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Zimbabwe parl't debates economic bill on Wednesday


Tue 21 Aug 2007, 16:34 GMT

(Recasts with justice minister comments)

By MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's government will table a proposal in
parliament on Wednesday to give majority control of foreign-owned firms to

The new parliamentary session will also debate a bill giving President
Robert Mugabe room to pick a successor if he retires.

If passed, the bills could tighten Mugabe's grip on power as frustrations
grow over an economic crisis and Western powers increase pressure on the
83-year-old to enact political reforms.

Mugabe's ruling party has a technical two-thirds majority in parliament,
which gives it room to pass bills without support from the main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa told Reuters on Tuesday that the
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Bill would be tabled on Wednesday.

Around 35 foreign-owned companies, including Barclays Plc <BARC.L> and Anglo
American <AAL.L>, still operate in Zimbabwe.

Company officials have said many firms present in the country have written
off their Zimbabwe assets because they need to balance the risk of losing
further income against future business prospects if a new government came to

Zimbabwe has the world's highest inflation rate and severe food, fuel and
foreign currency shortages. Critics say Mugabe's controversial policies,
including the seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution to landless
blacks, have destroyed the economy.

Chinamasa could not say when parliament would consider a Constitutional
Amendment Bill which would allow parliament to pick a president if a vacancy
arises between elections.

"That (empowerment bill) presentation will be done tomorrow but I have no
idea when the constitutional amendment bill will be ready (for debate),"
said Chinamasa, who is the leader of the House.


Once a bill is introduced in parliament, it is immediately referred to a
legal committee for scrutiny. This committee then re-introduces the bill for

This five-month legislative session will be the last before parliamentary
and presidential elections in March when Mugabe is expected to seek another
five-year mandate.

If the Constitutional Amendment Bill is passed, analysts say Mugabe may seek
to step down mid-term after nearly three decades in power and anoint a

The MDC, pressing for a new constitution, says amending the present one
would be a sign of bad faith because it is already a sticking point in talks
between the opposition and ZANU-PF.

South African President Thabo Mbeki has been mediating between the two
sides. Western diplomats say there has been little progress.

"With respect to the constitutional amendment bill... I doubt that could
happen today or this week as ZANU-PF might want to wait for a definite
conclusion, one way or the other, of the ongoing talks," Innocent Gonese,
parliamentary chief whip of MDC, said.

"I would say possibly next week, but even then, it looks improbable."

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Finance minister defends quiet diplomacy on Zimbabwe, tells critics to go to Iraq

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: August 21, 2007

CAPE TOWN, South Africa: A senior government minister defended Tuesday South
Africa's quiet diplomacy toward Zimbabwe, saying that foreign intervention
to bring about a regime change risked unleashing turmoil like in Iraq.

Finance Minister Trevor Manuel told lawmakers that South Africa - the top
regional powerbroker - was not in a position to dictate political and
economic policy to Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe.

"We must encourage Zimbabweans to solve their own problems. That is the most
we can do because the decisions have to be carried by Zimbabweans into
perpetuity," Manuel said in a heated exchange in parliament.

"For those who don't understand, I ask that President Bush recruit them and
send them to Iraq," a visibly angry Manuel said amid heckling from
opposition lawmakers. "Then they will understand what regime change is

President Thabo Mbeki has long advocated quiet diplomacy toward Zimbabwe.
Since March he has acted as mediator between Zimbabwe's ruling party and the
opposition, but so far there has been no visible progress.

In the interim, there has been an upsurge in the number of desperate
Zimbabweans crossing into neighboring countries to escape the meltdown.
Mugabe has intensified his clampdown on the pro-democracy movement. He has
worsened shortages in the stricken economy by trying to enforce massive
price cuts, which has led to the arrest of hundreds of store owners who
insist they can't afford to sell their goods below cost.
The Zimbabwe government has stopped publishing inflation figures, which in
June stood at 4,500 percent. The International Monetary Fund has warned
inflation might hit 100,000 percent by the end of the year.

A summit of the Southern African Development Community last week asked
finance ministers from the 14-nation regional bloc to consult with the
Zimbabwe government and "draw up an economic plan to support Zimbabwe,"
mindful that the catastrophic state of its economy is torpedoing the
regional drive toward integration.

Manuel - one of Africa's most experienced and respected finance ministers -
said that South Africa would not squander South African taxpayers' money by
bailing out the ailing Zimbabwe economy.

"We can not ... decide what kind of economy the Zimbabweans must have. They
must get the prices to work, they must drive the changes. We can't commit
financial resources ..."

Zimbabwe's official media have hailed the outcome of the southern African
summit Friday as a victory for Mugabe. The closing summit communique
welcomed the negotiations mediated by Mbeki and encouraged the ruling
Zanu-PF party and Movement for Democratic Change to narrow their differences
to enable elections scheduled for next year to take place in "an atmosphere
of peace and tranquility."

But critics say there is little prospect of this, given the ban on
opposition gatherings and the general atmosphere of violence and

In an article in the South African based ZimOnline news service Tuesday, a
former newspaper journalist detailed his 71 days in detention after he was
arrested in a raid on Movement for Democratic Change headquarters in March
and imprisoned because of his writings against Mugabe.

Luke Tamborinyoka, news editor of the banned Daily News and an opposition
activist, wrote that he had seen more than 10 people die of malnutrition
related diseases during his detention in a Harare prison. He was released in

"It was a place where one had to adjust to tough conditions such as leg
irons, dirty khaki shirts and shorts, substandard food, tight security, the
company of hardened criminals and scowling prison officers," he said.

"Harare Remand prison represented the dark rictus of death. It was an odd
place for hardened criminals and innocent prisoners like me whose
persecution arose simply because of our relationship with Zimbabwe's main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change party."

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Opposition draws battle lines as Zim Parliament convenes

Mail and Guardian

Godfrey Marawanyika | Harare, Zimbabwe

21 August 2007 05:49

      Zimbabwe's opposition and ruling party squared up in Parliament
Tuesday at the start of a session that is set to usher in controversial
changes to the Constitution ahead of next year's elections.

      President Robert Mugabe is expected to get overwhelming approval
for his plans to synchronise the timing of the parliamentary and
presidential polls as well as force through boundary changes the opposition
say will unfairly increase his chances of winning a seventh term in office.

      Although a planned debate on the constitutional amendments was
put off until a later date, the main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) signalled its intention to harry Mugabe at every turn by
demanding an immediate discussion on the economic crisis in the former
British colony.

      MDC lawmaker Tapiwa Mashakada moved a motion for an urgent
debate on "the economic meltdown and atrophy which has seized the Zimbabwean
economy since the year 2000" when Mugabe embarked on a programme of seizing
white-owned farms.

      "The MDC is alarmed by the rate of hyper inflation and the
adverse impact this has had on the life of the ordinary people, workers and
business in Zimbabwe," he added.

      Mugabe, in power since independence in 1980, is currently facing
the biggest crisis in his presidency, with the inflation rate above 4 500%
and more than 80% of people unemployed.

      A directive for retailers to slash their prices, launched two
months ago, was designed to ensure that cash-strapped consumers could once
again afford household goods.

      But the controversial Operation Dzikiza (Operation Reduced
Prices) appears to have backfired with an initial rush on stores being
followed by widespread shortages, with manufacturers no longer able to meet
their production costs.

      In a speech last month which marked the formal opening of the
National Assembly, Mugabe said that "harmonising elections will reduce costs
and enable government to focus more on developmental issues".

      The constitutional changes, which are certain to be nodded
through given the ruling Zanu-PF's commanding majority, will see the number
of MPs increased from 150 to 210 as well as ensure presidential and
parliamentary elections both take place around March next year.

      The MDC has been particularly incensed by the boundary changes
which will see the proportion of MPs in rural areas -- Mugabe's traditional
stronghold -- increase markedly at the expense of urban areas, where the
opposition usually prevails.

      Joram Gumbo, Zanu-PF's chief whip, told Agence France-Presse
that the government was determined to push through the changes despite the
MDC's objections.

      "They are just are a barking dog and the elephant, us in power,
will continue to move."

      Gumbo also confirmed that a controversial Bill which seeks to
ensure that 51% of shareholding of all public listed firms is held by black
Zimbabweans would be put before MPs this session.

      "This session needs seriousness from both parties as we will
seek to empower our people through the indigenisation Bill," he said.

      Debate on Tuesday was dominated by speeches from Zanu-PF members
in praise of Mugabe but the speaker adjourned proceedings after little more
than an hour until Thursday as a large number of MPs from both sides were
absent. -- Sapa-AFP

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'Zim farmers work in limbo'


    August 21 2007 at 06:02PM

More and more farm workers in Zimbabwe will be displaced until the
political environment in that country changes, an anthropologist said on

Speaking in the University of the Witwatersrand's "Migration and
Society" series of lectures, Andrew Hartnack said farm workers and their
families would continue to be displaced by Zimbabwe's "land reform."

"They live in a liminal (at a threshold) environment. It is like
living in a bus terminus," he said.

According to Hartnack between 2000 and 2003 about 500,000 farm workers
had been displaced.

He said the Zimbabwean government perceived farm workers, most of whom
are from Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi, as lazy.

"They are seen as lazy and lacking proper development."

He said that during his visit to a farm near Harare in 2004 and 2005,
about 350 people, including farmers, were forcibly removed by the ruling
party, Zanu-PF.

"The community was told that they should go to England with their
employers, on the tail of an aeroplane, since they could not afford a

This forced workers to seek refuge in urban areas, many of them in

"Many could not return home due to problems with documentation as they
were regarded as aliens," he said.

He said most workers, who had nowhere to go after the farm evictions,
rented small cabins with other families who may have resided on the same
farm premises.

"Their routine farm culture which is their everyday practices would
then be disrupted.

"It would then be impossible to recreate in other areas."

The forced removals also affected the education of farm workers'
children. Once the families were evicted, the children would no longer have
any form of education.

He said that less than five percent of migrant workers had been able
to return home following the demolition of houses during President Robert
Mugabe's operation Murambatsvina in 2005.

"Many went to squatter camps where they blended in with the general
population," he said.

Hartnack said workers needed to be fully incorporated and not excluded
from society.

"If the situation does not change, it is anyone's guess what might
happen," he said. - Sapa

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Zim in desperate bid to end beef shortage

Mail and Guardian

Harare, Zimbabwe

21 August 2007 12:13

      Zimbabwe's government has reopened dozens of private slaughter
houses to try to end severe meat shortages after it slashed consumer prices
and assumed temporary responsibility for meat sales.

      Zimbabwe state media said on Tuesday that Industry and
International Trade Minister Obert Mpofu had re-registered 42 private
abattoirs -- whose licences were cancelled five weeks ago -- to try to ease
beef shortages in the country.

      President Robert Mugabe ordered that prices for a wide range of
foodstuffs and consumer items be cut by half in June, accusing businesses of
raising prices as part of an effort by Western opponents to overthrow his
27-year-old government.

      Critics accuse Mugabe of plunging the Southern African state
into an acute economic crisis marked by chronic food, fuel and foreign
currency shortages, and the world's highest inflation rate of more than 4

      The government had transferred all beef-supply businesses to the
state-owned Cold Storage Company, but it has been struggling to meet demand
for meat.

      "In an effort to improve the supply of beef on the market, the
taskforce has with immediate effect approved the re-registration of the
private abattoirs," the Herald daily quoted Mpofu as saying.

      But Mpofu said the re-registered slaughter houses were expected
to sell meat at government-approved prices while hundreds of other abattoirs
whose licences were cancelled could seek permission from the government to

      Mugabe's forced price cuts have sparked a wave of panic-buying
around the country, leaving many urban shops empty of basic goods that were
already in short supply as a result of the country's eight-year recession.

      More than 7 500 business people have been arrested and fined for
breaching the price controls, which analysts say have worsened Zimbabwe's
economic crisis.

      Businesses say they have incurred heavy losses in the price
blitz and are unable to restock shops with basic goods.

      Mugabe (83), in power since independence in 1980, says Western
powers have enlisted the opposition and businesses in a plot to oust him for
his seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution to landless black
Zimbabweans. -- Reuters

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Zambia to export 100,000 T white maize to Zimbabwe


Tue 21 Aug 2007, 10:13 GMT

LUSAKA, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Zambia will export 100,000 tonnes of white maize
to Zimbabwe at betwen $195 and $200 per tonne after resolving a disagreement
over prices, a government minister said on Tuesday.

Ben Kapita, Zambia's agriculture and co-operatives minister, said the
countlry had agreed to export 100,000 tonnes of white maize to Zimbabwe at
less than the market price of $250 per tonne, which Harare had rejected.

"Zimbabwe will buy 100,000 metric tonnes of maize from Zambia which should
have been exported to that country last year but they opted to buy cheaper
maize elsewhere," Kapita told Reuters.

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SA's opposition calls on Mbeki to act quickly over Zimbabwe crisis

By Tichaona Sibanda
21 August 2007

South Africa's opposition parties on Tuesday united to deliver a statement
in parliament calling on President Thabo Mbeki to move rapidly to defuse the
escalating political crisis in Zimbabwe.

Mbeki's parliamentary opponents in South Africa have on many occasions
accused him for failing to publicly criticise Robert Mugabe. But Mbeki has
insisted on his policy of 'quiet diplomacy' which has been described as a
failure by many analysts.

Led by the Independent Democrats, the opposition parties said it is critical
that President Mbeki act quickly and decisively to halt the suffering of
millions of Zimbabweans.

Patricia de Lille, leader of the Independent Democrats, delivered the
statement in Cape Town and it was immediately supported by the Democratic
alliance, the Inkatha freedom party, United Democratic movement, African
Christian Democratic party and the Pan Africanist Congress.

The parliamentary statement also called on Mbeki not to be averse to the
proposal raised by the MDC that SADC broaden the mediation talks to include
two former Presidents from the SADC bloc or two of its serving Presidents.

Mbeki was in April appointed by fellow Southern African leaders to act as a
mediator between the ruling Zanu-PF and the two factions of the MDC.
Contrary to what has been reported, the MDC told Newsreel that SADC leaders
meeting in Lusaka, Zambia last week conceded the mediation talks were not
moving as fast as they wished.

It was widely reported that the Southern African leaders failed last week
Friday to heed calls for strong action against Robert Mugabe saying the
problems in the country were 'exaggerated.'. But the MDC said the closed
door meeting was also very critical of Mugabe's failure to stop human rights

Nqobizitha Mlilo, the political liaison officer in the regional office of
the Tsvangirai led MDC in Johannesburg, said he held a meeting Tuesday with
the parliamentary caucus of the Independent Democrats in Cape Town. Mlilo
spent the whole of last week in Lusaka presenting the Zimbabwe issue to SADC

'Fortunately they (Independent Democrats) have been following the Zimbabwe
situation and were quite surprised with the stance taken by the SADC
leaders. They were also quite happy to raise the issue of our concerns in
parliament and they promised us they will keep up the pressure on President
Mbeki to move fast,' Mlilo said.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Global outcry over SADC failure to pressure Mugabe

By Tererai Karimakwenda
21 August 2007

Leaders from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have received
strong condemnation over their recent failure to pressure their colleague
Robert Mugabe to reform his policies and bring back the rule of law to
Zimbabwe. Heads of state from the region concluded their summit in Lusaka,
Zambia on Friday without adopting any concrete plan to deal with the
political and economic crisis that has gripped the country.

A final communiqué issued Friday commended South Africa's president Thabo
Mbeki for his mediation efforts, called upon the ruling party and opposition
in Zimbabwe to push ahead with talks and reaffirmed their commitment to free
and fair elections in March, 2008. A financial rescue package for Mugabe is
also in the works. But there were no details discussed to end the ongoing
terror campaign against the opposition, civil leaders and activists. And
with elections just months away, no solid plan was worked out to begin
ensuring the atmosphere was conducive to free and fair polls.

The global rights watchdog Human Rights Watch strongly criticised the SADC
leaders for failing to focus on the continuing human rights abuses in
Zimbabwe. Tiseke Kasambala, the group's researcher on Zimbabwe, said the
group expected tough action after some SADC leaders criticised the brutal
beatings of opposition officials back in March. She explained that the
mandate given South Africa's president Thabo Mbeki to mediate in the
Zimbabwe crisis had also signalled a willingness to act by the Heads of
State. "But instead Mbeki was commended and Mugabe was patted on the back,"
said Kasambala.

Human Rights Watch is also concerned about the elections scheduled for
March. Kasambala said: "The elections cannot be free and fair when you have
one party whose interest is to preserve itself and continue oppressing its
people. Without a focus on human rights the atmosphere cannot be conducive
to free and fair elections."

In the UK MP Kate Hoey, who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on
Zimbabwe, called for the British government to cut off aid for Mugabe and
those who support him. In a statement published in The UK Telegraph
newspaper Hoey said: "If a fraction of our humanitarian aid budget went
towards supporting those who offer an alternative to the current regime we
could start investing in the recovery of Zimbabwe rather than providing
sticking plasters for its bleeding wounds. We need to get tough on the SADC

The Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe had said the credibility of SADC's
commitment to the promotion of human rights and the rule of law was on the
line this time around in Lusaka. They too released a statement expressing
disappointment that nothing concrete had been drawn up by the SADC leaders.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Zimbabwean government accused of using North Korean tactics to starve population

By Violet Gonda
21 August 2007

The opposition in Zimbabwe has accused the government of using North Korean
tactics of starving the population, so as to control and weaken the
population from uprising. MDC activist Ralph Black said this has been a
policy that has been in place for many years, where the Mugabe regime has
been using food and food aid as a political weapon. Another opposition
official, David Coltart, is reported as saying "starvation in Zimbabwe
amounts to genocide."

Black said: "I believe the food shortages in Zimbabwe were planned - mad as
that may sound - the Mugabe regime slashed prices which makes no economic
sense to allow people to purchase and give people the little food that was
available. Now that food has depleted Robert Mugabe will then dictate which
communities receive the bare essentials and food will be drip fed into
districts, into communities very steadily."

Black said: "This mirrors North Korean Style repression and Eastern European
style repression where people are kept from uprising by keeping the
nutrition levels very low." It's reported that between 600,000 and one
million North Koreans starved to death due to the economic legacy of Kim Il
Sung's regime. In May this year Mugabe himself said: "Everything in Zimbabwe
is associated with the exploits of President Kim Il Sung," when he was
receiving the new North Korean ambassador.

The opposition official said the use of food as a political weapon is very
well coordinated: "A hungry man is an angry man but he is also a very weak
man and if he (Mugabe) occupies people's minds with survival, a revolution
is the furthest from their minds." Black also predicted that food would be
available in the months immediately preceding the forthcoming elections.

The Reserve Bank governor is on record saying the government is using
foreign currency to buy food from outside the country, but there is no
evidence of where it's going. Instead the World Food Programme (WFP) issued
an appeal recently saying at least four million people will need food aid by
Opposition official David Coltart is quoted saying: "Arguably this is the
world's greatest humanitarian crisis."

The legal expert told The UK Daily Telegraph. "Zimbabwe has the lowest life
expectancy in the world, 34 for women and 37 for men. To use a legal term, I
would say this amounts to genocide with constructive intent. In terms of a
complete disregard for the plight of people, not caring whether there is
wholesale loss of life, it amounts to genocide."

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Plans needed for Zimbabwe exodus


Tuesday, 21 August 2007, 11:45 GMT 12:45 UK

The head of the UN refugee agency has told the BBC that contingency plans
are needed in case the exodus of refugees from Zimbabwe increases.
Antonio Guterres called for increased assistance from the international
community to help Southern Africa cope.

He said the UNHCR estimates that there are more than three million displaced
Zimbabweans in the region.

More and more people are fleeing the worsening economic and political
situation in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabweans are struggling to find even the most basic goods on shop
shelves, as an economic crisis pushes inflation above 4,500% and
unemployment is estimated at more than 80%.

Mr Guterres has just begun a four-day tour of Mozambique, Zambia and South
Africa to assess the refugee situation, where he said the situation was

There are many people seeking asylum in the region, and it is often
difficult to tell who is a migrant, refugee, smuggler and trafficker, he


Mr Guterres told the BBC's Network Africa that refugees come into
neighbouring countries "because they need to survive to a certain extent, to
find food security, to try to find some kind of economic activity that they
cannot find in their own country."

And in those cases, such as the one with Zimbabweans in Southern Africa,
more needs to be done by the international humanitarian community to provide
assistance to the most vulnerable, he explained.

"So we have worked together with our offices in the region to be prepared
for things that we hope will not happen."

Mr Guterres said that movement out of Zimbabwe has been happening for many
years, but that because of the recent unstable situation, more people have

He also said the general attitude in Southern Africa toward refugees was a
positive one - asylum systems are being developed, several countries are
offering the possibility of local integration and authorities are sharing

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch criticised the leaders of Southern Africa for
failing to take concrete measures to meet the crisis in Zimbabwe at their
recent summit, describing it as a squandered opportunity.

The opposition in South Africa has called for refugee camps to be
established, but the government has said they are not needed.

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Women and Men of Zimbabwe Arise holds fourth Sheroes Assembly

WOZA /MOZA Sheroes Assembly
21 August 2007
As Law and Order police officers in Masvingo, Mutare and Bulawayo looked
high and low for WOZA leaders, three hundred and forty three members
attended the fourth annual assembly at a secret location in Matabeleland
South from the 17th to 19th August 2007.
Members, both male and female, converged from Bulawayo, Mutare, Masvingo,
Gweru and Harare with a large contingent from rural areas. This year's theme
was, 'beaten, jailed but still determined to be free.'

The gathering is known as 'Sheroes' as it honours modern day sheroes. It is
planned annually to celebrate the courage of ordinary women doing the
extraordinary at the same time as the Government of Zimbabwe talks about
their 'heroes'.

The final session saw debate on the upcoming elections in 2008, which
centered on whether members should support an election without the safeguard
of a people-driven constitution or boycott proceedings due to the lack of a
level playing field. A sample vote was conducted with the majority wanting
to vote provided there are some electoral reforms and repealing of unjust
laws such as POSA and AIPPA. The debate will now be taken to community
meetings to finalise our position.

The main resolution of the Assembly was that WOZA, through its National
Coordinator, Jenni Williams, was to continue to work with like-minded civic
groups to pressure the ruling and opposition party to allow for a
people-driven constitution-making process and to push for a transitional
process that will allow this process to be conducted in an atmosphere of
respect and equality.

The only civic group able to send representatives was Uhuru, as the assembly
dates coincided with the SADC conference in Zambia. A South African activist
was able to attend to witness proceedings and 'learn about grassroots
democracy'. She hailed the People's Charter as a progressive route out of
the governance crisis in Zimbabwe.

To brace with an expanding membership currently estimated to be over 55,000,
the leadership body called 'Mother WOZA' has expanded. The election of 43
office bearers was conducted in a spirit of democracy.
All candidates went through a process of their nomination being first
confirmed within their community before they could stand at the congress.
Unfortunately as they mostly work underground their names must be withheld
until the government of Zimbabwe learns how to respect human rights
The Uhuru delegates declared the elections to be free and fair and
recommended that the government of Robert Mugabe could learn from WOZA on
how to conduct an election.

Other business included the formulation of an urban and rural plan of action
and a plan to intensify training on strategic non-violence.
Rural mobilisers also testified as to how they mobilise. In responding to
the question about how they can mobilise so successfully when traditional
leaders have lost their ability to be non-partisan, they responded, "when
someone wants to be free they will always find a way to get there!" They
said they ignored the threats and intimidation by telling each other "if you
are a leader you must not have any fear and not be scared to address the
situation. The chiefs now like us because they say we address the issues
that are a reality in the country." They went further to say that although
war veterans and Zanu PF supporters continue to harass them, they remain
determined to keep on demonstrating and working together as a team "so that
they will finally agree with what we are fighting for - whether they like it
or not."

When asked the secret of their success they said, "When we are mobilizing
people we do this area by area. We explain to them who we are and what we do
and what our goal is. Also if you are a woman of substance, respect and
honour in your area you are bound to mobilize the right people." As simple

One woman testified that she is unable to benefit from food aid as she is a
known WOZA member but that her friends pass on food to her anyway as the
demonstration WOZA members carried out in July is attributed with putting
enough pressure of the government to bring food aid to their district.

The Amnesty International report, 'Women Human Rights Defenders At Risk -
Between a Rock and a Hard Place'
was tabled and acknowledged as a true reflection of the challenges faced by
WOZA and MOZA members. The recommendations outlined in the report were also
hailed and will be incorporated into advocacy campaigns.

The assembly closed without a police raid but a bus, which had been
transporting delegates was later arrested and placed under 'house arrest'.
The owner is being made to face charges 'of using Zanu PF fuel to transport
WOZA women.' This incident epitomizes the crisis in Zimbabwe that even
business people are under pressure to be appropriated to Zanu PF.

The new leadership of WOZA/MOZA announce their commitment to continue to
act, recruit and train Zimbabweans until they overcome their fear and are
able to come out in peaceful protest in numbers that will force a transition
and bring about a political leadership that will deliver the social justice
promised during the liberation war.

Sports page:
Insiza, with Harare and Gweru in second and third place respectively, won
the Sheroes netball tournament. A mixed soccer tournament was also held but
the final between Bulawayo and Mutare was unable to be completed due to a
ZESA black out.

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Health situation getting out of hand

THE Combined Harare Residents’ Association (CHRA) warns of an unmitigated health disaster in Harare unless the City of Harare, the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA), the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development, and the Ministry of Water Resources and Infrastructural Development moves fast to intervene.

This latest warning from CHRA comes in the wake of biting water shortages and a seemingly porous sewerage reticulation system that has collapsed by all standards. In every suburb CHRA has visited in the high-density suburb in the last two weeks, sewerage is flowing in almost every two streets, creating fertile environments for the spread of water borne diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea and dysentery, which have now become part of every day talk among residents.

In separate interviews with CHRA, residents said children are falling sick due to unhygienic living conditions. Women are having nightmares in dealing with the unfolding health disaster in various suburbs of the capital. The clinics have no drugs and the City health personnel are on strike. Plates go for days without being cleaned.

In Dzivarasekwa Brian Phiri, the Ward 39 Chairperson reported that almost 13 residents had reported illnesses related to exposure to dirty and other unhygienic conditions.

He said raw sewerage continues to flow at the intersection of Pasipanodya Street and Rujeko streets near the Poly-clinic, Gushungo Street, off Pasipanodya Street, Corner Boterekwa Street and Robert Mugabe Way and at the railway station where most residents board the ‘Freedom Train’.

“The ticket seller no longer uses the small railway office due to sewerage flows,” Phiri said. “From the main road, four sewerage tanks are all burst and residents no longer use the road.”

In parts of Budiriro, residents have gone for three weeks without water and ZINWA has done absolutely nothing except to send in exorbitant water bills. A lady resident refused to be identified told CHRA that for the past five months they have been without decent water supplies but in the last three weeks their taps have gone dry without any explanation from ZINWA.

Other suburbs seriously affected include Glen View, Glen Norah, Highfield, Mbare Flats, Mabvuku, Tafara, Warren Park, Kuwadzana Phase 3 just opposite Dzivarasekwa High One and the rest of Kuwadzana. Reports have been partially attended to but the bursts are recurrent after a short time, implying that the sewerage piping system.

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Mugabe out to pass law on choosing successor

From The Cape Times (SA), 21 August

Harare - Zimbabwe's parliament meets for a new session today that will
consider two major pieces of legislation, one to give the president
considerable sway in appointing a successor, and another to nationalise
foreign firms. President Robert Mugabe is seeking to consolidate power in
the face of growing discontent at home and abroad over policies critics say
have plunged the economy into crisis. Political analysts said Mugabe,
re-energised by the support from regional leaders at a summit last week,
wants to ram through legislation enabling parliament to pick a successor if
a vacancy arose mid-term and an economic empowerment bill to nationalise
foreign-owned firms. Critics, including the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, say the plans would hurt an economy enduring the world's
highest inflation rate. and increase political tension. "Mugabe will feel
re-invigorated by events at the SADC meeting and I have no doubt he will
move with speed to make sure that legislation is passed by parliament,"
Eldred Masunungure, a political science lecturer at the University of
Zimbabwe, said. "The cost of nationalisation to the economy is great, but
that is not a matter that would worry the government. Its goal is to
maintain power at all cost." The Constitutional Amendment Bill seeks to
merge presidential, parliamentary and council elections, but analysts say a
clause allowing parliament to choose a new president if a vacancy
arosebetween elections would give Mugabe room to manoeuvre a dignified exit.
Mugabe, 83, plans to stand for another five-year term next year, but
political analysts say he may seek to retire mid-term and would be able to
anoint a successor if the legislation were passed because parliament is
dominated by his Zanu PF party.

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Bulawayo Running Dry As Reservoir Empties

The Herald (Harare)  Published by the government of Zimbabwe

21 August 2007
Posted to the web 21 August 2007


BULAWAYO is fast running dry amid revelations that the Magwegwe Reservoir,
which supplies most of Bulawayo's western suburbs, has no water.

The development has resulted in suburbs on high ground going without water
while boreholes in some suburbs are also drying up.

A snap survey by our news crew revealed that some desperate residents in
such areas as Pumula East, Pumula South, Old Pumula, Magwegwe and Lobengula
West had resorted to fetching water from unprotected sources, thereby
exposing themselves to waterborne diseases.

Areas such as Emakhandeni which have no boreholes have also been adversely
affected as they rely on bowsers which are not supplying enough water
because of their limited carrying capacity.

The acute shortage of water has resulted in the Bulawayo City Council
further tightening its water rationing schedule in a bid to spread the
availability of the essential commodity.

People collecting water from Mafakela Primary School in Old Luveve revealed
that because of the high demand for water, the borehole at the school was
sometimes running dry, resulting in them having to wait for a long time
before they access water.

"The situation is quite bad because the borehole sometimes dries up and we
have to wait for a long time before pumping again. I don't know whether it's
drying up or it's because of the high demand but we are now fearing the
worst," said Mrs Sithokozile Sibindi, one of the numerous people who were
queuing to collect water from the school.

At another borehole in the suburb residents were complaining that the
borehole was yielding very small volumes of water.

"We have to wait for a long time before accessing any water because it is
coming out slowly so it takes quite a while to fill a 20-litre container.
The situation is worsened by the fact that demand is just too high. People
are collecting water throughout the night and some of those who collect in
the morning are here by 3am," said a resident of the suburb.

Miss Rosalla Nyagumbo, who was collecting water from an unprotected source
in New Lobengula, said life had become so unbearable that residents had no
choice but to collect water "wherever it is found".

"Of course, we know about diseases, but what can we do if we go for more
than a week without water?" she asked.

A city council spokesman, Mr Pathisa Nyathi, conceded that the water crisis
had worsened, prompting the local authority to introduce a new
water-rationing schedule which also encompasses industry.

"This is the reason why the council has introduced a new water rationing
schedule that now covers the industrial sites and the central business
district. We hope that this will allow water to accumulate in the
reservoir," said Mr Nyathi.

The industrial sites have been split into two groups with each getting water
three days a week. This will be on an alternate basis. The CBD will get
water on a daily basis during daytime but the supplies will be cut during
the night.

"This is meant to allow water to accumulate in the Magwegwe reservoir," said
Mr Nyathi.

He said council started implementing the new water schedule yesterday so as
to monitor how the inflows into the Magwegwe reservoir go.

Mr Nyathi also acknowledged that the water table had gone down due to the
high demand for water in the suburbs.

He said two boreholes, one of them in Sizinda suburb, are fast drying up due
to over-use but that water sips up and fills if the boreholes are not drawn
from for sometime.

Speaking in an interview yesterday, the councillor for Emakhandeni suburb,
Mr Bernard Ndimande, said the council would ensure that all houses in the
area get piped water tomorrow.

"We are living in hard times in Bulawayo because of the water problems. As I
speak right now, there is no water. However, we have sat down as the city
council and agreed that Emakhandeni residents should get water tomorrow," he

Emakhandeni residents have since been relying on water bowsers supplied by
the city council.

"The council is despatching bowsers to all the termini in the residential
area, Woza Woza Supermarket, Emakhandeni Clinic and bar to mitigate the
critical shortages we are facing," he said. Cllr Nyamande lamented the chaos
cause by some residents who jostle when getting water.

"We struggle to control people as they receive water from the bowsers.
People are supposed to get at least one bucket of water, but you sometimes
you find someone demanding more than that. This gives us a problem as we are
trying to ensure that all the households get water," he said.

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Zimbabwean attorney general's office loses prosecutors: report

Monsters and Critics

Aug 21, 2007, 7:31 GMT

Harare/Johannesburg - More than 35 prosecutors have quit the attorney
general's office in Zimbabwe this year, leaving the Justice Ministry facing
a serious staff squeeze, reports said Tuesday.

'Since the start of the year, we have lost about 35 prosecutors
countrywide,' the ministry's acting secretary Maxwell Ranga told the
state-controlled Herald newspaper in a front-page story.

'They have resigned,' Ranga said.

Most of them cited conditions of service as the reason for seeking greener

Civil servants have borne the brunt of Zimbabwe's economic meltdown.

Although President Robert Mugabe's government has implemented pay hikes with
money specially printed for the purpose, critics say salaries just haven't
been able to keep up with raging inflation.

The authorities stopped issuing inflation figures three months ago.

Analysts say the annual rate could now have reached a staggering 13,000 per
cent, with grim forecasts of worse things to come.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says the rate could top 100,000 per
cent by December.

So serious are the staff shortages at the attorney general's office that the
ministry is now trying to recruit students who will graduate next year from
the University of Zimbabwe's Law School.

'Interviews have already been conducted,' Ranga said. 'Once we get
transcripts for the successful candidates, we will notify them. The majority
of them will be deployed to the magistrates courts which are hard hit.'

Earlier this year, Zimbabwe's Judge President Rita Makarau warned that the
judiciary system was in a shambles due mainly to poor funding.

'Judging from the paltry funds that are allocated, it is my view that the
place and role of the judiciary in this country is under- appreciated,' the
judge said in her speech to mark the official opening of the High Court
legal year.

© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur

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JAG Open Letter Forum No 497


Letter 1 – Cathy Buckle


Dear Family and Friends,


A month ago I received an email from one of the last few commercial sugar farmers still hanging on in Chiredzi. She described how in April a convoy had arrived at the farm and announced that the government were taking over their property and that the family had until September to wind up their business, give up their livelihood, get out of their home and off the land. The government delegation then proceeded to enter the family home and list all the things which were not to be removed as these were also being acquired by the State. These included fans and kitchen units and from the house the delegation moved out to the farm yard. Here they took details of tractors, machinery and farm implements and said these too were now the property of the State. The delegation said\ compensation for the listed items would be made "One Day" in the future at a price to be decided by State valuators when finances were available. The farming family are now, as I write, closing down their affairs and preparing to leave their home and property which grows sugar cane, citrus fruit and produces milk. In her email describing these last weeks, the farmer wrote that her children are well but very upset with these events and that they have so many questions about it all but there are not many answers. This farming family are leaving to make way, not for a landless Zimbabwean peasant, but for the daughter of a high up political figure in the district.


This story of what is happening to one farm and one family in Chiredzi has been repeated hundreds of times over in the last eight years. The continuing seizure of farms in Zimbabwe by the State makes less sense now than ever before in our hungry land which has the lowest life expectancy and highest inflation in the world. The story of the seizure of this sugar farm is particularly poignant this week as tragic news has emerged of how three people died when a sugar queue in Bulawayo turned into a deadly stampede.


Just a fortnight ago I described being in a supermarket with my fifteen year old son and witnessing a stampede for cooking oil. The sight and sound of the rush, the pushing and shoving and the frantic snatching is still clear in my mind. These events are being repeated every day all over the country as there is virtually no food to buy in our shops as the government continues to insist on price controls. The deadly stampede happened in Bulawayo where many hundreds of people were queuing for sugar. A supermarket Security Guard opened the gates, people surged forward and then a wall collapsed. The Security Guard died instantly. Another man died later of head injuries and broken limbs. A 15 year old school boy was trampled in the stampede, his limbs were broken and he too died later in hospital.


As a farmer who suffered the indignity and outrage of the seizure of home, business and farm by the State in 2000 and who was also given the unfulfilled promise of compensation, I understand exactly the agonies of the sugar farming family in Chiredzi. As a mother of a 15 year school boy my heart goes out particularly to the family of the teenager trampled to death in a sugar queue in Bulawayo. Like my son, this teenager would have been just a year away from writing his 'O' Levels, about to embark on his life and perhaps go on to do great things for his country.


In a week so many lives and families have been broken - and all for sugar but all because of politics. Knowing this and then hearing of the standing ovation at the SADC summit in Lusaka makes the events on the ground at home all the more tragic. Do the SADC leaders know? Do they care? Until next week, thanks for reading. Love Cathy.




Letter 2 – Kay Hidalgo


Dear JAG,


Because of a move, I have lost contact with friends from Zimbabwe, John & Pam Whaley that lived at Macheke - Koodoo Ranch near Harare.  A co-worker gave me your e-mail address & I hope that perhaps you may be able to help me locate them.


Thanking you in advance for any assistance you may be able to provide.


Kay Hidalgo






Dear JAG,






















334406(W) 339853(H)




Letter 4 – commercial farmer who left


Dear JAG, 


Suppose that every day, nine men and one white commercial farmer go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100 000. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1 000
The sixth would pay $3 000
The seventh would pay $7 000
The eighth would pay $12 000
The ninth would pay $18 000
The white commercial farmer would pay $59 000

So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the
arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curved ball.

"Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20 000." Drinks for the ten now cost just $80 000.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers?  How could they divide the
$20 000 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share'?

They realized that $20 000 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.

So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:
The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings). = War veterans.
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings) teachers, = civil servants.
The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28%savings) = Police.
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings) = Businessmen and corrupt
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings) = Forex sales persons.
The commercial farmer now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings)

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

"I only got a dollar out of the $20," declared the sixth man. He pointed to the commercial farmer, "but he got $10!" "Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too.  It's unfair that he got TEN times more than I did!" "That's true!!!! “Shouted the seventh man.”Why should he get $10 back when I got only two?  - The white commercial farmers get all the breaks!"  "Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"

The nine men surrounded the white commercial farmer and beat him up.  The next night the white commercial Farmer didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between them for even half the bill!

And that, boys and girls, war vets, Zanu supporters and college professors, is how our country used to work with the tax system. The people who pay the highest taxes and live on large pieces of land get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.
Then who might be the supplier of your food


Written by a commercial farmer who left. For those who understand, no explanation is needed. For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible!


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


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