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

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Zesa Gets Tough On Offenders

The Herald (Harare)

April 28, 2003


THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority, which is losing thousands of
dollars through bridging of electricity meters, has increased fines for
offenders from $15 000 to $65 000.

Bridging is done when customers tamper with electricity supplies so that
they can consume more than what they pay for.

Zesa officials said although there were no specific figures available, an
increasing number of people were bridging electricity supplies to avoid
paying bills.

"We are receiving a high number of people bridging electricity supplies
every month than in the past.

"Perhaps this could be attributed to the hiking of electricity bills, which
has made some people try and get the electricity illegally.

"We are actually losing a lot of money which may run into thousands of
dollars through the conduct of such residents," said Zesa regional manager,
Mr Simbiso Chimbima.

Mr Chimbima said the authority had decided to increase the fine for bridging
electricity from $15 000 to $65 000 to curb the practice.

He also said it had become expensive for the authority to repair equipment
damaged by bridging.

"We actually raised the fines to $65 000 because it is very expensive for us
to repair the damage which would have been caused by some of the residents
who breach the power.

"The parts, which are used to repair the damage, are now very expensive and
it is only fair for us to hike the fines," he said.

Mr Chimbima said the main culprits who bridged electricity were customers in
high-density suburbs and business people.

"We are only hoping that by raising the fines, the residents may abstain
from getting the electricity in an illegal way," he said.

The prevalence of bridging comes at a time when the cash-strapped parastatal
is battling to raise enough foreign currency to import electricity.

As a result, Zesa has been forced to introduce of load shedding.

Mr Chimbima also warned residents that it was dangerous for them to tamper
with Zesa electrical power supplies because it could result in death or

"Even if there is a problem, the Zesa electricity power supplies should only
be attended to by our staff.

"Residents should report to us whenever there is a fault and abstain from
tampering with the supplies because they could be maimed or killed," he
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Mugabe opponent accuses ECB of political collusion

LONDON: A prominent opponent of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe accused the
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Saturday of colluding in a "political
loyalty test" ahead of the Africans tour here.

Peter Tatchell, organiser of the London-based Stop the Tour campaign, said
the ECB had accepted the right of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) to
politically vet its players.

This, Tatchell said, flew in the face of the ECB's previously-stated policy
that cricket and politics should be kept separate.

"The Zimbabwe Cricket Union is not an independent sporting body," said
Tatchell, best known as a homosexual rights campaigner "President Mugabe is
patron of the ZCU. His authority was required before the tour could go
ahead. He controls the ZCU. All Zimbabwe's players are politically approved.

"Only those uncritical of Mugabe were eligible for selection", Tatchell

Flower confirmed during the World Cup he would be retiring from
international cricket at the end of the tournament and is currently playing
for English county Essex.

"There can be no normal sporting relations with an abnormal regime that uses
torture, rape and murder as weapons of repression," Tatchell insisted.

England, after months of wrangling, controversially withdrew at the 11th
hour from their February 13th World Cup match in Harare primarily for safety
reasons after the team received a threatening letter.

The players also voiced moral doubts about playing the match.

England's decision, despite Zimbabwe safety assurances, sparked fears that
Mugabe would order a retaliatory boycott of their forthcoming two-Test tour
which also features a triangular one-day series involving England and South

According to the ECB's own figures such a boycott would have cost English
cricket 10 million pounds (16 million dollars).

Last month ECB chairman David Morgan made a two-day visit to Harare in order
to save the tour and, after meeting with the ZCU board, confirmed that
England would go to Zimbabwe in November 2004.

The ECB also agreed to pay the ZCU an undisclosed sum as compensation for
the boycott.

In March, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said it was witholding 3.5
million dollars of England's nine-million-dollar World Cup cut in lieu of
any commercial compensation claims resulting from the Harare boycott.

Tatchell, who together with other members of the Stop the Tour campaign
disrupted a pre-World Cup ECB press conference at Lord's, promised that
there would be further demonstrations at the two Test matches.

These are due to take place at Lord's from May 22 to May 26 and at Durham's
Riverside ground from June 5 to June 9.

Zimbabwe are due to start their tour with a match against British
Universities at Edgbaston on Saturday May 3.
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The Star

      Postal staff get the sack in wake of strike
      April 28, 2003

      Harare - Zimbabwe's state-owned post office has fired nearly 3 000
workers for taking part in a strike over the government's hike in petrol

      The Sunday Mail reported yesterday that 2 800 workers had been
dismissed "for failing to report for work during the illegal three-day
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) stayaway".

      The main union body organised last week's stayaway over the
government's decision to triple the fuel price.
      The government reacted angrily, threatening to arrest employers for
"economic sabotage".

      The privately owned Standard said yesterday the ZCTU might organise
more protests if the government failed to reverse the price hike. - Sapa-AFP
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Bid to Step Up Maize Deliveries

The Herald (Harare)

April 28, 2003


THE Grain Marketing Board, while allowing anyone to move 3 bags (150kg) of
grain without a permit, is intensifying preparations for maize deliveries to
its depots and has set aside $68 million to buy grain bags.

The money has been disbursed to GMB's depots countrywide to buy the bags and
enhance delivery of harvested crops to the board.

"Our depots are buying empty gain bags from the public," Colonel Samuel
Muvuti, acting GMB chief executive, told The Herald in an interview

"This is to add on to what we are buying from other suppliers."

He said most bags had been used for grain distribution under the drought
relief programme and there was need to build up stocks for the marketing

Maize deliveries from this year's harvest have started trickling in at GMB
depots countrywide with a total of more than 3 000 tonnes having been
delivered since the marketing season opened on April 1.

Col Muvuti said individuals were allowed to carry up to 3 bags of maize
(about 150kg) at any given time without a permit from the GMB.

"There has been an outcry that the GMB could be overdoing its grain
monitoring exercise particularly at roadblocks," he said.

"People with just a bucket or a maximum of three bags of maize can move
their grain without the approval from our Loss Control Department."

He said the grain monitoring was not being done to antagonise the public but
to prevent illegal trafficking of grain in large quantities for profiteering
or smuggling across the borders.

"We must hasten to say people should appreciate the spirit with which the
GMB is carrying out the monitoring exercise.

"We are doing this in an effort to make sure that the little we have is
equitably distributed amongst our people. We also want to build our
strategic reserve," he said.

A regional food security agency says Zimbabwe will harvest close to 1,3
million tonnes of maize this season leaving just one third of its
requirement to be met from imports or the winter irrigation harvest crop.

Drought struck much of southern Africa last season prompting humanitarian
agencies to appeal for food aid for more than 14 million people in the

Zimbabwe had to import 1,1 million tonnes of grain at a cost of US$207,9
million to cover the shortages caused by the drought.

Col Muvuti said GMB would continue to tighten loopholes to ensure that all
the grain is sold through the board.

"There are some dealers who are purchasing grain from people for purposes of
profiteering through exportation," he said.

"It's sad that these are the same unscrupulous dealers who have been
exporting maize imported by the Government using scarce foreign currency.

"I must say that these are the people we are mostly targeting."

"These are the criminals and we have got statutory instruments which are
there to protect Zimbabweans in as far as food security is concerned," he

According to Statutory Instrument 235A of 2001, maize, maize-meal, wheat and
wheat flour are controlled products and the GMB has the monopoly to trade in
these products.

Col Muvuti said there were some companies which were buying maize from
farmers at above Government stipulated prices focussing on their interests
and forgetting that their workers would come to GMB when they had no

He urged all new farmers to deliver maize to the GMB as they had a moral
obligation to feed the nation through the board and give meaning to the land
reform programme.

Col Muvuti said farmers in and around Harare who were losing their crops to
thieves should approach the GMB Loss Control Department for permits to move
their grain to their urban homes for drying and shelling.

He also urged farmers who may want to retain their grain for consumption and
poultry and livestock feeding to GMB offices to fill in GM4 forms.

He dismissed as baseless reports in some sections of the media that farmers
were not responding positively to Government's call to deliver maize to the

"This is obviously not true," he said. "It is only fair to say that it's too
early for farmers to have harvested, dried and shelled their maize for
delivery to the GMB. This normally happens from July onwards."

He said GMB would accept any grain which comes from farmers and would pay
$130 000 per tonne for grades A and B, $128 000 and $125 000 per tonne for
the C and D grades respectively and $115 000 for the under-grade.

The GMB has set up more collection points to reduce distance and transport
cost to farmers.

It says it will pay farmers timeously after receiving grain from them.
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Third Term Bad for Democracy - Principal Judge

New Vision (Kampala)

April 28, 2003

THE Principal Judge, Justice Herbert Ntabgoba, has attacked the proposed no
term limit for the presidency, saying it would damage democracy and abet
abuse of human rights, reports Milton Olupot.

He criticised African leaders who cling to power, designating themselves as
life presidents.

Ntabgoba said human rights abuses arise out of desperate attempts to quell
the views opposed to misrule, damaged democracy as well as state-inspired
corruption, leading to social injustice and imbalance.

Ntabgoba, on Friday quoted an article in The New Vision by Dr. George Keeler
which said, "Many of the difficulties in African countries can be attributed
to no-term limits." The writer gave Zimbabwe as an example of such African
countries with a no-term limit.

"In Africa today, examples of what Dr. Keeler describes do abound. As I have
pointed out, damaged democracy means the violation of human rights,"
Ntabgoba said at a public lecture and launch of the Makerere Law Journal at
Makerere University Faculty of Law.

The journal is a scholarly publication with its contributors coming mainly
from the Judiciary.

It covers various topics including the need for reforming the sentencing
system, relevant technology for Africa, alternative dispute resolution,
retirement and pension trust in Uganda, among others.

A university law lecturer, Dr. Sylvia Tamale, disagreed that the movement
system of governance offers better opportunities for gender equality than
the multiparty system.

Justices G.W Kanyeihamba and Patrick Tabaro and the faculty dean, David
Bakibinga, attended the function. Ends
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Daily News

      Mugabe ready to step down

      4/28/03 7:21:10 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporters

      President Mugabe, under heavy local and international pressure to step
down, has called for a constitutional amendment that will allow an interim
President to be appointed by his Zanu PF party and pave the way for fresh
elections for a new government.

      Authoritative sources in Johannesburg said this was the message that
had been communicated to President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, who is seen
as a key player in delicate manoeuvres towards a transition from a
dictatorship to democratic rule in Zimbabwe.

      It is understood that Mugabe wants his long-time personal aide,
Emmerson Mnangagwa, to be the interim President, although this could not be

      Mbeki is scheduled to lead a three-member, high-powered team to Harare
within the next two weeks to iron out Mugabe's proposed exit plan, according
to the sources.

      Mbeki's delegation will comprise Presidents Bakili Muluzi of Malawi
and Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria.

      The Sunday Times of Johannesburg reports that South African officials
want the three African heads of state to keep the momentum going following
Mugabe's positive signals in an interview on ZTV last week.

      In the interview to mark Zimbabwe's 23rd independence anniversary,
Mugabe hinted that he was considering stepping down as land redistribution
that he had so much wanted to see implemented had been addressed.

      The three leaders are expected to work out a safe exit plan for Mugabe
that will make him immune from prosecution for human rights abuses committed
during his 23-year rule.

      Mugabe is particularly worried about the Matabeleland and Midlands
massacres of the mid-1980s after he unleashed the Korean-trained 5 Brigade,
led by the now Air Force of Zimbabwe boss, Perence Shiri, on the people of
those provinces in suppressing an armed dissident uprising.

      Thousands of innocent civilians died in what is now referred to as the
Gukurahundi atrocities.

      Mugabe has not apologised officially to the people of Matabeleland and
Midlands for the atrocities, although he expressed regret for "the madness"
at Vice-President Joshua Nkomo's burial in 1999.

      The Sunday Times quotes Zanu PF insiders as saying Mugabe is concerned
about "the future of his family and property, his party's simmering
succession problems, a possible power vacuum after his departure and
subsequent infighting within Zanu PF".

      The MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, a key player in any power
transition, is on record as saying that Mugabe's security after he steps
down will only be guaranteed in the context of a negotiated settlement of
the current Zimbabwe crisis.

      Mugabe has stated that he is prepared to talk to the opposition leader
if he drops his election results court challenge and recognises him as the
legitimate President of Zimbabwe.

      Tsvangirai has flatly refused to agree to those conditions.

      Mugabe won the presidential election last year in controversial
circumstances. The poll was condemned internationally as being fraught with
irregularities and glaring rigging.
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Daily News

      Commuter operators defy new urban fares

      4/28/03 7:35:46 AM (GMT +2)

      From Ntungamili Nkomo in Bulawayo

      COMMUTER bus operators in Bulawayo have vowed to defy the government's
newly gazetted commuter fares announced last week, describing them as
"unsustainable and suicidal to business".

      The government gazetted the new fares following hefty fuel price
increases that resulted in operators raising their fares without government

      The operators argued that the government prices cannot sustain them in
business as they are out of sync with the ever-rising costs of fuel and
spare parts, both of which are in short supply in the country.

      Operators plying routes within the 6km range are expected to charge a
maximum $60, while those on the 6-10km routes should charge $100 per

      Those in the 10-20km zone are to charge $200 and those operating in
the 20-35km peg will charge $300.

      Francis Malunga, the Bulawayo Transport Owners' Association (BTOA)
chairman, said his organisation proposed that they charge $300 regardless of
the distance, but government refused.

      He accused government of hypocrisy, saying commuter omnibuses are not
plying the 20 to 35km distance whose fares government pegged at $300.

      Malunga said it was baffling why government wanted to appear more
concerned about the commuters but was turning a blind eye to the operators'

      He said his association would stick to its proposed $300 fare despite
the distance travelled, as long as it is an urban trip.

      "We are not going to comply, we are sticking to our minimum of $300
per single urban trip.

      "By stipulating such ridiculous fares the government says it wants to
cushion commuters. And the question is who will cushion the operators?"
asked Malunga.

      He said the gazetted fares were not in line with the fuel prices hence
the need for government to review its fares.

      "What we are saying is we are openly defying government fares. There
are many aspects to consider besides the fuel prices. There is the issue of
spare parts. How are we going to buy them when we are operating at a loss?"
said Malunga.

      Another association of commuter omnibus operators, the Bulawayo
Passengers' Transport Association, agreed with BTOA's position and said the
new fares were not realistic.

      They also vowed to charge $300 per trip.
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Daily News

      Zvobgo appeals for divine intervention to stem Aids

      4/28/03 7:36:32 AM (GMT +2)

      From Kelvin Jakachira in Mutare

      EDDISON Zvobgo, the MP for Masvingo South, appealed for divine
intervention to stop the spread of HIV/Aids in Zimbabwe.

      "Only God can save Zimbabwe from this problem," Zvobgo said.

      Zvobgo, a former Cabinet minister, was speaking at the funeral of
Steven Chikasha, the former district administrator for Masvingo, who died
last week in Mutare.

      Chikasha, who was diabetic, was buried in Masvingo last Monday.

      "No person, other than God, can help us from the HIV/Aids pandemic,"
he said.

      Zvobgo said youths, who are the most vulnerable group to HIV/Aids,
should avoid immorality if they are to live longer.

      "The youths should refrain from immoral activities.

      "That is the only way they can avoid being infected by the virus,"
Zvobgo said.

      He said there was need for a collective effort to curb the spread of
HIV/Aids in Zimbabwe, which has one of the highest infection rates in the

      An estimated 3 000 people die every week of HIV/Aids-related

      Young people constitute the greater percentage of those succumbing to
the disease.
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Daily News

      CIO compiling stayaway list

      4/28/03 7:37:11 AM (GMT +2)

      From Chris Gande in Bulawayo

      STATE security agents from the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)
are reportedly visiting companies and factories in Bulawayo compiling names
and residential addresses of workers who took part in last week's stayaway.

      The country was last week paralysed after workers heeded a call by the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions to go on a three-day stayaway from
Wednesday to Friday.

      The stayaway was in protest against the increase in the price of fuel
which went up by by up to 300 percent.

      A bank manager said the CIO demanded the names and addresses of
workers at the bank.
      "I told them that the information they wanted was privileged and could
only be obtained through our head office," said the manager.

      A worker at a city factory said plain clothes police officers told the
manager that they wanted a list of the people who have the keys to the

      He said they told him that they wanted to find out the reason why he
had "locked out" the workers.

      "I told them that no one had been locked out as the workers did not
turn up for work on their own. They went away but promised to come back on
Monday," he said.

      A worker from another bank said the CIO operatives visited their
branch on Saturday and said they would come again later for the names and
addresses of the workers.

      He said: "They wanted to find out about us, how we joined the bank,
our party affiliation and addresses. As a result, we now fear for our

      Ten ZCTU leaders in Bulawayo were arrested for organising the
stayaway. Only three of the trade unionists were charged under the Public
Order and Security Act for allegedly circulating pamphlets urging people to
heed the stayaway call.

      The other trade union leaders were released without charge.

      Zvavamwe David Shambare, the vice-chairman of the Zimbabwe ZCTU
western region, thanked the people of Bulawayo and the surrounding areas for
heeding their call for the stayaway.

      "We believe that this is a serious violation of our liberty to express
our rights as liberated workers," he said.
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Daily News

      Suspected soldiers assault residents

      4/28/03 7:39:52 AM (GMT +2)

      By Brian Mangwende Chief Reporter

      SEVERAL people in Chitungwiza, Seke, Harare and Mutare sustained
injuries over the weekend as men in army uniform reportedly cracked down on
residents they suspected to have heeded the ZCTU's call for a three-day
stayaway last week.

      The assaults came only one day after Joao Bernardo Miranda, the
Angolan Foreign Minister who is spearheading a task force on the Zimbabwe
crisis, left the country.

      Angola, the current Sadc chairman, was mandated by regional leaders to
lead the task force looking into allegations of gross human rights abuses,
including illegal detention, rape, torture, murder, assaults and the
muzzling of the Press, at the behest of the government.

      Between Wednesday and Friday last week, business ground to a halt
countrywide as people heeded the call for the stayaway to protest against
the recent increase in the price of fuel which shot up by up to 300 percent.

      On Saturday and Sunday, The Daily News offices were inundated with
telephone calls from people who claimed they were victims of the army

      Peter Mlambo of Chitungwiza said: "Soldiers surrounded us at a
beerhall and beat up people indiscriminately. They accused us of supporting
the stayaway.

      "But why should we be victimised for not going to work when business
premises were closed?"

      John Badza, another victim, said he was ambushed in Mabvuku by two
soldiers who demanded to know why he was walking about and not at work.

      "The two came out from a nearby bush and began to assault me," Badza

      "They asked me why I was not at work as if they knew whether I am
employed or not."

      He said Mabvuku was infested with soldiers.

      Last month, a man was beaten to death in Harare and several others,
including Giles Mutsekwa, the Member of Parliament for Mutare North (MDC),
were assaulted and/or arrested as State security agents cracked down on
people suspected to have taken part in an MDC-led two-day mass action.

      In most high-density suburbs, including Highfield, Glen Norah and
Mufakose, State security agents reportedly pounced on anyone they suspected
had heeded the stayaway.

      Meanwhile, the ZCTU has pulled out of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum
(TNF) and dismissed as meaningless the new monthly minimum wages announced
by the government last Thursday.

      Agricultural workers are to be paid a minimum of $23 070, employees in
the agro-industry and horticulture sector $42 168, and those in industry and
commerce $47 696.

      Lovemore Matombo, the ZCTU president, said the union stood by its
assessment that $125 000 was now the realistic Poverty Datum Line.
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Daily News

Leader Page

      Government getting the publicity it deserves

      4/28/03 7:21:46 AM (GMT +2)

      On occasions far too numerous to recount, the government has
complained that it is getting too much bad Press both locally and in foreign

      Many of its senior members, in particular President Mugabe himself,
Information and Publicity Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo and Foreign
Minister Stan Mudenge, have not lost an opportunity to loudly protest that
the media are obsessed with reporting negatively about Zimbabwe. By
"Zimbabwe" they would, of course, be referring to the nefarious Mugabe

      What they have stubbornly refused to acknowledge is the simple truth
that every individual, organisation or entity under the sun gets the
publicity they deserve - more or less. No news organisation or reporter will
go out of their way to manufacture false reports about anyone and get away
with it. Penalties under the laws of libel and defamation have always seen
to it that perpetrators of such injudicious acts are deterrently punished.

      The truth, with regard to the irredeemably wayward Mugabe regime, is
that it invariably invites bad publicity upon itself. In fact, it could be
strongly argued that the Zanu PF government often goes out of its way to
ensure it acts in ways which guarantee something negative is said or
reported about it on almost a daily basis.

      Its abuse of the police, the army and the CIO, in addition to its own
militia, to daily harass citizens and deny them their basic human rights in
a bid to silence opposition to its glaring misrule, will perhaps go down in
the history of governance as a classic case study in self-engineered bad
Press any government has ever achieved for itself anywhere in the world.

      Last week, the regime added two ad hoc acts of insanity for which it
thoroughly deserved to get negative publicity. In fact, to say the
government got negative publicity is to misrepresent things somewhat. The Pr
ess merely did its job of reporting truthfully some actions of the State
which happened to be unwholesome.

      First, there was the issue of applications made by the MDC for
permission to hold victory celebrations in both Highfield and Kuwadzana
following the party's crushing defeat of the ruling party in by-elections
held simultaneously at the end of last month which the police, now openly
part and parcel of Zanu PF, refused to grant - not surprisingly.

      It was one of those things which the police now do routinely - in
their new and shameful role as the Mugabe regime's most effective and
powerful tool of repression - that are daily strengthening the people's
resolve to see to it that all senior officers in the Zimbabwe Republic
Police will have to be removed and prosecuted once Zanu PF gets out of

      In a way it is a natural extension of the people's now growing
determination - in the face of Mugabe's continued refusal to heed their call
upon him to go - to make him stand trial once he leaves office.

      The police will always find some excuse, such as the potential for
violence, for example, to justify the prohibition of those planned victory
celebrations through the use of their new sweeping powers, most of which are
ultra vires the Constitution, under the Public Order and Security Act.

      But, whatever excuse they may give, it cannot hide the fact that it
was an act of vindictiveness. Being the party in power, Zanu PF used the
police to stop the celebrations as an act of revenge. But it was extremely
petty. Clearly there is no level that is too low for the party leaders to
sink to.

      Zanu PF has never been a good loser. Nor has it ever been a
magnanimous victor for that matter. When it wins, in addition to feasting,
it also goes on the rampage, assaulting everyone known to belong to the
opposition. And when it loses, the party makes sure no one celebrates.

      But, even more shameful than refusing the MDC permission to celebrate,
was the police's most reprehensible and callous act in not only arresting
mourners attending the funeral of MDC activist Tonderai Machiridza, killed
by the police, but also barring his widow, Lydia, from the burial.

      This is an abomination. Mugabe's failure to condemn the police for
that act, which flies in the face of basic human decency, speaks volumes
about the state of his conscience.
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Daily News

      Firms turn to generators

      4/28/03 7:15:02 AM (GMT +2)

      Business Reporter

      MORE and more companies are turning to generators for power in the
wake of load-shedding by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority.

      Since the beginning of load-shedding, a flurry of advertisements have
appeared in the press from firms importing generators of different

      Sabata Holdings, formerly a subsidiary of TA Holdings Limited, is
importing generators of capacities ranging from six to 2 000 kilovoltamps

      In one of its advertisements, Sabata said: " . . . you will experience
a power cut and the law of averages says that it will happen when you are in
the middle of a crucial operation."

      Farai Zizhou, the acting chief executive officer of the Confederation
of Zimbabwe Industries, said switching to generators would not do much to
help industrialists.

      "They may not be able to replace the lost power supply, but that may
enable companies to control cooling processes and keep strategic components
running," Zizhou said.

      Experts said generators with capacities higher than 1 500 KVA could be
used in mines, while 200 KVA generators could complement energy supplies of
medium-scale manufacturers.

      The cost of the generators is, however, beyond the reach of most
average companies.

      Generators used in industry are fetching between $40 million and $325
million once they land in Zimbabwe.

      Most of the generators available locally can only provide power for
lighting purposes.

      Hilton Macklin, the managing director of Powerspeed Electrical said
the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed concern will spend nearly $50 million on
acquiring a generator.
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Daily News

      Farmers stay away from auction floors

      4/28/03 7:16:56 AM (GMT +2)

      Business Reporter

      DELIVERIES of flue-cured tobacco at the three major auction floors
remained poor for the third day running on Friday.

      Most farmers chose to stayaway from the floors, in sympathy with the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, which called for a three-day mass action.
The stayaway ended on Friday.

      Some farmers were affected by the critical shortage of fuel, while
others were still grading their crop.

      Only 130 bales were laid for sale at Burley Marketing Zimbabwe (BMZ)
on Friday.

      At the Tobacco Sales Floors (TSF), 650 bales were sold, up from the
previous day's 230 bales, while 200 bales were auctioned at the Zimbabwe
Tobacco Auction Centre (Zitac). Under normal circumstances, tobacco auction
floors sell up to 2 500 bales a day.

      BMZ managing director, Bruce Searls said: "We don't think there will
be much tobacco to be traded on Monday (today) because there are no
bookings. We will bank on the small holder farmers who normally deliver
without formal bookings."

      Prices remained firm, ranging between US$0,90 cents a kg (Z$720/kg) to
US$2,80/kg (Z$2 240/kg).

      Deliveries were expected to pick-up today since 800 bales and 1 200
bales had been booked at TSF and Zitac.

      Zimbabwe was expecting a total flue-cured tobacco crop of between 110
million kgs and 120 million kgs this year, down from last year's 168 million
kgs, which earned Zimbabwe $60 billion.

      Tobacco production has been dwindling in the past three years due to
disruptions caused by the chaotic and violent farm invasions.

      The sector constituted about 40 percent of the country's agricultural
base with an ability to earn 30 percent of the country's foreign currency,
employing around 16 percent of the national labour force.
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Daily News


      It's Zanu PF using Selous Scout-type mercenaries

      4/28/03 7:22:59 AM (GMT +2)

      The Department of Information and Publicity in the Office of the
President and Cabinet published three full-page advertisements in The
Financial Gazette of 24 April 2003.

      These adverts are obviously mighty mouth Jonathan Moyo's response to
the adverts placed in The Daily News by the MDC recently.

      The adverts allege that MDC supporters have committed violent acts
during mass action stayaways, and at other times. If the allegations are
true, which is highly unlikely given the amount of proven untruths that come
from that office, the rule of law must be applied firmly but justly.

      These days this is no longer possible, as we have seen in the Cain
Nkala murder case, for example.

      Justice in Zimbabwe has been corrupted by Zanu PF. They use this
corrupt justice as a tool to deny us the right to live in a free and
democratic society. We are not even allowed to choose the leaders that we
would like to serve us. If we demand fair justice from them, we are given
Zanu PF justice - rape, murder, torture and imprisonment.

      Our so-called President has been imposed on us, while our true
President spends his time in court defending himself from, among other
things, trumped-up charges that are based on testimony from a shady Canadian

      The MDC has the support of the majority of Zimbabweans - millions of
people. In an organisation as large as this, there are always bound to be a
few black sheep, and these black sheep must be punished justly.

      The MDC, unlike Zanu PF, encourages passive resistance. This is the
reason, I believe, that the MDC tells its supporters to stay at home as a
form of demonstration.

      Zanu PF, on the other hand, has minority support, bought mainly from a
few black sheep within Zimbabwe's generally respectable and decent
population. Zanu PF encourages these Selous Scout-type mercenaries to use
violence against those that oppose them - the majority of our population.
Proof of this is plentiful.

      Zanu PF officials have even been caught red-handed on film telling
their thugs to maim and kill. Our so-called President has on many occasions
called for violence against those he calls traitors of the struggle.

      So mighty mouth, please continue with the adverts. We all need a good
giggle now and then.

      Besides, the independent Press needs as much support as it can get,
and if you have the extra cash for this, instead of feeding our starving
nation, it will not surprise us at all.

      Stephen Cocco
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      Why are pensions being withheld?

      4/28/03 7:23:25 AM (GMT +2)

      The government's hard-heartedness has forced me to air my grievances
through the Press as I have exhausted all official channels.

      Members of the uniformed forces who retired on pension on or after the
1 January, 2001 are entitled to a re-assessment of their pensions that would
see all of them being paid lump sums slightly above what they were paid
initially and consequently their monthly pensions increased proportionally.

      The government has decided to hold on to those benefits for reasons
which cannot be explained by anyone at the Pensions Office.

      If a pensioner was not paid a sum of $600 000 in the year 2001 and
that money remains unpaid up to date, then who will deny that the pensioner
was denied access to durable property worth that amount in 2001 and will
never own such property in his lifetime all things remaining equal?

      For example, a standard urban house in Zimbabwe's high-density suburbs
was less than $200 000 in 2001 which he could have bought then, but which he
can't buy now because it is now probably priced at $2 000 000. Because the
government has kept that money, it cannot be disputed that the concerned
individual was deliberately denied a chance to own three houses of his own.

      This is food for thought. Something is going wrong at Mukwati

      Perhaps an investigation could unearth something unholy there because
there is already evidence on the ground that the quick ones who visited the
offices personally got their monies.

      It is us who got addicted to honesty who have been left to wait until
the pensions officer decides to do his work.

      Starving Pensioner
      Victoria Falls
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