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Zimbabwe inflation hits record as Mugabe tightens grip

Yahoo News

By Macdonald Dzirutwe and Nelson Banya Wed Aug 22, 12:41 PM ET

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's inflation rate has leapt to a record high,
official data showed on Wednesday, raising pressure on President Robert
Mugabe to ease an economic crisis that foes hope will weaken the veteran

Zimbabwe's inflation -- already the highest in the world -- hit 7,634.8
percent in July, reminding Zimbabweans there is no relief in sight from
daily hardships including chronic food, fuel and foreign currency shortages.
Mugabe has accused some businesses of raising prices without justification
as part of a Western plot to oust him.

He launched a blitz on inflation by ordering businesses to freeze prices in
late June. But the move exacerbated shortages, leaving shop shelves empty.
The government eased some restrictions on Wednesday.

Mugabe, who remains defiant despite sanctions imposed by Western powers and
criticism that his policies are to blame for the crisis, is taking new steps
aimed at tightening his grip before seeking another five-year term in next
year's elections.

The former hero of African liberation who has ruled Zimbabwe since
independence from Britain in 1980 is embarking on what critics say is his
classic strategy of condemning his Western foes to focus attention away from
his economic failures.

He is pushing for a bill in parliament, which is dominated by his ruling
ZANU-PF, that will give him room to choose a successor if he were to retire
or parliament the power to pick a president if the current president died in

Mugabe, who accuses Britain and the United States of sabotaging Zimbabwe's
economy, is also pressing to localize foreign-owned companies through a
separate bill.

The government said on Wednesday a clerical mistake had forced it to
postpone to Thursday the introduction in parliament of the bill seeking to
give majority control of foreign-owned firms to Zimbabweans.

Critics say the bill is reminiscent of Mugabe's controversial policy of
seizing white-owned farms to give to landless blacks, which may say
triggered the current crisis.


Frustrations, meanwhile, are growing on the streets but a tough crackdown on
the opposition has made it clear that dissent will not be tolerated.

Although Mugabe faces growing criticism from Western powers, neighboring
African nations have failed to press him to enact political reforms,
diplomats say.

Regional states hope mediation by South Africa between Mugabe and the
opposition will ease political and economic troubles. But they have so far
not produced any breakthroughs.

Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), too weak
and divided to challenge Mugabe, on Wednesday accused the government of
taking measures to prevent its supporters from registering to vote in next
year's elections.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) announced this week that more than
80,000 new voters were registered between June 18 and August 17, when voter
registration closed.

But Ian Makone, director of elections in the Morgan Tsvangirai-led faction
of the MDC, told reporters the number of new voters was "a far cry from the
hundreds of thousands of prospective voters."

"The MDC is aware of the overt machinations by the regime to steal the
people's vote through a biased and opaque mobile voter registration," Makone

Neither the ZEC nor government officials were immediately available to

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2007 set to break rights violations record, says Zimbabwe human rights alliance

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: August 22, 2007

HARARE, Zimbabwe: This year is on course to be the worst for human rights
violations by police and government agents in seven years of political
turmoil in Zimbabwe, an alliance of human rights groups said Wednesday.

Incidents documented by legal and medical experts showed cases of
state-orchestrated torture rose to about four a day in early 2007, the
17-member Human Rights Forum said.

Cases of gross violations - including abductions, arrests, unlawful
detentions and abuses of political rights and basic freedoms - doubled in
the first six months compared to the same period in 2006.

"The general trend shows increasing violations since 2005, and if the
current trend continues, 2007 will be the worst year yet by a considerable
margin," the forum said in a report released Wednesday.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena rejected the report, saying it was
inaccurate and the organization had distorted the truth.

The report, giving tallies of abuses compiled since 2001, said this year
marked the first propaganda offensive by Zimbabwe police on the government's
official web site, which blamed the government's opponents for mounting
political violence.
Yet two entries on the web site - "Opposition Forces in Zimbabwe: A Trail of
Violence" and "Opposition Forces in Zimbabwe: The Naked Truth Volume 2" -
contained factual errors and obvious lies, according to the forum report.

The report cited police photographs on the government web site allegedly
showing four bus attacks by opposition militants in March. In fact, all four
photos show the same bus - pictured from different angles but still showing
the same license plate.

Aside from "manifestly false factual claims," the police responses also
displayed their politicization and what the human rights groups call "an
astounding ignorance" of the law, the human rights group claimed.

Police branded opposition gatherings and meetings "criminal activities" and
80 percent of politically related arrests followed campaigning allowed under
the law and considered normal in democratic societies anywhere, the forum

On the Zimbabwe government web site, campaigning for "regime change" was
portrayed by police as an offense.

"It is of course, the role of opposition parties in any democracy to seek
regime change," the forum said in its report.

But Bvudzijena rejected the report's charges.

"Why should it be called propaganda when it is what is happening on ground?"
he asked. "Why should only the other side be able to use the internet to
tell their side of the story?"

He also rejected claims that Zimbabwean police were guilty of any human
rights violations, saying there were no "political crimes" in the country
and that all "common crimes" were investigated.

"The law is very clear about what should happen to someone who should commit
an offense," he said.

Bvudzijena accused non-governmental organizations of "exaggerating and not
telling the truth about Zimbabwe" so they could continue getting foreign
donor funds.

"The reports aren't accurate. There is nothing new about the distortions of
the NGOs," he said.

The report of the human rights groups said the "trail of violence" referred
to by police on their web site included a series of alleged petrol bombings
earlier this year.

Nearly 100 suspected bombers were arrested, 15 of whom spent five months in
jail. Two were accused of recruiting opposition militants for terror
training on a farm outside Harare.

All the suspects from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change were
freed after the courts ruled police fabricated evidence against them, failed
to produce key witnesses and were unable to find on a map the location of
the farm said to have been used for terror training.

Police also denied on the web site that they assaulted opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai after a prayer meeting declared an illegal political rally
was broken up in Harare on March 11. Tsvangirai and several top opposition
figures were hospitalized.

But President Robert Mugabe has told regional leaders Tsvangirai was
thoroughly beaten up by police and "deserved it." Mugabe said police had
right to "bash" government opponents causing unrest.

The forum said police had had no powers under security laws to ban the
prayer meeting, ignored a court order permitting the meeting and were acting
on political orders.

Of scores of people arrested along with Tsvangirai, none have been charged
in connection with the events of March 11. Nor was an inquest held or any
action taken against police who shot dead one opposition activist and
injured others in a hail of bullet in violation of U.N. norms on the use of
force and firearms by enforcement officials.

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Zim registers 800 000 new voters as MDC cries foul

New Zimbabwe

Last updated: 08/22/2007 10:31:37
ELECTION officials in Zimbabwe said Tuesday over 800,000 new voters had
registered for next year's general elections, bringing people eligible to
vote to over five million.

Voter registration for the elections, a combination of municipal,
presidential and parliamentary polls, ended last week after being open for
two months.

The polls will be held early next year, and are the first to be conducted

"It (voter registration) was successful, and the response from the public
was quite encouraging," an election official said.

The election, in the presidential category, will pit 83-year old President
Robert Mugabe against an array of youthful opposition candidates, some less
than half his age.

In spite of opposition even within his ruling party Zanu PF, the veteran
Zimbabwean leader has said he would seek a new five-year term.

If he wins, Mugabe will be in power uninterrupted for 32 years, making him
one of Africa's longest serving leaders.

In the registration exercise, mobile teams went to all corners of the
country to register voters for the poll, but opposition officials complained
of the process.

Nelson Chamisa and Gabriel Chaibva, respective spokesmen for the two
factions so the opposition MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara
were united in their condemnation of the exercise.

Chamisa said: "The whole thing was done to give Zanu PF an edge over us
before the elections are held. Rigging is already going on. The whole
exercise was done clandestinely. In the rural areas our supporters were
being denied the chance to register.

"We have reports from rural areas that youths were told that their chance to
register would come later. Only old people were being allowed into
registration centres. There has not been much advertising of the whole

Chaibva added: "We have cases where chiefs refused to give people letters to
prove that they reside in their areas. The whole exercise was a shambles.
There were also a lot of logistical problems where you found that there was
no stationery or officers reported for duty late due to fuel problems."

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Zimbabwe tries to patch up price control damage

Business Report

August 22, 2007

Harare - Concerned at widespread shortages following a controversial
price-control campaign, the Zimbabwean government has ordered the price of
some basic commodities up, an official newspaper reported Wednesday.

Prices raised include those of sugar, tea and chicken, said the
state-controlled Herald in its online edition. The prices of shoes, tyres
and washing soap have also been raised.

Adjustments for train and air fares, telecommunications and freight tariffs
have been approved and the new fares and tariffs will be communicated
through the relevant authorities, the Herald online added.

Hard copies of the paper are extremely difficult to obtain since its print
run was reduced amid the economic crisis. Industry Minister Obert Mpofu, who
is spearheading the price blitz, announced the price adjustments in a
statement released Tuesday.

The price of bath soap has gone up, as has the price of blankets and floor
polish, all of which were in short supply, said the Herald.

Zimbabwe has been gripped by acute shortages of basic goods after the
government slashed prices by at least 50 per cent on June 26, leading to
buying sprees by gleeful customers weary of constant price hikes amid the
world's highest rate of inflation. But the buyers honeymoon was soon over,
and now there is hardly any bread, meat, milk, cooking oil or fuel available
on the formal market.

So serious are the shortages that even the official press this weekend
called for new realistic prices to be set. President Robert Mugabe had
argued that shop owners were trying to foment popular discontent -- a charge
rejected by business people, who say they were only trying to keep up with
the record inflation rates running anywhere between 4 500 and 13 000

Minister Mpofu said farmers slaughtering cattle would need to obtain police
clearance. The government this week partially lifted a ban on private
slaughterhouses in a bid to boost the supply of meat. But the official price
of beef is still way below what it was before the price slash.

Price inspectors and police will still monitor the prices of goods in shops,
and retailers are not allowed a profit mark-up of more than 20 per cent,
plus VAT of 15 percent, according to the Herald. - Sapa-dpa

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US backed Zimbabwe land reform


Wednesday, 22 August 2007, 12:23 GMT 13:23 UK

By Martin Plaut
BBC Africa analyst

The key role played by the United States ahead of Zimbabwe's
independence in resolving the sticky point of land redistribution has just
come to light.
The land issue has always been emotive in Zimbabwe - as can be seen
with the current crisis sparked off by the government seizure of mainly
white-owned farms in 2000.

And it was important to all parties in 1980 that signed the Lancaster
House Agreement that led to the transformation of Rhodesia into Zimbabwe.

The road to the agreement was not straight forward, and as an
investigation by the BBC's The Westminster Hour programme has revealed, it
was much bumpier than at first suspected.

When former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher came to power in 1979
the situation of Rhodesia had been a central concern of the British
government for years.

A war had raged since the 1960s between the white government led by
Ian Smith and liberation fighters led by Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo.

Mrs Thatcher was persuaded - somewhat reluctantly - by her Foreign
Secretary, Peter Carrington, to make one last push to try to resolve the

"I didn't really think there was much prospect of success at Lancaster
House because the sides were so far apart and in particular Smith had talked
about it all for a thousand years and it was going to be a very difficult
negotiation," Lord Carrington told the BBC.

"I didn't think it was going to work to be frank. I mean I thought it
was going to end in tears."


But with the help of the then Commonwealth Secretary-General, Sir
Shridath Ramphal, he managed to persuade all sides to attend.

Lengthy talks got under way in the splendour of Lancaster House, just
opposite Buckingham Palace.

Gradually progress was made. Until the question of who would own the

It was the toughest of issues. Whites - 5% of the population - owned
80% of the arable land.

Millions of black people scratched a living on the rest.

For Mr Mugabe and Mr Nkomo this was critical.

Yet when Lord Carrington finally presented the draft constitution it
contained no reference to the land.

Sir Shridath says the conference came close to collapse.

"From the British government's point of view the constitution was
preserving the status quo for a minimum of 10 years," he says.

"When Nkomo and Mugabe saw it and understood the implications they
blew up. They asked Carrington what he meant. The struggle was about land.

"Was he saying to them they must sign a constitution which says that
they could not redistribute land because if that was the case they should go
back to the bush and the conference broke up."

Sir Shridath believed the conference was doomed to failure and that Mr
Mugabe and Mr Nkomo would walk out and the civil war would resume.

"I took an initiative of my own as secretary-general which isn't much
known and talked about but can be now."

Secret promise

He secretly contacted the US ambassador in London, Kingman Brewster,
and asked him to get the then US President, Jimmy Carter, to promise money
to pay white farmers for their land.

"Brewster was totally supportive. We were at a stage where Mugabe and
Nkomo were packing their bags," he explains.

"He came back to me within 24 hours. They had got hold of Jimmy Carter
and Carter authorised Brewster to say to me that the United States would
contribute a substantial amount for a process of land redistribution and
they would undertake to encourage the British government to give similar

"That of course saved the conference."

Nearly 30 years after the Lancaster Conference, Lord Carrington was
surprised to learn of Shridath Ramphal's secret intervention.

"Maybe that is so. Why should he pretend if it isn't true? But I
didn't know anything about it at the time," he said.

For eight years the unwritten deal worked.

White farmers were paid around $35m by the UK for their land, which
was then redistributed.

But the UK government found that some of the farms were being given to
President Mugabe's close associates, and refused to continue the payments.

Mr Mugabe was furious, claiming bad faith.

The path to the seizure of white farms was opened and thus began the
long slide to today's economic chaos.

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Zambian president Mwanawasa fires foreign minister


Wed 22 Aug 2007, 16:20 GMT

(Adds Mwanawasa quotes, background)

LUSAKA, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa sacked his
foreign minister and close ally Mundia Sikatana on Wednesday, saying his
health appears to be failing but without giving a concrete reason for the

Mwanawasa said in a statement released to state media that Sikatana -- an
outspoken critic of President Robert Mugabe in neighbouring Zimbabwe -- had
been sacked with immediate effect.

"I very much regret that I am terminating your services as minister of
foreign affairs with immediate effect," Mwanawasa said in excerpts of his
letter to Sikatana contained in the statement.

Mwanawasa said Sikatana, a nominated member of parliament, would retain his
parliamentary seat until it is revoked.

"I wish to thank you very profusely for all that you have done for the
nation. At the ministry of foreign affairs you have been able to discharge
you duties with distinction until recently when your health appeared to be
failing," Mwanawasa added.

Mwanawasa replaced Sikatana with Tourism Minister Kabinga Pande and promoted
his deputy, Michael Kaingu, as tourism minister.

Sikatana was an outspoken critic of Mugabe, who is accused by Western powers
of plunging his country into political and economic crisis.

He also accused the government of Sudan in July of complicating the crisis
in the Darfur region.

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Zimbabwe postpones introduction of economic bill


Wed 22 Aug 2007, 14:51 GMT

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's government said on Wednesday a clerical
mistake had forced it to postpone to Thursday the introduction in parliament
of a bill seeking to give majority control of foreign-owned firms to

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa had told Reuters that the Indigenisation
and Economic Empowerment Bill would be presented on Wednesday, but the
minister responsible said it was delayed.

"I am told that there was a clerical omission and the notice of motion was
not put on the (parliament) order paper but I am reliably informed it will
be done tomorrow," Paul Mangwana, minister of indigenisation and economic
empowerment, told Reuters.

A new parliamentary session opened on Tuesday to consider the proposed
legislation and also to debate an electoral bill giving President Robert
Mugabe room to pick a successor if he retired between elections.

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 leader 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).

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Time to Rescue Zimbabwe

This Day, Nigeria


In the heat of the crackdown on the opposition in Zimbabwe in March this
year and the worldwide condemnation that followed, President Robert Gabriel
Mugabe declared to his traumatised compatriots and a bewildered global
audience: "Nothing frightens me. I make a stand and I stand on principle
here where I was born, here where I grew up, here where I fought and here
where I shall die."
That statement of finality encapsulates the place of President Mugabe in
both the making and undoing of his own country, his desperation in clinging
to power against superior judgment and the fixation that could further
jeopardise the chances of the southern African country for redemption from
its present despicable state.
The reversal of Mugabe's role in the life of Zimbabwe is indeed unfortunate.
Before ex-South African president, Nelson Mandela, was released in 1990, the
83-year old Mugabe was the continent's undisputed freedom icon of the
anti-apartheid crusade. For fighting vehemently to end white rule in the
then Rhodesia, the government of his predecessor, Ian Smith, imprisoned the
former schoolteacher and he won the world's sympathy when he was refused
permission to attend his first son's funeral who had died at the age of four
years. And on assuming the presidency in 1980, the charismatic,
well-educated Mugabe ( he holds seven academic degrees) mobilised his
sterling leadership qualities towards taking his country out of its racially
segregated past and guiding it along the path of self-rediscovery,
socio-economic emancipation and true nationhood. The state-sponsored
massacre of mainly 20,000 civillians in Matabeleland in the 1980s
notwithstanding, his image as an independence hero continued to soar. Even
when he embarked on his most controversial policy to date - reclaiming land
from white commercial farmers and redistributing it to native Zimbabweans-
despite the concerted propaganda from the west in particular, he still
garnered support from the rest of Africa and beyond.
Sadly, however, by applying savage methods to perpetuate himself in office
and inevitably preside over a country that has descended into ruin, the
"madala", Shona word for old man, has since lost the legitimacy and goodwill
that had once made him the toast of freedom lovers and fighters around the
world. This ugly situation is responsible for Zimbabwe's current ignoble
record on two major fronts, namely human rights and economic progress.
A report released the other day by the Harare-based Human Rights Forum, an
umbrella body for 16 non-governmental organisations (NGOs), authenticates
the apprehension over the magnitude of Zimbabwe's predicament. With 5,307
rights violations from January to June, 2007 alone, compared with 2,868
cases within the corresponding period last year, there is no doubt that the
country is firmly under a despotic spell. Assault, torture, illegal arrest
and detention and sometimes death - courtesy the dreaded secret police, the
Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)- have become daily realities in
Mugabe's Zimbabwe. The battering of Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), and some other comrades not long ago
announced to the civilised world yet again that that country's salvation
would not be achieved with mere diplomatic engagements. Neither would the
reluctance of Afrcan leaders to take on their Zimbabwean colleague frontally
help matters. To compound this troubling scenario, the scope of violent
suppression of opponents and activists has been widened to include
journalists. Zimbabwe is in the grip of fascism.
Add that profile to the unprecedented collapse of the nation's economy and a
failed state emerges. Statistics validate this. Unemployment rate stands at
80 per cent. Loans, foreign investment and aid have virtually ceased. Three
out of the 13 million Zimbabweans have fled their fatherland to neighbouring
countries, particularly South Africa, in search of  livelihood. The saddest
aspect of this social and economic meltdown is the inflation figure which
officially stands at 4,500 per cent- readily the world's highest. The
International Monetary Fund (IMF) has even forecast its rise to 100,000 per
cent by the end of the year.
This shameful picture has clearly rubbished Mugabe's earlier credentials as
a frontline national liberator and pan-Africanist. So, African heads of
government should not continue to compensate him for his past feats. At
stake at the moment are the survival and destiny of a nation that had once
been the most prosperous on the continent.
The international community should, therefore, provide the democratic forces
in Zimbabwe the necessary support to enhance their capacity to effect the
political change that the country desperately needs. For, without that,
other transformations would be hard. The world should not watch on
hopelessly and allow what has been described in informed circles as the
megalomania of one man to irreversibly crush the spirit and potential of the
entire nation.

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Zimbabwe Electric Supply Tightens As Suppliers Press On Arrears


By Ndimyake Mwakalyelye
21 August 2007

Zimbabwe's electric power brownouts could get even worse following reports
that the the country's three main foreign providers have cut back on

Web news agency ZimOnline reported Tuesday that Zimbabwe has arrears of
almost US$40 million to South Africa, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic
of Congo, leading them to cut back supplies from some 450 megawatts to 200

The cuts come as Southern African finance ministers are considering
financial aid to Zimbabwe based on the provisional commitment of a Southern
African Development Community summit last week that aid would be forthcoming
if Harare reformed.

But some Southern African officials sounded less generous on Tuesday. South
African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel told parliament that said Pretoria
would not be freely dispensing taxpayers money to bail out Harare. "They
must get the prices to work, they must drive the changes," he said. "We
can't commit financial resources."

Former Chief Executive Simbarashe Mangwengwende of the Zimbabwe Electricity
Supply Authority told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 for
Zimbabwe, that the reductions in power supply from Zimbabwe's neighbors were
nothing new.

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Mugabe runs out of options as economy worsens

Zim Online

Wednesday 22 August 2007

By Never Chanda

HARARE - The chickens are coming home to roost for Zimbabwe's beleaguered
government amid growing signs it is fast running out of ideas to arrest a
seven-year economic crisis seen posing the greatest threat to its survival.

Analysts yesterday said recent policy U-turns by the 83-year-old President
Robert Mugabe were indicative of a government running out of options and
desperately resorting to crisis management.

"What we are now witnessing is a situation where policies are being made on
the basis of whether the sun has come out today and from where it has come
out instead of coming up with policies that are good for the country
regardless of one's political persuasion," said University of Zimbabwe
political scientist John Makumbe.

Mugabe, the only leader the country has known since independence from
Britain in 1980, has in the past two months introduced tough measures to
contain runaway prices, only to reverse the same measures after realising
the potential danger to his political survival posed by the policies.

The Harare authorities last June ordered prices of basic goods and services
slashed by half and deployed a crack enforcement unit, which has arrested
more than 12 000 business people for breaching the price controls.

The move, which sparked panic buying from consumers who rapidly emptied shop
shelves, was taken after prices of many goods tripled within a week.

The measures also included a ban on imports of foodstuff worth more than
US$250 by individuals without a permit, the cancellation of licences for all
private abattoirs as well as the restoration of the monopoly of the
state-owned but bankrupt National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM).

NOCZIM was made the sole importer of petrol and diesel while a moratorium
was placed on the use of fuel coupons bought from private oil companies.

The Cold Storage Company, a broke state-owned meat processor that had
previously lost out on lucrative European deals due to its failure to meet
demand, also had its monopoly restored as the sole buyer and seller of beef
after the cancellation of private abattoir licences.

The government on Monday reinstated the licences of 42 private abattoirs
after the CSC failed to supply beef for the past four weeks.

This followed earlier policy reversals on fuel coupons and imports of

University of Zimbabwe business lecturer Anthony Hawkins said the policy
reversals were indicative of measures made on the spur of the moment, which
the government now realised would backfire on it.

"They must have realised that if they don't do something there will be
nothing on shop shelves," said Hawkins.

The analysts warned that further policy blunders by Mugabe's ZANU PF would
spell doom for a party so keen to retain power and survive a possible
backlash from an agitated opposition that has suffered persecution at the
hands of Mugabe.

Zimbabwe holds crucial presidential and parliamentary polls next March.

"They will have to take real charge of the economy and avoid running the
nation on the basis of panic or crisis management," Makumbe said.

Inflation, the highest in the world, has rocketed above 7 250 percent while
four in five adult Zimbabweans are jobless.

The analysts warned that the only options available to Mugabe included
manipulation of the voters' roll as well as the use of physical violence to
win crucial rural votes and intimidate political opponents. - ZimOnline

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Mugabe was God-sent, says legislator

Zim Online

Wednesday 22 August 2007

By Brendon Tulani

HARARE - A newly elected Zimbabwean Member of Parliament says
President Robert Mugabe was God-sent and should not be challenged in next
year's watershed polls.

Kudakwashe Killion Gwanetsa, ruling ZANU PF MP for Chiredzi South,
deified Mugabe as the leader chosen by God who should not be contested.

Quoting Romans 13 in the Bible that encourages people to subject
themselves to the governing authorities, the retired army brigadier general
said only those involved in illegal activities were opposed to Mugabe's

"For there is no authority except from God. Therefore he who resists
the authorities resists what God has appointed and those who resist will
incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct but to bad,"
Gwanetsa said in his maiden speech in parliament yesterday.

Gwanetsa, who was controversially nominated the ruling ZANU PF
candidate amid resistance from the predominantly Shangaani people in
Chiredzi South, provoked howls of disapproval from opposition MPs when he
praised Mugabe's defiance of the West.

The long-serving Zimbabwean leader is a vocal critic of Britain and
her allies whom he accuses of leading a campaign to remove him from power.

The West in turn blames Mugabe for ruining the once prosperous economy
and of repression of opposition.

The third session of the fifth Parliament of Zimbabwe, which commenced
sitting on Tuesday, is expected to debate radical plans to nationalise
foreign firms and a law empowering the house to name Mugabe's successor
without a national vote.

Leader of the House of Assembly and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
could not confirm when the constitutional Bill will be debated.

"I cannot discuss a date. Just keep coming to Parliament," Chinamasa
said. - ZimOnline

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Economic crisis stalls refurbishment of Bulawayo airport

Zim Online

Wednesday 22 August 2007

By Nqobizitha Khumalo

BULAWAYO - The Zimbabwe government is desperately scrounging around for more
than US$20 million to complete the refurbishment of the Joshua Mqabuko
International Airport ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup due in South Africa.

The cash-strapped Harare authorities are anxious to finalise the long
overdue refurbishment of the country's second largest airport as they look
to snatching a larger share of tourists expected to throng southern Africa
for the world football extravaganza.

Acting Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) chief executive David
Chawota said refurbishment of the Bulawayo airport had been stopped due to
foreign currency shortages to import building materials.

"We are facing foreign currency problems and as a result the completion of
the refurbishment of the airport is behind schedule already," Chawota told

The CAAZ boss said US$20 million was required to import building materials
from South Africa, China and Canada.

The imported raw materials include bitumen and cement, which have to be
brought in from South Africa.

"Everything is at a standstill and until government provides the funding it
will be difficult to complete the project although our target is that the
refurbishment should be complete by year-end," Chawota said.

The rehabilitation of the airport began in January 2003 and was initially
penciled for completion by October 2004.

The delay is causing friction between Matabeleland politicians and other
senior government officials over the slow pace of the project.

A livid information minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu in July quizzed Leo Mugabe,
chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and
Communications, over the delays.

The failure to complete the airport will be a big blow to Zimbabwe's efforts
to share in the lucrative tourism industry since Bulawayo is within the FIFA
stipulated 90 minutes flight time for a team to be based in away from the
major venues.

Currently, airport authorities are using a hangar as a departure and arrival

The government in 2004 embarked on a programme to rehabilitate the country's
airports to international standards at a cost then estimated at Z$1

But due to a deepening economic crisis, marked by critical shortages of
foreign currency and runaway inflation, the funds allocated were not enough.

Upgrading of the Bulawayo airport was to be done in two phases, with the
first phase involving construction of a pavilion and roads as well as
extension of the car park.

The second phase would have seen construction of a modern hotel and other
amenities. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe: Challenges of a democratic transition

New Zimbabwe

By Crisford Chogugudza
Last updated: 08/22/2007 05:43:35
ZIMBABWE, once a promising 'democracy' and beacon of hope in sub-Saharan
Africa, has pathetically slipped irretrievably into the troubled waters of
an increasingly fierce brutal dictatorship reminiscent of the Mobutu, Amin
and Ceausescu era.

The country is on the brink of an unprecedented economic collapse and its
revival under the current administration is almost impossible to imagine. It
would appear there are elements in the Mugabe establishment who are
determined to bring the country further down to its knees at all costs and
in defiance of the brave and incessant calls for a democratic transition in

The construction of personalism, manipulation of nationalism and abuse of
pan-Africanism has become a key part of Zanu PF politics in recent times.
Some have called it ruthless survival politics in the face of perceived
adversity from the concerned West.

Zimbabweans continue to risk death and are being embarrassed daily at the
country's frontiers as they attempt to flee the country in search of
survival in neighbouring countries. Unofficial statistics put the figure of
Zimbabwean political and economic refugees at more than 3 million in the
entire Diaspora with the majority being in South Africa.

The reality of life in Zimbabwe today is that of gloom and despair. The
truth is that democratic transition through universal suffrage is
increasingly becoming a distant reality and this painful reality would have
been inconceivable if bonafide liberation heroes such as the late Joshua
Nkomo, and Dr Edison Zvobgo were alive.

What we see in Zimbabwe today is a regime that is virtually on a war path
with its own people. Unofficial rumours say that the number of people
disappearing in the country under mysterious circumstances has increased
sharply as the regime struggles to deal with rising political dissent.

Of significant concern is the status of civil liberties in Zimbabwe. Freedom
of expression, the most crucial of all human rights, continues to be
criminalised as President Mugabe recently signed another controversial piece
of legislation aimed at further curtailing freedom of expression in
Zimbabwe. Emails and telephone communication to and from Zimbabwe are now
subject to gagging courtesy of technology received from China.

Threats, discrimination, detention, and violence continue to affect freedom
of expression in the country. Freedom after speech, a concept originally
coined by Norway-based Zimbabwean laureate Chengerai Hove, is becoming a
luxury for many in Zimbabwe.

The most prominent members of the opposition and their sympathisers have
become subjects of wanton arrest and harassment. Critics allege that the
once revered judicial system in the country has either been infiltrated or
staffed with Zanu PF 'apologists' whose judgements are either selective or
questionable in most instances.

The Mugabe regime has by its brutal acts imposed a siege mentality amongst
common people by creating a culture of fear resulting in people becoming
afraid to speak, even though they may be no expressed laws against free
expression. Criticising Mugabe and Zanu PF today is akin to criticising God
and can be a dangerous act subject to lengthy detention or mysterious
disappearance in some cases.

Since Mugabe's loss of the constitutional referendum in 2000, there has been
a systematic strangulation of all the means available for Zimbabweans to
express themselves. Any newspaper or journalist who dares publish the
slightest criticism of any hostile government policy is branded an enemy of
the state and ends up in detention and his paper without a licence. The
story of Daily News is a classic example.

The plain truth is that a democratic transition can never take place where
there is severe curtailment of civil liberties. Tyranny and despotism have
become very rampant and profoundly entrenched in Zimbabwe, allowing the
establishment to easily deal with the few remaining brave intellectual

Today, there is a lot being said about the possibility of free and fair
elections in Zimbabwe. It is inconceivable how this can be achieved in a
state where there is no press freedom or simple freedom of expression or
association. The opposition and anti establishment civil organisations are
only given national press coverage when they stage peaceful demonstrations
and get beaten up for expressing their democratic rights. The idea here is
being to portray them as law breakers.

The question to ask now is what options exist for a successful transition in
Zimbabwe, democratic or otherwise?

A number of suggestions have been put forward but there is virtually nobody
who has committed themselves to helping the people of Zimbabwe in the same
manner as Sudan's Darfour region and other troubles spots in Africa. China
and Russia are not doing Africa and Zimbabwe in particular any favour by
supporting and sustaining repressive autocratic regimes. Zimbabwe, like
Dafour, meets all the criteria for a full UN Security Council discussion.

The number of people dying of hunger, HIV/Aids and political violence in
Zimbabwe put together has reached catastrophic proportions, and if this does
not constitute a disaster, l wonder what in this world should be described
as such.

Bill Clinton, former US President has publicly admitted that the world let
down the people of Rwanda during the genocide years believing that it was an
African problem. If the current trend in the way things are deteriorating in
Zimbabwe continues, Zimbabwe could be another Rwanda. It appears nobody is
paying attention to Zimbabwe now. It's discouraging to note that sections of
civil society in the UK think that stripping Mugabe of his honorary
doctorates is more important than pressuring the Brown government to
initiate meaningful multilateral dialogue on the Zimbabwe crisis.

Some have invested immense hopes in South African President Thabo Mbeki, but
all what Mbeki has managed to do is to raise Mugabe's political ego and buy
time for him. Critics have said that South Africa is actually benefiting
more from the Zimbabwean crisis than otherwise. It is true that most of the
foreign investment that would have been shared with Zimbabwe is going their
way. Some have questioned whether South Africa's Thabo Mbeki is unable or
unwilling to help solve the Zimbabwe political mess. His failure to rein in
Zanu PF in the failed inter-party talks raises more eyebrows about his
integrity and suitability as a peace broker.

Given the economic leverage South Africa enjoys over Zimbabwe, people fail
to understand why South Africa has allowed things to deteriorate to such
desperate levels unprecedented in Africa outside war zones. Some question
the wisdom of keeping quiet when a neighbour's house in on fire. Such
rhetoric as 'quiet diplomacy' will soon be consigned to the annals of
history as the crisis in Zimbabwe continues unabated. The true nature of
Thabo Mbeki's actions is subject to further scrutiny and analysis by
political pundits and historians.

The overly fancied SADC initiative spearheaded by Thabo Mbeki is doomed to
fail as long as Mbeki shies away from the carrot and stick approach to
Zimbabwe's problem. Mugabe has very little respect for his fellow African
leaders and these leaders have blindly supported his dangerous and expensive
war of words against the West. SADC has neither the institutional capacity
nor the political will to resolve Zimbabwe's problems.

Mugabe sees SADC as a mirror image of the defunct Frontline States
(Dictators Club) or a permanent ally that does not have the moral right to
oppose him for what ever reason. SADC once again failed to stamp any
authority on Mugabe and let alone acknowledge that the Zimbabwean crisis
exists. It is high time the more powerful members of the International
Community take the Zimbabwe crisis more seriously to avoid a humanitarian

It is too late to dwell on the origins of the crisis because there will
never be agreement as to who is significantly to blame. Time has come to act
on the political and humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe. It is now time to draw
up a UN Security Council plan for Zimbabwe similar to Darfour, East Timor
and Kosovo and the earlier this is done, the better.

If it is impossible to have consensus at the UN about how to resolve the
Zimbabwe crisis, options for individual countries such as the US and UK to
act do exist as long as their actions are proportionate to the scale of the
problem. However, most Zimbabweans prefer a peaceful transition of power in
Zimbabwe if that can be achieved.

The idea of democratic transition in Zimbabwe through elections is a mere
academic expression. Elections do not work, have never worked and will not
work in Zimbabwe for as long as they are run by the same individuals and
institutions that have run previous ones. A new constitution for next year's
elections may not be conceivable now but major concessions can still be made
in terms of repealing major aspects of electoral law i.e. Access to
Information and Personal Privacy Act (AIPPA), Public Order and Security Act
(POSA), constituency boundaries, voter registration and election observation
by credible international observers including those from the UK, EU and US.
Without the above considerations, elections will come and go as usual;
Mugabe will still be there with a 'disputed mandate' and no 'legitimacy'.

The state of the opposition in Zimbabwe is one of sadness, the opposition is
unwittingly slowing the process of change instead of speeding it up. They
lack powerful, strategic and charismatic leadership. This adds to the
existing woes of despair as hopes for a new democratic dispensation fade
everyday. A leadership renewal or re-branding in the opposition hierarchy is
manifestly becoming a reality.

The era of 'professional leadership' is long gone, it's either the current
leaders radically change tactics or hand over to a new fresh pair of hands.
In the West, UK in particular, opposition leaders are not sacred cows they
come and go as the political pendulum changes. In Zimbabwe unfortunately the
opposition continues to receive a media honeymoon from the independent
papers even when it is clear they are blundering.

On a related issue Zimbabweans need to be reminded that heroes are not
necessarily leaders and where there is a convergence of the two the better.
The issue of leadership change in the opposition should be desensitised and
looked at with a broad mind. Some will recall that heroes such as Joshua
Nkomo, Herbert Chitepo, Edison Zvobgo, Ndabaningi Sithole and Parirenyatwa
who pioneered the liberation struggle did not become presidents, but their
respective roles were instrumental and central to the struggle for

The increasingly belligerent twin MDC opposition leadership should be
complementing not decimating each other's political integrity. Going to
elections as divided will not earn them victory. If Morgan Tsvangirai lost
2002 elections by 400 000 votes short from the 2002 presidential ballot,
simple arithmetic tells me that allowing Morgan Tsvangirai to go it alone
will be a dangerous gamble which could erode his chances of winning
elections. The man is inspired by huge attendances at political rallies
which are essentially made up of potential supporters most of whom are not
registered voters. It is unfortunate he is rapidly loosing the plot.

As things stand now, Morgan Tsvangirai may loose substantial Matabeleland
and Midlands votes to the rival smaller MDC Mutambara faction thereby
assuring Mugabe another controversial election victory. It appears
Zimbabweans will be bracing for another painful defeat and long, unwinnable
legal battles against Zanu PF. Some have predicted that mass demonstrations
such as the ones which brought down dictators such as Nicholai Ceausescu,
Suharto and the orange revolution in Ukraine will never happen in Zimbabwe
because of the brutality of the uniformed forces among other factors.

Respected political analysts such as former Zanu PF and government chief
propagandist Prof Jonathan Moyo, have predicted possibility of a coup detat
in Zimbabwe as the political situation continues to deteriorate. This
prediction is based on the assumption that the soldiers themselves are
increasingly becoming despondent hence the mass defections recently
witnessed. If Mugabe does not act fast enough to resolve the succession
issue, then a coup detat may be inevitable as conditions for this
eventuality are firming each day. On another issue, Mugabe would be making a
grotesque mistake by paying attention to the lunacy of the life presidency
mantra as demanded by his party worshipers and zealots. The era of
personality cult and life presidency is long gone.

The question to ask is, will the people of Zimbabwe accept a coup detat, the
answer is NO. Coups detats have the tendency to distort the process of
democratisation. Above all, a coup detat would be a dangerous precedent for
future democratically elected governments. The process of transition from
militarisation to civilianisation of power could be a long and painful one
as has happened in Nigeria, Uganda, Ghana and other ruthless African regimes
where coup detats were fashionable until recently.

Lastly, cognisant of the failures of previous initiatives, and the likely
failure of current initiatives to bring about change in Zimbabwe, the only
option left is to bring in the UN to make a decision on the future of
Zimbabwe before it's too late. Elections have failed to change anything and
Zanu PF has equally failed to use the contested mandate and legitimacy they
have to save the country from collapsing.

A UN intervention strategy can start with forcing Zanu PF and the opposition
to share power under supervision from a neutral figure pending the holding
of elections. Alternatively, the UN and SADC in conjunction with local civil
bodies could be allowed to organise and supervise the 2008 elections and
hand over power to who ever wins. Zimbabwe is increasingly becoming a time
bomb waiting to explode unless the international community shows real
leadership to save the country.

There may not be any diamonds, oil and uranium in Zimbabwe to warrant the
urgent intervention of the US, UK and EU but the reality is that the rot and
collapse continues in front of their eyes. A resurgent Zimbabwe will
undoubtedly be an asset to the West and beacon of stability and prosperity
in Southern Africa.

The West cannot afford another Rwanda and Zimbabwe could as well be another
Rwanda unfolding if they fail to act decisively.

Crisford Chogugudza is a Zimbabwean academic writing from London, UK. He can
be contacted on

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Zim govt denies diarrhoea crisis


August 22, 2007, 18:15

Hospitals in Harare are handling hundreds of diarrhoea cases every week as
water shortages persist in Zimbabwe's capital.

Intermittent water supplies to high density suburbs in the city are being
blamed for the rise in the disease and fears are high that a cholera
outbreak could be imminent. The government has, however, denied that the
situation has reached crisis proportion.

Media reports in Zimbabwe say an average of 900 people in Harare are seeking
treatment for diarrhoea every day. Health minister, David Parirenyatwa, says
the claims are far fetched. He puts the figure at 200 and says the situation
has been worsened by the winter season.

Parirenyatwa says: "Usually in winter the figures go high because there is
the infection of the rota virus, which is common in this cold climate."

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Rights campaigner Betty Makoni and two Americans arrested

By Violet Gonda
22 August 2007

The outspoken founder of the Girl Child Network, Betty Makoni, and two
America women were arrested in Harare on Tuesday. The Crisis in Zimbabwe
Coalition said Makoni is being accused of allegedly "smuggling in foreigners
to cover the country's crisis without accreditation." When SW Radio Africa
contacted the human rights campaigner late Wednesday she said she was not
allowed to speak as she was at the police station. It was not clear why she
was still being held.

It's reported that the two Americans were filming a documentary on the Girl
Child Network. Betty Makoni is an internationally acclaimed Zimbabwean child
rights activist who has won awards for her innovative child abuse prevention

We could not get through to the American Embassy in Harare for a comment on
the arrest of the two US nationals.

There were other arrests earlier this week as the government continued its
campaign against perceived enemies. Several pastors were arrested while they
were praying in Chitungwiza this past weekend. Their lawyer James Tabora
said heavily armed police officers with teargas descended on the venue where
more than 45 Pastors from various denominations had gathered. Several
individuals were arrested and the rest of the congregation was ordered to
disperse. The arrested were accused of convening a political meeting but the
lawyer said the meeting was strictly religious. Under Zimbabwe's notorious
security laws police are supposed to be notified of a political gathering.

The Pastors who were arrested on Saturday were released the same day after
paying fines of Z$40 000 each. But there were more arrests on Monday night
when police hunted down some of the pastors from their homes. The lawyer
said they were finally released on Tuesday.

Meanwhile the Crisis Coalition said Braeside police tortured in custody a
popular businesswoman Ms. Majangi aka Mai Fafi and her manager for "failing
to adhere to the state stipulated prices on alcohol." Mai Fafi, who owns a
bar in the Avondale area of Harare, was arrested and released on Sunday but
re-arrested on Monday. It's reported a police officer dealing with the case
was also arrested on bribery charges because it was alleged the two's
earlier release was un-procedural.

Thousands of business owners have been arrested in recent weeks since the
government embarked on the price cut wars last month.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Church leaders criticize regional support for Zimbabwean president


By Bronwen Dachs
Catholic News Service
CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNS) -- Southern African leaders' support for
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is "sickening," said a South African
bishop, while a priest in Zimbabwe said the region's governments are more
interested in clinging to power than working for the common good.

Mugabe, who has been in power since the country's independence from Britain
in 1980, was given a standing ovation at an Aug. 16-17 Southern African
Development Community meeting in Lusaka, Zambia, where regional leaders
failed to pressure him into enacting political and economic reforms.

Applauding "a man who has destroyed a country" shows "utter lack of concern
for the plight of Zimbabweans," Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenburg told
Catholic News Service Aug. 20 in a telephone interview. He noted that the
southern African leaders' refusal to sanction Mugabe shows a "dereliction of
duty to their African sisters and brothers."

Bishop Dowling was in Johannesburg after meeting with fellow members of the
Solidarity Peace Trust, an ecumenical group of church organizations from
Zimbabwe and South Africa.

"You can't buy any basic foods in Zimbabwe now. The shelves (in stores) are
empty," he said.

"Yet Mugabe pretends there is no food crisis," he added.

The U.N. World Food Program said in early August that 3.3 million people
face severe food shortages in Zimbabwe, where a government ban on price
increases has forced manufacturers to close or cut back their operations.

"It is a tragedy of enormous proportions," Bishop Dowling said.

Zimbabwe is crippled by the highest rate of inflation in the world,
unemployment of more than 80 percent, and shortages of foreign currency and
fuel. With elections scheduled for March, political violence has

"Our neighbors are still reluctant to take effective action against the
collapse of Zimbabwe, even though Zimbabweans invading them are a threat to
their stability," said Jesuit Father Oscar Wermter in the Zimbabwean
Jesuits' newsletter.

An estimated 3 million Zimbabweans are displaced, most of them in South
Africa, according to Reuters, the British news agency.

While "governments are more interested in their own sectional interest," the
church will insist on the "common good becoming Africa's first priority,"
Father Wermter said.

Mugabe is "spreading the propaganda lie that there are sanctions imposed
against Zimbabwe on which he can blame the total failure of his economic
policies," he said, noting that the 83-year-old president blames Zimbabwe's
bishops for "not mentioning the effects of sanctions" in their Easter
pastoral letter that said the country is in deep crisis.

"There are no trade sanctions against Zimbabwe, only travel restrictions
against the ruling elite which bar them from entering Western countries," he

Zimbabwe's "economic disaster" is the result of the government's "consistent
overspending, exceeding the budget and living beyond its means," Father
Wermter said.


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Mugabe opponents cry foul over voting registration


Wed 22 Aug 2007, 12:23 GMT

By Nelson Banya

HARARE, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) on Wednesday accused the government of taking measures to
prevent its supporters from registering to vote in next year's elections.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) announced this week that more than
80,000 new voters were registered between June 18 and Aug. 17, when voter
registration closed.

But Ian Makone, director of elections in the Morgan Tsvangirai-led faction
of the MDC, told reporters the number of new voters was "a far cry from the
hundreds of thousands of prospective voters".

"The MDC is aware of the overt machinations by the regime to steal the
people's vote through a biased and opaque mobile voter registration," Makone
said, charging that among other things the registration period was not
adequately publicised and that registration efforts were concentrated in
ruling party areas.

Neither the ZEC nor government officials were immediately available to
comment on the accusations.

President Robert Mugabe, 83 and in power since British independence in 1980,
has said he will stand in next year's presidential election, in which his
ruling ZANU-PF is likely to face a divided opposition.

Critics say Mugabe is accelerating efforts to consolidate his power as the
economy crumbles and Western powers pressure him to enact political reforms.

The former African liberation hero faces growing discontent over an economic
crisis marked by the world's highest inflation rate of 4,500 percent and
severe food, fuel and foreign currency shortages.

Mugabe has denied allegations of human rights abuses and accused Zimbabwe's
weak opposition of teaming up with Western powers to oust him.

Makone said the ZEC had deliberately set up more voter registration centres
in the rural provinces -- where the ruling ZANU-PF enjoys support -- than in
urban areas, where the opposition has performed strongly in past elections.

"This was a well-calculated ploy not only to disenfranchise millions of
potential MDC voters, but also to have more people registering in rural
Mashonaland provinces so as to pave the way for the creation of new
constituencies in areas ZANU-PF considers politically safe," he said.

Mugabe's government has proposed increasing parliamentary constituencies
from the current 120 to 210, among a raft of constitutional changes expected
to be brought to parliament in the current session.

The two factions of the MDC, which split in 2005 over participation in
senate elections, have so far failed to agree to a coalition pact for the
general election set to be held in March 2008 and has faced a growing

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Voter Registration Ends With a Whimper

Institute for War & Peace Reporting

A campaign to register voters for next year's election ended almost
unmarked, with many people saying they were unaware of the three-month long

From Joseph Sithole in Harare (AR No. 127, 22-Aug-07)

Zimbabwe's joint presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for next
year have generated much controversy. While the ballot has been flagged up
as a watershed event for both the ruling party and the opposition, some
analysts are warning that it could turn out to be a damp squib.

They argue that the elections, which will pit the ZANU-PF party of President
Robert Mugabe against the fractured opposition Movement for Democratic
Change, MDC, may not be as exciting as the interest they have generated
locally and internationally.

Among the reasons cited for these gloomy predictions are voter apathy, lack
of publicity, and the inability of millions of Zimbabweans outside the
country to register for the ballot.

The nationwide voter registration process ended almost unnoticed on August
17. Many people who should have put their names down said they were wholly
ignorant of the three-month long campaign launched in May. As well as the
general lack of information, critics complained that the registration
process was manipulated to exclude opposition supporters.

The joint elections have been tentatively set for March 2008, but fears of a
low turnout have already prompted talk of a postponement to next June.

John Mlilo, from Mataga, 450 kilometres south of the capital Harare, was
typical of rural residents who were caught unawares by the voter
registration effort.

"It is unusual for people to be registered for elections this early. Perhaps
there was something wrong," he said. "Normally they register people at the
local primary school but this time there was nothing. I doubt if anybody
registered to vote in this ward because we would have heard about it."

The mobile voter registration teams have two components - members of the
government appointed Electoral Supervisory Commission, and staff from the
Registrar General's Office who issue birth certificates and national
identification documents to those who do not have them, as this is a
prerequisite for voting.

Mlilo said he had heard that "Mugabe people" were issuing IDs and birth
certificates, but not that voters were being registered.

A political scientist at the University of Zimbabwe said many people in
urban as well as rural areas may have missed the deadline because the
registration campaign was poorly advertised and was overshadowed by more
immediate political developments.

"The timing of the registration exercise was very poor," said the political
scientist, who did not want to be named. "Every day, people are being told
about talks taking place in South Africa, while back home people are being
quietly registered to vote. It's just too packed and confusing," he said.

One such headline news story is the ongoing mediation process between
ZANU-PF and the MDC. In March, South African president Thabo Mbeki was
mandated by the Southern African Development Community to try to bring the
two sides to the negotiating table to seek a political settlement to
Zimbabwe's eight-year crisis, which has seen inflation soaring to over 4,500
percent, unemployment above 80 per cent and a mass exodus of economic
refugees to neighbouring countries and beyond.

Then there is the price-cutting blitz launched by the government last month,
which has led to widespread shortages and crippled public transport. Queues
for scarce commodities such as the staple maize meal, sugar, salt, cooking
oil and paraffin have become the order of the day in all urban centres.

Finally, prospective voters may have been distracted by the long holidays
around Heroes' Day, August 11.

The analyst said the ZANU-PF's low-key approach to registering voters was
cause for concern. This was true even in those rural areas where ZANU-PF can
normally expect a clear majority.

"There is definitely something afoot," he said. "The elections may be no
more than symbolic. ZANU-PF is already manufacturing figures and names
before the election dates are known to the rest of the nation," he said.

He noted that only about 80,000 names had been added to the electoral roll,
a tiny amount set against the estimated three million who are believed to
have left Zimbabwe in search of work abroad. The figure of 80,000 was only
twice the national average for a single constituency, he said.

A low turnout, especially among its supporters, would not be in the
government's interests, given a plan to elect more members to parliament
than before. A controversial constitutional amendment being pushed by
ZANU-PF would increase the number of seats in the lower house from 150 to
210 and from 66 to 84 in the upper chamber.

"What I don't understand is why they are keen to increase the number of
Senate [upper house] and constituency seats when all the evidence points to
fewer voters next year," he said.

There have been allegations that the voter registration campaign is being
used to stop opposition supporters getting onto the electoral roll. The
Zimbabwe Election Support Network, a non-government organisation that does
voter education, has reported that traditional leaders in rural areas are
excluding known supporters of opposition parties, for example denying them
ID papers.

Fidelis Mhashu, an MDC member of parliament for Chitungwiza, 30 km southeast
of Harare, claimed that some 65 residential properties in his constituency
had been omitted from the document used as proof of residence. He warned
that if this practice proved to be more widespread, it would prejudice the
MDC in the polls.

The political scientist in Harare noted that the bitter acrimony between the
MDC's two rival factions had not helped focus the minds of potential
opposition voters.

"Because of their own internal problems, the two factions were unable to
educate their constituents on the need to register," he said. "Many are
further still not sure whether their party is going to participate in next
year's elections or not."

Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of one of the MDC factions, recently warned
that his party might not take part in the polls if the Mbeki-mediated talks
in South Africa fail to extract sufficient concessions from the ruling party
to ensure free and fair elections.

The schism has lost the MDC goodwill and credibility among its potential
electorate since the 2000 general election, when it lost to the ZANU-PF only

"We can argue about rigging and this and that but the fact remains that the
MDC is never, and will never be, the same party we voted for in 2000," said
Abel Tsuro, a civil servant in Harare. "The party has squandered a lot of
goodwill because of internal squabbles. Many people have lost hope that it
can ever beat ZANU-PF. Most of them have been frustrated out of the polling

"Add to this the estimated three million Zimbabweans reportedly living in
the diaspora and it gives you a bleak picture of the MDC."

Martin Chiriga, from the poor suburb of Kuwadzana, sells mobile phone
airtime cards near a voter registration centre but had not bothered to put
his own name down. He said he had voted for the opposition in the past, but
was no longer interested in doing so.

"They [MDC] should first sort out their problems before they can count on my
vote," said Chiriga. "Why should I vote for them when they are already
fighting for power they haven't got? Is that going to feed my children?"

At the talks in South Africa, the MDC is holding out for reforms to election
legislation, a new constitution, and extending the right to vote to
Zimbabweans in the diaspora. Yet even if the opposition wins on all these
points, it still might not be enough.

According to the political scientist at the University of Zimbabwe, allowing
expatriates to vote would at best lead to the MDC winning the presidential
election but losing the parliamentary poll. This, he said, would create "a
constitutional crisis".

"Because of our constituency-based voting system, even if registered, voters
outside Zimbabwe would need to return home to vote in their constituencies
for their MPs," he said. "I don't know whether the MDC is able to bring back
the over three million people who have left the country since 2000 - that
is, if it is true that all these people still support the opposition.

"On the other hand, if they were allowed to vote from their present
locations wherever they are, they can only vote for the president, which is
not constituency-based. If Tsvangirai wins, that would create a serious
constitutional crisis if his party loses the parliamentary election. Because
of our first-past-the-post system, it is the party with the highest number
of constituency seats which forms the government, not the individual. It
would really be a messy affair."

He stressed that this scenario was "very unlikely, given that few
Zimbabweans would be ready to come back home before they are certain that
the crisis is being tackled more holistically. Many have already adjusted to
their new environments and are trying to carve out new careers for
themselves and their families."

He concluded, "Despite the hype, next year's election is going to be a
lacklustre affair, with perhaps the lowest voter turnout we have seen in
many years."

Joseph Sithole is the pseudonym of a reporter in Zimbabwe.

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Cops arrest pastors at prayer meeting - claim


    August 22 2007 at 10:30AM

Harare/Johannesburg - At least 15 Christian pastors were arrested in
Zimbabwe this week for attending a prayer meeting near the capital Harare
without permission from the police, an opposition party statement said on

The 15 were part of a group that attended a prayer meeting in
Chitungwiza town south of Harare on Saturday, a faction of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) said in a statement.

MDC members of parliament Job Sikhala and Goodwich Chimbaira also
attended the meeting but were not arrested, according to the statement.

The pastors were fined and released on Saturday. But they were picked
up again on Monday evening and detained, said the statement.

Police have not confirmed the arrests. It was not immediately possible
to speak to lawyers for the men to find out whether they were still behind

The arrest of the pastors is indicative of the continued assault on
people's liberties by the Zanu-PF regime, said the MDC statement: "The
citizens of Zimbabwe have the God-given right to exercise their religious
beliefs, including the political citizenry."

Under Zimbabwe's strict security laws all public meetings require
police clearance. Religious gatherings are usually exempted from the
requirement, although police clamped down on a highly-publicised prayer
rally in March, arresting and beating dozens of opposition supporters and
rights activists in a move that sparked international condemnation. -

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NCA activist detained in Zambia

22nd Aug 2007 08:24 GMT

By a Correspondent

ZIMBABWEAN lawyers who attended the just ended Southern African Development
Committee (SADC) Civil Society Forum found themselves busy as they came to
the rescue of Tapera Kapuya the co-ordinator of the National Constitutional
Assembly's South African office who had been detained by Zambia authorities.

Kapuya was arrested on 16 August 2007 as he tried to enter the Taj Pamodzi
Hotel with two banners that carried the message: "A NEW CONSTITUTION FOR

Kapuya planned to parade the two banners during a meeting which had been
scheduled to be addressed by Presidents Levy Mwanawasa of Zambia, Thabo
Mbeki of South Africa , Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania , Bingu wa Mutharika of
Malawi, Festus Mogae of Botswana and Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha
Mosisili on Regional Integration in the SADC Region.

He was detained for five hours as lawyers Arnold Tsunga and Aleck
Muchadehama battled with the Zambian Police to secure his release.
Initially, the police wanted to charge him with carrying subversive
material.  He was later released without any charges.

Tsunga who is also the director of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
(ZLHR) criticised the conduct of the Zambian police as overzealous and
unwarranted as it violated  Kapuya's right to freedom of expression.

"With Zambia having assumed chairpersonship of the SADC, we had hoped for
better treatment for all those who were in Zambia for the historic event,"
said Tsunga.

"However, Kapuya's detention together with the deportation of 40 other
Zimbabwean activists by the Zambian authorities places the justice delivery
system into serious disrepute and confirms our fears that the collapse in
the rule of law in Zimbabwe has a contagion effect in the SADC region."

He, however, commended the Zambian authorities for immediately allowing
Kapuya access to legal counsel unlike in Zimbabwe where lawyers are often
denied access to their clients and become targets of persecution themselves
for merely performing their lawful duties.

The detention of Kapuya followed the deportation of 40 other civil society
activists on 14 August 2007 by the Zambian immigration officials at Chirundu
Border Post for alleged possession of subversive material in the form of the
Save Zimbabwe Campaign T-shirts they were wearing.

Meanwhile, SADC Council of Non-Governmental Organisations (CNGO) immediately
issued a statement urging SADC Heads of State to investigate the events and
make a public statement concerning the outcome of their investigations in
the interest of transparency and commitment to good governance in the SADC
The 40 activists who spent a night in detention at Chirundu border post were
driven to Harare under heavy police escort where they were released upon
their arrival in the Zimbabwean capital.

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Defiant Zanu (PF) Scorns SA Talks Bid

Business Day (Johannesburg)

22 August 2007
Posted to the web 22 August 2007

Dumisani Muleya

A FEW days after President Thabo Mbeki told regional leaders he was making
progress to find a settlement to the Zimbabwean crisis, President Robert
Mugabe's government has resumed its bid to amend the constitution to
entrench him in power.

The move sabotages the talks between Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu (PF) and the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), facilitated by Mbeki.

It also leaves Mbeki's diplomacy on Zimbabwe in disarray. Whatever progress
Mbeki was talking about could be torpedoed by Mugabe, who is clearly racing
to pre-empt talks and outmanoeuvre Mbeki.

Zimbabwean Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, the central figure in the
constitutional amendments, said last week in Zambia that the Zanu (PF) talks
with the MDC were not useful.

This was in line with Zanu (PF)'s position that it is merely going through
the motions because it believes it is talking to alleged MDC sponsors in the
west, rather than the opposition, which it describes as a "front".

When he returned from last week's Southern African Development Community
(SADC) summit in Zambia, Mugabe said he would proceed with his political and
economic programmes, regardless of SADC's actions.

Sources in Harare say Mugabe has decided to ignore Mbeki's mediation and the
promised economic rescue package with its tough conditions of reforms.

Evidence of this mounted yesterday after Zimbabwe's parliament met for a new
session to consider two major pieces of legislation: one to ensconce Mugabe
in power and manage his controversial succession debate and the other to
consider nationalisation of foreign companies.

The bills were distributed to MPs yesterday in preparation for debate. Zanu
(PF) sources said Mugabe expects parliament to have passed the proposed laws
by the end of October, since the ruling party dominates parliament.

Despite Chinamasa's remarks at the SADC summit last week that Zimbabwe did
not need political reforms, Mugabe's regime is pushing for negative changes
to consolidate its power.

The proposed constitutional amendments are effectively designed to prop up
Mugabe and manage his divided party's intensifying power struggle.

The legislation is also aimed at facilitating the holding of joint
parliamentary and presidential elections in March next year. It would also
reduce the term of the president from six to five years.

Zanu (PF) chief whip Joram Gumbo said his party would press ahead with its
agenda regardless of talks as it had no idea when dialogue would end and did
not want to create a "legal vacuum".

The amendments would also ensure that parliament elects a successor to
Mugabe if he cannot continue for whatever reason.

This is seen as an attempt by Mugabe to prevent his deputy, Joyce Mujuru,
from taking over.

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Mugabe's retirement good for business

 22nd Aug 2007 08:54 GMT

By Trust Matsilele

REGIONAL business experts say President Robert Mugabe's immediate retirement
from the helm could see business improving in Zimbabwe and the region at

Experts say poor reforms and policies by Mugabe such as sending troops to
the Democratic Republic of Congo in the late 1990s to prop up the Laurent
Kabila government, the controversial land grabs, the recent price blitz and
operation Murambatsvina, had worsened the economy's perfomance.

Economists in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region are
saying they now see a green light following the negotiations being mediated
by South African President Thabo Mbeki.

"If Mbeki mediation brings any results that will be positive development to
the all Zimbabweans and regional business participants," said Trevor Zuma,
an economist with a leading bank in South Africa.

Meanwhile Zimbabwe's runaway inflation has reached a 13 000 per cent mark
with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) even predicting that by December
the inflation will be hitting above 100 000 per cent, a record that might
stand for eternity.

The just-ended SADC summit in Zambia has however reported a need to bail the
Mugabe regime's embattled economy out of the mess which critics say will not
help much as long as democracy and sanity have not returned to the country.

"The poor performance of the economy has been a direct result of Zimbabwe 's
departure from democratic principles and a clear restoration of what we have
lost will see the economy being revived.

"It is a dangerous assumption that giving Mugabe economic bail would see the
country being revived because the same aid will be diverted from development
to the sustenance of his autocratic rule," remarked Tapera Kapuya, a leading
human rights defender and constitutional advocate.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change says it is time for
Zimbabweans to confront head on the crisis facing them becuase of Zanu PF
misrule as delays are causing the unprecedented suffering of innocent
civilians and further worsening brain drain.

"SADC should intensify its efforts in making sure that Zimbabwe's present
crisis is addressed as rapid influx would eventually lead to the crumbling
of the state due to lack of manpower and that can not be postponed if the
situation is to be resolved now, "commented Nqobizitha Mlilo from the MDC
political office.

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Has SADC done enough

Have they done enough?

The SADC summit has come and gone. Mugabe did his thing - a dramatic
entrance, full of bravado and an entourage that included Mogadishu type pick
up trucks with mounted machine guns and security thugs with dark glasses.
The despair of the international community and others around the world was

The reality on the ground however was very different. This time there was a
united position on Zimbabwe, friend and foe, Mugabe faced his toughest SADC
summit ever. Behind closed doors his fellow regional Presidents told him in
no uncertain terms that the crisis in Zimbabwe had gone on long enough, was
damaging the prospects of the region and impacting on their own economic and
social situations.

In addition they looked at a serious proposal from the region to step up to
the plate with an emergency stabilisation package worth several hundred
million US dollars (paid for by the region itself) - a first and very
encouraging. This was attached to tough conditions - complete the
negotiations taking place under the South African facilitation process and
then abide by the agreement and carry it out before any assistance is made
available and even then not to the Zimbabwe government directly. Mugabe has
few who trust him any longer in the region.

Behind closed doors and with tight security in place, the talks between the
MDC and Zanu PF continue. On its own this is a remarkable achievement as
there is no way that Zanu PF would be talking to the hated opposition if
they had any alternative options.

So the stage is set for some fairly dramatic developments - what and when is
not clear or even available. Even the aggressive SA media machine has not
been able to crack the SA blanket of secrecy about the situation - just
those periodic remarks by Mbeki that the situation is under control and the
process making progress, not as fast as they would have liked, but progress.

I am the eternal optimist and suffer for this when it comes to trying to set
out a possible future scenario. But there are a few things we can set our
compass to. The first is that in the end we (the democrats and those who
want the best for Zimbabwe and her people) will win this struggle. That has
been true throughout history, even though it might take longer than
anticipated. Eventually the good guys win. It took England several centuries
to overthrow the Feudal system that kept its people in chains and servitude.
It took the Russian people over 70 years to throw off the savage yoke of
Communism. It took South Africa over 40 years to dismantle the Apartheid
machine. If we can do it in 10, we will have done well historically.

Secondly, we know this situation is not sustainable and the regime here
simply does not have the resources or the environment to sustain itself. For
Zanu PF this is a terminal situation, they have no where to go from here on;
they are facing a blank wall with no alternative escape routes. Africa is
moving on and with West Africa having dismantled the regime of Charles
Taylor and then seen him delivered to the Hague, they know that this is a
very real prospect here. The region of the SADC has also moved on - SADC is
a fast growing block of democratic States who are proud of their new status
in the global community. They know they have to deal with the bad apples in
this basket or be tainted as a whole.

Thirdly, the international environment is much more hostile to rogue regimes
than in the past. Look at the pressure piling up over the behavior of the
Sudan, Somalia, North Korea and Burma. New governments in France, Canada and
the UK are all going to be principled and uncompromising towards the Mugabe
regime. That also goes for even places like Portugal. The new members of the
EU are almost universally hostile to political tyrannies - they know all
about what they do to the people they control (I avoid using the word

No one gives a damn for a small country like Zimbabwe, but they do have
concern for the region as a whole. We have struggled to get where we are -
South Africa after a century of struggle against racial oppression, Angola
and Mozambique after decades of struggle against a colonial past and then
civil and regional wars. Zambia after decades of failure under UNIP, Malawi
after Banda, the Congo just emerging from the nightmare of the post colonial
era. All these gains are threatened by the collapse of the Zimbabwean
economy and the very real threat of instability and violence.

I saw an article in a major South African newspaper this week saying
Zimbabwe could collapse by Christmas. Define collapse please? Does it mean
that the country no longer can feed, clothe and house its people? Does it
mean that energy and water systems are collapsing and are unable to meet
even basic needs? Does it mean that 70 per cent of all jobs are lost, the
people affected forced to flee in order to survive? Does it mean that
telephone systems are now so run down that you cannot dial out to another
country in the region or make a local call without great effort and
considerable time?

If it does, then we have collapsed. Our modern economy is no longer
functioning. Many, if not most firms are now living on their reserves and
face imminent collapse. If they do, putting Zimbabwe back together again is
going to be tough and expensive. In my own small group I have had 8
employees quietly pack up and leave for South Africa. They see no future. We
lost nearly Z$3 billion in the past two months and an executive in the
largest food company in the country told me today they were losing Z$2
billion a day. We are fighting back and striving to hold things together,
others are just quitting. In company after company staff are just sitting
around - idle and concerned. Will we have jobs next month? The feeling of
despair is everywhere.

No - this situation simply cannot go on. Has SADC done enough this past week
to rescue us from ourselves? My own judgment is maybe just enough, but they
cannot do it alone. We need everyone to make that final effort that will get
us through this nightmare. Battles are won in the final stages of conflict,
before that it's just a fight. We are on the winning side, we will win, we
are nearly there, make the effort.

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 23rd August 2007

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Zim to buy country's maize at reduced price

From The Times of Zambia, 21 August

By Times reporter

Government has accepted to export 100,000 tonnes of maize to Zimbabwe at a
reduced price for fear of the grain going to waste. Agriculture and
Cooperatives Minister, Ben Kapita said in an interview yesterday that the
100,000 tonnes was from the last farming season and Government with its
counterparts in Zimbabwe had been negotiating on the prices for sometime
now. Mr Kapita said the maize would be exported at about US$195 to US$200
per tonne, the amount he said authorities in Zimbabwe were comfortable with.
"We have reduced the prices because we want to be competitive and we want
everything to go. If we continue keeping it, the maize will get rotten," Mr
Kapita said. Zambia had recorded a surplus of 250,000 tonnes but in
additional to last season's crop, there was currently 300,000 tonnes of
maize for export. Mr Kapita said he also took advantage of the just ended
27th Southern African Development Community (SADC) Heads of State and
Government summit to discuss with his counterparts in member countries the
best ways of helping nations with food deficits.

From the summit, Mr Kapita said, it was gratifying that member countries had
recognised that Zambia and Malawi were able to export 10,000 tonnes each to
hunger stricken neighbours. Zambia exported the 10,000 tonnes of maize
through the World Food Programme (WFP). Mr Kapita said the summit noted that
Zambia, Tanzania and Malawi had recorded maize surplus and therefore prodded
them to export to countries that had deficits. Meanwhile, the Food Reserve
Agency (FRA) will continue purchasing maize and other designated crops until
the end of September even in areas where targets have been met. FRA public
relations officer, Mwamba Siame said in a statement released in Lusaka
yesterday that targets had been met in Mazabuka, Chadiza, Chipata, Sinda,
Chisamba, Mwense, Kazungula and Gwembe districts. The agency has so far
purchased 251,750 tonnes of maize out of the targeted 400,000 tonnes, 440
tonnes of rice out of the targeted 1,200 tonnes and 10 tonnes of cassava out
of the targeted 2,400 tonnes.

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Police label Normal Democratic Activities 'Subversive'

Dear Friends

Today, 22.08.07 the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum released a report
commenting on and responding to two recent Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP)
reports entitled "Opposition Forces in Zimbabwe: A Trail of Violence" and
"Opposition Forces in Zimbabwe: The Naked Truth, Volume 2".

At a press conference in Harare today, 22.08.07, the Zimbabwe Human Rights
NGO Forum launched a report entitled "At Best a Falsehood, at Worst a Lie":
Comments on the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Reports "Opposition Forces in
Zimbabwe: a Trail of Violence." The Forum report illustrates how ZRP claims
that opposition parties and civic organizations are grouped together for the
purposes of violently overthrowing the government of President Robert Mugabe
are 'not only internally contradictory, inherently implausible and
manifestly false in many instances, but they are easily overwhelmed by
evidence to the contrary contained in numerous press statements,
photographs, newspaper reports and other reports that followed the events of
March the 11th ,' when MDC and civic leaders were brutally assaulted in
police custody.

The Forum notes that reports by ZRP naively reveal the politicisation of the
police, the use of state resources for party political purposes and
astounding jurisprudential ignorance of members of the ZRP. Further, the
Forum notes that ZRP is responsible for perpetrating gross human rights
violations during arrest and detention. The Forum's report concludes that
its analysis of the ZRP reports shows, virtually all of the "subversive"
activities alleged by ZRP would be treated as normal democratic activities
in most countries of the world, and as a sign of a healthy and functioning
democracy. The Forum submits that ZRP's politicisation, intolerance of
democratic opposition and violent suppression of opposition parties remains

Find the Forum's report attached here or access it on our website at . The two ZRP
reports can be accessed via the following links on the Zimbabwe Home Affairs
web site, the first report: under the Police section can be found at The second report can be accessed at:

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Zimbabwe: Mugabe accused of starving opposition supporters

African Path

August 22, 2007 01:53 PMBy Sheila Pasi

BULAWAYO - The Zimbabwean government has been accused of

denying some villagers in the country's rural areas access to the staple
maize grain being sold by the state-owned Grain Marketing Board (GMB) on the
basis that they support the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
political party.

The Southern African country, currently in the midst of an escalating
economic and political crisis that is largely being blamed on corruption,
mismanagement of the country's resources and intolerance for opposing views
by President Robert Mugabe, did not produce enough grain to feed its
population, estimated to be slightly above 11 million people, hence
villagers rely on GMB-provided maize for survival.

Mugabe (83), who has ruled the country since it gained independence from
Britain in 1980, has been accused of taking advantage of prevailing hunger
to try and force villagers to support his ruling ZANU (PF) party ahead of
joint parliamentary and presidential elections slated for January next year.

Although this discrimination has been reported countrywide, it is said to be
more pronounced in the drought-prone Matabeleland region, which is
considered to be an MDC stronghold.

Mugabe is unpopular in Matabeleland, where his South Korean-trained Fifth
Brigade killed an estimated 20 000 civilians in the 1980s.
Villagers who spoke to our correspondent in Matabeleland South province's
Matobo district accused the government of using traditional leaders and
veterans of the country's war of liberation to discriminate against
perceived opposition supporters whenever maize grain is being sold.

"Village heads keep updated books bearing names of their subjects, which
they hand over to the chiefs at sale points. War veterans supervise the sale
and check your name against those books when you want to buy. If you are
blacklisted, you are not allowed to buy. At times people are forced to
produce ZANU (PF) membership cards. Most of us only access the maize from
the GMB staff, who secretly sell it to us at Z$1 million for a 50kg bag
instead of the official price of Z$200 000," said Matibhini Maphenduka, a
fomer MDC councilor who also claimed to be a victim of the discrimination.

The villagers said that they were also being overlooked for projects known
as "food for work", whereby they perform tasks to develop their residential
areas and get maize grain in return.

A local chief who spoke on condition that he is not named for fear of
victimisation by the government, confirmed the claims this week, saying the
traditional leaders were given such orders early this year by the
Matabeleland South provincial Governor, Angeline Masuku.

"We are doing as we were told. If we not do that, we would be accused of
supporting the MDC ourselves and lose all benefits from the government,"
said the chief.

Both factions of the splintered MDC confirmed having received such reports
from their supporters and accused Mugabe of using old-fashioned ways of
campaigning for the elections.

"That practice is prevailing countrywide and has always been used by the
ruling party each time we prepare for elections. If you are not vetted and
certified to be ZANU (PF) by your traditional leader you cannot access maize
and other essential commodities provided by the government. I myself cannot
directly buy anything from the GMB without using proxy.

"In Binga the government kicked out all Nongovernmental Organisations and
the Matabeleland North governor (Thokozile Mathuthu) openly told people
there that they will not get any assistance from the government because they
support the MDC," said Eddie Cross, the policy co-ordinator in the bigger
MDC faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai.

The GMB's acting Chief Executive Officer, Retired Colonel Samuel Muvuti,
this week rubbished the accusations, saying that the company serves its
customers fairly.

"There is nothing like that. The GMB does not serve any political divide.
Those that raise such claims are just dreaming. Do not waste your time
listening to them," said Muvuti.

Matabeleland South governor, Angeline Masuku also denied claims attributed
to her.

"ZANU (PF) does not force people to support it. We are a people-driven party
and they support us at their own will. I never said that I would
discriminate against anybody in my province. I also do not know that there
is such discrimination in my province. If it is there, then people should
bring it to my attention and I will take it from there," she said.

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ZNSPCA report JULY 07

We regret we have had so little time to communicate with you all.  As you can imagine we are all kept extremely busy at present.  Please find below a report which our Chief Inspector has still managed to compile.  Thank you all for your unfailing support and concern at this difficult time for the Society.
Kind regards
Bernice Robertson Dyer
General Report from ZNSPCA Inspectorate Team

The last few months have been a test of endurance for our small team.  With our personal lives being affected through the shortages of basic food stuffs, we have pulled together as a unit and shopped around to ensure that our families (including our pets) have sufficient food in order for us not to worry about our loved ones whilst we focus on our jobs. 

The Inspectorate team have travelled extensively despite three major breakdowns within our vehicle fleet.  Our National fleet has covered 9,118 kms in the month of July.  Every month we try to reach new areas, but the current situation in the country has shifted our operations once again from proactive to primarily reactive.  A significant amount of time has been spent working with our Member Societies around the country.  ZNSPCA has directed all its Member Societies to suspend any rehoming activities due to the unstable situation in Zimbabwe.  Our National Rehoming Policy is very strict in order to ensure the stability and comfort of new homes and the provision of lifelong care for any animal adopted.  We cannot perform this task at present as the current shortages of food (human, as well as animal), water and the unstable climate will result in animals being starved or abandoned.  Unfortunately, this means that all surrended animals and animals past their pound time will have to be euthanised.  ZNSPCA have seven Branches that we look after in the country.  These Societies have fallen under our care due to lack of committees and staff and no available resources. The Inspectorate team has spent time at all of these Branches ensuring that the National directive is carried out and creating public awareness of the plight of all animals in the present crisis.  Time has also been spent liaising with the six other Societies ensuring that the staff have sufficient drug stocks and resources to enable them to deal with the inevitable increase in surrended and abandoned animals. 

All animals in the country share the peril faced by domestic pets in Zimbabwe.  ZNSPCA is concerned for the future of livestock animals and wildlife in captivity.  The vast shortages of stockfeed for livestock has serious repercussions and huge losses have already been incurred by various industries, poultry being the first to be affected due to the daily demand for proprietary food by the birds.  With the temporary revocation of all licences from private abattoirs and the controlled price of meat, it is no longer a viable option to slaughter farming stock, leaving the farmer with scant compensation for destocking his herd in order to cope with the shortage of food.  The lack of rain last season has only compounded the problem as available grazing around the country is very limited, so all animals should be receiving supplementary feed.  ZNSPCA is monitoring farming activities in order to intervene where necessary to prevent cruelty.

At the majority of captive wildlife facilities around the country, the preponderance of animals being kept are carnivores, most of which are lions.  With the scarcity of fresh meat, ZNSPCA is uncertain as to how the daily requirements of the carnivores are going to be met.  We are currently working closely with Parks and Wildlife Management in order to map out a way forward that is both viable and humane.  Our concerns are that owners are going to look towards hunting the already depleting natural wildlife in order to feed the animals in their care, and elephants are not being excluded from the list of animals being targeted to convert into a food source for, in our opinion, an already unmanageable number of carnivores in captivity. 

With the population getting hungrier and no food on the shelves to alleviate the situation, the inevitable result has been the first incident of a companion animal being eaten.  ZNSPCA has initiated an awareness campaign in order to educate the relative authorities as well as the public on the ethical and moral issues regarding the killing and consumption of our trusted companion animals. In terms of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act we may press charges for killing any animal inhumanely but in the face of starvation and the burgeoning number of stray and abandoned animals the moral issues become far more complex and we should not be too hasty in our condemnations when animals and people are suffering equally.

Draught animals have also joined the list of meat sources for humans, with the theft and slaughter of donkeys, which some unscrupulous individuals are selling as ‘beef’ to desperate consumers.  This also deprives the owners of what is usually their only means of generating an income.  And once again, the natural wildlife is now being hunted and poached all the more, to satisfy the hunger of our people. 

Besides dealing with the abovementioned issues, we still manage to check animals wherever we travel.  In the month of July, with the assistance of the National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, we confiscated and released 754 crocodiles.  The owner is facing prosecution under the Cruelty Act.  We also confiscated a number of security dogs, which are now under veterinary care and the companies are facing charges of cruelty.

To illustrate to you all, the number of animals whose lives have been improved by a visit from a National Inspector, hereunder is a list of animals attended to in the month of July:

Donkeys: 1,379

Dogs:   322   

Cats:   102

Horses:        25    

Cattle:  465    Sheep:  24

Goats:        104    

Chickens: 1,004   Ducks:   30

Geese:     8    

Turkeys:   4   

Snakes:   78

Crocodiles:  754    

Exotic Fish:   15    

Guinea Pigs:  13

Parrots:    14     

Rabbits:    12    

Other reptiles: 39

Pigs:     5    

Lions: 79    

Other wildlife:  48

These numbers do not include inspections where we find no conditions that need improvement.  We are proud to have been able to help these animals when the majority of our time in July was diverted to issues detailed earlier in this report. 

July did bring great news in general for the donkeys of Zimbabwe with Lotto granting us the finances to purchase 500 harnesses to launch a new Donkey Harness project.  The project is aimed at enhancing our existing Outreach program which promotes the welfare of donkeys throughout Zimbabwe by ensuring that all draught donkeys have comfortable, properly fitted harnesses whilst they work.  The National Inspectors will issue the 500 harnesses as they travel  the country, replacing old and badly designed ones (or yokes) that are causing pain and suffering to the donkeys.  We will now be appealing to members of the public to sponsor a harness in order to achieve our ultimate aim.  Each month we will publicise the number of donkeys that have benefiting from having correct harnessing fitted.  The National team are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the 500 Lotto harnesses, expected in the next week, as the cruelty we see due to bad harnessing has always affected us because although we treat the wounds and try to pad the harnesses, we are aware that our work only offers short-term relief for the animals.  We will now be able to drive away knowing that we have made a long-term difference in each donkey’s life!  If anyone is interested in “adopting” a donkey through the provision of a new harness, please contact our HQ for details.

Good news like the Donkey Harness project, motivates and inspires us to keep going and achieve our objective of preventing cruelty.  We recently held an Inspectors’ training course that will see the National Team being increased by two Inspectors that, once they have completed the field assignments tasked to them, will be proposed for certification by the Minister of Environment and Tourism.  We look forward to the training of further relevant personnel in order to strengthen our team and improve animal welfare throughout the country.

The National Inspectors are constantly appreciative of the support that we receive from the National Board, with special acknowledgment to our hard working Chairperson, which enables us to perform our duties regardless of the situation in the country.

We also respectfully acknowledge NSPCA South Africa and its member Societies for their continuous unwavering support as well as other stakeholders and members of the public.  Take away this framework of people that care and the animals of our country would face a bleak future without the protection that ZNSPCA provides for them at present.  


Glynis Vaughan

Chief Inspector


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Glen Norah women protest after disabled child falls into raw sewage

By Tererai Karimakwenda
22 August, 2007

The continued failure by Harare city officials to repair the collapsed
sewerage systems has created serious health hazards on the streets and
residents in the high-density suburbs are beginning to organize local
district protests. Precious Shumba from the Combined Harare Residents
Association reported that on Tuesday about 30 angry women in Glen Norah
descended on the district offices after a disabled child fell into raw
sewage and suffered serious injuries. The child was rushed to a local clinic
that turned out to be closed. There was no staff because city health
personnel are still on strike.

Shumba said the women challenged officials to take action to repair the
sewage, shouting that they will no longer sit and watch. In a similar action
residents of Dzivarasekwa gathered at their district offices on Wednesday to
protest the raw sewage flowing at their railway station and through the
streets. Shumba said they gave the officials a 14-day ultimatum to take care
of the problem or be prepared to deal with buckets of raw sewage that would
be dumped at their offices. 13 residents in the area reported illnesses
related to exposure to dirty water and other unhygienic conditions in

Shumba explained that residents are beginning to take direct action in line
with resolutions made at several CHRA sponsored public forums. He added:
"This is commendable when you are living in a police state such as we are,
where people are being beaten." Residents have complained that the officials
do not respond to any queries and refuse to meet with them to discuss
crucial issues. He described them as part of "an insensitive regime".

Service delivery in the capital has deteriorated tremendously since the
minister of local government removed the elected mayor and council years ago
and installed an illegal commission. Corruption, mismanagement and the lack
of resources have destroyed many government run institutions.

A statement from CHRA said an unmitigated health disaster is threatening the
capital unless the authorities move fast to intervene. It said every
high-density suburb the group visited in the last two weeks has "sewerage
flowing in almost every two streets, creating fertile environments for the
spread of water borne diseases such as cholera, diarrhea and dysentery,
which have now become part of every day talk among residents." According to
Shumba, there is already a health disaster in the capital. Many people are
complaining of stomach pains and diarrhea.

CHRA said the alarming situation that now exists is due to serious water
shortages and a sewerage reticulation system that has all but collapsed.
The group has alerted the City of Harare, the Zimbabwe National Water
Authority (ZINWA), the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, the Ministry of
Local Government and the Ministry of Water Resources and Infrastructural
Development. But nothing has been done.

CHRA conducted interviews with residents who said their children are falling
sick due to unhygienic living conditions. Raw sewage continues to flow
through the streets where children play and families go for days without
being able to wash their plates. Drinking water is also at risk because it
is being stored in containers for long periods of time. CHRA is also deeply
concerned because the clinics have no drugs and staff are on strike.

Residents in parts of Budiriro have gone for three weeks without water. CHRA
said "ZINWA has done absolutely nothing except to send in exorbitant water

The CHRA statement said: "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

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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CHRA local government weekly update

Welcome to CHRA News Service, provided by the Combined Harare Residents

COMMENT: The responsibility now lies with you22 August 2007

VOTER registration and inspection of the voters' roll ended on August 17
after weeks of anxiety to the majority of potential voters. Those who
managed to vote should make use of that vote, which counts at the end of the
vital election scheduled for March 2008.

Justice must prevail over injustice. What is most worrying to the ordinary
resident is that Zanu PF militants in Mbare, Hatcliffe and Glen View were
accused of being enforcing dubious directives from the Zanu PF Harare
Province to direct citizens to register as Mbare, Hatcliffe and Glen View

The logic behind these manoeuvres is that it is hoped that the Delimitation
Commission will increase the urban constituencies and neutralise the urban
population, considered anti-Zanu PF during elections.   Targeted suburbs are
Glen Norah, Mbare, Glen View and Hatcliffe.

Reports that came from residents indicate that Zanu PF officials were
apparently issuing some proof of residence of an undeveloped piece of land
in Hatcliffe. Those allocated residential stands under the Operation Garikai
at Hopley Estate and other people of no fixed abode were also reportedly
coerced to register as Mbare residents in anticipation of an added Mbare

The majority of these people do not stay in those concerned areas. The
upcoming local government elections will provide the Zanu PF rigging
machinery a taste of what the people can do under extreme circumstances.
Citizens must exercise their right to vote without fear. You vote is your
right, exercise it.

Below are some key articles that appeared in the media:

Landlords warned, Herald 14 August
2007 -----------------------------------------------------------------Page 1
Town goes without water for over two months, Herald 15 August
2007 -------------------------------Page 2
Harare's water problems worsen, Herald 16 August
2007 ----------------------------------------------- Page 3
Infills leave urban centres gasping for fresh breath, Financial Gazette, 17
August--------------------Page 4
Bulawayo Council owed $48 billion, Financial Gazette 16 August
2007 ------------------------------Page 5
Poll rigging ploy exposed in Chitungwiza, the Zimbabwe Independent 17 August
2007-------------Page 6
ZINWA creates new pandemic, Sunday Mail 19 August
2007------------------------------------------ Page 7
Chegutu Hospital hit by power, water shortages, The Standard 19 August
2007 ---------------------Page 8

Landlords warned, Herald 14 August 2007

PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday warned estate agents and landlords against
charging rents in foreign currency as this is against the laws of Zimbabwe.

"I would like to remind estate agents and landlords that they should respect
the laws of the land," the President said in his address on the occasion of
National Heroes Day in Harare.

"It is illegal to charge rentals in foreign currency and to evict a tenant
without the stipulated three months' notice. Landlords take note," he said
to applause from the crowd.

A number of estate agents, mainly in Harare, had resorted to either charging
rents in foreign currency or demanding the Zimbabwe dollar equivalent at the
US dollar parallel market rate prevailing on the date of payment.

Others were reported to be including fuel as a component or whole of rent

The President also warned schools against increasing fees without the
approval of the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture.

"In the education sector, it has become necessary to amend the Education Act
and remove the previous use of the Consumer (Price) Index (CPI) when
calculating school fees increases.

"All schools are now expected to apply to the Ministry of Education, Sport
and Culture for fee or levy increases. The applications will be considered
on their merit and no school should charge, demand or otherwise effect any
fee or levy increases without Government approval," Cde Mugabe said to
ululation by the crowd.

A number of schools, mainly private trust schools, recently advised parents
that they will have to fork out much higher fees next term, saying salaries
which were not frozen were consuming more than half the schools' budgets.

Some, but not all, of the trust schools have set interim fees based on
estimated rises in the cost of living next term, with some asking for
upwards of $200 million. - Herald Reporter.

Town goes without water for over two months, Herald 15 August 2007

DOROWA town in Buhera District has been without water for the past
two-and-a-half months, posing a serious health risk to residents in the
mining town and surrounding areas.

The unavailability of water has been attributed to vandalism, which saw the
breakdown of a ZESA transformer halting pumping of water to residents for
domestic consumption and plunging the area into darkness.

Residents who spoke to The Herald last week said the transformer had its oil
drained by some unscrupulous people.

The Zimbabwe National Water Authority had no diesel for a generator, which
could be used as an alternative for power to pump water.

The affected areas are Dorowa homeownership location, Holy Family primary
and secondary schools, the police station, post office and business centre.

This has seen residents fetching water from unprotected sources. There is
only one borehole at Holy Family Secondary School which cannot service the
whole population of more than 20 000 people.

"The situation has been like this since June this year. Our toilets use
flushing systems and you can imagine what happens when there is no water for
such a long period," said Mrs Sarah Mahwite, a resident in the town.

Residents also faced problems getting their maize milled into maize meal
because the grinding mill in the area uses electricity.

They have to travel to Murambinda, which is about 30 kilometres away to get
to the nearest grinding mill.

"Even at Murambinda, the grinding mill works during the evening because
there won't be electricity during the day, so we have to get there at
night," said another resident, Mr Jairos Kamhunga.

The prolonged unavailability of electricity in the area has also seen wanton
cutting down of trees for firewood.

Indiscriminate cutting down of trees has seen thick forests being cleared by
those selling firewood.

A scotch cart full of firewood is sold for $800 000 and desperate residents
have no option but to buy.

ZESA has been urging consumers to also guard against the vandalism of
electricity infrastructure, which has become rampant with thefts of cables
and transformer oil. A ZESA official in the area said the power utility was
working flat out to restore electricity supplies in Dorowa.

Harare's water problems worsen, Herald 16 August 2007

Harare's water problems continue to worsen by the day as the Zimbabwe
National Water Authority dithers on the capital's water supply solutions and
repair of damaged water points.

ZINWA has been able to repair a major leak along Seke Road, opposite the old
SPCA offices.

Residents of St Martin's, Sunningdale and Hatfield are now fetching water
from the vandalised water point, which has been losing millions of litres of
treated water daily since January.

Similar leaks are all over the capital but reports by either the media or
residents seem not to be listened to.

Three weeks ago, The Herald published a picture of the leak, prompting ZINWA
engineers to attend to the problem but it seems they only managed to divert
the leakage and left the water to continue going to waste.

Yesterday, The Herald observed several women and young children doing their
laundry using dirty containers to fetch water from the source exposing other
users to contamination.

A tour of Chitungwiza showed that the whole town was generally dry with
residents fetching water from unprotected water sources, most of them in
vleis, which are used by residents to relieve themselves when there is no

The more desperate cases were fetching water from storm drains, bringing to
the fore imminent health hazards like the deadly cholera.

Residents of Mabvuku, Tafara, Budiriro, Zimre Park, Ruwa, Mandara and some
western suburbs have not received reliable water supplies for some time now,
often going for three to four consecutive days without supplies.

While ZINWA publishes a daily water status report in which it normally
attributes problems to pump failures and electricity problems at the Morton
Jaffray Water Treatment Plant, the ongoing water problems are not clearly

The water authority has not been able to explain why it fails to keep enough
water in its reservoirs.

This water should be used when there are problems to do with power and pump

The water authority has also not fully explained why it has failed to
adequately repair vandalised water points.

The material needed could be fabricated locally within the ZINWA workshops.

According to the status report, residents of Hatcliffe and Philadelphia were
supposed to get water late yesterday while problems in Mt Pleasant Heights
were a result of mechanical problems at the Lomagundi pump station.

The Deputy Minister of Water Resources and Infrastructural Development, Cde
Walter Mzembi, yesterday inspected the major leak along Seke Road and was
shocked with the huge water loss.

He also expressed disgust at the poor workmanship of the ZINWA engineers,
who attended to the problem.

He said a thorough investigation into the last team of engineers that worked
on the leak would be carried out to establish why they left the job
incomplete and why the matter has not been attended to since January.

"This is equivalent to a doctor who leaves a pair of scissors in someone's
stomach after an operation," he said.

A visibly irritated Cde Mzembi said the residents who were fetching water
from the point could not be entirely blamed because anyone would want to get
the water for free.

"We are just losing too much water.

"We need solutions that identify with residents and that makes them integral
partners in problem solving," he said.

It, however, remains to be seen whether any action would be taken to avert
imminent disaster.

Infills leave urban centres gasping for fresh breath, Financial Gazette, By
Clemence Manyukwe

TICHAONA Machingauta has lived in Kuwadzana since 1984 and recalls with
nostalgia his childhood in the high density suburb situated on the western
part of the capital.

Much of his youth was spent playing with a plastic ball on an open space
near his home. The "ground" has long been lost to urban farming, but the
final onslaught is now coming: houses taking shape on all available open

Since 2000, Tichaona has seen a rapid decline setting in, uncollected
garbage, blocked sewerage, potholes and the disappearance of trees, the
direct result of punishing electricity cuts.
This decay does not worry him much.

He sees it as temporary, reversible with time. What worries him is the
permanence of the new housing developments.

"That open space was the only playground for the kids. They are now building
houses all over the place. Soon the suburb will be overcrowded," he said.

A town planning expert said this week that the closure of open spaces in
high-density suburbs had adverse effects on residents.

Open spaces are left during initial planning, firstly, because the soils
could be poor, but also because of the need for future developments of
facilities such as crèches and schools.

Space with poor soils is usually left for recreational facilities such as
The expert said the main reason why homes are sprouting up on open spaces is
that it is cheaper to build over existing infrastructure, as opposed to
opening new areas to service for development.

Already, government is struggling to provide basic infrastructure at White
Cliff and Hopley, two farms outside Harare where some of the victims of 2005's
Operation Murambatsvina are settled.
Experts also say council no longer owns large swathes of land around Harare,
with much of it now in the hands of housing co-operatives backed by ZANU PF.

One effect of closing the open spaces, the expert said, is that it creates
"overloading of institutional facilities" such as schools and clinics, as
the initial planning would not have catered for more houses.
"Building houses in open spaces as is currently happening upsets the ratios
in terms of the support services," the expert said.

In Kuwadzana, this "overloading" has started to manifest itself in the form
of overflowing sewerage.
Tichaona says Kuwadzana residents were not consulted over the infill,
although council by-laws require that if an open space is to be closed,
there must be an application for change in land use that must be approved
after consultation with residents.

"Change in land use affects the value of properties in a particular area.
Imagine the noise after a beer hall or industrial site takes over an open
space," the planning expert said.

The Harare Commission has previously conceded that some houses have been
built on sites without proper analysis of the consequences of actions taken.

Every rainy season, houses in Kuwadzana Extension are flooded, as they are
located on low-lying and hollow areas where water collects easily.

In December 2006, then Harare Commission spokesperson Percy Toriro said the
developers had not taken note of flood lines before building the Kuwadzana
Extension suburb.

Constituency information for Kuwadzana on the Parliament of Zimbabwe website
points to an area where facilities are already failing to cater for the
current residents.

One of the recommendations says there is need "for various service delivery
systems to be improved, in fact an overhaul of the whole service delivery
system with regards to water supply, sewer system, refuses collection and
electricity supply is imperative."

Chairman of the Combined Harare Residents Association, Mike Davies, said
they had objected to the land infill programme when it started in the late

"The land infill started with the (Solomon) Tawengwa (council). We objected
to it because green belts are important in cities," he said. "(Infills)
increase density. They have negative social and environmental impact."

Davies alleged favouritism in the allocation of the stands.

Bulawayo Council owed $48 billion, Financial Gazette 16 August 2007

BULAWAYO - Council is now owed $48 billion by residents and government
departments despite offering a 15 percent discount to those who settle their
debts in full and pay their bills three months in advance.

But it said receipts from water had almost doubled between April and May
this year after intensified water cuts.

Residents owed the council $41.6 billion at the end of April and this dipped
to $39.4 billion at the end of the following month.

Receipts from water, however, increased from $6.7 billion in April to $12.2
billion in May due to intensive water cuts.

Outstanding bills for water constituted the bulk of the money owed by
residents and stood at $27.3 billion in April and $26.1 billion at the end
of May.

Government departments, whose figures are one month behind, owed the council
$5.3 billion at the end of March and $8.8 billion at the end of April.

The council now offers a 15 percent discount to those who pay their
outstanding bills in full and pay for services three months in advance.

City treasurer Middleton Nyoni said between May 25 and June 18 some 22
residents had taken up the offer and had paid $9.7 billion. They had been
given discounts totalling $706 738.29.

In May alone 7 316 consumers had their water cut off and 6 476 were
reconnected. They owed the council $940.6 million and $787.2 million was

There was a major blitz in June, which saw a total of 5 695 consumers being
disconnected. They owed the council $1.7 billion but $6.1 billion was
The council said the amount recovered was higher than that owed because
consumers were asked to pay a reconnection fee of $17 450 for those in the
high-density suburbs and $61 065 for those in the low-density suburbs. They
were also required to pay a deposit of $87 000.

Nearly 12 000 consumers in the low-density suburbs have at one time been
disconnected since December but 9 416 were reconnected.

Some 24 015 consumers were disconnected in the high-density suburbs and 20
553 were reconnected.
Final demands were issued to 269 residents who owed the council $97.8
million in May while 209 were handed over to council lawyers. They owed the
council $54.7 million.

The council said consumers who lived close to council boreholes were slower
to clear their accounts because they had an alternative source of water even
after the water cuts.

Poll rigging ploy exposed in Chitungwiza, the Zimbabwe Independent 17 August
2007, Augustine Mukaro

THE government could disenfranchise hundreds of people by excluding their
addresses from the blockers manual that is used to compile the voters' role,
a Movement for Democratic Change MP said this week.

A blockers manual is a list of residential properties' addresses in an urban
constituency. The manual is used to by the registrar of elections to confirm
a voter's address during voter registration.

Chitungwiza MP Fidelis Mhashu said he suspected a deliberate ploy to
disenfranchise known opposition supporters after discovering that his house
and 66 others from his neighbourhood have been excluded from the blockers

"When my nephew went to register to vote and gave my address as his
residence, he was informed that it doesn't exist in the blockers manual
compiled in 2006," Mhashu said in an interview yesterday.

"On receiving such information, I rushed to cross-check with the
registration centre.  Officers checked and said the computer could have
skipped the number. I approached the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission officials
based at Seke 2 High. At perusing the manual, I discovered that house
numbers 2310 to 2377 were all missing, implying that all the tenants of
these houses could be disenfranchised."

Mhashu said the omission was very suspicious since he had been voting in the
past elections. "This is very suspicious," Mhashu said. "My house is not new
or an infill which needed to be added to the manual. It has been there since
1982 and should be automatically included in the manual."

He said his main worry was that the omissions might be prevalent throughout
the country and have gone unnoticed.

"How do we know that this is not rampant throughout the country," Mhashu
said. "This constitutes one of the fundamentals of rigging and might not be
corrected during the voters' roll inspection."

He said although the ZEC officials made an undertaking to correct the
situation there could be a number of people deliberately excluded from

ZINWA creates new pandemic, your pulse with Dr Paul Chimedza, Sunday Mail 19
August 2007

I hope I find you in good health. This week I was prompted to write about
typhoid because of the grave water situation that we are in especially in
the urban areas thanks to the people at ZINWA.

The fact that people now move around with buckets looking for water to drink
from burst pipes in a cosmopolitan city like Harare is a complete shame and
a recipe for disaster. Where our health care systems are already
overstretched because of the Aids pandemic ZINWA is working hard to create
an epidemic of its own. In most areas of Harare we are now getting our water
from the black market at exorbitant prices just like fuel. ZINWA is sure
working hard to get its name in the Guinness Book of Records as the most
useless and inefficient organization.

Typhoid fever is only one of the many diseases that can come as a result of
poor water and sanitation. It is an infectious disease with severe symptoms
in the digestive system in the second phase of the illness. It is caused by
bacteria called Salmonella typhi (S. typhi) that is found in the stools of
infected persons.

If you have typhoid fever you carry the bacteria in your bloodstream and
intestinal tract and can spread the infection directly to other people by
contaminating food or water. S. typhi is spread by eating or drinking
contaminated food or water. Food or water can be contaminated by a food
handler with S. typhi, or may be contaminated if sewage accidentally gets
into the food or water.

Following ingestion the bacteria passes down to the bowel, where it
penetrates through the intestinal mucosa (lining) to the underlying tissue.
If the immune system is unable to stop the infection here, the bacterium
will multiply and then spread to the bloodstream, after which the first
signs of disease are observed in the form of fever. The bacteria then
penetrate further to the bone marrow, liver and bile ducts, from which
bacteria are excreted into the bowel contents. In the second phase of the
disease the bacteria penetrates the immune tissue of the small intestine,
and the often violent small-bowel symptoms begin.

Early symptoms are generalised and include high fever, headache, sore
throat, vomiting, constipation, bloody stools, anorexia, epistaxis,
bruising, abdominal pain and a large spleen may occur.

As the disease progresses, the fever becomes higher, the constipation is
replaced by severe pea-soup-like diarrhoea.

Weakness, profound fatigue, delirium, confusion, agitation, fluctuating
mood, difficulty paying attention (attention deficit), hallucinations and an
acutely ill appearance develop a rash, characteristic only of typhoid and
called "rose spots," which are small red spots appear on the trunk in about
40 percent of patients. A few people can become carriers of S. typhi and
continue to shed the bacteria in their faces for years, spreading the

Salmonella typhi can only attack human beings, so the infection always comes
from another human being, either an ill person or a healthy carrier of the

As it is necessary for someone to be exposed to a certain quantity of
bacteria before symptoms occur, the storage of foods is also of great

They must be kept refrigerated and prepared correctly, so that any bacteria
present is not able to multiply significantly. Only your doctor can tell if
you have typhoid fever. A blood or stool sample is needed for this diagnosis
to be made. The bacteria can be identified from the stool and sometimes from
blood or urine.

Typhoid fever is treated with appropriate antibiotics. You will usually
recover in 2-3 days with prompt antibiotic treatment. People that do not get
prompt medical treatment may continue to have a fever for weeks or months,
and as many as 20 percent may die from complications of the infection.
Intravenous fluids and electrolytes may be given also.

To prevent typhoid fever you must wash your hands well with soap and water
after going to the bathroom and before preparing food items. Always make
sure the water you are drinking water is safe. Maintain cleanliness and
proper sanitation at all times. (Now with ZINWA working so hard to make sure
there is no water how we are going to achieve the above is a mystery.) Get
vaccinated against typhoid fever.

Both injectable and oral vaccines are available. But even if you are
vaccinated, you should carefully select your food and drink, especially when
visiting areas where typhoid fever is common. Ask for drinks without ice
unless the ice is made from bottled or boiled water. Only eat foods that
have been thoroughly cooked. Some complications of typhoid fever include
Intestinal haemorrhage (severe gastrointestinal bleeding), intestinal
perforation, kidney failure and peritonitis.

Till next week take care of yourself and each other. And remember, '. . . in
all your getting, get understanding.' (Proverbs 4 verse 7)

l Dr P. Chimedza is a medical practitioner. Information for this article was
researched from different medical textbooks, medical journals and other
medical information sources for which this author hereby acknowledges. This
column is kindly sponsored by Generation Health. For further information and
feedback on this topic and suggestions on future topics contact him on

Chegutu Hospital hit by power, water shortages, The Standard 19 August 2007

Chegutu District Hospital has stopped performing surgery and is minimising
admissions because of constant water and power cuts, Standardhealth has

Amid claims by Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA), that it does not
interrupt water supplies to hospitals, Chegutu hospital has been hard-hit by
erratic water supplies. The crisis started three weeks ago.

Dr Munyaradzi Mazonde, the acting District Medical Officer, told
Standardhealth the problem of water and electricity had been prevalent for a
long time and has worsened, as both the hospital borehole and generator were
not functioning.

"This problem has been going on for a very long time," Mazonde said, "and
has since worsened because our borehole including the generator which we
used to pump water has not been functioning for years now. It is now
impossible for the hospital to spend a full day with electricity and water."

As part of their efforts to cope with the water and power shortages, Mazonde
said the hospital had stopped performing surgery and was restricting

"What we do is to try to minimise admissions as much as possible and we have
had to stop performing surgery, particularly procedures that require
electricity-driven machines," Mazonde said. "As for water, we send our
vehicles to a nearby hotel to borrow some as they have a borehole."

He, however, said problems always arise as at times they are forced to admit
more patients, citing a recent incident where the hospital received many
patients from Kadoma after an outbreak of diarrhoea in the town.

Mazonde said they had written to the Mayor of Chegutu and also approached
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority in an effort to negotiate so that they
are spared the water and power cuts.

"I have written a letter to the mayor for assistance but he is still to
respond. ZESA, however, said the lines that support the hospital also
support a significant number of households so they cannot spare us," Mazonde


"CHRA for Enhanced Civic Participation in Local Government"
For more details and comments please contact us on 011 862 012, 0912 924
151, 011 443 578 and 011 612 860 or email you can also visit
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Cricketers told to where to eat


    August 22 2007 at 11:00AM

By Thando Ncube

Zimbabwean cricket authorities, in an attempt to mask the food
shortages in Zimbabwe, have instructed the Proteas, to eat at the team hotel
and not look for food outside.

A Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) official said they have made sure that there
is enough good food at the team hotel for the Proteas and any player who
went looking for food outside would be taking his own chances.

"We have made sure that whatever the South Africans need in terms of
food is there at the team hotel,"said the official.

"Those who then want to go out to look for food at fast food outlets
would be doing that at their own will. In any case pizza and fast food is
not food, the proper food is at the hotel."

When South Africa arrived in Bulawayo on Monday afternoon, they were
whisked away directly to the hotel for their lunch.

At a reception to welcome Graeme Smith and his team on Monday evening,
there was so much meat that the guests could not finish it.

This measure by the Zimbabwean cricket authorities is a bid to avoid a
repetition of the embarrassing scenario of last week when the South Africa A
cricket team players were turned away at fast food outlets in Bulawayo which
had run out of food.

So infuriated by the reports were ZC that on Monday their
controversial managing director Ozias Bvute nearly assaulted a Bulawayo
based journalist whom he accused of having been responsible for leaking the
story to the South African and UK media.

The Proteas are in Zimbabwe for three one-day international matches,
the first match is in Bulawayo today, while the last two are in Harare on
Saturday and Sunday.

South Africa is using the matches to prepare for the Twenty20 World
Championship, which they will host next month. - Independent Foreign Service

This article was originally published on page 3 of Daily News on
August 22, 2007

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Zimbabwe is not a normal country, and that is why we should not tour there

Sunday Times, SA

Aug 22 2007 12:15AM

Alex Parker: Off the Seam Published:Aug 22, 2007


Playing Bob Mugabe's game.

Cricket South Africa must be feeling terribly proud of

The South African A side has just pounded a Zimbabwean XI
into the Mashonaland dust.

A South African team containing Morne van Wyk, Charl
Langeveldt, Andre Nel, Andrew Hall and Boeta Dippenaar, nogal.

How pleased they must be at their side's victory - by the
margin of an innings and 219 runs.

What a magnificent performance by some of our country's
best cricketers.

How marvellous to have such fine relations with our goodly

It was the Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe who, many
years ago, said that cricket was a great sport because it civilised people.

Evidently Mugabe hasn't played much cricket.

His people starve, they are beaten and cowed and in
desperation they are flooding into this country, hundreds by the day;
anything to escape the hunger and the humiliation and the despair.

The great anti-apartheid war cry was that there should be
no normal sport in an abnormal society.

Clearly anti-apartheid struggle veterans didn't quite mean
what they said at the time.

Perhaps, if they'd been honest, they would have said that
there can be "no normal sport in abnormal colonial society but there can be
normal sport in brutally abnormal post-colonial society".

Ag ja, but it doesn't quite roll off the tongue, does it?

Perhaps that's why they simplified it. So the white
cricketing nations would get the point.

Well, they did.

Australia and England and New Zealand got the point. They
supported the South African isolation fully.

They understood when they saw the protests at Trafalgar
Square outside South Africa House. They got it.

And they still do. It's just that they seem to be on their
own these days.

The ICC's shameful silence about a painfully abnormal
society is evidently not driven by logic, but at least in part by some
playground- level post-colonial chippiness on the part of the South

Following the inviolable logic of the "no normal sport in
abnormal society" maxim, South Africa A should not have been wasting their
time playing the second-rate cricketing representative of a nation being
starved to death by the self- importance of a few megalo- maniacs.

But logic goes out the window when matters of race crop

The ICC and CSA are making it very clear how they feel
about all this.

They, in Times New Roman bold print, are saying that black
dictators starving black people is okay.

Black people don't mind being disenfranchised and robbed
by other black people.

A black man ruining a black nation is fine by us.

How appallingly shaming it is that it's only old England
and her cronies that continue, quietly, to apply the very mantra that helped
free us here in South Africa.

Oh, how quickly we forget.

How duplicitous of our cricketing leaders to sell our
friends and neighbours in Zimbabwe down the Limpopo because of something as
ephemeral as a chip on our post- colonial shoulders and as banal as TV

Such expedience was unacceptable in the fight against
apartheid, and it's unacceptable today.

Those with vested interests will accuse people of racism
and they will accuse people of double standards and they will muddy the
water with inane chuntering about contractual obligations.

But those of us capable of independent thought know one
thing to be absolutely true: next time Zimbabwe A must come to us.

We are free - in part because when we said "no normal
sport in abnormal society", we meant it.

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