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

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The Guardian

Streak sacked as Zimbabwe captain
Press Association
Friday April 2, 2004 7:52 PM

Heath Streak has been sacked as captain of Zimbabwe and replaced by Tatenda

Streak is alleged to have put a number of demands to the Zimbabwe Cricket
Union (ZCU) and insisted that if they were not met he would resign from all
forms of cricket in Zimbabwe. The ZCU dismissed his ultimatum and sacked him
with immediate effect.

In a statement, the ZCU said: "Streak raised a number of issues and demanded
that they be met by Monday or else he would resign from all forms of
cricket. Instead of accepting his demands the ZCU board unanimously accepted
his resignation from all forms of cricket with immediate effect. Tatenda
Taibu becomes the new captain with immediate effect."

The move comes just weeks after Zimbabwe struggled to see off Bangladesh in
a five-match one-day series.

They eventually prevailed 2-1, largely thanks to Streak's efforts with both
bat and ball, but that wasn't enough to convince the ZCU that he should

Taibu's appointment is a surprise given his inexperience - he does not turn
21 until May.

He will be in charge in two weeks' time when Sri Lanka arrive for two Tests
and five one-day internationals.

© Copyright Press Association Ltd 2004, All Rights Reserved.
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UN issues urgent plea for $95 million to help Zimbabwe out of humanitarian

2 April 2004 - Hoping to stem the rising tide of HIV/AIDS infection, the
growing number of people dying of starvation and an eroding socio-economic
system, the United Nations today launched an urgent appeal for $95 million
to support relief efforts in Zimbabwe through the end of the year.

The request is a revision of the Consolidated Appeal launched last July and
covers health care, safe water, sanitation, education, and recovery at
household and community levels. The $95.4 million in funding requirements
include $31.1 million requested by local and international non-governmental
organizations (NGOs).

"The generosity of the international community in response to the first six
months of the Appeal has already contributed to mitigating the humanitarian
consequences of this crisis," said Victor Angelo, the UN Humanitarian
Coordinator in Zimbabwe. "But a lot more must be done to prevent the further
erosion of basic services."

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
(OCHA), the socio-economic situation in Zimbabwe has seriously deteriorated
during the past five years and continues to decline. Inflation has shot to
600 per cent at the beginning of this year from approximately 100 per cent
in 2000. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decreased by 13 per cent in 2003.
The latest assessment of the urban population indicates that almost 2.5
million are vulnerable due to food insecurity and lack of access to basic

At the same time, an estimated quarter of Zimbabwe's sexually active
population is HIV positive and some 2,600 adults and 690 children die each
week because of related illnesses, OHCA said. Nearly 800,000 of the country'
s children have been orphaned due to AIDS, while for many of these and other
children, education must often take a back seat to securing food or other
survival priorities. Cholera outbreaks are also now occurring in areas
previously out affected, as access to clean water and sanitation
deteriorates. The result is increasing demands on health and social services
colliding with dramatically reduced human resource capacity to address these

"Funding is required to prevent loss of life, decrease human suffering and
mitigate the impact of the crisis on the most vulnerable groups through
nutrition, critical health, water and sanitation, education interventions
and protection initiatives," OCHA said in a news release.

"The appeal also seeks to strengthen household livelihoods, improve food
security, develop minimum standards in essential services, address the
impact of HIV/AIDS to support recovery efforts, and bolster coordination,"
it added.
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Vying for Control of Zanu-PF

Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg)

April 2, 2004
Posted to the web April 2, 2004

Thami Ka Plaatjie And Skhumbuzo Ndiweni

Zanu-PF will be holding its elective national congress in December. It is
this congress - it is hoped - that will settle the critical succession issue
within this organisation and, by implication, the future president of

But Zanu-PF is constituted by various interest groups that are vying for
control and eminence of the organisation. Added to this, is the fact that
Zanu-PF is a by-product of a marriage between two former Zimbabwean
liberation movements, Zanu and Zapu, which had different political
traditions and ideological affinities. Tribal affinities and regional
sensibilities also play themselves out in this marriage since the Shona
constitute the base for the former Zanu and the Ndebele are seen as a
citadel for the former Zapu.

These tribal differences are complicated by the fact that within the Shona
people there are the majority Karanga, and the dominant Zezuru - from whom
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe comes and who are also positioning
themselves for the control of the organisation.

There is a feeling among the former Zapu members that the opportunity has
risen for them to take the leadership of Zanu-PF. Zapu candidates for the
leadership of Zanu-PF are likely to include Vice-President and
septuagenarian Joseph Msika, although his presidential candidacy may be
ruled out by his age and health.

Another Zapu candidate could be John Nkomo, the phlegmatic national
chairperson of Zanu-PF and the third-most senior member of the organisation.
Other candidates could include former home affairs minister and Zipra
intelligence chief Dumiso Dabengwa, High Commissioner to South Africa Simon
Khaya Moyo, and politburo member Joshua Malinga.

By virtue of holding the position of national chairperson and having served
in the Presidium, Nkomo is seen as best placed to be the next successor.
Dabengwa has considerable support from the army and the war veterans. Moyo
is seen as the natural follower to the late leader of Zapu, Joshua Nkomo,
who gave him his political acumen. Moyo's rapport with political power in
South Africa also stands him in good stead.

Malinga, a former mayor of Bulawayo, is seen as a confirmed tribalist who
always seeks to cater for the interests of the Ndebele people. He stands
little chance of securing the position.

There are rumours circulating that if the succession debate in Zanu-PF is
not decided soon, former Zapu members may break away from the organisation
as the longer it drags out the dimmer their chances of succeeding to the
highest post in the land.

Possible candidates for succession from within the ranks of Zanu-PF include
Emmerson Mnangagwa, secretary for administration and Speaker for Parliament;
Sydney Sekeramayi, Minister of Defence; Didymus Mutasa, secretary for
external relations; Nicholas Goche, Minister for Security; and retired
general Vitalis Zvinavashe.

Mnangagwa is viewed as the heir apparent since he is seen as a confidante of
President Robert Mugabe. Their relationship dates back to Zimbabwe's
struggle for independence. He wields considerable influence in the army and
is seen as an astute politician who will not undo the gains of the land
reform programme. His shortcoming is that he was seen as a driving force of
the post independence onslaught on a Zapu base in what came to be known as
the infamous Gukurahundi (wild storm). Zapu supporters were brutally
pulverised during the attack.

The fact that the United Nations identified him as being involved in the
"illegal exploitation" of the natural resources of the Democratic Republic
of the Congo to fund the Zimbabwean war effort in that country - and to
enrich individuals - may count against Mnangagwa. Also, his knowledge of the
economy is scant. A new leader will have to reinvigorate investor confidence
and Mnangagwa may not be fit for such a task.

Sekeramayi enjoys the support of the Zezuru clan that controls much of the
economic activity in the country. He is an ally of the first commander of
the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, General Solomon Mujuru. The latter is a key
political power broker whose influence in the army is only second to that of
Mugabe. He is seen as flexible, of intellectual disposition and an astute
diplomat. However, his role in the Gukurahundi, as the then minister of
security, may count against him.

Mutasa is a long-serving secretary for administration of Zanu who believes
the time has come for a leader to be elected into a critical position from
the Manyika people. Edgar Tekere, the former secretary general of Zanu who
broke away to form the Zimbabwe Unity Movement, comes from Mutasa's Manyika
clan. That Tekere has been welcomed back into the Zanu-PF army provides more
impetus to Mutasa's political ambitions. Goche does not command visible
grassroots support - his Achilles heel. In fact, the likelihood is that he
might give his support to Sekeramai.

Zvinavashe commands the support of the crucial Masvingo province. He has
inherited the largely Karanga constituency from the late vice-president
Simon Muzenda. His struggle credentials are impeccable and he has the
support of the war veterans.

Thami ka Plaatjie is former secretary general of the Pan Africanist Congress
and senior manager for strategy and policy coordination at the National
Development Agency, and Skhumbuzo Ndiweni is former Zanu-PF, Bulawayo
Province, secretary for publicity
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The Scotsman

Tory Deputy Leader Slams Blair on Foreign Policy

By Tomos Livingstone, Welsh Affairs Correspondent, PA News

Shadow foreign secretary Michael Ancram launched an attack on the "spin,
deceit, betrayal and sell-out" of the Government's foreign policy today.

In a speech to the Welsh Conservative conference in Llandudno, North Wales,
Mr Ancram - who is also deputy leader of the party - said a Tory government
would not "turn its back" on Zimbabwe and would scrap plans to share
sovereignty over Gibraltar.

He said his party would ask the UN to monitor food distribution in Zimbabwe
and would freeze the assets of President Robert Mugabe's financial backers.

"Spin, deceit, betrayal, sell-out. These are the pillars of Blair's foreign
policy," he said. "No strategy, just knee-jerk reactions. So, military
overstretch, shortage of equipment and failure of direction.

"We will be very different. We will have a coherent foreign and security

"We will rebuild respect for Britain in the world, not least because what we
promise, we will deliver."

Mr Ancram said the forthcoming England cricket tour to Zimbabwe should not
go ahead.

On Gibraltar, he said: "We will disown this Government's dishonourable
agreement in principle to share sovereignty with Spain. Sovereignty shared
is sovereignty surrendered."

He said Britain had to "stick it out" in Iraq and Afghanistan, but added:
"There must never again be a situation where our soldiers are put at risk
because the likes of Geoff Hoon have delayed crucial military planning for
party political reasons.

"And never again should any of our soldiers be sent into combat without the
right kit.

"And never again should soldiers be sent into battle with only a handful of
bullets to fight a whole war."

He said lies and broken promises were "the common currency" of the Blair
administration, and the Tories would win the next election.

"Isn't it exciting to be a Conservative again?" he asked delegates.

"We are united, we are determined, and we know we can win."
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        Zim officials to 'help' Namibian land reform

            April 02 2004 at 02:03PM

      Harare - Zimbabwe is to send land evaluators to Namibia to assist in a
land redistribution exercise, Zimbabwe's state-run Herald newspaper reported
on Friday.

      The report said that six evaluators would leave on Sunday to evaluate
land taken from white farmers in Namibia so compensation can be paid.

      "We have had our land reform programme and certainly we have also
dealt with issues of compensation which the Namibians can learn from us,"
Zimbabwean Lands Minister Joseph Made told the paper.

      Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe launched a controversial programme to
take land from white farmers and give it to black farmers in 2000.

            'The Namibians can learn from us'
      About 4 000 white farmers used to own more than 30 percent of prime
agricultural land in Zimbabwe: now white farmers own just three percent,
according to a recent state audit.

      However, farmers complain that the compensation they are to receive
for their farms is inadequate.

      Last year the Zimbabwean government allocated Zim$10-billion (about
R15-million) for compensation, which farmers said was only enough to pay for
30 farms.

      Last month Namibia's Lands Minister Hifikepunye Pohamba said that the
country would soon begin the forcible expropriation of white-owned land,
saying they would be carried out within the law.

      Zimbabwe's land reform was characterised by sometimes violent
invasions of land by self-styled veterans of the war for independence in the
1970s, which provoked international condemnation.

      About 4 000 mostly white farmers own nearly half of all arable land in

      Namibia's ambassador to Zimbabwe Ndali Che Kemati told the Herald: "We
have just started implementing our land reform and in that regard we have a
lot to learn from the Zimbabwean experience." - Sapa-DPA

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Zim: Aids kills 3 000 weekly
02/04/2004 16:35  - (SA)

Harare - Around 70% of patients admitted to Zimbabwe's hospitals suffer from
HIV and Aids-related illnesses, a health expert said on Friday.

"It is also shocking to note that 33% of pregnant women in the country are
infected with HIV," Rangarirai Chiteure of the non-governmental Zimbabwe
Aids Prevention and Support Network told New Ziana news agency.

The government, which has for the past year administered anti-Aids drug
Nevirapine to pregnant women to reduce HIV transmission to babies, plans to
introduce free anti-retroviral drugs to tens of thousands of HIV-infected
people this month.

With about 24.6% of its adult population infected with HIV or Aids, the
southern African country has one of the world's highest prevalence rates.
Aids kills an estimated 3 000 people in the country weekly.
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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.



Subject: Politicians
        This is by kind permission of our Harare North MP

"Politicians are like nappies, and should be changed often for the same
reasons."  Anon
Guess whose are most smelly right now?

Letter 1 Subject: Up for Grabs
Dear Jag,

I have met two ex Zimbabean farmers living outside the country. One was
beaten severely by War veterans who then removed his fingernails because
his wife refused to open the door. He had to have his whole jaw rebuilt.

The other farmer sold his farm to the Government about eight years ago. It
appears that they needed the property to offer some form of compensation
for a high profile ex party member who had been shot in the penis by some
party excitables in the Midlands.

Judging by the membership figures of Jag and the Matabeleland Farmers'
Association it would appear that there are quite a few farmers and
ex-farmers who have reservations about Mr. Taylor-Freeme's boyish optimism
about the new Governor of the Reserve Bank; or Agri Africa's boyish
enthusiasm about going for compensation instead of restitution. It seems
reasonable to assume that Mr. Taylor-Freeme and Agri Africa should ask
themselves if they believe farmers of such character will agree to put
their farm (or any other part of their anatomy) up for grabs for the
Government. It certainly has not grabbed my enthusiasm - only my farm.


Letter 2
Dear JAG,
I replied to my Harare accountant when I had a bill and various Company
returns,registrations,etc, to fill in,asking whether it was necessary to
keep up this charade with companies that are the owners of farms which
have been seized and are completely out of business.An extract from his
reply says:-

"It is our understanding that unless the companies that own such land are
kept up to date with the Registrar of Companies they will be struck off and
any compensation that may be paid in the future will revert to Government".
Viewed from outside Zimbabwe,where every natural and most constitutional
laws have been flouted,this seems a crazy opinion,but then what isn't crazy
in Zimbabwe?

Do you at JAG have any advice to offer on this subject?

By all means use this and your reply in your Open Letters Forum if you
think it would interest your subscribers.

We continue to be most grateful for the information link that JAG has
forged. Most important as Zimbabwe loses its newsworthiness as demonstrated
by the meagre few lines that the Daily Telegraph used on March 29th to
tell how the MDC candidate for a current bye election was shot dead and 70
supporters beaten up by ZANU-PF thugs.

Very Best Wishes,
Peter Horsman

Yes we concur entirely with your Accountants' view on this and would add
that it is very much part of remaining on the centre line of the law by
remaining a registered legal entity.  Our advice is for farmers to remain
in close liason with both their Accountants and Lawyers and keep their
documentation updated.  This advice is especially pertinent to those
farmers outside the country and is equally applicable with regard to
completing a JAG Loss Claim Document and keeping that exercise up to date -

All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.
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Business Report

      Harare's mining equity plan chills investors, halts ventures
      April 2, 2004

      By Reuters

      Harare - The Zimbabwean government's plans to give black people more
ownership of mines had caused panic among investors, with some new projects
being put on hold, the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe said yesterday.

      Harare is in talks with the mining industry over draft legislation
that would require foreign mining firms to sell up to 49 percent of their
operations in the country to local black people. It has called off a
countrywide road show for input on the bill.

      In a statement published in the weekly independent Financial Gazette,
Ian Saunders, the president of the chamber, said section 28 of the draft
legislation had spooked investors.

      Section 28 of the draft says that for private companies to hold a
mining title, 49 percent of the total shares must be held by "historically
disadvantaged persons" within three years.

      The requirement is 25 percent for public firms.

      "Section 28, which deals with indigenisation of the industry, has
caused considerable consternation among both current mine owners and
potential new investors, both locally and abroad," said Saunders.

      "It has already been reported to the chamber that new projects have
been put on hold, primary and secondary listing partners have withdrawn from
future financing activities and existing mines may soon develop a 'wait and
see attitude' before embarking on expansions," he said.

      Foreign mining companies with projects in the country include Impala
Platinum (Implats), the world's second-largest platinum producer, which is
based in South Africa and has an 82 percent stake in Zimbabwe Platinum Mines

      Implats executives told Amos Midzi, Zimbabwe's mining minister,
yesterday that the group was in favour of spreading the benefits of platinum
mining in Zimbabwe, but needed a stable and practical set of regulations.

      Last week Implats said Zimplats held a special mining lease in
Zimbabwe that appeared to exempt it from the proposed legislation.

      Other mining firms with projects in the country include Australia's
Aquarius Platinum, Ghana's Ashanti Goldfields and Anglo American Platinum,
which is engaged in a $90 million (R567 million) platinum project in
Zimbabwe's Midlands province.

      "The chamber would like to assure its members ... and the
international investment community that it is earnestly involved in
discussions with the government on this and a broad range of other issues
that will hopefully see an operating and fiscal regime that is conducive to
predictable stable growth in the country," said Saunders.

      "In saying this, the chamber urges all the participants in the
Zimbabwean mining industry... to continue to believe and invest in the
Zimbabwean mining industry."

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The Guardian
Zimbabwe boycott could cost £50m

Distrust of Lords widespread amongst African nations

Paul Kelso
Friday April 2, 2004

Failure to tour Zimbabwe this autumn could cost English cricket £50m and
derail London's bid to host the 2012 Olympics. The England and Wales Cricket


Board faces intense pressure to withdraw from the tour because of human
rights abuses by Robert Mugabe's regime. The British government opposes the
tour, as do many key stakeholders in the game including players and the team
sponsor Vodafone.
The tour has been the subject of speculation since England withdrew from the
World Cup fixture in Harare in 2003, but the implications of withdrawal have
become more serious in the last year.

A change to ICC regulations last month means that England could face a $2m
(£1.1m) fine and suspension from international cricket for failing to meet
their commitment to tour, made last summer when Zimbabwe toured England. The
Champions' Trophy and a lucrative one-day tour by India could also be moved
from England at a cost of around £9m. With 90% of its £55m annual turnover
deriving from international cricket, the ECB estimates it could lose £50m
from a one-year suspension with devastating effects for the game at all

ICC sources indicate that the threat of suspension is being taken seriously
at Lord's, where a majority of influential voices now feel a hugely
unpopular tour is the least-bad option.

The only option for a clean withdrawal appears to be for the ECB to persuade
the ICC that the government has offered a "clear direction" not to tour,
which is permitted by a force majeure clause in the ICC regulations.

Thus far the government has only said it would not support the tour,
claiming that it does not have the power to prevent it going ahead. It is
also keen to avoid damaging the 2012 bid by alienating African nations.

John Read, the board's director of communications, said: "The ECB is once
again in an invidious position because of the utterly tragic situation in
Zimbabwe. If we undertake the tour we will face condemnation from a number
of key stakeholders in the game. If we don't go, however, and are unable to
convince the ICC that the government's disapproval of the tour as voiced to
date constitutes force majeure then we risk a fine of at least $2m, or
worse. The ICC now has the power to suspend countries that breach touring
regulations and ban us from international cricket.

"A one-year ban would cost the ECB tens of millions of pounds and would have
a devastating effect on all aspects of the game including our ability to
help nurture and develop the two million school-children that play cricket
up and down the country. It is difficult to envisage a more serious scenario
facing cricket in England and Wales."

The ECB is also coming under pressure from London 2012 to consider the
implications of withdrawal. Bid leaders fear that bad feeling created by
withdrawal could have a negative impact on London's chances of garnering
votes among African IOC members. In Africa there is widespread distrust of
the British government's approach to Zimbabwe. It was noted that no
objections were raised to the presence of Zimbabwe at the 2002 Manchester
Commonwealth Games because of the risk of an African boycott. Condemnation
flowed, however, when cricketers proposed touring Zimbabwe.

A London 2012 source confirmed there had been contact with the ECB, and that
the potential "ripple effect" of the decision had been made clear. "It's not
a red flag issue for us, but we're grown up enough to know that we are in
the business of international relations," they said.

Zimbabwe has no direct IOC vote, but ties between the cricket and Olympic
bodies are strong. The Zimbabwe Cricket Union is a constituent of the
Zimbabwe Olympic Committee, and the ZOC chairman is the brother of ZCU chief
Peter Chingoka.

The ZOC secretary-general Robert Mutsauki said yesterday: "We would hope
England's commitment to tour Zimbabwe is fulfilled. The ZCU is an affiliate
member of the ZOC and we will back them in all their endeavours."
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Threatened ECB hint at Zimbabwe U-turn
By Simon Briggs
(Filed: 02/04/2004)

In what could be the first hint of a climbdown over England's autumn tour of
Zimbabwe, the England and Wales Cricket Board yesterday invited three
members of the Zimbabwean Cricket Union to attend their management board
meeting at Lord's on April 20.

The decision is best read as a diplomatic initiative, meant to convey to the
Zimbabweans and the international community that the cancellation of the
tour is far from being assured. Indeed, as ECB corporate affairs director
John Read put it yesterday: "It's a much more open question than it was
three or four weeks ago."

If the ECB suddenly seem prepared to contemplate the tour - which most
commentators have long viewed as a write-off - their change of stance owes
much to the punitive sanctions introduced at an International Cricket
Council meeting in Auckland on March 10.

According to those new rules - which were tabled by Australia, much to the
ECB's chagrin - any country who withdraw from a tour without citing either
force majeure or specific safety and security concerns can be hit with a
fine of at least $2 million, as well as possible suspension from the
international game.

Some pundits have suggested that the threat of suspension is an empty one.
England are too big a side, they say, for the game to get along without. But
that argument provides little comfort for the ECB. Many at Lord's believe
that the ICC will come under sustained pressure from the heads of other
national cricket boards, notably Indian chief executive Jagmohan Dalmiya, to
take a hard line on the issue.

"When the ICC have specifically put these powers in place only last month,"
said one ECB source, "they may feel that if they refuse to use them, they
will look either silly or weak." And whatever anyone might say about Malcolm
Speed, the hardline ICC chief executive, he is neither of those things.

Given that the ECB derive 90 per cent of their income from international
cricket, any suspension would have crippling financial implications. And it
is this threat that is causing sleepless nights at Lord's. At the beginning
of the year, the ECB were proudly trumpeting Des Wilson's "moral framework"
document, which they believed could help them to locate and occupy the moral
high ground. Now they appear to be more concerned with their own survival.

The Government, in the person of Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, have
encouraged the ECB to cancel the tour, arguing in a letter that, "the
situation in Zimbabwe is worse today than it was during the World Cup last
year". But at no stage have they provided the direct instruction that the
ICC would interpret as force majeure.

"It's asking a lot of any organisation to expect them to peer into the
financial abyss," Read said yesterday.

As for the Zimbabweans, ZCU chairman Peter Chingoka said: "There is no
obstacle or legal reason why they can't tour Zimbabwe. It's in the interests
of international cricket that these tours take place.

"The Zimbabwe players have a right to be playing against all the teams from
across the world and the England players have the right to play in Zimbabwe.
Let's make cricket our priority."
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Private Doctors, Hospitals Hike Fees

The Herald (Harare)

April 2, 2004
Posted to the web April 1, 2004


PRIVATE doctors, dentists and private hospitals yesterday increased their
fees by between 50 and 100 percent.

Sources within the health sector said medical doctors increased their fees
for the second quarter of this year by 50 percent, dentists by 55 percent
and private hospitals by 100 percent.

The increases were effected after an agreement between their associations
and the National Association of Medical Aid Societies.

Chairman of the National Tariff Liaison Committee Mr Chad Tarumbwa confirmed
the increases on behalf of the private doctors.

He said the first tranche of the increases was to cushion doctors from the
effects of inflation while the other portion would raise their income base.

The doctors are effecting increases quarterly.

Increases for the third quarter will be in July while those for the last
quarter will be in October.

A circular sent by Mr Tarumbwa to private doctors said the Premier Services
Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) and the Zimbabwe Medical Association, on behalf
of doctors, had agreed on the 50 percent increase across the board and asked
them to obtain the schedule of the new tariff structure within the next
seven days

Following the new increases, Harare's Baines Avenue Clinic increased its
deposit on maternity cases from $800 000 to $1,6 million while the Avenues
Clinic was still charging $300 000.

Bulawayo's Catholic Church-run Mater Dei Hospital now demands a deposit of
$220 000 with effect from yesterday, up from $110 000.

After normal working hours, deposit shall be $440 000, up from $220 000.

Mr Tarumbwa said the recent increases were effected after successful
negotiations between the doctors and the PSMAS.

The increases would result in consultation fees being pegged at $69 750, up
from the present $46 500 for general practitioners, while specialists would
now charge $150 000.

"What these increases mean is that we will maintain an agreed tariff regime
agreed with PSMAS which we will charge patients from other medical aid

"We still have a problem with NAMAS since the impasse we had over the
increases of the first quarter of this year. We tried to bring NAMAS to the
negotiating table but they are unwilling," said Mr Tarumbwa.

He said the predicament in which doctors found themselves was that, on one
hand, there was a piece of legislation that compelled them to accept every
medical aid card holder, while on the other NAMAS was unwilling to be
involved in coming up with fees favourable to members of the medical

Mr Tarumbwa said in the absence of an agreement between the doctors and
NAMAS, the practitioners would be left with no option but to charge patients
the difference between the new fees and what medical societies were willing
to pay them.

He said NAMAS had since indicated that it would raise the direct payment to
doctors by 50 percent.

A senior official within NAMAS confirmed this and said the final meeting on
the issue would be held today.

"We initially agreed that we will have to increase direct payments for
consultation and other procedures by 50 percent," said the official.

The increase by NAMAS would mean that medical aid societies would increase
their direct payment to $48 000 for general practitioners leaving the
patients to pay the difference in order to get the services.

Sources said some of the medical aid societies were increasing subscriptions
with effect from next month to raise money for the increased direct payment
to doctors and private hospitals.

At present medical aid societies, with the exception of PSMAS, pay $32 000
for consultation fees for general practitioners whose fee is $46 500. This
means patients pay $14 500 as co-payment and top-up fee.

With the 50 percent increase in consultation fees and direct payments,
patients would pay $21 750 as co-payment and top-up fee for a general
practitioner and up to $60 000 for specialists.

Mr Tarumbwa expressed concern at the yawning gap between what PSMAS was
agreeing to pay to the doctors and what NAMAS was willing to pay, saying it
would have a negative impact on the health sector in the near future.

"The gap is getting wider, especially on non-consulting services. This means
patients will have to fork out more money to meet their own healthcare cost.
This has resulted in a sharp decline in elective operations and admissions
in private hospitals," he said.

Increases of the first quarter of this year came into effect in January with
ZIMA unilaterally awarding itself a 400 percent increase, resulting in
consultation fees being pegged at $46 500, up from $8 000 in December.

The doctors also started refusing to provide services to patients with
medical aid cards.

NAMAS and ZIMA were then involved in protracted negotiations that ended in
an impasse.

Following the deadlock, doctors maintained their 400 percent increase while
NAMAS increased its direct payments to the practitioners by 360 percent.

This resulted in direct payment being increased to $32 000.

This is the same amount of money that patients are reimbursed after paying
consultation fees to doctors.

As a direct response to the impasse and the refusal of medical aid cards by
doctors, the Government moved in and outlawed any refusal by the medical
practitioners to provide health care service to people with medical aid

This was done early last month through the amendment of the Medical Services
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Fuel Supply Distortions Being Rectified: Minister

The Herald (Harare)

April 2, 2004
Posted to the web April 1, 2004


THE fuel shortages that have been experienced in the country for the past
few weeks are a result of hiccups following the liberalisation of the oil
industry, a Cabinet minister has said.

Energy and Power Development Minister Cde July Moyo said there had been a
change in the import duty paid by oil companies and this had brought some
hitches at border posts.

"These hitches have been discussed with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and
they know exactly what to pay when they come to the border posts," he said.

Cde Moyo was responding to a question from Mutare North MP Mr Giles Mutsekwa
(MDC) during a question and answer session in Parliament on Wednesday.

Mr Mutsekwa had asked why fuel queues had resurfaced.

Cde Moyo said his ministry had come to an agreement with oil companies to
jointly order fuel so as to bring in large quantities instead of procuring
small quantities.

"The third area is that a lot of companies, including oil companies, instead
of ordering on behalf of all petrol stations, have been getting licences for
particular stations especially those which the oil companies themselves
run," he said.

"That distorts the market and we have been working with oil companies, the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the Ministry of Finance and Economic
Development to make sure that we correct the distortions."

However, the past few days have seen a steady flow of fuel supplies into the

The spokesperson for the Petroleum Marketers' Association, Mr Masimba
Kambarami, attributed this development to the association members' ability
to source foreign currency at the auction floor.

Fuel importers recently blamed the lack of foreign currency for the fuel

Responding to another question in Parliament, Cde Moyo said the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority was now using a new formula to calculate the
unit cost of electricity.

"We are now operating a Southern African Power Pool and there is a unit that
is being used in order to calculate the cost and Zesa and all (utilities in
the region) are using the same unit (of) three cents per kilowatt hour in US
cents," Cde Moyo said.

He was responding to a question from Binga MP Mr Joel Gabbuza (MDC) who had
asked why Zesa was levying industrialists in foreign currency yet the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe had directed that no services provided in the
country would be charged in foreign currency.
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Harare Sitting On Time Bomb: Mangwende

The Herald (Harare)

April 1, 2004
Posted to the web April 1, 2004


The Resident Minister for Harare Cde Witness Mangwende has said the city is
sitting on a potential time bomb that could explode in the face of the
city's authorities and Government if the water and sewage reticulation
systems are not attended to in the next three years.

He made the remarks during a familiarisation tour of Morton Jaffray Water
Treatment Works near Norton and the Crowborough Sewage Treatment Works near
Mufakose on Tuesday. Cde Mangwende said the only solution to avert disaster
was to overhaul the Morton Jaffray and Crowborough treatment works.

Some of the equipment at the two plants is beyond repair while some phases
at the two plants are out of use because of the non availability of spare

Council officials who were part of the tour said suppliers were reluctant to
supply because council owed them millions of dollars in unpaid debts.

Morton Jaffray has a capacity to pump 614 megalitres of water per day but
due to breakdowns of machinery it can only pump 500 megalitres a day to
service a population of more than two million people whose daily demand is
above 700 megalitres.

Crowborough sewage treatment works which was built in 1958 has a capacity to
receive 56 megalitres of raw sewage a day but is currently receiving over
120 megalitres thereby overstretching its pumping capacity, resulting in the
overflow of untreated sewage into the river system.

The failure to treat all the sewage has also led to the discharge of raw
ammonia into the environment.

Cde Mangwende said if no corrective steps were taken in the next three years
there could be a major disaster in Harare. Although Cde Mangwende pushed the
time frame to three years, officials said the situation was already critical
and could explode anytime.

He said captains of industry and commerce should be encouraged to assist the
city in its efforts to rehabilitate the two plants. Cde Mangwende said
industry was responsible for the bulk of pollution occurring in the city's
water system and as such should contribute to the maintenance of the water
and sewage works.

Out of the 1 500 companies in Harare, which discharge effluent, only 700 can
be billed for discharging effluent into the water system but due to
transport and manpower constraints only 120 are being charged.

Harare has budgeted $815 billion for the purchase of water treatment
chemicals in the 2004 budget. The justification for the huge budget was that
Harare uses at least seven water purification chemicals because the city
water is heavily polluted.

One of the major chemicals used in the treatment process, aluminum sulphate,
is costing the city over $360 million every day and suppliers of the
chemicals demand cash upfront.

Cde Mangwende said Government had approved borrowing powers to the City of
Harare to the tune of $10 billion for use in the rehabilitation process but
said the money was insignificant compared to the amount of work to be done.
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Newspaper keeps skeleton staff for the future

      April 02 2004 at 03:50AM

      By Basildon Peta

Dozens of journalists on Zimbabwe's embattled Daily News lost their jobs on
Thursday, months after their newspaper was shut down by the government.

Sam Nkomo, Chief Executive Officer of the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe,
publishers of the Daily News, said the firm had retrenched 157 of its staff.

He said a small number of staff had been retained to kickstart the operation
if the government were to allow it to resume publishing again.

When the Daily News was banned in September 2003, its publisher vowed to
keep workers on the payroll for another two years. But the management later
said it could not pay the wage increases of up to 2 000 percent that workers
had called for.

"If they were willing to stay on their present salaries we would have paid
them for another two years," said Nkomo.

Inflation of more than 600 percent prompted the staff to seek rises.

  .. This article was originally published on page 2 of The Mercury on
April 02, 2004

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Zim Independent

Judges taped
Vincent Kahiya
A TRANSCRIPT of a telephone conversation between suspended High Court Judge
Benjamin Paradza - under probe by an international tribunal for misconduct -
and Justice Mafios Cheda reveals fresh evidence that has been availed to
judges when they start probing the jurist on Monday.

The document provides a record of the conversation between the two judges
which resulted in Paradza's arrest in February last year on charges that he
wanted members of the bench to make a ruling in favour of his business
partner Russell Labuschagne to have his passport released. The two were
partners in a safari business.

Labuschagne, who has since been convicted and sentenced to 15 years, was on
bail on a murder charge. His passport had been retained by the state as part
of his bail conditions.

The case will now be decided by an international tribunal of judges which
will sit as a court on Monday at the Harare Sheraton Hotel.

The transcript forms the government's evidence-in-chief. The tribunal is
headed by Justice Dennis Kamoni Chirwa of Zambia and includes Justices Isaac
Mtambo of Malawi and John Mroso from Tanzania.

The transcript documents Pa-radza's alleged attempt to influence Cheda to
hear the case of Labuschagne and possibly release his passport. It is not
clear who was responsible for taping the phone call.

In the transcript, Cheda is also quoted asking Paradza how he wants the case

Cheda: "Okay. So you yourself want us to assist him in order to get your
business moving forth?"

Paradza: "If it is possible. It is entirely your discretion and I mean you
are a judge isn't it and you will look at the case and. disagree with me
or ."

Cheda: "Aah no, no. It is not a question of disagreeing. I mean you,
yourself must tell me in confidence isn't it, about how you want me to
handle it."

The transcript was made available to Paradza's defence team by secretary of
the tribunal, Jameson Mupariwa Mukaratirwa, last Wednesday. The transcript
was handed over after Paradza's lawyer Jonathan Samkange wrote to Justice
minister Patrick Chinamasa requesting documents relating to the case.

Samkange yesterday confirmed the transcript would be produced before the

Samkange is instructing advocates Eric Matinenga and Jeremy Gauntlett SC of
South Africa.

In the transcript Justice Cheda at one point said he had been approached by
an "Indian man" who wanted the judge to talk about Labuschagne's case.

"Because you see, some Indian man approached me last time," Cheda is
recorded as saying. "He was trying to talk about that but I wasn't sure what
he was talking about."

Earlier Cheda had asked what Paradza expected him to do.

Cheda: "Okay, so what do you want me to do about it?"

Paradza: "He (Labuschagne) wants his, I mean passport, so that at least he
could prepare for this . hunting, I mean this one which is on the cards."

Paradza explained to Cheda that Labuschagne required his passport to go to
Spain to bring in hunters for a safari. Paradza said the case was
"continuously being postponed". He said Labuschagne had approached him about
the passport issue together with a colleague "called Ralph Nkomo" whom
Paradza described as "old man Nkomo's child".

Cheda: "So what do you yourself want to do now?"

Paradza: "You know, just assess. You can assess and see. Do you think it is
safe to give him, and just give him say some two or so months, just to
enable him to prepare?"

Cheda: "Okay, you mean looking into his bail application in question?"

Cheda asks how he would get hold of the court record, to which Paradza
suggests contacting clerk of the court Joseph James who would ensure the
case came before Cheda.

Paradza: "I will then tell Ralph Nkomo, and see if (he) should then talk
with James.

Cheda: "So that James should make sure that it comes before me?"

Paradza: "Ehe, ehe."

Cheda: "Okay."

According to the transcript, Cheda then wanted to know how much Paradza
would get if Labuschagne's passport was released and hunters came to the

Cheda: "And what is the white man or white persons going to assist you

Paradza: (Laughter)."I mean apart from that alone.he supports hunters with
money, of course I mean forex."

Cheda: "How much are you expecting? How much do you intend (sic) to lose?"

Paradza: "I think around.We are looking at about US$60 000."

In the transcript the two judges also discuss the role James will play in
ensuring the case goes before Cheda.

Cheda: "So then it is James who is going to assist so that.?"

Paradza: "Yaah. James is a lawyer."

Cheda: "Then James will make sure that it (the case) comes there to us?"

Paradza: "To you yourself."

In the transcript Cheda asked how his responses to the request would be
relayed to the other parties. Paradza said he would call Labuschagne. He
also said he would find out from Nkomo if Labuschagne had filed bail papers
in court.

Paradza: "But I will just phone Ralph and ask what's up, did you submit,
this and that and so forth."

Cheda: "So that it goes to James, then James will engineer it comes to me?"

Paradza: "Yes."

Cheda: "Yaah, Okay."

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Zim Independent

Mugabe to drop bombshell
Dumisani Muleya
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is set to drop a bombshell by announcing his
retirement plans during the ruling Zanu PF's crucial congress in December, a
senior party official has said.

Despite attempts to backtrack on his earlier statements last week, it has
now been established that Zanu PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira did in fact
say Mugabe would announce his future plans at the congress, which he
described as "a defining moment" for Zimbabwe. He predicted some infighting
among candidates.

Reliable Zanu PF sources said Shamuyarira said if Mugabe left office
immediately, Vice-President Joseph Msika - whom he said was not popular in
parts of the country - would automatically take over and consolidate his
grip on power.

The sources said Shamuyarira told a visiting foreign journalist last week
that once Msika took over it would be difficult to dislodge him because he
would deal with anyone challenging him as "subversive".

If Mugabe announced his retirement plans beforehand, Shamuyarira said, there
would be "infighting" in Zanu PF between party chair John Nkomo and
secretary for administration Emmerson Mnanangwa.

He said Nkomo and Mnangagwa were clear frontrunners in the Mugabe succession
race. He said Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi, external affairs secretary
Didymus Mutasa, and ex-Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Vitalis
Zvinavashe were trailing.

"We have Mnangagwa .he is one of the frontrunners in the situation and there
is Mutasa.he is also one of the frontrunners . (and) there is (also) .
Sekeramayi," he said.

"Sekeramayi is quite strong also but there are other dark horses like
Zvinavashe, the retired army commander. He is very political, and he is
waiting in the wings. We have people of stature and ability who can walk
into the shoes of Mugabe."

But Shamuyarira said the issue of who would come in hinged on how Mugabe

"If Mugabe were to relinquish (power) today the likely successor will be
Msika. He is not popular in many parts of the country but it will be
difficult to oppose him if Mugabe left immediately because he would
immediately hold the reins of power," he said.

"He can use those reins to buy support from various people, he can make
concessions...but he would make a good president also, he is presidential

"Nkomo . I'd put him on par with Mnangagwa. He is also up and coming. But it
depends very much on how Mugabe quits. If Mugabe at the December congress.
says I'm quitting now, Msika will take over."

Shamuyarira went further: "It will be very difficult for anyone to oppose
Msika. (If anyone does that) he would say 'ah now you are being subversive'.

"But if he (Mugabe) says 'I will be retiring in a year's time'. then Msika
will be out, the infighting will be between these, Mnangagwa and Nkomo,
that's where the infighting will be. But the encouraging thing is that they
are all men of substance."

Shamuyarira, a Zanu PF politburo member and former cabinet minister for
nearly 20 years, is one of Mugabe's closest lieutenants. He is currently
working on Mugabe's biography.

He said the Zanu PF congress would be a political watershed for the country.

"The issue is that the retirement of President Mugabe is done first by
himself in his own decision and secondly (through) the decision of the
supporters in Zimbabwe," Shamuyarira said.

"What we don't like about the present situation is that it is outsiders who
are calling for his retirement, and you know that is .unacceptable to us.

They are not the ones who should decide as to when he should retire."

He said people would be free to discuss Mugabe's succession at the

"They will discuss it and he himself will insist on . guaranteeing the
freedom of the people to express themselves. He has always been saying that
people should discuss the question of succession openly and I think at that
congress he will stress that even more and (say) to the people 'say your
mind on this matter'. I think it will be open," he said.

"So it will be an interesting a juncture because that will also be three
months before the parliamentary election . it will be a defining moment for

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Zim Independent

RBZ clean-up claims another victim
Dumisani Muleya
AS the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe intensifies its financial services sector
clean-up, another asset management firm has closed shop after failing to pay
investors and clients about $2 billion.

Interlink Asset Management - which had invested $500 million in the
collapsed ENG Capital Asset Management - closed down on March 19 after the
police fraud squad swooped on its office and seized computers.

The raid came two weeks after its acting chief executive and managing
director Francis Jani fled the country to the United Kingdom with his

Other Interlink directors were also said to have run away, leaving investors
and workers stranded.

Sources said Jani had promised to pay investors on April 15 knowing full
well that by then he would be gone. He had claimed that his computer
company, Data Resources Integrators, would pay Interlink creditors.

"Jani left the country on March 3 with his wife Gladness Gotora, who was
also a director in the company, and their child," a source said. "This was
after he had realised that the company could no longer pay investors and

Sources said a local travel agency, Direct Travel, processed Jani's travel
documents. However, Direct Travel managing director Ishmael Macheka
yesterday said although Jani used to arrange his trips with his company,
this time he did not.

"I was surprised to hear he was in the UK. He used to arrange his travels
with us but this time he did not come to us," he said.

It is said Interlink - which dealt with asset management, micro-finance and
unit trusts - held an offshore account in the UK where it collected money
from locals working abroad and paid recipients at home using investors'

The foreign currency collected remained stashed abroad while creating a huge
financial hole for the company locally.

"They transferred a lot of investors' money to the people who deposited
forex in London while they did not replace that money," a source said.

"That resulted in them being unable to meet local claims from investors.
This was worsened by the fact that they had invested $500 million in ENG."

Sources said police were still trying to recover Interlink's assets and
those of its directors. Apart from computers, sources said so far police had
seized cars from Data Resources Integrators that belonged to Jani and were
expected to take his house in Ruwa. Some of the assets have not yet been

It is said some of the assets, including a Toyota Vista, remained with
friends. Some of the cars such as a Mitsubishi Pajero and Mercedes Benz had
already been sold.
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Zim Independent

Tomana committee wants Mudzuri fired
Augustine Mukaro
THE Johannes Tomana committee which was investigating suspended mayor of
Harare Elias Mudzuri has recommended dismissal of the mayor, the Zimbabwe
Independent heard this week.

Sources privy to the report which was submitted to Local Government minister
Ignatius Chombo this week said the committee based its recommendations on
Mudzuri's failure to co-operate with them during the investigation.

"The committee proceeded and looked into the allegations after Mudzuri had
walked-out," a source following the proceedings said this week, adding that:

"Mudzuri refused to defend himself before seeing the (James) Kurasha report
from which he believed the allegations were drawn."

The committee was however insisting that it had nothing to do with the
Kurasha commission and had not even seen its report.

"Mudzuri's refusal to defend himself is clear testimony that the report is
not in his favour," the source said.

After walking out of the hearing Mudzuri proceeded to file an application in
the High Court seeking the nullification of the Tomana committee. His
application also seeks to declare null and void all the evidence brought
before the committee saying that it had a predisposition of bias and malice
in the conduct of its enquiry.

The Tomana committee set up by Chombo was investigating Mudzuri on
allegations that he abused his authority by arbitrarily suspending or
dismissing council senior management, leaving critical positions without
substantive occupants and impacting service delivery.

Allegations against Mudzuri are that he manipulated tender procedures,
sought to change and influenced council to alter its tender specifications
for refuse collection in order to favour and facilitate the awarding of
tenders to undeserving companies. Chombo has also alleged that Mudzuri
failed to manage the city's water delivery resulting in acute water
shortages for Harare and its satellite towns
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Zim Independent

Mercenaries saga: role of middle man emerges in arms deal
Dumisani Muleya
THE state-owned Zimbabwe Defence Industries (ZDI)'s controversial sale of
weapons of war to the 70 suspected mercenaries currently held in Harare
deepened this week following claims that a local businessman facilitated the

Sources said businessman Martin Bird introduced alleged mercenary leader
Simon Mann and his team earlier this year to ZDI chief executive Colonel
Tshinga Dube.

It is understood Bird connected Mann and his associates, who included Nick
Du Toit, to Dube for negotiations about the arms deal. Du Toit is currently
detained in Equatorial Guinea over allegations of planning a coup against
President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. It is alleged Mann and his group
were arrested in Harare on their way to Equatorial Guinea.

Bird and Dube are said to be long-standing business associates. Sources said
after Bird introduced Mann to Dube and other ZDI officials the deal was
struck. ZDI official, Group Captain Hope Mutize, was involved in the deal
which the state claimed last week in court was part of a well-orchestrated
sting operation against the mercenaries.

"Bird made it clear that while he did not want to be directly party to the
arms deal, he wanted something for providing the contact with Dube and also
for administering the transaction behind-the-scenes," a source said.

However, Bird yesterday denied being involved in the deal between ZDI and
the mercenaries. He said although he knew Dube and Mutize he was not part of
the arms deal.

"Yes, I know Dube and I know Mutize but I don't know who Mann is. Of course,
I have read about him in the newspapers but I have never met him," Bird

"I don't know where this thing comes from. I have been asked about it by
other people but I wasn't involved in anything like that. I don't worry too
much about it because it's not true."

Mutize referred questions to Dube who said he could not discuss the issue as
it was sub judice. Mutize handled the transactions and payment for the arms,
it is reported. The state prosecutor Mary Zimba-Dube last week said Mutize
received a deposit of US$90 000 for the "dangerous weapons" which cost
US$180 000 in total.

ZDI, which supplies army uniforms, field equipment and ammunition, sold arms
to the suspects without an end-user certificate. The arms included 61 AK-47
assault rifles and 45 000 rounds of ammunition, 300 offensive hand grenades,
20 PKM light machines guns and 30 000 rounds of ammunition, 50 PRM machine
guns, and 100 RPG 7 anti-tank launchers and 1 000 rounds of ammunition.

While the state has claimed that the deal was part of a trap to arrest the
alleged mercenaries, questions have arisen about the role of ZDI in the
capture of the accused and transparency of the operation insofar as the
purported dummy sale of the weapons was concerned.
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Zim Independent

Record tobacco crop withdrawn from floors
Augustine Mukaro
ZIMBABWE'S annual tobacco auctions kicked off on Tuesday with a serious
tug-of-war between farmers and buyers over prices resulting in a record
withdrawal of the crop from the floors.

Although officials on the three auction floors reported that prices were
firm considering that it was the first day of the annual sales, and slightly
higher than last year's, farmers who brought in their crop wanted the price
to be reviewed upwards.

"Prices are below expected levels considering the fact that the exchange
rate at the auction has been deliberately held down," David Chiguvare, one
of the farmers, said.

"Most established farmers who had brought their tobacco hoping to get a good
return had to cancel their tobacco from being sold following news that the
auction rate had plummeted from around $5 000 to an average $4 200 to the US

"We feel this was a deliberate ploy to underpay the farmers and for this
reason an estimated 60% of the tobacco sold at Tobacco Sales Floor (TSF) had
to be withdrawn. As farmers we are demanding the auction rate to be at least
$4 500 so that we can manage to get back to the fields next season," he

Thomas Nherera of the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union this week said his
organisation has already started lobbying government to review prices

"The prices being offered cannot cushion the farmers against the economic
hardships and later on allow the farmer to increase production," Nherera

"Government has to review the prices upwards so that farmers will be
encouraged to grow more tobacco next season. We have started forwarding
proposals of what we think would be realistic prices for farmers to break

Prices at the three auction floors ranged from US$1,74 to US$2,50 with TSF
offering the lowest average of US$1,75. Zitac offered the highest prices.

Tobacco farmers receive 75% of their earning at the auction rate and 25% of
the money at the official rate which is US$1:$824.

Over the years Zimbabwean tobacco was being sold through the auction system
with TSF, Zimbabwe Tobacco Auction Centre (Zitac), and Burley Marketing
Zimbabwe (BMZ) being the three auction floors.

This year government has introduced a dual marketing system. Tobacco is
being sold through the auction system alongside the contract system.

Under the new system nine contractors and the three traditional auction
floors are buying the crop.

Tobacco was Zimbabwe's main foreign currency earner, but this year it will
bring in less than 25% of what it earned five years ago before the inception
of the land reform programme.
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Zim Independent

Chiyangwa to head anti-graft committee
Staff Writer
SPEAKER of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa this week appointed Chinhoyi MP
Philip Chiyangwa as chairman of the Portfolio Committee on Anti-Corruption
and Anti-Monopolies.

The legislator, who is Zanu PF chairman for Mashonaland West Province, will
also head the portfolio committee overseeing the Ministries of
Indigenisation and Empowerment, Foreign Affairs, and Industry and
International Trade.

The appointment follows the creation of two ministries dealing with
corruption and another on indigenisation in President Mugabe's last cabinet
reshuffle in February.

Chiyangwa yesterday confirmed the appointments.

He was arrested in January on three charges of obstructing the course of
justice, contempt of court and perjury.

The state case is that Chiyangwa tried to hide vehicles belonging to ENG
Capital Asset Management Company, misinformed police about the collapsed
company's assets, and threatened a policeman.

The MP is out on $5 million bail.
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Zim Independent

Botswana denies foreign collusion
Loughty Dube
BOTSWANA has refuted claims that it is working with foreign powers to
destabilise Zimbabwe as has been reported in the local state media.

Botswana's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation,
Mompati Merafhe, told his country's parliament last Friday that Botswana was
concerned with persistent allegations that Botswana was working with foreign
powers to destabilise Zimbabwe.

Merafhe also dismissed allegations that his country was hosting an American
military base and said Botswana built the Thebephatshwa military airbase
using its own resources.

"For the benefit of those who may not be aware, let me explain that when the
airbase was under construction, the US government summoned our ambassador in
Washington to the State Department to raise concern about what it termed
excessive mili-tary spending," Merafhe told parliament.

He dismissed claims that the military base would be used as a springboard
for an attack on Zimbabwe.

Reports in the local state media have alleged that the Botswana airbase was
being used by Americans and predicted that the Americans would use the same
base to attack Zimbabwe to effect so-called "regime change".

Merafhe said the airbase was necessary for the protection of the country
against external threats. He said Botswana had never hosted a foreign
military base because of its long-standing policy of non-aggression.

"No amount of sinister propaganda would turn Botswana against its
neighbours," Merafhe told parliament.

Relations between Zimbabwe and Botswana have been rocky as a result of
allegations of ill-treatment of illegal Zimbabwean immigrants by Batswana
and the claimed hosting of the American military airbase. On Wednesday this
week the government-controlled ZBC TV broadcast a documentary claiming it
had detailed cases of abuse of Zimbabweans by Botswana authorities.

The state media earlier this year alleged that Botswana was hosting an
American radio station that was beaming anti-Zimbabwe propaganda.

Botswana declined to join a Sadc statement condemning Zimbabwe's continued
suspension from the Commonwealth at Abuja in December.
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Zim Independent

ZESN claims irregularities in Zengeza poll
Munyaradzi Wasosa
ZANU PF's victory in the Zengeza parliamentary by-election at the weekend
has sparked controversy after the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) and civic organisations claimed to have found evidence of electoral
fraud, intimidation and violence by the ruling party, the Zimbabwe
Independent has established.

A Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) report made available to the
Independent this week cited cases of electoral irregularities, mainly the
"unusually large" numbers of assisted voters in the election.

A few of the assisted voters were elderly people, but the majority were
youths who claimed "illiteracy, sickness, blurred vision or unsteady hands",
the report says.

The Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) gave the total number of assisted
voters as 334.

ESC spokesman Thomas Bvuma said there was nothing amiss about the assisted

"The country's electoral laws stipulate that an ESC monitor and a police
officer, authorised by the presiding officer, can help a person who
justifiably requires assistance to vote," he said.

Allegations of vote-rigging also surfaced in Unit H, Chitungwiza, where a
new open-air polling station was only announced on the eve of the poll.

Despite being a relatively unknown station, it recorded a high voter
turnout, "the majority of whom belonged to the Apostolic Faith religious
group identified by their white clothing", said ZESN.

Bvuma refused to comment on this matter.

"We will only comment after we release our analysis report of the election
after two weeks," he said.

ZESN chairman Reginald Matchaba-Hove criticised the ruling party for
ignoring regional standards for elections.

"The election was held in an atmosphere that does not comply with minimal
conditions specified by the Sadc Parliamentary Forum," he said. "If 'peace'
in Gutu North (by-election) was possible, then why the unprecedented level
of violence in Zengeza?"

Matchaba-Hove attributed the large numbers of "illiterate" youths who were
"assisted" to vote to urban poverty:

"The youths who requested assistance would come in a systematically
organised groups. It is a mixture of poverty and coercion that is forcing
these people to be used," he said.

Other civic groups monitoring the election said at Dudzai primary school, a
group of people, allegedly Zanu PF agents, was seen writing down the names
and national identification numbers of people who had just cast their
ballots. This, they said, instilled fear in those who were yet to cast their

Some voters in the volatile constituency alleged that Christopher Chigumba,
the winning ruling party candidate, went on a vote-buying spree before the
elections, doling out $10 000 to individuals who attended his rallies.
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Zim Independent

Five make Byo's roll of honour
Loughty Dube
FIVE Zimbabweans have been honoured for their contribution in championing
human rights under very difficult conditions in Zimbabwe and for standing up
against intimidation by the authorities.

The five, Archbishop Pius Ncube, journalist Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu, activist
Gorden Moyo, medical doctor Peter Zwana, and lawyer Perpetua Dube, were
honoured by Ecumenical Church Services at a prayer ceremony held at St
Mary's Cathedral in Bulawayo last weekend.

The prayer ceremony, held under the theme "Deliver Us from Evil", was
attended by over 2 000 people who included bishops from Zambia, Mozambique,
Botswana, Malawi and South Africa.

Archbishop Ncube was honoured for his role in speaking out for the poor and
for standing firm in the face of intimidation by government.

The gathering also endorsed and acknowledged awards received by Archbishop
Ncube last year in the United States and Germany in recognition of his work
in the fight against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.

Veteran journalist and Bulawayo editor of the Daily News, Gwakuba Ndlovu,
was honoured for his fearless reporting dating back to the pre-Independence

"Gwakuba Ndlovu is honoured for his contribution to the media fraternity and
for writing the truth dating back to pre-Independence and days of the
struggle and up to today he still is in this struggle through the pen," said
the citation.

Bulawayo Agenda director, Gorden Moyo, who was arrested last week on
allegations of distributing subversive material, was also honoured for
contributing to freedom, courageous work and affording the generality of the
people a chance to air their views in the face of the intimidating Public
Order and Security Act.

Moyo was honoured on behalf of the whole civil society while Dube was
honoured for standing up for victims of Posa.
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Zim Independent

Sugar estates reduced to wasteland
Own correspondent
THE Chiredzi district, once the centre of a thriving cane growing industry
producing close on 600 000 tonnes of sugar cane annually, is today a mere
shadow of its former glory.

Prior to 2000 when the devastating land invasions began, this district was
home to approximately 56 cane growers who employed about 3 500 workers and
generated an income in excess of US$10 million per annum.

The families of the workers enjoyed the benefit of several well-run clinics
and schools, and the export earnings in sugar and tropical fruits brought in
vast sums of valuable foreign currency.

This year only 345 000 tonnes has been produced, or 58%, of the normal
harvest. Huge quantities of sugar cane have been left to rot in the fields
and scores of workers laid off, while the original farmers and resettled A2
farmers continue a protracted legal battle over entitlement to the proceeds
of the crop that was harvested. The dispute has already led to angry and
sometimes violent confrontations between the illegal A2 occupants and the
commercial farmers they have, in large measure, displaced.

That the commercial farmers have the law on their side is clear. Last year
the High Court overturned the Section 8 orders served on them which had
previously forced them to leave their properties. On March 13 last year the
commercial farmers' ownership of the land and the crops was reconfirmed by
the High Court. Copies of these rulings were served on the Zimbabwe Republic
Police in Chiredzi.

Furthermore the commercial farmers held the only valid cane purchase
agreements and milling agreements with Hippo Valley Estates sugar mills.

And as if that was not enough, through the Utete Commission the authorities
had promised to uphold a Sadc protocol and safeguard Mauritian and South
African nationals and their property in terms of their country-to-country
accords - a significant number of the commercial farmers originating from
these countries.

However, as is so often the case in Zimbabwe today, having the law on one's
side counts for little when it comes to contending with illegal settlers,
negotiating with multinationals that are anxious to retain the regime's
favour, or even obtaining the assistance of the police to enforce one's

Hippo Valley Estates sugar mills are only permitted to enter purchase and
milling agreements with persons having legal tenure of the land. As early as
April 2003 legal practitioners acting for the commercial farmers informed
the Hippo Valley and Triangle Mills in writing of the High Court rulings
confirming their clients' legal tenure. This did not stop Hippo Valley
Estates however from subsequently issuing cane purchase agreements to the A2
settlers illegally in occupation of the land - thus producing a bizarre
situation in which two agreements were in existence for the same crop.

Hence the legal wrangle ensuing over title to the crop delivered to the
mills. Hippo Valley Estates had knowingly accepted the crop illegally
harvested by the A2 settlers and even assisted them with their own haulage
equipment in transporting the cane to their mill, thereby raising false
expectations that the settlers would be paid for the crop.

The police failed to act on the orders of the High Court to reinstate the
commercial farmers to their lands, to protect them from assault and
intimidation and to evict the A2 settlers who had illegally taken possession
of their properties.

Last April a letter was sent to the police giving details of criminal and
potentially life-threatening situations occurring on some of the farms, to
which the police had not responded.

The incidents included the assault of farm workers ordered off the land by
Border Gezi youths, breaking and entering homesteads still illegally
occupied by settlers, looting of properties and intimidation of the legal
owners and their families. This letter and several others which followed
failed to bring about any satisfactory response on the part of the police.
No arrests were made even following an attempted abduction of one farmer and
serious assault of another by known assailants whose names were supplied to
the police.

When on October 28 the police did finally act, convening a meeting of A2
settlers and commercial farmers, dire threats of violence were made by the
settlers against the farmers unless the latter withdrew their legal claim to
the crop delivered to the mills, thus allowing the settlers to be paid for

Although these threats (criminal acts themselves) were made in the presence
of the police, the police failed to take any action on them.

Immediately after this meeting one farmer wrote to Chief Superintendent P
Ncube of the Chiredzi Police, complaining of the ZRP's failure to uphold the
law and to protect citizens threatened with violence. Fearing physical harm
or even death he asked for 24-hour armed protection for himself and his

So far as the Sadc protocol is concerned, in early February the regime
issued a statement to the effect that there is no binding agreement that
protects South African or other nationals from land designation.

Hippo Valley Estates themselves were notified in February that their vast
holdings must be divided into plots for settlement. Their mill closed down
on January 25, leaving 500 hectares of cane in the fields that should have
been cut and milled last year - their failure to do so being due largely to
the diversion of their haulage equipment to assist the A2 settlers
transporting their (stolen) cane to the mill. Given that the average yield
is 120 tonnes of sugar cane per hectare, Hippo Valley Estates' loss on this
account alone amounts to 60 000 tonnes.

At the onset of the unlawful farm invasions and until mid 2001 the
commercial cane growers perhaps naively believed this regime would protect
the sugar cane industry because of its vital strategic importance to the
economy. They were proved wrong in this assumption.

Until a very short time ago the two multinationals, Hippo Valley Milling
Company (owned by the Anglo American Corporation) and Triangle Mills (owned
by Hewletts), may have believed that they enjoyed immunity from illegal
settlement. Perhaps their bubble is also about to burst as they make the
painful discovery that nothing and no-one is sacrosanct to a regime that
will sacrifice anyone else's interest to their own quest to stay in power.

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Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

Setting the tone
Iden Wetherell
THE Zengeza poll outcome will hopefully stimulate a debate about whether to
contest elections that are anything but free and fair. Last week I referred
to the suffocating media environment that prevented voters from making an
informed choice at the polls. We should as civil society be discussing now
how to respond to the vote-buying and intimidation we have witnessed in the
latest poll.

The MDC is allowing its members to have their say while it prepares for a
number of eventualities. In due course the party will make a formal decision
on whether to participate or not in the March 2005 poll.

But this should not be a debate confined to the MDC. It concerns the people
of Zimbabwe as a whole. Do they want the current crisis to continue with an
attendant decline in living standards or do they want something better? Are
they prepared to see the Electoral Act become an instrument of the ruling
party or will they insist on their right to a free and fair poll?

There are several major elections taking place in the region this year and
next: in Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique, Malawi, and Namibia. All will
be guided by the Sadc parliamentary forum's electoral standards. Zimbabwe
has chosen to be an exception.

Section 158 of the Electoral Act is a 1990 instrument providing the
president with sweeping powers to make regulations governing polls. Mugabe
used this to make far-reaching changes to the electoral process on the eve
of the March 2002 presidential poll.

By allowing Mugabe the power to make electoral laws unilaterally, the MDC's
lawyers argue in the party's court petition contesting the 2002 poll
outcome, the public and parliament were deprived of the opportunity to
debate the changes. Mugabe used Section 158 to introduce a number of
regulations, the party's legal team notes, which fundamentally affected the
way the presidential election was run.

They point out for example that he used Section 158 to pass regulations that
had the effect of disenfranchising large numbers of Zimbabwean citizens who
were declared to be "foreign" citizens; disenfranchising some categories of
postal voters; limiting the number of polling stations set up in urban
areas; repeatedly and secretly extending the cut-off date for voter
registration thus allowing late registration of voters in areas sympathetic
to the president; and overturning court rulings that had declared invalid
some of the regulations passed earlier by Mugabe under Section 158.

To prevent this happening again the MDC has made 15 demands that it regards
as essential preconditions to a free and fair poll.

They are:

l The establishment of a genuinely independent electoral commission that
will be responsible for running elections and the entire electoral process.

l The exclusion of officials seen as partisan such as the present
Registrar-General and members of the military from being involved in the
running of the elections.

l A completely fresh voter regi-stration exercise done by the Inde-pendent
Electoral Commission with the assistance of the United Nations.

l The supply of an electronic (computer data base) copy of the voters' roll
to all political parties and interested persons.

l The repeal of those aspects of the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act that curtail media freedoms.

l The repeal of those aspects of the Public Order and Security Act that
curtail the freedom of political parties to campaign.

l The amendment of the Electoral Act to bring it into conformity with the
Sadc Parliamentary Forum's Electoral Standards and Norms.

l The reversal of administrative decisions that have resulted in the closure
of the Daily News and the removal of all obstacles preventing the Daily News
and other newspapers from operating freely.

l The liberalisation of the broadcasting media and the opening up of state
media to carry equal amounts of coverage of all parties' electoral messages
pro rata to the percentage of votes they secured in the last general
parliamentary election.

l The complete disbanding of the youth militia.

l The use of translucent plastic ballot boxes of secure, single-piece

l All voting should be done and completed in one day. To ensure this,
sufficient numbers of polling stations should be established.

l Unhindered access to the entire electoral process by international,
regional and domestic election observer missions.

l All counting of ballots to take place at polling stations in the mandatory
presence of polling agents and observers.

l The use of visible indelible ink to identify those who have voted.

These criteria are considered routine best practice in most democracies and
nearly all can be found in the Sadc parliamentary forum's protocol on
electoral standards and norms signed up to by Zimbabwe in 2001. They should
not be seen as exclusively MDC conditions. Civil society should be making
its voice heard in demanding free and fair elections based on similar terms.

Elections can change people's lives. Conducted properly they can replace
poorly-performing governments with those prepared to work with the
international community in turning a country around so it grows and
prospers. Zimbabweans are being denied that opportunity. And if they don't
raise their voices in insisting on their democratic right to a free and fair
poll they will end up condemned to years of poverty and repression.
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Zim Independent

Zim elections still far from free and fair

Augustine Mukaro

FOR the Zimbabwe electorate, to win or not to win is not the real question.
They should be asking themselves whether they are prepared for a free and
fair election.

Serious electoral irregularities in Zimbabwean elections over the past four
years were manifest again in the Zengeza by-election over the weekend. The
proceedings were clear testimony that Zimbabwe is still far from ready to
hold a free and fair election.

The election, which was contested by four candidates - Christopher Chigumba
(Zanu PF), James Makore (MDC), Tendai Chakanyuka (Nagg) and Gideon
Chinogureyi (Zanu Ndonga) - was marred by violence both in the run-up and
during the voting days.

The ruling Zanu PF won the election, polling 8 447 votes against the
opposition MDC's 6 706. Zanu won 96 votes and Naag 37.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, in a message on Tuesday, condemned the
electoral process as flawed and undemocratic.

"An analysis of the Zengeza by-election shows that political competition
here remains a bloody affair 24 years after Independence," Tsvangirai said.

"Zanu PF is prepared to kill to satisfy its hunger for power and

Francis Chinozvinya, an MDC activist, was shot dead on Sunday in a Zanu PF
raid on the home of the MDC candidate, James Makore, in Zengeza. Another MDC
youth, Arthur Gunzvenzve, was shot in the leg and taken to hospital. Scores
of other MDC supporters were seriously injured since the start of the
campaign in Zengeza, Tsvangirai said. "We condemn the continuous descent
into thuggery, lawlessness and mayhem in the general body politic in
Zimbabwe," Tsvangirai said.

"Elections, which should reflect the exercise of our sovereignty in the
selection of our leaders, should never become open seasons for murder,
torture, beatings and violence."

He said the MDC entered the 2002 presidential election fully aware that the
rules of the game were against democracy.

"Since 2000, we participated in all the by-elections because of our firm
belief in taking over power through democratic means," said the MDC leader.

"The image of opposition parties in Africa has been severely dented by the
apparent readiness to use arms to deal with post-colonial dictatorships. The
results have often been chaotic and unpredictable. That route has never been
an option for the MDC," he said.

Tsvangirai said the Zengeza election gave the people of Zimbabwe a foretaste
of the chaos that awaits the nation in 2005.

"Conducting any election in this manner affects the secrecy of the ballot
and must be condemned," he said.

Tsvangirai also questioned whether Zimbabwe was ready for next year's
parliamentary election.

"Come to 2005, what safeguards do we as Zimbabweans have to curb the kind of
wayward behaviour we saw from Zanu PF in the past five years? Are we ready
as a nation to go through the same agony we endured in 2000 and in 2002?" he

"What kind of life did the Zimbabwean voter go through in the various
by-elections conducted in this country since 2000? Are these ordeals
necessary if the outcome is going to be pre-determined anyway?" he

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn), which deployed its observers
in the constituency as early as January 25, could not declare the election
fair and fair. Zesn said Zanu PF intensified its terror campaign as the
polling dates approached.

"Zanu PF set up youth camps in Zengeza and their youths were allegedly
harassing the residents," Zesn said.

"Zanu PF youths were accused of banging on people's gates trying to force
them to attend their rallies. The Zanu PF candidate was allegedly involved
in a vote-buying campaign. It is alleged that the candidate's agents
launched a door-to-door campaign and offered $10 000 to each of the people
they visited in return for votes."

Zesn said people who refused to accept the money were then invited to the
Zanu PF offices. They were required to bring with them their national
identity cards which were subsequently confiscated while those who accepted
the money had their identity numbers noted down and there is now a fear that
they could have been "converted into assisted voters" thereby giving the
ruling party an unfair advantage.

As the election days got closer, Zanu PF was accused of unleashing an orgy
of terror against suspected opposition supporters.

During this terror campaign, a group of over 100 ruling party supporters
pelted with stones and damaged houses belonging to members of the
opposition. One of the damaged houses belonged to Makore.

Police proceeded to beat up people willy-nilly after the incident but noone
was arrested.

Other than the clear vote-buying and sponsorship of terror campaigns,
Chigumba is alleged to have opened a clinic to offer free medication to the
Zengeza electorate. Whether the clinic will continue its services after the
election remains to be seen as analysts see it as a political gimmick.
Chigumba's tactics to lure the electorate was known by the Electoral
Supervisory Commission but it never took action although this was in clear
violation of electoral laws.

The ruling party set up seven militia bases throughout the constituency from
which it launched its terror campaign against people suspected to be
sympathetic to the opposition.

Despite the setting up of an inter-party liaison committee, Zanu PF
continued to violate its undertakings by disrupting the MDC's campaign
activities. This forced the party to abandon all public meetings for fear
that Zanu PF would disrupt them. Some of such disruptions occurred in the
presence of the police.

Violence spilled into voting days. One MDC activist was shot dead on Sunday
morning (the second day of voting) when ruling party supporters clashed with
MDC supporters. No one has been arrested. On Tuesday a police spokesman said
the force was pursuing "very active investigations in the case".

Electoral Supervisory Commission spokesman Thomas Bvuma this week confirmed
that clashes had erupted in Zengeza involving Zanu PF and MDC during
election days. He also confirmed that there was a shooting incident in which
one life was lost while two other people were injured.

"It is not clear whether that person died as a result of gunshot wounds or
death related to the clashes but he reportedly died at Avenues Clinic,"
Bvuma said

Observers also raised concern over the number of assisted voters. An
estimated 10% of the 15 388 people who cast their votes in the Zengeza
by-election are understood to have been assisted voters.

The US State Department has declared the Zengeza by-election not free and
fair because of the irregularities that occurred prior to and during

"We condemn the violence, intimidation, and irregularities that occurred
prior to and during the March 27/28 Zengeza parliamentary by-election," the
US said in a statement.

"According to credible reports, two youth supporters from the opposition MDC
were shot, one fatally, on March 28. We call upon the Zimbabwean government
to investigate the crime and prosecute those responsible," it said.

"The election's improprieties preclude it from being deemed free and fair.
The by-election should have been a routine and peaceful expression of a
local constituency's political will. Instead, it became another symbol of
the ruling party's pursuit of electoral victories at the expense of the
peaceful expression of democratic rights in Zimbabwe," the statement said.

The US said police failure to quell disruptions in Zengeza and the general
deterioration of the electoral process cast a dark cloud over prospects of a
free and fair process in the Lupane by-election in May and nationwide
parliamentary elections scheduled for March next year.

"The violence and irregularities of the Zengeza election are also troubling
because of what they portend for another by-election in May and for the
nationwide parliamentary elections in March 2005," the US said.

"For future elections to be free and fair, government must act now to
regularise the political environment. Specifically, it must ensure freedom
of the press and association, suppress and prosecute political violence,
allow unfettered political campaigning and establish an independent
electoral supervisory commission."

The MDC is demanding there should be amendments to the electoral laws to
conform to Sadc norms and standards. The MDC wants to see the establishment
of an independent electoral commission that would be responsible for the
running of the entire electoral process. It is also demanding the exclusion
of partisan officials such as the current Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede
and members of the military from being involved in the running of the

The opposition wants a completely fresh voters' role to be generated by an
independent electoral commission.

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Zim Independent

Zanu PF propaganda reaches new pitch
By Cathy Buckle
THE propaganda in Zimbabwe has reached new boundaries in the last few weeks.
First it was the mercenaries and their bolt cutters that made headline news
every night and still appear on virtually every television bulletin. Now it
is the BBC documentary on Zimbabwe's youth training camps.

Day after day ZBC have vehemently denied any wrong-doing in Zimbabwe's youth
training programme. They deny the allegations exposed in the film, deny
rape, instruction in torture, human rights violations and victimisation of
supporters of the political opposition. Unbelievably, last week ZBC even
flighted the entire BBC documentary here in Zimbabwe and then followed it
with a point by point denial of every millimetre of the film.

At the end of this "critique" on what was advertised as BBC's "fiction", the
ZBC presenter challenged the documentary's producers to prove their story,
but this challenge was not accompanied by a removal of the three-year ban
which has prohibited the BBC from entering or reporting from inside

Despite the fact that one of the women being interviewed in the documentary
is described as being a youth camp deserter now in hiding in South Africa,
ZBC announced triumphantly on Friday that she was an actor.

They said she was outside the country and offered as proof the mountains and
ocean behind her. Presumably this little gem was intended for those of us
who have not yet realised that Zimbabwe is a landlocked country!

A week of propaganda reached dizzy heights on Friday morning when the
headline news on ZBC radio was that political anlaysts have described the
documentary as part of Britain's plan to control the world. It seems to have
completely escaped the notice of the state media and all their political
commentators and analysts that the opposition have been calling for the
closure of the youth training camps for two years.

Also ignored by ZBC was the position taken by a group of Zimbabwe's former
war veterans regarding the BBC documentary. Quoted in the Zimbabwe
Independent newspaper, the president of the Zimbabwe Liberator's Peace
Initiative said that they too had interviewed deserters from the youth
training camps. Max Mnkandla said what they had established "is exactly what
was highlighted in the BBC programme".

The propaganda presently suffocating Zimbabwe about mercenaries and British
plots to take over the world have done nothing to help cloud the real issues
consuming Zimbabweans. We are again a country crippled without petrol. The
capital city still has some fuel queues but in smaller towns like Marondera
there is nothing to even queue for.

We are also a country gripped by panic about the safety of our money in
banks which are collapsing, being closed or going into receivership.

Last week I met three people who had their life savings in a building
society which used to be called Founders before it was taken over by a
bigger company. That company has been closed and the money belonging to
ordinary men and women is lost, savings are gone and no one knows who to
turn to for help or how to survive.

Recently an American writer on matters Zimbabwean said that what had
frightened her was to see how much people here bend as the situation
deteriorates. We bend, and bend and then bend some more and surely the point
must come when, like a green stick, eventually we will break.

Cathy Buckle is a Marondera-based author and human rights activist.
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Zim Independent


A harbinger of things to come

 THE winning Zanu PF candidate in Zengeza, Christopher Chigumba, said the
by-election result had set the tone for the 2005 parliamentary poll. Indeed
it has. The by-election was characterised by coercion, violence and
vote-buying, according to independent observers.

One MDC activist was killed and two others injured in a shooting incident.
Several clashes were reported between rival groups of party supporters.
People standing in voting queues were stoned and chased away, according to
one report.

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network said suspected Zanu PF members could
be seen camped outside polling stations where they were taking down the
names of people who had just voted. At Seke 1 High School, ZESN observed two
women being beaten by a group of women as they tried to leave the polling
station. The group claimed the two women had voted for the opposition.

ZESN reported ruling party militants moving around the district in large
numbers, hindering campaigning. Most opposition meetings and rallies were
cancelled, their posters torn down and replaced by ruling party ones. There
were also a large number of youths requesting assistance from polling
officers to cast their vote because they were either illiterate, sick or had
"blurred vision or unsteady hands", the network said.

Zanu PF will have learnt a useful lesson in all this: that crime pays. Not
only is the electoral process designed to assist the incumbent party but
vote-buying and coercion have now become the norm.

The ruling party claims the Zengeza poll reflects a return of support from
the urban electorate who have either been persuaded that the economy is on
the mend or are disillusioned with the MDC's performance.

This requires a considerable leap of faith. By supplying the month-on-month
inflation figures instead of the usual year-on-year figure, the government
press has suggested inflation is coming down when it manifestly isn't.

An inflation rate of 602,5%, which Finance minister Chris Kureneri last week
told this paper was the highest in the world, is shocking evidence of a
mismanaged economy by any definition. There will be no improvement in
employment figures so long as investors are scared off by the absence of the
rule of law, and the destruction of commercial agriculture means there will
be significantly lower returns on tobacco and other income-generating
exports. The country has long since ceased to feed itself.

If the MDC's municipal administration has failed, that is hardly surprising
given the obstruction and downright sabotage the Harare city council has
experienced on the political front.

But any debate along these lines is to fall into the trap of conceding that
the Zengeza poll reflects any such things. What it shows clearly is that the
urban electorate, like their rural counterparts, will not be afforded an
opportunity to exercise their democratic right to vote for a candidate of
their choice.

Visits by ruling-party supporters to their homes with "invitations" to
attend meetings, the recording of their names outside polling stations, the
presence of Green Bombers and the clamour of the mob around polling stations
all provide a climate of intimidation.

Then there are the promises and inducements, once known as "treating", that
are patently illegal but now regarded as the norm. Add to this a flawed
voters roll, "assisted" voting, and a public media that excludes alternative
views and you have an election that is seriously at odds with the democratic
standards Zimbabwe has promised to observe in its 2001 signature to the Sadc
parliamentary forum's rules.

Nobody should deceive themselves into thinking Zengeza represents a turning
of the tide. Conditions in the country and its capital are now a great deal
worse than they were in 2000 when Zanu PF, by its own admission if yesterday
's Herald is anything to go by, lost the popular vote by 48,8% to the
combined opposition's 51%. Because of a sluggish appeals process its MPs
continue to occupy seats that were taken in polls declared null and void by
the High Court because of violence and intimidation.

The difference between 2000 and 2004 is that the means of coercion have been
refined. Far from guaranteeing the ruling party the popular high ground it
is claiming, the electoral results emanating from this flawed system will
simply raise further questions of legitimacy and perpetuate the profound and
potentially fatal divisions now evident in Zimbabwean society between those
who favour a democratic dispensation and those who think they can survive by
repression and fraud.

This will in turn impact on economic recovery because the international
community will understandably refuse to deal with a regime that denies its
people a democratic choice.

Zengeza is therefore indeed the harbinger of things to come claimed in the
government media. But what that means is more of the same.
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Zim Independent

Eric Bloch

Distressed state of tobacco industry
THE governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), Dr Gideon Gono, has
recently been quoted as saying that "vigorous efforts must be made to ensure
that next year the tobacco crop be at least three times the size of the
current crop". That he should have such an aspiration is readily
understandable, for in the past tobacco has been the strongest single
element of Zimbabwe's economy. Between 1992 and 2000 the average annual
production of flue-cured tobacco was 190 million kilograms, and in 2000, an
all-time record crop of 237 million kilograms was produced. That represented
export earnings in excess of US$400 million, being an amount of foreign
currency greater than the total annual import cost of Zimbabwe's need for
petrol, diesel and other petroleum products.

The past importance of flue-cured tobacco to the Zimbabwean economy cannot
be over-stated. It used to generate over 30% of the country's foreign
currency, being considerably more than the foreign currency generation of
any other sector of the economy. Its contribution to Gross Domestic Product
(GDP) exceeded 10%, and provided employment for more than 200 000
Zimbabweans. And yet, in doing so, it used only 3% of the country's arable
soils, leaving most of Zimbabwe's fertile lands available for other
agricultural operations.

But that is now almost history, for the past four years have witnessed the
abysmal, and wholly avoidable decline of that economically vital industry.
As compared to the mythical projections of the size of the 2004 crop that
emanated only a few months ago from the Ministry of Agriculture and other
governmental spokesmen, who repeatedly cited projections ranging from 150 to
200 million kilograms of tobacco, which they begrudgingly reduced in the
last eight weeks to 80 million kilograms, and then to 65 million kilograms,
it is now becoming apparent that the probable size of the crop is
approximately 45 million kilograms, or less than 20% of the crop in 2000.
More than 70% of the large-scale producer farms are now totally out of
production, with the former, provenly successful, farmers having been forced
off their lands and those then vested by government with the usage of the
lands not availing themselves of the opportunity of economic empowerment
bestowed upon them by a government which had unhesitatingly replaced the
productive with the unproductive.

Admittedly, small-holder production (as distinct from large-scale commercial
production) increased from an insignificant 2 million kilograms in 1995 to
over 18 million kilograms in 2003, with the number of small-scale producers
rising from 1 000 to over 20 000 in that 8 year period, but in 2004 their
production has shrunk to 12 million kilograms only, or only 5% of the very
substantial 2000 total production of 237 million kilograms. Moreover, the
small-scale producer's average yield is 900 kilograms per hectare, compared
with an average yield of approximately 2 400 kilograms per hectare
consistently attained by commercial, large-scale growers.

There are numerous reasons for the near demise of Zimbabwe's most important
industry. First and foremost has been the government's implementation of the
land reform programme, re-distribution and resettlement in the most
ill-conceived, destructive and foolhardy manner possible. Instead of
adhering to its avowed principle that any farmer is entitled to one farm,
albeit with a limitation on size, it pursued the programme with almost no
considerations other than racism. It demonstrated a determination to
dispossess almost all who were not regarded as being indigenous. It sought
to justify the policy of dispossession with spurious allegations that the
land had been "stolen" from the indigenous population, in complete and
deliberate disregard for the fact that prior to the colonial era, the total
population was less than 250 000, occupying less than 5% of the land. The
remainder of Zimbabwe's vast land expanse was both unoccupied and

In reducing the total number of commercial farmers by more than 90%,
Zimbabwe's government deprived the country of a very considerable skills'
resource developed over generations, replacing that resource with a few new
farmers with like skills, but no capital, and with a great number of new
farmers who did not have skills of a comparable nature, but who could
progressively acquire such skills, and who did not have the capital or other
resources required for production and which would be the catalyst of
developing the skills.

Government obdurately resisted all recommendations that the new farmers be
accorded title to the land, thereby giving them collateral to access
necessary funding, and thereby also motivating the new farmers. Instead, the
government showered the new farmers with promises of all required production
inputs. In the main, all the farmers ever received were the promises, and to
the limited extent that the inputs were provided, they were invariably
forthcoming too belatedly to be of meaningful use. This appalling state of
affairs was compounded by a gross inadequacy of extension services and
training, further hampering production, growth and development.

Other factors contributing to the demise of the tobacco industry included
the massive escalation in production costs, due to the rampant
hyperinflation which has become endemic in the economy. The catastrophe in
that never-ending rise in costs was that there was no commensurate rise, in
Zimbabwean dollar terms, in sole prices, for driven by misguided political
considerations and a myopic disregard for economic realities, government
steadfastly refused to effect meaningful and realistic devaluation of the
Zimbabwean dollar. Had it done so, the Zimbabwean dollar yields would have
compensated for the immense cost increases, preserving viability for the
tobacco industry.

Amongst the cascading costs borne by the few who remained active in the
tobacco growing industry have been funding costs. Interest rates have soared
upwards, to levels seven to eight times greater than a few years ago. Some
limited relief has been forthcoming from the RBZ driven productive sector
concessional facility at a rate of 30% per annum. However, that relief does
not suffice, for tobacco is a 16 to 18 month crop, from when seed-beds are
prepared to when sale proceeds are forthcoming, whereas the concessional
facility is limited to a period of six months only.

Yet another major constraint upon the industry has been the progressive
collapse of the infrastructure. Repeated breakdowns in energy supply by
Zesa, inadequate production of coal by Wankie Colliery jeopardised
tobacco-curing operations, and the NRZ was unable to deliver such limited
quantities of coal as were produced. Erratic availability of fuel also
impacted adversely upon operations. In addition, many of those who were not
settled by government upon the lands, but who unilaterally settled
themselves on well-established, previously highly productive farms, looted
and vandalised much of the farm infrastructures. They destroyed farm
improvements essential for operational efficiency, and removed pumps,
equipment and the like to sell to third parties, denuding the farms of that
required for purposes of production.

Immediate recovery of the tobacco-growing industry is an impossibility.
However, if government heeds the governor of the RBZ, who recognises the
critical need for that recovery, it must take definitive actions. First and
foremost, it must restructure its land reform programme to one which is
just, facilitative of return of commercial farmers to some of the lands, and
effectively settling those who can and will be productive. Concurrently,
government must ensure that law and order is fully restored.

Government's response is invariably that total law and order exists and,
therefore, that there is nothing to restore. But the populace and the world
know otherwise! When hordes can trespass and expropriate properties, can
threaten, assault and victimise, can vandalise and loot, and are allowed to
do so unhindered, law and order does not exist. When the supposed guardians
of law and order are appealed to for assistance and such appeals are denied,
law and order does not exist.
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Zim Independent


Even for the President times are tough

 SO President Mugabe now feels the pinch of the country's economic meltdown?
The Herald reported on Saturday that the president's salary had been
increased from $20,2 million to $73,7 million a year. Our currency might
have lost much of its value over the years since that black Friday in
November 1997 when Zimbabwe suffered a major black eye, but $73 million is a
mouthwatering figure by any definition.

What does he need the money for? Muckraker understands many of his personal
needs are taken care of by the state. That aside, the president has in the
past displayed a very healthy contempt for all things material. What would
he need all that money for when there are so many people going to bed
without bread?

As a sign of the ascetic life that Mugabe is always trying to preach perhaps
he should lead by example: either he rejects the hike in his salary and
allowances altogether or donates it to those who have more need of it. We
are sure the president wouldn't want to be accused of double standards -
preaching austerity but living like royalty!

All this is beside the fact that we are being made to believe that Reserve
Bank governor Gideon Gono's monetary measures will bring down inflation and
instill confidence in the economy. What confidence can be derived from a
process whereby the president is awarded a salary hike of over 260% when we
are being told the aim of the Reserve Bank is to bring inflation down to
200% by year-end?

In its pursuit of Zanu PF propaganda, ZBC TV's Newshour last week outdid
itself. It ran the BBC's Panorama documentary three times, each time trying
to prove that claims made about government's youth training centres were
false or that the interviewees condemning the training programmes were not
Zimbabwean. With each screening of the programme the desperation was getting
more keenly felt. The producer of the documentary, Hilary Anderson, was said
to be backtracking for merely saying "some of the claims could not be
independently verified"! Muckraker in fact thought this should have worked
in her favour for being honest and at the same showing a high degree of
scepticism. Something not likely to come out of somebody sent by the British
government, especially to do a hatchet job on Mugabe and his land reform.

We were surprised that this little documentary was on the third day still
given more prominence than the story about the National Aids Council
stopping with immediate effect paying school fees for Aids orphans.
Muckraker felt the NAC was the bigger story in terms of its implications. A
whole generation of poor children is going to be sacrificed because
government can't get its priorities right! Just what is happening to the
money deducted from salaries every month in the name of the Aids levy?

In any case we can start expecting a flood of street children in the towns
as these children drop out of school for lack of funding. A number of them
have already graduated into rapists and thieves, yet government doesn't
appear in the least concerned about the time bomb ticking away in our towns.

Here we have a vicious cycle where children orphaned by Aids are being let
loose on the streets to breed more orphans.

It does appear that things aren't all rosy at Herald House despite all the
bluster about Gono's magic wand. Last week the Herald sent one of their
reporters around Harare to consult all manner of "fortune tellers" and
"prophets" about the economy and the general election next year. Most of
these bush crooks charged between $7 000 and $100 000 for their services,
the Herald's Sifelani Tsiko reported matter-of-factly as if promoting
superstition was a major national pastime.

"The shake-up in the financial sector will continue for about six months to
come," prophesied one of Tsiko's oracles in a stock response to questions
from so-called business executives threatened by Gono's policies.

"More heads will roll but the clean-up will also pose headaches for the
government as many black businesses succumb to the clampdown. As for the
2005 elections, there will be some incidents of violence here and there, but
the party for the people will win again," is the response to those worried
about politics. "This shake-up has helped the poor through some price
stabilisation and made things worse for the fly-by-night billionaires."

The story was headlined: "Foretellers making a fortune." Tsiko could make a
fortune himself if these platitudes are all there is to fortune telling!

All the Herald now needs is a cubicle with all the paraphernalia that Tsiko
can use to predict the future like tarot cards and the proper regalia like
beads, feathers and masks. Thereafter they don't need to interview
specialists about the economy or politics of the country.

Incidentally, most people the Herald has in the past promoted as faith
healers have turned out to be rapists. Most prominent was Madzibaba Godfrey
Nzira of Chitungwiza who Zanu PF used in the past two elections. Soon after,
he was locked away in prison after he was convicted of rape. How do their
reporters come by these mountebanks?

Our condolences go out to the Kangai family on the death of Tirivafi Kangai.
The Herald's account on Monday carried some curious claims. After completing
'O' level in Marondera Kangai planned to study law. Then we are told: "In
1971 he left for the United States and studied law at San Francisco
University where he attained a degree in radio and television broadcasting."
How did he achieve such a feat, we wonder?

Josiah Tungamirai is one of Mugabe's latest ministerial acquisitions still
eager to show off. He would not accept that the new ministries were finding
it hard to set themselves up because they had not been budgeted for. He was
happily eating from the budget for the President's Office, he told the
Standard at the weekend. "The budget of the offices in the President's
Office is also my budget and I have one of the best furnished offices ever,"
boasted Tungamirai. His portfolio is Minister of State for Indigenisation
and Empowerment. We hope that goes beyond furnishing offices.

In the same report we were told Minister without Portfolio Elliot "Border
Gezi Green Bomber" Manyika "also requires offices and staff". We thought the
portfolio title was enough to explain why he didn't have offices and staff!
Nothing is as it appears in this country.

Tanzania's Home Affairs minister Omari Ramadhan Mapuri had high praise for
Zimbabwe's police force at a ZRP passing out parade in Harare last week.
Looking at the catalogue of courses the graduands had covered Mapuri said
the "course has nurtured you into professional and proficient police

"The inclusion of human rights in the training curriculum is commendable,"
he said, "as it reflects a paradigm shift from a police force characterised
by a legacy of brutality in the colonial era to a people-centred, sensitive
and democratic police force. The impact of the atrocious and systematic
subjugation of the majority indigenous people in the country and the region
by colonial regimes underscored the need to precipitate a new constitutional
era that is underlined by respect for human rights, dignity and principles
of equality."

We wish he had stayed through the Zengeza parliamentary by-election over the
weekend to see our  police force at work. It is true colonialism left our
police a "legacy of brutality" but we are definitely not aware of any
"paradigm shift . to a people-centred, sensitive and democratic police
 force". In Chitungwiza three people were shot on Sunday morning, one of
them fatally. Up to now the police are still investigating and there has not
been a single arrest despite the fact this was a crowded place during the
day. The only progress they have made is trying to find a watertight alibi
for Elliot Manyika whom we are told was in Bindura when the shooting
occurred. Fine, but where were the police? Surely instead of chasing Manyika
in Bindura they could have tried to locate those involved in the shooting!

Then on Monday morning MDC MP for Seke, Ben Tumbare-Mutasa, made the mistake
of firing shots at Zanu PF hounds who were baying for his blood in the
Zengeza constituency. Our ever conscientious law enforcement officers were
immediately there.

"Two cartridge cases were recovered at the scene of the incident and a
search at his house resulted in the recovery of the pistol which was used at
the scene," gushed police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena.

In case Mapuri is still in doubt about our diligent police force's squeaky
clean reputation, a human rights lawyer had the misfortune of being their
guest early last year after he tried to represent a client MP whom they had
detained. According to evidence provided recently to a US Congressional
committee, he was himself detained and tortured all night and told by a
police officer brutally frankly: "There are no human rights in Zimbabwe". He
is now living in exile.

By the way, any news on the investigation into the torture of Job Sikhala
which President Olusegun Obasanjo said he had received assurances about last

 The Botswana authorities are becoming impatient with people who commit
suicide by throwing themselves in front of trains.

"I am appealing to the people," that country's Minister of Transport
Tebelelo Seretse said recently, "not to use the trains to kill themselves.
If people want to commit suicide they should use trees, not our trains."

We are not sure what the Minister for the Environment thought about that
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