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Makwavarara runs to Grace Mugabe

Zim Standard


            EMBATTLED Sekesai Makwavarara, chairperson of the commission
running the city of Harare, has sought Grace Mugabe's assistance in order to
save her job.

            But it could all prove too little too late. The Standard
understands that the ruling party wants to dump Makwavarara. Zanu PF
heavyweights are believed to be pushing for a top party official, preferably
a member of the politburo, to head the commission.

            Makwavarara's term of office expires in June and The Standard
understands that a Zanu PF stalwart, businessman Tendai Savanhu is being
touted as a possible successor to Makwavarara.

            Makwavarara, a political turncoat who arrived at Town House on
an MDC ticket, defected to the ruling party and was elevated to the top
position by Ignatious Chombo, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works
and Urban Development.

            Chombo has offered support to Makwavarara over the past few
months despite persistent and mounting criticism over her alleged

            Insiders however noted that elements in Zanu PF were fast
growing tired of Makwavarara as news about her profligacy continues to make

            Apart from the storm of protest that was ignited by the proposal
to furnish the mayoral mansion at a cost of $35b, Makwavarara was recently
asked by the commission to explain how she spent over $175m on groceries at
the commission's expense.

            She also recently irked officials at Town House when she
demanded the city council pay a $100m bill for a satellite dish she had
installed at the mayoral mansion without approval.

            Only last week, the commission blocked the sale of a council
house to Makwavarara at a cost of $780m. Independent experts said the house
could fetch as much as $20b on the market.

            Sources said Makwavarara, feeling threatened, took her case to
the State House where she met Grace Mugabe two weeks ago. Makwavarara to the
First Lady to use her influence with her husband to ensure she keeps her job
in the face of growing opposition from officials in Zanu PF.

            Presidential spokesperson George Charamba yesterday said he was
not aware of the issue.

            "In any case, if Makwavarara met the First Lady, I am not the
right person to talk about the issue. Talk to Lawrence Kamwi (her

            Kamwi could not be reached for comment yesterday.

            "I can't comment on that issue," Makwavara said late yesterday
afternoon. She had however, in an earlier interview with The Standard,
defended her actions at  Town House.

            Savanhu told The Standard that he was not interested in
Makwavarara's position.

            "I have a lot of these reports about my interest in becoming the
Chairperson of the Commission. But look my brother, I am the Chairman of
Wankie Colliery and there is no way I can leave that position to come and
work full-time at the Town House."

            He also dismissed reports that President Mugabe summoned him
after Makwavarara complained to the First Lady that he was eyeing her

            "These are malicious rumours and I don't know where they are
coming from," Savanhu said.

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Why we jumped ship - MDC defectors

Zim Standard


            FORMER members of the pro-Senate Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) faction, who recently resigned or defected to the Morgan
Tsvangirai-led camp, say they quit because the Professor Arthur
Mutambara-led faction does not have the support of the people.

            Speaking to The Standard yesterday, the members said they felt
that the battle to unseat President Robert Mugabe's government could not be
won without the support of the people, which the pro-Senate faction lacks.

            Among those that have deserted or resigned from the pro-Senate
faction are the camp's national chairman Gift Chimanikire, director of
elections Blessing Chebundo, his deputy Sam Sipepa Nkomo and Binga MP Joel

            Reports say more members are set to join the defection

            Nkomo, the chief executive officer of the Associated Newspapers
of Zimbabwe (ANZ), said he resigned from the pro-Senate faction after
discovering that the faction was unable "to carry the democratic agenda

            "I did not believe the team (Mutambara faction) was able to
carry the democratic agenda forward, that is why I resigned, " he said.

            "The team has virtually lost the support of the people. You
cannot lead a revolution without the people."

            The ANZ boss said he would only consider rejoining the
anti-Senate - which has of late been drawing huge crowds at its rallies - if

            Nkomo denied allegations that he resigned under pressure from
government following the revival of an old fraud case or as a compromise for
him to get back his publishing licence. He is facing allegations of
defrauding the Mining and Industry Pension Fund (MIPF) of $5m in 2001.

            He said he was still keen to see The Daily News and Daily News
on Sunday get back their publishing licence. He said if the two papers get
the licence, the ANZ would take on board all journalists who were rendered
jobless following the closure.

            Chebundo, who is the MP for Kwekwe, said he defected to the
anti-Senate faction because that was what the people from his constituency

            "Several people including church leaders and businesspeople came
to my home and told me to respect the wishes of the people, and I did that.
Also, the issues on which we clashed with Tsvangirai were ironed out during
the anti-Senate faction congress," Chebundo said.

            He said the question of participation in the Senate polls was no
longer relevant because the elections were held and concluded, while the
issue of the "kitchen cabinet" was also resolved at the congress.

            Chebundo said he also realised that the ideals of the struggle
against President Robert Mugabe's repressive regime would not be realised if
the MDC remained split.

            The Kwekwe MP said the MDC has "re-energised" the opposition
party as it had virtually collapsed after the March 2005 parliamentary
elections. However, the split, he said, has thrown back the party into the
limelight and it has gained the relevance it had lost.

            Chimanikire, who labelled Tsvangirai a dictator when the MDC
split into two camps over participation in the Senate elections, could not
be reached for comment to explain why he has left the pro-Senate faction.

            Gabbuza could also not be reached for comment.

            Meanwhile yesterday, Chebundo featured at a rally addressed by
Tsvangirai at Chisamba stadium in Sakubva, Mutare. He told an estimated 15
000 cheering supporters that turned up to listen to Tsvangirai that he had
advised Mutambara to go back to South Africa and pursue his business

            "We did not form the MDC to remove Tsvangirai. We formed it to
remove Mugabe," he said.

            MDC National Chairman, Isaac Matongo, said he welcomed the
defectors saying Chimanikire had expressed his desire
            to reunite with Tsvangi-rai.

            "We met Chimanikire yesterday and he said the Mutambara camp has
nothing to offer. Chimanikire said he is coming back to the party that we
started together."

            Addressing the supporters, Tsvangirai said they should be
prepared for mass action without fear of threats by Mugabe to crush the

            "The struggle is for the people and the people shall liberate
themselves," he said, amid applause. "We are going to tell Mugabe
            to go. Zizi harina nya-nga,"

            Tsvangirai, however, fell short of announcing the programme and
timetable for the mass protests.

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Unfinished projects rile Masvingo

Zim Standard


            MASVINGO - Government's failure to finance important projects
with the potential to transform the economic fortunes of this semi-arid
region has riled people in the province.

            Although government has made repeated promises to provide
funding, several projects started more than 10 years ago in the province
remain uncompleted due to lack of funds.

            The unfinished projects include the giant Tokwe-Mukorsi dam,
Nuanetsi irrigation scheme, Gutu-Kurai road, Masvingo-Renco road and several
bridges that were destroyed by Cyclone Eline back in 2000.

            Politicians are however not ashamed to talk about these projects
each time election comes up.

            "The only time you hear of the projects is when the president or
his two deputies tour the province or when there is an election,'' said
Justice Mapiye, a Mucheke resident.

            At Tokwe-Mukorsi dam, construction stopped in 1999 after
government failed to pay an Italian contractor, Salin Implreligo, 12 million
euros. The contractor last year said they would only resume operations when
government settles the arrears, a 3 000 euros a month payment for breach of

            But hopes by Masvingo politicians that the project would be
completed soon were dealt a heavy blow by President Robert Mugabe last year.
Mugabe rebuked politicians at a campaign rally at Ngundu growth point,
saying they should stop "shouting" about the project when they were failing
to utilise water from several dams dotted around the province.

            Speaker after speaker at the rally had implored Mugabe to
facilitate the immediate funding of the project with the potential to
transform parts of the semi-arid province into a greenbelt.

            But Tokwe Mukorsi is not the only project that has riled the
communities in Masvingo.

            Work at the Nuanetsi irrigation scheme has also been halted
after government again failed again to pay the contractor.

            Government wanted to clear vast tracks of land in Nuanetsi,
which would be irrigated by water from the unfinished Tokwe-Mukorsi dam. It
intended to embark on winter cropping in a bid to curb perennial food
shortages in the province.

            Project promoters, who included former Masvingo Governor Josaya
Hungwe, said Nuanetsi would produce crops needed to feed the whole nation
using water from Tokwe-Mukorsi.

            But as the government continues to reel from financial
constraints the projects remain a dream, just like many others in the

            Repair work at Runde bridge, destroyed by Cyclone Eline rains in
2000 has not yet started, forcing desperate villagers in Chilonga communal
to cross the crocodile-infested Runde river each time they decide to travel
to Chiredzi.

            Government also requires about $200b to repair the bridge and
reports say it has so far managed to raise only $30b. Another equally
important project, the Gutu- Kurai road, which was started in the mid-1990s,
is still to be completed. Bridges along the dusty road were constructed as
early 1995 through funding from the Japanese government but up to now, the
tarring of the road that links Mpandawana growth point and Masvingo-Mutare
road is yet be completed.

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Mpofu trashes links to vice-presidency

Zim Standard

            BY GIBBS DUBE

            BULAWAYO - The Minister of Industry and International Trade,
Obert Mpofu, says he does not harbour any ambitions of succeeding ageing
Vice President Joseph Msika.

            Mpofu told The Standard that reports linking him to the vice
presidency were "crazy statements made by people who are politically

            "That (taking over from Msika) is crazy," he said. "I have
laughed at those reports as crazy because they are totally unfounded. It is
wild speculation with no foundation of any truth at all."

            However, senior ruling party officials in Matabeleland region
have indicated that Mpofu is interested in the position of Vice President,
although he had ceased to belong to PF Zapu led by the late Vice President
Joshua Nkomo by the time the party signed a unity agreement with Zanu PF in

            "We are aware that Mpofu wants to succeed Msika when he finally
decides to leave active politics," said a Zanu PF politburo member.
"Although Msika recently announced that he was still in active politics, he
has already indicated in political circles that he wants to rest and look
after his family and grand children."

            He said: "There is a lot of resistance among former PF Zapu
cadres who believe that Mpofu cannot take over from Msika who was (Joshua)
Nkomo's right-hand man during the liberation struggle. To make matters
worse, Mpofu crossed the floor before we signed the unity pact with the
ruling party.

            "As a result, there is no way that the minister can occupy that
position," he said noting that people who were likely to land the post were
former ZIPRA intelligence supremo Dumiso Dabengwa, former Zapu
secretary-general Welshman Mabhena, and Speaker of Parliament John Nkomo.

            Dabengwa is tipped to land the post.

            The first ZIPRA commander, Ackim Ndlovu, said in terms of
seniority in PF Zapu, "Dumiso is supposed to take over from Msika. Whether
he qualifies or not, is another matter. He is more senior than Mpofu and
(John) Nkomo put together."

            "As far as I am concerned, the person who took over a senior
post in the old Zapu was an individual who was more senior than any other
party member. This is how Msika was elevated to the post of vice president.
As such, it is likely that Dabengwa will occupy that position when Msika
resigns or leaves on medical grounds," Ndlovu said.

            Although Mabhena appears to be out of the race following his
clash with President Robert Mugabe for his fight against the marginalisation
of the Ndebele people, he says he believes that he can still lead the people
as the vice president after Msika's departure.

            "I am prepared to serve the people as long as Zimbabweans are
not oppressed on tribal lines," said Mabhena. "I have never declared that I
have left the ruling party. I am not a political fool and as a result, I
represent the interests of the people."

            Both Nkomo and Dabe-ngwa were attending the funeral of Nkomo's
wife and could not be reached for comment.

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Uncertainty shrouds harvest figures

Zim Standard


            UNCERTAINTY persists over the extent of the country's crop
production estimates, almost a month after the beginning of the marketing
season for maize.

            Zimbabwe has over the past five years struggled to feed its
population due to a combination of poor agricultural policies and natural

            Independent observers have blamed this year's poor harvests on
the authorities' failure to provide enough fertiliser and seeds to take
advantage of the good rains. This year's planting season was marred by a
serious shortage of essential inputs, such as seed, fertiliser and fuel.

            The government recently barred all independent organisations
from carrying out crop production estimates for this season saying it was
the mandate of a committee chaired by the Central Statistical Office.

            However, the US-funded Famine Early Warning Network has reported
that the overall food security situation in the country would remain
critical this year due to poor harvests.

            "With generally normal to above normal rainfall in the 2005/06,
preliminary indications of maize production this year are for improved
production compared to last year's harvest of 550 000 tonnes, but well below
the 1990's average, and well below national consumption requirements
estimated at between 1,6 m and 1,7m metric tonnes," reads part of the report
published recently.

            Other organisations forecast deficits, with maize production
estimated at between 700 000 and 900 000 tonnes, compared to a domestic
demand of 1,4m tonnes. They have however noted that there has been an
improvement in food security in recent months, including increased relief
food aid distributions that have been essential in feeding insecure

            The director of the Agriculture Research Extension, Shadreck
Mlambo last week refused to give out information on the department's
findings referring all questions to the Ministry of Agriculture.

            "We no longer give out such information to the press but we
report to the (Agriculture) ministry on all our findings," Mlambo said.

            Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Simon
Pazvakavambwa, was not immediately available for comment.

            Grain Marketing Board marketing director, Zvidzai Makwenda,
confirmed that the company had already started receiving grains but would
not divulge   the quantities received so far.

            "Yes, the marketing season opened on 1 April and some farmers
have started delivering their crops to the GMB. Right now farmers are busy
harvesting and we expect the deliveries to improve around July and August,"
Makwenda said.

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Mercenary embarrassment: Gvt proposes anti-terrorism Bill

Zim Standard

            By our staff

            THE Zimbabwean government is plugging legal loopholes that allow
people it accuses of terrorism and banditry to escape conviction, The
Standard has learnt.

            The government has in the past-suffered embarrassment after
terrorism charges could not be sustained in high profile cases.

            Two years ago, the government arrested 77 suspected mercenaries
who landed at Harare International Airport on 7 March en route to Equatorial
Guinea where they were alleged to be planning a coup. However, the
government failed to have the men sentenced to longer jail terms because the
country did not have a law that specifically dealt with mercenaries.

            The suspected mercenaries, mainly from South, Africa, Angola,
Namibia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe ended up being
charged with light offences.

            In an effort to avoid such legal embarrassment in future,
sources say, the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has
come up with a Bill that is set to make it easier for the state to secure
conviction on terror suspects.

            The Suppression of Foreign and International Terrorism Bill is
set to be pushed through Parliament in the coming weeks. House copies of the
Bill are already out and were distributed to parliamentarians on 30 March.

            "The phenomenon of terrorism that is waged on an international
scale is not adequately addressed by our existing laws nor is the problem of
mercenaries covered in our legislation," reads part of the Bill.

            It outlines how the government intends to deal with suspects of
international terrorism and the probable sentences for the offenders.

            "Any person who, whether he or she is a member of a foreign or
international terrorist organisation, engages or participates in any foreign
or international terrorist activity shall be guilty of an offence and liable
to imprisonment for life or any shorter period," reads part of the Bill.

            The proposed Bill also deals with issues of recruiting and
training of international terrorists and the probable sentences. It also
states that if a person is found in possession of weapons that cannot be
accounted for, "it shall only be presumed that, unless the contrary is
proved on a balance of probabilities" the accused person possessed the
weaponry with the intention to use it for the purposes of terrorism.

            The Minister of Home Affairs, according to the Bill, shall
identify international terrorist organisations, after consultations with the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the purposes of the act. This could come in
handy as authorities seek to blacklist the shadowy Zimbabwe Freedom Movement

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UPP intensifies mobilisation drive

Zim Standard

            BY Godfrey Mutimba

            MASVINGO - The United People's Party (UPP) says it has
intensified its mobilisation amid revelations that it has started selling
party cards in the rural areas, traditionally a Zanu PF stronghold.

            Daniel Shumba, the party's interim president, said his party was
concentrating on endearing itself to people at grassroots level.

            He said mass mobilisation of people in the rural areas started
on a high note in February and was being "received well" even in Zanu PF
strongholds such as Mashonaland West, Masvingo, the Midlands and some parts
of Matabeleland.

            "UPP advocates for a non-violent democratic political landscape
through the ushering in of a new political dispensation which needs not be
violent or undemocratic," Shumba said. "We are on a nationwide drive
mobilising people and the selling of party cards is at an advanced stage.''

            Shumba said the crisis in Zimbabwe needed a new political party
with fresh ideas because Zanu PF has failed the nation while the MDC has not
been able to capitalise on the mistakes of Zanu PF.

             "The truth is Zanu PF no longer has a democratic mandate to
continue to govern in the face of failed political and economic policies.
Zimbabweans are starving. They are homeless and the cost of living is no
longer sustainable,'' he said.

            He blamed Zanu PF for using the history of the liberation
struggle to oppress the people so as to entrench its undemocratic rule.

            UPP's Mashonaland Central Adminstrator, Brian Mafuka, said
people in the province were giving the party an enthusiastic welcome despite
harassment by State security agents.

            "Mash Central is a Zanu PF stronghold but we are making
meaningful progress. People are tired and fed up with the ruling party. Our
party cards were sold out and we are in the process of printing more," he

            Canciwell Nziramasanga, national co-ordinator in charge of
mobilisation, said all provinces had established existing structures.

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Politicians' relatives dropped from 'Hlalani Kuhle'

Zim Standard

            By GIBBS DUBE

            BULAWAYO - In what appears to be a clear reaction to media
reports exposing the indiscriminate allocation of "Operation Hlalani Kuhle"
houses in Gwanda, more than 58 beneficiaries, including relatives of a
government Minister and senior State and security officials, have been
deleted from the original list of beneficiaries.

            According to authoritative sources in Gwanda, some of the
affected beneficiaries include two children of the Deputy Minister of Public
Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Abednigo Ncube, senior police, army,
prison service and Central Intelligence Organisation officers, and other top
government officials.

            "I am reliably informed that 58 people who were not supposed to
benefit from Operation Hlalani Kuhle houses have been struck off the final
list that was submitted to the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works
and Urban Development," said Gwanda mayor, Thandeko Zinti Mkandla. "These
are the people who grabbed houses earlier this year when they were not
victims of Operation Murambatsvina."

            He said most of the dumped beneficiaries were believed to be
senior State officials who were currently staying in government houses in
the town.

            A source in the Ministry of Local Government said an
Inter-Ministerial Committee tasked with overseeing the implementation of
"Operation Hlalani Kuhle" in Gwanda was compiling a new list of
beneficiaries after striking off names of people who had clandestinely
benefited from the housing scheme.

            "It is true that names of some senior government officials and
relatives of Minister (Abednigo) Ncube have been struck off the list of
beneficiaries," said the source. "However, there may be clashes again
between the Inter-Ministerial Committee and Gwanda Town Council over the new
list as the council has not been consulted."

            Mkandla said the committee was busy compiling a new list without
consulting the council.

            He said: "These people are making the same mistake of allocating
houses without consulting the local authority. "If they don't follow proper
council and government policies in the allocation of the houses, we will not
allow anybody to occupy those houses. We have the backing of senior
government officials on this issue."

            Other sources said the new list of beneficiaries included at
least 10 homeless people who were displaced during "Operation Murambatsvina",
widely condemned by the international community.

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Cancer treatment machine down

Zim Standard

            By Nqobani Ndlovu

            BULAWAY0 - THE only cancer treatment equipment in Zimbabwe,
which has been working during the past few months, has broken down, forcing
patients to seek treatment in neighbouring countries.

            The equipment at Parirenyatwa hospital, called a Radio Frequency
Driver, broke down a couple weeks ago and has not been repaired due to
foreign currency shortages.

            Patients now have to seek expensive treatment abroad in
neighbouring countries like Botswana and South Africa.

            In Botswana, they have to fork out close to 47 000 pula for
treatment excluding travel costs, admission and other related charges.

            Edward Muguti, the Deputy Minister of Health and Child Welfare,
confirmed that the RFD had broken down.

            He said: "We sympathise with the patients that cannot access
treatment because of the machine breakdown. Most of our equipment is old and
this is a sad development but the government will try to make sure that the
machine is fixed.

            "We are working on the rehabilitation of hospital equipment and
at the same time making sure that we make outright purchases".

            The breakdown occurred just a few weeks after Mpilo Central
Hospital ran out of a dialysis concentrate, forcing the Bulawayo hospital to
suspend dialysis on kidney patients.

            The hospital last year received a donation of close to 20
dialysis machines from Vice President Joice Mujuru, which are yet to be

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Emganwini still in the dark

Zim Standard

            By Nqobani Ndlovu

            BULAWAYO - An electrification programme initiated by members of
the ruling party in the run up to last year's senate elections to drum up
support from residents of Emganwini suburb in Bulawayo has been shelved.

            Since November last year, only four poles have been erected in
the suburb with two of them almost falling as the project was abandoned soon
after the elections.

            Emganwini is one of the new suburbs in the city without
electricity. Most residents depend on firewood which costs $50 000 a bundle.

            Bulawayo South Senator, Rita Ndlovu of the pro-Senate faction
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), dismissed the electrification project
as part of the ruling party's campaign gimmicks.

            Ndlovu won against the ruling Zanu-PF candidate, veteran
politician and former PF Zapu military supreme, Dumiso Dabengwa.

            The councillor for Ward 25, covering Emganwini and Nketa
suburbs, Alderman Charles Mpofu, echoed the same sentiments noting that the
ruling party was always making promises during the run up to national and
local government elections.

            Mpofu said: "It is very unfortunate that residents have always
been promised electricity but nothing has ever been implemented. This has
always been a political gimmick by the ruling party in elections.

            "The issue of lack of electricity has always been of concern to
us but what we deplore is what the ruling party always does during
elections. They asked the electricity power authority to come and erect four
poles in November last year but the company abandoned the project soon after
the Senate elections. This is a total disgrace."

            However, when contacted for comment, the Zimbabwe Electricity
Distribution Company spokesperson, James Maridadi, refuted allegations that
the electrification project was a political campaign gimmick. Maridadi said
the project was put on hold due to lack of materials that had to be
purchased from China.

            He said ZEDC had managed to source the materials from China,
adding, "work on the project will resume within the next few weeks".

            Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial spokesperson, Effort Nkomo, referred
The Standard to Dabengwa who was the party candidate for the November Senate
polls. Dabengwa also dismissed charges that the electrification project
stopped because it had been a campaign gimmick.

            He said: "There is no electricity in that area but what happened
is that the materials ran out while work was going on."

            The ruling party has been accused of initiating various projects
during election campaigns and abandoning them after the polls. A number of
projects including the Zambezi Water Scheme, Lupane University and Lupane
Gas Project have surfaced in almost all election campaigns in Matabeleland
North Province, only to be abandoned soon after the polls.

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Soldiers sjambok drivers

Zim Standard


            COMMUTER bus drivers and their conductors had a torrid time last
week when soldiers assaulted them at Chinhamo service station along the
Harare- Chitungwiza road before forcing them to pick up human waste using
their bare hands, The Standard can reveal.

            The soldiers, who are based at an army training base close to
the service station, accused the drivers and conductors of relieving
themselves in the nearby bush while queuing for fuel.   They complained
about the foul smell pervading their base that comes from the area.

            When The Standard arrived at the scene just after the soldiers
had left, drivers who were assaulted said the soldiers pounced on them using

            "We were waiting in the queue to refuel our vehicles when
uniformed soldiers from the base came and force-marched us into the bush,"
said a bus driver who declined to be named.

            "They accused us of using the bush to relieve ourselves. They
started whipping us using sjamboks. After that we were all forced to pick up
human waste with our bare hands. Then we were ordered to dig a pit and bury

            Army public relations director, Simon Tsatsi, was quick to deny
the soldiers assaulted drivers but admitted that they were forced to pick up

             "We would like to state that no drivers were beaten as alleged.
Instead, the drivers had a tendency of randomly throwing away litter from
food takeaways while queuing for fuel at Chinhamo service station. Following
the accumulation of the litter to unhygienic proportions the drivers were
then gathered and addressed by authorities from the nearby military
cantonment to pick up the litter they had thrown around.

            "It was during the same address that they were advised to use
toilet facilities at the service station if they wanted to relieve
themselves,'' Tsatsi said.

            However, a conductor who only identified himself as Collin said
he sustained injuries after three soldiers took turns to assault him with
their fists and boots.

            This is the third incident in a month involving soldiers
reportedly assaulting members of the public. In the first case soldiers
assaulted workers at a hotel in Mutare and in the second, they attacked
revellers at several night clubs in Gweru.

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Mercenary plane idle

Zim Standard

            BY OUR STAFF

            MORE than two years after the government impounded a
US-registered cargo plane carrying 64 suspected mercenaries, the State has
failed to make use of the plane, The Standard has established.

            The Boeing 727-100 was detained at Harare International Airport
on 7 March 2004 after its owners allegedly made a false declaration of its
cargo and crew. Sources at Manyame Airbase, where that plane is parked, said
the seized plane is idle.

            "Ever since that plane was parked there, nothing has been done
to it and I don't think the authorities have decided on how to use it," said
a source.

            Repeated efforts to get an official comment from officials last
week proved fruitless.

            Didymus Mutasa, the Minister of State for National Security,
Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement, said he was not aware of the plane's

            "Yes, I know about that plane you are talking about, but you
know, I wouldn't know about what transpired before I was appointed
 Minister," he said.

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Children more vulnerable after 'Murambatsvina'

Zim Standard

            BY OUR STAFF

            A RECENT survey conducted by Women and AIDS Support Network
(WASN) has established that several thousands of children were victims of
the government sanctioned "Operation Murambatsvina" which displaced more
than 700 000 people last year.

            The survey was carried out in 20 schools in Harare and the few
areas that were sampled reveal a frightening pattern of children being
displaced by the government's ill-advised move.

            The operation launched last May right in the middle of the cold
season was condemned internationally.

            After the operation, it emerged that the ruling class was uneasy
with the level of disgruntlement among ordinary people because of the regime's
poor economic and political policies.

            Rugare Primary School had 1 753 pupils before the operation. It
was found that after the operation, 397 children could not be accounted for.

            Chitsere Primary lost 313 children to the Tsunami.

            At Tafara Primary School, there were 1 785 children before the
clean up but 1 489 after the exercise, meaning the whereabouts and welfare
of 296 children is unknown.

            Epworth primary school authorities are not aware of what
happened to 250 children as they disappeared from the school during the
clean up exercise.

            Several schools lost on average between 50 to 80 pupils and no
known programmes have been put in place by the government to cater for their

            There have been reports of increases in cases of child labour on
farms and in the number of child prostitutes around the country.

            Mary Sandasi, the executive director of WASN, said: "Overall,
the girl child has been greatly affected as most parents found it difficult
to leave them with their neighbours or relatives. As a result, a greater
percentage of the children who moved were girls.

            They also dropped out of school. When girls drop out of school,
chances of getting involved in sexual activities become high, thereby
increasing the chances of being infected with HIV and STIs."

            Sandasi said teachers who had been interviewed complained of
losing very intelligent pupils while infants who were suffering from HIV had
also been affected.

            She said her organisation was deeply concerned about the fact
that a lot of children were now exposed to abuse after the displacement.

            "Some of the children now stay with relatives and this increases
the chances of children being abused as people are squatting in small single
rooms. Some cases of rape have been reported to the school heads and senior
teachers," Sandasi said.

            She said the research was designed to assess the impact of
displacement on school-going girls and the impact on children who were on
treatment for HIV and Aids.

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Fuel abuse trial postponed

Zim Standard


            MUTARE - The trial of three prominent Zanu PF politicians in
Manicaland on fresh charges of fraudulently obtaining government fuel has
been postponed to 19 June to allow defence counsel more time to prepare for
the case.

            The three politicians, Enock Porusingazi, Esau Mupfumi and Fred
Kanzama are jointly charged with sourcing 15 000 litres of fuel from the
State-run National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) valued at $323m. The
State says they pretended it was for use during a visit to Manicaland by
Vice President Joice Mujuru last October.

            The accused are alleged to have converted the fuel, 10 000
litres of diesel and 5 000 litres of petrol, to their own use.

            The three run separate businesses in the province. They also
face a separate set of charges also involving the fraudulent sourcing of
fuel and maize earlier last year.

            They were granted varying amounts of bail on these charges and
are to be tried separately.

            In the matter in which they face joint charges, the three men
were initially given $75m bail when they appeared before Provincial
Magistrate Hosiah Mujaya.

            The State, led by Senior Prosecutor Levison Chikafu, however,
revoked a section of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act initially in
opposing bail for the three politicians on the grounds they could abscond.

            Porusingazi, who is also the provincial leader of the ruling
party's youth wing, has pending charges involving 70 000 litres of diesel
which he is alleged to have falsely obtained, claiming it was for public
projects in his constituency.

            He also faces charges of buying more than 1 000 tonnes of maize,
valued at $708m, from the State-run Grain Marketing Board and selling it to
National Foods Limited in contravention of GMB regulations. He was granted
$500m bail in the matter and is set to go on trial on 26 June.

            Mupfumi, who runs a transport fleet, was granted $300m bail in a
case in which he is accused of obtaining 20 000 litres of fuel from Noczim,
worth about $300m, on the pretext all of it was for use to ferry Zanu PF
supporters to the party's national conference held last year in Esigodini,
Matabeleland. It is alleged he used only 5 000 litres of the fuel for the
trip and converted the remainder to his own use. His trial on this matter
has been set for 30 May.

            Kanzama, who was elected last year to represent the Mutare South
constituency, has a separate case involving $19m he is said to have
collected on behalf of villagers in his constituency on the promise he would
buy maize for them from the GMB.  He did not, the State says.

            He was granted $10m bail.

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DZL embarks on rebuilding project

Zim Standard

            BY OUR STAFF

            MILK producer DZL Holdings Ltd has embarked on an ambitious
project designed to increase milk output by 44% to 140 million litres by the
end of the year.

            The project, Built Operate and Transfer (BOT), involves
rebuilding dairies through the transfer of dairy management skills to A2
dairy farmers.

            Under the scheme, DZL will increase the dairy herd size through
importation of heifers from neighbouring countries. So far DZL has imported
50 heifers from South Africa. The heifers, valued at $10b, will be run by
Wooler Farm in Glendale.

            DZL manufacturing director, Theo Nyamandi told Standardbusiness
recently that the milk producer would import an additional 450 heifers from
South Africa for nine farms working under the scheme.

            Under BOT, DZL provides dairy farmers access to Agricultural
Sector Productivity Enhancement Facility. DZL will work with the farmers for
five years after which the farmers would have doubled the dairy herd and
have the know-how to run the business without assistance from DZL.

            Nyamandi said DZL would also work with small- scale dairy
farmers to boost milk output, which has been on the decline over the years.
From a peak of 256 million litres in 1990, milk output plummeted to a 97
million litres last year.

            Nyamandi said DZL was working with farmers to increase the dairy
herd, which has been on a decline for the past 12 years. The national dairy
herd fell to 35 000 last year from a peak of 104 483 in 1994.

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RBZ dampens ZNCC

Zim Standard

            BY OUR STAFF

            THE Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) is crying foul
after it emerged last week that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has
frustrated efforts by the chamber to adopt the internationally acclaimed ATA
Carnet project.

            The ATA Carnet system is an international customs document that
permits duty-free and tax free goods for exhibition by members in the chain.

            ZNCC CEO, Cain Mpofu told Standardbusiness last week that the
chamber is still waiting for RBZ's response three months after requesting
assistance from the monetary authorities.

            RBZ had instructed ZNCC to open a pooled Foreign Currency
Account with a reputable financial institution, an instruction that was

            ZNCC then applied to RBZ through its bank on conditions it would
use the FCA.

            Mpofu said: "Our bankers seem not to make headway in getting
instructions from RBZ."

            Mpofu blamed the slow pace towards the conclusion of the deal on
RBZ officials whom he said were not conversant with how the system operates.

            The ZNCC boss was at a loss for words, saying the delay had
frustrated efforts by the chamber to put the facility in place for the
Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF).

            But Mpofu is optimistic that the ZNCC and ZITF "will continue to
work towards the attainment of ATA Carnet" status.

            ZNCC has been battling to attain the ATA Carnet status over the
past decade and a silver lining seemed to have been found after RBZ provided
a US$100 000 guarantee.

            The ATA Carnet system was necessitated by the need to encourage
free movement of goods for exhibition among member countries without paying
custom duties seen as inhibiting trade promotion and growth.

            For a member to join the ATA Carnet system, they have to furnish
the International Chamber of Commerce with a guarantee from the central bank
that it would pay in the event that there is default in payment. Goods
brought in through the ATA Carnet are not charged duty when they are for

            However, a member may decide to sell the goods if there are
offers for the products. In such a case there is need to reimburse the host
country through the payment of import duties and taxes. The ZNCC has got the
guarantee from the Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC), an arm of

            The ZNCC is the guarantor for Carnet certificate holders in the
event of defaults while ECGC would be the final guarantor.

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Independence leaders do not have to die in office

Zim Standard


            THE country's independence leaders do not need to die in office.
There are many ways of rewarding them so they have time to enjoy the fruits
of their contribution to the struggle for liberation.

            Vice President Joseph Msika was in South Africa two weeks ago
for medical treatment. His condition - as is the norm in this country - was
not disclosed but was serious enough to require the company of the Deputy
Minister of Health, Edwin Muguti, a medical doctor, during the journey to
Cape Town.

            Msika denied he had a heart problem but declined to say what
condition had necessitated his travel to South Africa.

            Several other independence leaders, notable among them Joshua
Nkomo and Simon Muzenda, died while still in office. Both had been thwarted
in their attempts to retire. This should not be their reward for their role
in liberating this country. They, like Julius Nyerere and Nelson Mandela,
should have been allowed space to reflect on their invaluable contribution,
free from the stress of governing the country, because while they may have
been good strategists during the struggle for independence, it does not
follow that they were astute government leaders.

            In fact, as elder statesmen, they could have been more useful in
an advisory capacity to those who took office after them. None of the other
independence leaders in the region has had to die in office.

            Both Msika and President Robert Mugabe, who is 82, have said
they will remain in active politics and that they are not contemplating
retiring any time soon. Both claim to be answering the call of the people.
But by remaining in office for so long they are contributing to the
instability of the country, especially given the spectacular collapse of the
economy over the past decade and the general decline in standards of living,
education, health and life expectancy. The panacea to Zimbabwe's crisis is
            likely to come from the architects of failure.

            In fact the country's leadership has had to travel abroad to
seek medical attention, when the goal should be to ensure that the country
has the facilities and expertise to deal with all the conditions that
require Zimbabwe to spend millions of dollars in scarce foreign currency in
South Africa or the UK.

            President Levy Mwanawasa of Zambia recently travelled to the UK
to seek medical treatment. It is a sad commentary on the state of the public
and private health services in countries in the region. Independence should
have come with health facilities that are readily available to citizens of
countries in the region.

            If Zimbabwe had first class health facilities, it would benefit
other nationals from the region who would come here for treatment, improving
the country's foreign currency levels.

            If the various bilateral agreements between Zimbabwe and
countries such as Egypt, France, Cuba, Italy, Spain, India and nations
making up former Yugoslavia are brought into effect, they could provide
specialist doctors and with the appropriate facilities, all the complicated
medical procedures could be performed here at a fraction of what the country
is paying for treatment abroad, with resources it can scarcely afford.

            An alternative lies in Church mission hospitals, although most
of their institutions are in rural areas. For example the US Baptist Church
sends a contingent of medical doctors here for several months of the year.
With appropriate facilities, a request could be made so that the medical
specialists would include those with skills to attend to the list of
identified cases awaiting treatment. This way the government's commitment to
health would have meaning.

            The way forward lies in providing an environment that makes it
worthwhile for investing in the health sector.

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Don't use 'culture' to oppress women

Zim Standard

            sunday view by Netsai Mushonga

            THE Women's Coalition of Zimbabwe was shocked by recent
responses to the supplement, which raised awareness on the scourge of
domestic violence and called on policy makers to speedily pass the Domestic
Violence Bill.

            The responses seem to support the abuse of the human rights of
women and girls by calling on the policy makers not to enact the Domestic
Violence Bill.  The responses attack women who are calling for this Bill as
being out of hand and make a passionate plea to church leaders to thwart
effort to pass the Bill.  Somehow this language sounds very much like the
language of abusers themselves.

            The view that we should not have a Domestic Violence Bill
because it is uncultural and will destroy our culture borders on a very
insensible way of reasoning.  And one dares ask the church to intervene and
make sure that the Domestic Violence Bill does not pass.  How cultural is
the church in Zimbabwe?  Isn't it that the church has transformed our
traditional culture into something else?

            Our experience is that the church is horrified by domestic
violence and works with women's NGOs and Padare to confront the problem.

            Women's non-governmental organisations were founded to address
the gender disparities that are inherent in our societies.  For example,
Women's Action Group (WAG) was formed in 1983 as a response to harassment of
women by the police during the so-called "Operation Chinyavada".  The police
had rounded up about 6 000 women who were walking unaccompanied after 7.00PM
because they believed they were soliciting for commercial sex work.

            The 6 000 women who were arrested were coming from work, going
for funerals, or just going about their ordinary tasks.  The police were
daft enough to judge, arrest and throw them in prison for soliciting for
commercial sex work.  Their crime according to us was simply being women.
Men walking alone were not arrested; they were left to do their business as
citizens of a country.

            Women came together to lobby and advocate for the release of the
arrested women as well as lobby and advocate for their basic human rights.
WAG has remained active up to now since our human rights, as women are still
not being respected.

            We have researched the issues that we are working on in Zimbabwe
and we realise we have a serious problem of domestic violence.  We do not
need Americans and Europeans to tell us that women and girls are suffering
gross violence and abuse if we see that in our lives and on women we live
with and serve on a daily basis.  A research by Musasa Project in 1996
revealed that 42% of women above the age of 16 years suffer
mental/psychological violence, 39% suffer economic violence, 37% suffer
psychological violence while 32% suffer violence of a physical nature.

            Physical violence refers to women being hit, kicked, punched,
and assaulted by weapons or being hit whilst they are pregnant.  In the
sample of 1 000 women interviewed by Musasa Project in urban, peri-urban and
rural areas only 15% responded that they were not suffering any form of

            Other organisations like Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association,
Girl Child Network and Family Support Trust receive victims and survivors of
gender based violence on a daily basis.  The victims include women who are
psychologically tortured and some who are battered either to death or
receive injuries that cause permanent disabilities.  Girl children are at
even more risk of rape now by elderly men who believe that having sex with a
virgin cures one of HIV/Aids.  We are all patriotic Zimbabweans but it's a
pity that most of our cultural aspects uphold patriarchy and uphold the
abuse of women by placing a serious code of silence on abused women, and
blaming gender violence on the victim.

            When a woman is abused society will ask her why that happened to
her and find an excuse to exonerate the man.  We note that this abuse
continues to happen and we urgently need legal remedies to address it.  We
are intelligent women and we do not need foreigners to push us into
anything.  Africa has actually been setting precedents in terms of achieving
set targets for the protection and enhancement of women's rights.  Africa
has one of the highest levels of representation of women in decision-making
positions.  We want to be able to live freely and make decisions that affect
us within our families, whether we are married or single, girls or elderly

            The real cause of gender-based violence is the issue of power
and control.  Abusers believe that they have authority over their victims
and would want to assert themselves and control the woman through violence.
It is definitely not the "absence of durable marriage and fellowships
between elders and the younger generation", whatever that means.

            Our researches have revealed that girls in the 16-24 age groups
are actually targets of older men who prey on these young ones for sex.
Ever heard of the famous sweet 16?  The girls are comparatively younger and
men perceive them as being free from HIV/Aids and easier to persuade into
sex.  A UNIFEM research in Zimbabwe revealed that the prevalence of HIV/Aids
among girls in the 15-24 age group was 2.6 times higher than in men in the
same age group.  Girls do not get themselves pregnant but older men get into
improper unions with them and impregnate them.  These men are much older and
more sophisticated than the young girls; in fact old enough to be fathers to
the girls.  Who then is to blame to for this?

            We urge men and women to educate themselves on the issues of
gender based violence and fight actively to stop this violence.  Men should
remember that they are fathers and uncles to some of the girls: would they
like some men to cut their throats as happened in Masvingo recently, or
psychologically abuse them into insanity?

            Gender based violence prevents women from being equal citizens
in their country.  Have men ever asked themselves why women do not own land
in the traditional setup?  Land is passed from father to son and a single
woman finds it very difficult to live freely in her rural home.  Why are our
property rights so limited when we are equal citizens, or would some men
feel good about denying women these basic human rights even in this age?

            Lastly there is a new breed of women who are not under anyone's
hand and would want to take charge of their destiny.  The number of these
women is growing by the day and Minister Oppah Muchinguri is one of these
women.  We have declared our freedom from violence, control and abuse and
are not under anyone's hand.  The Domestic Violence Bill will be passed in
parliament very soon and a critical mass of men in Zimbabwe believes that
gender violence is a crime.

            We, the feminists, will not allow violence against any women.
Gender violence should simply go and with a law against domestic violence we
will get out of hand and not let anyone beat and abuse us.  We shall

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Fear of women prods Zanu PF

Zim Standard

            sunday opinion by Rejoice Ngwenya

            NOW that there is a flurry of litigation activity around the
"Right Reverend", what makes this case attractive for me is not merely that
the man's exaggerated self-worth drew notorious public attention, but that
politics and gender are subjects on the side plate of my literary diet.

            Therefore, if Zimbabwe was a normal modern-day civilisation, the
"Right Reverend's" spiritual epitaph would have been engraved already with
something like: "Here lies a religious impostor who cursed God for giving
man the greatest gift of all - woman."

            I have mentioned time and time again in my writings, that the
woman is the most powerful force on this planet ever since the creation of
gravity. And I still insist that if political "First Ladies" used their full
potential of positive, motherly influence, the caricature of African
presidents would assume a more civil nature.

            But now that the facts concerning the "Right Reverend" have been
bared in neon lights, his gallivanting around like a village bull, wining
and dining with the greatest in the miserable A2 Farm Animal kingdom has
been brought to a timely and grinding halt, but only after women threatened
to unleash an orgy of venom on a system that was pampering him.

            The lesson for those of us testosteronic mammals is that women
might be charming and pleasant to the eye, but they are not for everyone's
taking. This includes your girlfriend, wife, college mate, secretary,
subordinate and maids, anaSisi - the Sisters of the Kitchen!

            But what is it about anaSisi that makes them magnetic to the
"Right Reverends" of this world? Number one, they are painstakingly
submissive, obedient and articulately humble - what we testosteronic mammals
term "The Axis of Blind Allegiance". This is the epitome, prototype, ideal
woman model that does not question my motives, my decisions, my plans and
chimes the loudest bells in the cathedral of inner macho conscience.

            She greets me in the morning, makes my tea and closes the door
behind. She feeds our children and walks them to kindergarten. She cooks for
our visitors, and does our laundry. She dusts our shelves, and empties the
trash bin. She does not answer back when I admonish her; neither does she
reverse any of my instructions. In fact, anaSisi are so much part of our
'emotional and domestic vibe' that the "Right Reverends" of this world
mistake them for second wives, and then insist on more than the poor women
can give away.

            Number two, her demands and expectations are of earthly nature,
and therefore can easily be fulfilled at any time of the "salary" month, but
thanks to civilisation, her individual rights are as sacrosanct as anyone

            Yet the irony of Zanu PF's governance mysteries continues to
raise the question why the "Right Reverend" was not arrested before women
threatened to cause "Musindo" in the streets.

            One thing comes to my mind - the fear of spontaneous uprising.
For a long time, many beneficiaries of the Zanu PF patronage system have
profited from amnesty and immunity. Some, who have committed heinous crimes
of violating private property rights and expropriation, sit on the benches
and pass judgement. Others have beaten up and kidnapped political
competitors or abused labour rights, but sit in Parliament and play
gentlemen. Civic society, law analysts and the public have raised the issue
of protective patronage time and again, but in typical Zanu PF obstinacy,
the system has plugged its ears with sisal wool. The answer to my question
therefore lies in the people's renewed call for mass uprising.

            Proponents of popular democracy in Zimbabwe are in a quandary
over why citizens in this wretched country are in a sedate state of
political paralysis.

            We are so stunned by the crisis that we watch as events unfold.

            As you read now, there are trillions being poured into suspect
"winter wheat" programmes that will only yield a bumper harvest of
petrodollars for a few - and there will still be no accountability, no
arrest, and no comment. A deafening political silence.

            And so when women of Zimbabwe threatened to go into streets to
cause "mutsindo", vibrations around the "Right Reverend" saga, Zanu PF
political strategists were jolted from their drunken stupour. Many questions
troubled their minds. Would it be possible, they mused, that the MDC would
lay claim to the thousands of women in the streets? If women like Jenny
Williams managed to attract 100 000 anti-protesters against the "Right
Reverend", would it not set a precedent that Zanu PF is not, after all,
invincible? One hundred, perhaps 500 000 women in the streets - ah - whose
women would they be anyway?

            This is really fun! You remember when the late Chenjerai Hitler
Hunzvi threatened to send his colleagues onto the streets in protest against
being "neglected"? Mugabe promptly responded with payouts of millions of
unbudgeted dollars as "compensation", thus heralding the beginning of
Zimbabwe's descent into economic gloom and doom.

            My point is that women have always been at the forefront of the
struggle. They remained home to look after families when their men
disappeared into the forests of Zambia and Mozambique. They laid their lives
on the line just to ensure the guerrillas were well fed.

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Zim Standard Letters

      Only time will tell who betrayed the people
            THE majority of Zimbabweans have been misled into believing that
Morgan Tsvangirai is a political messiah whose mission is to liberate the
people of Zimbabwe, but who has been stalled by his colleagues after they
broke away from the mainstream MDC.

            Tsvangirai himself has claimed that those who broke away from
the MDC are a group of power-hungry sell-outs bent on wresting power from

            These are Tsvangirai's fallacious and baseless claims. In any
case, most of them have long been proved false.

            Those who have lived with Tsvangirai or worked under his
administration will testify that while he is articulate on political issues,
the man is a disaster when it comes to administration and totally lacks the
necessary skills required of a leader of his stature.

            For six good years, the man has lived under siege, unable to
extricate himself from the web of indecision and fear of the unknown. The
man was a virtual prisoner and could not distinguish between those who
sought to gain favours from him and those who wanted to exploit his
administrative weaknesses.

            However, once he gave legitimacy to information supplied by the
rumour factory, which came to him via the kitchen cabinet, he gradually
began to lose faith in the advice from elected office bearers of the party.

            The kitchen cabinet assumed control of Tsvangirai and began to
determine what information was suitable for his appetite and the intervals
at which he would be fed this information.

            For nearly a year, the party was operating on two parallel
structures at all levels - one under the auspices of the kitchen cabinet and
the other under legitimate party organs. Structures aligned to the kitchen
cabinet were more visible because of the abundance of resources availed to
them. No one up to this day has tried to demand that this group account for
the resources they were using. Tsvangirai listened to it and regularly
sought opinion from it.

            It is sad and unfortunate that the people of Zimbabwe who had
built so much hope and faith in the MDC may now have to contend with a new
reality that the man may not be the messiah they thought he was. His recent
claims that he will unveil the programme for mass action and lead it from
the front will be the test of his sincerity.

            On this basis Zimbabweans will be able to judge whether this is
the man who will take them out of the political wilderness into a new
Zimbabwe of milk and honey.

            History is a cruel judge. Time will tell as to who really
betrayed the people of this country.

            Vision foretold

            Power shortages: nuclear power the answer
                  THE perennial power outages, which have plagued
Zimbabweans over the years, are set to get worse and persist well into the
foreseeable future.

                  This is so because the amount of electricity currently
produced by the national power utility, ZESA Holdings - about 1 650
megawatts - falls far short of the current national requirement now in
excess of 2 100 megawatts.

                  ZESA makes up for the difference by importing the
shortfall from regional power utilities such as Eskom of South Africa, SNEL
of the Democratic Republic of Congo and HCB of Mozambique.

                  However, as the demand for electricity continues to
increase there are indications that the countries currently exporting their
surplus electricity to Zimbabwe will not be in a position to continue doing
so beyond 2007 as their domestic electricity requirements are also surging.

                  To make matters worse, all is not well at ZESA Holdings.
They made an operating loss of Z$8 trillion in 2005 and are saddled with a
foreign debt amounting to US$334m. Just recently ZESA lost 450 megawatts
power imports from South Africa after being apparently disconnected by
Eskom. HCB of Mozambique has offered ZESA a strategic 25% shareholding stake
in HCB but the local power utility is broke, and that's not surprising
because ZESA sells electricity at Z$218.18/kW hour after producing the same
amount of energy at about Z$1 386.20/kW hour. It doesn't make any business
sense  - does it?

                  Power generation plants at Hwange Power Station have
become redundant because of coal shortages yet there is a huge coalmine at
Hwange; it's mind-boggling. All this mess adds up to the frequent, erratic
and prolonged power outages which people hate and industrialists dread so

                  As the country draws closer to the looming blackouts, ZESA
has not shed any light on how it plans to avert the impending power crisis.
Looks like people just have to get used to firewood and candlelight.

                  It is saddening to note that Zimbabwe is on the verge of
plunging back to darkness yet it has a natural resource which if exploited
can provide Zimbabwe with all the electricity it needs. Geological surveys
have confirmed the presence of substantial deposits of uranium, a rare and
precious mineral used to fuel nuclear power reactors to generate

                  A single moderately sized nuclear power reactor could
produce more than enough electricity for Zimbabwe. Building a functional
nuclear power facility is obviously well beyond Zimbabwe's competence, and
given the bad blood that exists between Harare and the international
community, the transfer of nuclear related technology to Zimbabwe will be
very difficult, but not impossible.

                  The use of nuclear reactors to generate electricity has
numerous benefits for the country. Affordable electricity will be available
in abundance for domestic, industrial and agricultural use.

                  Zimbabwe could even earn enough foreign currency to import
fuel from exporting surplus electricity to regional power utilities.

                  Huge amounts of scarce foreign currency currently being
used by ZESA to import electricity - a staggering Z$600b every month - will
be saved and probably reallocated to resuscitate our ailing health system.

                  Nuclear power is an attractive and economical alternative
for carbon-free energy that holds a great deal of promise for Zimbabwe's
energy needs. So let us go nuclear and let there be light and energy in

                  Cassius Sande

            Age catches up with Mugabe
                  I DON'T know whether other readers have noticed what I
have seen and heard at President Robert Mugabe's rallies of late.

                  Not only is Mugabe a dictator or despot, he is also a
commendable comedian, who chooses the most unusual places to tease his
political opponents - the MDC party and its leadership.

                  At the recent burial of Winston Changara, he could not
resist the temptation to have a go at the opposition again. Denouncing the
MDC's slogan, "Chinja Maitiro", Mugabe said: "Unonzwa vanhu kuti chinja,
chinja. Ndopauchachinja kuita chura here?"

                  It has become typical of him to lambast the MDC at the
burial of national heroes. Shouldn't his address be an appraisal of the dead
hero, his/her war credentials and the good things he accomplished which made
her/him eligible for such status?

                  His speeches of denunciation should rightly belong at
political rallies. I recall listening to one of Mugabe's speeches last year
as he referred to Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC saying: "Mukomana atakakura
naye tichidya matumbu akamonwa." I am not sure what the relevance of this

                  It would be unfair for me to end this letter without
saying something that Mugabe is good at.

                  I believe in making every experience educational, although
Mugabe does not know where and when to make his jokes, he proved that he is
a man who stands by his word.

                  He does not like change, something that is different from
what is happening in the MDC. Mugabe does all sorts of things to keep
himself looking like a youngster, doing away with the physical change in
him, but he should consult Michael Jackson, who I am certain will share with
him a testimony that will make Mugabe realise that God was not insane when
he created man the way he is.

                  G C Machete
                  Glen View

            The way ahead for Zimbabwe
                  IT is difficult to plot the way forward in this country.
At a time when our finance Minister, Herbert Murerwa, and Reserve Bank
governor, Gideon Gono, have recently been in the United States, striving
valiantly to restore some respectability in the eyes of the international
investment community, the Minister of Mines proudly announces government
plans to appropriate 51% of foreign-owned mines.

                  One's reaction tends to be, "Surely they can't be
serious!" Unfortunately, they may well be serious, if past performance is
anything to go by. All is not gloom and doom, however. There are patches of
sunshine in the cloud banks. We, the business community, must realistically
assess our current situation as a country, as an economic unit competing for
scarce investment resources in this global village. Where do we stand today,
and how can we work with government to improve the situation?

                  A number of problems must be addressed. Our horrendous
inflation rate, the perceived lack of democracy, the aftermath of "Operation
Murambatsvina", belief that the rule of law does not apply here, farm
invasions, the belief that courts are corrupt and that property rights are
not respected/honoured. These perceptions - and realities where applicable -
must be changed.

                  We must get back to a situation where fixed assets are
securely held and can be used as security for financing business.

                  The IMF Board is granting 19 countries debt relief.
Zimbabwe did not qualify. We should attempt to meet their standards. We
cannot continue to pour vitriol on the heads of potential benefactors, the
leaders of Britain and the US. Their votes at the IMF count.

                  Food shortages are a serious problem. We destroyed our
commercial farming sector and have been denying such shortages existed.
There has been no real drought during the past five years, as has been
alleged; statistics prove this. Bad management has brought us to the brink
of mass starvation.

                  The foreign currency shortage is disastrous. We must first
export to earn it. Investors are afraid to commit to developing mines and
businesses and of course farms, where export revenue came from.

                  Financial indiscipline must be controlled. The economy is
in severe, prolonged decline. Washington's Centre for Global Development
estimates Zimbabwe's economic crisis "has set the country back more than
half a century." It is time to reverse this process.

                  Natural resources are abundant. We have a proven record in
agriculture, tourism and mining, all of which could be resuscitated, given
an investment-friendly environment.

                  What can we, at Association of Business in Zimbabwe and
the business community in general do about this sad situation. How can we
get out of this mess? We must continue to speak up. We must work with
government. We must look for common ground with it - it cannot want total
ruin of the local economy, for example. We may find we have more common
ground than things to argue about. Let us avoid contention, and try to work

                  There are millions of charitable people in the world who
would love to save starving children. Let us declare a state of emergency so
they are aware of our desperate need. And our masses are truly desperate.

                  We do not have to change the whole structure of government
overnight. To quote John Robertson: "We will have to succeed in recovering
the country's former good standing in the international arena.

                  "The leverage of small steps taken in the right direction
would produce very large responses from international bodies and donor
countries, and if we followed through with actions that proved we intended
to honour our commitments, we would soon see better inflows of investors and

                  The big changes are going to have to be made by
government. It is responsible for the state we are in, and it is its duty to
rectify this catastrophe. We must assist it to do so.

                  That is what ABUZ is about. That is why we are here.

                  Larry Farren

                  Chairman of the Association for Business in Zimbabwe


            MDC poised to be stronger than ever
                  I WOULD like to disagree to some extent with issues raised
by Bekithemba Mhlanga in his opinion piece titled "The Mutambara factor".

                  In his article, Bekithemba attempts to make readers
believe that the seriousness with which the Movement for Democratic Change
is taking business is a direct result of the coming on board of Professor
Arthur Mutambara onto the political arena.

                  Far from it; the MDC has been reorganising itself since
the fallout of 12 October 2005, when some of the then leaders in the party
sold out and decided to identify with some of Zanu PF's aspirations.

                  It was President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF's desire to
re-introduce the Senate, which was abolished upon realisation that it did
not add value to the well being of Zimbabwe. Mugabe had thought of
re-introducing it in order to accommodate the growing number of people to
appease, at the tax payer's expense.

                  It was after the 12 October 2005 fallout that the MDC
started re-engineering itself. Mutambara's arrival was announced only a week
or two before the pro-Senate party's congress which took place at the end of
February 2006. By that time Nelson Chamisa had been appointed acting
secretary for information and publicity, and had already been doing the best
he could in that capacity - planning meetings for mass resistance were well
under way.

                  If Mhlanga had checked his diary, he would have noted that
the planning meeting by part of the MDC liberation team had already taken
place by the time word started going round that Mutambara was being
recruited to lead the Pro Senate Party, whose other leaders, except for Gift
Chimanikire, had no confidence in their ability to lead the party.

                  The 12 October 2006 fallout presented an opportunity for
the MDC to undertake an evaluation of itself. The problem the party had
faced is that people were not operating at the same wave length, with some
shooting down initiatives by others. The fallout enabled the MDC to refocus,
identify closer with the people's aspirations and come up with new
strategies to confront Mugabe's rogue regime.

                  I recall contributing an article to the media when I wrote
that the MDC was going through its storming phase, and that institutions
sometimes come out of the phase much stronger, and this is what seems to be
happening in the party. With a number of top officials realising their
mistakes and deserting the sinking ship, the MDC is poised to be stronger
than ever before, strong enough to dislodge Mugabe's regime out of office.

                  After the fall-out, and well before Mutambara came into
the picture, we all heard Mugabe confess the country's number one enemy was
Morgan Tsvangirai. Even now, Mugabe hasn't said much about Mutambara, but
has threatened Tsvangirai with death.

                  It is difficult to understand what Mhlanga is trying to
get at when he says Tsvangirai needs to stop speaking in tongues and tell
people what he expects them to be talking about to each other in bars,
shops, schools or even soccer matches, after all the preparatory work that
is being done not only by the MDC, but in conjunction with other
pro-democracy forces, including the NCA, the church, the students movement,
ZCTU and others. This thing needs planning and mobilising, and this is
exactly what is taking place now.

                  Looking at it from another angle, Mutambara has failed to
attract credible people to fill in strategic positions within his own party.
Worse still, some of the senior officials are already deserting. Mhlanga
must allow time to see if Mutambara will be able to fill up strategic posts
that his party failed to find suitable candidates for at their congress, or
whether more senior officials will desert him to fight Mugabe from a more
appropriate platform.

                  Mhlanga's piece, in my opinion, is just part of hate mail
aimed at tarnishing the image of Tsvangirai, propping up Mutambara, and
reversing the process of bringing about change for a better life for all

                  Benjamin Chitate

                  New Zealand

            Independence without freedom is nothing
                  ON 18 April every year Zimbabwe celebrates her
independence, a watershed day in the history of the country that saw it
attain self-rule. It is a day that Zimbabwe reflects on the selfless
sacrifices that sons and daughters of this country who were fortunate enough
to be there when the need to liberate this country was inevitable.

                  This year Zimbabwe marks 26 years of independence, but
events unfolding on the ground show that our independence is an occasion for
mourning, instead of celebrating.

                  One prominent writer, George Ayitte, said:
"Post-independent African states did not do much to dismantle the colonial
system they viciously fought; rather they maintained and expanded its scope.
Gradually, a mafia state evolved, a state that has been hijacked by vampire
elites, hustlers and gangsters, all who operate within their own ethic of
self-aggrandisement and perpetuation in power."

                  This observation by Ayitte accurately captures the state
of our country today. Twenty-six years after independence, we still have a
government that denies basic freedoms and rights to its own citizens.
Zimbabwe is host to a rapacious clique of rulers that presides over an
impoverished, hungry nation and still denies people food aid because they
choose to differ with it.

                  In recent years when Harare fell out with Western
governments, we have witnessed the increased trumpeting by Zanu PF of the
anti-imperialism and its perceived evil machinations against it. Yet the
Zimbabwean system of governance is a result of a degenerated liberation
movement that adopted a neo-liberal and capitalist route after independence,
in violation of its seemingly embraced values of a socialist state.

                  The problems besetting Zimbabwe are because Harare is a
failed capitalist accumulation path, having developed protectionist attitude
towards imperialism, and in the process compromised domestic economy.
Zimbabwe's success in the 80's was on the bedrock of massive exploitation,
low wages, massive and extreme poverty.

                  Much as the Zanu PF government may want to decry the
British, Zimbabweans know that the government still uses a British document
that masquerades as a constitution to govern Zimbabweans. That particular
constitution has been amended 17 times, more often than not, not for the
benefit of Zimbabweans, but to make sure that the elite of our society
continue to protect the gains that have accrued to them, and not the gains
of our struggle as often purported.

                  If ever Zimbabwe is to claim that it is celebrating
democracy and independence, then the starting point is to rally people
around the issue of the new constitution for Zimbabwe. We can only claim
that we are a democracy if Zimbabweans are afforded the opportunity to write
their own contract with their rulers, a contract based on consent not
coercion. That contract is a new constitution that can deliver the "good
life" for Zimbabweans, a contract that is committed to the eradication of
all of forms of oppression and injustices. Zimbabweans still await their

                  Masimba Nyamanhindi



            Opposition leaders need to see the light
                  I DO understand where Benjamin Chitate is coming from. I
understand some Zimbabwean leaders have no willingness to sacrifice
themselves in order to end the human suffering in our country.

                  The same leaders have pushed people for so long instead of
inspiring them. There is no more positive belief and desire to change people's
lives by these opportunistic leaders, who are emerging like mushroom in our
country. They all want to be little Robert Mugabes.

                  There is no definition of reality by the same powerful,
academic, and wishful leaders. Maybe that is why the suffering people in the
country have distanced themselves from such opportunistic leaders.

                  We have not seen the leaders of the new MDC communicating
with their so-called supporters. This might be the reason why the majority
have not seen the light in their leadership and I don't think they will ever
see it.

                  Nicholas Nickson Mada


            Morgenster's shame
                  I DO not condone the goings-on at Morgenster Teachers'
College. I am fed up with the negative news coming from the institution.

                  The problems at the institution are self-inflicted. This
is because the authorities there have always entertained gossip from
lecturers, creating a clique around the administration which shamelessly
provides gossip about other lecturers and students, with the result that
serious divisions have been created at this place of higher learning over
the years.

                  The clique of spies goes round peeping through windows and
listening through office keyholes to find out what would be happening in
other offices. What place of higher learning would forbid discussions
between students and lecturers?  That state of affairs would be acceptable
and tolerable if the administration was untainted. Why should Morgenster
Teachers' College pretend to be holier than all the institutions of higher
learning in the country?

                  To stop the rot at the institution, I suggest the Ministry
of Higher and Tertiary Education disperses the whole of the lecturing and
administration staff - that includes the head of the institution as well as
the deputy. Unless this is done nothing will improve.

                  If unorthodox practices are to be rooted out all
institutions of higher learning should be investigated and all the findings
of such investigations made public in the hope that permanent solutions will
be found.

                  Sad civil servant

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President Mugabe's somersault

      April 22, 2006,

      By Andnetwork .com

      In a dramatic change of heart Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has
invited the country`s 4,000 white farmers, who were kicked out 6 years ago.

      The Zimbabwe government announced that it has reversed its land reform
policy to spur food production and stem starvation. Didymus Mutasa, the
State Security Minister, said some black farmers have failed to produce
prompting the government to repossess farms.

      Over six years, the government had given land over to blacks in what
President Robert Mugabe called a correction of a colonial land tenure system
that unfairly allocated all the best land to whites, reported Africa
Dimension Network.

      The farm seizures destabilized the nation`s agricultural industry and
food production plummeted, leaving the once food self-sufficient country
dependent on international aid. A quarter of Zimbabwe`s 12 million citizens
will require food aid this year.

      State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa said some blacks who had been
allocated land failed to produce food. Mutasa said the government has asked
the white-member Commercial Farmers Union to submit names of applicants to
receive land repossessed from blacks.

      'In fact, we have just submitted to the government 200 applications
for land from our members,' said Trevor Gifford, vice president of the
farmers` union, 'and in the spirit of the talks we hope the applications
will be treated favorably .... we could soon have our members farming again

      Source : UPI

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Coltart blames Tsvangirai

Sunday News, Zimbabwe

Sunday News Reporter

Bulawayo South Member of Parliament Mr David Coltart, who has tried in vain
to facilitate what he calls ''an amicable divorce'' between the two feuding
factions of the opposition MDC, has levelled stunning allegations against Mr
Morgan Tsvangirai.
Speaking in a call-in programme on South Africa's SA FM radio station
presented by Xolani Gwala on Easter Monday, Mr Coltart implicitly attributed
the collapse of the party to Mr Tsvangirai's failure to clamp down on
violence among party youths.
Mr Coltart, who was the MDC's secretary for legal affairs before the party's
damaging split, said contrary to popular belief, the opposition party was
not destroyed by the fallout over whether or not to participate in last
November's Senatorial elections. He said the MDC collapsed because of the
party leadership's failure to rein in violent youths who were unleashing
violence on fellow party members and officials.
The split of the MDC was caused by unresolved long-standing intra-party
violence, he claimed.
Asked by a caller how he would have handled the situation had he been in Mr
Tsvangirai's shoes, he replied: ''If I were Mr Tsvangirai, I would have
averted the split by dealing decisively with the violence.''
Shedding new light on the violent nature of MDC politics, Mr Coltart cited
several incidents of brutal attacks orchestrated by party youths against
fellow party members, presumably at the behest of their feuding masters
within the MDC before the split.
In an astonishing revelation, Mr Coltart said that in 2004 rowdy party
youths attacked officials at the MDC's then-headquarters at Harvest House.
He said the violent youths tried to throw the officials down the 6th floor
windows of the Harare building.
In May 2005, there were ''serious'' incidents of violence among party
youths, he added.
''There've been other incidents of violence...there's even an unconcluded
commission of inquiry into the violence,'' said Mr Coltart.
He pointed out that the violent attacks by the MDC youths against fellow
party members and officials occurred well before the Senatorial elections
became an issue.
Hard-pressed to maintain his aura of neutrality, Mr Coltart claimed that
''the split does not necessarily weaken the fight against the (Zanu-PF)
He said the pro-Senate faction led by Professor Arthur Mutambara believes
that the Government should be confronted through ''all options'', including
through the courts and Parliament. On the other hand, the anti-Senate
faction led by Mr Tsvangirai, he said, has lost faith in the electoral
process and strongly believes that mass action is now the only way of
getting to power.
Asked by a caller how he expects the international community to view the two
MDC factions as serious political organisations, Mr Coltart skirted the
issue, saying what really matters is the fight against ''the regime''. He
said the two factions could, in fact, be complementary, but he would not
explain why he is mediating between the two factions if he really believes
there are synergies to be reaped from the split.
Mr Coltart said President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and United Nations
Secretary-General Mr Kofi Annan should intervene to resolve ''a grave
humanitarian crisis'' in Zimbabwe.

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Hwange park disaster: how officials blundered

Sunday News, Zimbabwe

By Reason Mpofu

THE National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority has bought 16 new pumps
to be installed in the Hwange National Park, three years after an initial
request to replace the ageing engines was made.
This comes amid astonishing revelations that top officials in the
organisation were alerted by their subordinates on the ground ahead of last
year's death of hundreds of animals but did nothing to avert the catastrophe
which received worldwide publicity and dented efforts to revive tourism.
Hundreds of animals, including elephants, buffaloes, giraffes and smaller
species, died of thirst in Zimbabwe's biggest wildlife sanctuary as the
Parks Authority failed to procure diesel and as well as attend to broken
down water pumps, many of them beyond repair.
Speaking in an interview with the Sunday News on Friday, a National Parks
and Wildlife Management Authority spokesman, Retired Major Edward Mbewe,
confirmed the recent purchase of engines.
"Engines have been procured and as soon as the rains stop and the pumping
season commences, these will be in place. So far at least 15 have been
bought," said Rtd Maj Mbewe.
Asked to comment on fresh allegations that officials at the Parks Authority
head office dragged their feet in averting the disastrous death of animals,
Rtd Maj Mbewe would not explain.
"Come back to me later. I still have to check with my files whether there
was such correspondence as you say," he said.
Sources privy to the goings-on in the National Parks and Wildlife Management
Authority told the Sunday News that a chief warden allegedly sat on the
correspondence from the Western Region for a long time without taking
"Actually it was so disappointing that in one of the meetings held at
management level, he showed great ignorance of the situation at the park
despite having received correspondence from the western region. If it was
not copied to other managers, the people would not have had a clear picture
of the park. To make matters worse, the Western Region was being allocated
fuel equivalent to other regions despite the fact that it is the biggest and
busiest one," said a source.
According to official memoranda from the Western Region, dating as far back
as 2004, requests to replace the outdated engines were longstanding. There
is no official indication that the Parks Authority head office formally
replied to the memoranda.
A letter dated June 30, 2004, reference number E3/04/04, written to the
Parks Authority head office by the principal warden in the Western Region,
Mrs Doris Tom, reads: "This request has been outstanding for sometime now
since last year. Initially a request was put forward to purchase 20 engines
at a price of R4 200 each and now the price stands at R5 000 each.
"Could you please confirm if anything is being done to acquire these
engines. We were made to understand that we were waiting for the transfer of
forex to the supplier's bank account in South Africa, but up to date, we
have waited in vain. We cannot over-emphasize the need for reliable engines
for pumping water in Hwange for the large population of different animals.
"There are 37 boreholes where water is pumped. Out of these, only 20 are
operational and the rest are not due to shortages of engines. Should we sit
back and slowly count down to the day when we will be faced with a disaster
of losing the large populations of different animal species due to shortage
of drinking water? Please could something be done quickly, we are in June
now and approaching the hottest season."
Another letter was written on July 12 2004 in which Mrs Tom stated that the
region's efforts to acquire water engines from South Africa had been
In her letter she advised that: ". . . unless these engines are bought, we
are facing a disaster. The engines we have at the moment are old and have
reached their lifespan thus have become unreliable. Their diesel and oil
consumption is astronomic, considering that they pump for 24 hours per day
for six to eight months. The increasing elephant population has greatly
increased the demand for water. Please could our request be considered."
All this correspondence was in vain. The letters continued in 2005, to no
On April 7 2005, Mrs Tom wrote to the chief warden (operations) informing
the higher office that as a result of the drought experienced during that
season, the pumping of game water had started much earlier .
At that time, out of 37 engines that were supposed to be operational only 14
were working, nine of which belonged to the authority while other five were
for Wilderness Safaris.
Two pans were reported to be full with 12 others being five percent full. A
total of 23 pans were completely dry and had been left with only 100 litres
of diesel for deployment, administration and game water supply.
"Follow-ups have been made to get the cheque for diesel, but have been
fruitless," read the letter.
On July 12 2005, Mrs Tom wrote again that: "This year is a drought year and
as such we have already started pumping boreholes water into the pans. This
year is a difficult one considering that the country does not have enough
diesel, while at the same time our region requires more diesel to maintain
the present water level in our pans and try as much as possible to meet the
demand in the coming hot period especially mid-August to early November.
"Therefore, through your good office, I am appealing for diesel to take us
through the hotter part of the year so as to avoid death of animals due to
thirsty which will not go well from the higher offices if such catastrophe
occurs. The breakdown is as follows, Main Camp 24 000 litres , Sinamatela 6
900 litres and Robins 5 300 litres."
Despite all the pleas, the situation on the ground remained the same.
By August 2005, the water situation at the Main Camp of Hwange National Park
had become critical due to a shortage of diesel.
"Our target is to have 37 boreholes pumping to ensure adequate water
supplies, but at present the only engines which are pumping at full capacity
are those donated by concession holders. These are Ngwesha, Kennedy 1,
Kennedy 11, Ngamo, Makololo, Linkwasha and Somavundla. Those of our engines
which are pumping, we have resorted to 12 hours pumping than 24 hours due to
limited fuel," reads one of the correspondence.
Efforts to procure fuel from the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe were said
to be fruitless with the condition of animals, especially elephants,
By the 24th of August, the number of functioning pumps had decreased.
"This is a follow-up of my report referenced B/21 dated 23 August 2005 on
the game water situation at Main Camp. As of yesterday 23 August 2005, we
had seven of our engines pumping. Today 24 August 2005, the number has been
reduced to three, with 20 hours of pumping due to lack of fuel. Altogether,
we are left with 10 engines pumping, seven of which are funded by Concession
holders. The situation is getting critical," reads part of the
Then came the final straw in October when 53 buffaloes, 28 elephants and one
giraffe died in the Hwange National Park due to thirst.

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