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

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Bar Council, UK
Justice In Zimbabwe


1 The following points are the main conclusions I have reached following our reading and extensive interviews with many people during our visit to Harare on 15th to 17th April 2004.  Our group hopes to produce a fuller report in due course marshalling the material we were supplied with, and further material which is still to be made available to us.  

2 Our group are very grateful to the broad range of people engaged with the legal system in Zimbabwe who spoke to us, from many different points of view.  We would wish to stress that we came to Harare and deliberately sought out people from all sides of the question, so as to improve our perspective.  We were received courteously by the acting Attorney General and other pro-government people. A list of those to whom we have spoken will be attached to our full report.  

3 Land redistribution in Zimbabwe is a matter for political decision by the Zimbabwean people.  That is not my concern nor the concern of our group.  Many people, including critics of the Zimbabwean government, told us that the redistribution of land was a necessary pre-condition for peaceful settlement in Zimbabwe.  Our group’s concern is with the justice system.

4 A number of those to whom we spoke gave us a broad historical context into which to set our conclusions.  The key points were that there were grave concerns about the independence of at least some of the judiciary before 1980, during the Smith regime; that there had been a long and tragic war in Zimbabwe; and that the land question had to be seen in that context.  Many emphasised the need for land redistribution.  This context is helpful, but I repeat that my concern is with the justice system.

5 The independence of the judiciary in Zimbabwe has been severely compromised.  

6 It is agreed by everyone that a significant number of senior judges have been granted farms under the land resettlement scheme.  The grant is at the will of the government and the farms may be taken back at any time without compensation.  Some of the judges and holdings were identified to us specifically, and they appear to be large holdings.

7 These same judges often have to adjudicate on the controversial legal and constitutional issues arising out of the land redistribution legislation, under which they themselves have received farms.  Under such circumstances, judicial independence must be compromised.

8 Court orders have been ignored or disobeyed both by the government and by others sympathetic to the government on many occasions when there has been no legal challenge to their validity.  These orders include those relating to land transfers and to unlawful occupation of land.

9 Case allocation in the High Court has been removed from the registrar and taken in by the Judge President of the High Court, Justice Garwe.  This creates the opportunity for abuse by the allocation of cases other than at random.

10 So far as we could establish, 36 election petitions were presented challenging the validity of Parliamentary elections, soon after the general election in 2000.  We were told that15 of them had been heard at first instance, of which 7 or 8 had been successful.  All the successful petitions had been appealed and no appeal had been listed for hearing by 16th April 2004.  Of the remaining petitions, another 15 have been heard at first instance, but no judgment has been handed down by 16th April 2004.  The remaining petitions have not been heard at first instance.  The next general election is due to take place in May 2005.

11 There have been reported to us instances where case allocation has given rise to the inference of political motivation in the setting down of cases for hearing.

12 There have been a high number of judicial resignations in recent times.  There may be a number of reasons for judicial resignations, but we are clear that at least some have been the result of political and other pressures. There is a clear perception that that on occasions when a judge has given a decision contrary to the interests of the government, that judge is subject to pressure in one form or another.

13 There have been assaults on magistrates and judges in and around their courtrooms.   The last Chief Justice Gubbay had his courtroom invaded by people who described themselves as war veterans.  He was told by a minister that his safety could not be guaranteed, and these events led to his resignation.  Judges who have given decisions unfavourable to the government have been arrested, and have been subject to humiliating treatment. 

14 There is a pattern of personal attacks on judges in the government controlled press. These often appear to be linked to a decision made by the relevant judge which was seen as being hostile to government.  A recent example may help to illustrate the point.  The government newspaper the Sunday Mail has a column headed ‘Under the Surface’ which recently carried the following item:  

‘Just when the government thought the revolution at the courts was over, there seems to be something stinking there.  Under the Surface smells some Justice Gubbay residue and this residue stinks so bad that it is cause for concern.

What makes this Gubbay residue even more dangerous is that it has the colour that we can identify with and speaks our mother language, but the thinking stinks of colonial ideas. 

Of course some will say, lets have some democracy, but why leave a snake in the house? One day the snake will strike while we concentrate on pressing issues and it will be too late to hit its poisonous head’.

15 In the end, taking into account all that I have read and heard, I was forced to conclude that the system of justice in Zimbabwe has been very severely compromised.

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Zim Independent

      Zim rejects extradition bid
      Vincent Kahiya

      IN a new twist to the case of 70 suspected mercenaries held in Harare,
the government of Equatorial Guinea wants the men extradited to that country
to face trial.

      The Zimbabwe Independent can reveal that officials from Equatorial
Guinea were in Harare two weeks ago in a bid to negotiate extradition of the
suspected "dogs of war" who are incarcerated at Chikurubi Maximum Security

      The request for extradition was passed on to the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs and the Ministry of Home Affairs.

      Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi yesterday confirmed that Equatorial
Guinea had made the request. He said Zimbabwe could not extradite the men
before they had been tried.

      "It is true that the government of Equatorial Guinea wants these
people to answer certain charges being levelled against them in that
country," said Mohadi.

      "It (the extradition) would be after conviction," said Mohadi. "The
men have to be tried first and if they are convicted it is up to (the
Ministry of) Justice to make that decision.

      "We have different roles isn't it? Mine is to apprehend criminals," he

      Equatorial Guinea is currently holding a group of 15 men who are
believed to be linked to the 70 held in Harare. It is alleged that the men
wanted to stage a coup in Equatorial Guinea to remove the regime of Teodoro
Nguema Obiang.

      Obiang's government has said that the suspects could be hanged if
found guilty.

      Public Prosecutions director Jo-seph Musakwa confirmed yester-day that
officials from Equatorial Guinea did visit Zimbabwe and met various

      "Naturally we in prosecution met them as part of the liaison but I am
not at liberty to say what was discussed," he said.

      The lawyer representing the 70men, Jonathan Samkange, on Wed-nesday
confirmed to the Indepe-ndent that Equatorial Guinea re-presentatives held
meetings with Zimbabwean officials.

      "I can confirm that I was invited to the meeting by officials from the
Attorney-General's office," said Samkange. "I did not attend the meeting
because I did not see any benefit accruing to my clients from attending such
a meeting."

      Government sources this weeksaid the Equatorial Guinea offi-cials met
with officials from the Ministry of Justice and state security agents on the
issue of extraditing the mercenaries. It is understood that the visitors
wanted assistance in firming up the prosecution of their case.

      The request by Equatorial Guinea comes amid reports this week that a
key member of the suspected mercenaries being detained at Chikurubi, Simon
Witherspoon, was on bail on murder and assault charges when he was arrested
in Harare last month.

      Prosecutors in Zimbabwe con-sider Witherspoon and Simon Mann, together
with Nick du Toit who was arrested in Equatorial Guinea, the architects of
the alleged coup plot.

      Witherspoon, together with five other men, is facing charges of
murdering a suspected thief in August 2001 in Pietermaritzburg and the
assault of another suspected thief on the same day.

      The Independent this week heard that South Africa wants to set up a
special court that would hear evidence from Witherspoon on the murder
charge. A formal request from South Africa has already been tendered to
Zimbabwe for the court to come and sit in Zimbabwe.

      However, Musakwa said South Africa's request was unusual and he
doubted if Zimbabwe would allow the South African court to sit in Zimbabwe.

      The suspected mercenaries areexpected to appear in court today when
their defence team of Samkange and Advocates Alwyn Grie-benow and Francois
Joubert is expected to appeal for their discharge.

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Zim Independent

Botswana hits back
Dumisani Muleya
BOTSWANA has slammed "malicious reporting" and "hostile propaganda" by
"sections of the media" in Zimbabwe.

President Festus Mogae's spokesman Jeff Ramsay said it was worrying that
some media were fuelling misguided xenophobia and hawking fiction about
relations between Tswanas and Zimbabweans.

"Botswana has noted with growing concern the appearance in sections of the
Zimbabwe media of unbalanced, distorted, and on occasion, even openly
hostile reports directed against the government and the people of Botswana,"
Ramsay said.

"The recent appearance of an editorial comment in the Bulawayo Chronicle
newspaper entitled 'Time to act against Botswana' is but an extreme example
of what can only be described as a pattern of misguided and xenophobic
attacks on the good name of this country and its people."

Ramsay said the media concerned were "deriving facts from fairy tales and
publishing them as such". He said that could only be interpreted as a
"deliberate and systematic attempt to fuel hatred and xenophobia between our
peoples and to sour the warm and cordial relations that the governments of
Botswana and Zimbabwe continue to enjoy".

Botswana's relations with Zimbabwe, Ramsay noted, are not guided by "any
extra-territorial power nor is she in cahoots with any foreign government or
power to cause the demise of the government of Zimbabwe".

Botswana, however, like Zimbabwe is free to choose her friends within and
outside the continent, he said.

"The close and cordial relations that she enjoys with both the United
Kingdom and the United States of America does not in any way imply hostility
towards the government of Zimbabwe and should not be interpreted as such."

Ramsay acknowledged that whilst Botswana and Zimbabwe enjoyed good
relations, there were, however, a few problems that still remain and which
have been the subject of discussions at numerous official meetings.

"The issue of illegal Zimbabwean immigrants is one such issue," he said.

The Zimbabwe delegation had raised the issue of corporal punishment at an
inter-governmental meeting in Kasane, Ramsay said.

"It was duly explained to the delegation that corporal punishment was
provided for in the laws ofBotswana and that it was not de-signed
specifically for Zimbabweans."

He said the issue of the alleged hosting of the Voice of America's Studio 7
and other issues have also been discussed officially. The radio station was
not hosted by Botswana, he said.

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Zim Independent

Mbeki to refocus attention on Zim crisis
Dumisani Muleya

        SOUTH African President Thabo Mbeki is expected to refocus his
attention on the Zimbabwe crisis following his ruling African National
Congress (ANC)'s landslide victory in the general election last week.

Official sources say Mbeki - who has promised to resolve the Zimbabwe
situation by June - has invited President Robert Mugabe and the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to his inauguration on Tuesday.

A source in Pretoria said Mbeki was likely to hold talks with Mugabe and the
MDC leaders, who will be represented by party vice-president Gibson Sibanda
and perhaps secretary-general Welshman Ncube, on the issue of inter-party

"President Mbeki has invited Mugabe and the MDC to his inauguration to have
an opportunity to interact with them and find out about the situation in
Zimbabwe," the source said.

"You will remember he was in Harare in December where he met Mugabe and the
MDC leader (Morgan Tsvangirai) concerning the issue of talks. This could be
another chance for him to review the situation with them."

Tsvangirai yesterday confirmed that his party had been invited and Sibanda
would represent it at Mbeki's second five-year term inauguration after the
ANC won the third democratic election since 1994 by a massive 70%.

Mbeki's spokesman Bheki Khumalo said yesterday Mugabe had been invited and
"it was possible" that the MDC would be present.

Mbeki visited Harare in December to push for talks between the ruling Zanu
PF and the MDC. Last month he sent a team of his Presidential Support Unit
to the country to assess the situation with regard to dialogue.

Recently Mbeki invited Zanu PF head of the talks delegation Patrick
Chinamasa and MDC chief negotiator Ncube for meetings in Pretoria. He met
the two delegations separately and urged them to engage in formal talks.

Earlier in January during a visit to South Africa by German chancellor
Gerhard Schroeder, Mbeki said Zanu PF had agreed to talk to the MDC.

But Mugabe has lately, including last Sunday, insisted that the opposition
should first stop campaigning for sanctions and sever its "umbilical cord"
with its purported Western backers before talks.

"We disagree with the MDC on that. Are they Africans in outlook, are they
Africans in political persuasion?" Mugabe asked on Sunday during his 24th
Independence anniversary address. "Do they want Zimbabwean solutions to
Zimbabwean problems?"

Reacting to Mugabe's remarks, Tsvangirai said yesterday that his party had
always stated clearly that it would not entertain conditional dialogue.

"Mugabe must realise that the solutions to this political and economic
crisis must transcend narrow party political lines," he said.

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Zim Independent

Lawlessness hampers recovery - Gono
Godfrey Marawanyika
RESERVE Bank governor Gideon Gono has slammed continued lawlessness in the
country which he said could hamper efforts at fast economic recovery.

In his monetary policy review statement presented in Harare on Wednesday,
Gono said there was deliberate sabotage of property, productive land and
factories that he feared would hamper his efforts to save the economy.

The comments by the central bank governor come in the wake of violent farm
invasions in parts of Manicaland which saw two Export Processing
Zone-registered firms being kicked off their properties. Workers were beaten
and thrown out of Kondozi Farm and Charleswood Estate which were recently
taken over and occupied by government supporters.

"Land and factory capacity underutilisation, disunity among us as a nation,
indiscipline and deliberate sabotage and disruption of productive land,
factories, mines and tourism capacity will also undermine our efforts
towards early revival of the economy," Gono said.

"As business, labour, government and monetary authorities, we need to

work together in the spirit of a mutually binding social contract to
consolidate on the favourable trend in inflation registered to date."

Government recently forcibly acquired farms belonging to the main sugar
producers in the country - Hippo Valley Estates.

In the past three months government has also been making plans to acquire
all land belonging to private game parks, a move which has been widely
criticised by international organisations.

Over the past four years government, business and labour have been trying to
come up with a social contract but the process has failed to pass the hurdle
of the declaration of intent.

Gono offered favourable terms to those who had earned money outside the
country. "Those individuals who earn 'free funds' in terms of Exchange
Control Regulations, Statutory Instrument 109 of 1996, ie earnings from
professional consultancy services conducted outside Zimbabwe and foreign
currency denominated salaries for Zimbabweans working for diplomatic
missions and NGOs, can now be deposited into individual FCAs which shall be
exempt from surrender requirements," he said.

"Zimbabweans that are benefiting from foreign currency remittances from
their relatives in the diaspora may also open individual FCAs with similar
terms and conditions."

The new set-up will see those with FCAs being allowed to withdraw up to US$5
000 a day.
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Zim Independent

Confusion reigns in tourism
Shakeman Mugari
CONFUSION reigns in the country's struggling tourism sector with Reserve
Bank governor Gideon Gono this week announcing tourist arrival figures that
are totally different from the ones released by the Zimbabwe Tourism
Authority (ZTA) two weeks ago.

Gono's figures, announced in the monetary policy review statement on
Wednesday, are almost 100% lower than those released by the ZTA.

Two weeks ago the ZTA issued figures that indicated that tourist arrivals
had grown to 2,2 million last year compared to 2,04 million recorded in
2002. Most key players in the industry have disputed these figures, which
indicated a boom in tourism.

In his statement on Wednesday, Gono said tourist arrivals had increased to
1,089 million last year compared to 739 284 in 2002 - a far-cry from the
ZTA's statistics.

There is also a marked difference between figures for tourism receipts from
the central bank and the ZTA. The tourism authority claimed that tourism
receipts had plunged from US$75,7 million in 2002 to US$44,1 million last
year. However, Gono this week said there had been a 40% increase in tourism
receipts from US$11,4 million in 2002 to US$16 million last year.

The ZTA numbers are also in conflict with the occupancy rates at two of the
country's leading hotels, the Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) and Zimsun
Leisure, which have remained static for the past two years. Zimsun, which
owns three hotels in Victoria Falls and about 40% of the lodges in Kariba,
said their occupancies had remained at an average 41% over the past two
years. RTG also said occupancies in the resort areas had remained subdued at

Zimsun chief executive Shingi Munyeza on Tuesday reiterated that there has
been no marked improvement in the industry over the last two years.

"I am sorry to say that contrary to some statistics in the media, the
tourism industry is not in a boom," said Munyeza.

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Zim Independent

Renewed food crisis imminent
Dumisani Muleya/Munyaradzi Wasosa
ZIMBABWE is facing a renewed food crisis due to diminished projected crop
yields and the resultant grain deficit, it was revealed yesterday.

A report produced by Zimconsult, an independent economic and planning group,
and opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) secretary for
agriculture Renson Gasela, warns of poor harvests and food shortages.

Presenting the report at a press conference yesterday, Gasela said Zimbabwe
at worst faced a 1,2 million tonnes grain deficit.

"Taking into account the failure of the early planted maize and the late
season problems for small grains, our central estimate is production of 600
000 tonnes of maize plus 100 000 tonnes of sorghum," Gasela said.

"Excluding strategic stocks, this would imply a shortfall of 1 200 000

Gasela said it was however possible harvests could be better and thus a low
grain deficit. "Our upper estimate is 800 000 tonnes of maize and 200 000
tonnes of small grains would result in a shortfall of 900 000 tonnes for the
current crop year," he said.

Gasela attributed the low yields to scarcity of seed, fertiliser, tillage,
and erratic rainfall at the beginning of the season.

He also said grain shortages were a result of government's destruction of
the country's commercial agricultural base. "There will definitely be an
insufficient crop yield this season due to the government's chaotic land
reform," Gasela said.

"The complete lack of planning, complemented by government's corrupt
awarding of commercial farms has destroyed the agriculture base."

The seizure of seed producing farms and shortage of inputs, he said, were
also responsible for the crisis.

"Many farmers were forced to restrict themselves to a small acreage due to
lack of inputs," he said.

Gasela said commercial seed farmers produced on average five tonnes of seed
maize a hectare, while new farmers produce an average of 0,4 tonnes of seed

This means that where only 12 000 hectares were required to produce 60 000
tonnes of seed, 150 000 hectares are now needed to produce the same amount.

The fertiliser industry, which normally produces an average of 550 000
tonnes a year, has managed to produce only 240 000 tonnes, leaving a deficit
of 310 000 tonnes.

"Using the commercial seed availability of 32 000 tonnes would imply no more
than 1 280 000 hectares planted to maize, but the addition of retained seed
and seed taken from past production might raise the total to say 40 000
tonnes, implying 1 600 000 ha being planted to maize," he said.

"With about 30% fertiliser availability and less than 50% draught power,
together with failure of the early planted maize, implies production of
between 650 000 and 850 000 tonnes."

Gasela said although there were different figures for expected yields there
was no denying that there would be grain shortages. He said government was
currently keeping 250 000 tonnes of grain for electoral purposes while
people were starving.

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Zim Independent

Zim's allies condone violence, repression
Staff Writer
COUNTRIES that supported the "no action" motion on Zimbabwe at the United
Nations Commission for Human Rights repeated the official mantra that the
country's problems emanated from the land reform exercise and the dispute
with Britain.

The "no action" motion was supported by 27 countries - mainly from the Third
World - with 24, including the bulk of the European Union countries, voting
for the motion. Two countries - Brazil and Mexico - abstained.

The Republic of Congo representative at the commission, Roger Julien Menga,
said the situation in Zimbabwe was being discussed for reasons completely
unrelated to the situation of human rights.

"The government had been demonised because of its redressing of the uneven
distribution of land that had been perpetuated since colonial days," said

Nigeria, which was represented by Saidu Balare Samaila, said dialogue
between the government and the opposition should produce results soon.

"Dialogue has been held between the opposition and the government, and this
should bear fruit soon," he said.

He said Nigeria appreciated that nation-building was an arduous task and it
was important that the commission encourage efforts that were aimed at
justice and healing in Zimbabwe.

Cuba and China also spoke in solidarity with Zimbabwe. But the US, Britain
and EU countries strongly opposed the motion.

Richard Williamson of the United States said the government of Zimbabwe
continued to conduct a concerted campaign of violence, repression and
intimidation against its citizens, which demonstrated the leadership's gross
disregard of human rights.

"Within the commission, member-states had the responsibility to consider the
substance of resolutions and not to play the procedural game of using
no-action motions," said Williamson.

"These motions amount to approval of the human rights abuses being
perpetrated by nations that disregarded the fundamental principles of the
commission," he said.

Mary Whelan of Ireland, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the
union would oppose all "no-action" motions and would urge all those
upholding freedom of expression to join it in this stand.

"The members of the commission should not seek to evade their responsibility
to give a fair hearing to all motions," she said.

Zimbabwe's ambassador to the United Nations, Chitsaka Chipaziwa, said human
rights problems in the country were not out of the ordinary and allegations
on that front should not take up any more of the commission's attention.

"Therefore, the no-action mission was an appropriate step to take," he said.

"Moreover, unlike some of the fancy statements designed to dazzle commission
members, the step of tabling a no-action motion was a completely permissible
action to take," he said

The resolution would have expressed deep concern at what it said were
continuing violations of human rights in Zimbabwe, in particular politically
motivated violence, torture, violence against women, incidents of arbitrary
arrest, restrictions on the independence of the judiciary and restrictions
on the freedoms of opinion, expression, association and assembly.

The vote was as follows:

In favour (27): Bahrain, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, China, Congo, Cuba, Egypt,
Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, India, Indonesia, Mauritania, Nepal, Nigeria,
Pakistan, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, South
Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Togo, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Against (24): Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Chile, Costa Rica,
Croatia, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary,
Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Paraguay, Peru, Republic of Korea,
Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States.

Abstentions (2): Brazil and Mexico.

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Zim Independent

'Zimbabwe situation worsening' - Donnelly
Staff Writer
OUTGOING British Ambassador Sir Brian Donnelly believes the political and
humanitarian crises in Zimbabwe have been worsening as the Zimbabwe
government remains unwilling to work with the international community in the
search for solutions.

Donnelly, who leaves Zimbabwe in July after a three-year tour, made the
observations in the British Embassy official quarterly magazine, Britain and

"Last month the 15 members of the European Union, supported by 21 other
European countries, decided to extend from 79 to 95 the number of
individuals in the Zanu PF hierarchy who are subject to travel restrictions
and asset freezes in their territories," Donnelly said.

"The United States and Australia have also tightened their own restrictions.
We all share a common appreciation that in a number of key areas - political
intimidation and violence, democracy and human rights, freedom of
expression, justice and land reform - the situation in Zimbabwe has
appreciably worsened."

Donnelly said the British government was however still committed to
providing humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe.

He said his government had offered suggestions to the Zimbabwe government on
how the problems between the two countries could be solved.

"These include the cessation of all forms of political intimidation and
violence; the suspension of the provisions of the Public Order and Security
Act which limit so drastically freedom of association; suspension of the
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the invitation to
the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit Zimbabwe to
initiate an assessment of claims of human rights abuses."

The Zimbabwe government shows no sign of willingness to change, Donnelly

"Unfortunately we see no sign of willingness on the part of the government
of Zimbabwe to move in this direction."

He said the success of the current monetary policy depended on Zimbabwe
re-engaging with the wider world and effecting changes in governance.

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Zim Independent

Educational conditions on farms 'not ideal'
Munyaradzi Wasosa
THE government has admitted its failure to provide educational assistance to
farming communities displaced by its land reform programme.

Education minister Aeneas Chigwedere made the admission at a function
marking the presentation of Unilever/World Vision (Zimbabwe) scholarship
bursaries in the capital on Friday.

In an interview with the Independent, Chigwedere conceded that educational
conditions on newly resettled farms were not ideal. "We acknowledge that the
educational conditions in farming schools are far from ideal," he said.

He however refuted reports that his ministry was failing to adequately
assist the increasing number of orphaned children dropping out of school in
farming areas.

"It is not true that my ministry is not doing enough to help orphaned
children on farms," he said. "In fact, we have established satellite schools
in all farming areas, and farm children are benefiting."

In Hwedza, which is Chigwe-dere's constituency, the satellite schools are
tobacco barns on Chad, Chirume and Bolton farms that have been converted
into makeshift classrooms.

Chigwedere said this was evidence enough that he was "leading by example" as
an MP.

"There are no complaints at all in my constituency," he said. "The tobacco
barns operate like any other normal schools here (Harare)."

Chigwedere said his ministry was working with other government departments
to construct normal schools in farming areas.

"My ministry was given $4 billion in this year's budget, and is working with
the DDF and the department of physical planning to build new schools in all
farming communities," he said.

Chigwedere also accepted that government's Basic Education Assistance Module
(Beam) was failing to cope with the number of children in impoverished

"Due to the recent fee hikes, Beam's support efforts have been stretched to
the limit," he said. "This year's target is difficult to achieve within the
context of the current budget, and a review of Beam funding is long

The government, facing mounting pressure of school dropouts in recent years,
introduced Beam in 2001. The programme targets disadvantaged school children
that cannot afford to pay their fees. At least $3,5 billion was allocated to
Beam in the 2004 budget.

There have been reports of Beam funds being mishandled in Manicaland. As a
result, potential beneficiaries have dropped out of school.

But Chigwedere denied the reports.

"We are not aware of these reports," he said. "If there is any area that is
complaining, then there is something wrong with the leadership."

The two-year old Unilever/World Vision Zimbabwe scholarship fund rose this
year to $35,7 million from $2,7 million last year. The 10 recipients of the
bursaries this year are orphans from Sanzukwi in Matabeleland South and

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Zim Independent

Msika's power tested at Kondozi
Augustine Mukaro
VICE-PRESIDENT Joseph Msika's authority faced a test this week after
state-owned Agricultural Development Authority (Arda) workers refused to
vacate the hotly disputed Kondozi Farm, backed by ruling party lightweights.

After meeting a 70-member delegation comprising 28 chiefs and their headmen
at his Munhumutapa offices last Thursday, Msika is understood to have issued
a directive to Manicaland provincial governor Major-General Mike Nyambuya to
ensure that Arda vacates Kondozi Farm. Msika said then that he wanted to
check if proper channels had been followed in the occupation of the farm.

Msika met the chiefs in his capacity as the national chairman of the Cabinet
Rural Development Committee.

Reports of Msika's directive were shot down by Information minister Jonathan
Moyo, resulting in Arda continuing to occupy the farm. Moyo declared that
there was "no going back" on Kondozi.

Msika yesterday referred all questions to John Nkomo.

"You speak to Minister Nkomo, he is the man responsible for land," Msika
said. "You speak to Nkomo," he insisted avoiding all questions put to him.

Nkomo could not be reached for comment.

Kondozi directors this week said they were still waiting for government to
remove Arda workers who were occupying the farm's business complex.

"There is no progress in evicting Arda workers who forcibly took over our
business complex," one of the directors said.

"Our workers are still out in the open waiting to get back into the farm
village and ultimately to their jobs after their chiefs and ourselves
communicated Msika's directive to them."

The directors said that police details and Zanu PF trucks, though in reduced
numbers, were still patrolling the farm with Arda reaping and packaging the
farm produce, much of which goes to British supermarkets.

Kondozi Farm in Odzi has been a target of ministerial threats over the past
two years. They gained momentum on Christmas Eve when Agriculture minister
Joseph Made, Transport minister Christopher Mushohwe, and Arda CEO Joseph
Motovanyika together with Arda employees occupied the farm.

The property is registered as an EPZ and has an annual turnover of US$15
million and employs around 5 000 workers.
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Zim Independent

Two Potsa sections illegal - court
Staff Writer
THE Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional two sections of the Post &
Telecommunications Services Act which authorised President Robert Mugabe to
give orders to intercept postal articles and messages.

In a delayed ruling, the Supreme Court last month said sections of the Act
that allowed Mugabe to authorise the interception of postal articles and
telecommunications were unlawful and thus "null and void".

The challenge to the provisions was brought by the Law Society of Zimbabwe
and argued on May 15 2003. It took 10 months before a ruling was handed

Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku and his colleagues Elizabeth Gwaunza,
Misheck Cheda, Luke Malaba and Wilson Sandura concurred.

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Zim Independent

Binga traditional leaders slam land reform
Rodwin Chirara
BINGA district and traditional leaders have condemned the land reform
programme as non-transparent, benefiting only a selected few, the Zimbabwe
Independent has heard.

In interviews with the ruling party's district leadership, chiefs and other
traditional leaders indicated that they were deceived into believing that
the resettlement exercise was meant to benefit only ex-combatants.

Binga Rural District Council chief executive and local chairman of the
Presidential Land Audit Committee, Shadreck Madimba, reiterated sentiments
voiced by many, that there was no resettlement in the area.

The District Natural Resources officer and former secretary of the area's
land audit committee Farai Rubwinya blamed the exercise for rampant poaching
and massive deforestation in the district.

"The programme was not planned properly, hence it has impacted negatively on
natural resources," said Rubwinya.

John Siyabalamba, a village head in Binga, said the only resettlement that
the villagers of the area were aware of was one which benefited war
veterans. Villagers of Sikalenge ward professed ignorance of the
resettlement programme. They said they were only aware of projects such as
the Kulima Mbolima Agricultural Training Centre which was set up by the
donor community to encourage agricultural production by locals.

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Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

      Bumper harvest?

      WHEN I am asked what of all the qualifications required by a
journalist is the most important I have no hesitation in replying:

      A journalist who swallows all that he is told is of little use to the
profession or the public. We are currently being subjected to a campaign in
the government media to persuade us that the country's economy is undergoing
a recovery; that the monetary measures being pursued by Reserve Bank
governor Gideon Gono will soon yield dividends and after the good rains we
shall see a "bumper harvest".

      It doesn't take much insight to realise there is an election around
the corner.

      In fact it is still 11 months away. But in keeping with Zanu PF's
policy of maintaining a political ferment - in itself highly destabilising
for any economy - the country is in election mode. Ever since the 2000
parliamentary election which the ruling party came within a whisker of
losing (many would argue it did lose), Zimbabwe has been battered and
bruised by a vengeful regime determined to wrest back lost ground. Every
election has become a life-or-death struggle.

      Every contest has seen new extremes of intimidation and violence as
Zanu PF attempts to "prove" that it still enjoys popular support. But it
appears unwilling to permit an independent electoral agency to supervise
polling. It is also unprepared to disband its militia gangs.

      In other words it fears losing any poll in which it is unable to
coerce voters.

      That is understandable. Despite energetic attempts to blame others for
Zimbabwe's predicament - the ultimate exercise in political dishonesty - the
public by and large know who the real authors of their economic woes are.
And they don't live in London and Washington!

      But the government, in a torrent of childish propaganda, persists with
the fiction that Britain and the US are seeking to "recolonise" Zimbabwe.
There is no explanation as to why they would want to acquire a run-down
economy that has been stripped of all its assets by a predatory elite when
well-managed and booming economies like Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and
Mauritius provide better opportunities for trade and investment in the

      None of those governments claim Britain and the US are attempting to
recolonise them. They are happy to engage with the rest of the world,
confident in their own sense of sovereignty.

      The claim that West African leaders and those from the Caribbean and
Asia failed to back Zimbabwe at Abuja in December because of British
manipulation grossly overestimates British global reach. And anybody with a
grasp of the rivalries that permeate the EU knows that the claim that
Britain dictates the 15-member body's foreign policy is simply absurd.

      But puerile claims of this sort are being churned out every day in the
state media on the Goebellian assumption that a lie repeated enough times
will eventually be believed.

      There will be some who swallow this deceit including many who should
know better. But despite the physical and propaganda bruising Zimbabweans
are undergoing, they are unlikely to be satisfied with the latest batch of
statistics deployed to suggest the economy has turned the corner. A dip in
inflation from 623% (January) to 583% (March) year-on-year is unlikely to
make much difference to incomes or provide relief to the business sector.
The recovery in tourism appears to be more politically ordained than real.
All those new arrivals the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority claims are visiting
the country must be hiding in the long grass. Hoteliers certainly haven't
seen them!

      As for forex inflows, these are unlikely to manifest themselves when
the country's earning capacity has been severely eroded by farm seizures.
Tobacco and horticulture have been badly hit.

      In his First Quarter Monetary Policy Statement Gono says between 2001
and 2003 agricultural production fell by a cumulative 26% undermining the
country's self-sufficiency. Many crops are well down on that figure and
dairy farming is under siege. We carried a report last Friday on new farmers
slaughtering dairy cows because dairy farming was proving too demanding!

      However committed Gono may be to monetary discipline - and I don't
doubt his resolve spelt out at Wednesday's review - he can never succeed in
a climate of fiscal turmoil. Above all, the rule of law remains absent
making any business decisions perilous. The occupation of Kondozi Farm and
Charleswood Estate over Easter together with the expropriation of sugar
estates around Hippo Valley reveal a scorched-earth policy that is sounding
the death knell for all commercial agriculture as well as wildlife
management. That can only have a tidal impact as downstream industries go

      The forlorn bands of refugees - workers and their families -dumped on
the roadside in Odzi after the brutal occupation of Kondozi last week
provide the human dimension to Zanu PF's onslaught. The small 10-acre plots
around Harare will be next.

      The rainy season was certainly better than last year. But without
sufficient inputs or planning, it is difficult to see how we can expect a
"bumper harvest". Aid agencies are planning for a deterioration in food

      That is the reality on the ground. Those who continue to suggest that
economic improvement is on the horizon are deceiving the country as well as
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Zim Independent

Is a free and fair election possible in Zim?

 Itai Dzamara

THE recent general election in South Africa provided Southern Africa with a
commendable example of a thriving democracy. Coming ahead of next year's
election in Zimbabwe, the South African scenario set a firm template against
which the electoral system in this country can be measured.

Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) standards on the conduct of
elections recommend a free and fair environment before, during and after the
conduct of an election. All contesting parties must enjoy this.

The ruling Zanu PF is intensifying its campaign for the forthcoming general
election, which is set for March 2005. Analysts said Zanu PF was buoyed by
its victory in the Zengeza by-election last month and wants to maintain the
momentum all the way to the time of holding the general election. The ruling
party is therefore expected to put its foot firmly on the pedal and
strengthen aspects of the current electoral system that work to its

An MDC activist was killed during the Zengeza by-election. The opposition
party also complained about the use of the youth militia by Zanu PF to
intimidate the electorate.

It is understood that a recent Zanu PF central committee meeting discussed
the importance of the forthcoming election and members felt the ruling party
was currently on a strong footing for a resounding victory.

 "The MDC is ripe for burial," Mugabe said after meeting his party

The ruling party has already started campaigning in both rural and urban
constituencies and has made clear the strategies it will be using, including
door to door visits. Zanu PF officials who were campaigning in Glen Norah
recently portrayed uncollected rubbish as a new phenomenon wrought by the
MDC council.

More of this face to face contact with the electorate could intensify in the
urban areas where Zanu PF is hoping to wrestle seats from the opposition.

The MDC and other opposition parties on the other hand have yet to make
efforts at matching Zanu PF on the campaign trail. The MDC and other
political parties believe that the ruling party uses unfair means to create
an advantage for itself.

Zanu PF sent a delegation to South Africa to observe and "learn" during the
recent election overwhelmingly won by the African National Congress (ANC).

Zanu PF national commissar, Elliot Manyika, led the party delegation to
South Africa to observe the election.

"We learnt quite a lot on the general conduct of elections as well as from
our colleagues in the ANC on how to effectively campaign for victory," said
Manyika this week.

However, political analysts said the ruling party was likely to adopt
strategies that could only further its advantage at the expense of
opposition parties.

ANC leader President Thabo Mbeki used the door to door campaign during
preparations for the polls and the opposition parties in South Africa also
had the liberty to use the strategy. The environment permitted leaders from
the ruling party and the opposition to freely interact with the electorate
and sell their policies.

If adopted in Zimbabwe by any party, the door to door campaign increases
access to the electorate by those bidding for office. It also, inversely,
presents a stronger platform for politicians who want to use other means
such as intimidation, coercion and vote buying.

Given that scenario, analysts observed, Zanu PF, which also has in place the
draconian Public Order and Security Act (Posa) on its side, is likely to use
its "lessons" from South Africa to its advantage.

Manyika said the ruling party would use the door to door campaign to reach
out to the electorate.

The ruling party has the youth militia ready to cover all parts of the
country. Coupled with the bias by the law enforcement agents in favour of
Zanu PF, the ruling party is tipped to enjoy a great advantage.

The MDC youth league, for example, cannot at the moment match the militia in
might and effectiveness as the militia has the full backing of other state
apparatus. The MDC on the other hand will have problems organising in an
environment where the government is quick to unleash the police and army
against any perceived dissent.

MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube denies the charge that his party is not
seriously campaigning for next year's election. He said the ruling party has
over the years been crafting a political framework in Zimbabwe to prejudice
the opposition.

"The environment in this country doesn't offer a fair platform for the
opposition to campaign. It obviously favours the ruling party and that has
been achieved through a number of ways such as draconian laws and the unfair
electoral system in general," said Ncube.

Ncube however said his party has started campaigning and would give its best
shot at next year's poll.

"We are preparing for the elections. Preparation means working with the
people on the ground and we are doing that through our MPs and other

"It is not our problem that the media is not reporting on our activities
across the country," said Ncube.

Professor Elphas Mukonoweshuro, a political analyst based at the University
of Zimbabwe and an MDC activist, said Zimbabweans were disillusioned with
the electoral framework currently being used and want to emulate the South
African scenario.

"What is clear is that Zimbabweans are sick and tired of bogus elections
that have been held under this system," said Mukonoweshuro.

"Zimbabweans have made it clear that they want a better framework, probably
not exactly the same as the South African system since there are peculiar
situations here. However, the people here want an independent electoral
commission, they don't want the army to be involved in any way in the
conduct of elections and have also demanded the disbandment of the militia."

He said the question on whether the electoral system in this country could
improve depended on political will.

 "You should ask Zanu PF the question. It may choose to worsen the situation
here or improve it based on the South African scenario," he said.

Zimbabwe Election Support Network chairman, Reginald Matchaba-Hove, who
observed the recent South African poll, this week said changes depended on
political will and commitment by government.

"We got a number of lessons, in particular regarding the conduct of an
election in a peaceful and fair manner," said Matchaba-Hove. "The
organisation of the elections was impressive. It was encouraging to see such
a big country holding the voting process in just one day with minimum

"The counting was done in a transparent manner and to the satisfaction of
all the parties. The question we brought home is, if they managed to do it
in South Africa why can't we do it here?"

He added: "On that note, a number of changes to our electoral system have to
be effected. The same applies to the general political and legal
environment. For example, Posa must not be used to deprive other political
parties or aspiring individuals access to the electorate."

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Zim Independent

There is more to recovery than this

RESERVE Bank governor Gideon Gono on Wednesday produced the first review of
his monetary policy statement announced in December last year. The governor
and the business community agree that frequent reviews to take corrective
action on policy issues are an indispensable part of any turnaround mission.
The reviews will now be carried out quarterly.

The monetary policy statement unveiled in December sought to contain
inflation to maintain the internal value of the Zimbabwe dollar, and hence
protect real incomes.

It was also designed to arrest pressures on the exchange rate to maintain
the external value of the dollar through exchange rate stability.

The policy was meant to normalise foreign exchange market trading, stem job
losses, promote a stable financial system, re-engage the international
community, and begin to build foreign currency reserves as well as support
the productive sectors of the economy through low-cost finance while
allowing the market to determine rates for non-productive,
non-priority-level spending.

Gono has made some strides in achieving these objectives.

He has implicitly told the nation that the Zimbabwe dollar is over-valued
against major currencies and has, in practice, devalued the local currency
to boost exports by offering a more attractive exchange rate.

He has managed to restore order in the financial services sector, which was
beginning to behave like a bull in a china shop. He has tried to strengthen
the financial sector through enhanced corporate governance, closer
supervision and tighter financial controls.

Gono's major headache, according to the business community, is inflation,
the continued pegging of the Zimbabwe dollar against the US dollar at
unrealistic levels for most transactions, and his failure to adequately
address interest-rate policy.

At around 583%, inflation remains extremely high when compared to our
neighbours and major trading partners, especially South Africa which has a
7% rate.

While the new year-on-year inflation  rate for March is 583,7% compared to a
record 622,8% in January, it is still unsustainably high and continues to
cause untold headaches for Zimbabweans across the board.

Citizens are now accustomed to trillion-dollar budgets.

Gono says his year-end target of 200% remains achievable "provided we
sustain current efforts and buttress them with further fiscal and monetary

Failure to sustain and improve on current efforts, including failure to
exercise restraint on costs such as fuel, electricity, water, wages and
salaries in 2004, he said, will militate against inflation targets and
further worsen our quest for economic revival and stability.

We believe the governor is too optimistic with his 200% figure. There is at
present too little fiscal discipline to complement his measures. Several
ministries have already exhausted their votes allocated last November and
given the current electoral drive it is unrealistic to expect ministers to
stop spending.

Gono has said his turnaround strategy seeks to bring together various
stakeholders in order to tap into their individual and collective
experiences on the way forward.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) would dispute this
because they claim they are being left out of the national discourse by an
executive that has sought to hail Gono as a party strategist.  They have not
been consulted on the country's many problems. When they offer suggestions,
they are rebuffed. In other words a huge constituency of our population is
being treated as if they do not exist.

The governor cannot ignore this fact. Donors have made it clear there will
be no balance-of-payments support until economic policy reflects a national
consensus - ie until there has been a political settlement.

Gono admits, quite rightly so, that his interest rate policy leaves much to
be desired.

"We have also, historically and most recently, not adequately and
consistently guided the market on our desired path of interest rates as we
pursued the twin objectives of a quick supply response and a disinflation
programme," Gono said.

He conceded the interest rate structure has been unnecessarily punitive to
borrowers while at the same time dis-incentivising savers. He hopes the
policy review statement would seek to correct these shortcomings.

We however hope that more is done on the political front to solve the
country's problems which obviously go beyond the governor. The rule of law
would be a good start.

The International Monetary Fund, which had a monitoring team here last
month, has painted a gloomy picture of the country. It said Zimbabwe's
economy has experienced a sharp deterioration in the last five years. Real
gross domestic product has declined by about 30% and is still contracting.
That, together with inflation, is debilitating the nation.

While Gono criticised the "deliberate sabotage and disruption of productive
land, factories, mines, and tourism", his essential weakness remains his
proximity to the ruling party which obliges him to studiously ignore the
national governance issues upon which the success of his policy depends.

This leaves most of his good intentions firmly stuck to the pages of his
statement. That is a pity.

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Zim Independent

Eric Bloch

      Achieving economic growth in Africa

       OVERALL, Africa is undoubtedly the world's poorest continent, albeit
there are a few countries of some reasonable economic substance.

      And as most of Africa has not recognised that it is for those who live
in Africa to assure economic growth, the tendency is to blame the near
destitution of many of Africa's economies upon globalisation, colonial rule,
and alleged economic oppression of the world's developed countries and
financial institutions.

      Much of Africa has failed to accept that not only is economic growth
essential to ensure sustainable development and poverty reduction, but that
invigorating investment is a key to achieving such growth.

      Efforts by African countries to improve their investment environments,
together with international cooperation, are crucial to attaining that
investment and economic growth.

      It is therefore significant that at last year's Tokyo International
Conference on Investment to Africa, attended by more than 200 key
participants from many African countries representing government, business
and civil society, representatives of international organisations and
enterprises which have engaged in investment projects in Africa, and by
academics specialising in investment, the participants adopted an Agenda for
Promoting Investment in Africa. That Agenda is of such import to Africa that
it merits reproduction.

      Investment potential

      African countries offer comparative advantages and concrete business
opportunities for attracting investment. They should maximise their
comparative advantages and increase their competitive advantages. In
addition, they should also make more use of existing investors for marketing
domestic investment opportunities.

      Many African countries abound in natural resources (for example,
minerals and oil, agricultural land, forests, and biodiversity) and have
great competitiveness in the international market. Stable and transparent
policies are vitally important to utilise these resources effectively for
sustainable economic development.

      African countries offer comparatively abundant and competitive labour

      Developed countries, such as Europe, the US, and Japan offer
preferential market access to African countries, and business opportunities
will be enhanced when these are effectively utilised.

      African countries account for 10% of the world population, and
therefore, they basically have the potential to become a big and attractive
market for investment.


      Efforts of host countries are vital in creating an attractive
investment environment. For this purpose, African countries can refer to the
experience of other regions such as Asia.

      African countries should clearly commit themselves to enhancing good
governance in order to maintain peace and political/social stability.
Fostering good relations with neighbouring countries is also important.

      In addition, ownership of African countries is also indispensable for
ensuring predictability of the investment environment by introducing a
transparent and fair legal framework and strengthening the administrative
and judicial system to support the effectiveness of such a legal framework.

      It is necessary to improve the fundamentals for investment such as
capacity building and economic infrastructure (electricity, communications,
transport, etc) in African countries. Improvement of social and basic
infrastructure such as health care, water supply and maintenance of public
order is important for attracting foreign business people which is a
presupposition of investment.

      It is also important to simplify the procedures for the entry of
foreign business people into African countries and to enhance the movement
of business people by improving transportation facilities with a view to
facilitating investment.

      African countries should endeavour to make their macroeconomic
environments stable and to strengthen financial systems (including
responsibility handling external public debt, implementing appropriate
exchange policies, and fostering financial institutions, etc). Moreover, for
objective evaluation, development and disclosure of economic policies and
economic statistical indicators are also important.

      African countries should make an effort to implement policies which
realise the effective functioning of the market economy, encourage
medium-sized and small enterprises and improve the saving rate so that
domestic investment will be promoted. Preparing a good environment for
domestic investment is also a necessary condition for attracting foreign
direct investment.

      African countries should encourage active investment promotion
policies that are well-coordinated with national development plans and
poverty reduction strategies and can lead to the improvement of production
capacity, development of the export industry and substantial economic growth
in host countries.

      Simplification and clarification of procedures by establishing
organisations for implementing investment promotion, such as one-stop
shopping, is useful as well as policy measures such as tax privileges, the
introduction of special economic zones, and deregulation.

      It is essential that African countries themselves take the necessary
steps for implementing means to improve their investment environment and
that they take ownership of their reform agenda.


      Sharing information is essential to efficiently connect supply and
demand of investment in African countries.

      Communication between investment promotion organisations in African
countries and investment and trade promotion agencies in investing countries
should be further strengthened and also access to investment information and
effective contact points should be facilitated.

      In order to realise smooth and fast mutual provision of information,
information and communication technology (ICT), such as websites should be
utilised to the maximum.

      Investment-related information provided through an international
review process should be supplied to wider circles of potential investors.

      Each African country should endeavour, as a first step, to make a
successful case of existing investment and to use that case for attracting
further investors.


      In order to promote investment in Africa, African countries need to
expand their economic scale and make their markets more attractive.

      Regional cooperation is essential in this regard.

      From the viewpoint of promoting investment in Africa, African
countries should strengthen cooperation in mutual tariff reduction,
harmonisation of customs procedures at each border, effective use of their
own resources for investment promotion, and creating free trade areas,
including establishing regional investment frameworks, or examining options
for the proposed multi-facility economic zones. Regional ties should also be
enhanced by strengthening air-transport networks.

      Each region in Africa should endeavour to implement and promote
policies to attract investment collectively as a region through measures by
each regional organisation. Cooperation with other developing countries and
regions should be strengthened.

      Cooperation among local companies in African countries should be
promoted (ie, promoting investment by an external foreign company to other
African countries utilising know-how in companies in South Africa).

      In conjunction with African countries' commitment to sustainable
development, home and host countries should cooperate to promote investments
conducive to sustainable development and to encourage companies to be guided
by standards of internationally recognised corporate social responsibility.


      In order for African countries to implement the measures mentioned
above, it is valuable for them to effectively benefit from the international
cooperation efforts described below. Support from the international
community in capacity building via which African countries could implement
their own policies is of significant importance.

      Each country in the international community should provide duty-free
and quota-free treatment like that under Japan's GSP scheme toward LDCs,
AGOA by the US or EBA by the EU. African countries should endeavour to fully
utilise these preferential measures.

      Home and host countries should publicise their own schemes of
investment insurance and those of financial institutions which contribute to
investment in African countries and promote their utilisation by private
companies, and thereby continuously promote public/private partnership.

      In the meantime, African countries should strive to ensure that these
schemes can be applied to investment in their own countries by realising a
stable investment environment.

      It is very evident that some of Africa's countries are vigorously
pursuing the Agenda set out above, including South Africa, Mozambique,
Uganda, Tanzania, Botswana, and Mauritius. Ghana, Nigeria and some others
such as Zambia, Malawi and Kenya are beginning to do so. But it is equally
evident that others do not.

      Amongst the latter, Zimbabwe is particularly notable, and especially
so insofar as the Agenda's methodology for improvement of the investment
environment is concerned. That required methodology includes clear
commitment to enhancing good governance, stable macroeconomic environment,
and maintaining peace and political and social stability.

      Zimbabwe's actions over many years suggest that such a methodology is
anathema to its government.

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Zim Independent


'No going back', left right and centre

 President Mugabe thinks there will be "no going back" to the Commonwealth.

"We will never go back to that evil organisation," he was quoted as saying
at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.

 Do South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, Botswana, Malawi and Tanzania agree
with this outlook? Do they think the Commonwealth is of no value to them or
the region? And if Mugabe believes it is so evil why did he make such
desperate efforts to have Zimbabwe's suspension lifted ahead of the Abuja
Chogm? What was all that frantic diplomacy about?

The fact is Commonwealth membership is by invitation. And nobody right now
is inviting Zimbabwe to rejoin because it is has such a disgraceful record
of misrule.

Olusegun Obasanjo is currently being vilified in the state media because he
could see the Commonwealth would be discredited if it lifted the suspension.

Zimbabwe will be invited to rejoin when democracy is restored just as South
Africa was in 1994 with the end of apartheid. It seems like the height of
arrogance for a mere mortal to presume that he can make declarations that
bind the country into eternity. Posterity will make its own decisions about
whether or not to accept an invitation to rejoin the Commonwealth, or any
other organisation for that matter.

And by the way, none of the 27 countries who voted against Zimbabwe's
censure in Geneva last week said there were no human rights abuses in this
country. They said they didn't want to single out certain countries or
thwart diplomatic moves aimed at reaching a political settlement. However
lame, it's not quite the same thing!

 The Standard seems to have stirred Information minister Jonathan Moyo into
an outraged frenzy. He was spitting in the Herald on Monday about a report
that had appeared in the Sunday newspaper saying Vice-President Joseph Msika
had ordered Arda off Kondozi Farm.

"There is no single right-minded Zimbabwean who would believe that the
Standard of all newspapers in this world can report authentically the
government's position," he raved. "Obviously the paper sought to abuse the
views of the Vice-President on behalf of its usual white racist sponsors."

There will be no going back on Kondozi, Moyo reiterated.

Now we would have thought that if Msika had been misquoted his office would
have said so. Indeed, Moyo's complaint appeared to be with the Standard for
publishing the story rather than with the veracity of the report itself
which he said represented "wishful thinking" by the "treacherous Standard
and its evil sponsor".

Moyo should be careful when referring to treachery and evil sponsors. And he
is wrong in his basic assumption that the government does not make
statements through the Standard or other independent papers, which he
insists on pretending are "British mouthpieces".

Ministers have often made statements on policy matters outside the realm of
the state media. This may infuriate Moyo but he is in no position to prevent

The Standard's report on Msika's position on the Kondozi invasion accords
with other reports of a meeting that took place at the Vice-President's
office last Thursday.

While Moyo may not like it, it is rather unprofessional to make abusive
remarks about a newspaper just because it reports inconvenient news. Is he
seriously suggesting everything carried in the Herald is "authentic"? Is
that what the public thinks?

The Standard is edited by a former Director of Information who knows only
too well what is authentic and what is not when it emanates from the
government! And exactly whose imagination is the High Court order a figment

 There has been a lot of talk recently about "no going back" on the land
issue. In pursuit of this claim government spokesmen have invented the story
that the MDC originally intended to return land to its former white owners
but has now changed its mind.

As far as we know the MDC some time ago proposed a land audit as a first
step to a programme of land reform. Nowhere did it say land would be
returned to its original owners. It did say land would be allocated to those
who could best utilise it. That certainly doesn't include Arda which has a
shocking record of agriculture failure. If you go to Kondozi and look from a
nearby hill you can see the difference between Edwin Moyo's lush and
efficient operation and Arda's unproductive fields. No wonder they want to
get their hands on it. In fact they want to get their hands on anything that
has been successfully developed by its previous owners so they can benefit
from that investment. That includes the theft of farm equipment that the
state media are only now beginning to report on.

There will certainly be a "going back" when we get a democratic government
with regard to those farms seized illegally or by threats. Above all, there
will be a going back to examine Arda's estates and why they have failed to
benefit the nation despite huge injections of public funds. Joseph Made will
be among those held accountable.

 We were sorry to hear that Munyaradzi Huni was so cruelly treated as a
youngster by a horrid white man. This explains a great deal. The trauma, we
were told, led to Munyaradzi concluding that most whites were racists.

The precise circumstances were not entirely clear from his story on Sunday.
But it seems that in about 1983 while walking in Bulawayo with his sister
Shamiso he pointed his finger at a white man who was "jogging so pompously".

We are not sure how it is possible to jog "pompously". But Munyaradzi got a
telling off by the white man - and his sister, it would seem.

In the best tradition of China's Red Guards, Munyaradzi denounced his sister
as a reactionary fellow traveller.

"You should never point fingers at white people," Shamiso admonished the
young revolutionary. "If you do that your finger will disappear."

This episode clearly had a profound impact on the young Huni who
subsequently became the political editor of the Sunday Mail, a platform that
has provided ample scope for revenge.

His sister, he says, had been "brainwashed to think whites were 'little gods
'. "

"As I grew up, I realised there were many victims of this barbaric racism
that made blacks think whites were superior," Huni disclosed.

He cited as an example of "barbaric racism" the case of the white woman in a
bank queue who moved her handbag when she saw a "nicely dressed black man"
behind her. Huni didn't say whether it was him.

"I am not saying all whites are the same," he magnanimously concluded.
"There are some very friendly whites out there, but I am not wrong to say
the majority of them are racists."

What, including the friendly ones? Is there to be no redemption?

It's a pity really that Huni was  traumatised for merely pointing a finger
at some unrepentant racist white man. But to bolster his conclusions he can
try pointing his finger at State House while walking past so we see if it's
not going to disappear. If he survives to tell the tale, it might ring

 Muckraker was intrigued by the number of state-owned companies that found
it expedient to congratulate President Mugabe on the country's Independence

Some, to their credit, congratulated the people of Zimbabwe. Most hedged
their bets by congratulating both!

The Zimbabwe School Examinations Council, led by its chairman Prof Phineas
Makhurane, the director, the deputy director, the senior management "and the
entire staff" congratulated "the First Secretary for Zanu PF, His Excellency
the President of Zimbabwe, Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe".

The Zimpost board, management and staff congratulated the president and the
people of Zimbabwe. So did many others such as the Zimbabwe Prison Service
("for incarceration"), the Civil Aviation Authority, Noczim ("lubricating
the nation's industry") and CMED.

The Jewel Bank wished the people of Zimbabwe an enjoyable Independence Day.

Zupco ("a commitment to safe and reliable travel") joined the nation in
celebrating "24 years of sovereignty". Twenty-four years on, "the legacy
still continues", Zupco told us.

The Parliament of Zimbabwe published a message from the Speaker, members and
staff referring to "the visionary leadership of His Excellency the President
Cde RG Mugabe".

The Third Chimurenga had brought hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans into
the mainstream of agricultural production, the message claimed.

"His Excellency the President Cde RG Mugabe's unwavering commitment to the
restitution and restoration of our heritage has been hailed by all
progressive Zimbabweans. The benefits of the land reform have begun to bear
fruit." it said.

As this message came from MPs as well as the Speaker and staff, perhaps
opposition MPs could tell us whether they were consulted and if they
endorsed the sentiments expressed.

By contrast the most inclusive advert came from Air Zimbabwe which invited
us to "enjoy the many colours of freedom". The board, management and staff
wished the nation a happy 24th Independence Day.

It was a great ad. Just a pity they've only got five planes left compared to
the 15 they inherited in 1980!

We were intrigued by Interfin's ad. It showed a bird escaping from its cage
with the exhortation: "Be free".

 Among those claiming the land reforms were "bearing fruit" is Dr Samuel
Undenge. The Sunday Mail last weekend reported that "Dr Undenge said the
economic situation in the country was also set to improve following the
increased agricultural output this year".

Could Dr Undenge please point out to us examples of increased agricultural
output. We would be keen to record a phenomenon that has escaped everybody

We seem to have infuriated Dr Tafataona Mahoso by carrying an advert for the
Voice of America's "illegal" Studio 7.

Rather like his sponsor, Mahoso needs to learn that something is not illegal
just because he says it is. As to whether Studio 7 tells all sides of the
Zimbabwean story - which Mahoso calls a lie - is surely a matter of opinion?

Many journalists have left Zimbabwe to work abroad precisely because of the
menacing intolerance Mahoso expresses in his rambling and poorly written
piece last Sunday.

Muckraker wants to know if the following can be entered for the
longest-sentence-in-a-Zimbabwean-newspaper contest:

"What would happen if the Voice of America were to carry the voices of
Zimbabwe's legitimate opinion leaders to the peoples of Europe and the
United States, if there were no sanctions prohibiting the same opinion
leaders to travel freely and defend their sovereignty and dignity in Europe
and US media, is that the peoples of those countries would oppose the
Bush/Blair programme of 'regime change' which is already costing them so
heavily in Iraq?"

And who might those "legitimate opinion leaders" be? Surely not the
long-winded author of the paragraph above whose convoluted blandishments
would have difficulty getting by even the most indulgent editor on a good

 Speaking of which, how about this for gullible journalism: "The Minister of
Local Government Cde Ignatius Chombo said Eng Mudzuri was being dismissed
after the commission led by Prof Jameson Kurasha to investigate allegations
levelled against him proved that the charges against him were true."

Proved? What proof? Who has seen this "proof"? When not even the minister is
prepared to disclose what it entails, how can the Herald declare it to be
true - other than of course by blind faith?

All we have heard is that the allegations were "numerous", some of which are
"the arbitrary suspension and dismissal of critical staff" and alteration of
council tenders to benefit selected companies.

In other words Mudzuri is accused of removing those Zanu PF-aligned
officials appointed in the dying days of the government-appointed
commission, and awarding tenders to a variety of companies instead of those
exclusively run by Zanu PF luminaries.

We now see why he had to go!
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Zim Independent

Windfall for locals in the diaspora
Staff Writer
ZIMBABWEANS living outside the country will now be able to send money back
home through the establishment of the dispora fund, which will see them
changing their money at $5 200 against the greenback.

The central bank governor Gideon Gono on Wednesday announced that as an
incentive to Zimbabweans outside the country, the beneficiaries would be
paid the full amounts converted at the auction rates or "Diaspora price
floor" of $5 200.

Gono said with a total estimate of around 3,4 million Zimbabweans in the
diaspora, it was now time to unlock considerable foreign exchange inflows
via this avenue.

"The new foreign currency mobilisation framework allows beneficiaries of
such funds in Zimbabwe to receive payouts in foreign currency, cash
travellers cheques at a floor price of $5 200 or the auction price whichever
is higher," he said.

The governor also announced that so far he had licensed Standard Chartered
Bank, Stanbic Bank, CFX, Barnfords Global Financial Service, Fredex
Financial Service, Kingdom Bank, TransAfric Money-transfer and Post Office
Savings Bank.

Gono also formalised the operations of gold panning known as "Makorokoza".

He added that a new gold price of $71 000 per gramme would apply for those
producers who elect to sell 100% of their gold in exchange for local
currency. In the process, the central bank will set up a purchasing point
within the area where gold is extracted. Over the past two years, many parts
of the country especially in Midlands and Matabeleland, have been affected
by panning but the money does not find its way into the official market.

Gono has shot down suggestions that the central bank had imposed a blanket
amnesty on all those who had violated exchange control regulations.
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Zim Independent

Harare a time bomb - Mushonga
Ngoni Chanakira
WITH empty coffers and no borrowing powers the City of Harare is a time bomb
just waiting to explode, says medical practitioner and business tycoon Chris

Mushonga, the MDC chairman of the Harare City Council's housing, health and
educational committee and a member of the executive committee, told
businessdigest in an interview that the politics at Town House had "bled"
the capital city.

He said the final straw could have been delivered on Friday last week when
Public Works and National Housing minister Ignatious Chombo booted executive
mayor Elias Mudzuri out of office.

President Robert Mugabe using his presidential powers blessed the move.

"The City Council is broke because we inherited a financial situation which
was in a shambles," Mushonga said. "The City Council is also broke because
we have not been given borrowing powers by government despite having applied
for these on numerous occasions. We are not credit-worthy and no bank dreams
about giving the City of Harare even a cent.

"The Treasury department is in a shambles. Actually our external auditors
are writing a report on all this for all to see and judge. There hasn't been
an audited report since 2001 and, obviously, no responsible bank would give
you money without audited accounts."

Mushonga said the parent ministry had worsened matters by not giving the
City of Harare borrowing powers.

"Government normally approved borrowing powers when Zanu PF councillors were
running the city. They have now stopped doing so, possibly to see the MDC
team's downfall. Staff have been receiving their salaries late for the past
two months," Mushonga said. "We always give them budgets but they do not
bother about them unless it suits them yet projects become more expensive.

"We were given a loan for reticulation and pumping for Harare but this is
nowhere to be seen."

He said council was also faced with a serious foreign currency shortage to
secure chemicals used to treat water and repair dilapidated equipment such
as at the Morton Jaffray Waterworks - the capital city's major supplier of
drinking water.

"Right now with the government we have in power no international creditor
wants to do business with Zimbabwe," he said. "We seriously need to go back
to the international community for funding for various projects. We
definitely cannot go-it-alone. This business of twinning has not helped us
either because we are not benfitting from it."

Harare is twinned with Munich in Germany.

The financially beleaguered council is now more synonymous with political
and tribal balancing acts instead of serving ratepayers.

Two months ago council asked residents to rubber-stamp a $48,6 billion
package for various projects for its departments.

The move however riled residents who are currently up in arms over having to
foot bills for dilapidated infrastructure, shoddy services and escalating
rates being charged by the council.

Fired Harare executive mayor Mudzuri, who since installation has been
engaged in running battles with Chombo, has pointed out that besides the
shocking record trillion-dollar budget, recent rate hikes were unjustifiably
high and a rip off to residents - already overburdened by other commitments
such as electricity, health and social services.

Mudzuri, like Mushonga also entered Town House on an MDC ticket.

Council insiders said Harare City Council had been reduced to a "boxing
match between Minister Chombo (Zezuru) and Mudzuri (Karanga)" with each
trying to out-do the other.

Chombo initially suspended and then last week finally fired Mudzuri using
the Urban Councils Act, leaving former deputy mayor Sekesai Makwavarara to
act as executive mayor.

Makwavarara has quit the MDC, accusing the opposition party of meddling in
her day-to-day duties.

"We cannot rule out tribal politics at Town House," Mushonga said in the
interview. "Give me a good citizen whether Zezuru, Karanga or Ndebele
anywhere and I will support them. We need individuals who think
professionally and globally and not tribally. I guess in this case Chombo
has won."

Mushonga however said the MDC would not take the matter lying down, as it
always believed in fighting for its rights.

He said what was surprising about events at Town House was that Mudzuri had
been fired using reports that "nobody has seen".

"We are told about a Kurasha Report and a Tomana Report but none of us has
seen it," he said. "We have been kept in the dark on the two reports and yet
they are the ones being used as a basis for firing the mayor as well as to
determine the fate of councillors and ratepayers."

Insiders said the recent appointment of Harare metropolitan governor Witness
Mangwende, a former minister, was meant to dilute Mudzuri's influence and
activities at Town House.

President Mugabe also gave Zimbabwe's second largest city, Bulawayo, to Cain
Mathema the country's former envoy to Zambia. The executive mayor in
Bulawayo is Abednico Ncube.

"How can an elected mayor report to an appointed governor?" Mushonga asked.
"Whose mandate, other than Mugabe's, does this man (Mangwende) have? All
this was done to frustrate Mudzuri."
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Zim Independent


Horrific cruelty under guise of reform

IF it wasn't so tragic, it would be absolutely hilarious ("Farmers ditch
milk production for crops", Independent, April 16). In fact, it could quite
easily be converted into an Irish joke.

The logic is kill the cows which produce the milk and sell the meat to pay
off the loan. What a stroke of absolute business brilliance! The authorities
probably call this sustainable agriculture in Zimbabwe.

They also forgot that dairy cows need milking two or three times a day. You
can't do it just during the weekends, or can you? Well, it seems they can
and they obviously forget that insufficient milking causes swollen udders,
mastitis and severe agony for the cow.

Hard work? What's that? Knowledge? What's that? It's completely
mind-boggling stuff.

The bottom line is that there is horrific cruelty going on under the guise
of land reform and the silence from those who should be screaming is

Last but not least, the regime then decides to import 20 000 heifers to
boost the national herd. Notwithstanding their recommendation, wanting 20
000 heifers is one thing, obtaining them would be another. And where is the
money coming from?

And what about getting a few bulls, +/-1000 would be needed to cover these
heifers. What cannot be understood is that there was a 100-year build-up of
good quality dairy genetics prior to the year 2000 and it was the regime's
policies which destroyed it in just four years.

Makorokoto Mugabe

A Messenger,

South Africa.

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Zim Independent


Theft now legal!

IN life there are so many lessons which as a people we need to learn from.
It is a sin to rob from anyone. To take by force using the law is just as
bad as stealing without the owner's knowledge. It's like sending a letter to
an address informing them that you need them to open the doors to the house
because you as a thief are coming to collect all their furniture, cars, and
clothes, and the law is in your favour.

It is unbelievable that a political party wants to take farming machinery by
passing a law to justify their own gain of taking farming implements from
the farmers.

It is not about whites, it's about what is right. These farmers bought this
machinery and it belongs to them. If the government is failing to purchase
farming machinery they should buy it from the farmers instead of passing
selfish laws to justify their lack of planning.

It's another failure to provide services to the people. Everyone can be
blamed for the situation Zimbabwe is in today, but common sense tells us
that Zanu PF has failed the African people as a whole.

Farming is a science and just because one is born a black man it does not
necessarily mean one is automatically a good farmer, neither does it apply
if one is born white, brown or green.

Opportunists are a common sight in Zanu PF, let the record speak for itself
as has been demonstrated by the corruption that is rife.

As a black man who is interested in seeing Africa develop beyond this

century and centuries to come, people of short-sight are a hindrance to
development and progress. It is embarrassing to see how low the people have
been reduced to. Simple things have now been made to look impossible. Buying
fuel used to be done by oil companies, now anyone can bring in the fuel.

Sugar used to be processed by a sugar refinery, now Zanu PF wants to control
it. The rot they have caused is beyond understanding. The transport system
which they wanted to control is now reduced to a rotten heap of scrap metal,
a once prosperous bus service and railway service which used to be reliable
and the envy of all Africa is no more.

Zupco, National Railways of Zimbabwe, Air Zimbabwe, Affretair and
agriculture are all now a history lesson of how to mismanage an economy.

Fed up,

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Zim Independent

People must fight for a free press
By Bill Saidi
WITH so much time on my hands these days and nights I have tried to sit
through an entire screening of Tazzen Mandizvidza's Media Watch - in vain.
Listening to it, I suddenly feel dehydrated and begin to hyperventilate and
can sense the beginnings of apoplexy.

To save my life, I turn off the TV and listen to Ella Fitzgerald as she
thanks the Almighty that she is no longer oversexed, in Bewitched, Bothered
and Bewildered.

I recently managed to suspend all reason and listen to Mandizvidza and his
ubiquitous analysts advance the weird, but fairly common Zanu PF textbook
theory, that all journalists who criticise their government are pro-Western.

I wonder if they realise how utterly absurd this theory is. The phrase
pro-Western dates back to the Cold War. Perhaps they are too young to
remember what that ideological creature was. It featured a battle for the
hearts and minds of the developing world between the West and - you guessed
it - the East. If you were pro-Western, it followed that you were
anti-Eastern. In other words, you leaned, ideologically, towards Washington
rather than Moscow. In this unipolar world today, there is no East. Moscow
is the capital of the Russian Federation and not Uncle Sam's mortal enemy,
the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

That union's demise was signalled by Mikhail Gorbachev's perestroika and
glasnost in the 1980s. Soon, the Cold War had been killed by the blazing
fire of an East-West accommodation which survives to this day, even if the
US invasion of Iraq may have occasioned a major hiccup in its stability. But
for Africa and the rest of the developing world, the struggle for world
conquest, the raison d'etre for the Cold War, is no more.

Being pro-Western today is as oddball as being pro-abortion in a country
where there are no laws against abortion. Some suspect the United States,
because it believes it won the Cold War, would now like to make the rest of
the world its 51st state. Others believe humankind was the biggest winner
and will not let one single power claim the spoils for itself. But this is
to digress.

For the African journalist, the freedom to criticise the government of their
country is not inspired by some nebulous self-righteous urge to "promote"
Western ideology, or the even more dubious desire to ape the Western press,
which is extremely irreverent in its treatment of its governments and their
leaders. African leaders, it would seem, want all their citizens, but
particularly journalists, to treat them as if they were God's gift to their
very existence.

Quite simply, the journalists' criticism of their governments and leaders is
inspired by what inspired the very first journalists - to fight for the
rights of the underdog and not allow the rich and powerful to trample on
those rights with impunity. During the struggle in Zimbabwe, many African
journalists were in no doubt that their fight was for the rights of the
Africans, whose rights, at the time, were being blithely trampled underfoot
by the colonialists.

Most such journalists were fierce critics of the colonial regimes, yet,
after Independence, remained as fiercely critical of the new governments as
they were of the old - for the same reasons. Their reasons had absolutely
nothing to do with being pro-Western or pro-Eastern. In all cases, they were
pro-country. This was not in the namby-pamby fashion of "my country, right
or wrong". Essentially, it rose out of their outrage at a government which
had promised its people a land of milk and honey or "an egg a day" - then
offered them monkey nuts instead. Two journalists from the African Daily
News era come easily to the fore as fine examples of fierce critics of both
the colonial and the post-colonial governments.

I found both Willie Musarurwa and Kelvin Mlenga at African Newspapers in
1957, the former at the African Weekly, the latter on the African Daily
News. Let me start with Mlenga, who worked immediately under Nathan
Shamuyarira. In 1962 he moved to the then Northern Rhodesia to work on the
Central African Mail under the editorship of Richard Hall, who had worked on
London's Daily Mail with such luminaries as Derek Ingram, later to found
Gemini News Service, probably the first international feature service agency
dedicated to the third world.

Like the African Daily News, Mlenga's paper was uncompromisingly pro-African
and pro-Independence. After Independence, when the government of President
Kenneth Kaunda had taken over the paper and changed its name to the Zambia
Mail, Mlenga fell out with the ruling Unip party and was soon out of a job.
He was replaced by a Briton.

I doubt that Mlenga was fired because he was pro-Western because his British
replacement, as far as I knew, was not pro-Eastern, having come straight
from being the Reuters correspondent in Norway. Musarurwa's story is much
the same. When he was unceremoniously fired from his Sunday Mail job, it was
not because he had suddenly been infected with a pro-Western virus, but
because he had become so palpably pro-Zimbabwe. Zanu PF could not stomach
this; it prefers its editors to be pro-Zanu PF rather than pro-Zimbabwe.

As World Press Freedom Day looms next week, the future of journalism in
Zimbabwe looks bleak, unless the people of Zimbabwe decide it is their
birthright, nay, part of their freedom, to enjoy a free press. There are
times when one gets the distinct impression that the people are totally
indifferent to a free press as a catalyst either for change or for the
betterment of their own freedoms as citizens.

The other day, Raymond Majongwe, the teachers' union leader, gave me a
cassette of his recording, the Daily News.

Unfortunately, when I tried to play it on my machine all I could hear was
the sound of silence. I intend to ask him for a better one next time we
meet. Many people think Majongwe is rather eccentric in his quest for a free
press. Yet most journalists find his loud denunciation of the persecution of
the press refreshing in a country most of whose citizens seem to take the
suppression of a free press in their stride. If more people were as
"eccentric" as Majongwe is towards a free press, then there would probably
be no Aippa on our statute books.

-Bill Saidi is editor of the Daily News on Sunday, currently banned.
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Zim Independent

Understanding the digital divide
By FJ Tichawangana
WHEN you get home today connect to the Internet and do a search for
"Development in Africa". What? You don't have a computer? You're not
connected to the Internet? OK, let's try something else. Take out your
cellphone and call your cousin/brother/mother/boyfriend in the UK and say
hello. Arrgghh! you scream. Too expensive? Welcome to our side of the

Our side? Who is we? What divide?

We are the members of the world population that have no access to the new
technology of communication, business, entertainment and education that is
totally changing the way people on the other side behave. The people on the
other side can fax a document when they want to send information to someone.
They check their email often and when they need information on something
they refer to the web. They use the abundant information available to them
via these technologies to make better business decisions faster, to
communicate with loved ones across the globe every day, to learn new things,
to create new jobs, to generate wealth and, very often, to shop for that new
pair of shoes or for the children's new computer.

One way of defining the digital divide is "the gap between those who have
access to information communication technology and are using it effectively,
and those who do not". Information communication technology (ICT) is the
stuff I referred to above. Telecommunications, the Internet, the Worldwide
Web, computers, etc are all part of ICT.

"Access" does not just mean being able to walk into an Internet café. No,
there is a lot more to it. This means that there might be an Internet café
just across the road from your home, but if you cannot afford to use it, if
the content is not relevant to you, if you do not know how to use it, then
you still do not have access. On their website, talk of "real
access". Those on the other side of the divide have real access to ICT.

According to the website: "Providing access to technology is critical, but
it must be about more than just physical access. Computers and connections
are insufficient if the technology is not used effectively because it is not
affordable. If people do not understand how to put it to use or if they are
discouraged from using it; or if the local economy cannot sustain its use.
Access goes beyond just physical access and makes it possible for people to
use technology effectively to improve their lives."

As computers make their way deeper and deeper into our way of living, from
entertainment, to education to business, an interesting trend is developing.
We find that that gap is widening. We find that even as the Internet, which
is the single biggest manifestation of ICT, moves into its twenty-first year
of existence it is by and large irrelevant in the daily lives of millions of
people across the globe who themselves have to struggle for mere existence.

Just under one tenth of the world's six billion people have access to the
Internet. The mass of information and resources available basically for free
(after payment of connection costs) make the Internet a paradox. The people
who need access to information most, the people who cannot afford
newspapers, books and other educational or informational materials, are
denied the cheapest source of information in the world. Since an informed
society develops faster, this means that the poorest societies and countries
in the world are in this way denied development - but it's not quite as
simple as that.

While we can say that the digital divide exists between developed and
developing countries we find that even in developed countries, many still do
not have access to adequate ICT whilst even in the poorest of countries you
will find some people who have access to lots of ICT. You will also find
that men tend to have more access to ICT than women. At the University of
Zimbabwe for instance most of the computer labs are full of male students.
Their female counterparts have just as much of an opportunity,
theoretically, to use the labs, but upbringing, societal norms, etc, mean
the girls are less interested in computers. And those who are? A lab full of
rowdy young male university students is enough to discourage many who dare
approach the door.

In an affluent home, the owner of the house and his family might have access
to all forms of ICT while their gardener and his family do not. We see
therefore that the digital divide is complex, and cuts across many strata in
society. It is a divide made up of many interlinking disparities.

In Zimbabwe there are now about 500 000 Internet users (Unctad report 2003).
That's about 4,2% of the population. Most of these people have access to the
Internet at work and in Internet Cafés. Very few can afford access - or just
a computer - at home. That 4,2% which does have access uses the Internet
mainly for email. Then comes news, educational research, etc. However, much
of the content available to us is not Zimbabwean, or African either. Most
Zimbabwean organisations that have websites do not use them for business, or
even for communication. They are merely status symbols and are often out of
date. The majority of Internet connections are dial-up, which means we do
not have access to rich multimedia content that is now available on the web.
It also means that new Internet functionalities like voice over Internet
Protocol which would enable us to make international phone calls at the cost
of a local call and teleconferencing remain a challenge for even the most
connected of people in this country. We have yet to harness the full power
of ICT. So, it turns out that even the privileged among us who have Internet
access still have one foot on the down side of the digital divide.

However, the picture is not that bleak. According to, in 1998,
over 950 million households worldwide, 65% of all households, did not have a
telephone. The Economist at one time reported that there were 40 million
people in the third world waiting for phone lines. Many were expected to
wait for up to 10 years before getting connected.

Then came the cellphone revolution. In a few years cellular technology has
swept through the third world faster than other technology ever did. In
December last year the Worldwatch Institute in Washington reported that
cellphones now outnumber landlines in Africa. The cheaper cost of setting up
mobile networks and the more efficiently run mobile phone companies
(compared to the mostly state-run fixed network operators) have made this
possible. Now many businesses and families in Zimbabwe and across Africa,
for the first time, have easy access to telecommunications.

In this regard we have taken a major stride to making that ever-widening
divide smaller. If we can get our telecommunications networks right, then
next we can focus on using them to help us get our education, business and
economies right. If my grandmother in Gwanda can communicate with her
grandchildren wherever they are in the world without leaving her hut, then
there is hope that we can bridge this awesome divide.

-FJ Tichawangana is a technology enthusiast. You can contact him on
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Opposition, Analysts Fear Zimbabwe May Use Food Distribution as Political
Peta Thornycroft
23 Apr 2004, 15:15 UTC

Zimbabwe's opposition and independent analysts are expressing concern that
the government will use food supplies as a political tool in the run-up to
next year's general election. The Zimbabwe government has told donors it
will import and distribute food itself, without U.N. involvement, if the
present harvest falls short of the nation's needs.
Opposition Movement for Democratic Change agriculture spokesman Renson
Gasela this week presented a detailed assessment of the present harvest, the
last one before parliamentary elections in March of next year.

His predictions coincide with those recently presented by the regional food
security organization, the Famine Early Warning System.

Mr. Gasela estimates that the government will have a shortfall of at least
600,000 tons of grain, and perhaps as much as 900,000 tons. His report also
charges that the government has 250,000 tons of maize in stock but has not
released any of it, even though people have been dying of hunger,
particularly in the Matabeleland province.

In Zimbabwe's food shortfalls of the past two years, the United States,
Britain and the European Union have provided funds for the importation of
food for an average of about four million people, most of it distributed by
the United Nations World Food Program. But the WFP says it has not been
asked by the government to continue distributing food beyond its present
mandate, which ends in a few weeks.

The Zimbabwe government tried last year to take over distribution of donated
food but it retreated when donors protested. Now it says it will import any
grain itself.

The opposition's Mr. Gasela appealed this week for foreign donors to remain
involved in food distribution ahead of the parliamentary elections. He said
there is proof that the Zimbabwe government has used food as a political
weapon in the last three years.

Brian Kagoro agrees. He is the co-chairman of the civil rights group, the
Crisis Coalition, representing scores of non-governmental organizations. He
says the government may find more sophisticated ways to manipulate food
distribution than it has used in the past.

Before the international community got involved, the Zimbabwe government
often required membership in the ruling ZANU-PF party in order for poor
people to receive food aid or participate in food-for-work programs. It also
restricted sales to food stores whose owners did not support the government.

Mr. Kagoro says the government may avoid such obvious forms of
discrimination against its opponents in the future, in order to avoid
criticism from neighboring African countries, but he expects the
discrimination to continue.

One government initiative that worries him is the installation of governors
in urban areas. The governors are able to overrule elected mayors and
councils, most of whom are from the opposition. Recently, the government
appointed governors in the two main cities, Harare and Bulawayo. They are
both prominent members of the ruling ZANU-PF.

Mr. Kagoro says as urban hunger worsens, at the end of the year, he believes
the new governors and the army will be directly involved in food
distribution. He says the ruling party already controls food production in
rural areas.

Mr. Kagoro, the independent activist, also says it is becoming more
difficult to monitor the food distribution process as repression by
government security services grows.

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Guards charged for 'beating nude mercenaries'

      April 23 2004 at 04:06PM

Harare - Twelve Zimbabwean prison officers have been charged with assaulting
some of the 70 men detained as suspected mercenaries, the state Herald
newspaper reported on Friday.

The group of mainly South Africans, Angolans and Namibians have been held in
a high security prison in the capital Harare since they were arrested in
early March on suspicion of plotting a coup in oil-rich Equatorial Guinea.

"It is alleged that three of the (mercenary) suspects were in Hall E at
Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison and the (three) prison officers, acting in
common cause, assaulted them using open hands and batons," the Herald

It said the suspected mercenaries had sustained injuries in the assault, but
did not give details.

The other nine prison officers charged were "alleged to have forced the
suspects to remove their clothes before assaulting them with batons and open
hands", the paper said.

All 12 prison officers were remanded on bail until May 27.

Senior prison officials were not immediately available for comment on the
charges reported by the Herald.

State lawyers have said the 70 suspected mercenaries face life imprisonment
if convicted under public order and security laws, although defence lawyers
say the maximum penalty would be a fine of Z$200 000 Zimbabwean dollars per

Equatorial Guinea has detained a smaller group of men it says were an
advance party for the group held in Zimbabwe. Those held in Zimbabwe say
they were on a legitimate mission to provide mine security in the Democratic
Republic of Congo.
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Zimbabwe Farmers Target Cash Crops

The Times of Zambia (Ndola)

April 23, 2004
Posted to the web April 23, 2004

Times Reporter

THE Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) says farmers from Zimbabwe have
shown interest in growing coffee, tobacco, wheat and cotton in Zambia.

ZNFU economist Robert Sanyikosa said currently his organisation and Zambia
Investment Centre (ZIC) were working out modalities to allocate the farmers
suitable land.

Mr Sanyikosa was presenting a paper on the impact of farming on economic
development and arrival of Zimbabwean farmers at the on-going senior
journalists workshop organised by the World Bank in Lusaka.

Mr Sanyikosa said Zambia needed massive investment from outside if the
country was to develop economically.

He said investing in the growing of coffee, tobacco, wheat and cotton would
not only contribute to the development of the country but also create
employment to Zambians.

He pointed out that of the 84 per cent arable land in the country only 16
per cent was currently being utilised.

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Zim chiefs' allowances doubled

      April 23 2004 at 03:43AM

Harare - President Robert Mugabe's government has doubled the allowances of
scores of traditional chiefs, as it seeks to consolidate its rural support
base ahead of next year's parliamentary elections.

The traditional chiefs will now be paid monthly allowances of one million
Zimbabwe dollars each, backdated to January this year.

Similar unbudgeted payouts to war veterans in 1997 were blamed for the
dramatic collapse of the Zimbabwe dollar in the same year.

The Deputy Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing,
Fortune Charumbira, himself a traditional chief in southern Zimbabwe,
announced the hike at a meeting in Matabeleland, state media reported.

"President Mugabe has approved the increment. Were it not for his
Excellency, and Minister Ignatius Chombo's respect and recognition of the
role chiefs play as traditional leaders, this recommendation would have been
thrown out," said Charumbira.

He said that some civil servants were not keen to see chiefs given
"reasonable" allowances, as they felt it was degrading to earn less than a

Charumbira also announced that sweeping increases were being considered for
headmen and village heads.

Fears abound in Zimbabwe that inflation will continue soaring as Mugabe's
government increases the distribution of political patronage ahead of next
year's elections. - Independent Foreign Service

  .. This article was originally published on page 6 of The Mercury on
April 23, 2004
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Zimbabwe: Malaria Death Toll Still High

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

April 23, 2004
Posted to the web April 23, 2004


The death toll from malaria remains high in Zimbabwe, with 393 deaths
recorded this year.

In its latest situation report, the UN Relief and Recovery Unit (RRU) noted
that "the problem of clinical malaria is still ongoing, particularly in
Matebeleland North and Mashonaland Central", but "cumulative figures now
stand at 25,511 reported cases and 393 deaths" for the country.

The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare and a number of partners, including
the World Health Organisation and the UN Children's Fund, had developed a
malaria preparedness plan, which, when implemented "should see a significant
reduction in the clinical malaria cases".

"The plan is already providing leads on how best to build capacity at
service delivery points at the community level, in terms of staffing and
provision of essential consumables through the existing structures," the RRU

Health experts have pointed out that malaria, HIV/AIDS and food shortages
may be having a combined impact in Zimbabwe.
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Brace for Next Year's Elections, Chihuri Tells Police

The Herald (Harare)

April 23, 2004
Posted to the web April 23, 2004


Police should brace themselves for next year's parliamentary elections,
Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri said on Wednesday.

Cde Chihuri said the force does not entertain "lukewarm" officers who might
have joined it for reasons other than serving the people of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe belonged to Zimbabweans and it was up to Zimbabwean law enforcers
to ensure that the next elections prevailed under a peaceful environment.

Cde Chihuri was speaking to six senior police officers who returned from a
tour of duty in Sierra Leone last week.

The six left the country last year to help in the setting up of a police
force in Sierra Leone.

"We do not want police officers who watch thugs and other criminals
perpetrating criminal activities and not do anything. Now that you are back
we hope you will join us in working hard to ensure next year's elections
will be the most peaceful," Cde Chihuri said.

The commissioner said police would not fold their hands when individuals
bent on triggering violence to batter the image of the country do what they
want during the election period.

"It is our duty to ensure that the people of Zimbabwe select their leaders
through constitutional means, which is the ballot box.

"If foreigners think they can recruit people here to evoke regime change
unconstitutionally like they wanted to do in the Equatorial Guinea, then
they should think again," Cde Chihuri said.

He commended the officers for their patriotism and excellent performance
which saw others being requested to remain behind.

"Patriotic Zimbabweans always return home to report back on the results of
their mission. I am glad none of you wanted to remain behind like other
Zimbabweans who have become renewed slaves in the UK."

Briefing the officers on topical events that transpired while they were
away, Cde Chihuri said the six officers came at a time when police were
ruthlessly dealing with illegal dealings that paralysed the economy last

"We are dealing with all people who were involved in any illegal activities
that made them overnight billionaires at the expense of the masses of

He said some had run away while others were begging for mercy during

"But we have made it clear that the law is the one doing the talking right
now and some indigenous business people who were hiding behind
indigenisation are now facing the music."

Cde Chihuri said police had not just watched and done nothing when the
financial sector went into turmoil last year.

"We are now investigating criminal activities in the mining sector and none
of us is looking at a person's status and colour. Any outright corrupt
people and thieves will not be forgiven," Cde Chihuri said.

The six police officers are Chief Superintendents Simon Nyathi, Grace
Ndebele and Samuel Matsekwa and Superintendents Jealous Nyapfuri, Richard
Gatsi and Wonder Tembo.

Chief Supt Ndebele, who was the only woman in the group, said she was
attached to the Sierra Leone police headquarters and helped in the
recruitment and training of police cadets.

"When I went there, the issue of being a woman was out of the question. What
was demanded was a hard working and committed police officer and I was found
to have had all those qualities," Chief Supt Ndebele said.

She said her major challenge was to ensure that crimes like rape, which
sometimes went unreported owing to lack of adequate information, were
reported and that women were made aware of their rights.
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