Sat 8 April 2006
HARARE - Zimbabwean police on Friday arrested 51 supporters of the
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) for demonstrating in Harare without
approval from the police.
The NCA is a coalition of human and civic rights groups, labour,
churches and students that is fighting for a new, democratic constitution
The protesters marched in central Harare brandishing placards
demanding a new constitution for Zimbabwe. They also distributed flyers
written, "No to elections without a new constitution."
But as they approached Parliament Building in Harare the police who
appeared to have been taken off-guard, pounced on the demonstrators leading
to the arrest of the 51. The protesters were still detained at Harare
central police station last night.
A lawyer representing the protesters, Alec Muchadehama, said the
demonstrators were being charges under Section 19 (1) of the Public Order
and Security Act (POSA) which forbids illegal demonstrations.
"I am still trying to access my clients to find out whether there are
any who have been injured or have complaints against the police," said
Muchadehama last night.
NCA chairman, Lovemore Madhuku, said his organisation will continue to
stage these street protests until their demands for a new constitution are
"We will continue to push for a new people driven constitution
regardless of whatever means the police use to thwart our demonstrations,"
The NCA has proved to be a pain in the neck for the Harare authorities
after staging a number of successful demonstrations in the past. - ZimOnline
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
HARARE, 7 Apr 2006 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said it was
ready to help people who risked losing their homes after the City of Harare
warned that it would tear down illegal structures erected since last year's
evictions and demolitions.
On 26 March the council of the capital city announced that it was issuing 30
days' notice of its intention to repossess undeveloped stands.
The warning came on the eve of the first anniversary of Operation
Murambatsvina, in which the government demolished what it termed 'illegal'
homes and businesses, depriving more than 700,000 people of shelter and
Tafadzwa Mugabe, a member of Lawyers for Human Rights, which provides free
legal advice, said it was important for residents to comply with
regulations, ensure that construction met council standards and title deeds
were in order.
"We are ready to assist people to meet the legal demands of local
authorities and the state to avert what happened last year," he said. "Last
time, residents were told to regularise their houses, but before they could
do that they were razed to the ground, and that is what should be avoided."
Officials from residents' associations in the Harare suburbs of Mbare, Glen
View and Dzivarasekwa said council officials had already started evicting
residents from their uncompleted houses.
Police have also intensified efforts to remove illegal street traders. IRIN
several fruit and vegetable vendors, most of them women with babies on their
backs, being arrested by police and their goods confiscated.
Last year the government insisted that everybody evicted from informal
settlements should return to their rural homes. Those without rural roots -
typically people of non-Zimbabwean origin - were put into in holding camps.
One such facility is Hopley Transit Camp, just outside Harare, where around
6,500 victims of Operation Murambatsvina are housed in temporary shelters,
some no more than plastic sheeting.
On Tuesday the government banned the international NGO, Christian Care, from
making general food distributions, reportedly on the grounds that the
settlement was seen as a stronghold of the opposition Movement for
"We have been told to do what is termed 'targeted' feeding," an NGO employee
said. "This means we can only feed the elderly, the sick and child-headed
families - we have been told to exclude those able to fend for themselves.
We have had no option but to go ahead with the demands of the government,
through its officers from the ministry of social welfare."
Mail and Guardian
07 April 2006 05:15
Zimbabwe's 12-month inflation rate jumped to a new record
high of 913,6% for March, officials said on Friday, surpassing a central
bank forecast as the Southern African country's economic woes continue.
"The year-on-year rate of inflation in March 2006 was
913,6%, gaining 131,6 percentage points on the February rate of 782%," said
Moffat Nyoni, acting director of the Central Statistical Office.
"This means that on average goods and services normally
purchased by households for final use in Zimbabwe were about ten times as
expensive in March 2006 as they had been 12 months before, in March 2005,"
he told a news conference in the capital.
Nyoni said that goods and services priced at Z$100 000a
year ago would now cost more than Z$1-million.
Central bank governor Gideon Gono warned in January that
inflation would peak at over 800% in March before receding to below 500% in
June and declining to double digits next year.
Items that showed the largest month-on-month increases
were school examination fees (1 328%), domestic power, electricity, gas and
other fuels (236%) and sugar, jam, honey and other confectionary (129%).
Year-on-year, hair salons (3 921%), postal services (3
062%) and rent (3 015%) showed the largest increases.
Zimbabwe state power utility ZESA, struggling to import
electricity from neighbouring countries, was last month barred from slapping
a 570% price increase on consumers after the central bank said it would fuel
inflation beyond control.
The Southern African nation is in the throes of an
economic crisis, characterised by rocketing inflation, soaring poverty
levels, an unemployment rate hovering at over 70% and chronic fuel and basic
Over four million Zimbabweans in a population of
13-million also face food shortages, according to United Nations agencies.
Workers and ordinary citizens bore the brunt of the
economic crisis, with prices of basic commodities rising almost daily, while
wages have become stagnant.
Inflation in Zimbabwe reached its previous peak in January
2004, hitting 624%. -- AFP
Mail and Guardian
07 April 2006 01:38
The loss-making state airline Air Zimbabwe carried just
230 000 passengers last year, compared with more than a million in 1999, the
official media reported on Friday.
Acting chief executive Captain Oscar Madombwe blamed the
decline on negative publicity on political and economic turmoil in the
country and a perception of safety concerns among both local and foreign
travellers, along with shortages of hard currency, new equipment and
gasoline, the state Herald newspaper said.
Madombwe was addressing a panel of lawmakers in Harare on
He said some of the airline's planes are nearly 30 years
old and passengers mistrust its newest acquisitions, two small short-haul
Chinese MA60 aircraft used on domestic routes since last year, preferring
what he called Western-manufactured planes.
Madombwe said acute shortages in jet fuel mean some of its
international flights, including regular services to London, are forced to
take on fuel in neighbouring countries, leading to delays.
Some Western governments issue adverse travel advisories
to their nationals on Zimbabwe, the airline chief told the lawmakers.
"There are travel warnings in which travellers are told:
'Go to Zimbabwe at your own risk and maybe you will not come out of there
alive.' We are going to embark on campaigns to counter the bad publicity,"
the paper quoted him saying.
In November, the airline ran out of jet fuel and grounded
all its services for a day as Zimbabwe's worst economic crisis since
independence in 1980 deepened. It was the first time the airline's planes
were brought to a complete standstill by fuel shortages. Then-chief
executive Tendai Mahachi and financial director Tendai Mujuru were fired for
their handling of fuel shortages.
Madombwe assured the lawmakers new arrangements had been
made to keep the airline flying but did not elaborate.
Zimbabwe is suffering shortages of all types of fuel. The
agriculture-based economy went into free fall after President Robert Mugabe
ordered the often violent seizures of thousands of white-owned commercial
farms in 2000. - Sapa-AP
April 07, 2006, 11:45
Zimbabwe's government, battling an economic crisis which critics partly
blame on its seizures of white-owned farms, is now targeting firms with
multiple or huge land holdings, an official newspaper reported today.
But analysts say the new drive - which could affect timber and sugar
plantations - would further damage Zimbabwe's investment climate and
international image. Zimbabwe, once a net exporter of grain to southern
Africa, has suffered food shortages over the last five years as its farming
sector has been hit by drought and disruptions linked to President Robert
Mugabe's controversial land reforms.
The Herald newspaper said Didymus Mutasa, the national state security
minister, told a government media briefing that while many farms had been
redistributed to landless blacks since 2000, "quite a lot" still remained in
the hands of private firms. "Government is investigating shareholding in the
private companies that own huge farms, with the view of redistributing the
land to needy people," it said.
More threats to property rights
The daily quoted Mutasa, who is also in charge of the government's lands,
land reform and resettlement department, as saying: "Quite a lot of land is
still being held in the hands of companies and we would want to look into
that thoroughly." Mutasa was not immediately available for comment. But John
Robertson, a leading economic consultant, said the government drive would
further undermine property rights in a country which has largely been
shunned by foreign investors since the start of its land seizures.
Analysts say only about 600 of Zimbabwe's 4 500 white farmers have kept
their land after the government launched a sometimes violent campaign six
years ago to redistribute farms. Critics have blamed the land seizures for a
sharp drop in Zimbabwe's agricultural production, part of a wider economic
crisis that has led to shortages of food, fuel and foreign exchange,
rocketing unemployment and triple digit inflation.
The government says the agricultural crisis is due in large part to drought,
and accuses its Western critics of applying policies aimed at undermining
its rule over the former British colony. - Reuters
Friday, April 07 2006 @ 12:25 PM BST
Contributed by: correspondent
By Zimdaily/Business Online
THE low-income urban earner monthly basket for a family of six
surged to $34,9 million last month, a 24,7% increase from the February
figure of $28 million, representing worsening hardships for many Zimbabweans
reeling under President Mugabe's skewed economic policies.
In US dollar terms, the total cost of the March basket is
US$352,77 based on the interbank exchange rate of US$1:$99 201,58. The
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) said that most products recorded marginal
increases with notable ones being recorded by vegetables whose price rose by
87,8%, washing powder 39,1% and 1 kg margarine registering a 26,5% increase.
"The essential food items such as vegetables recorded the highest percentage
increase owing to the unavailability of some vegetables for example onions,
which are currently out of season. The onions on the market are imported and
are more than double the price of locally produced onions," CCZ said.
The consumer representative body said availability of some
products had improved in a few towns like Harare though in some areas supply
of such products could not satisfy demand. "There was a disproportionate
increase in the cost of living on one hand and a general stagnation of
incomes of many households on the other," CCZ said.
"In essence this has subjected many consumers to poverty as they
now live below the poverty datum line (PDL)." CCZ added that consumers
continue to be in limbo whilst all stakeholders wait anxiously for the
Tripartite Negotiating Forum to (TNF) resume and make true the Prices and
Incomes Stabilisation Protocol
"It is the right of consumers to be updated on the progress made
by the TNF and the Prices and Incomes Stabilisation Protocol," said CCZ.
Surveys for the consumer basket are conducted twice a month
while the basket is calculated by averaging the prices of goods in retail
outlets across the country.
There is now little doubt that the present regime in Zimbabwe is becoming
very anxious about the swelling tide of opposition and criticism that it is
facing. They have put the army on full alert, cancelled leave, they are
mobilizing their street gangs and thugs in the form of the youth militia and
are rumored to be printing thousands of T shirts in the MDC colors in an
effort to discredit the mass action that is now threatened by the MDC
As a taste of things to come the township of Budiriro in Harare where a bi-
Election is programmed has already become a battleground. The CIO is in
there in strength (there are some 17 000 people working for the CIO in
Zimbabwe) and clashes between the restive and angry community and these Para
military security operatives are becoming more frequent.
Then there is the tirade of abuse by Zanu PF leaders and Ministers directed
at the MDC - not the break away faction which strangely attracts little
attention, but towards the MDC and its recently elected leadership. We hear
reports that they are finding it difficult to rebuild the contacts they lost
in the MDC when the breakaway took place last year. This seems to be
supported by some of the regimes actions, which show a lack of real inside
knowledge of what is really going on.
We had Mr. Mugabe threatening the leadership of the MDC with death if they
dared to appose Zanu PF on the streets. Then came statements from Mutasa and
Chinamasa to the effect that "what the MDC is planning is illegal, amounts
to an unconstitutional threat to a democratically elected administration".
They have even gone so far as to say that the MDC is planning a coup against
the legitimate government of Zimbabwe.
Now aside from the fact that the present regime is neither democratically
elected nor legitimate it maintains its grip on power with the use of
military force and organisation. There is a lot of evidence that since the
2002 statement by the armed forces that they would not accept an MDC leader
as State President under any circumstances - in effect a military coup in
its self, that we are in fact living no longer in a democratic state but
under a form of a military junta. It astonishes how little real influence or
authority is exercised by either the Cabinet or Parliament. The principal
focus of power seems to lie in a shadowy Security Council that seldom sees
the light of day.
But it must be made clear to all who have an interest in our affairs, that
what the MDC and civil society in general want as an outcome from the
present campaign (because that is what we are now engaged in) is quite
simple. We want: -
1. The convening, with immediate effect, of an all stakeholders' conference
to thrash out, on a consensual basis, the way out of the mess we are in the
form of a new constitution and a negotiated transition to democratic
elections under international and regional supervision.
2. We are demanding that during the transition, the government restores the
rule of law, freedom of the press and freedom of association. We are also
demanding that food be brought into free supply and be completely
depoliticised. We are demanding that the State controlled media be brought
under the control of an independent media commission and be forced to
operate professionally and impartially.
3. We are demanding that every Zimbabwean citizen and permanent resident be
allowed to vote on the basis of a satisfactory identity document in a
national election for both Parliament and the Presidency. That these
elections be administered by a truly independent authority set up for this
purpose and that the regional and the international community be invited,
without restrictions of any kind, to observe the process.
4. Then finally, we are demanding that the administration that emerges from
this process, be declared the legitimate government of Zimbabwe and that
that this government then takes power to administer the country and to
control and direct the activities of all the security arms of the State.
I am no lawyer, but that does not look like an illegal operation to me. Nor
does it amount to a coup in the traditional African sense of the word. It
certainly would be a coup if the MDC could achieve such a transition back to
real democratic and legal values, but by no stretch of imagination could it
be termed "an illegal and unconstitutional attempt to overthrow by violent
means the government of Zimbabwe".
Therefore why the paranoia? The paranoia about what the MDC is proposing is
due to the simple fact the regime knows that if such a programme was to be
followed, Zanu PF would be ousted from power as surely as the sun rose today
over Zimbabwe. This would mean that the misdemeanors of the present regime
would be disclosed, the real story of what has gone on behind closed doors
would become public knowledge and the Courts would be available to those
whose interests have been damaged during 25 years of bad and corrupt
The gravy train would be derailed and the massive transfers of wealth from
the majority to a tiny political elite would be stopped and even reversed.
This is the real reason why the present regime is crying foul. It's got
nothing to do with the alleged illegality of the MDC proposals, nothing to
do with a "planned coup". In any event, all the arms and armed capacity in
the country is in the hands of the national army and the police as well as
the Para military forces. The MDC has no such capacity, has never sought
such capacity and has no intention, under any circumstances, of following
that route. The only men of violence here are in Zanu PF and its affiliates.
We have tried the democracy route, it has been blocked off by this
administration and that leaves us with no other choice but the street and
the power of ordinary people seeking redress and their universal rights.
Despite what people might be thinking - MDC has never committed itself to
such a programme since it was born in 1999. This is the first time we have
backed direct action to force change. We have no alternative - the regional
community refuses to take action and we simply cannot go on accepting the
destruction of our country and the rape of its assets.
Bulawayo, 7th April 2006
From the TelegraphNotebook
By W F Deedes
I get more angry letters about Robert Mugabe's tyranny in Zimbabwe, where
things go from bad to worse, than on any other topic. Most of them make the
same point. Why do we busy ourselves in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, yet
ignore the ruin of a country for which we were once responsible?
It is a question that can be answered only in terms of Yes, Minister.
"Humphrey, we must take action against Mugabe's destruction of Zimbabwe."
"No, minister, it would do a disservice to our best interests in Africa."
"Why not, for heaven's sake? He's a villain."
"Not in the eyes of all Africa, minister."
"Humphrey, are you mad?"
"No, minister, I'm only suggesting that many Africans do not see him as we
"Why not? He's starving his own people, Humphrey."
"Yes, minister, but he has managed to hold power in Africa for longer than
any other leader. That earns him high esteem."
"From other African leaders, perhaps, but not from most Africans."
"Minister, for many years most Africans were under European rule. When
Mugabe rants against 'imperialism' he strikes a chord with many of them."
"No imperialist, Humphrey, behaved as brutally as Mugabe does."
"That is as may be, minister, but he is 'one of them', which gives him a
certain licence to behave badly. In Africa, it is recognised that 'the
winner takes all'."
"Humphrey, you're doing Africa a gross injustice. The vast majority there
would cheer if we gave Mugabe a hiding."
"No, minister, the majority would resent the intrusion. African governments
are sensitive about outside interference. They would rally round Mugabe, and
we would lose valuable interests there."
"So you are saying that we must stand idly by?"
You may think I am taking the mickey out of the Sir Humphreys of this world.
On the contrary, I fear the old booby is right.
Week ending 2nd April 06
It's an extraordinary thing, but dictatorships seem to revel in uncovering
plots designed for the purpose by their own spooks. The burning of the
Reichstag by the NAZIs come to mind, no less than the current debacle over
the alleged plot to assassinate the president on his birthday visit to
Mutare. This one seems to have gone a bit pear shaped for the perpetrators
and only one person remains in custody - the hapless Hirchman or what ever
his name is. He is alleged by the early reports to have been a member of the
Rhodesian Army serving in the RAR. I cannot recall anyone of that name and
knew most of the officers. Perhaps someone with a better memory than mine
can recall him. Another story going the rounds is that he never saw active
service as his parents were conscientious objectors and spirited him out of
the country so he would not get called up. Who knows, but this somehow doesn't
march with the fact that he is a so-called security expert and licensed gun
dealer, and member of the police reserve. All very intriguing!
We have continued to have rain with a real downpour of 47 mm in 24 hours
during the week. The weather now seems to have cleared and glorious April
with its crisp mornings and evenings, and warm sun filled days apart from -
"whan that April with her shoures" decides to give us a last sprinkle or
There was great excitement here yesterday. I was having a meeting with the
village residents' committee that represents the high-density village on
Feoch at about nine in the morning when there came a terrible commotion from
the chicken run. Thinking we were being invaded by another python we all
took off at the high port to see what was amiss. Baba Jongwe was in full
cry, neck feathers raised. He was charging about and leaping in the air in
truly ferocious form, joined by the mama of his four current teenagers. The
object of their ferocity was a raptor that had penetrated the inner keep of
the chicken run. This is a fenced area enclosing a chicken house. The yard
is fenced overhead as well, as a precaution against monkeys getting in to
steal the eggs. Nothing daunted our thief had flown in to this area and even
into the house, whence he was driven by Baba Jongwe. It was at this point
that we arrived to offer assistance. Efforts to get the frightened hawk out
through the gate proved fruitless as it kept trying to fly straight up where
it hit the wire netting and fell back. It was after one of these attempts
that one of my visitors hit it with a young pole of no mean girth (a sort of
teen-aged ZESA pole!) that instantly dispatched it into the next dimension.
I tried to identify it without any definite conclusion but think it may have
been an immature African Goshawk, described by Roberts as being "bold and
dashing, not shy" which I think is fitting.
In the garden there is not much actually flowering at the moment but then
ours is a garden mainly comprised of perennials and re-seeding annuals so it
is not surprising. In the herb garden the Melissa is in bloom. The pure
white flowers make a pretty show against the glossy dark leaves of the
bushes. Bees hover around the flowers for is it not named Melissa, Greek for
the honey bee? We live on a bee line and only yesterday a swarm went buzzing
past - its more like a low-pitched hum really when they are in full flight
and on a mission. Also prolific in their blooms are the nastertiums, one of
my favourite plants, not least because their leaves and flowers are such a
fresh peppery addition to salads. And of course their seeds can be dried and
substitute very well for capers. Did you know that the dry old Swede
Linnaeus called the nasturtium "tropaeolum" which translates as trophy
pillar, a pole on the battlefield on which the Roman legions would hang
their shields and the bloody helmets of their vanquished foes to celebrate
victory. The leaves represent the shields and the red flowers the bloody
helmets. I think it's rather touching that the dry as dust old Scandinavian
had such a fetching touch of poetry in his soul. I am sure my friend Ingvar
From the above I am sure you have deduced that I have been researching the
names of our garden plants as I find this the only way to remember their
names. By tracing back to their Greek and or Latin names and cross referring
to Greek mythology and to the excellent Mr. Brewer, I am making some
For example, I have always been puzzled about the geranium-pelargonium
business. So many people like to trot out pelargonium when we simple folk
would say geranium. Well here's the interesting thing! Pelargoniums belong
to the larger GERANIACEAE family as their names suggest. But here's the
Pelargos means a crane in Greek and refers to the shape of the pelargonium's
fruit. (I have never consciously seen the fruit, have you?) GERANUS also
Greek, - would you credit this - also means crane, according to my
impeccable source. The wily devils had two words for crane and our earnest
taxonomists used both, thus giving literal and serious gardeners of a
certain type the pleasure of being able to say, "actually not geranium,
pelargonium". Of course the scientists have the last laugh really because
geraniums and pelargoniums are sub-families of the overall Geraniaceae
family, the former mostly European and the latter mostly from the Cape.
All this is an indication that I am alone at the moment and missing the
guiding hand and company of the DL. She gets back in a few weeks time and
will see to it, I have no doubt, that I occupy my time in more productive
ways than looking up the origins of botanical names. But it is one way of
getting them to stick in one's head. Unlike Liam who seems to absorb
botanical names with effortless ease, I generally forget them no sooner that
I have discovered them.
Rugare, Peace, Salamu.
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
JOHANNESBURG, 7 Apr 2006 (IRIN) - Police forces in Southern Africa are
waking up to a new threat: gangs of disciplined, well-armed former
Zimbabwean soldiers involved in high-value robberies.
South Africa has borne the brunt of a spree of organised raids on isolated
casinos and cash-in-transit vans, reportedly conducted efficiently and with
"We only woke up to the fact that we could be facing seasoned soldiers when
we arrested a cash-in-transit gang in the West Rand in late 2004. Many of
them turned out to be ex-soldiers, and thereafter similar catches were made
in connection with casino hits in Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal [provinces],"
said a senior detective in the Serious and Violent Crimes Unit, who asked
not to be named.
Senior detectives in Polokwane, in Limpopo province on the border with
Zimbabwe, told IRIN that investigations into a string of robberies were
ongoing, but well-planned attacks on remote casinos in the province late
last year were the work of a gang with 15 to 20 members carrying AK-47
assault rifles - the standard weapon of the Zimbabwean police and army.
"These people bring all they need ... [provide their own] transport, always
strike at the right time, and will get away without firing a single shot if
not challenged. Once they leave the crime scene, they disappear into thin
air, which is why we think we are dealing with a gang that comes
occasionally to strike it big, and goes back [home] to spend," said the
Members of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) IRIN spoke to said they were not
surprised that serving and retired soldiers were involved in armed robbery,
and pointed to an erosion of discipline in the armed forces as a result of
worsening service conditions.
"It is true that some of these people are now part of the spiralling crime
wave in South Africa, but they are not an organised syndicate. These are
small groups who go in to make a raid and quickly dash back," said one
"The low pay, low morale and the fact that juniors have been watching
[senior] officers feathering their nests illegally since the DRC [Democratic
Republic of Congo] conflict has contributed in a big way to crime in the
service. So we now have retired and serving members who form themselves into
groups that go around robbing," he remarked.
Shadow defence minister of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change,
Job Sikhala, who sits on the parliamentary portfolio for defence, said there
was no doubt that elements of the security forces were involved in armed
robberies in the region.
"Those allegations are true. Even at home the uniformed forces are
increasingly turning to violent, often armed crimes that use state-supplied
firearms. However, we do not have any cases of serving officers being
arrested or suspected, so we believe this could be the work of deserters or
retired personnel," Sikhala told IRIN.
The ZNA public relations department said it could not comment until it had
investigated the allegations.
An average trooper earns US $100 a month, but household expenditure for the
average family is US $353, and rising.
Zimbabwe Standard (Harare)
April 2, 2006
Posted to the web April 7, 2006
THE Ministry of Finance is drafting a $50 trillion supplementary budget
after line ministries ran out of funding, Standardbusiness has learnt.
Finance Permanent Secretary Willard Manungo denied the development saying
while government appreciates the impact of inflation on ministries' budget,
it still expected them to live within their means.
"We appreciate that that when inflation goes up, ministries are under
pressure. The challenge now is to get it down but we are saying let us stick
to the 2006 Budget," Manungo said.
But an official from his Ministry said on Friday the supplementary Budget
had been pegged for June and has been under draft since January. The
official said of priority would be "security" ministries.
"The matter is going through Parliament and the document has been under
draft since January. When drafting began it had been decided that it would
mostly be for security ministries like that of Defence and Security but the
other ministries are broke and have been factored in," said the official.
"The thing is the money that was allocated for the 2006 national Budget was
not enough and with inflation shooting to 782 % it is now another story," he
Standardbusiness understands the Ministry of Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs had its cheque dishonoured at a local bank last week
causing some embarrassment for the government.
The Ministry of Finance has been forced to eat its words after inflation
skyrocketed to unforeseen levels. Last year, the government boasted that
there would be no supplementary Budget and had drafted the 2006 Budget when
inflation was forecast to hit an average of 200 % by year-end last year.
It has since hit 782% and continues to rise because of pressure driven by
food costs. Forecasts are that figures will go down in the second quarter
but analysts believe the decrease will not be significant because of the
increase in money supply growth.
The inflation pressure has hit line ministries hard and government has also
been forced to increase fees for services, such as passports, as a cost
"The supplementary Budget is not desirable really but has forced by the
situation. Fees for most ministries have been increased and there will be
periodic reviews to bring them closer to inflation. When inflation goes up
it would be necessary to adjust fees upwards," the official said. Most
ministries reviewed their fees in the last month to hedge against inflation.
The Herald (Harare)
April 7, 2006
Posted to the web April 7, 2006
PRIVATE doctors have requested a meeting with Health and Child Welfare
Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa over the recent freeze of fees charged by
Zimbabwe Medical Association president Dr Billy Rigava said in an interview
his members had requested a meeting with the minister so they could explain
their position. "Our members do not just want us to tell them what the
minister said when we met with him. They want to be able to meet and talk to
him. "Dialogue is very constructive and that is why our members are
appealing for the opportunity to tell the minister their side of the story,"
he said. Dr Parirenyatwa last week invoked the Medical Services Act of 1998,
which gives the Minister of Health powers to designate fees for private
doctors, clinics and hospitals and temporarily banned any fee increases that
they might effect. This came at a time when consultation fees in the private
sector had gone up to as much as $2 million while admissions at private
hospitals were ranging between $65 million and $1 billion.
Dr Rigava said the other dilemma facing Zima was that it had allowed its
members to increase their fees by 50 p ercent well before the minister
announced the freeze. "We had already circulated the new tariffs and now
some of our members are confused because they had seen something in writing
saying we would increase our charges by 50 percent. "As such they would like
the minister to address them," he said. Contacted for comment, Dr
Parirenyatwa said he was willing to meet and talk with anyone for the
benefit of the health sector, doctors, nurses, and healthcare fu- nders. "I
also believe in dialogue and have nothing against meeting them. We will see
how the matter progresses," he said.
The minister last week set up a committee to look into the operations of
private doctors, clinics and hospitals with a view to coming up with a way
forward in a hyper-inflationary environment. Private healthcare providers
have argued that salaries, drugs and equipment costs justified their fees.
Friday, April 07 2006 @ 12:30 PM BST
Contributed by: correspondent
President Robert Mugabe's Development Cabinet is not happy with
Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono's overarching powers amid reports that
ministers have been ratcheting pressure on President Mugabe demanding that
the technocrat be sacked or have his powers immediately trimmed. Zimdaily
heard that Gono, the once celebrated but now controversial governor of the
toothless Reserve Bank has raised the ire of several ministers by his "undue
interference" in their portfolios.
Several ministers were said to have intimated that Gono has
proved beyond any measure of doubt that he is either an uncreative thinker
whose mental faculties have denied him the ability to save Zimbabwe's failed
economy. A cabinet minister who spoke to Zimdaily on condition of anonymity
said the only reason why Gono was still at the RBZ was because he was
Mugabe's personal banker and "an inept one at that" especially when it comes
to staving off the country's current crisis until the old man makes his much
The past week alone has seen clashes between Gono and two senior
cabinet ministers erupt into the public domain, showing clearly that all is
not well in the corridors of power. Last week Gono clashed with his boss,
Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa over claims by the latter that he was
undermining his authority by encroaching into fiscal matters. There were
further reports of a damning report cobbled by Energy Minister Michael
Nyambuya, who also slammed Gono's interference.
Gono is also reported to have worked feverishly upon his return
from Washington last month, to get Mines Minister Amos Midzi to repair the
damage done by his announcement on mine takeovers by government. He does not
seem to have elicited the support of the minister or even more importantly,
President Robert Mugabe, in the issue. Last Wednesday, Gono held a lengthy
meeting with President Mugabe at his Munhumutapa offices, but cancelled a
scheduled press conference later in the day, in a move read to mean that
things might not have gone quite as he expected, despite Mugabe's earlier
assurances, made in a meeting with Impala Platinum chief executive Keith
Rumble that the mining draft was still work in progress.
Official sources have told of how Gono has been left isolated,
especially after the costly debt repayment to the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) did not unlock the financial support unrealistically expected by
some government hawks from the Bretton Woods institution despite strained
relations that are only beginning to show signs of improvement. In this,
Gono might have become a victim of his own overly optimistic expectations of
purple hearts from Washington.
Since his appointment in December 2003, Gono has cut the image
of a messianic, if overbearing, central bank governor. Monetary policy
presentations became hugely publicised media events during which the whole
nation would watch, spellbound, as Gono doled out trillions and hectored all
creatures large and small. His clearly unorthodox approach to monetary
policy only received muted criticism as inflation declined from a previous
high of 623 percent in January 2004 to 124 percent in March 2005.
The defence was that Zimbabwe's extraordinary circumstances
required extraordinary interventions.
Resurgent inflation has since touched a new high last month and
is, by Gono's own admission, still rising. Even the most ardent admirers are
no longer sure. But his foes are sure what they smell is blood and do look
to be closing in.
By Tichaona Sibanda
07 April 2006
MDC Vice-President Thokozani Khupe believes it's now inevitable that
Zimbabweans will take to the streets soon to demonstrate against mounting
In a nation ravaged by unemployment, food shortages, hunger and
corruption Khupe said the mass demonstrations would be a sign of outpouring
of rage against the country's slide towards chaos.
She said everyone in the country was geared for any action and that
people have gone through untold suffering at the hands of Mugabe so they are
not afraid of the regime anymore.
Speaking ahead of a major rally to introduce the new party leadership
on Sunday at the White City stadium in Bulawayo Khupe said they were not
worried about reports suggesting the Zimbabwe Defence Forces have been put
on high alert to counter any protests.
'Everyone in this country has suffered under this government,
including soldiers and policemen and because of that each and everyone of us
is capable of standing up and saying enough is enough without being pushed
to do so,' said Khupe.
Zimbabwe Defence Forces chief General Constantine Chiwenga is reported
to have told Mugabe on Tuesday that soldiers need a salary raise if he
wanted to secure their support in the event of an opposition-led mass
ZimOnline said sources told them Chiwenga was speaking to Mugabe at a
briefing before Mugabe's departure on Wednesday to Singapore, at which
Mugabe had demanded to know the forces' state of preparedness to crush mass
protests the opposition has threatened to call this winter.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai will use the White City rally to explain
in detail about the planned demonstrations as well as introduce the new
leadership of the party.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Tererai Karimakwenda
07 April 2006
Chiefs and headmen in the Chimanimani area played a crucial role
during last year's parliamentary elections. Residents say they campaigned
for the ruling party vigorously and now they understand why. They believe
these traditional leaders had been offered free electricity by the
government and other gifts in exchange. A ZANU-PF candidate eventually won
the parliamentary seat in Chimanimani last March but there is still no
electricity in the area. In fact our contact Peter reports that on Thursday
3 trucks from the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) loaded up all
the cables and other components that had been delivered to the area and
Peter said the chiefs were told that the government no longer had
enough money to continue with the rural electrification project in
Chimanimani. He described how he watched as ZESA workers took away 12 huge
rolls of cables and 6 large transformers. Residents said they were
dumbfounded by the loss because some preparatory worked had already been
done in some areas.
Just before elections the popular incumbent MP for Chimanimani Roy
Bennet was jailed. His wife replaced him but popular as she was she was no
match for the promises made to the voters and the intimidation unleashed by
the traditional leaders. The ZANU-PF candidate Samuel Ndenge won the
elections but none of the promises were fulfilled. Peter said the residents
are still recovering from Thursday's events when the ZESA truck killed their
dream of electricity.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
April 7, 2006
By Tagu Mkwenyani
HUMAN rights doctors in Zimbabwe say the country's health delivery
system is barely functioning.
In a statement, the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights
(ZAHR) said the economic problems prevailing in Zimbabwe did not justify
government's failure to promote and protect its citizens' right to health.
"Striving to achieve, at least the very least, minimum standards for health,
is the basis of ending deprivation and inequality in access to health.
Inadequate investment in the public health service continues to cause severe
shortages of staff, supplies and equipment, resulting in unnecessary deaths
and patient suffering," said the doctors.
They added that the health delivery sector was presently in a state of
crisis with hospitals and clinics countrywide barely functioning due to a
lack of sufficient nurses and doctors. "Operations at referral hospitals in
Bulawayo and Harare have been severely compromised and district and mission
hospitals are threatened with closure, with some district hospitals
operating without medicals officers." As the way forward, ZADHR urged the
government to prioritise allocation of resources to the ministry of health
and also to work out a nation public health strategy and plan of action that
would address current crisis. "Effective measures must be developed to
prevent, treat and control epidemic and endemic diseases. With respect to
Harare Central hospital - ostensible commitment by the Minister of Health
and Child Welfare to addressing the crisis prevailing at the hospital must
translate into effective action." The ZADHR statement comes less than a week
after government doctors petitioned the government to improve the state of
affairs at government referral hospitals.
AND - Zimbabwe
By Sharon Njobo
FOUL-MOUTHED Harare received a lion's share of the Canadian
International Development Agency (CIDA)-funded food aid destined for
southern Africa's six nations, despite initial rude scoffing at western
countries by octogenarian leader Robert Mugabe.
Ignoring Mugabe's arrogant dismissals of the food crisis in Zimbabwe,
international humanitarian agencies continued to plead for an opportunity to
distribute emergency food aid to the millions faced with starvation.
CIDA responded to a World Food Programme (WFP) appeal and last
November provided CAD $13 million for southern Africa, of which CAD $4.5
million was gobbled up by Zimbabwe.
"It was good of Canada to help the Zimbabwean population facing
starvation. The onus is on Mugabe to fully acknowledge there is a problem
and stop the political assault on western countries, blaming them for
economic ills," said France Chinembiri, an exiled Zimbabwean living in
More than 3.4 million Zimbabweans have so far received food assistance
under the CIDA-funded WFP food distribution.
"CIDA did not earmark these funds to any of the countries, but allowed
WFP to allocate the resources where the needs were the greatest in the
region. We have been informed
by WFP that approximately $4.5M of the total amount was directed to
WFP's operations in Zimbabwe," a CIDA spokesman said recently.
Mugabe has in the past told international relief groups not to bring
any food aid to Zimbabwe and denied that the chronic food shortages in the
once-prosperous nation were partly due to the land redistribution programme
that saw white commercial farmers being forcibly moved from the farms to
make way for his cronies in the ruling Zanu PF government.
Blaming Zimbabweans for the dire food shortages, he last year refused
to admit the country was in the throes of a critical drought, saying the
people needed to find alternatives to the staple corn.
Mugabe suggested that Zimbabweans should eat rice and potatoes, foods
that are unaffordable for the more than 90 percent of the population
grappling with run away triple digit inflation rate.
WFP states that the southern African region suffers from a triple
threat - "A deadly combination of HIV/AIDS, food insecurity and a weakened
capacity for governments to deliver basic social services."
US$63 million is needed for emergency food aid to help alleviate the
on-going food crisis in southern African countries of Lesotho, Malawi,
Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
CIDA has also provided support to Zimbabwe through the Canadian
Foodgrains Bank (CFGB).
"Of the $1.374 million that CFGB allocated to food aid for Zimbabwe,
CIDA funding is responsible for 80% or $1.1million," said CIDA.
As of December 31, 2005 approximately half of the amount of the
cereals, oil and pulses planned by CFGB for Zimbabwe had been distributed.
"Reports from WFP which outline that food distributions to more that
3.4 million beneficiaries in Zimbabwe have been continuing although the
worsening availability of fuel throughout the country has made it more
difficult for WFP to reach all of the beneficiaries. Additionally rain, silo
and transport capacity, continue to hamper deliveries of food from South
Africa to Zimbabwe," CIDA reported.
The food aid being distributed in the region was bought from
neighboring South Africa.
From Bloomberg, 7 April
Antony Sguazzin and Nasreen Seriag
Zimbabwe's central bank slashed its offer of treasury bills open to the
public by 99,7% to 14112 and still failed to sell them all amid concern that
the government would not buy back debt that matures this year. "People are
anticipating a mandatory rollover" of debt, Chipo Chakawa, an analyst at
Harare-based Interfin Securities, said in an interview. "There is no money
in the market." The central bank cut its offering of bills to Z$1,4bn on
Wednesday, from Z$500bn on March 23. It sold Z$780m, or 56% of the offer, at
an average yield of 515%, from just 0,9% on March 23. Zimbabwe's economy has
shrunk in each of the past six years and the fiscal deficit spiralled to
about 60% of gross domestic product (GDP) last year, according to the
International Monetary Fund (IMF). Concern that the government would roll
over debt, a quarterly tax deadline and an increase in statutory reserves
have combined to undermine demand for treasury bills. Statutory reserves for
banks were raised to 45% of deposits from 30% last month, said Farai
Dyirakumunda, an analyst at Interfin. The tax deadline was March 24.
Daily treasury bill sales open only to banks had also been shunned, the
state-controlled Herald newspaper reported on Tuesday. Last week the amount
tendered for the Z$500bn sales had ranged from Z$4,1bn to $94bn, the
Harare-based newspaper said, without saying where it got the information.
"If the market had more liquidity, then we would see more demand," Malcolm
Lowe, director of treasury at Stanbic Bank's Africa division, said in an
interview from Johannesburg. Demand had dried up after the central bank
began selling more treasury bills this year in a bid to slow inflation, Lowe
said. The inflation rate rose to 782% in February. "The bills are a monetary
policy instrument," William Manhimanzi, head of treasury at the Harare-based
central bank, said in an interview last month. "They are used to limit the
capacity of institutions to create credit." Manhimanzi declined to say
whether the government would roll over debt maturing this year.
Zimbabwe's economy has shrunk every year since 2000 when President Robert
Mugabe began seizing white-owned commercial farms. The economy probably
contracted 7,2% last year, the fastest-shrinking economy in the world,
according to the IMF. Zimbabwe's government uses part of the funds raised
from treasury bills to pay for its spending. The budget deficit was probably
less than Z$3-trillion, or 2,9% of GDP, last year, Finance Minister Herbert
Murerwa said in his budget speech on December 1. But the IMF says the
deficit was probably far larger if the "quasi-fiscal activities" of the
central bank are included. The Washington-based lender estimates that the
deficit widened to almost 60% of GDP last year from 27% in 2004.