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Zimbabwe Devalues Currency by 98% to Boost Exports

By Nasreen Seria and Godfrey Mutizwa

April 26 (Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwe's central bank, hobbled by the world's
fastest shrinking economy and its highest inflation rate, devalued the
nation's currency for exporters by 98 percent to ease foreign exchange

Exporters and companies that generate foreign currency will be paid the
equivalent of 15,000 Zimbabwe dollars, central bank Governor Gideon Gono
said in a monetary policy statement today, according to a copy on the
central bank's Web site. The currency is officially pegged at 250 to the
U.S. dollar, while it trades at about 20,000 on the black market.

Gono has been under increasing pressure to devalue the Zimbabwe dollar to
boost exports and help revive the economy from an eight-year recession,
triggered by President Robert Mugabe's seizure of white-owned commercial

``The net revenue exporters will receive is closer to the cost base and will
return viability to the mining industry,'' Ian Saunders, president of the
Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines said by telephone from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's
second-biggest city. ``If you increase exporters' viability, you increase
economic activity.''

The improved exchange rate will be applied to miners, farmers, tour
operators, non-governmental organizations, embassies, Zimbabweans living
abroad that expatriate earnings, and others who generate foreign exchange,
central bank spokesman Kumbirai Nhongo said by telephone from Bulawayo

Central Bank Control

Exporters will be required to exchange money at the central bank to receive
the better rate, said Saunders.

``There is no widespread devaluation,'' he added. ``Everything will be done
through the central bank.''

Zimbabwe has suffered frequent food, fuel and foreign currency shortages
since 2000, when Mugabe ordered white-owned commercial farms be given to
black subsistence farmers. The government has also printed money to pay
debts, boosting inflation.

The inflation rate reached a record 2,200 percent in March, from 1,730
percent in February, Gono said today. The central bank increased its
benchmark interest rate to 600 percent from 500 percent, he added. At the
same time, the International Monetary Fund estimates that the economy will
contract 5.7 percent this year, after shrinking 4.8 percent last year.

Stock Rally

The Zimbabwean Stock Exchange Industrials index has gained more than
eight-fold this year as interest rates were kept at less than a third of the
inflation rate, prompting investors to look to the stock market for better
returns than the government-controlled money market. The index jumped 9.6
percent to 4,714,403 today, according to Bloomberg data.

Zimbabwe's central bank will pay gold exporters 350,000 Zimbabwe dollars a
gram for those who elect not to retain foreign exchange earnings, Gono said.
That is up from 16,000 Zimbabwe dollars previously. Gold production dropped
19 percent to 2.24 metric tons in the first quarter from the same period
last year, Gono said.

The central bank will also help boost the earnings of tobacco growers.
Tobacco farmers will be paid a ``top-up support price'' for every kilogram
they sell, depending on the sale price, Gono said. He also raised the amount
of foreign earnings that tobacco growers can retain to 20 percent from 15

``In order to encourage and support farmers in rebuilding the glitter of the
golden leaf, it has become necessary that viability in the tobacco sector be
enhanced through additional support measures,'' Gono said.

Tobacco Crop

The country's tobacco crop will probably increase 46 percent to 80 million
kilograms this year, Gono said today. Production has slumped from a 2000
high of 236 million kilograms following the government's failed land reform

The central bank governor also said that 500,000 tons of corn has been
ordered to alleviate a food shortage and urged the government to seek
partners to help develop diamond mines. Farmers have delivered around
170,000 tons of wheat to the national grain buying agency, he said.

Gono resisted calls to devalue the currency in his previous monetary policy
statement on Jan. 31. The Zimbabwe dollar was last devalued by 60 percent
against the U.S. dollar on July 31, 2006, the third time in a year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Godfrey Mutizwa in Johannesburg at ; Nasreen Seria in Johannesburg at .

Last Updated: April 26, 2007 12:58 EDT

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New Zimbabwe exchange rate is not devaluation, central bank governor insists

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: April 26, 2007

HARARE, Zimbabwe: State central bank governor Gideon Gono announced measures
Thursday that effectively devalued the Zimbabwe dollar 60-fold in most
official transactions - but he insisted the move was not a true devaluation
in the nation's crumbling economy.

Gono said the measure aimed to draw hard currency away from the thriving
black market and back into the official financial system.

Analysts said Gono announced a split exchange rate in a bid to alleviate
acute hard currency shortages and it typified the bizarre nature of the
worst economic crisis in Zimbabwe since independence in 1980.

The governor said hard currency earners submitting US dollars into the
country's coffers would be paid out at the official legal exchange rate of
250 Zimbabwean dollars to the US dollar.

But while US$1 would first be changed for 250 Zimbabwe dollars - it would
then be multiplied to 15,000 Zimbabwe dollars for exporters, international
organizations, gold and tobacco producers, Zimbabweans abroad remitting
money home and other genuine "generators of foreign currency."

"This will be done without altering the official exchange rate of 250-1" in
other routine business, he said, without explaining the details.
Speaking in a national financial policy review delivered at the annual
Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in the second city of Bulawayo, Gono
warned reporters he did not want to see headlines that he had devalued the

"There's no devaluation. There's not going to be any exchange rate movement.
We have not devalued the dollar but sought ways to enhance the viability of
foreign currency generators in a sector specific way," Gono said.

He brought the policy review forward from July, saying the economy couldn't
wait until then for new recovery measures.

President Robert Mugabe has publicly opposed an outright devaluation and
fired one finance minister who proposed the only way to balance the nation's
books was to let the Zimbabwe dollar float against market forces.

Analysts said the black market rate of about 25,000-1 - about 100 fold above
the official rate - was a true reflection of the market rate driven by
demand and Zimbabwe's skewed business conditions.

Independent Harare economist John Robertson said black market dealing would
continue to thrive. The new and unusual measure lacked enough incentive to
attract serious hard cash.

"It's juvenile. It's pathetic, but I'll give him (Gono) 3 out of 10 marks
for trying," he said.

Gono acknowledged the economy was in deep trouble, but said erratic rain and
drought slashed food production, forcing the government to spend scarce hard
currency on importing 500,000 metric tons of mostly corn, the staple food,
to avert starvation in coming months.

He said the Reserve Bank also ordered 100,000 ox-drawn plows, 100,000
animal-drawn carts for transportation and other simple farm tools to be
distributed across the country.

"We are going back to basics," he said. "Food security is at the heart of
our inflation."

Mechanized farming largely collapsed during the often violent campaign to
seize thousands of white-owned commercial farms that began in 2000,
disrupting the agriculture-based economy.

Gono confirmed that official inflation rose last month to 2,200 percent, the
highest in the world, and said it was expected to worsen. The Central
Statistical Office mysteriously canceled its regular inflation announcement
early this month on a record 500 percentage point rise against February's
inflation figure of 1,700 percent.

Gono said the Reserve Bank was fighting profiteering and "the inflation

"Three quarters of our problems are our own shortcomings," Gono said.

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Zimbabwe faces drought, but rejects devaluation


Thu 26 Apr 2007, 16:38 GMT

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE, April 26 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's central bank on Thursday introduced
a new foreign currency bond to raise money to tackle a serious drought
threatening the country, but turned down demands for a general devaluation
of the local currency.

In an emergency policy statement unveiled two months ahead of schedule,
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono also offered new price
incentives for tobacco and gold producers facing collapse over a skewed
exchange rate.

Gono said Zimbabwe needed to raise foreign currency for imports to avert
further drought-induced food shortages.

"The drought situation in the economy impels that appropriate measures be
put in place...the Reserve Bank has, with immediate effect, opened up a
foreign currency drought stabilisation bond," Gono said.

He said the country's exporters, local individuals with foreign currency,
Zimbabweans living abroad and foreign investors could take up the two-year

Money raised through the bond would go towards a drought mitigation and
economic stabilisation fund, which would finance food imports, Gono said.

But analysts said the new measures would not be enough to help President
Robert Mugabe's government ride out a severe economic crisis that many blame
on mismanagement, controversial policies and confrontation with Western
powers and donors.

The World Bank says the southern African country has the fastest shrinking
economy outside a war zone, while the IMF says Zimbabwe's inflation -- 
already the world's highest -- might accelerate to 3,000 percent by the end
of this year.

On Thursday, Gono said annual inflation jumped to a record 2,200 percent
last month from 1,729.9 percent in February, and he raised lending rates by
100 percentage points to 600 percent in a bid to tame the rising prices.

Gono, appointed by Mugabe over three years ago to turn around the economy,
said there would be no merit in accepting clamours by commerce and industry
to devalue the Zimbabwe dollar, pegged at 250 to the U.S. dollar but selling
at 100 times that rate on a thriving black market.

But he indirectly devalued the Zimbabwe dollar to an effective rate of
Z$15,000 to the U.S. dollar by offering a new rate for foreign currency the
central bank will be buying for the new drought stabilisation fund that he
said would be set up.

The country's exporters, mainly miners and tobacco farmers, have protested
that the skewed exchange rate has devastated their businesses.


Zimbabwe is facing an estimated 1.5 million tonnes deficit of the staple
maize as a result of low production on commercial farms seized from whites
for black resettlement, but Gono said the shortage was mainly due to

"Thorough crop assessments undertaken over the last two months have
confirmed the devastating effects of the drought this current season, which
drought has not only hit Zimbabwe alone but the sub region as a whole," he

Zimbabwe, once the breadbasket of southern Africa, is crippled by foreign
currency and fuel shortages, unemployment of over 80 percent and the highest
rate of inflation in the world.

Mugabe's government has responded to a series of strikes and political
protests since the beginning of the year with a violent crackdown on
political opponents.

The central bank governor said the overnight secured interest rate would
rise to 600 percent from 500 percent previously. The unsecured rate would
rise to 700 percent from 600 percent.

In a bid to improve the viability of exporters, Gono raised the central
bank's gold support price to Z$350,000 per gram from Z$16,000 and introduced
a new support for tobacco of Z$40,000 a kg.

Leading private Zimbabwean economic consultant and commentator John
Robertson said Gono had skirted the main issues, and his measures were

"This patchwork is not going to repair the economy because the main problems
we have are to do with private property rights, lack of production and
problems with the international community," he said.

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EU Parliament urges full implementation of sanctions against Zimbabwe

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: April 26, 2007

STRASBOURG, France: The European Parliament urged EU member nations Thursday
to ensure sanctions against the regime of Zimbabwe's authoritarian President
Robert Mugabe are rigorously applied and no banned Zimbabweans attend a
planned EU-Africa summit.

The European Union has ordered economic and political sanctions against
Mugabe and top officials believed to be responsible for the violent
crackdown on the country's political opposition.

The sanctions include a ban on more than 100 government officials, ministers
and members of Mugabe's Zimbabwe African Union-Patriotic Front party from
traveling to the 27-nation bloc. It was extended on Monday by EU

Last month, however, Belgium granted a visa by mistake to a leading member
of the ZANU-PF who is on the blacklist. Although the visit never happened,
the European Parliament warned that such negligence severely undermines the
EU's policy on Zimbabwe.

"Weakness in the application of targeted sanctions ... gravely disappoints
those in Zimbabwe who seek the support of the international community," the
parliament said in a resolution.

The assembly also demanded that member states ensure no Zimbabwean officials
on the blacklist are invited to the EU-Africa summit in Lisbon planned for
The EU is the most important international donor to Zimbabwe. It gave ?193
million (US$263 million) to the country last year.

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Zimbabwe inflation soars to 2,200 percent

Yahoo News

by Fanuel Jongwe

HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe, already battling to contain the world's highest
rate of inflation, announced on Thursday that the figure had soared once
more to 2,200 percent.

After the official announcement of the rate for March was twice postponed
earlier this month, central bank governor Gideon Gono confirmed the figure
had crashed through the 2,000 percent barrier for the first time after
rising by another 470 percentage points from the 1,730 percent mark for
"Year-on-year inflation which stood at 1,072.2 percent in October rose to
11,281.1 percent in December and has risen to to 2,200 percent by March,"
Gono said in a televised statement.

"Inflation pressures are seen remaining high," Gono said, calling for a
collective effort to tame the "inflation dragon".

"It's imperative to note that the inflation dragon is as much determined by
collective mindsets of all of us as it is by monetary aggregates or what is
called money supply growth.

"As Zimbabweans, we must therefore think and act positively avoiding the
daily enterprise of scheming the downfall of the economy as a getaway to any

Gono has compared inflation in Zimbabwe to the  AIDS pandemic and the latest
figure further undermines a prediction by then finance minister Herbert
Murerwa in December that it would fall to around 300 percent by the end of

Best Doroh, an economist with Harare-based ZB Financial Holdings, said all
the evidence pointed to the prospect of an even bigger figure by the end of
the year.

"It is difficult to say what the rate will be by year end but it certainly
won't be anywhere near what these guys had initially predicted," he told

John Robertson, a Harare-based independent economist, predicted that the
rate could almost double by the end of the year.

"At the rate at which things are moving, inflation will surpass 4,000
percent by year end because the government is printing money and the central
bank was recently buying foreign currency on the parrallel market," he said.

"Things will get worse unless there is a change of policy," he added

Zimbabwe's economy has been on a downturn over the past seven years with
four in every five persons out of work and perennial shortages of
commodities like sugar, cooking oil and fuel in the one-time bread basket of

Over 80 percent of the population is living below the poverty threshold
often skipping meals or cycling or walking long distances to work in order
to stretch their wages.

The government blames the economic crisis on targetted sanctions imposed on
veteran President Robert Mugabe and members of his inner circle by the
United States and the European Union following presidential polls in 2002
which the opposition and western observers charged were rigged.

Part of the problem is a desperate lack of foreign currency with the
Zimbabwean dollar only fetching a fraction at official rates as on the
thriving black market.

In his address, Gono effectively devalued the currency for exporters and
those holding foreign exchange by 99 percent in a move seen as an attempt to
increase the inflows of foreign currency.

Shying away from calling it devaluation, Gono said the rate at which foreign
currency account holders can sell their foreign cash would be 60 times

Before the devaluation, the Zimbabwean dollar had been trading at around
25,000 to the greenback, against the official rate of 250 dollars.

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Legacy of a failed coup

Apr 26th 2007

Our online news editor learns that few have time for plots


I ADMIT a private interest in going to Harare. Simon Mann, a British
mercenary and aristocrat, a former officer of the Special Air Services, was
nabbed at Harare airport a few years ago while trying to buy a plane-load of
grenades and automatic rifles. He was detained with 60-odd fellow hired guns
and, eventually, jailed for breaking various petty laws. His real crime was
plotting, rather ambitiously, to overthrow the government of an oil-rich
African dictatorship, Equatorial Guinea, a close ally of Zimbabwe. Now he is
rotting in a maximum security prison here, a place called Chikurubi. Last
year I wrote a book on the failed coup attempt, and I wonder what has since
happened to Mr Mann.

In previous visits I tried to get to the prison to see the unlucky plotter.
Unsurprisingly, that proved impossible. But I have seen his various lawyers,
including two in Harare, and one or two well-connected Zimbabweans who have
their own theories on the mercenary's scheme. One close ally of Robert
Mugabe suggested to me that the plot's true goal was to get Zimbabwe's
rulers in trouble. If only.

According to various reports, Mr Mann is no longer in good shape. Apparently
he suffers from severe organ failure. He desperately needs medical
attention. He has had a hernia. Well, maybe.

Without being uncharitable-I have no doubt that Chikurubi is an unwholesome
place to be-I suspect that Mr Mann's sudden rash of ill-health may be an
attempt to quash efforts by slippery lawyers to extradite him to Equatorial
Guinea. If Mr Mann can be shown to be ill, extradition may prove harder to
achieve. In any case, he should know his fate within weeks, when he will be
either released or bundled onto a plane (presumably in exchange for cheap
oil and suitcases stuffed with cash) to Equatorial Guinea.

The extradition hearings took place last week in his prison. It seems that
the authorities worry that Mr Mann might stage an escape or be rescued by
other mercenaries. Earlier in the week Jonathan Moyo, an independent MP,
said that the CIA was rumoured to be planning to break Mr Mann from prison.
Now that would make a dramatic epilogue.

But these days nobody in Harare seems interested in talking about a plot.
The main preoccupation is the misery of daily living. A friend, a Zimbabwean
journalist, has long resisted the idea that his country is falling apart.
But a once reliable electricity grid is breaking down, forcing residents to
set up noisy generators in their back gardens. Harare is growing darker at
night. Crime used to be low; now petty crooks, robbers, shoplifters and the
like are increasingly active. Corruption is more common.

My friend is changing his view. He gave in last month and bought a
generator. Needing a cable, he ordered one on a Thursday afternoon and was
charged Z$3m (about $12,000). By Monday, when he collected it, the price was
$4.5m. In Mugabeland, getting through the day is becoming a full-time job.
No one has time to worry about bizarre stories of mercenary plots.

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Factionalism grips Zanu PF over Mugabe's 2008 presidential bid


Sokwanele Article : 26 April 2007
Factionalism has gripped the ruling party's Bulawayo Province following
revelations that the majority of members are against the fielding of
President Robert Mugabe in next year's presidential election proposed to run
simultaneously with local government and parliamentary polls.

Authoritative sources within the party said this week the entire leadership
in Bulawayo Province was seriously divided with a few backing Mugabe while
the majority were in favour of Vice President Joice Mujuru and former Zanu
PF intelligence chief and current Minister of Rural Housing and Amenities
Emmerson Mnangagwa.

"There are definitely three factions one led by John Nkomo who supports
Mugabe as the party candidate for the presidential election and two others
led by Joshua Malinga and Dumiso Dabengwa who are backing Mnangagwa and
Mujuru respectively," said one of the sources, a member of the politburo,
the party's most powerful decision-making body.

Nkomo - the chairman of the ruling party, Speaker of Parliament, a relative
of President Mugabe and has presidential ambitions - is believed to be in
favour of the 83 year-old Zimbabwean leader as Mugabe appears to have a soft
spot for him.

"The ruling party chairman has always featured in all Cabinet reshuffles
since independence and had to be persuaded by his PF Zapu colleagues to
leave his cabinet post when Zapu was kicked out of the government in the
early 1980s following a 'discovery' of military weapons cached by the
Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) in Matabeleland.

ZIPRA was the armed wing of PF Zapu led by former Vice President Joshua
Nkomo. It was accused by the Mugabe regime of attempting to topple the
government by military force.

The sources further said a few members of the ruling party's Women's League
and former members of Zanu PF's armed wing, the Zimbabwe African National
Liberation Army (ZANLA), were backing Nkomo in supporting President Robert
Mugabe's unpopular move to contest in next year's presidential election.

"This is just a group of few people who want Mugabe to contest the election.
Otherwise they are an unpopular Bulawayo provincial group even if the Zanu
PF Central Committee recently endorsed Mugabe as the party's candidate for
next year's presidential election," said another source, a member of the
party's central committee.

On the other hand, the sources said former Zapu intelligence supremo, Dumiso
Dabengwa, appeared to have an upper hand over other factions as he was
believed to be making underground maneuvres together with ex-army commander
General Solomon Mujuru to catapult the latter's wife, Joice, to Zimbabwe's
top most political position.

"Dabengwa has the backing of members of the party's Youth League in Bulawayo
Province, most members of the Women's League and the current provincial
executive committees of the War Veterans Association and the party's main
wing," said a source close to the veteran politician who is also a top
member of the War Veterans Association.

He said: "At the same time, the Dabengwa faction is courting members of the
opposition in an effort to make a surprise move towards the presidential
election by fielding Vice President Joice Mujuru to fight it out with
President Mugabe.

"This will be a coalition movement with members of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) and other opposition parties fed up with Mugabe's
iron-first rule. This faction is on a public relations exercise trying to
fool Mugabe to appear as if it is on his side while waiting to make a
surprise political move towards the 2008 presidential election."

The sources said Dabengwa, President Mugabe's most feared remnant of the
once-lethal revolutionary PF Zapu, had nothing to lose if he opposed
President Mugabe as the ruling elite had sidelined him for a long time.

"He has taken a gamble and once this works out, he might revive his
political career. Dabengwa has never been trusted by Mugabe from the time he
was the intelligence chief of Zapu," said one of the sources within the

The source said as for the Joshua Malinga faction, it appeared to be losing
grip of the War Veterans Association and executive committee members of the
ruling party in the province following a foiled nationally-crafted palace
coup in 2004 affectionately known as the Tsholotsho Declaration.

Most members of this faction attempted to elect Mnangagwa to the post of
Vice President of the party and Zimbabwe at the last party Congress when
seven out of 10 chairmen of the ruling party's provincial executives and
other top members of the party met in Tsholotsho to block the election of
Joice Mujuru.

When the plot was unearthed, they were subsequently fired by the ruling
party for attempting to stage a palace coup which could have seen Mnangagwa
taking over from the late Vice President Simon Muzenda and Patrick Chinamasa
being elected party chairman instead of John Nkomo.

The meeting was designed to get rid of the old Zapu guard like Vice
President Joseph Msika, John Nkomo, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, Effort Nkomo and
other top party members. This would have led to the gradual political demise
of President Mugabe.

"This faction therefore appears to have lost it when they attempted to stage
a palace coup and is now seen as docile. Although it is still being
supported by former freedom fighters like Jabulani Sibanda and his few
followers, it is toothless," said another source, a war veteran.

The source said: "The leader of this faction (Malinga) is widely seen by
most Zanu PF cadres and former members of PF Zapu as a total failure. He was
given a chance to run the City of Bulawayo as mayor but did not command a
lot of respect among his party colleagues.

"At the same time, he has failed to garner support in any election and as a
result he can't win the hearts of serious politicians. The person
(Mnangagwa) that the faction is backing is viewed as having played a key
role in the deployment of the Five Brigade which killed over 20 000
civilians in Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces at the height of the
civil strife of the 1980s pitting Zanu PF and PF Zapu."

The North Korean-trained brigade, commonly known as Gukurahundi, was
deployed by the government to hunt down so-called dissidents which were
allegedly backed by Joshua Nkomo in an attempt to topple the Mugabe

Despite the faction fighting in the Bulawayo Province, it remains to be seen
whether the Dabengwa and Malinga factions will have the nerve to field
candidates against President Mugabe, widely referred worldwide as Africa's

Their other fear might be the non-alignment of Vice President Msika to any
of the factions. Msika is believed to be the king maker in the region after
the death of Vice President Joshua Nkomo.

"We don't fear Mugabe or any person in the ruling party. He (Mugabe) is a
human being like all of us . Time will come when he has to be forced to go
and we will do it . In 2008, he has to pave way for another president," said
a member of the Malinga faction who is also one of the leaders of the party's
provincial Youth League.

Efforts to contact Dabengwa, Malinga and Nkomo were fruitless.

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Zimbabwe sets up diamonds whistle blowers fund

New Zimbabwe

By Torby Chimhashu in Bulawayo
Last updated: 04/27/2007 05:00:40
ZIMBABWE'S central bank has unveiled a whistle blowers' fund aimed at
disrupting leakages and smuggling of precious minerals.

Gideon Gono, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, announced the fund while
unveiling his monetary policy statement in Bulawayo where he is attending an
annual trade fair.

He said the fund, which will come into full force Friday, has been
necessitated by the continued spate of leakages of precious minerals
including gold and diamonds, threatening the performance of the economy.

"It has become necessary that the Reserve Bank resuscitates the whistle
blowers programme for gold and diamonds under which the whistle blowers will
be paid 5% of the value of actual prosecuted recoveries from their reported

"To complement the envisaged benefits of the whistle blowers programme, the
Reserve Bank is deepening its Anti-Money Laundering and Exchange Control
Inspectorate arms to ensure the illegal parallel market activities are
sufficiently dealt with," Gono said.

Gono revealed that gold continued to under perform, registering a total of
2.24 tonnes during the first quarter of 2007 - representing a decline of
19%, on the 2.76 tonnes registered over the same period in 2006.

He attributed the fall in output to combined effects of viability problems
and rampant smuggling which he said has put a dent on "what traditionally
stood as the country's reserve asset of last resort."

Several top government officials and civil servants have been implicated in
the smuggling of diamonds in Chiadzwa area, Marange, where diamond deposits
where unearthed towards the end of 2006.

High ranking cabinet ministers and security agents have been named as some
of the people behind the smuggling of diamonds, although no arrests and
prosecutions have been made.

In a joint operation involving police and the Central Intelligenc
Organisation (CIO), the RBZ has unearthed gold rackets and syndicates in
small towns involving Zanu PF legislators and businessmen.

Since the turn of the year, police have nabbed nearly 32 000 people -- but
none of the implicated government officers -- in a blitz code-named
Chikorokoza Chapera, casting doubts the government's seriousness to curb the
plunder of minerals.

Police recovered 3,6kg of gold and 7 868 diamonds since the blitz was
launched in November.

Only one notable Zanu PF official, William Nhara, was arrested after he
tried to smuggle diamonds worth US$130 000 out of the country through the
Harare International Airport.

Nhara, who is the Zanu PF Harare province spokesman, is out on bail.

Zimbabwe is losing between US$40-US$50 million every week through the
smuggling of precious minerals, especially gold, said Gono.

In February, a Harare magistrate was arrested together with seven others in
Mhangura where they were allegedly panning for gold.

A week later, police raided a house belonging to Zimbabwe Defence Industries
boss, retired Colonel Tshinga Dube, and arrested his son who was released on

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A New Zimbabwe: Brave and confused

Comment from The Mail & Guardian (SA), 25 April

Gugulethu Moyo

Outside the cities, few people in Zimbabwe read newspapers. The state press
belongs to Robert Mugabe and he controls television and radio stations.
There is no doubt that the deck is heavily stacked in the president's
favour. So it was hardly a surprise when, invited to share his vision of
Zimbabwe's future with readers of the Mail & Guardian, staffers in the
office of MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai responded with enthusiasm. "This is
wonderful," gushed communications adviser George Sibotshiwe, "we will take
you up on your offer." That was on April 3, a month after we first asked the
MDC leader to contribute to these pages. Tsvangirai's spokesperson William
Bango told the editors of this supplement that Tsvangirai's article would
arrive within two weeks. He could not have known what the next fortnight
would bring.

On March 11, Tsvangirai and Bango were savagely beaten by police in Harare.
Television pictures showed Bango's bruised body and Tsvangirai leaving
hospital in a wheelchair. Doctors were said to be concerned that Tsvangirai
had received fractures to his skull. We feared he might never write again.
Then, a day after leaving hospital, Tsvangirai issued a compelling account
of his beating to the Independent, a British newspaper. "They brutalised my
flesh. But they will never break my spirit. I will soldier on until Zimbabwe
is free," he wrote. This was good news. We allowed a decent time for the MDC
leader to recover, and called again. Sibotshiwe promised that Tsvangirai's
contribution to this supplement was on its way. Then the apologetic emails
began: "I am sorry to let you know that we will not be able to meet the
deadline today," Sibotshiwe wrote on April 13. "Tsvangirai has not finished
editing his piece. He, however, promised to give it to me on Sunday."

Naturally, we moved the deadline. On April 16, Sibotshiwe wrote again: "I am
sorry to let you know we won't be able to meet the deadline. I have just
been given more definite times, the indication is Thursday morning . if we
promise you anything else, we will be lying." Thursday morning passed.
Sibotshiwe assured us that Tsvangirai's article would be worth the wait. The
MDC leader planned "exclusive revelations". These would be ready by the
weekend of April 22, just as the editors of this supplement promised, in
last week's edition, to M&G readers. And then . nothing. Telephone calls and
emails go unanswered. Again, we feared the worst. We called Roy Bennett, a
senior MDC member based in South Africa. He explained that Bango, the
party's chief of communications, was still away from work after his beating
at the hands of police officers. Meanwhile, Tsvangirai had been picked up by
the police again: "He's busy running around, all our people in Zimbabwe are
recovering from beatings. They are not working."

But police harassment was not the only problem. Bennett was also concerned
with the finer points of press freedom. M&G proprietor Trevor Ncube had
"published some very damaging things about the MDC in the M&G", said
Bennett: "Why should we fit in with his agenda now that it suits him?" The
editors replied that this particular objection had not been raised before.
Surely, an article by Tsvangirai was an ideal opportunity to correct the
"damaging" reports in Ncube's newspaper. Bennett appeared satisfied: "Fine,
leave it to me," he said. "You'll get the article tomorrow." As this
newspaper goes to press, we are still waiting and so we must apologise to
readers who opened these pages expecting to find the exclusive counsel of
Tsvangirai. Perhaps it will be some small consolation instead to consider
the words of another MDC president. One leader is not enough for Zimbabwe's
opposition, after all. The MDC - unable to agree on whether to contest or to
boycott elections - has split into two factions.

Each of these two MDCs has its own president. The other one, Arthur
Mutambara, shares his vision of the future here. He says that the MDC must
present a united front against Zanu PF. Mutambara is an expert in robotics
and computer science. Asked to write about the prospects for Zimbabwe after
Mugabe, he suggests that new wireless data networks and biotechnology will
revive the country's fortunes. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the
MDC contributions (or lack of them) to these pages is emblematic of the
problems that confront Zimbabwe's beleaguered opposition. Mugabe has little
trouble from them. While the 83-year-old president dominates Zimbabwean
politics, the two MDCs are stubbornly unable to agree on a strategy to
challenge his increasingly dictatorial regime. Disorganised, divided and
unequal to the fight, the MDC has failed to forge a convincing coalition of
his enemies. When people point this out to the MDC, party leaders accuse
their critics of harbouring hidden "agendas". So MDC leaders may be
encouraged to know that their difficulties have not deterred some
influential foreign friends. Robert Rotberg, the Harvard University
professor who has developed a new index of governance in Africa, argues that
the talents of MDC leaders will stand Zimbabwe in good stead after Mugabe.
Zimbabweans, meanwhile, are likely to be more sceptical. Tempting though it
might be to wish away the opposition's difficulties, it is not yet clear how
the two MDCs will be reunited. Nor how a newly invigorated MDC will confront
Mugabe. If only the undisputed courage of Zimbabwe's opposition leaders were
enough to oust Mugabe, the ageing despot would be long gone.

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A New Zimbabwe: The military question

Comment from The Mail & Guardian (SA), 25 April

Martin Rupiya

Recent events in Zimbabwe have shown how politics has become militarised and
how the military has become politicised. At policy level, the Joint
Operational Command, comprising the police, intelligence and military, has
found that the internal security situation was unstable and imposed a
three-month ban on all political activity. It is not surprising that the
ruling party has welcomed this restriction, while the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) has challenged it in court. Simultaneously, at
the implementation level, the state has enforced its provisions, leading to
the fatal shooting of National Constitutional Assembly youth organiser Gift
Tandare by the police during a political gathering. And, at the
operational/tactical level, the Central Intelligence Organisation, operating
through shadowy "hit squads", was among those involved in the snatching of
Gift's body, which was quickly interred without his wife's knowledge. The
move stopped what was clearly becoming the celebration of a martyr.

The participation of the security forces in politics is a deliberate
strategy by Zanu PF in response to dwindling popular support and its
tendency to cast the crisis in war terminology. The question now arises of
what role the military will play in the transition that is now inevitable.
It has become inevitable for several reasons. Firstly, the impact of
violence against the opposition has fractured the ruling party and seen the
emergence of elements critical of the hard-line faction. The severe economic
downturn is also precipitating change, while deteriorating and demoralising
pay and conditions that affect all sectors, including the civil service and
security forces, is another factor. There has been little attention paid to
the role of the security forces in a transitional government. nnouncements
made by the military, reflecting on what it understands its role in
politics, need to be noted. Just before the June 2000 elections, army
spokesperson Chancellor Diye announced that the army was an apolitical
institution and would not be involved in politics.

Two years later, on January 9 2002, commanders from intelligence, the air
force, military, police and the prison service supported the view of the
commander of the defence forces (CDF), General Vitalis Zvinavashe, that it
would not recognise a president without liberation credentials. This clearly
referred to the opposition candidate of the MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai. Later,
in December 2006, the then CDF, general Constantine Chiwenga, called on the
governor of the Reserve Bank and the government to find a political and
economic solution to the crisis and warned that the defence force would not
turn its guns on Zimbabweans. There were also military-backed efforts to
arrange inter-party talks - a process that was stymied by Mugabe. Thus there
are contradictory statements and actions by very senior commanders that cast
a different view of what has been perceived as a partisan security force.

But before the transitional role of the security forces is considered, the
impact of the crisis on the military needs to be examined. Select units,
ranging from intelligence to police units and to the national service, have
constituted the violent component of the ruling party strategy. This has
degraded the rest of the conventional and professional forces. The crisis
has had an impact on the police, leading to more than 3 500 members leaving
by March this year. There have also been unconfirmed reports of desertions
and resignations in large numbers from other uniformed services. If a
transition is to occur, it is likely that the competing factions within the
ruling party are already canvassing key elements within the ranks. In
addition, the nature of the structure of the ruling party and the military
is such that there is a cross-representation of both in each of the

The scenario most likely to emerge is that a faction of the ruling party -
one that is able to sideline the now discredited hard-line element around
the presidency - will assume power within the constitutional framework. This
faction will then invite the political opposition into a transitional
arrangement, while continuing to "control" the military. Based on this
reformed legitimacy framework, the new transitional arrangement would then
call for support from the region and the relaxation of international
sanctions. It is very likely that the military will continue to support such
a process. In a transition, security-sector reform must be part of the
post-conflict and reconstruction process. Vengeful and petty politics that
will seek to deconstruct the security forces and leave the country bare
must, however, be guarded against. In Iraq, the summary disbandment of
Saddam's forces has come back to haunt that country. For the way forward,
and once the current political elite has departed, the military must again
be urged to abandon politics and return to the barracks.

Dr Martin Rupiya is a military historian and retired colonel of the Zimbabwe
armed forces. He works for the Institute for Security Studies in South

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Alert! Zanu PF Extorts from Dzivarasekwa vendors

26 April 2007

Zanu PF officials from Harare Province are allocating market stalls to residents in Dzivarasekwa 1, 2, and 3. One of the officials responsible for Dzivarasekwa 2 only identified as Mr Mapuranga goes around shopping centres and demands that those selling their wares must pay a certain amount of money in order to be allowed to operate as vendors. The figures being charged vary from $5 000 to $11 000 every month since February this year.
Mr Mapuranga allegedly acts as the shadow councillor for Ward 40. He works in cahoots with another senior Zanu PF official in the Provincial Women’s League Executive only identified by residents as Mrs Muswe and is believed to be working as a nurse aide at Belvedere Clinic.
According to Rorani Muchiwa, the CHRA Chairperson for Ward 40 in Dzivarasekwa those who refuse to pay the demanded money are barred from selling their wares at the market and face constant harassment from the Zanu PF activists in the area.
The majority of the vendors in Dzivarasekwa are victims of the widely-condemned Operation Murambatsvina which was launched by government in May 2005, leaving 700 000 people homeless and in need of food aid.
For further details please contact us on, and on mobile 091 924 151, 011 862 012, 011 443 578 and 011 612 860 or visit us at Exploration House, Third Floor, Corner Robert Mugabe Way and Fifth Street.
Precious Shumba
Information Officer
Combined Harare Residents Association
Mobile: 011 612 860
Tel: 04-705114

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Alert: Residents of Harare receive letters of demand from City of Harare

26 April 2007

THE Combined Harare Residents’ Association (CHRA) is saddened by the approach of the City of Harare towards finding a lasting solution to the crisis of city governance. The Association is concerned with the continued refusal by those in charge at Town House to accept that they no longer have mandate to continue running the affairs of the city.
Reports reaching CHRA indicate that the City of Harare has been sending out letters of demand from their debt collectors, threatening to seize peoples’ properties if they do not pay up their outstanding rates within a given time.
CHRA urges all residents who have received these letters to bring them to our offices at the address given below or take them to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) for immediate litigation.
The Association rejects the continued stay of the Commission and all its actions thereof because of the reasons given below;
·   The High Court in Case Number between Nomutsa Chideya vs. City of Harare, the eight Commissioners including Sekesai Makwavarara, the Chairperson of the Commission running Harare, and the four-man probe team that recommended Chideya’s dismissal ruled that the Commission was illegal and has no mandate to act on behalf of the City of Harare.
·   The 2007 City of Harare Budget was formulated, approved and is being implemented by the Commission declared illegal by the High Court on 2 March 2007, making its actions null, void and of no force at law.
·   The principles of democratic governance require that elections must be held regularly. In the case of Harare and other local authorities after every four years, as enshrined in the Urban Councils’ Act (Chapter 29:15).  The last election in Harare was held in March 2002 when Engineer Elias Mudzuri was elected the first Executive Mayor. The elections are now long overdue.
·   The term of the Commission running Harare has been illegally extended by the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development, Ignatius Chiminya Morgan Chombo, in total violation of Section 80 (5) of the Urban Councils’ Act (Chapter 29:15).
·   The Judiciary has ruled on five occasions that the principle of re-appointing commissions is illegal.
For further details please contact us on, and on mobile 091 924 151, 011 862 012, 011 443 578 and 011 612 860 or visit us at Exploration House, Third Floor, Corner Robert Mugabe Way and Fifth Street.
Precious Shumba
Information Officer
Combined Harare Residents Association
Mobile: 011 612 860
Tel: 04-705114

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Alert: Zanu PF thugs detain CHRA Members

26 April 2007

THE thuggery of the ruling party youths yesterday reared its ugly head in Highfield when two CHRA members Lloyd Kumwenda and another resident only identified as Dangazela were forcibly detained at the party’s offices at Machipisa Shopping Centre.
Kumwenda is the coordinator for Ward 26 while Dangazela is an ordinary resident and also resides in Highfield.
They were accused of wearing T-shirts with messages deemed ‘inappropriate’ by Zanu PF’. Kumwenda wore a CHRA T-Shirt inscribed ‘No to ZINWA’ at the back while Dangazela put on a T-Shirt with a ZCTU logo. The ruling Zanu PF has branded CHRA, ZCTU and other civic and political groups as ‘agents of western imperialists’, and working towards the so-called ‘regime change agenda’. Both CHRA and ZCTU deny these allegations.
According to Tungamirai Madzokere, the Chairperson of CHRA’s Welfare Committee, the two were walking to Machipisa Shopping Centre towards 2pm on Wednesday when suddenly they found themselves surrounded by zealous and foul-mouthed Zanu PF youths.
Madzokere said: “They were taken to the Zanu PF offices at Machipisa and were ordered to roll in dirty water before being severely bashed underneath their feet and all over their bodies. The youths forced them to sing and chant Zanu PF songs and slogans. They passed out several times before they were released around 5pm.”
Suspected State security agents have previously visited Kumwenda at his house and threatened him with death for his active role in pro-democracy activities.
About 12 CHRA members have so far been victims of State-sanctioned brutality since 11 March when armed police suppressed a prayer meeting at Zimbabwe Grounds, arrested, detained and brutalized opposition and pro-democracy activists, among them MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai and CHRA Chairperson Michael Jeffrey Davies.
Kumwenda and Dangazela sustained bruises all over their bodies and have been referred to a private hospital for medical attention.
For further details please contact us on, and on mobile 091 924 151, 011 862 012, 011 443 578 and 011 612 860 or visit us at Exploration House, Third Floor, Corner Robert Mugabe Way and Fifth Street.
Precious Shumba
Information Officer
Combined Harare Residents Association
Mobile: 011 612 860
Tel: 04-705114

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Dispatch: Zimbabwe Set For MSG

Filter Magazine

by Staff | 04.25.2007

Dispatch: Zimbabwe has been set for July 13-15 at Madison Square Garden. The
charity event will feature Boston roots-rock band, Dispatch, who have
reunited in order to raise money and awareness for the alarming situation in
Zimbabwe. Dispatch will donate 100% of the proceeds towards fighting
disease, famine, and social injustice in the African country. Dispatch will
make monetary contributions to local charities like Books for Kids, Rock For
A Remedy and Musicians on Call who will organize book, food and CD drives
during the Madison Square Garden run. The three nights, which sold out in 30
minutes each, makes Dispatch the first independent band to ever sell out
Madison Square Garden. Dispatch will take the next 4 months to decide which
specific organizations it will donate the proceeds to. The band will visit
the African country in May.

The economic crises in Zimbabwe is worsening at an alarming rate. At the
beginning of 2007, Zimbabwe's inflation rose to 1,281%, the highest in the
world. Unemployment is over 85%, poverty over 90%, and foreign reserves are
almost depleted. Over four million persons are in desperate need of food.
One in four citizens are HIV positive. Coupled with severe malnutrition,
thousands are dying every month. Combined with a consistent lack of potable
water, power, perpetual regional drought, over all environmental degradation
and the recent displacement of hundreds of thousands desperately poor from
urban areas, the country is on the brink of ruin.

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Zimbabwe Cricket and the media

Silencing the critics

Martin Williamson

April 26, 2007

At the end of last week Cricinfo received an email from Zimbabwe Cricket
advising us that it was no longer prepared to have any communication with us
and would not be answering any media queries. "Really?" said a colleague
when I told him. "You mean they have been for the last two years?"

In essence, ZC is unhappy with the articles we have run which have been
critical of it and the way it has run the game. "We have been hard pressed
to see the two sides to every story in your recent articles on Zimbabwe,"
Lovemore Banda, the media manager, wrote. "You will agree that it is an
exercise in futility for us to be responding to enquiries."

In fairness, we have run articles before the board has replied to queries.
Often that has been because we have been kept waiting - regularly more than
a week, sometimes two or three - or have been ignored altogether. We have
also declined on occasion to scrap stories just because they have been
labelled as rubbish by the board. We have been accused of hidden agendas and
lies, and yet the passage of time has shown almost everything we have
written to be accurate ... and when we have found inaccuracies, they have
been corrected.

The real issue here is that Zimbabwe Cricket operates in a country where
there is almost no free speech, and what independent thought exists is
regularly and brutally suppressed. There are almost no foreign journalists
left operating inside Zimbabwe, and new laws passed earlier in the month
make reporting from there without government-approved accreditation, or
harbouring anyone who does, punishable with two years in prison.

Even operating within the rules is nigh on impossible. In February, Cricinfo
attempted to send a reporter to cover the Bangladesh one-day series. The fee
for even applying for accreditation was US$600. The authorities delayed so
long that by the time we actually heard back from them, the series was more
than half over. It was an all-too-familiar policy of obstruction. Back in
2004 Mihir Bose, a well-respected journalist working for The Daily
Telegraph, was deported and in the UK parliament Labour MP Kate Hoey noted
that he "was not given the slightest bit of support by the Zimbabwe board".

Zimbabwe Cricket has almost no critics at home, mainly because the
government has shut down all but two privately-owned weekly newspapers and
there is no independent electronic media. The main newspaper, The Daily
Herald, is a propaganda sheet that would make the old Soviet Pravda blush
with embarrassment. A cursory glance at its headlines underlines that. What
is more, we have learned that its sports reporters are regularly feted by ZC
officials, and the cash-strapped board has allegedly paid for several
overseas trips for its writers. It's hardly surprising that ZC is given an
easy ride in the state media, and, on occasion, board officials are believed
to be allowed to write and plant stories under pseudonyms.

In 2005, Ozias Bvute, the board's MD, called Cricinfo and demanded to know
the whereabouts of Steven Price, the Harare-based journalist who continues
to defy the authorities and file reports for us. When we refused, Bvute said
that we were operating outside the law as we were using unapproved
contributors. "Why will you not tell me his whereabouts," Bvute asked. "What
has he got to be afraid of." If it wasn't so chilling it would almost be

The way we were: Simon King, Cricinfo's then CEO, presents a
cheque to Zimbabwe Cricket Union officials in 2000 © Cricinfo

Last week, a senior foreign reporter for a major Eropean newspaper told me
that the government had issued security warnings against the few foreign
journalists left in the country, and that the remaining handful were either
getting out or lying low. Photographers and cameramen have been attacked by
police, and earlier this month a retired journalist who spoke out was
abducted from his home and his mutilated body was found a few days later 40
km north of Harare.

Many people who have contributed to Cricinfo in the past have stopped,
either because they are frightened or, in some instances, because they have
been directly threatened.

So, Zimbabwe Cricket is able to carry on, and the allegations by
stakeholders of gross mismanagement of finances and administration go almost
unreported. The decision to shun Cricinfo is another attempt to stifle any

"There is no transparency, no observation of the constitution and no
accountability," a former provincial chairman said this week. "They want to
hide issues and do not allow any debate and resent anybody raising any
issues or questioning them."

Last year, Peter Chingoka, the board's chairman, accused Cricinfo of being
"mired in skulduggery". He added, in a letter which he sent to all members
of the ICC executive in a clear bid to undermine the credibility of our
coverage of his board's activities: "The line between hearsay and credible
information is constantly erased and re-drawn, as the two are freely
interchanged ... you do not hesitate to cultivate and flaunt your contacts,
jealously guarding their identities in the process."

The relationship wasn't always so fractious. In 2000, Cricinfo donated Zim$5
million (then about US$150,000) to the then Zimbabwe Cricket Union to help
with the development of the game in the country. Although Chingoka remains
at the helm, almost everyone who was associated with the board back then has
disappeared, increasingly replaced with often hand-picked and almost
universally compliant appointees.

One day, the truth will all come out. Meanwhile, it is more important than
ever for people like Steven Price to continue to file reports and to tell
the world - and the executive board of the ICC which continues to adopt a
policy of looking the other way - what is really happening.

Martin Williamson is executive editor of Cricinfo

© Cricinfo

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Students abduction continues

The Zimbabwean


.as Hillside Teachers College student leader disappears
____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ ___
Hillside Teachers College Students Union President, Tafadzwa Chengewa, was
yesterday abducted from his campus` residence in the city of Bulawayo.
Tafadzwa was abducted at around 2000 hours by four unidentified men clad in
black pair of suits, driving an unregistered Mazda 323 vehicle. Tafadzwa's
whereabouts are still not known.  The government of Robert Mugabe has
resorted to covert operations  of abducting, assaulting and at times
murdering innocent citizens, students included.
    ____________ _________ _________
_________ _________ ________
Food crisis at Masvingo State University continues

Meanwhile, students at Masvingo State University are still in deep-seated
food crisis. Students are being denied access to food. Two student
activists, Whitlow Mgwiji and Edwin Hlatswayo, were indefinitely suspended
for addressing a students gathering over the plight. Their future is now

Ironically, the university authorities claim that there is normal business
on campus, yet they went on to suspend the Lecturers Union leadership. The
suspension came after the lecturers refused to take the meager salary
increases that were awarded vis-à-vis the sky rocketing increases of basic
services and food. Professionals have been reduced to destitute life style.
In solidarity with the suspended leadership, all other lecturers at Masvingo
State University declared an indefinite strike and lectures have grounded to
a halt.
   ____________ _________
_________ _________ ______
 Accomodation crisis at Bulawayo poly

There is a serious accommodation crisis at Bulawayo Polytechnic College.
Students Halls of residence have been allocated to college staff, that is,
the security guards, cooks, general hand, academic and non-academic staff
yet students are told to look for alternative accommodation or else pay ten
thousand Zimbabwean dollars (Z$10 000-00) per day whilst the workers are
paying that same amount per month. The prioritizing of the students' halls
of residence to college staff came after a negotiation of salary packages,
where the Vice Principal Mr. Gilbert Mabasa offered students accommodation
to his staff. The halls of residence in Matshobane (Rio Tinto Foundation
Hostel) have since been occupied.

On Monday 23 April 2007, one student activist, Maxwell Chikara was raided at
around 1800hrs at his room by 2 college security guards, Mr. Banda (deputy
dean of students), F. Sibanda (matron), and Mr. Muchiya (Human Resources
Officer). The gang demanded his immediate eviction citing that his room was
long allocated to one staff member. The student denied them entry
irregardless of the persistent and exasperating bangs on the door. The gang
later called the Police as back up.  The student was arrested and made to
pay a hefty fine. His keys were  confisticated by the police.

The Information Desk
Zimbabwe National Students Union
21 Wembly Road, Eastlea, Harare, Zimbabwe,
+263912301231/ +2634788135
zinasu@gmail. com

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Student leader abducted in Bulawayo

The Zimbabwean

Barely a week after two student leaders were abducted by the ruthless
state security agencies in Bulawayo, another student leader, Tafadzwa
Chengewa, has been abducted.

His whereabouts is not known!

He was abducted last night in a city flat in Bulawayo's CBD.  He is the
President of United College of Education (UCE).

Chengewa was forcibly taken from a flat in Bulawayo by unidentified
henchmen and other student leaders in Bulawayo now fear for their

This latest of wave of abductions, which come on the heels of sweeping
countrywide abductions by a feared vigilante group of security agencies
has sent the whole student leadership in Bulawayo scurrying for safety
on the run, in fear of their lives.

Trust Nhubu and Valencia Jachi were last week abducted by state
agencies after being accused of passing critical comments in a public
meeting.  They were severely tortured and both were dumped 200km

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Zimbabwe to develop hydro plants

afrol News, 26 April - The government of Zimbabwe on Tuesday entered into
agreement with an undisclosed Russian company to address frequuent power
shortages by developing small hydro plants in the southern African country.

"These [hydro power plants] will be located mainly in remote areas not
covered by the grid. They are expected to bring life to these areas by way
of poverty alleviation," Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA)

"Where the power plants are located in areas covered by the grid,
transmission loses will be reduced drastically. The construction of a 5MW
plant on Mutirikwi Dam to supply Masvingo town will cause a gain of 7MW on
the system."

ZESA officials said the move is necessitated by dwindling power output of
the country's main generator - Hwange Power Station.

Though Hwange station has a capacity of 920 MW, it however generates only
320MW on a daily basis. This is mainly due to the destruction of engines at
the station.

The state-owned utility company officials would not disclose where they
secure funding for the project. All that Zimbabweans were informed was that
an unnamed regional power company has agreed to bankroll the project.

In recent years, most Zimbabweans have been coping to live with frequent
outages caused by shortages of foreign currency. Because of its tattered
human rights credentials, Zimbabwe government has been battling to secure
foreign currency to import spare parts to repair the engines of Hwange
Thermal Power Station.

In January, ZESA said it was suffering with sweeping and extended power
cuts. With unsustainable debts, ZESA was forced to lay off much of its staff

The utility company's board Chairman, Professor Christopher Chetsanga,
earlier on said ZESA was in debt to the tune of over US $420 million, which
was why it would immediately lay off 600 of its staff.

Zimbabwe's inability to produce sufficient energy supply has forced the
country to import 35 percent of the national requirement, or 650MW, from
neighbouring South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique.

By staff writer

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Zim sports heroes must speak up

Mail and Guardian

Percy Zvomuya

26 April 2007 11:14

What would happen if Portsmouth's Benjani Mwaruwaru was to score
a goal and dedicate it to the hundreds of opposition activists who are in
detention now, to the thousands of people who are dying of Aids because they
have no access to ARVs and the millions who have been forced to flee from
their homes because of the crisis in Zimbabwe?

One assumes it would jolt hordes of Pompey's in Southampton. It
would bring to the attention of the British public the mounting crisis in
Zimbabwe but, most crucially, it would cause Zimbabwe's leadership to sit up
and, who knows, listen to one of their country's iconic youths.

For it's not every day that our societies -- who seem to have an
inherent disdain for youth -- will sit back to listen to a 28-year-old. But
if the 28-year-old happens to play for Arsenal, Mamelodi Sundowns or is a
tennis star and can summon a press conference to air his or her views, then
it's different story altogether.

Most of these personalities earn a lot of money, are idolised by
millions of schoolboys and schoolgirls and sports-crazy people listen to
what they say.

If Mwaruwaru were to protest in this way, he would not be the
first to do so.

At the last Cricket World Cup, former Zimbabwean cricketers Andy
Flower and Henry Olonga took a stand.

It could have been in an inspired moment away from the cricket
pitch that the meaning of the adage, "for evil to prosper, good men have
only to do nothing", weighed on their consciences. But it was on the pitch
that they decided to wear black armbands, "mourning the death of democracy"
in Zimbabwe.

They decided that they could not play cricket as if everything
was normal in the ghettos, on the farms and in the rural areas of Zimbabwe.
They had heard people were being beaten, had probably seen someone being
tortured, maimed and in all likelihood had seen pictures of those who had
been killed.

And they resolved to make a stand against the oppression.

"We cannot, in good conscience, take to the field and ignore the
fact that millions of our compatriots are starving, unemployed and
oppressed," they said. Their statement continued: "We are aware that
hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans may even die in the coming months
through a combination of starvation, poverty and Aids."

After wearing the armbands during a match against Namibia,
Olonga was to play a bit-part role for the rest of the tournament. His
international career, which had not really been going anywhere, had
gloriously come to an end.

Olonga had arrived in 1995 on the cricket scene with a flourish.
He was the only black player in the team; he was the youngest, too. Never
had youth, talent and race gelled so naturally to produce a hero for the
hundreds of thousands of black boys who also wanted to take up cricket.
Sadly, he was not to fulfil his potential, largely because of injuries.

"I've had many pleasant memories over the years and great
satisfaction from playing this game," Olonga said when he retired from

"I've had some highs and lows, but I'm really glad I've stood
for what I believed was right. It's sad that my career may end in this way,
but I've done the right thing and I'll stand by it. If we fail as a world to
do and recognise what is right, then we fail ourselves and we fail our

Four years on, the crisis moves into overdrive with no solution
in sight, a development that makes the hotel brawl involving former
Coventry, Birmingham, Sheffield United and now Sundowns striker Peter Ndlovu
and Mwaruwaru over a girlfriend sad.

Ndlovu is one of Zimbabwe's most iconic sports personalities. He
went to play for Coventry as a teenager and dazzled the English public with
his pace and tricks with the ball. So enamoured were they that they called
him the "flying elephant" (ndlovu is Ndebele for elephant). Likewise
Mwaruwaru, a son of Malawian immigrants, was a hero wherever he played.

Their relations have been strained, especially as Ndlovu's
football appeal and prowess is washing out. But no one thought it would
plummet to such depths.

Windows and tables at Harare's Crest Lodge Hotel were smashed as
they fought over an ex-girlfriend. Mwaruwaru denied the incident by saying:
"I don't fight about girlfriends. I have a lot of them, and I am married."

Of course, we are not asking our sports heroes to leave
football, cricket and become anti-war activists, Noam Chomskys, Dennis
Brutuses and newspapers columnists, but if the situation demands it, why

When Flower and Olonga made their stand in 2003, no one thought
the crisis would reach the deathly proportions it has reached now. It is
easy to dismiss the gesture as just that: a gesture. But Olonga can sleep in
peace and say, "I did what I could in the circumstances."

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