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

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      Mugabe rejects Zimbabwe crisis mediation-Chissano
      Wed Aug 17, 2005 7:17 PM BST

By Alistair Thomson

GABORONE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has rejected an offer
by the African Union (AU) to mediate between his ruling party and the
opposition to end a political crisis, the AU mediator said on Wednesday.

"There is no mission for Zimbabwe because at least one of the parties,
President Mugabe, said clearly there is no need of such talks," former
Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano told reporters at a regional summit in

The AU's chairman, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, last week appointed
Chissano to mediate in Zimbabwe's worst crisis since independence in 1980.

The AU hoped Chissano, one of the region's most respected statesmen, could
smooth relations between Mugabe's ZANU-PF and the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), which accuses the ruling party of rigging elections
to stay in power.

Chissano said on Wednesday Zimbabwe officials told him the talks were not
needed "because it is an internal problem that they can handle through the
democratic institutions in Zimbabwe".

"There is no place for a mission of the African Union or any other
organisation as things are today," Chissano said.

He did not specify how Mugabe's message had been conveyed, but said he did
not expect to meet the Zimbabwean president during the two-day regional
conference they are both attending.

Zimbabwe is not on the official agenda at the annual summit of the Southern
African Development Community (SADC).


Analysts said Chissano's appointment to mediate between the two parties
followed a surge in diplomatic pressure on Africa to act after Harare
bulldozed shanty towns, which the UN says has robbed 700,000 of their homes
or livelihood.

The MDC had welcomed the mediation offer, saying it could pave the way for
the 81-year-old Mugabe to step down and make way for an interim coalition
government that would hold elections monitored by the international

But MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai had said Chissano faced an uphill task in
convincing Mugabe to agree to talks.

Mugabe says the MDC is a front for Western efforts to topple him. Last week
he said it would be more useful to talk to Prime Minister Tony Blair, whom
Mugabe sees as his chief Western opponent.

The MDC denies the charges and says a deepening economic crisis, including
fuel and foreign exchange shortages, and triple-digit inflation, should
persuade Mugabe to negotiate.

Chissano said the international community should be ready to help Zimbabwe
if it requested help: "My opinion is, yes, the world must help Zimbabwe to
solve their problems -- when they request that we are there to help them."

© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.
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Zim Online

Zimbabwe inflation surges to 254.8 percent
Wed 17 August 2005

      HARARE - Zimbabwe's year-on-year inflation rose by a sharp 90.5
percentage points in July to 254.8 percent, according to figures released by
the government's Central Statistical Office on Wednesday.

      The crisis-hit country's annual inflation retreated from an all time
high of 622.8 percent in January 2004 to 164.3 percent last June, to remain
the highest such rate in the world.

      Resurging inflation completely washes away hopes for quick recovery
for Zimbabwe's economy now in its sixth straight year of bitter recession.

      Food, fuel, essential medical drugs, electricity and hard cash is in
critical short supply as Zimbabwe grapples its worst ever economic crisis,
in part blamed on President Robert Mugabe's chaotic and often violent
seizure of productive land from white farmers that derailed the mainstay
agricultural economy.

      Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono predicted during his
mid-term monetary policy review in June that inflation would maintain an
upward trend that he said was only transitory before the rate began dropping
around September.

      But economic analysts, citing worsening food and fuel shortages, have
ruled out a drop in inflation and said Gono's prediction that the rate would
settle around 80 percent by December 2005 was largely wishful thinking. -

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Picking up the pieces after Operation Cleanup

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

BULAWAYO, 17 Aug 2005 (IRIN) - One early morning in June, Mthulisi Ndiweni,
55, suddenly found himself homeless. Government bulldozers rumbled into the
squatter camp of Kilarney on the outskirts of Zimbabwe's second city,
Bulawayo, and tore it down.

Ndiweni and his family of five, along with a thousand other unemployed or
low-income earners in Kilarney, had become local victims of the government's
much-criticised Operation Murambatsvina (Drive out Trash) - a nationwide
programme ostensibly aimed at urban renewal, which left more than 700,000
people homeless and jobless.

The families in Kilarney had been unable to afford rentals in Bulawayo, and
throwing up a wooden-sided hut without planning permission or access to
official water and electricity connections was their only option if they
wanted a chance to find work.

"We were angry, but because the police officers were armed, there was
nothing we could do. We just watched the bulldozers destroying our houses
... I remember one police officer dragging an ill man, who used to be my
neighbour, out of his hut before setting it on fire. The officers were
generally not sympathetic to anyone," Ndiweni recalled.

After spending two weeks at the mercy of the winter chill with a dozen other
people who had also been displaced by the cleanup operation, Ndiweni
relocated to a church in the city, where he was offered sanctuary by a
multi-denominational coalition.

The respite didn't last: he and his family were moved again by the police,
this time to a holding camp to await relocation to Ndiweni's rural home - in
line with the government's insistence that all squatters should leave the
urban areas.

However, like many other Zimbabweans, Ndiweni was born in town and had no
recollection of any rural roots; his family, along with four others, was
transported from the holding camp to Tshitatshawa, a rural village in
northern Zimbabwe, and dumped at a shopping centre.

"They told us to locate traditional leaders of the area and ask for pieces
of land where we could set up homesteads and live. The police also
threatened to kill us if we ever returned to the city," he told IRIN.

Ndiweni said the villagers initially considered them with suspicion and
traditional leaders were reluctant to accept them, but attitudes have
changed and the new settlers are now picking up the pieces of their lives.

"The villagers thought we were thieves who wanted to steal from their homes,
but when we explained our plight they became sympathetic and gave all of us
land to build homesteads," he said.

Rural suspicions of outsiders are often fuelled by the popular beliefs that
people from the cities make ends meet by brewing beer and sex work. "They
set standards (social and cultural) that we have to stick to," Ndiweni

Although his family is getting back on its feet, many challenges remain.
"There are no jobs here, and food is in short supply in shops - where it is
available, it is very expensive and we can't afford it," he pointed out.

"At the moment we are eating food that was donated to us by church leaders
who helped us while we were still in Bulawayo. They promised to bring some
more for us, and we just hope that they do so before this gets finished."

Zimbabwe is facing serious food shortages due to recurring droughts and the
government's fast-track land redistribution programme, which disrupted
agricultural production and slashed export earnings.

Relief agencies estimate that 4.5 people, especially those in the rural
areas, are in need of food aid, but the government is yet to make a formal
appeal for humanitarian assistance from the international community.

Aided by a host of NGOs, local churches have played a central role in
donating food to victims of Operation Murambatsvina.

Pastor Albert Chatindo, spokesperson for the churches in Bulawayo, told IRIN
that they had tracked down more than 1,000 people dispersed in rural
Matabeleland, a vast region in southwestern Zimbabwe, and were assisting
them with food and other relief items.

"These people need our support now more than ever before, and we feel it is
our duty as the church to come to their rescue," said Chatindo. "We
distribute maize-meal, cooking oil, dried fish, sugar beans and nutritional
porridge for those with little children; we also distribute seeds so that
when rains fall they can plant crops and be self-reliant."

However, he pointed out that many of the displaced were still battling for
acceptance by their new host communities. "[Sometimes] traditional leaders
are reluctant to give some of them land to build homes and such people are
being kept by well-wishers at their homes."

Thulani Ngwenya, a village head in Tshitatshawa, said although villagers in
his area were sympathetic to the new arrivals, he had also heard of some
communities that were resisting their integration.

When the government embarked on the relocation exercise, it assured the
displaced that they would be met by chiefs and village heads, who would
provide them with land and food.

Chatindo noted that the relocated families he had met were not getting any
relief assistance from the government.

Local government minister Ignatius Chombo told IRIN the government was in
the process of setting up a taskforce to distribute relief aid to displaced

"As far as I know, all is well out there; people were met by chiefs, as per
our order, and are being given land to settle," said Chombo. "Each family is
being given a bucket of maize after a certain period of time and, really, I
don't think it would be fair for anyone to say these people are not being
catered for by government."

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Harold Doan & Associates

      Zimbabwe's Tipping Point

            Aug. 17 2005

            Press Release - International Crisis Group

            Pretoria - With its brutal slum and street clearance campaign
"Murambatsvina", Zimbabwe's governance has reached a low point which it is
now almost impossible for its neighbours to ignore, despite the reluctance
until now of African governments and institutions to be openly critical.

            Zimbabwe's Operation Murambatsvina: The Tipping Point?, the
latest report from the International Crisis Group, examines the campaign and
its impact against the background of the country's dramatic economic and
political deterioration, and endorses the devastating findings of the report
of the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy, Anna Tibaijuka of Tanzania.

            "Murambatsvina has made even worse the desperate economic and
humanitarian situation of a country that has been sliding downhill for a
half-decade", says Gareth Evans, President of Crisis Group. "The UN report
has exposed the regime's brutality and explicitly confronted the
international community, not least elsewhere in Africa, with its
responsibility to protect the people of Zimbabwe".

            Operation Murambatsvina (Restore Order) cost some 700,000
Zimbabweans their homes or livelihoods or both and otherwise affected nearly
a fifth of the country's population. It has returned Zimbabwe to the
international spotlight, and there is much greater awareness that
international action is urgent and unavoidable, not only to help deal with
the humanitarian consequences of the mass evictions and forced displacement,
but longer range measures to deal with Zimbabwe's fundamental governance

            The report argues that real reform will require efforts on three
parallel tracks: the maintenance of overt international pressure, support
for building internal political capacity and, above all, active regional
diplomacy to facilitate political transition.

            "The situation cries out for strong African diplomatic
efforts -- especially from South Africa, by far the most influential single
government, the Southern African Development Community and the African
Union", says Suliman Baldo, Director of Crisis Group's Africa Program.
"Quiet diplomacy is fine in an African context, but that doesn't mean it has
to be weak."

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Big tax hikes in 'broke' Zimbabwe
Man with food aid
Some 4m Zimbabweans need food aid
Zimbabwe's finance minister has imposed a string of tax rises to bridge a huge spending shortfall and the effects of drought and slum clearances.

A tax on drinks and cigarettes has been increased by 50% and mobile phone airtime will also be subjected to a 22.5% tax, Herbert Murerwa said.

Zimbabwe is beset with shortages of food, fuel and foreign currency, and rampant unemployment and inflation.

An opposition MP said the extra budget showed that the government was "broke".

South Africa is considering giving an emergency loan to Zimbabwe, so it can repay its debts to the International Monetary Fund and avoid expulsion.


From September public transport buses will have to pay a quarterly tax and VAT will be raised by 2.5% to 17.5%, Mr Murerwa announced in a supplementary budget.

From the measures, Mr Murerwa said he hoped to raise 6.6 trillion Zimbabwean dollars, which is $356m at the official exchange rate and $146m on the black market rate.

Up 2.5% to 17.5%
Small buses
Z$6m quarterly charge
Big buses
Z$18m quarterly charge
Z$6m quarterly charge
Cigarettes and drinks
Up 50%
Car imports
Up 15% to 25%
Small miners
To be taxed 5% of minerals produced

A 300ml bottle of Coca Cola was priced at $6,000 on Tuesday.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said the tax hikes would bring more suffering to Zimbabweans

"What the minister has done is to tell us straight in the face that the government is broke and they are prepared to drive the economy to a fatal crash," the MDC's Tapiwa Mashakada told parliament, AFP reports.

Some of the money will help with food imports to feed some 4m people which the United Nations estimates are in need of food aid.

Some 700,000 people are also trying to cope after their homes or places of work were demolished in a slum clearance programme, the UN says.

Zimbabwe has however, disputed these figures.

In a 45-page response, it accused the UN of indulging "in mathematical extrapolation so as to produce the grossly inflated figure of 700,000".

Government critics blame Zimbabwe's economic problems on the seizure of white-owned land over the past five years.

The government blames food shortages on drought and economic sabotage by Western countries, led by the UK, opposed to land reform.

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Mugabe Waging Secret War for Hearts And Minds

Business Day (Johannesburg)

August 17, 2005
Posted to the web August 17, 2005

Dumisani Muleya

THE scandal that rocked Zimbabwe on Friday -- revelations that the state
security agency, the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), had been
covertly taking over major private newspapers -- will have a chilling effect
on the shrinking independent press in the country. The disclosure, which
sent shock waves through corridors of power and the media fraternity,
presents a clear danger to Zimbabwe's small but vibrant free press.

So far, reports say the CIO has taken over leading business weekly the
Financial Gazette and the Mirror Newspaper Group's two titles, the Daily
Mirror and Sunday Mirror. It also reportedly tried, but failed, to buy the
closed Tribune newspaper and is manoeuvring for control of President Robert
Mugabe's ruling Zanu (PF) mouthpiece, The Voice.

The CIO was reportedly also behind the closure of two Associated Newspapers
of Zimbabwe titles -- the Daily News and Daily News on Sunday. The Daily
News printing press was twice bombed to smithereens in military-style
operations in 2000 and 2001 by unknown assailants. No one has been arrested.
It is further alleged the CIO influenced the closure of the Weekly Times
early this year. The CIO's moves are reportedly inspired by the Angolan
secret service, which controls Angola's largest-circulation daily.

In effect, this leaves Zimbabwe with only two genuinely independent papers
with a national character: the Zimbabwe Independent and the Standard.

With Mugabe's regime controlling a chain of newspapers and monopolising the
airwaves, the remaining private papers are in danger of being drowned out by
state propaganda. Now the press is under threat on another front: from the
state security service. Billions in public funds supposed to enhance social
services delivery and development have been diverted to fund this
information blitz, which has all the hallmarks of SA's apartheid-era
propaganda war.

The reports about the CIO's activities in the media reveal a scandalous
abuse of taxpayers' funds to prop up Mugabe's unpopular regime, and the
extent to which the state security service has been roped into that war.

The CIO has ensured its direct control of the shareholding, administration
and editorial of the target newspapers. And it has ensured its papers not
only publish what are called in Russia "zhentsii" -- thinly disguised puff
pieces on behalf of the establishment, packaged as news -- but that they
pursue sycophantic stories. Propaganda by commission and omission is the
guiding principle. Official apologia and party journalism, as opposed to
political journalism, is now the modus operandi.

This is worse than in Russia, where newspapers, owned by power elites, were
into party journalism. When former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev launched
his policy of perestroika -- restructuring and reforming state
institutions -- and with it glasnost, or openness, this marked the end of
crude communist media censorship. It was thought the genie of press freedom
could not be put back in the bottle. However, after that, the media found
itself hostage to pro-state corporate interests. Circumstances relating to
economic hardships, printing facilities, newsprint production, distribution,
regulation, and harsh market realities squeezed the Russian media.

While the media globally has not escaped regulation, elements of control
(successful or attempted), and some censorship, the Zimbabwean situation is
worrying. The CIO saga has exposed a clandestine propaganda campaign under
way in Zimbabwe in the heightening battle for hearts and minds. It has also
shown that the state-controlled media has recklessly squandered whatever
remained of its credibility, and that the remaining independent press is at
risk of becoming a target of hostile takeovers by Mugabe's propaganda

Media repression has been worsening in Zimbabwe in the past five years -- in
tandem with rising political autocracy. Dozens of independent journalists
have been arrested, and foreign correspondents deported. The government has
been anxious to control the free flow of information and stifle press
freedom amid increasing political discontent stemming from social and
economic failure. This leaves the independent press facing extinction.

Muleya is Business Day's Harare correspondent and Zimbabwe Independent news
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Zimbabwe says UN exaggerated urban blitz toll

August 17, 2005, 16:30

Zimbabwe accused the United Nations (UN) today of exaggerating the impact of
its urban demolition campaign, denying police killed anybody and accusing
the UN of bias against Robert Mugabe's government.

The official Herald newspaper said Harare had completed an official response
to a UN report issued last month which accused Zimbabwe officials of
"indiscriminate" demolitions that destroyed the homes or livelihoods of some
700 000 people. "In its 45-page response, the government said the launch of
the operation was intended to address a cocktail of social, economic and
security challenges that were negatively impacting on the country's economy
and the populace," the Herald said.

Zimbabwe has already criticised the report by Anna Tibaijuka, the UN special
envoy, as hostile and false. Zimbabwe last month declared an end to the
two-month demolition operation, which government officials have said was
aimed at rooting out urban crime and would be a prelude to a bigger
programme to build better housing for poor Zimbabweans.

More urban 'cleansing'
Yesterday, Harare city authorities said they would resume efforts to drive
out street children and illegal vendors who had had returned to the capital
and were once again operating from unapproved sites, raising concern that
the blitz could begin again.

The Herald said the government's latest response to the UN included a police
report rejecting accusations that they killed people during the operation.
At least five people were confirmed to have died during the exercise,
including children crushed by rubble. "Police investigations on five cases
showed that the people cited died as they were dismantling illegal
structures," the Herald said.

A copy of the government's response was not immediately available today and
it was not clear whether it had been delivered to the UN. - Reuters
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Zim vendors win right to return
17/08/2005 18:43  - (SA)

Bulawayo - Vendors in Zimbabwe's second city of Bulawayo have won the right
to return to their market stalls that were destroyed in the government's
sweeping demolitions campaign, a lawyer said on Wednesday.

A high court ruling earlier this month found that police had razed stalls
indiscriminately, some of which had legal permits to do business.

High Court judge Maphios Cheda on August 2 handed down a ruling in favour of
the Bulawayo Upcoming Traders' Association (BUTA) which was seeking an order
declaring the demolition of the vendors' stalls illegal.

Lawyer, Robert Ndlovu, who is representing BUTA said: "The vendors have won
the right to trade.

"We are just waiting for the certificate from council because that is the
green light we are waiting for and we have been promised it's coming."

BUTA has 3 000 members, mostly fruit and vegetable vendors and flea market
operators whose stalls had been destroyed in the government's 10-week urban
cleanup campaign.

Various rights groups have gone to the courts seeking a stop to the clean-up
and compensation for its victims.

Zimbabwean authorities launched the double-pronged "Operation Drive Out
Filth" and "Operation Restore Order" on May 18, razing shacks, homes, market
stalls and small shops as part of what it described as an urban renewal

But the opposition denounced the operation as a campaign of repression,
while western governments and the United Nations harshly condemned the

A UN report released last month said the demolitions had left 700 000 people
homeless or without sources of income, or both, across the country while a
further 2.4 million were affected in varying degrees.

The Zimbabwean government on Wednesday rejected the report, saying the
number of displaced was "grossly exaggerated" and insisting that the
demolitions took place within the confines of the law.
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      Zimbabwe Approval Delay Halts S. African Humanitarian Shipment
      By Delia Robertson
      17 August 2005

The South African Council of Churches has been waiting since the beginning
of August for Zimbabwe government import approval for a shipment of more
than 37 tons of humanitarian assistance. The aid is destined for Zimbabweans
who recently lost their homes and businesses in the government's forced
removal campaign.

For weeks, three truckloads of maize, beans, cooking oil, and blankets have
been ready to leave for Zimbabwe.

On August 1 they were sealed by South African customs officials, and blessed
by Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndugane. But within hours the South
African Council of Churches, the SACC, which has coordinated the relief, was
told that the Zimbabwe government required proof that the maize meal was not
from genetically-modified crops.

The Zimbabwe government then refused to accept a certification from the
supplier - demanding that the South African government provide one.

This was done a week ago, but SACC spokesman Ron Steele says the Zimbabwe
government has still not approved the shipment.

"Unfortunately these are being held up now for over two weeks because of
paperwork," he said. "All that we require from the Zimbabwean authorities is
a permit allowing us to bring the goods in duty free, and so far this has
been an ongoing struggle to get this paperwork done."

Pearson Chigiji, the political officer at the Zimbabwe High Commission in
Pretoria told VOA that the necessary paperwork to obtain the import permit
has been forwarded to Harare; and he said, it is receiving the full
attention of the Zimbabwe government. But he declined to say how long it
would take and refused to provide contact information for officials in
Harare who would know.

Reverend Steele said thousands of people have been dumped in the completely
undeveloped camps without power, or access to clean water. He said that at
the camps he went to, the government had provided only chemical toilets and
plastic sheeting. He says that food and blankets are urgently needed and
that the delay in receiving the import permit is causing a great deal of

"One does not want to say they are obstructing, but they are playing by the
rules and just making it very, very difficult - the bureacracy and the red
tape," he said. "I know that everybody is very frustrated, the church
leaders here in South Africa are now really getting quite angry about the
delay and I know they have taken up the matter with the South African

Last month U.N. envoy Anna Tibaijuka issued a damning report on the
crackdown, saying that 700,000 people had lost their homes or livelihoods
and that a further 2.4 million had been affected to varying degrees. The
Zimbabwe government has issued its own 45-page report rejecting the U.N.
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Soldiers deployed to help distribute water in Bulawayo

      By Tichaona Sibanda
      18 August 2005

      Soldiers from the Zimbabwe National Army's One Brigade in Bulawayo
have been deployed in some areas of the city to help distribute water to
some residents who have gone for weeks without water supplies.

      Bulawayo has been dogged by erratic water supplies caused mainly by
bursting water pipes. The underground water pipes were laid in the 1950's
and council, led by the newly re-elected MDC mayor, Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube has
failed to secure foreign currency from government to buy new equipment.

      Themba Nkosi, our Bulawayo correspondent, said critical water
shortages in some parts of the city are now a cause for concern to the

      'Some residents have gone for weeks without water and there are fears
the situation could trigger a massive health disaster in a city still
struggling to come to terms with the operations murambatsvina,' said Themba

      Humanitarian efforts are slowly kicking into gear, and ZNA troops are
already doing much of the work. They have briefly laid down their weapons
and exchanged their armoured troop carriers for water bowsers, which they
are using to distribute water to the worst affected areas in the city.

      With the country's economic stability sliding further down, causing
the breakdown in social services, the army had been called upon to provide
military assistance to civilian power.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
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  Fact or fiction- more drama surfaces on South Africa loan

      By Tererai Karimakwenda
      17 August 2005

      The government paper The Herald reports that a twist has been revealed
regarding the proposed US$1 billion loan from South Africa to Zimbabwe. The
paper alleges revelations that it was the United States government that
approached South African president Thabo Mbeki to bail out Zimbabwe. It has
been reported until now that Zimbabwe had asked for the loan and no
officials had denied this so far.

      The Herald claims a highly-placed Western diplomat in South Africa
closely following the deal and told them that International Monetary Fund
deputy managing director Anne Krueger approached Mbeki and asked him to
advance financial support to Zimbabwe ahead of the IMF summit set for
September. Her argument was that this would strengthen the case against
Zimbabwe's expulsion. The story said Mbeki was surprised the United States,
which had supported the cutting of Zimbabwe's lines of credit from
organisations such as the IMF, was now against Zimbabwe's
      The loan affair has been full of misinformation due to lack of clarity
from the officials involved. From the beginning there have been conflicting
reports about the actual amount and whether conditions on Mugabe would be
part of the deal. This report makes many serious allegations, but the one
important question that emerges is whether or not he United States
approached South Africa.
      Chris Maroleng at The Institute for Security Studies in South Africa
said you'd have to be sceptical of any information published in the Herald
as it is a government mouthpiece. Maroleng sees the report as an attempt by
Zimbabwean officials to justify their unwillingness to accept conditions
imposed on the loan by South Africa. Out of desperation he said, they are
now creating rumours, fiction and fantasy.
      Maroleng also said there is a surprising wealth of information on the
loan deal in the South African press and he wonders whether it is being
leaked by officials there who are opposed to it.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
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  Reduced donor funding leaves expelled students helpless

      By Lance Guma
      17 August 2005

      A drying up of funds for various Non-Governmental Organisations in
Zimbabwe has left a group of students who were expelled from the Midlands
State University in a state of desperation. Ornwell Marasha, a former
student leader, was expelled from the college while at least four other
students were suspended for attending an alleged illegal meeting which
involved political sloganeering. The students apparently had close links to
the MDC and authorities deliberately got rid of them to block them
contesting student council elections.

      Months down the line Marasha cuts a dejected figure with the
realization that organizations like the Students Solidarity Trust, which
normally helps expelled students, is facing a drying up of donor funds. It
has taken the intervention of veteran politician and Gweru business tycoon,
Patrick Kombayi to prevent the welfare of the students deteriorating
further. The businessman turned politician says he met university
authorities over the issue and is trying to negotiate for them to at least
sit for their exams.

      He is willing to meet their accommodation and food expenses but would
like the University to allow them to write their exams. Marasha was expelled
when he had only 3 weeks left to finish a four year course. Students who are
expelled from colleges or universities have traditionally been sponsored to
go abroad and study elsewhere but it would seem the funds are drying up for
these initiatives.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
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      New Zimbabwe rule threatens collapse of bourse
      Wed Aug 17, 2005 6:27 PM GMT

MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's bourse faces possible collapse following a new
government directive that, in effect, requires pension funds to increase
government bonds and bills as a proportion of their portfolios, a bourse
official said.

Pension funds, the biggest investors on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE),
are required to invest 35 percent of their total assets in government bonds
and Treasury bills, but they have been calculating that percentage based on
book value.

On Tuesday, Finance Minister Hebert Murerwa said pension funds must
calculate these assets based on market value, a move traders said would
force companies such as First Mutual and Old Mutual to offload their shares
to raise money to buy bonds and bills and meet the required percentage.

The bourse has remained one of the few areas of investment in a crumbling
economy. Returns have outpaced annual inflation, which raced to 254 percent
in July.

Zimbabwe's central bank bonds are finding few buyers, meanwhile, including
pension funds which prefer the stock market and its higher returns.

"What will happen is that pension funds will be forced to sell their shares
to meet the shortfall created by the new requirement, but no one in the
market has the capacity to absorb the shares," ZSE Chief Executive Emmanuel
Munyukwi said on Wednesday.

"The market becomes a sellers' market. It's a disaster, and there is a very
high possibility that the market will collapse," he told Reuters.

Pension funds have until October to effect the changes.


The ZSE main industrial index fell 6.5 percent on Wednesday with only 1.3
million shares changing hands, down from the daily average of 20 million as
traders digested the impact of Murerwa's announcement.

There are 79 listed companies on the bourse, including South African
insurance firm Old Mutual, Pretoria Portland Cement and tobacco giant
British American Tobacco.

The ZSE's market capitalisation stood at 37.6 trillion Zimbabwe dollars as
of the end of July.

Analysts said President Robert Mugabe's government was desperate to raise
funds to meet national budget commitments after six years of recession.

The government has increasingly relied on the domestic market to borrow
funds to finance budget shortfalls after a fall-out over Mugabe's
controversial policies with international donors, who have withdrawn crucial
support for balance of payments.

Murerwa also announced a raft of taxes, including a 10 percent tax on all
shares sold on the ZSE.

"The government is trying to extract every last dollar that might be out
there, but by so doing making people more poorer when they retire," Harare
consultant economist John Robertson said.

© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.
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From The Cape Argus (SA), 16 August

Absa has stake in Zim bank accused of covertly funded 'loans' to papers

Two Zimbabwe newspaper groups are accused of receiving billions of dollars
of taxpayer's money from the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO),
laundered through "loans" from a bank in which Absa is the major
shareholder. The allegations, published by the Zimbabwe Independent last
week, have not surprised media watchdogs who long suspected the weekly
Financial Gazette and the Daily and Sunday Mirror were part of Zanu PF's
media wars. The Financial Gazette and the Mirror newspapers are seen as
supporters of Zanu PF's "enlightened" wing. With the exception of two
weeklies, the Zimbabwe Independent and its sister Sunday publication The
Standard, all other daily press and electronic media are controlled by the
government. Former information minister Jonathan Moyo, now an "independent"
MP since the March election, says he is "shocked" at the revelations that
the Gazette and Mirror newspapers received covert funding. "I will be
investigating this," he said. The government, under Moyo's direction,
launched a full frontal attack on the privately-owned press when, in early
2000, the Movement for Democratic Change mobilised enough support to defeat
a referendum for a new constitution. The Financial Gazette, then fiercely
critical of Zanu PF, was sold in 2002 by veteran publisher Elias Rusike to
his editor-in-chief, respected ex-Reuters reporter Francis Mdlongwa who now
lectures at Rhodes University. Mdlongwa, some say naively, borrowed the R25
million purchase price from the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ) whose
chief executive at the time was Gideon Gono, now governor of the Reserve
Bank, who usually relishes publicity. Absa has a 25% stake in CBZ. "The
money was lent with no questions asked and without even any agreement on
when it would be paid back. A few months later, Mdlongwa was asked to repay
the money immediately and, obviously, he couldn't," Rusike says. He said he
had been happy for Mdlongwa to own the newspaper because he knew it would be
in "safe hands" and would remain "independent".

Mdlongwa then had to withdraw and ownership of the publication passed to two
of Gono's associates in a deal which has never been adequately explained.
Upon the arrival of the two associates, Mdlongwa had retained his position
as the paper's editor-in-chief. Mdlongwa said yesterday that upon their
arrival, the two Gono associates started attacking the Financial Gazette's
editorial stance, saying the paper needed to be toned down as it was too
critical of the government. This alarmed Mdlongwa and the associates with
whom he had formed a consortium to buy the newspaper. Mdlongwa, who now
heads the Sol Plaatje Media Leadership Institute at Rhodes, said he then
opted to quit his post as he could not countenance attempts to compromise
the editorial freedom of Zimbabwe's oldest independent newspaper. "Looking
back with hindsight, it is difficult to rule out that there could have been
other forces behind it all, but we simply did not have evidence," said
Mdlongwa. Supa Mandawanzira, who has the contract to produce television news
for the SABC, is now on the board of the Financial Gazette and also handles
much advertising and publicity for Gono's various projects at the Reserve
Bank. Gazette editor Sunsley Chamunorwa denied the newspaper had been funded
by the CIO through a deal facilitated by Gono. "I will be issuing a full
statement in the paper on Thursday," he said. Ibbo Mandaza, a long-time Zanu
PF supporter who claims to be the only shareholder in the Mirror Group, said
yesterday: "This story is not true. We have an overdraft from CBZ and
circulation is growing. We would submit our books to an independent audit."
In Zimbabwe's hyper inflationary climate, many find it hard to believe the
two Mirror newspapers survive when they have maximum circulations of 15 000
and scant advertising. Gono declined to comment on the allegations of his
involvement with the newspaper groups. Nicholas Goche, formerly the minister
responsible for the CIO and who now heads up the welfare portfolio, also
declined to comment.

Media Monitoring Project director Andrew Moyse said he was not surprised at
the allegations of covert funding. "The editorial content of the Financial
Gazette altered considerably after it changed hands. It fails to ask
fundamental questions that would be unpalatable for its owners. We have seen
it protect Gono primarily and the government he serves," Moyse said. "The
Mirror newspapers are a foil for the reformed wing of Zanu PF. "They exist
on some permanent financial support and we can only assume it comes from
quarters whose interest it reflects." The Daily News and its sister Sunday
and two small weeklies, the Tribune and Weekly Times, are banned because
they failed to get accreditation from a government commission set up by
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Govt relinquishes grain monopoly to ease shortages

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 17 Aug 2005 (IRIN) - A move to free grain trading from the
monopolistic grip of Zimbabwe's government has been roundly welcomed, but
observers have labelled the measure a tactful acknowledgment that Harare is
unable to import sufficient maize to offset widespread food shortages.

While requesting approval of a Zim $6.6 trillion (about US $377 million)
Supplementary Budget on Tuesday, Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa scrapped
duties on maize and wheat imports, and announced that the state-owned Grain
Marketing Board (GMB) would no longer enjoy a monopoly.

However, Murerwa pointed out that the liberalisation measures were temporary
and would be reviewed "when necessary".

"These are temporary measures to ensure that those who have the means to
import food to do so without having to face bureaucratic bottlenecks. The
country is facing a serious shortage of these commodities and, like in the
fuel supply sector, the government has decided to liberalise the trade. The
situation will be reviewed as and when necessary," Murerwa told IRIN.

Recurring drought conditions in Zimbabwe have reduced the maize harvest to
around 600,000 mt, against a national consumption requirement of 1.8 million
mt. Although the government planned to import 1.2 million mt, the official
Herald newspaper on Wednesday reported that just 300,000 mt of the staple
grain had been imported.

Aid agencies have warned of rising food needs - up to 4 million
countrywide - but officials have said they had no intention of appealing for
international assistance.

Harare has instead dug in its heels and turned inwards for a solution to the
food crisis.

Concerning the zero percent tax on maize and wheat imports, Murerwa
remarked, "Crucial food supplies have been delayed at border posts over
import tax issues. The removal aims to smoothen the process of grain

The opposition Movement for Democratic (MDC) has welcomed the easing of
restrictions on grain imports but said the move may have come a little too

"In fact, it is a belated move, since the GMB demonstrated a long time ago
that it had no capacity to manage food supplies in the country," commented
Edward Mkhosi, MDC secretary for lands and agriculture.

Harare-based economist Denis Nikisi agreed that the government ought to have
relaxed maize marketing controls sooner, and argued that an early
intervention would have "gone a long way towards securing long-term food

"Private commodity traders have long pushed for grain liberalisation, but to
no avail. The government has been unwilling to consider this, out of fear
that these traders will fix prices," Nikisi said. "But, given the current
shortages, they [the government] have no option - the lack of hard currency
has forced them to consider alternatives."

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      Curran confirmed as Zimbabwe coach
      Wed Aug 17, 2005 5:35 PM BST

By Telford Vice

BULAWAYO (Reuters) - Zimbabwe coach Phil Simmons was fired after his team's
hiding in the test series against New Zealand was completed in Bulawayo on

Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) confirmed that Simmons will be replaced by Kevin
Curran who will take charge until after the two-test series against India
next month.

Former West Indies player Simmons was axed after New Zealand won by an
innings and 46 runs, an hour before the scheduled close on the third day to
wrap up the series 2-0.

The Black Caps won the first test by an innings and 294 runs in Harare last

"Following the poor performance of the national team in the first test match
against New Zealand we did some serious introspection and asked everyone
involved with the team to be critical of their part in the heavy defeat,"
the ZC statement quoted managing director Ozias Bvute as saying.

"We expected a sea change in the second test match. As custodians of the
game on behalf of the nation we cannot but be accountable."

Curran, 45, confirmed his appointment to Reuters earlier on Wednesday,
saying that he had been informed on Tuesday that he would take over the

"I want to organise a couple of one-day practice matches, just to get the
guys ready for the triangular series," Curran said.

Zimbabwe, New Zealand and India will play in the triangular tournament, with
the first match scheduled between Zimbabwe and New Zealand in Bulawayo on

Simmons was appointed coach in September, 2004, and presided over test and
one-day series losses to Bangladesh in February.

The statement said Simmons had been "re-assigned to other coaching duties
within ZC".

Curran played 11 one-day internationals for Zimbabwe as an all rounder, and
represented them at the 1983 and 1987 World Cup tournaments.

He also played for English county Gloucestershire.

Curran has held various positions in the Zimbabwe coaching structure, and is
currently the director of the national academy and coaches the Zimbabwe A
and national under-19 team.

© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.
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      Food For Zimbabwe

      17 August 2005

Zimbabwe used to grow so much food that it was known as the "breadbasket of
southern Africa." Zimbabwe also earned enough foreign exchange from such
exports as tobacco and minerals that it had sufficient money to cover its
food needs during droughts. Today, however, Zimbabwe's economy is in free
fall. Agricultural production is inadequate. And prices of basic goods
continue to rise sharply, putting them beyond the reach of most Zimbabweans.

It is unclear whether the Zimbabwean people will have enough food over the
coming year. Independent estimates of those who may go hungry this year in
Zimbabwe range up to five million people or more.

Tony Hall is the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations food and agriculture
agencies, based in Rome. On a recent visit to Zimbabwe, Ambassador Hall told
reporters, "Today the breadbasket is empty. . . .millions of Zimbabweans
face a serious hunger crisis this year."

Ambassador Hall has now asked the Zimbabwean government to remove
bureaucratic obstacles so that non-governmental organizations, N-G-O's, can
deliver food where it is needed:

"I was told that relief for needy people is being held up by bureaucratic
paperwork. U.S. N-G-O's have ten-thousand metric tons of food aid in [the
South African port of] Durban, bottled up waiting for import licenses. I
have been told by an N-G-O that fifteen-thousand tons of aid is inside
Zimbabwe, but permission to distribute has not been granted.... It is a
very, very, very, difficult place to work in."

Despite differences with the government, the United States stands ready to
send food to Zimbabwe's hungry people, as it did in the last several years.
This year, the United States has already pledged more than fifty-million
dollars in emergency food assistance for the countries of southern Africa.
Much of this aid will ultimately flow to the people of Zimbabwe, the
neediest in the region. The United States will not play politics when it
comes to feeding hungry people.

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States
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Preps for Agric Show Advanced

The Herald (Harare)

August 17, 2005
Posted to the web August 17, 2005


Prparations for the country's premier annual showcase, the Harare
Agricultural Show, are at an advanced stage with most companies cleaning up
and refurbishing their stands at the Exhibition Park.

This year's show, which will be officially opened by Namibian President
Hifikepunye Pohamba, will be held from August 22 to 27.

Zimbabwe Agricultural Show Society spokesperson Mr Chido Makunike said fuel
shortages have made preparations for this year's show difficult.

"The Zimbabwe Agricultural Show Society has had as much difficulty as the
rest of the country's corporate bodies and individual motorists in procuring
fuel and this has made it often difficult for staff to get to work at all
during these critical preparatory weeks before the show," he said.

He said despite the difficult operating environment that has been worsened
recently by the fuel shortages, more than 400 stands have already been
booked by individuals and companies wishing to take advantage of the unique
opportunity to market their goods and services to the nation.

"It is hoped that all who have booked and paid for their stands will be able
to take them up and prepare them to a high standard despite the fuel

He also said this year's showcase was being put together amid great economic
difficulties faced by the country.

"More worryingly, we have not been able to procure diesel for tractors and
other equipment that would at this stage of the show preparations be mowing
grass and performing other important tasks," Mr Makunike said.

He also said because the show represents a sector that the nation is pinning
its hopes of eventual economic recovery on, the organisers are determined
that the show should go on even under these difficult conditions.

"To this end, the show society has written to the Ministry of Agriculture
and Rural Development and other Government departments appealing for urgent
help in procuring fuel for preparations of the grounds and general
infrastructure to be done," he said.

Encouragingly, he said, the ministry has given indications that in view of
the important role of the show in reflecting to the nation the efforts as
well as the problems in the agricultural sector, they would do their best to
assist with fuel.
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Activists demand action on Zim
17/08/2005 14:18  - (SA)

Gaborone - Southern African leaders gathered for a summit on Wednesday as
rights groups pressed for action on the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe,
building democracy in the tiny kingdom of Swaziland and combating HIV/Aids.

Heads of state from the 13 countries that make up the Southern African
Development Community were to hold two days of talks in South Africa
starting Wednesday.

Rights groups and non-governmental organisations met before the summit in
neighbouring Botswana and urged the leaders to boost the role of women at
all levels of government decision-making.

They also called on governments to work more closely with civic groups to
address issues like poverty and human rights.

"We think the time has come where civil societies' voices can no longer be
ignored," said Mary Mwingira, director of Tanzania's association of
non-governmental organisations.

"They (the governments) have to change their attitudes because we are the
reasons they are in power," she said.

Southern African leaders face mounting international pressure to act against
Zimbabwe, where a government demolition campaign in shantytowns and market
areas has left an estimated 700 000 people without homes, livelihoods or
both, according to a United Nations envoy. Critics say the government is
targeting poor, urban districts to rid them of opposition supporters.

Zimbabwe has defended its Operation Murambatsvina, or Drive Out Trash, as an
urban renewal drive. In a report released on Wednesday, the government
accused the UN envoy of bias and ignoring its efforts to give the poor

It said the campaign was intended to address "a cocktail of social, economic
and security challenges that were negatively impacting on the country's
economy and the populace," according to the state-run Herald newspaper.

Zimbabwe does not feature on the agenda for the summit, but it is expected
to be discussed on the sidelines.

The civil society groups meeting in Botswana criticised Zimbabwe's
government for refusing to allow unimpeded access to emergency relief for
victims of the ongoing food shortages and the government eviction campaign.

They also called on President Robert Mugabe to stop his onslaught on human
rights groups and abandon plans to change the constitution to give himself
more powers.

In a declaration, the rights groups also called on Swaziland to respect the
internationally accepted principle of separation of powers, which has been
persistently compromised by King Mswati III, Africa's last absolute monarch.

They also pressed for targeted assistance to vulnerable groups like orphans
and people living with HIV/Aids. They called for a new legally binding
protocol that would include new gender equality targets, such as appointing
women to 50% of decision-making positions by 2010.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Agribank clashes with tobacco farmers

Shame Makoshori
issue date :2005-Aug-18

A DEEP anxiety has gripped tobacco farmers countrywide as the planting
season races towards its climax with agricultural development financial
institution, Agribank being accused of allegedly blocking efforts by most
farmers to access a $5 trillion facility availed by the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) for the crop's production this year.
Irrigated tobacco is supposed to be transplanted between August and
September while the dry land tobacco crop is supposed to be transplanted by
October but the farmers said they are racing against time due to the lack of
In interviews with The Daily Mirror, most farmers in Mashonaland West and
Central provinces, the main tobacco production belts of the country, said
they risked failing to beat the deadlines as Agribank had demanded that they
finished paying off their current debts before additional lines of credit
were opened.
"We have accumulated huge debts that cannot be repaid in one year. The bank
is aware that it is impossible (to repay) due to the drought induced crop
failures in the past two years but they are adamant. Where do they expect
farmers to get the money from?" said a farmer from Kadoma last week.
While efforts to get in touch with Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU)
president, Davison Mugabe were fruitless yesterday, Zimbabwe Tobacco Growers
Association ZATG) president Julius Ngorima said in a recent interview with
this newspaper that a healthy situation would where farmers were given the
funds in January.
Investigations this week revealed that the situation was the same throughout
the provinces with farmers in Bindura saying input shortages would affect
both the quality and overall output of the cash crop.
Tobacco has perennially been the mainstay of Zimbabwe's economy contributing
more than four percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The latest problems come at a time when most commercial farmers had also
battled to beat winter wheat planting deadlines because companies contracted
to supply irrigation implements had allegedly refused to release the funds
due to late payments from Agribank.
The bank however said yesterday that while efforts to channel fresh funds
into tobacco production were underway, Agribank would only fund farmers who
met strict requirements set by the RBZ.
"Regulations have changed and we will only finance farmers who can prove
that they will be able to produce. It is not our money, we are only an agent
of the RBZ and after carrying out our credit assessments we send forms to
the central bank and we do not know how they carry out their further
"We have tried to explain this to farmers but it is difficult for them to
understand. Some of them have even been asked to resubmit their forms
because of the new requirements," Agribank marketing and business
development manager Bernard Gadzikwa said.
Tobacco production was expected to improve this year as farmers unions
applauded recent concessions offered by the RBZ to increase income for
farmers from the crop, whose foreign currency revenue inflows plunged from
US$318 million in 2003 to US$235 million last year.
Farmers have set a targeted a total output of more than 100 million kg next
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Warriors get housing stands

Tawanda Tafirenyika
issue date :2005-Aug-18

THE Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development
rewarded the victorious Zimbabwe Warriors yesterday by allocating them
residential stands under Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle.
The Warriors under the guidance of CAPS United coach Charles Mhlauri did the
country proud by lifting the regional Cosafa Castle Cup title on Sunday.
Zimbabwe beat perennial rivals Zambia 1-0 in the final to win the trophy for
the third time and they will keep it for good. Zimbabwe had beaten
pre-tournament favourites Angola 2-1 in the semi-final a feat that surprised
all and sundry given that Zimbabwe had in their ranks only home based
players. Angola fielded the best squad that included Qatar based striker
Fabrice Akwa.
Even Zambia had some foreign-based players in their ranks too.
For winning the trophy Zimbabwe pocketed a cool 600 000 Rands while players
Brian Badza and Herbert Dick got 22 000 Rands and 2000 Rands respectively
for their outstanding performance during the two day tournament.
Deputy Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development
Morris Sakabuya, said his ministry had made a commitment to facilitate
residential stands for the Warriors.
"The Ministry of Local Government Public Works and Urban Development is
proud to join the rest of the nation in congratulating the Zimbabwe Football
squad for winning the 2005 Cosafa Castle Cup. This is not only good for the
squad but also for the entire nation  as it builds the image of the country
at a time when we are facing political challenges and economic hardships.
You have emerged as the true ambassadors of the country.
"We are informed that one of you even volunteered to sing the national
anthem alone and raise our national flag at the time of need. This
demonstrates your patriotism and willingness to raise our flag high even
under difficult circumstances. As a token of appreciation, my ministry will
facilitate you to obtain stands in urban centres of your choice where we are
carrying out housing projects. You should, at a time convenient to you,
approach our department of housing to obtain a letter of introduction which
you will take to the authorities in the urban centres of your choice where
we are carrying out housing projects. Through this address, responsible
authorities are hereby directed to assist with stand allocations under
Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle. Let me once again congratulate you for the
work well done and hope that you will keep up the momentum. This has set up
the beginning of bigger things to come," said Sakabuya.
Zifa chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze who represented the Zifa board
praised the Warriors  and thanked the ministry for their gesture.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Residents go for month without electricity

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Aug-18

RESIDENTS in some parts of Harare have gone for a month without electricity
due to an increase in vandalism of Zesa Holdings power transformers.
Harare's South, West and East regions are the most affected areas.
In some sections of Mabvuku and Tafara, residents have gone for three weeks
without electricity.
The power utility's corporate affairs manager, Obert Nyatanga, told this
newspaper yesterday that 22 transformers in the capital have been either
stolen or vandalised, plunging some suburbs into darkness.
"Due to limited resources and foreign currency shortages, Zesa Holdings is
finding it difficult to replace the transformers since they imported,"
Nyatanga said.
He added that thieves were targeting transformers because they have copper
winders and oil, which they sale on the black market.
The oil, Nyatanga added, is at times mixed with other chemicals to produce
"They (thieves) are doing big business since they produce around 600 litres
of fuel from one transformer," Nyatanga claimed.
He added that since the country started experiencing fuel shortages in 2001,
cases of stolen transformers have rapidly increased.
Nyatanga said there were a number of cases in which culprits were either
burnt or electrocuted while trying to steal the transformers.Zesa Holdings,
Nyatanga stressed, was taking measures to minimise the thefts and had
already approached the police for assistance.
Police spokesperson Oliver Mandipaka confirmed the vandalism and theft of
the electricity transformers.
"It is the duty of the police to work with these parastatal to reduce
vandalism of essential services and they have since recovered some of these
properties," Mandipaka said.
"Residents are advised to alert the police or any nearest ZESA offices if
ever they are suspecting foul play at the powerhouses."
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