are buried
near rivers. The panners might have exposed this skull while looking for
gold," said Mutiro.
At Bindura Hide Out, Fredrick Mudhara Mukucha of the Social Welfare
Department and a Ministry of Information official said they also came across
a human skull recently.
They said it was impossible to rule out that it was the work of gold
Mukucha said he informed the local leadership but no-one appeared interested
in the matter.

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Bindura's 2005 nickel output falls 14 pct

From Reuters, 30 March

Harare - Nickel production at Zimbabwe's largest producer, Bindura, fell 14
percent in 2005 as a deteriorating operating environment hit output, the
company said on Thursday. Bindura Nickel Corporation said globally producers
enjoyed record nickel prices, but Zimbabwe's deepening economic crisis had
affected production at its two mines. The company produced 1.65 million
tonnes of nickel ore, which was 9 percent lower than the previous year's
output as the miner suffered from serious cashflow problems and skills
losses. "The group's nickel production for the year, at 9,115 tonnes was 14
percent down compared with the previous year... due to reduced production
from the mines," Chairman Kalaa Mpinga said in a statement accompanying the
2005 financial results. "The resulting cashflow constraints led to the
deferment of planned capital expenditure in addition to disruption of
procurement of vital spares," Mpinga said. Bindura, which is majority owned
by Mwana Africa Holdings, a consortium of African business figures, invested
a total of $19 million in deepening the shaft at its Trojan Mine in Bindura
and to upgrade the mine's concentrator. Mpinga warned of a tougher operating
environment in 2006 as inflation, which raced to 782 percent in February,
continued to escalate while three-digit interest rates had made borrowing
for capital expenditure prohibitive. "Compunding the effects of economic
factors, the national and regional shortage of power represents a grave risk
to the sustainability of mining and smelting operations," said Mpinga. He
said government's proposed plans to take majority stakes in foreign mines
had unsettled the industry and inhibited critical decisions on further
investment while "jeopardising relations with investors and suppliers of
goods and services". RioZim, from which Rio Tinto disinvested in 2004, also
produces nickel while platinum producer Zimbabwe Platinum Company produces
nickel as a by-product.

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Forex Shortages Put Pressure On Exporters

The Herald (Harare)

March 31, 2006
Posted to the web March 31, 2006

Jeffrey Gogo

ZIMBABWE'S static exchange rate, coupled with acute foreign currency
shortages, has exerted renewed pressure on exporters' trading margins.

The dollar has remained firmly rooted at $99 202 against the US$, as the
Reserve Bank stopped any depreciation on the unit in January as long as
volumes do not exceed US$5 million. Usually just about US$2 million is
traded daily. What this means is that currency inflows at the interbank
system have been very weak for close to three months. The dollar will remain
stable against major currencies in the short term, analysts say, although
foreign currency shortages are likely to persist.

In this respect, there would be more pressure on the exporters' side seeking
adjustment in the value of the dollar, as they fail to strike a balance
between input and output costs. "The gap between the official exchange rate
and the parallel rate has widened drastically over the last three months,"
said one Harare analyst. "Given that most exporters obtain their foreign
currency to purchase raw materials using the parallel market rate means that
it becomes less viable for them to remit their earn ings at the official

"We appear to be heading back to 2005 when the exchange rate largely traded
unmoved during the first half. This will only but result in a serious
mismatch between production expenses and revenue." Said another economist:
"It is important that the monetary authorities consistently adjust the
exchange rate in line with domestic inflation developments relative to the
trade weighted inflation rates of Zimbabwe's major trading partners if
exports are to remain competitive in the international markets. "There is
greater need in enhancing vibrancy in our export sector, as one of the major
economic recovery aspects."

Last year exporters decried the fixed exchange rate which, they said, was
failing to meet even half the cost of importing raw materials. However, the
RBZ, in its quarterly monetary policy review statements, announced a raft of
incentives designed to boost productivity and improve viability in the
sector. For example, exporters were last year a llowed access to cheap
borrowing -- at 5 percent -- from the RBZ while they were also allowed to
retain 75 percent of their foreign earnings, but subject to strict
conditions on remittal of CD1 forms. The exchange rate was constantly
adjusted in the second half giving reprieve to players in agriculture,
mining and manufacturing.

Producer support prices were also reviewed upwards. As a result, some
companies benefited from the incentives, as firms that have released their
financial figures for 2005 reported strong growth in export volumes although
margins fundamentally remained weak. Already, exporting firms such as
pharmaceutical drug manufacturer CAPS Holdings Ltd and paper and packaging
producer Hunyani indicated this week that they intended to intensify their
export divisions to earn critical foreign currency. SEveral other
public-quoted companies are also undertaking vigorous export initiatives to
prop up their earnings' base and offset the high costs of production.

But foreign currency receipts last year remained weak dropping marginally to
US$1,7 billion. Industry representative body, the Confederation of Zimbabwe
Industries, recently reported that most companies were operating at below 50
percent in 2005 due to a tight trading environment induced by high inflation
and insufficient hard currency to finance imports of raw materials.
Inevitably, central bank control of the exchange rate management system has
sparked heated debate in business and economic circles. One of school of
thought insists market forces of demand and supply should be allowed to
dictate the rate. But the apex bank argues that doing so would not only
derail the economic turnaround process, but a recipe for disaster. Besides,
nowhere in the world is the exchange rate completely free of state control.

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MDC celebrates prularism

----- Original Message -----
From: N.Chamisa
Sent: Friday, March 31, 2006 9:34 PM
Subject: MDC celebrates prularism.


Harvest House
Tel 091 940 489   email
31 March 2006
Rebel group’s rallies disrupted by low turn-out
The MDC wishes to distance itself from allegations that it has a clearly orchestrated plan to disrupt other political parties’ meetings.
One wonders how this grouping concludes that unassuming Nyau dancers and Dynamos supporters were indeed MDC ‘thugs’ on a specific mission to disrupt a poorly attended meeting in St Mary’s. If anything, these small gatherings have been disrupted by low turnout and an astonishing absence of substance and content in the speeches by Ncube and his group.
We wish to dismiss allegations by this group that the MDC is in the business of hiring thugs to disrupt their meetings.
In any case, it is impossible to infiltrate and disrupt their gatherings because of the large number of state security agents who cordon off their meetings. The security agents often outnumber those who attend.
We neither believe in the politics of hiring nor the politics of thugs in our quest to build a new Zimbabwe and a new beginning. We wish to state categorically that the MDC is a non-violent party. It is a fact that one Mhlanga, who claims to have been sent by Ncube, is in court on charges of violence. His charge emanates from an incident in which he and others ambushed the MDC youths at White City Stadium and brutally assaulted them. One of the youths lost his eye.
Their allegations against the party are a desperate attempt to camouflage their own thuggish behaviour. Instead of making wild accusations against the party, this motley group owes the MDC members and the nation at large an explanation on the missing $8 billion that belongs to the party. 
The MDC is a national party, which believes in tolerance and celebration of diversity of opinions and ideas. The MDC has no business disrupting political programmes by other Zimbabweans.  They see plots and conspiracies around them when it is clear that revisionism and political apostasy as a project has never resonated with the majority of Zimbabweans who can hardly eke out a living.
The MDC is concerned with real national problems such as the deadening impoverishment engulfing the country, HIV/Aids, unemployment and acute shortages of basic commodities. 
The MDC is preoccupied with revitalising and expanding party structures in line with resolutions of the second national people’s Congress. The priority of the party is to rally the people for a new Zimbabwe.  This weekend, the President and the liberation team begin a nationwide outreach programmes with rallies in Gweru on Saturday. The team moves to Masvingo on Sunday.
Zimbabwe needs a new beginning.
Nelson Chamisa, MP
Secretary for Information and Publicity 

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