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

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Cape Times

      Zimbabwe price turmoil
      April 26, 2005

      By Basildon Peta

      Johannesburg: Three weeks after President Robert Mugabe won a disputed
election, Zimbabwe's economy has deteriorated rapidly and hardship has
returned to haunt an embittered population.

      Prices have shot up - in some cases threefold - leading the government
to threaten to jail manufacturers and retailers not observing price

      Basic foodstuffs have disappeared from supermarket shelves, most
cities and towns have run out of fuel, and power blackouts have become the
order of the day.

      Tap water has become a luxury because the supply system has become run
down and there is a lack of foreign exchange to pay for imported
water-purifying chemicals.

      Those who have boreholes are cashing in by selling water to desperate

      In some suburbs of Harare, long queues of people with empty containers
have become a common sight at properties that have boreholes.

      Zimbabwean analysts note that there is no fresh election on the
horizon to spur the government into taking urgent steps to resolve the

      The response of the Mugabe government has been to blame everything on
"sabotage" by retailers and manufacturers "unhappy" that Zanu-PF, and not
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), won the parliamentary

      Mugabe has accused retailers and manufacturers of wanting to incite
the public into revolting against him. But they say soaring production costs
and the lack of cheap foreign currency to import raw materials are the
reasons for rising prices.

      Mugabe has dubbed his new cabinet "the development cabinet",
suggesting that its goal is to halt economic decline and end the shortages
of basic commodities. What he has not spelt out is how this is to be

      "It is hard to be optimistic about anything at the moment as we hurtle
backwards into the dark ages," says author Cathy Buckle.

      Meanwhile, new Information Minister Tichaona Jokonya has promised a
new lease of life for Zimbabwe's embattled media and pledged to break with
the traumatic past under his predecessor, Jonathan Moyo.

      He has also promised to smooth the way for foreign journalists to get
accreditation. Foreign journalists were largely banned by Moyo.

      Jokonya pledged, however, to keep the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act, under which all media restrictions have been

      He met editors of state and private newspapers at the weekend and
promised them that the era of wholesale closures of newspapers and mass
arrests of journalists was over.

      Jokonya's promises are conditional upon one thing, however: that the
media stop denigrating Mugabe.

      "We no longer want to see journalists arrested over stories they
write," he said.

      "But we should not malign the president."

      The privately owned media have reason to remain sceptical while the
pillars of repression erected by Moyo remain.

      As Jokonya was holding his meeting, the weekly Standard's editor,
Davison Maruziva, and reporter Savious Kwinika were being charged over a
report that ballot boxes and papers were found hidden at the house of a
rural administrative official days after the disputed poll.

      The substance of the report is not disputed by the police. The
official has appeared in court. But the journalists are being accused of
intending to incite public violence.

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Zim Online

State agents raid NGOs
Tue 26 April 2005

      HARARE - Government agents have since the beginning of this month
raided 15 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to probe their activities in
a fresh crackdown on civic society, ZimOnline has established.

      Sources yesterday said former intelligence minister and now Social
Welfare Minister, Nicholas Goche, appointed a taskforce with members
recruited from other government ministries and from the dreaded state spy
Central Intelligence Organisation to inspect and investigate the activities
of NGOs.

      The government hopes to unearth information that might give it a
pretext to close or restrict certain NGOs it believes are opposed to its
rule, according to the sources.

      Goche yesterday refused to discuss the investigation or reveal the
names of members of the probe team saying he was still trying to find his
feet at his new job.

      But the National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations
(NANGO), the main representative body for civic society groups in the
country, confirmed that several local and international NGOs had reported
visits at their offices by the government taskforce.

      NANGO information officer Fambai Ngirande charged that the probe
appeared to go beyond merely establishing whether civic bodies were
operating within the law but had a "political dimension" to it.

      Ngirande said: "The inter-ministerial team, which appointed inspecting
officers, is currently doing the rounds investigating NGOS around various
aspects of their operations. We understand that the team also includes
representatives from different line ministries.

      "Whereas the minister is legally entitled to carry out investigations
under the auspices of PVO Act on incidents of maladministration, the process
appears to go beyond merely adhering to the dictates of the law as there are
other political dimensions evident particularly in the identification of the
probed organisations."

      The NANGO official would however not confirm the names of NGOs visited
by the state-probe team or what exactly the government inspectors wanted to
know about the civic bodies' operations.

      But well placed sources said NANGO itself was raided on April 19,
2005. Other NGOs visited in the past few weeks include ZimRights, Plan
International, Girl Child Network, Care and World Vision.

      According to documents shown to ZimOnline, the government taskforce
will among other things inspect the affairs and activities of each NGO,
examine all documentation relating to the group's registration and also
establish who constitute its board of trustees or directors.

      The investigators will also probe funding of NGOs to ensure that
groups receiving funding from outside the country comply with foreign
currency regulations.

      NGOs have become the target of government attacks after exposing in
the last five years corruption, gross human rights abuses and general
misrule by President Robert Mugabe and his government.

      Mugabe in turn accuses NGOs of working with his Western enemies to
incite Zimbabweans against his rule.

      A new and tougher NGO law banning civic society groups from carrying
out voter education and barring those involved in governance-related work
from receiving foreign funding was this month referred back to Parliament by
Mugabe for further perfection before he signs it into effective law. -
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Zim Online

Devaluation will hurt recovery plans: analysts
Tue 26 April 2005
  HARARE - Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono must choose
between a rock and hard place when he announces his post-election monetary
policy this week with analysts saying he must devalue the local currency to
boost exports but cautioning such a move will fuel inflation.

      To raise the US$600 million, desperately needed to import food, fuel
and electricity and avert a looming humanitarian disaster in Zimbabwe, Gono
must devalue the local dollar and attract more hard cash away from a
thriving black-market to the official market.

      The Zimbabwe dollar trades at $6 000 to one American dollar on the
official market compared to about $16 000 required to purchase one green
back on the illegal parallel market.

      Local newspapers have reported that Gono, who appears to have
dedicated his governorship to fighting down Zimbabwe's record high
inflation, might devalue the local currency by as much as 100 percent in a
bid to find cash especially for food imports.

      Inflation which peaked at 620 percent in December 2003 is currently
pegged at 123.7 percent the result of resolute anti-inflation measures by

      But analysts told ZimOnline that adjusting the exchange rate to
anywhere near the black market rates will trigger off vicious inflationary
pressure that could reverse the gains made by Gono so far in significantly
bringing down the key rate.

      "He needs to devalue in order to raise the US dollars for critical
imports but devaluation on its own may fuel inflation," said an economic
analyst with a Harare bank who declined to be named for professional

      Independent economic analyst John Robertson said there was little to
choose from as Zimbabwe finds itself facing the "penalty of wrong policies
of the past."

      Robertson said devaluing will "no doubt" increase inflationary
pressures in the economy, undoing much of the gains so far in bringing down
inflation. Prices of nearly every other basic commodity, which are already
beyond the reach of many, will go up again because of a weaker Zimbabwe
dollar, he said.

      But Robertson said the cost of not devaluing now will even be more
painful in future with more export earning firms scaling down operations or
closing shop altogether. More jobs will be lost in the export sector and
hard cash already in short supply will become even scarcer and so will
electricity, fuel, food, essential medical drugs and other key imports
sourced from outside the country.

      Robertson said, what Zimbabwe ultimately required to do was not to
tinker with the exchange rate in a piecemeal approach to its economic crisis
but to change its behaviour and policies in order to be accepted back by the
international community and once more be able to access financial help from
the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

      The IMF cut balance-of-payments support to Harare six years ago after
disagreeing with President Robert Mugabe on fiscal policy, land reforms and
other governance-related issues.

      Chaotic and often violent government land reforms that followed the
fallout with the IMF a year later in 2000 only helped exacerbate Zimbabwe's
economic crisis after the reforms destabilised the key agricultural sector.

      Robertson said under the circumstances, there was little Gono or
anybody else could do for Zimbabwe. He said the governor will most probably
not opt for a wholesale devaluation but will go for special devaluations
limited to specific and key sectors of the economy such as for example, the
gold sector in a bid to boost the individual sectors while at the same time
keeping a lid on inflationary pressures. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Fuel crisis back with a vengeance
Tue 26 April 2005
  HARARE - Zimbabwe's five-year fuel crisis, which had shown signs of easing
up last year, worsened yesterday with most garages in the capital Harare
running out of supplies.

      Fuel attendants at most garages in Harare said they last had supplies
a week ago and the little diesel which had been supplied over the weekend
had quickly run out. The situation was the same in Zimbabwe's second biggest
city, Bulawayo, where supplies had also run out.

      Zimbabwe has experienced severe foreign currency shortages since 1999
when the International Monetary Fund withdrew support in protest over
President Robert Mugabe's policies. With no foreign currency, Harare has
failed to secure a steady flow of the precious liquid in the last five years
resulting in long fuel queues across the country.

      The foreign currency crisis has also seen, among other things, the
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) failing to import power from
its neighbours, resulting in erratic power supplies. Last week, Harare was
plunged into darkness because of the power crisis threatening the viability
of the few remaining industries.

      Zimbabwe is in the throes of a severe economic and political crisis
blamed on Mugabe's policies. Mugabe denies charges of mismanaging the
economy blaming the country's woes on sabotage by the west because of his
land reform programme where he seized large farms from the minority whites
for redistribution to landless blacks. - ZimOnline

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Source: Xinhua News Agency

Date: 25 Apr 2005

Zimbabwean gov't releases more funds to finance farming
HARARE, Apr 25, 2005 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- The Zimbabwe government has
availed a 600 billion Zimbabwean dollars (about 96.8 million US dollars)
loan up from 215 billion Zimbabwean dollars (about 34.7 million US dollars )
it released last year to finance this year's winter wheat, a senior
government official said on Monday.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Joseph Made said in a
statement that "In its endeavor to boost the production of wheat during the
2005 season, the Ministry of Finance through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe,
released 600 billion Zimbabwean dollars to support the production of this
year's wheat."

He appealed to farmers who intend to grow wheat this year and have necessary
irrigation and farming equipment to be registered as growers with the Grain
marketing Board (GMB) to facilitate funding support and stop order

Wheat seed would be available at GMB depots and seed companies or input
suppliers, Made said, adding that fertilizers and chemicals would be
available at the organization and at fertilizer companies.

The Agriculture and Rural Development Authority, District Development Fund
and private contractors would provide tillage facilities to wheat farmers
against purchase orders from Agribank, he said.

"The bank will immediately pay the contracted service providers on receipt
of invoices for service rendered," the minister said.

There was a fund for the rehabilitation, repair and maintenance of
irrigation facilities, he said, adding that site assessment and approval was
being carried out by the Department of Irrigation Services.

It is said that 80,000 hectares were targeted to be put under wheat this

Last year, Zimbabwe produced about 200,000 metric tons of wheat up from
55,000 tons in the previous season. Zimbabwe requires 480, 000 metric tons
of wheat annually.
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San Antonio Express

Editorial: While his country suffers, Mugabe feasts on power
Web Posted: 04/26/2005 12:00 AM CDT

San Antonio Express-News

Much of the world is celebrating a movement toward reform and democracy. But
not President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.

Mugabe, 81, has ruled the African nation since its independence in 1980. He
recently won re-election in a process domestic opponents claim was
fraudulent. His government barred Western observers from monitoring the

Immediately, Mugabe set upon altering the constitution to solidify his
ZANU-PF party's grip on power.

At an independence day celebration, Mugabe declared his country's unique
course against the tide of history and took a jab at Western-style

"We have turned east, where the sun rises, and given our back to the west,
where the sun sets," he told a crowd as Chinese-built jet fighters flew in
formation overhead.

That course has turned a nation that was once considered southern Africa's
breadbasket into a humanitarian disaster area. The state-managed economy has
an unemployment rate of 70 percent and has contracted by 50 percent since
2000. Human rights organizations regularly cite Mugabe's regime as one of
the most repressive on Earth.

Mugabe may be facing east toward the rising sun. He should instead be
looking down at the desolation and despair that fill the land around him.
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Business Day

Posted to the web on: 26 April 2005
Two concepts of freedom
Anthony Butler

THOSE who understand democracy as a system of free elections, underpinned by
political liberty and the rule of law, may feel they have reason to doubt
the African National Congress's (ANC's) commitment to a democratic future.
The cabinet's endorsement of Zanu (PF)'s stolen election, they argue,
privileges the historical authority of a liberation movement over the
self-determination of Zimbabwe's people.

At home, the ANC's caucus code of conduct subordinates Parliament to the
party, and ANC bosses squash MPs' aspirations to make law and oversee the
executive. The public broadcaster is training its reporters as performing
lap dogs, and the official opposition's representatives are routinely
ridiculed. Now it seems the ANC wants to render the courts subservient to
"the masses".

Have the paranoid politics and organisational secrecy of the exile
liberation movement bequeathed us an anti-democratic monster? Not really.
ANC leaders have declared their intention to extend their influence to "all
levels of power" to counter potential "sabotage" by "forces opposed to
transformation". Their project, however, begins from an alternative
understanding of freedom and democracy, rather than from an antagonism
towards those values.

All conceptions of what it is to be free share the underlying idea that our
freedom is diminished when we are unable to realise our purposes. The
liberal tradition, within which the Democratic Alliance feels most at home,
understands liberty as the absence of external and personal constraints on
our ability to act as we please. On this view, we are unfree when the state
fails to respect and protect a realm of individual liberty defined by our
civil and political rights - and by our right to enjoy our property.

ANC veterans are likewise alert to the importance of political freedom.
However, their experience of apartheid - and their extended immersion in
socialist and developmental traditions - has convinced them of the
limitations of the liberal ideal. Constraints on freedom, they observe, need
not be external and personal. To protect rights and liberties is never
enough. The black consciousness tradition, for example, highlights the
motivational inhibitions internalised by blacks because of oppression and
white supremacy. A consequent lack of selfbelief, until redressed, is a
powerful constraint on a person's ability to realise his or her purposes.
Even if blacks are no longer denied political rights, their lack of assets
and skills may still leave them effectively in chains.

Rather than celebrating democratic elections, constitutionalism and
political rights as triumphs in themselves, the ANC views these as
instruments in a larger struggle: the "national democratic revolution"
towards "the creation of a nonracial, nonsexist, democratic and united SA".
The ANC's championing of national democratic revolution has brought four
clear gains. First, the doctrine has prevented the ANC from resting on its
constitutional laurels, driving its relentless efforts to promote universal
public services and a fuller realisation of social and economic rights.

Second, the democratic revolutionary project has helped neutralise the
potential for dramatic ideological polarisation within the ANC. It is only
the overarching project to create a united, nonracial and nonsexist SA that
can transcend more immediate conflicts of interest and ideology between
African nationalists, traditionalists, empowerment entrepreneurs, the labour
movement and the South African Communist Party (SACP).

Third, the ANC has used the language of revolution to protect the wealthy
from revolt by the poor. Many communities languish in poverty, appalled at
inequality and poor public services. Yet the revolutionary timetable
dictates that fiscal prudence and minimal redistribution is needed "in the
current phase", when international capitalism must still be accommodated.
Meanwhile the SACP has used leftist rhetoric to undercut support for the new
protest movements.

Finally, the socialist orientation of the national democratic revolution has
helped the left to contest the culture of elite enrichment. Communist
intellectuals introduced the doctrine to the ANC four decades ago to avert
the destruction of socialist ambitions and organised labour by rapacious
nationalist elites - something they had witnessed in other liberation
struggles. The SACP's goal was to reconcile itself to necessary ideological
compromises - such as bourgeois democracy and private property - without
allowing nationalist or bourgeois elites to close down a road to socialism.

If it has been such a success, should the ANC's conception of national
democratic revolution not be celebrated as superior to liberal democracy?
Could it not be patented and exported to the failed - or at least limited -
democracies of North America and western Europe?

Sadly, notwithstanding its achievements, the doctrine has two overriding
weaknesses. First, the political accommodation that it accomplishes between
diverse interests and values lacks intellectual and moral coherence. It may
lead to the worst of all worlds: a messy compromise between over-regulated
labour, rocketing social welfare expenditure, and rampant elite enrichment.

Second, the moral authority of the revolutionary conception of democracy
inevitably comes at the expense of respect for liberal institutions and
political rights. In the face of grinding poverty and entrenched historical
disadvantage, political liberty - and its guarantors in representative
democracy and the rule of law - can come to seem minimal and impoverished

ANC heavyweights' open contempt for Parliament and distrust of pluralist
pressure-group politics indicates the failure of liberal ideas to establish
their authority. Understanding the "bourgeois democracy" of parliaments and
constitutions to be a provisional accomplishment, activists often idealise a
participatory democracy in which the mobilised masses directly drive

Moreover, party veterans may be less concerned with whether important
decisions are actually taken by the citizenry than with whether those
decisions advance what the ANC understands as the real interests of the
people. Under their tutelage, a new generation of activists already chafes
against the perceived constraints that liberal institutions impose.

The real testing of liberal institutions will come when the ruling party
finally faces a genuine electoral challenge. Suddenly the incentives to
obstruct free political activity, stifle editorial independence and curtail
political freedoms will escalate. In such circumstances the lack of genuine
enthusiasm for liberal democratic ideas and institutions, instilled across
generations of revolutionary equivocation, could prove liberal democracy's

Butler is an associate professor in the political studies department at the
University of Cape Town.

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Informal Cross Border Food Trade in Southern Africa, Mar 2005


Over 102,000 MT of maize, 17,000 MT of rice and 17,000 MT of bean trade have been recorded since July as 2004/05 marketing season comes to an end.

Harvest expectations and the maize export ban in Zambia will significantly influence the volume and direction of flow of trade in the new marketing season.

Informal Cross Border Trade Flow Overview

As of the end of March, the end of the agricultural marketing season for most Southern African countries, the informal cross border food trade monitoring initiative had captured nearly 102,000 MT of unrecorded trade in maize; close to 17,000 MT of trade in rice and 17,000 MT trade in beans in the six monitored countries of Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, DRC and Zimbabwe. The monitoring system has been in place for only nine months (July 2004 to March 2005) and so actual volumes for the entire 2004/05 marketing season would be higher if the uncovered period April to June 2004 were included.

As shown in figure 1, maize was the most traded commodity. Nearly equal volumes of rice and beans were traded during the period and monthly variations were less significant than for maize.

Summary of Maize Trade : July 2004 -- March 2005

Figure 2 summarises the flows and volumes of maize trade between July 2004 and March 2005. Malawi has benefited the most from the trade, importing nearly 76,000 MT, largely from Mozambique (71,000 MT). Zimbabwe was the second biggest importer at 13,000 MT, entirely from Zambia, and DRC the third at close to 8,000 MT. The flow of trade was in the expected direction as both Malawi and Zimbabwe had cereal deficits where as the major exporters, Mozambique and Zambia had above average harvests. The large informal imports by Malawi have significantly ameliorated the food insecurity situation in that country and have helped to keep consumer prices at relatively low levels among the monitored countries (see figure 3).

The large volumes of informal imports may also have influenced the Malawi government to reduce by one half its programme to import 70,000 MT of maize for commercial sale. Informal maize exports into Zimbabwe could have been much higher had the country not imposed restrictive taxes and levies which only favoured the state owned Grain Marketing Board for imports. This could also have contributed to generally higher consumer prices in that country for most of the season as shown in figure 3. Zimbabwe had a higher level of cereal deficit than Malawi.

Maize Prices

Fig 3 presents retail maize prices from selected cities in the monitored countries during the period July 2004 to March 2005. The figure shows the general demand and supply situation in these major consumption areas and does not necessarily point to the direction of flow of cross border trade. However, inference could be made to the role cross border trade has played in supplying these markets and in some cases helping to keep prices down. In Zambia, as an indication of dwindling supplies as the marketing year draws to a close, retail prices in Lusaka rose by 18% between February and March. Prices in Maputo remained at the same levels in March as in February (US$0.26 per kilogram) indicating improving availability as new season crops become available especially in northern Mozambique. Prices rose marginally in Lilongwe from US$0.16 per kilogram in February to US$0.17 per kilogram in March; while in Harare, prices rose sharply (22%) between February and March . Prices are expected to peak at the end of marketing year as supplies are depleted. During the next few months, starting from April, retail prices are expected to initially decline as many consumers will be relying on own produce but prices are likely to gradually increase as the season progresses. How quickly prices start an upward trend will vary across the monitored countries. Prices are likely to rise earlier in Malawi and Zimbabwe because of successive seasons of poor harvest and due to the export ban imposed by Zambia. Although experiencing a poorer season, price increases in Zambia are expected to be cushioned by some carry over stocks from last season.

Informal Maize Trade Prospects for 2005/06 Marketing Year

Figure 4 shows sources of informal maize trade during the 2004/05 marketing year. Mozambique dominated the trade, accounting for 66% of the total exports. Zambia contributed 21% and Tanzania, 12%. In the new marketing season starting in April, the volumes traded and direction of trade could both change significantly due to the export ban imposed by Zambia. Zambia has imposed a cautionary maize export ban until conclusive harvest assessments are available. Early assessments, however, indicate a poor harvest due to among other things, a mid season drought in the southern parts of the country. Malawi is likely to continue to informally import maize from Mozambique, although the volumes could be less than last season. Surpluses in northern Mozambique are likely to be somewhat smaller than last year due to erratic rains. Relative prices will determine the direction the Mozambican surpluses will flow. If the expected poor harvest in Malawi leads to significant price increases, Mozambican maize will flow into the country due to the proximity and historical linkages. But poor harvests in other parts of central and southern Mozambique may exert a strong pull on these supplies. There is also a possibility of increased trade between northern Tete Province of Mozambique and parts of eastern Zambia. These borders are not currently monitored by the cross border trade initiative but efforts will be made to include them in the system before the main marketing season begins. In view of the Zambian export ban, Zimbabwean traders would have to compete with internal urban consumers of Mozambique for maize produced in Central Mozambique. However, given the stringent trade barriers in Zimbabwe, informal maize imports from Mozambique remain unlikely. South eastern DRC may have to look to western Tanzania for cross border trade in maize if the export ban in Zambia remains effective.

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25 April 2005

Food, Anti-Democratic Forces Swayed Election in Zimbabwe
IRI's Africa director terms Mugabe tactics less violent than usual but

By Jim Fisher-Thompson
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington -- Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's regime was less violently
intimidating than usual in recent parliamentary elections, says elections
expert Jeff Krilla -- but only because the government's use of the
restricted food supply and anti-democratic legislation and forces as
electoral weapons made such acts unnecessary.

Krilla, director of the International Republican Institute's (IRI) Africa
division, analyzed the March elections that representatives of the U.S.
government and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) called deeply flawed
during April 21 testimony before the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global
Human Rights and International Operations.

He told Subcommittee Chairman Christopher Smith (Republican of New Jersey),
"The weeks and months leading up to the [March] election were marked by less
violence and flagrant abuse than in previous elections in Zimbabwe.  I must
acknowledge that the anti-democratic forces of Zimbabwe are continually
growing more sophisticated."

Smith, a long-time champion of human rights, said he was deeply concerned
about recent events in Zimbabwe where he said, "President Mugabe has taken
the repressive path and has systematically violated the fundamental human
rights of the people of Zimbabwe" while "dismantling" the nation's economy.

Krilla, who has observed elections in Zimbabwe since 1991, said Mugabe and
his ZANU-PF party are on the road to achieving their aim of a monopoly of
power without having to resort to widespread violence.

Violence might have diminished, but "[t]his election's apparent decrease in
physical intimidation should not be taken as an opening of political space,
but rather a preconceived tactic by the government of Zimbabwe to create a
facade of legitimate elections," Krilla hastened to add.

"There are reports that the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) engaged in
systematic voting fraud on a massive scale," Krilla said.  "And Government
measures prior to the election ensured the absence of a level playing field
and all but assured a ruling-party victory."

But the principal means of undermining the electoral process is restrictive
legislation that was passed before the March parliamentary contest, the NGO
official noted.  "A number of laws including the notoriously repressive
Public Order and Security Act, which limits public meetings and gatherings
and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), which
bars independent media, guaranteed that a fair election could not occur."

Moreover, "Conditions in Zimbabwe do not permit the IRI nor any of our
partners to work in Zimbabwe, as we have done in other countries throughout
Africa," Krilla added.  "Late in 2004 the Parliament of Zimbabwe passed
legislation banning foreign funding for NGOs, which makes any IRI mission
not only difficult but illegal."

A more insidious tactic employed by ZANU-PF was the distribution of food
supplies, Krilla told the subcommittee.  Having wrecked the economy by
disastrous agricultural policies, he explained, the Mugabe government used
its monopoly of the food supply throughout the campaign and the subsequent
drought as a "political tool -- withholding food aid, controlling access to
seeds and other agricultural inputs, and granting maize allotments only
after seeing ruling [ZANU-PF] party membership cards."

He said, "One ZANU-PF parliamentary candidate, who shall remain nameless,
told a rally that those who voted the right way would have plenty to eat
after the election."

Despite such setbacks to democracy, Krilla told lawmakers, "This struggle is
not a dying dream.  We should not take the disheartening outcome of the
recent elections as an excuse to give up."

He said the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Agency for International Development
(USAID) mission in Harare remain open and they have an opportunity to "ramp
up American support for democratic institutions in Zimbabwe" like the main
opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Many opposition political parties in Africa choose to boycott elections out
of pique, but the MDC has participated in two parliamentary elections and a
presidential election despite "tremendous pressure," Krilla noted.

Despite the laws limiting meetings and publicity, "the MDC has not only
survived, but grown, building a grassroots movement capable of bringing tens
of thousands to its rallies and forcing the Zimbabwean Government to
recognize it as a significant political player."

Krilla concluded that with an infusion of U.S. government support in the
right quarter, Zimbabwe might well be removed from the Secretary of State's
list of  "outposts of tyranny."

(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information
Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:
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