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Police accused over Musindo rape case

Zim Standard

            By Foster Dongozi

            THIRTY-FIVE women's organisations have threatened to demonstrate
against the police over their alleged reluctance to arrest Zanu PF supporter
and leader of the Destiny for Africa Network, Obadiah Musindo.

            Musindo mingled with Zanu PF heavyweights and ministers at the
burial of national hero, senior assistant police commissioner Winston
Changara on Friday.

            Musindo also recently donated $130 million towards President
Robert Mugabe's birthday bash held in Mutare.

            Musindo, who calls himself a reverend, is alleged to have raped
his maid five times and photographed her private parts.

            A statement by Women's Coalition, the umbrella organisation for
all women and children's organisations leading the complaints, said: "The
Women's Coalition is shocked that after the Attorney General declared that
Obadiah Musindo has a case to answer, he has not been arrested. Failure to
arrest Mr Musindo to answer to the charges of rape will leave us no choice
but to march in protest. We deserve protection and justice against
gender-based violence as citizens of this country."

            Attorney General, Sobusa Gula Ndebele referred The Standard to
the Director of Public Prosecutions Loice Moyo, who was not immediately

            "The Women's Coalition is worried that a number of cases that
concern sexual abuse of minors by high profile men are not brought before
the courts."

            Women's affairs minister, Oppah Muchinguri, said she could not
comment on the Musindo issue. "I am uncomfortable discussing that issue as
it is going through the legal process," she said.

            Two weeks ago she castigated what she described as a "lenient"
sentence against an alleged serial rapist.

            A former permanent secretary seduced a 15-year-old-girl
resulting in pregnancy but he has not been charged for statutory rape.

            A deputy minister from Masvingo and a very senior chief have
also made young girls pregnant, while a permanent secretary has impregnated
several young girls in Mashonaland East.

            They have been allowed to go scot-free because they are senior
Zanu PF officials.

            Meanwhile, the government and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions are headed for a showdown over the issue of sanitary ware.

            The government appears annoyed that the ZCTU sourced truckloads
of sanitary towels from abroad for use by unemployed and poor women.

            Although the government refused to waive duty, the ZCTU, looked
for US$7 000 ($700 million) to pay the duty for the sanitary pads.

            There are reports that women have been using soft tree fibre,
newspapers and rags for sanitary purposes because they could not afford the
sanitary towels.

            Muchinguri said following the publication of a story in The
Standard about the plight of women, the government had visited several
companies that manufacture sanitary pads to establish their capacities.

            Companies that were said to be manufacturing sanitary ware were
wheeled out and paraded before the Press and invited guests.

            "People should desist from using women as guinea pigs to further
their political clout. The products prices are quite reasonable and for ZCTU
to masquerade as the saviours of Zimbabwean women in terms of providing
sanitary ware is rather worrying and misleading."duty for the sanitary pads.

            There are reports that women have been using soft tree fibre,
newspapers and rags for sanitary purposes because they can not afford the
sanitary towels.

            Muchinguri said following the publication of a story in The
Standard about the plight of women, the government had visited several
companies that manufacture sanitary pads to establish their capacities.

            Companies that were said to be manufacturing sanitary ware were
wheeled out and paraded before the Press and invited guests.

            "People should desist from using women as guinea pigs to further
their political clout. The products prices are quite reasonable and for ZCTU
to masquerade as the saviours of Zimbabwean women in terms of providing
sanitary ware is rather worrying and misleading."

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'Apartheid' fence rile students

Zim Standard

            BY OUR STAFF

            BULAWAYO - THE National University of Science and Technology
(NUST) has erected a security fence in order to bar students who have not
paid new fees from attending lectures.

            Disgruntled students say the fence is a throw back to the
apartheid era in pre-democratic South Africa, when blacks were barred from
designated areas.

            University authorities have also pitched a huge tent near the
security fence. The tent is used as a banking hall for students settling
their outstanding fees before they can enter the campus.

            Paid up students are issued with new identity cards that have to
be produced upon entering the security fence.

            NUST had given its students until 27 March to settle the fees,
increased to $30 million up from $3 million a semester.

            Student Representative Council (SRC) president, Beloved
Chiweshe, said the SRC was making frantic efforts to contest the move by the
authorities in the courts.

            "We are against the barring of students from entering the campus
on the basis that they have not paid their fees. It is a waste of resources.
We will confront that by going to the courts because we cannot be denied
education," Chiweshe said.

            Chiweshe was on Tuesday, with 27 other students, hauled before a
disciplinary hearing for protesting against the new fees and also
"unlawfully and intentionally.demonising and castigating the government and
the Vice Chancellor of NUST".

            Contacted for comment, the Director of Information and Public
Relations, Felix Moyo, defended the "apartheid" fence saying "it is not
something new and the tent is designed to provide a shade for the students."

            Moyo said: "In fact, in other universities world-wide, students
swipe their identity cards before entering the campus. We pitched the tent
so that students can be protected say if there is a blazing sun or if it's

            However, the secretary general of the Progressive Teachers'
Union of Zimbabwe, Raymond Majongwe, urged NUST students to "bring down
these walls and cut the fences of injustice".

            He said: "It is a violation of the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights (1948: Article 26) because it says that everyone has a right to
education. The nature of creating zones as if we are in the Ian Smith era is
a negation of fundamental human rights. Students must confront that system,"
Majongwe said.

            The Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Stan Mudenge,
told Parliament last Thursday that tertiary institutions should not deny
students access to universities and colleges on the basis of having failed
to settle the newly introduced tuition fees. His appeal seems to be falling
on deaf ears.

            Meanwhile authorities at the Harare Polytechnic continue to bar
students who failed to top up their fees from eating at the institution's

            Sources at the college last week said the authorities have
however, stopped evicting students that have not paid up their accommodation

            But the college is not accepting examination fees from students
who have not paid up their tuition fees. Tuition fees were increased from
$2.7 million to $14.4 million more than a month ago.

            The suspended students' representative leader, Stephen Matenga,
said: "As student leaders we applaud the government's temporary reprieve.
But there is need for a permanent solution. Fee increments must be realistic
and affordable. It must be sensitive to the plight of parents who are
already languishing in poverty."

            College Principal, Steven Raza, declined to give details. "I don't
want to talk to you people from The Standard because you just write whatever
you want," he said before switching off his mobile phone.signed to provide a
shade for the students".

            Moyo said: "In fact, in other universities world-wide, students
swipe their identity cards before entering the campus. We pitched the tent
so that students can be protected, say if there is a blazing sun or if it's

            However, the secretary general of the Progressive Teachers'
Union of Zimbabwe, Raymond Majongwe, urged NUST students to "bring down
these walls and cut the fences of injustice".

            He said: "It is a violation of the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights (1948: Article 26) because it says that everyone has a right to
education. The nature of creating zones as if we are in the Ian Smith era is
a negation of fundamental human rights. Students must confront that system,"
Majongwe said.

            The Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Stan Mudenge,
told Parliament last Thursday that tertiary institutions should not deny
students access to universities and colleges on the basis of having failed
to settle the newly introduced tuition fees. His appeal seems to be falling
on deaf ears.

            Meanwhile authorities at the Harare Polytechnic continue to bar
students who failed to top up their fees from eating at the institution's

            Sources at the college last week said the authorities have
however stopped evicting students that have not paid up their new
accommodation fees.

            But the college is not accepting examination fees from students
who have not paid  their new tuition fees. Tuition fees were increased from
$2.7 million to $14.4 million more than a month ago.

            The suspended students' representative leader, Stephen Matenga,
said: "As student leaders we applaud the government's temporary reprieve.
But there is need for a permanent solution."

            College Principal, Steven Raza, declined to comment.

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Soldiers, police get marching orders for Changara funeral

Zim Standard

            BY OUR STAFF

            JUNIOR ranking soldiers and police officers in camps in Harare
were on Friday commandeered to the national shrine while stallholders at
Mbare Musika were ordered to go to Stodart Hall to make up numbers at the
burial of President Robert Mugabe's former aide-de-camp ,senior assistant
police commissioner Winston Changara, The Standard can reveal.

            Irate soldiers said they were ordered to leave whatever they
were doing and troop to the National Heroes' Acre.

            Some of the soldiers said other officers were told to go without
uniforms so as to create the impression that it was actually members of the
public who had graced the national event.

            "I was preparing to go on an out of town journey, but we were
told to go to Heroes' Acre. I tried to reason with my superiors, but they
said my loyalty to the force would be questioned if I boycott the burial of
a hero," said one junior soldier.

            A cursory glance by The Standard news crew on Friday observed
that uniformed officers from the Zimbabwe National Army, the police and
Zimbabwe Prison Services filled up the terraces at the national shrine.
There were very few people in civilian attire.

            However, army spokesperson, Colonel Simon Tsatsi denied
commandeering soldiers to the Heroes' Acre.

            "Masoja agara anongoenda ku Heroes'Acre each time panovigwa
gamba. We never followed people at their homes to commandeer them to go to
Heroes' Acre. If they were not on duty then what were they doing at the
barracks?" Tsatsi asked.

            Mbare Musika's retail section was shut down around 10AM and was
only re-opened later in the afternoon. However, the wholesale section for
farmers was not seriously affected, as it closes at 1130AM everyday.

            Vendors and residents were bitter at the disruption of their
activities. They said they were ordered to close the market or face the
wrath of Chipangano, a notorious Zanu PF militia group based in the
high-density suburb.

            "The security officers manning the gates just told us to pack
our things and leave the market for Stodart. When we asked what was
happening, they said they were working on instructions," said Rose Chipunza,
a stallholder at the retail section of the market.

            At the national shrine, President Mugabe threatened to
ruthlessly crush the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)'s
planned mass demonstrations to oust him.

            He said the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, was digging his own
grave if he goes ahead with the planned mass street protests.

            As Mugabe was making the threats, two police officers collapsed
after standing in the sun for hours before the burial commenced.

            His threats came less than a month after Tsvangirai, who leads
the Anti-Senate MDC faction, said he would lead demonstrations against the
82-year-old leader for running down the country's economy and committing
gross human rights violations.

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Villagers face starvation after eating maize seed

Zim Standard

            BY GIBBS DUBE

            HWANGE - Villagers in Hwange District, Matabeleland North
Province, face starvation because most of them consumed government-donated
maize seed.

            The villagers, desperate for food, ate the maize seed after the
rains failed.

            Villagers, government officials, relief agencies and community
leaders told The Standard that a large number of people resorted to eating
maize seed between August last year and February this year after the Grain
Marketing Board (GMB) failed to deliver food supplies.

            "The majority of people used to rely on maize seed which is
preserved with chemicals," said Joseph Change, the village head for Change

            "They would boil the seed and mill it before consuming it.

            "We had several cases of people who were admitted to various
clinics and hospitals after they were poisoned by chemicals," he said.

            As a result, he said, most villagers failed to plant maize and
were in urgent need of food aid at a time when the GMB has failed during the
past seven months to deliver grain to areas desperate for food.

            Change said:

            "The situation is worrying as most people are facing starvation.
We do not expect any meaningful harvests in both communal and newly
resettled farms as most people consumed their donated maize seed.

            There is urgent need for government intervention to ensure that
our people get food.

            "The majority of people last received maize from the GMB between
May and July last year and this is the reason why they ate maize seed. We
are facing a crisis in this area."

            The Senator for Hwange East, Grace Dube, also confirmed that
people consumed maize seed when they failed to get maize from the GMB and as
a result were starving because few villagers managed to plant crops.

            Dube said: "Villagers used to eat maize seed especially in
circumstances when they were failing to access food supplies from the GMB.

            There is definitely a food crisis here although I am informed
that the government may intervene soon to alleviate the situation by
providing maize."

            The maize seed was treated with chemicals such as Captan,
Cruiser and Gaucho which, according to manufacturers, are harmful if
ingested by human beings.

            Hwange East villagers - Focal Constantine Liteta, Anna Kwidini,
Regina Zulu and Jennifer Dube -said the majority of people were surviving on
a single meal a day, sourced from non-governmental organisations.

            Liteta said: "The situation is bad as we cannot make ends meet.
We are surviving on meagre food supplies from non-governmental

            We sometimes get at least five kilogrammes of maize meal a month
and this is not enough to feed our families that have ballooned due to the
AIDS menace.

            "Although some primary school children are fed with porridge
sourced from NGOs, their colleagues at secondary schools go to school on
empty stomachs.

            They only get one meal a day and this is distressing for
youngsters who have to cope with the demands of school life while struggling
to feed themselves."

            A spokesman for one of the relief agencies said:

            "Government and NGOs should come together to make a thorough
assessment of the food situation in this region in order to ensure that
people get food supplies.

            This issue needs a collective approach as we are facing a food
disaster in Hwange East."

            The food crisis in Zimbabwe has been largely blamed on the
government's skewed land reform and insufficient rains during the past five

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Politics bury mortuary projec

Zim Standard

            By our correspondent

            GWERU - A committee set up to raise funds for the rehabilitation
and expansion of Gweru Provincial Hospital mortuary has failed to start work
after Zanu PF officials objected to its composition, The Standard has

            The Midlands Governor Cephas Msipa, who was involved in setting
up the committee, decided that it was prudent to co-opt Gweru mayor, Sesel
Zvidzayi, as chairperson of the fund-raising committee, The Standard

            However, some ruling party provincial officials, keen to portray
the project seen as a Zanu PF initiative, decided it was improper to have a
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) member heading the committee. Zvidzayi
belongs to Morgan Tsvangirai's faction of the MDC.

            A government official speaking on condition he was not
identified, said following the objections by Zanu PF officials, the MDC
mayor was then made the deputy chairperson of the committee while Gweru
businessperson, Enos Size was appointed the chairperson of the committee.

            However, the committee is still to meet.

            Asked for comment, the Midlands provincial medical director,
Anderson Chimusoro, referred all questions to the Midlands governor who was
not immediately available for comment yesterday.

            However, Zvidzayi told The Standard that he was willing to
direct all his energies to the project despite disagreements over his

            "Unfortunately I cannot say much regarding the committee but I
want to emphasise that I am ready and willing to work for the improvement of
the mortuary and on anything else that benefits our residents," Zvidzayi

            The Gweru provincial hospital mortuary has a capacity of 24
bodies but has over 60 bodies at any given time.

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Power cuts worsen Zimbabwe's woes

Zim Standard


            MASVINGO - Massive power outages that are currently being
experienced in the country have reduced most urban families to living an
almost rural life and the residents are slowly adapting to the situation.

            The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) early this year
announced that they were reintroducing power cuts in cities and towns
lasting several hours on end because of an acute shortage of electricity.

            Everyday, it has become normal to see women and children from
Harare's high-density suburbs carrying firewood from neighbouring farms.

            "There is nothing we can do. We just have to use firewood," said
Sarah Makamba of Glen Norah. "Electricity is cut on a daily basis and that
does not stop us from getting hungry. We still have to cook and eat, the
living standards are always deteriorating,"she said.

            Paraffin, which has always been a ready substitute  source of
energy, is also not available as the country  grapples with a serious fuel

            Because of the regular power outages, some residents complain
that they have had to throw away  meat from their refrigerators  which  had
gone bad after power  cuts on several occasions over the past few months.

            "Although because of  rising prices, it makes sense to buy food
in bulk," said one Greendale resident, "It is now extremely difficult
because it will go bad as most of the time there is no electricity.

             "These days you cannot plan," lamented the man.

            However, it is not everyone feeling the pinch, The Standard

            Well-heeled residents are buying generators for power
generation, in the event there are power cuts.

            They are, however, struggling to keep them running because of
fuel shortages, which have worsened over the past three years.

            Other residents  regularly raid furniture-manufacturing
companies to buy sawdust, which they then burn as a source of energy.

            ZESA Holdings, through its subsidiary the Zimbabwe Electricity
Distribution Company (ZEDC), released a load shedding schedule for Harare
Region customers indicating that they will be without electricity for up to
six hours each week.

            "Customers should treat the mains as being live during load
shedding periods as supplies may be restored before expiry of the peak

            Customers should also note that in the event of severe supply
deficiencies more severe load shedding may be warranted and the above
programme may not necessarily be followed," warned ZEDC in a statement

            ZESA Holdings loss control manager, Philip Mhike, last week
revealed that the company was losing about $5 billion a week due to
vandalism and theft.

            "We have acquired a lot of equipment from China meant for
connecting new clients but we have failed to do so because we have to
replace vandalised areas," Mhike said.

            He was speaking in Norton after the police had arrested seven
people accused of stealing aluminium conductors. The thieves use the
conductors to make aluminium pots for export.

            Zimbabwe imports 40% of its power requirements from South Africa's
Eskom, Mozambique's HCB and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)'s

            Electricity is only one item on a long list of key commodities
in critically short supply as the country grapples its worst ever economic

            Food, fuel, essential medical drugs, chemicals to treat drinking
water for urban residents and nearly every other basic survival commodity is
in short supply because there is no hard cash to pay foreign suppliers.

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Mutare commissioner quits over pending criminal case

Zim Standard


            MUTARE - Esau Mupfumi, the Zanu PF central committee member and
transport tycoon, who fell victim to the government's anti-corruption
crusade, has resigned from the commission appointed by the government to run
the eastern border city.

            In a letter to the Minister of Local Government, Public Works
and Urban Development, Ignatious Chombo, Mupfumi said he had resigned from
the commission because he has a pending criminal case against him.

            He is alleged to have defrauded the National Oil Company of
Zimbabwe (Noczim) of 15 000 litres of diesel.

            The businessman was remanded in custody to next month  when he
appeared before a regional magistrate, Hosia Mujaya last week.

            Two other top Zanu PF officials from the city have also fallen
prey to the anti-corruption blitz.

            Mupfumi said it was immoral for him to remain in public office
while still facing criminal charges.

            Mupfumi was appointed in January as deputy chairman responsible
for finance.

            He said the decision to resign from the commission should not be
misconstrued to mean that he was guilty of the charges he was facing but
merely wanted to be excused until the case has been finalised.

            The Standard saw a copy of the resignation letter.

            There was no immediate comment from Chombo but an official from
the office of the Manicaland provincial governor confirmed

            Mupfumi's resignation which he said had been accepted.

            Mupfumi's resignation letter was also copied to Tinaye Chigudu,
the provincial governor.

            "Yes I can confirm that Mupfumi has resigned and we have
accepted his decision which was very personal," said the senior official
from the governor's office.

            The latest development further throws the commission into
disarray after Chombo abruptly dismissed new commissioners he had appointed
three days earlier and demoted the commission chairman, Kenneth Saruchera,
to being a deputy responsible for public works.

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Rentals sky rocket in Byo

Zim Standard

            BY OUR STAFF

            BULAWAYO - Accommodation rentals in Bulawayo have this month
shot up by more than 233% following an increase in tariff rates by the
Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company (ZEDC), a subsidiary of the
Zimbabwe Electricity Power Authority (ZESA).

            ZEDC increased its tariff rates by 450% to be effected quarterly
this year in a bid to cover its operational costs running into trillions of

            ZEDC is this month expected to increase electricity charges by
95%. Other increases will be effected in June, September and December.

            As a result of the tariff increases, rentals in Bulawayo's
high-density areas have shot up by between $2 million and $3 million a room
up from about between $600 000 and $800 000.

            In the low-density suburbs, estate agents say they have
increased their rentals to between $15 and $40 million. Property owners were
charging tenants rents ranging from $10 to $30 million a month before this
month's increases.

            However, the rentals are expected to go up again soon as local
authorities have been given the green light by the Minister of Local
Government, Public Works and Urban Development, Ignatious Chombo, to charge
market rates in a bid to effectively provide essential services.

            Bulawayo Residents Association chairman, Winos Dube, said the
rent increases were symptoms of an ailing economy.

            "This really expresses the difficult economic situation in the
country and we sympathise with everyone.

            This is a serious national crisis and we can only plead with the
higher authorities to solve the crisis as the majority of workers are really
suffering," Dube said.

            The increase in rentals come at a time when workers are
grappling with transport costs which now run into millions of dollars every
month following hikes in commuter fares coupled with the ever-rising prices
of basic commodities.

            The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) says a family now needs
close to $28 million a month to cater for its needs.

            There are concerns that the ZEDC would still incur huge loses
running into trillions of dollars since the tariff increases are regarded as
low because the parastatal is saddled with huge debts.

            ZEDC is facing viability problems, a situation that has seen the
organisation failing to purchase critical equipment and spare parts.

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US envoy explains Mugabe travel sanctions busting

Zim Standard


            ZIMBABWEAN government ministers and ruling party officials on
the US sanctions travel list have been able to exploit international
conventions to travel to Washington and New York regularly, The Standard can

            In a recent interview, the US Ambassador to Zimbabwe,
Christopher Dell, said while individuals on the sanctions are not allowed to
travel to the US  for personal reasons, under what are known as host country
treaties, or host country memorandum, a government which hosts an
international organisation on its territory such as the United Nations in
New York or the International Monetary Fund in Washington is obliged to
allow individuals and government officials from other member countries to
travel to the US for official business with those institutions regardless of
the state of political relations between the US and that country.

            "So, for example," explained Ambassador Dell, "Fidel Castro in
the past regularly attended the UN General Assembly much as President Robert
Mugabe regularly attends the UN General Assembly.

            Even though we would not give either of those individuals a visa
for personal travel, we are obligated to do so as the host country of the
United Nations."

            The Minister of Finance Dr Herbert Murerwa and the Governor of
the Reserve Bank, Dr Gideon Gono, were in Washington last month for IMF
Board meetings even though both appear on the US travel sanctions list for
undermining democratic processes in Zimbabwe.

            Mugabe has exploited the same loophole in both the US and
European Union travel sanctions to attend United Nations conferences in New
York and  the Food and Agriculture Organisation meetings in Rome, Italy.

            Mugabe, his government ministers and ruling party officials are
part of nearly 130 people and 33 entities, their immediate family members
and any other persons assisting them who appear on the US economic and
travel sanctions list.

            But Ambassador Dell said:

            "What I can tell you is that there have been numerous cases in
which senior officials and members of their families have been denied visas.

            As a general policy we do not disclose information about visa
issuances or about visa denials.

            "While the list of individuals who are subject to financial
sanctions is public, we do not publish the list of people who have been put
on travel restrictions.

            Those individuals are however, informed by a personal letter
that they are not welcome to travel to the United States.

            "So what I can tell you is that there have been numerous cases
of ministers, senior party officials and their spouses, who have been turned
down for their request to travel to the United States for things like family
weddings or to travel to attend their children's graduation at university."

            He said that in certain cases the travel restrictions extended
to the children of these and family members.

            "We have recently added to the various lists of sanctioned

            These have been expanded over time and in more recent times we
have added to that list, the children of individuals who are on the
sanctions list.

            "However, as long as those children are already in the United
States, they are not going to be forced to leave the United States and be
deported but should they leave and re-apply for a new student visa there is
likelihood they will not get that visa."

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Government 50 trillion in the red

Zim Standard

            By Deborah-Fay Ndlovu

            THE Ministry of Finance is drafting a $50 trillion supplementary
budget after line ministries ran out of funding, Standardbusiness has

            Finance Permanent Secretary Willard Manungo denied the
development saying while government appreciates the impact of inflation on
ministries' budget, it still expected them to live within their means.

            "We appreciate that that when inflation goes up, ministries are
under pressure. The challenge now is to get it down but we are saying let us
stick to the 2006 Budget," Manungo said.

            But an official from his Ministry said on Friday the
supplementary Budget had been pegged for June and has been under draft since
January. The official said of priority would be "security" ministries.

            "The matter is going through Parliament and the document has
been under draft since January. When drafting began it had been decided that
it would mostly be for security ministries like that of Defence and Security
but the other ministries are broke and have been factored in," said the

            "The thing is the money that was allocated for the 2006 national
Budget was not enough and with inflation shooting to 782 % it is now another
story," he said.

            Standardbusiness understands the Ministry of Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs had its cheque dishonoured at a local bank last week
causing some embarrassment for the government.

            The Ministry of Finance has been forced to eat its words after
inflation skyrocketed to unforeseen levels. Last year, the government
boasted that there would be no supplementary Budget and had drafted the 2006
Budget when inflation was forecast to hit an average of 200 % by year-end
last year.

            It has since hit 782% and continues to rise because of pressure
driven by food costs. Forecasts are that figures will go down in the second
quarter but analysts believe the decrease will not be significant because of
the increase in money supply growth.

            The inflation pressure has hit line ministries hard and
government has also been forced to increase fees for services, such as
passports, as a cost recovery measure.

            "The supplementary Budget is not desirable really but has forced
by the situation. Fees for most ministries have been increased and there
will be periodic reviews to bring them closer to inflation. When inflation
goes up it would be necessary to adjust fees upwards," the official said.
Most ministries reviewed their fees in the last month to hedge against

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Midzi eats humble pie

Zim Standard

            BY OUR STAFF

            MINES and Mining Development Minister, Amos Midzi might be
forced to swallow his words after government announced that there will be no
radical review to the Mines and Minerals Act, Standardbusiness has

            Midzi's announcement caused panic among investors, angered his
counterparts in government and is believed to be the reason why the
International Monetary Fund refused to give Zimbabwe financial assistance.

            The proposed amendments, stating that government would get
non-contributory 25 % equity on the promulgation of the Bill into law and
the nationalised stake would be increased to 51 % within five years, also
sparked warnings of closures from the Chamber of Mines

            But government is seeking to sweep the dirt created by Midzi
with President Mugabe reportedly having met Zimplats to assure them that
Mine Minister's proposals would not be carried out.

            Presidential spokesperson, George Charamba told Standardbusiness
last week that the contested amendments 'do not exist' but confirmed that
there were discussions at cabinet level that could change ownership in the
country's mining concerns. Charamba said that the changes would cut across
all sectors of industry.

            "The referred amendments to the Mining Act do not exist. There
is no Act ... just discussions which have not been approved by cabinet. The
discussions are still at a formative stage. Its an empowerment programme
that will cut across all sectors starting with mining and what is being
discussed is very far from what is being said right now," Charamba said.

            Midzi's camp could further be threatened after Charamba added
that changes in ownership would be done using a "market friendly approach".

            "It would be wrong that indigenous people are by-standers with
concerns to resources mined in the country. Indigenisation can be done at
three levels, which could be government acting on behalf of people, people
with means buying or Zimbabweans combined to form consortiums to acquire
stakes in foreign owned concerns.

            "What is being done is all in the context of markets, based on
negotiations and understanding and agreements. There will be a market
friendly approach to the empowerment program and there is nothing for free
in a market," he said.

            He said the President had met Zimplats where he assured them
that what was happening is in line "with what is happening in the region.

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Hwange gears for expansion

Zim Standard

            BY NDAMU SANDU

            COAL producer Hwange Colliery Company Ltd (HCCL) says it is
expecting a consignment of US$33 million equipment for its expansion project
next month.

            The equipment is for the underground mine (US$20 million), open
cast mine (US$10 million) and coal fines projects (US$3 million).

            Godfrey Dzinomwa, HCC MD told Standardbusiness last week the
coal producer had made some payment and was expecting the equipment by the
middle of June. Dzinomwa said the coal producer was expecting drills from
Europe and earthmoving equipment, water bowsers and haulage trucks from

            He could not be drawn into revealing the sources of suppliers
though sources told Standarbusiness that the drill would come from a
Scandinavian country, possibly Sweden, and other equipment from China. The
drills, earthmoving equipment will be used for the open cast mine, Dzinomwa

            The HCCL boss said a consignment of mining equipment and a
conveyor belt had been ordered for the underground mine while the coal
producer has made a down payment for equipment to be used at the coal fine
spiral plant.

            Dzinomwa said the expansion programme would result in increased
output in coke and coal to meet growing demand. In the financial year ended
31 December 2005, HCCL recorded a decline in coal exports compared to the
previous year. Coal exports at 39 067 tonnes was 60 447 tonnes less than the
previous year. However coke exports for the year at 105 927 tonnes were 40%
above the sales achieved in the previous year.

            Dzinomwa said exports to China North Industries Corporation
(NORINCO)'s smelter in the Democratic Republic of Congo were raking in
US$150 000 and the coal miner was optimistic that the exports revenue would
grow to $500 000 by the end of the year. HCCL exports coke and coal DRC.

            In its financial year ended 31 December 2005 results, HCCL
recorded a profit after tax of $264.5 billion from $49.9 billion in the
previous year.

            The mining concern said it was not declaring dividend citing the
need for money to fund the company's recapitalization programme.

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Hyperinflation: Yugoslavia's scary experience

Zim Standard

            By Thayer Watson

            UNDER Tito, Yugoslavia ran a budget deficit that was financed by
printing money. This led to a rate of inflation of 15 to 25 percent per
year. After Tito, the Communist Party pursued progressively more irrational
economic policies.

            These policies and the breakup of Yugoslavia (Yugoslavia now
consists of only Serbia and Montenegro) led to heavier reliance upon
printing or otherwise creating money to finance the operation of the
government and the socialist economy. This created hyperinflation.

            By the early 1990s the government used up all of its own hard
currency reserves and proceeded to loot the hard currency savings of private
citizens. It did this by imposing more and more difficult restrictions on
private citizens' access to their hard currency savings in government banks.

            The government operated a network of stores at which goods were
supposed to be available at artificially low prices. In practice these
stores seldom had anything to sell and goods were only available at free
markets where the prices were far above the official prices that goods were
supposed to sell at in government stores.

            All of the government gasoline stations eventually closed down
and gasoline was available only from roadside dealers whose operation
consisted of a car parked with a plastic can of gasoline sitting on the
hood. The market price was the equivalent of US$8 for four litre. Most car
owners gave up driving and relied upon public transportation. But the
Belgrade transit authority (GSP) did not have the funds necessary for
keeping its fleet of 1 200 buses operating. Instead it ran fewer than 500
buses. These buses were overcrowded and the ticket collectors could not get
aboard to collect fares. Thus GSP could not collect fares even though it was
desperately short of funds.

            Delivery trucks, ambulances, fire trucks and garbage trucks were
also short of fuel. The government announced that gasoline would not be sold
to farmers for fall harvests and planting.

            Despite the government's desperate printing of money it still
did not have the funds to keep the infrastructure in operation. Pot holes
developed in the streets, elevators stopped functioning, and construction
projects were closed down. The unemployment rate exceeded 30%.

            The government tried to counter the inflation by imposing price
controls. But when inflation continued, the government price controls made
the price producers were getting so ridiculously low that they simply
stopped producing. In October of 1993 the bakers stopped making bread and
Belgrade was without bread for a week. The slaughter houses refused to sell
meat to the State stores and this meant meat became unvailable for many
sectors of the population. Other stores closed down for inventory rather
than sell their goods at the government mandated prices. When farmers
refused to sell to the government at the artificially low prices the
government dictated, government irrationally used hard currency to buy food
from foreign sources rather than remove the price controls. The Ministry of
Agriculture also risked creating a famine by selling farmers only 30% of the
fuel they needed for planting and harvesting.

            Later the government tried to curb inflation by requiring stores
to file paperwork every time they raised a price. This meant that many store
employees had to devote their time to filling out these government forms.
Instead of curbing inflation this policy actually increased inflation
because the stores tended to increase prices by larger increments so they
would not have file forms for another price increase so soon.

            In October of 1993 they created a new currency unit. One new
dinar was worth one million of the "old" dinars. In effect, the government
simply removed six zeroes from the paper money. This, of course, did not
stop the inflation.

            In November of 1993 the government postponed turning on the heat
in the State apartment buildings in which most of the population lived. The
residents reacted to this by using electrical space heaters which were
inefficient and overloaded the electrical system. The government power
company then had to order blackouts to conserve electricity.

            In a large psychiatric hospital 87 patients died in November of
1994. The hospital had no heat, there was no food or medicine and the
patients were wandering around naked.

            Between 1 October , 1993 and 24 January, 1995 prices increased
by 5 quadrillion percent. This number is a 5 with 15 zeroes after it. The
social structure began to collapse. Thieves robbed hospitals and clinics of
scarce pharmaceuticals and then sold them in front of the same places they
robbed. The railway workers went on strike and closed down Yugoslavia's rail

            The government set the level of pensions. The pensions were to
be paid at the post office but the government did not give the post offices
enough funds to pay these pensions. The pensioners lined up in long queues
outside the post office. When the post office ran out of State funds to pay
the pensions the employees would pay the next pensioner in line whatever
money they received when someone came in to mail a letter or package. With
inflation being what it was, the value of the pension would decrease
drastically if the pensioners went home and came back the next day. So they
waited in line knowing that the value of their pension payment was
decreasing with each minute they had to wait.

            Many Yugoslavian businesses refused to take the Yugoslavian
currency, and the German Deutsche Mark effectively became the currency of
Yugoslavia. But government organizations, government employees and
pensioners still got paid in Yugoslavian dinars so there was still an active
exchange in dinars. On November 12, 1993 the exchange rate was 1 DM = 1
million new dinars. Thirteen days later the exchange rate was 1 DM = 6.5
million new dinars and by the end of November it was 1 DM = 37 million new

            At the beginning of December the bus workers went on strike
because their pay for two weeks was equivalent to only 4 DM when it cost a
family of four 230 DM per month to live. By December 11th the exchange rate
was 1 DM = 800 million and on December 15th it was 1 DM = 3.7 billion new
dinars. The average daily rate of inflation was nearly 100 percent. When
farmers selling in the free markets refused to sell food for Yugoslavian
dinars the government closed down the free markets. On December 29 the
exchange rate was 1 DM = 950 billion new dinars.

            About this time there occurred a tragic incident. As usual,
pensioners were waiting in line. Someone passed by the line carrying bags of
groceries from the free market. Two pensioners got so upset at their
situation and the sight of someone else with groceries that they had heart
attacks and died right there.

            At the end of December the exchange rate was 1 DM = 3 trillion
dinars and on January 4, 1994 it was 1 DM = 6 trillion dinars. On January
6th the government declared that the German Deutsche was an official
currency of Yugoslavia. About this time the government announced a NEW "new"
Dinar which was equal to 1 billion of the old "new" dinars. This meant that
the exchange rate was 1 DM = 6,000 new new Dinars. By January 11 the
exchange rate had reached a level of 1 DM = 80,000 new new Dinars. On
January 13th the rate was 1 DM = 700,000 new new Dinars and six days later
it was 1 DM = 10 million new new Dinars.

            The telephone bills for the government operated phone system
were collected by the postmen. People postponed paying these bills as much
as possible and inflation reduced their real value to next to nothing. One
postman found that after trying to collect on 780 phone bills he got nothing
so the next day he stayed home and paid all of the phone bills himself for
the equivalent of a few American pennies.

            Here is another illustration of the irrationality of the
government's policies: James Lyon, a journalist, made twenty hours of
international telephone calls from Belgrade in December of 1993. The bill
for these calls was 1000 new new dinars and it arrived on January 11th. At
the exchange rate for January 11th of 1 DM = 150,000 dinars it would have
cost less than one German pfennig to pay the bill. But the bill was not due
until January 17th and by that time the exchange rate reached 1 DM = 30
million dinars. Yet the free market value of those twenty hours of
international telephone calls was about $5,000. So despite being strapped
for hard currency, the government gave James Lyon $5,000 worth of phone
calls essentially for nothing.

            It was against the law to refuse to accept personal checks. Some
people wrote personal checks knowing that in the few days it took for the
checks to clear, inflation would wipe out as much as 90 percent of the cost
of covering those checks.

            On January 24, 1994 the government introduced the "super" Dinar
equal to 10 million of the new new Dinars. The Yugoslav government's
official position was that the hyperinflation occurred "because of the
unjustly implemented sanctions against the Serbian people and state."

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Winter wheat crop fund, another  scandal

Zim Standard


            The government never learns. Two months ago it moved to stop
supply of fuel to A2 farmers because of rampant abuse as the commodity was
diverted to the parallel market instead of agricultural activities.

            Last week in an about-turn, it announced a $3.25 trillion
package for this year's winter wheat crop.

            This is the problem of the government being an interested party.

            The nation is being persuaded to believe that beneficiaries of
this new package are not the same people who diverted the subsidised fuel
meant for farm production to the parallel market.

            In fact, the people responsible for the current food shortages
are being rewarded!

            The reason why the government lacks resolve is because ministers
and government officials are the main beneficiaries of its handouts.

            They will now be lining up to abuse the latest facility for
winter wheat production.

            Ever the masters at cunning, the scheme is being presented as
critical because Zimbabwe faces a shortfall in wheat production while
planting of the crop is imminent.

            The idea is to thwart any attempt at criticising the decision.

            This is deliberate.

            If the government has only just realised that winter wheat
planting is a few weeks away, then we are in big trouble.

            It simply proves that for the past six years they have learnt
absolutely nothing about planning and the country will be forced to go onto
the international market to buy wheat, when it does not have the foreign
exchange to do so.

            There will be bread shortages.

            We have had too much of this management by crisis.

            Zimbabwe has in recent years lurched from one agricultural
production crisis to another with no end in sight.

            Last year the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Agriculture
presented its findings, following countrywide consultations.

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State repression: students bear the brunt

Zim Standard

            sundayopinion By Masimba Nyamanhindi

            STUDENTS play crucial and decisive roles in the political and
socio-economic issues in their respective societies.

            This is especially so because institutions of higher learning
provide a platform for students to form competent organised centres of
opinion, which opinions normally reflect the state of affairs of a given

            In societies that experience political, social and economic
injustices, more often than not, students have been at the forefront of
demanding social, economic and political justice.

            History shows that students have indeed lived up to their
billing - voice of the voiceless - and have acted as catalysts for change.

            Zimbabwe is no different.

            The Zimbabwean society has always been beset by morally
incompetent leadership that uses coercion as a form of governance.

            Before independence, Zimbabwe was a country bedevilled by
political and economic injustices where all forms of racial discrimination
were operational.

            But students did not just watch when the country was burning;
they echoed the demands of a downtrodden nation, that is, restoration of
people's fundamental liberties and freedoms.

            Many a times, the consequences of their actions were fatal,
often leaving in their wake a trail of dead or injured student activists.

            Some were expelled.  Zimbabweans recall the expulsion of the
late Witness Mangwende, Simba Makoni and the late prolific writer Dambudzo
Marechera after leading the famous "pots and pans" demonstration.

            As Zimbabweans were imbued with the euphoria of independence,
signs that Zimbabwe would be a failed nation were becoming apparent.

            Soon after independence, the country got embroiled in a bloody
civil war that claimed the lives of scores of thousands of innocent
civilians in the Matabeleland and the Midlands region.

            This was  genocide in which more than 20 000 civilians perished
in that dark era of Zimbabwean history.

            Unfortunately, students and Zimbabweans from the other side of
the road were silent at a time when an inferno was engulfing Matabeleland
and the Midlands.

            Be that as it may, when it was becoming increasingly clear that
the political leadership in Zimbabwe was driven by selfish agendas more than
anything else, students in Zimbabwe broke their silence.

            They were at the forefront of speaking out against corruption, a
cancerous canker that has continued to eat into the social fabric of the
Zimbabwean society.

            Since that time corruption has remained deeply endemic within
Zimbabwe's society.

            Students condemned the high profile Willowgate Scandal.

            As students clamoured for transparency from the government,
journalists and musicians joined in the fray.

            Thomas Mukanya Mapfumo, a renowned protest musician released a
blockbuster, titled Corruption - a song that condemned corruption.

            Student leaders who led the sentiments against corruption were
brutalised and suspended.

            The then President of the University of Zimbabwe students'
union, Arthur Mutambara, wrote his examinations from the cells.

            He is now trying to lead Zimbabweans.

            The deliberate and systematic attack on the liberties and
freedoms of students' activists in Zimbabwe has continued, unabated and if
left unchecked could be a cocktail for disaster.

            During the last two weeks alone, we have witnessed the
suspension and expulsion of 37 students at the country's institutions of
higher learning.

            The University of Zimbabwe has expelled four student leaders.

            The National University of Science and Technology has suspended
29 student activists and Masvingo Polytechnic has expelled one student

            Since 2000, the Students Solidarity Trust has documented at
least 100 cases of victimisation of student activists, which include
suspensions and expulsions.

            At a time when the education sector is going through a turbulent
crisis, universities and colleges were thrown into disarray when the
government unilaterally increased tuition and accommodation fees for

            The increment was so sudden and exorbitant that it threatens the
capacity of ordinary students to attain tertiary education.

            Yet every child has a right to attain decent education so that
they can have the opportunity to earn a decent living and escape from the
vicious clutches of poverty.

            There is now a real danger that the majority of students will
fail to attain tertiary education.

            Harare Polytechnic has turned away thousands of students and
NUST has given students up until next week to pay up the fees or risk being

            While students en masse are faced with expulsions, the
systematic victimisation of those brave students fighting the increments has
reached alarming and unprecedented levels.

            President Robert Mugabe's regime continues to outflank the Ian
Smith regime in almost every aspect of oppression.

            It seems oppression is the only industry that is growing in

            Until all these ills are removed and true democratic order is
restored, Zimbabwe's independence will forever remain hollow and meaningless

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Of heroes and villains

Zim Standard

            End of an era

            DEATH does indeed diminish us all.   The death of "Murehwa"
James Dambaza Chikerema, at a ripe old age of 81, was of course, inevitable.

            Inevitable because death, like the taxman, will one day pay each
and all of us a visit.

            What is saddening about the passing away of such a great
Zimbabwean as the late Chikerema, is that - if everything was equal - there
were perhaps very few people who deserve to lie at the National Heroes' Acre
than Murehwa.

            This man was a colossus of the liberation struggle.

              Some of us who were toddlers when the townships were burning
in the early 1960s still recall the stories told to us by our fathers and
uncles of the heroics of the likes of James Chikerema, George Nyandoro,
Joshua Nkomo, Enos Nkala and many others.

            Ok, if the truth be told, some of the legendary heroics of
people like Chikerema were unfortunately during times of internecine
violence, when black brother attacked black brother because one "belonged"
to Zapu while the other was Zanu.

            But Chikerema - Nkomo et al - had made their names even before
they became the faces of the liberation struggle at a time when being
associated with the struggle for black majority rule was almost a death

            The white settler regime in power in the 1960s - led by Ian
Douglas Smith -was vicious.

            Its favourite pastime was to hang black nationalists as some
people enjoy swatting houseflies.   It took extra courage  to confront the

            Chikerema was such a man and there were even songs sung in the
townships of his exploits, and of course, those of other nationalists such
as Nkomo and the late Samuel Parirenyatwa.

            Woody got to know Chikerema more intimately in the late 1980s.

            Chiki, as we called him, and I became part of tight group of
influential Zimbabweans that would gather every night - come hail or high
water - in the late Herbert "HMD" Munangatire's offices at Lonrho head
office to discuss any subject on earth, while copious amounts of
intoxicating liquids (through HMD and Tiny Rowland's largesse) flowed.

            The air in that office would  be rich with chatter and the
aromatic fumes of Chiki's pipe, mingled with those of HMD's expensive cigars
(legend is that HMD so loved a particular brand of Cuban cigars that at one
time a messenger used to be flown once a week to collect them from

            Inevitably the subject would turn to the man at State House.

            Chiki was closely related to President Robert Mugabe and they
grew up together as youths at Kutama.   He also went to Saint Francis Xavier
College, better known as Kutama College, as did Mugabe, HMD, his late young
brother Charles Chikerema and of course, Woody.

            According to Chiki, and he was never one to mince words, the
Chikeremas and Mugabe had a love-hate relationship.

            While the Chikeremas and the Mugabes participated closely in any
rituals associated with their kinship at their rural Zvimba homes, they
(especially James) were vehemently opposed to each other's politics.

            Not a day (or night) would pass without Chikerema lambasting one
government policy after another.

            And whenever the subject came as to who deserved to be at the
National Heroes' Acre, Chiki always vowed that he did not want to be buried
at the national shrine because it had been politicised and - in his words -
housed some people with lots of blood on their hands.

            If it is indeed true that the Zanu PF Politburo chose to honour
Chikerema's wishes by not burying him at the National Heroes' Acre and there
were no ulterior motives such as his well-known criticism of Mugabe, then
Murehwa finally scored a blinder against his kin.

              But then, when did the Zanu PF officials ever listen to people's
wishes when it concerns who is buried at the Heroes' Acre?

            Didn't we hear that the late Chief Rekayi Tangwena also
expressed similar wishes?

            Some even say even "Umdala Wethu" did not want to be buried at
the national shrine but his final wishes were overruled.

            Where-ever he is buried, history will judge Chikerema on his
virtues and his failures.

            His failures might include his ill-fated flirtation with the
Zimbabwe-Rhodesia politics of Bishop Abel Muzorewa and Ian Smith.

            But nothing will obliterate the enormous contribution to the
Zimbabwean struggle that Murehwa made.

             And if that alone was the yardstick used to measure who really
deserves to be buried at the National Heroes' Acre, James Chikerema would
lie forever at the highest hill at the national shrine.

            Zimbos mourn

            WOODY was in the Queen's land the other day just to sample what
the international sanctions are denying us, and also wine and dine with the
folks in Harare North.

            While local businessmen here are mourning at the Chinese
invasion that has seen Indians being pushed off from their traditional
sections of the city (because the Chinese are paying outrageous rentals) and
companies crying because of the influx of cheap Chinese products, Zimbos in
London are unhappy with the sudden increase of Eastern Europeans in "their

            Some Zimbabweans Woody met accused the Russians, Latvians,
Yugoslavs, Polish and other Eastern Europeans who have taken advantage of
the relaxation of travel regimes in Europe to invade the United Kingdom, of
stealing their menial jobs.

            Many highly educated Zimbabweans who fled Sir Robert's kingdom
to take menial jobs in London bars, hotels, hospitals and homes say most of
their jobs have been stolen by East Europeans who are content with low pay.

             Because many of the East European girls are blonds, they have
automatically taken most of the jobs in the bars - especially serving at the
counter - because they look more inviting than the ordinary looking
Nyamuziwa from Chivi.

              It never rains, does it!

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Zim Rights Commission: case of too little too late

Zim Standard

            By Webster Zambara

            FOR long the human rights situation in Zimbabwe has been a
topical issue. But recent human rights violations had no precedence other
than the deliberately sidelined issue of the massacre in Matabeleland and
parts of the Midlands during the first decade of independence.

            The establishment of the Zimbabwe Human Commission, though late,
could be the only good thing to happen in the year we are celebrating our
Independence Silver Jubilee. I say so because so much happened in the year
April 2005 - April 2006.

            Of all the ills we witnessed in the year, the worst is arguably
the highest inflation rate on earth, continual shortages of basic
necessities and foreign currency, a collapsed health delivery system, rising
unemployment and deepening poverty, and our own man-made tsunami, "Operation

            Nevertheless, even amid man-made disasters, God showed his mercy
by giving us rains in abundance, but we could not grow enough to feed
ourselves. We are expecting about 700 000 tonnes of grain when we need
1.8million, and we are expecting to sell only 50 million tonnes of tobacco
when in 2000 we sold 270 million.

            It was therefore no surprise that at the most recent meeting of
the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights in Banjul, Gambia in
December 2005, the government failed to defend itself as one of the chief
perpetrators of human rights violations on the continent. This is the
background to the recent announcement by Minister Patrick Chinamasa that the
Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission is to be instituted, urgently.

            Zimbabwe is a signatory to the United Nations Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, among other instruments of the world body.
These include the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the
International Covenant on the Elimination of all forms of Racial
Discrimination, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Continentally, Zimbabwe is a party to the African Charter on Human and
Peoples' Rights, among others.

            It is important to note that the average Zimbabwean has little
knowledge of these Charters or of the human rights their government has
pledged to promote and protect.

            here are three basic ways through which the state's obligation
can be put to test. One is that the State gives periodic reports on the
state of human rights in the country. The other one is that the treaty body
periodically carries out missions to promote or investigate human rights
issues, but only with the consent of the host country. The third one is that
complaints can be filed directly by individuals, or groups of individuals to
the bodies concerned. A contextual analysis of our situation is that the
first option, which is supposed to be done through the office of the
Ombudsman, is almost non-existent.

            How many reports have we seen, and how recent are they? In any
case, how many people know where the offices of Beatrice Chanetsa, the
current Ombudsman, are located? In fact, the former governor for Mashonaland
West Province's name comes quicker than hers when she holds a national
public office.

            The second one; where investigations are carried out, quickly
reminds us of the recent visits by two UN envoys, Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka
and Jan Egeland. The rest, as they say, is history.

            t is the third one, where individuals can file complaints
directly to these august bodies that prompted Chinamasa to set up the
Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, for the reason earlier stated. The State
media said government's opponents have over the past few years relentlessly
waged a campaign to project Zimbabwe as a violator of human rights. Civic
bodies and Western governments, they argued, orchestrated these allegations.
This is a very familiar argument in Zimbabwe though very shallow.

            Chinamasa, himself a former lawyer for a civic body in 1974 (the
Catholic Justice Commission for the Rhodesia Catholic Bishops' Conference,
now Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace Zimbabwe) should not establish
this very important commission along such thinking. It will negate the very
purpose for its establishment.

            In fact, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission will derive its
strength and relevance more from what it is not, rather than what it is. It
should not be an institution set up to hoodwink the local and international
community into believing that human rights issues are being adequately dealt
with in Zimbabwe.

            It should not be an institution presided by government
appendages whose role will be to please their master. It should not be a
monster put up to harangue NGOs involved in human rights work in Zimbabwe. I
say this because we do not have a tradition of independent institutions in

            In South Africa they call them Chapter 9 institutions, following
their Constitution. Such institutions receive government funding but work
totally independent of government influence when dealing with excesses.

            uman rights issues are serious business because they affect
every facet of life - from an HIV infected person who can't access ARVs, to
the university student who can't raise fees, to the one denied food because
she doesn't have a party card, to the resettled farmer who can't get inputs
because she is not well connected, to the teacher who is earning below the
poverty datum line, and to the millions facing economic hardships because of

            I was elated when I heard that the Commission will have the
mandate to receive, investigate and redress any complaints relating to human
rights. I have every reason to, because it is not so much the hatreds, the
fears, and the brutalities, which are the social evils of our country. It is
the ignorance and deliberate denial of the truth. Even on the rule of law,
the argument that "we have the law, and therefore the law is just" has since
reached its use-by date.

            Colleagues in the civil society are already calling for this
commission to be relevant. The commission will start with a huge backlog if
it is to live up to its mandate stated above. Non-governmental Organisations
cannot change the world on their own. They can identify problems and what
needs to be done about them. Governments are the ones who must make changes.
They are the ones who have the power to change laws, and ensure that they
are implemented.

            The creation of a just and peaceful society involves not just
bringing to each and every person in the country his or her social,
economic, political and cultural rights but also of their "right" to expect
the government to provide the environment in which to realise these basic
rights. With this in mind, another Zimbabwe is possible.

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Zim Standard Letters

      Readiness to embrace democracy still a challenge
            IT is my opinion that we have a very serious crisis in Zimbabwe.
And I think its therefore necessary for us to try and determine what has led
us to the situation we find ourselves in and hopefully try to see what we
can do as individuals as well as collectively to get ourselves out of this

            Over 30 years ago Ian Smith, was asked at a Press conference why
he was not conceding to the demands of the nationalists who were then waging
a war of liberation when what was then known as qualified or limited
franchise was accorded some black people. He answered: "You people from
Europe, romanticise the black people. You do not know them; we live with
them and we know them better. Democracy as an institution, is foreign to the
Africans. It came here with the white people and we are still in the process
of educating the blacks on its merits. And it is a process which will take
some time.

            "What they know, that is the majority of the them, is that a
chief is a chief, he does not have to be voted in or out of power. Now it is
not good to give these people something they do not understand because it
can quite easily be abused by the unscrupulous few at the expense of the
vast majority."

            He said something to that effect and I recall feeling indignant
and coming to the conclusion that Smith was saying that simply as an excuse
to justify his desire to cling onto power and protectthe privileged position
whites occupied in Rhodesia.

            I was convinced his observations were typical of a racist who
believed his race superior and blacks inferior. I never tried to examine
what he had said objectively.

            I guess then and perhaps even today, Smith's observations only
confirmed what we had been telling each other, that he despised black people
and therefore was an enemy of the blacks who must be fought.

            It never occurred to me that his view deserved a sober
assessment to see whether there was any truth in it. He was an enemy and
everything an enemy says must be false and by extension everything those who
were fighting against Smith said must be true.

            It was against that background that I too threw in my lot and
joined the swelling ranks of the forces that were fighting against the Smith
regime. Little did I know that time would come when I would be forced to
recall Smith's observations and examine them in the light of events
unfolding in the Zimbabwe which is claiming to be celebrating its Silver
Jubilee "25 years of Independence and Democracy".

            To what extent has Smith been proved wrong or correct by
Zimbabwe's experience for the past 26 years. That is the challenge I feel
needs to be addressed by all of us in the wake of the MDC split.

            In my opinion the split was over the question of democracy. The
question was or is:

            * To what extent is Morgan Tsvangirai democratic?

            * To what extent is the general membership of MDC democratic?

            * To what extent are Zimbabweans in general democratic?

            That is the essence of issues at the heart of our crisis in

            It is my opinion that the question of whether or not Smith has
been proved right or wrong in his observation 30 years ago about Africans
not being ready to embrace democracy is still challenging us today just as
it did then.

            In my opinion, one of the fundamental aspects of a democratic
culture is to accept that different views must be given a fair chance to be
heard and where it is not clear which view has been embraced by the majority
of the people concerned, then the vote is used to ascertain that.

            The outcome of that vote must be respected and accepted as the
view of the majority whether one likes it or not. The moment one feels that
majority vote on any issue to which instrument of the vote has had to be
resorted to is against the interests of be it a party or a country or a club
is the wrong one and therefore must be rejected or overturned, unless if
objections are being raised with regard to the unfairness of the process,
one must know that he or she is violating one of the fundamental aspects of

            What does all, this suggest? In my opinion it clearly
demonstrates that we have not yet cultivated in our social and political
outlook sufficiently high levels of a democratic culture to enable us to
immediately sense the danger whenever anyone among us violates one of the
fundamental principles of democracy. We still have the feudal mentality of
generally being afraid to criticise a leader which mentality autocrats,
thrive on.

            We have not yet developed a love for justice, fair play and a
love for certain ideas to a point where we are prepared to die fighting for
ideas. We still ask who has said what and not why he/she has said what has
been said and ask even further whether what has been said is not a violation
of an idea we hold dear.

            David Chikombera


            Urgent need to undo Moyo legacy at ZBH
                  ZIMBABWE Broadcasting Holdings really knows how to trash

                   It has presided over the "juniorisation" of all its

                  Broadcasting used to be an awe-inspiring experience, more
so the reading of news.

                  Today, however, all stations run by ZBH - ZTV, Power FM,
SFM and Radio Zimbabwe have all been reduced to children's or juvenile play

                  The other night a female presenter was announcing the
programme line up just before the main news sat 8PM. This is supposed to be
serious business right? - Wrong! She carried on as if she was about to
present Ezomgido/Mvengemvenge.

                  Then there is the news. In the past older people were
engaged as news readers - that is on both radio and television and there is
a simple reason for this deliberate choice.

                  It is founded on the belief that the viewer or the
listener is much more likely to believe someone who is mature and carries
herself/himself with decorum than a youngster who struggles and stumbles
over lines and over words he/she has difficulties pronouncing.

                  I know it is not the politically correct thing to continue
to refer to the past because, it is said, it was "bad", but the past informs
the present and determines the future.

                  Dr Rhino Zhuwarara, the executive chair of ZBH and Susan
Makore, ZTV's chief executive officer were media lecturers before they moved
over to ZBH/ZTV while Chris Chivinge, Newsnet's Editor-in-Chief and his
deputy, Tazzen Mandizvidza, know one or two useful things about running

                  Yet despite all this knowledge and having studied/lectured
on media organisations they unleash youngsters, who to all intents and
purposes give the impression they do not know what they are doing or if they
do, nobody believes them.

                  As past media lecturers, Zhuwarara and Makore surely are
aware of how to make news stations more credible.

                  I am also sure, somewhere in their lecture notes they
taught about the importance of rehearsals before coming on the screen or
going live on air.

                  If they do and presumably practise what they only taught
yesterday, how come they don't give a hoot about what happens in reality?

                  I wonder, too, whether they take time to listen to their
own programmes and compare them with BBC, CNN, CFI, Deutschwelle or CBC.

                  I know they will argue that young faces attract young
viewers and listeners, but that precisely is why there are programmes that
are specifically for the young viewers and listeners.

                  What about those who pay for the licences? Don't they
deserve some respect?

                  Dr Tichaona Jokonya, the Minister of Information as well
as one of his predecessors, Dr Nathan Shamuyarira, have spoken about undoing
the legacy of Professor Jonathan Moyo.

                  I wish they could move with speed before the anniversary
of independence and restore some measure of credibility in State

                  T Mhofu

                  Emerald Hill



                        State media -the pan calls the kettle black
                              SOMETIMES the State-run media tends to outdo
itself in an unparalleled fashion.

                              Last week one of the government-controlled
newspapers wrote about "Blair in peerage loan scandal" and went to town, as
they say, on how the British Labour party secured loans from the rich in
return for appointment to the House of Lords, Britain's second Chamber.

                              Yet, one could easily re-write the same story,
substituting Zanu PF wherever the Labour party appears in the text.

                              Many will recall President Robert Mugabe's
anger at indigenous bankers, when he complained that the government gave the
bankers licences but the said bankers were not supporting the ruling party.

                              For example, The Herald had the following
paragraph from the same story on Blair: "If Britain's Prime Minister is not
thinking about stepping down, he should be."

                              In the local context, it could read: "If
Zimbabwe's President is not thinking about stepping down, he should be."
This is especially after all the mess he has gotten us into.

                              So companies were supported in the hope that
they will fund the ruling party's campaign activities as has been the case
with every affirmative action initiative.

                              I wish the State-media could apply to the
government and Zanu PF, the same critical mind it uses when focusing on the
alleged weaknesses and double standards of supposed enemies of the

                              If the State media is so adept at identifying
shortcomings of others countrys' leadership, it should do the same with our
own leadership - after all charity begins at home.

                              Wake Up



                              Mutambara, like an unguided missile
                                MOST people were relieved by Arthur
Mutambara's acceptance speech in which he said his mission was to reunite
the MDC.

                                Most of us, though, were wondering how he
was going to achieve this by taking sides, and accepting the presidency of
the pro-Senate group.

                                Even within the pro-Senate group itself,
Mutambara's decision to accept the post did not go down well with others,
among them Gift Chimanikire who may have been promised the presidency.

                                So, from the very beginning, Mutambara was
seen as dividing the people.

                                He did acknowledge the MDC president Morgan
Tsvangirai as a hero. He spoke strongly about the need to forget the past
and move forward.
                                But a week or so later, Mutambara is quoted
in the media saying:

                                "How do we talk about a regime which is
criminal and violent when you yourself are carrying out violent acts and
violating your own party rules?

                                We won't be qualified to fight Mugabe if we
are little Mugabes."

                                His statements were obviously directed at

                                Mutambara has obviously not had time to do a
careful analysis of the situation, and must have relied on information
supplied to him by the pro-Senate faction.

                                He obviously has not heard about the
violence committed by members of his faction against members of the other

                                In his acceptance speech Mutambara clearly
stated his position on the Senate and other government institutions.

                                The hope of many Zimbabweans was that he
would quickly consult with his colleagues, with a view to persuading them to
pull out of Senate, pull out of Parliament and all other offices obtained
through rigged elections.

                                However, a few weeks down the line,
Mutambara talks of preparations for elections.

                                "Even if we have to fight elections under
the current constitution, we will build an opposition so strong and
formidable that if Mugabe tries to rig elections, it will be impossible for
him to get away with it."

                                Some will argue that Mutambara needs more
time to put his house in order before if he hopes to live up to his
acceptance speech.

                                Benjamin Chitate

                                New Zealand

                                Sweden to continue culture support
                                REFERENCE is made to your article "Culture
Fund corruption: Sweden pulls out" in The Standard newspaper of 19 - 25
March 2006 by John Mokwetsi.

                                I appreciate your paper's interest in the
developments in Sweden's support to the culture sector in Zimbabwe.
Regrettably the information contained in the aforementioned article is not

                                All Sweden's support to the culture sector
in Zimbabwe will be channelled through the Zimbabwe Culture Fund Trust with
effect from April 2006.

                                The termination packages availed to the five
organisations announced recently is in line with this policy. The five
organisations are still eligible on equal terms with other arts
organisations, for Sweden's support through the Zimbabwe Culture Fund.

                                Notably, the Zimbabwe Culture Fund is
currently undergoing a restructuring exercise that will see it handle
increased volumes of support to the sector.

                                The whole point with the Culture Fund is to
transfer authority, money and decision-making power to the Zimbabwean
cultural workers themselves; so that they take their own decisions, instead
of having donors picking and choosing what they like to support.

                                Sten Rylander


                                Embassy of Sweden


                                No respect for women who wear skimpy dresses

                                I think it is always interesting to hear the
arguments that women put forward for putting on skimpy clothing.

                                I for one, do not begrudge any woman who
goes around naked, but I do not respect such a person.

                                Why? - because anyone who does not respect
his or her own body is obviously not looking for respect.

                                Funny enough, it is other women who like to
sneer at fellow women while most men welcome  a woman who exposes her body.

                                You can ask any female to do an experiment
and see which members of the public are more likely to show disapproval, men
or women.

                                Having said that, I always find women who
dress elegantly more interesting to look at.

                                Their tasteful dressing invites nothing but
respect from men.

                                A person's character comes out in the way
they dress.

                                On the other hand, a woman who dresses
scantily is missing something in her mind, and as such, she needs all the
help and sympathy she can get.

                                Some might say that because they came from
overseas with lots of money they can dress the way they like, but are they
aware that even in New York indecent dress can have one arrested?

                                By dressing provocatively, you are
technically committing an offence, and any man or woman can actually report
you to the police for crimen injuria.

                                I believe that those who dress indecently
have no one in their lives to dress for, and end up dressing like that in
public in order to attract the attention they can't get if they dress

                                Curiously, those who dress scantily think
people do not have the right to ogle at them! In case they don't know,
ogling is a freedom of expression too!




                                Thanks for nothing

                                ON behalf of all Harare residents, I would
like to thank the city of Harare and Zesa for their excellent services in
the past few weeks.

                                I am sure that we are getting more than our
fair share of electricity of three to four hours a day and water that drips
out of our taps. This is probably why you have raised your tariffs

                                Oh and I must not forget about the ghost
refuse trucks that we pay for that come every week to collect our refuse,
but somehow they always seem to leave the rubbish behind.

                                Mike Summer



                                Impeccable Source

                                When it comes to news from Zimbabwe, your
paper is an impeccable source for those of us in the Diaspora.

                                Please let us also have the latest in
politics in Zimbabwe. We are waiting for democracy in Zimbabwe and President
Robert Mugabe must go. If only we had the courage for a Ukrainian
style-revolution to exorcise the Zimbabwean demon.

                                M Mubaiwa




                                Our grants embezzle

                                CAN you believe that students at Kwekwe
Polytechnic are still to receive their grants because the institution
reportedly converted the money to their own use, at a time when students are
facing starvation?

                                No one will dare raise his/her head lest
they get into big trouble with the authorities.

                                Cool Toad



                                -I'm not  the author

                                THIS letter serves to inform you that I,
Ngonidzashe Chiutsi, am not the author of the letter to the Editor that
appeared in the issue of The Standard of 26 March 2006 and entitled It's the
principal causing confusion at Harare Polytech, which appeared under my

                                I would appreciate it if this letter could
be published so that my name is cleared.

                                Ngonidzashe Chiutsi


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