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

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There's no place for traitors, says Mugabe
          August 28 2005 at 03:33PM

      Harare - President Robert Mugabe warned mourners at the funeral of a
top ruling party official on Sunday that Zimbabwe was "threatened by
treachery from within" and indirectly blamed the country's former colonial
power Britain.

      Speaking at the burial of Josiah Tungamirai, a veteran of Zimbabwe's
1970s independence war and a member of ruling Zanu-PF's supreme
decision-making politburo, Mugabe beseeched mourners to keep the country out
of the hands of "puppets".

      The veteran leader, in power since independence in 1980, routinely
criticises the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change as a stooge of
Britain, which he says has sought to oust his government since 2000 over its
controversial seizure of white-owned farms for blacks.

      He said on Sunday Zimbabwe was "being threatened by treachery from
within the country, threatened naturally by that treachery as it extends
outside the country and invites our erstwhile coloniser once again to
recolonise us.

      "Look after this country. Don't let the puppets take it. This country
is ours for all eternity. Zimbabwe is no home for traitors, for political
stooges, for crooks and political cowards," Mugabe said. Tungamirai died in
neighbouring South Africa where he was receiving treatment for a kidney
ailment. He was the country's first black airforce chief and minister for
indigenisation and empowerment.

      Tungamirai's ministry was the main engine of a programme designed to
shift control of Zimbabwe's economy from minority whites to the country's
black majority.

      Britain has led international criticism against Mugabe over the land
seizures, which critics say have undermined the key agricultural sector, and
over charges that the ruling Zanu-PF party has rigged elections since 2000.

      ZANU-PF denies the charges, and accuses its local and foreign
opponents of the land reforms of carrying out a campaign of sabotage against
Zimbabwe's economy, leading to chronic shortages of foreign currency, fuel,
record unemployment and employment.

      Critics however say Mugabe, 81, has mismanaged what was once one of
the most promising economies on the continent, leaving the former food
exporter grappling with intermittent shortages.

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Zim power supplier up tariffs by 100%
          August 28 2005 at 03:30PM

      Harare - Zimbabwe's electricity provider has got the green light to
double tariffs in the latest blow to consumers grappling with poor service
and sky-high inflation, the state-run Sunday Mail said.

      The Zimbabwe Electricity Regulatory Commission gave the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) the go-ahead for an "interim tariff
increase of up to 100 percent", the newspaper said.

      A ZESA official said the structure of the new tariffs, applicable with
retrospective effect from Friday, were still being worked out.

      "It would be in breach of standing regulations if we were to reveal
the figures, as we are still breaking them down for each category of our
customers," a senior unnamed ZESA official was quoted as saying by the

      "The commission has underlined that the charges are only for the
interim because they are still working on the proposals we submitted."

      "They said this was being done to grant ZESA relief in the meantime
while they worked on a structure that caters for efficiency gains and
customer service," he said.

      The Sunday Mail said ZESA had asked for a "much higher review" but the
power regulator put a ceiling of 100 percent to "strike a balance between
the company's viability and customers' affordability".

      Currently domestic consumers have to pay the state-run electricity
provider a service charge of ZIM$7 391 (R300) per month and three dollars
for each ampere consumed.

      Industries are charged a fixed rate of ZIM$68 413 monthly as service
fees while those in the farming sector are charged ZIM$22 111 monthly. The
tariffs for actual electricity used varies from sector to sector.

      Zimbabweans have been reeling under power cuts and poor service but
the ZESA official said this was due to lack of cash.

      The official told the Sunday Mail that it was become difficult to
respond to problems on a timely basis "because funds required for the
purchase of critical equipment in some instances were restrictive and this
compromised the system", he said.

      He said things would get somewhat easier with the new tariffs in place
but warned that blackouts would continue.

      "The issue requires huge investment in power generation," he said.

      Zimbabwe's once-model economy has been in a downturn for the last five
years, characterised by runaway inflation and perennial shortages of foreign
currency and basic commodities.

      The situation has been blamed partly on controversial land reforms
that have diminished food production and the country's isolation from its
traditional trading partners in Europe following the 2002 presidential
election, that observers charged was rigged. - Sapa-AFP

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Zim bill 'to boost looting'
28/08/2005 12:04  - (SA)

Fanuel Jongwe

Harare - Zimbabwe's parliament meets on Tuesday to vote on a bill that will
bar white farmers from legally challenging land seizures, a move they say
will further undermine the country's democratic credentials.

The Constitutional Amendment Bill will also prevent people deemed
anti-government from travelling abroad and introduce a bicameral parliament
which critics say is meant to boost President Robert Mugabe's hold on the
legislature and accommodate more ruling party members.

"The new bill will effectively suspend the rule of law, undermine the
judiciary and will be a blow to investor confidence," said Leslie George
Smith, a member of the all-white Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU).

Smith, a former high court judge, said the CFU was not opposed to
"transparent and lawful land reform" but was concerned the reforms would
allow the state to grab land with impunity and without compensation.

The bill reads: "A person having any right or interest in the land shall not
apply to any court to challenge the acquisition of the land by the state and
no court shall entertain any such challenge."

Another CFU member said on condition of anonymity that the "bill will merely
legalise and encourage widespread looting of the productive sector in
Zimbabwe which would lead to further unemployment and crime."

He said it would also legitimise "a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the
productive Euro-African sector as part of a political campaign to eliminate
all forms of opposition or perceived opposition against the ruling party."

A committee of lawmakers who consulted interested parties three weeks ago,
urged parliament to amend the clause on farm seizures to allow aggrieved
farmers to seek redress in court.

"It would be in furtherance of the tenets of natural justice that any
aggrieved person be given the right to approach the courts for arbitration
where there is a dispute," the committee said in a report to parliament.

The Zimbabwean government last month published proposed constitutional
reforms that will allow the state to assume ownership of farms immediately
after a property has been officially listed for expropriation.


The reforms will also allow the government to confiscate passports and
impose travel bans on people who it thinks pose a risk to the "national,
public and economic interests of the state."

Former information minister Jonathan Moyo described the clause on travel
restrictions as "paranoia gone too far," adding that all one needed nowadays
was a password and not a passport to interact with people abroad.

Zimbabwe's land reforms, which began, often violently, in 2000 after the
rejection in a referendum of a government-sponsored draft constitution, have
seen about 4 000 white farmers evicted from their properties.

The land has been redistributed to landless blacks in a move that the
government has said is designed to correct imbalances created by colonial
rule, when the majority of prime farmland was owned by some 4,500 whites.

Critics say the majority of the beneficiaries lack farming knowledge and
depend on government handouts.

Human rights lawyers say about 4 000 former white commercial farmers are
challenging the seizure of their properties.

Lovemore Madhuku, a constitutional law expert and head of a leading civic
group, said: "This is a government which is refusing to change its stance in
undermining all tenets of democracy."

Irene Petras, spokesperson for the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
said: "By its very nature, the amendment bill seeks to abolish the bill of
rights and usurps the powers of the judiciary in Zimbabwe."

For the bill to be passed, the governing Zanu-PF needs 107 votes, the exact
number of members it has in parliament.
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FEATURE-Author decries Africa's "vampire-like" leaders
      28 Aug 2005 01:03:00 GMT

      Source: Reuters

By Ed Stoddard

JOHANNESBURG, Aug 28 (Reuters) - British writer Martin Meredith pulls no
punches in his assessment of Africa: it is a bloody mess, its leaders are to
blame, and no amount of aid from the West will solve that.

"Most African states have become hollowed out. They are no longer
instruments capable of serving the public good," he concludes in his
recently published 'The State of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of

"African governments and the vampire-like politicians who run them are
regarded by the populations they rule as yet another burden they have to
bear in the struggle for survival."

Covering Africa's past five decades, the book seeks to broadly answer one
topical question: how has a continent with so much potential become the
poorest in the world?

Africa's plight was headline news with the July summit of the Group of Eight
rich nations who pledged to double aid to the continent to $50 billion by
2010 and also agreed a package of debt relief for some of its poorest

Meredith, who has written several books on African subjects, is sceptical.

"Debt relief and aid are not easy options but they are the easiest of those
available," he told Reuters in a telephone interview.

"The G8 initiative is addressing the wrong end of the problem. It cannot be
resolved without Western assistance but it leaves you with the problem of
mismanagement of government. This cannot be resolved just through Western
aid," he said.

Many writers have shared his critique of the central role of state leaders
in Africa's demise, noting that political power is often seen as a path to

But other analysts see more signs of hope.

"Africa is turning the corner under the imperative of greater accountability
being driven from below," said John Stremlau, head of the international
relations department at Johannesburg's University of the Witwatersrand.

"The abuse of power by the big man was also easier in the first 40 years of
independence than it is today because the international accountability was
lower ... In a post-9/11 world there is a greater concern about having
politically capable states."


Meredith, however, sees African leaders' support for someone like Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe -- whom Western leaders and African critics accuse
of human rights abuses -- as a hangover from past that does not augur well
for the future.

Admiration for the continent's people and places comes through in his latest
book and he does not ignore other well-known factors stunting African
development, though some analysts have given them more prominence.

The continent suffered debilitating foreign intervention, from a slave trade
that uprooted millions to the cynical diplomacy of the Cold War, and faces
environmental stress and a heavy reliance on commodities.

But he saves his wrath for Africa's leaders and the world powers he says has
propped them up.

The book portrays government incompetence, greed and cruelty on a staggering

When the West African nation of Ghana gained independence from Britain in
1957 -- making it a beacon of hope as the first African country to shake off
colonial rule -- few could have foreseen what lay ahead for it and much of
the continent.

"No other African state was launched with so much promise for the future,"
Meredith writes.

"Ghana embarked on independence as one of the richest tropical countries in
the world, with an efficient civil service, an impartial judiciary and a
prosperous middle class."

But its founding father Kwame Nkrumah pursued ruinous policies while
maintaining an iron grip on media which ceaselessly praised him. He presided
over soaring public debt and widescale graft.

"The result of Nkrumah's handling of the economy was calamitous," writes
Meredith. "Ghana by 1965 had become virtually bankrupt."

Nkrumah was ousted in a coup in 1966, making Ghana an African trendsetter in
more ways than one.

Ghana's leader was just one of many colourful but sinister characters on the
post-colonial stage.

There was Jean-Bedel Bokassa of the Central African Republic, who had 17
wives and a reputation for cannibalism, Uganda's ruthless Idi Amin and
Francisco Macias Nguema of Equatorial Guinea, who closed all libraries and
banned the word intellectual -- only to be deposed and murdered by his
equally brutal nephew Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.

In the case of Equatorial Guinea -- a tiny central African nation with large
offshore deposits of crude oil -- Meredith sees little hope of outside help.

"You have to look to Washington to see what its priorities are. Equatorial
Guinea is a corrupt and murderous dictatorship. But what are George Bush's
priorities? It is oil security, not good government."
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Mugabe rips opposition church leaders

Sunday, August 28, 2005 Posted: 1640 GMT (0040 HKT)

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- President Robert Mugabe lashed out Sunday at church
leaders who have been among the most outspoken critics of Zimbabwe's human
rights record.
Addressing the funeral of Josiah Tungamirai, Mugabe recalled that the
Cabinet minister and retired air force commander had quit a Catholic
seminary to join the fight against white rule in what was then Rhodesia.

Tungamirai's goal had been "to serve others, something which is sadly
missing in some churches today," Mugabe said. "Zimbabwe is no home for
traitors, for political stooges, for political crooks and cowards."

Mugabe's comments came shortly after an Anglican bishop who is a strong
supporter of the president was brought before an ecclesiastic court on
charges ranging from besmirching the church to incitement to murder.

Harare Bishop Nolbert Kunonga has not been asked to answer the accusations
and faces no criminal charges. The case was left in disarray when the
Malawian Supreme Court judge presiding over the ecclesiastic court walked
out declaring he had never seen anything like it.

Mugabe, who lead Zimbabwe to independence in 1980, has been widely
criticized for his increasingly autocratic rule.

Children's welfare groups united Sunday to demand an end to forced evictions
under a slum clearance campaign that the United Nations estimates has
destroyed the homes or livelihoods of 700,000 people.

The groups took out a full-page add in the independent Sunday Standard
newspaper to announce the formation of an alliance called the Child
Protection Working Group, made up of local and international aid groups,
faith-based organizations and U.N. agencies.

The alliance said the government's Operation Murambatsvina -- Drive Out
Trash -- was exposing children to "exploitation, abuse and violence."

It demanded an immediate end to the evictions and measures to protect
children affected -- risking heavy fines, seizure of assets and jail terms
for defying a government ban on non-governmental groups that involve
themselves in "governance issues."

Thousands of children have missed schooling, had their examinations
disrupted, or been separated from their families "as a result of continual
population movements," said the alliance.

"In order to meet their own and families' basic needs, children, especially
adolescent girls and boys, have resorted to risky activities which put them
at risk of exploitation," it said, a reference to a reported increase in
prostitution and substance abuse associated with the demolitions.

The alliance demanded unrestricted access to assess the effects on children
across the country so it can prepare relief plans. U.N.
Undersecretary-General Jan Egeland on Friday accused Zimbabwe of blocking an
emergency appeal for millions of dollars to help victims of forced evictions
by arguing over the text of the appeal.

Zimbabwe authorities claim the evictions have stopped and rebuilding has
begun. But more than 600 people were last week removed from a farm near
Harare by baton-wielding paramilitaries for unspecified reasons.

The alliance said it was committed to "collaborative engagement with the
government" and pledged to "support any measures implemented by the
government to ensure the best interests of children".

Government officials did not respond Sunday to the group's demands.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Clean-up targets bottle stores

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Aug-29

OPERATION Restore Order/Murambatsvina - which claimed the scalp of home
industries, informal traders, housing cooperatives and "illegal" housing
structures - has turned on bottle stores forcing them to close shop.
Some bottle store operators in Harare told The Daily Mirror yesterday that
city authorities had withdrawn their licences without warning citing
unspecified "irregularities."
The City of Harare issues liquor licences to traders through the Liquor
Board, its licencing inspectorate.
"The city authorities have refused to renew our licences without warning.
They are citing unspecified irregularities. It looks like most bottle stores
are on their way down," a bottle store owner said.
"There is every reason to suspect foul play because they are also a player
in the market. It is quite awkward that they should be both a player and the
referee. To me they are trying to turn their bars into a monopoly."
Information reaching this newspaper alleged that some bottle stores have
already ceased trading after failing to renew their licences. Sources in the
Harare City Council alleged that the Liquor Board, acting on a discretionary
decree issued by the Ministry of Local Government and Urban Development,
refused outright to renew licences for some bottle stores outside the ambit
of council on expiry.
Bottle store operators claimed that the policy twist was an underhand plot
to buttress the beleaguered Rufaro Marketing (Pvt) Ltd in a last-gasp
attempt to assist it regain lost market share taken over by innovative
private traders. Rufaro Marketing is a subsidiary of the Harare city Council
running a chain of bars and bottle stores. The company has been experiencing
a precipitous tailspin since the 1990s following the proliferation of
private liquor outlets after the World Bank/International Monetary Fund
(IMF) prescribed market reforms.
Harare spokesperson Leslie Gwindi yesterday told The Daily Mirror that the
local government ministry had since appointed an interim board to revamp
Rufaro Marketing recreational facilities to full throttle.
Gwindi said: "The minister of local government and urban development has
appointed an interim board that is looking at that (the refurbishment of
council bars and bottle stores). We are currently revamping our bottle
stores and bars to bring them back to operate at full throttle.
"The investment will restore their profitability."
Gwindi declined to comment on reports that the Liquor Board was refusing to
renew bottle store licences.
"I cannot comment on that. Talk to the Liquor Board," Gwindi said.
The chairman of the board, Arthur Manasseh could not be reached for comment
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Zesa to engage China in coal deal

Shame Makoshori
issue date :2005-Aug-29

NATIONAL power generation and distribution company, Zesa Holdings will seek
to take up a controlling stake in the coal extraction project that the
company is set to enter into with Chinese-based investors as efforts to
increase electricity generation capacity gather momentum.
The Business Mirror understands that having a strong representation at board
level with the Chinese investors would enable Zesa to influence decisions
and scuttle any moves to unilaterally increase coal prices, which would
precipitate more increases in the power utility's production costs.
"We will take up a controlling stake because we want to avoid a situation
whereby our foreign investment partners will increase coal prices
unilaterally as this invokes increments in production costs," Zesa officials
said on Thursday.
Zesa recently entered into the coal mining deal with the Chinese to reduce
costs of purchasing coal and correct earlier sporadic shortages from sole
supplier Hwange.
Several Chinese companies have expressed interest in investing into Zimbabwe's
mining sector with international technologies concern, China National
Earotechnology Import and Export Company (CATIC) indicating that it is ready
to pour in at least US$350 million.
CATIC is the holding company of AVIC 1 and 2, the subsidiaries that
assembled two MA60 jets delivered in April this year.
"The company is ready to invest between US$350 million and US$400 million
into this country's coal mining sector with Zesa Holdings and they would
also set up a methane extraction plant," Zimbabwe's ambassador to China
Chris Mutsvangwa said recently at a ceremony to receive the planes in
Victoria Falls.
The power supplier requires extra coal supplies to run its thermal power
stations as sources revealed that Zesa's efforts to take up shareholding in
Hwange Colliery in order to have some control of the raw material had hit a
brick wall.
The coal shortages resulted in intermittent power shortages, which corporate
affairs manager Obert Nyatanga blamed on increased theft of transformers and
destruction of pylons by thieves.
He said the thieves last week pulled down one of the pylons in Matabeleland
North and the company was battling to restore supplies.
Another pylon, he added, was also pulled down in Mudzi early this year, a
situation that made operations of the company difficult as most of its
equipment was sourced from foreign supplies in foreign currency.
Sources said the Chinese project was part of the company's strategies that
were aimed at cushioning the country from a projected power shortage in the
region in the year 2007, adding that the anxiety that had gripped the market
would soon be taken care of.
"We have a mandate to supply power to the nation, Zesa is a strategic
company and obviously no one will leave the situation to deteriorate to such
levels," a Zesa official said.
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From The Sunday Argus (SA), 28 August

Bets open on who'll lose passport first

"You better change your ways or you will find yourself without a passport,"
was one of several threats shouted across the floor from the government
benches at opposition member of parliament David Coltart last week. He was
accused by veteran Zanu PF politician Kumbirai Kangai of drafting United
States sanctions legislation against Zimbabwe. This made Kangai and some of
his colleagues prohibited immigrants to the US. Coltart retorted that if his
passport was withdrawn it would mean he could "spend more time with my
family" in Bulawayo. Coltart, who gathered much of the information on the
massacres in Matabeleland in the 1980s, is particularly loathed by ruling
party MPs, some of whom are named in his report, Breaking the Silence. "You
have nothing to fear Mr Biti," said Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
during the same session to Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) MP Tendai
Biti, "because we have no evidence of your calling for sanctions." For once
Biti, like Coltart a lawyer in his extra parliamentary life, was in favour
with Zanu PF. He probably gets thrown out of parliament by the speaker more
than any other legislator. He was last kicked out shortly after parliament
resumed last month for calling a deputy minister "a thief".

The exchanges took place in a debate on a constitutional amendment
empowering the state to withdraw travel documents. It is expected to be
passed this week. There is a kind of ghoulish betting race taking place here
as to who will lose his or her passport first when the law is enacted. Most
analysts believe that in the first round Coltart is at pole position with
director of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights Arnold Tsunga. Tsunga lobbied
quietly but determinedly and eventually prevailed on colleagues in the
African Commission of Human and People's Rights to ensure that its critical
report on Zimbabwe was adopted in Abuja in January by the AU Heads of State
and Government. The report enraged Zanu PF in general and President Robert
Mugabe in particular. "I don't need a passport to carry on with my work
which is mainly communicated through electronic mail. So it won't achieve
anything or affect my ability or that of my organisation to report on human
rights violations. It will just be an inconvenience, but an exercise in
futility for Zanu PF which will be further damaged by yet another
demonstration of their intolerance," he said. He laughed in response to the
question of whether he would consider seeking an exit permit if his passport
was withdrawn. "Of course I won't," he said. "There is work to do here."

The United Nations report on demolition of poor people's houses across the
country in May and June infuriated Mugabe and was the final stain on his
reputation. Anyone found to have taken footage of the demolitions which were
screened around the world might also find their passports withdrawn, if they
are Zimbabweans. People on the ground say most were foreigners who came
across the border as tourists and slipped out again with their damning
evidence. Archbishop Pius Ncube rates high on most people's lists of those
whom Zanu PF would like to stop travelling. He has made it clear he has no
fear of any restrictions or punishment, and so losing his passport wouldn't
keep him quiet. But most feel that as Mugabe is a Catholic, he may not want
to offend Rome any more than he has already. For the moment, the turbulent
priest from Bulawayo will probably continue travelling and preaching to
anyone who will listen that the Zimbabwe government is hurting its people.

MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai and party secretary-general Welshman Ncube,
detested as they both are by Zanu PF, are probably also safe, mostly,
analysts feel, because South Africa would be irritated if their passports
were withdrawn. Roy Bennett, former MDC MP who has travelled widely and been
a poignant symbol of resistance since he was released from six months in
prison in June, might also lose his passport as he is always calling for
stronger action against Zanu PF. He was sent to prison for storming across
parliament after he was accused of being "descended from thieves" and shoved
Chinamasa over. He has made it clear he is impervious to Zanu PF's various
punishments exacted against him and his family and associates. There is a
group of bankers who fled into exile in the past few years and who travel on
Zimbabwean passports. Most, however, keep a low profile, and so might not be
seen as frontline enemies of Zanu PF. Biti told parliament this week that
this clutch of 22 amendments to Zimbabwe's British-designed constitution was
the 17th time it had been "molested" in 25 years. "We should not create
constitutions that are going to be used to settle scores," he said. Another
amendment to the constitution removes the right of those whose property,
only defined as "agricultural land" is nationalised to seek adjudication by
the courts.

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From The Sunday Tribune (SA), 28 August

Zim law society united against new Bill

Harare - For the first time Zimbabwe's Law Society has issued a statement
signed by all elected members of its council, including those seen as
supportive of President Robert Mugabe, condemning constitutional amendments
due to become law this week. The Law Society's nine elected council members
put out a statement last week saying that the 22 amendments, particularly
those on freedom of movement and property rights were an "undisguised
frontal assault" which "fully merits censure". It said that the amendments
deprived Zimbabweans of "fundamental rights to own property, secure
protection of the law, and freedom of movement for the people who rely on
the constitution for protection against state action". President of the Law
Society, Joseph James said yesterday that this was an "auspicious moment" in
the history of the organisation. "The statement has every councillor's
signature, to prevent any misunderstanding, or any attempt which might arise
to suggest the council is divided as has happened in the past. It also
prevents any councillor denying they did not support what we have said." The
statement was sent this week to all law and bar associations in Africa and
beyond, including South Africa. The condemnation by the Zimbabwe Law Society
leaves Zanu-PF isolated from all professional institutions including those
which normally stay out of political developments. Even within its own
ranks, the debates in parliament last week were poorly attended by Zanu- PF
and when the Bill passed through last Tuesday, there was none of the usual
ululating from the government benches. "The Law Society of Zimbabwe urges
the government to abandon its moves through the constitutional amendment.and
to commence an open, free and fair consultative constitutional review
process leading to the enactment of a new constitution," the society said.

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Comment from The Sunday Tribune (SA), 28 August

Quiet juggling forms a backdrop to SA's bailing out Zim debt

By William Mervin Gumede

The cantankerous Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe seems to have won again.
In spite of his appalling record of battering the opposition, human rights
abuses and disregarding basic freedoms, he is likely to be bailed out by
South Africa to the tune of R6.5 billion. This is approximately the amount
Zimbabwe owes the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF meets in August
to decide whether to expel the country. A process of formal expulsion is
already in motion. Mbeki and his strategists argue for providing Zimbabwe
with the rescue package that would finally give the South African government
the leverage five years of quiet diplomacy has, so far, spectacularly failed
to secure. Those in the Union Buildings couched South Africa's willingness
to help out on the premise that the worst thing for South Africa is to have
a failed state as a neighbour. "Are we asked to allow people to die of
hunger on our borders?" asked Finance Minister Trevor Manuel, at a talk at
the University of the Witwatersrand this week.

Part of the South African rescue package would be agricultural help
following Zimbabwe's predictable maize crop failure this harvest, that has
left the country with a 1.6 million ton shortfall - not surprising if one
considers the disruption of agriculture production following Mugabe's
mismanagement of land reform. Among the terms of the rescue deal would be
that Zimbabwe returns to the rule of law and that Zanu PF steps up talks
with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change; that Mugabe lifts the
restrictions on the media and civil groups; stops Operation Restore Order, a
controversial urban clean-up campaign and protects the property rights of
South African investments there. It would also compel the Zimbabwean
government to manage its economy "prudently", including reining in runaway
inflation, devaluing the Zimbabwean dollar and raising domestic revenue by
increasing the country's fuel price.

An important element in the renewed eagerness of the South African
government to stand surety for Zimbabwe is that Mugabe has also approached
China for a loan, to hedge against South Africa's refusing to bail out the
country. It appears that the Chinese demand substantial concessions for
granting such a loan. These include access to coal, gold and platinum
deposits. In return, the Chinese would also try to protect Zimbabwe at the
United Nations and IMF. Mbeki fears South Africa's political and economic
interests are at peril if the Chinese get a clear foothold in Zimbabwe -
although the Chinese have been there for some time. China is increasingly
becoming South Africa's political and economic competitor in Africa. Chinese
investments on the continent have surged. Moreover, with the increase in
Chinese investments, that country's political influence in the region has
also been strengthened. Chinese political reach into the region will
presumably go against South Africa's attempts to bring the concept of good
governance to Africa. The symbolic value of the Chinese presence would be
that bad governance does actually pay.

The loan offer to Zimbabwe reflects the belief by Mbeki that Zimbabwe's
economic woes and huge debt are partially to be blamed on the legacy of
colonialism. Thus Mbeki's statement: "It is wrong to say that the debt
problem in Zimbabwe is one of corruption, that money was disappearing to
corrupt politicians". But this is only half true. It is correct that after
liberation in Zimbabwe, the former Rhodesian regime left the new government
with a depleted and ransacked fiscus. The Nats did the same to the incoming
ANC government in 1994. The Zimbabwean government initially spent and
borrowed heavily to give its newly liberated citizens a better life,
following the deep inequities left by the departing regime. Since then, Zanu
PF corruption, kleptocracy and mismanagement have compounded the country's
woes. How is the South African government going to hold the Zanu PF regime
to conditions when they have failed up to now to do so? And how is the South
African government going to ensure that the money is actually going to feed
all the starving people of Zimbabwe - and not only those seen as Zanu PF
supporters? So far, we have had no clear answers.

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From The Sunday Times (SA), 28 August

What's a few trillion between friends?

Everyone talks glibly of the $1-billion South Africa may or may not lend
Zimbabwe. But as President Robert Mugabe's people and our people drag out
their discussions, the value of the "loan" in Zimbabwean currency has grown
a little. Before July 22, the $1-billion loan request (as opposed to loan
offer) was worth Z$12 500 000 000 000. On July 22 it went up to Z$18 500 000
000 000. This week it went up at a managed auction to Z$24 025 310 000 000.
If those dollars were sold on the informal street market, they would be
worth Z$43 000 000 000 000. That's a lot of zeros, even for a banana

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Zimbabwe Vigil – 27th August 2005


A pretty average Vigil.  What’s an average Vigil?  Well, for a start, some fantastic dancing – this time by a recent supporter, Mqhubele.  His dancing, often balletic on his toes, seemed to express the anguish of the people in Zimbabwe.  He ended up lying on his back playing a drum.  The weather was pretty average too: no rain and no sun, not too warm and not too cold.  As usual, we drew supporters from far and wide – a family from Bedford, an MDC official from Leicester, and a sympathiser from Birmingham.  Also, as usual, we had some Zanu / CIO people (it makes us feel so wanted). 


A typical Vigil also has the following – a sympathetic African from another country (in this case an Eritrean who said “We are suffering from the same problems”); an enthusiastic “do-gooder” (in the best sense of someone who is genuinely trying to help).  In this case a very sympathetic chap from East London, Mark, who takes a close interest particularly in West Africa and has kindly offered his support; and a core group of supporters, many of them just out of detention.  These are people who have suffered because of their opposition to Mugabe and inspire us to continue our weekly Vigil in the face of such indifference from the vast majority of the Zimbabwean community in London.


FOR THE RECORD: about 30 supporters came today, about average. 


The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.



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A Vienna sausage costs more that a three bedroom house cost 25 years ago

Fuel has increased by 59,000% in the last 18 months

If you want fuel you have to buy foreign currency on the black market
(illegal) drive 120 kms, smuggle your cash through an international border,
and fill a container.  On return you have to pay duty in Zim $ on the fuel
you have purchased but you are not allowed to take out sufficient Zim $ to
pay the duty anyway

In August you are advised of the new minimum wages for July

Kariba Bream now costs $1,200,000 per kg which is double the price of
imported Hake

Fees in Government schools are increased by 1,000% retrospective for 6
months, whilst private schools are restricted from increasing their fees at

Colgate toothpaste in supermarkets is kept locked in a glass display cabinet
otherwise it will be stolen

Reserve Bank officials enforce laws on illegal currency deals, yet the Bank
uses illegally obtained currency to pay satellite television subscriptions

New Zealand butter is half the price of Zimbabwe butter

Water rationing is introduced four months after the end of the rains  when
the dams are already almost empty

A $10 note is still in circulation and is worth 0,05 of one US cent

A $10 note costs over $3,000 to print

Toilet paper costs more than $10 a sheet - so it's cheaper to use the notes

Banks charge 300% interest  on overdraft but pay 0,001% interest on current
account balances

It is cheaper to hand deliver mail than to use the postal system

Government knocks down houses when there is a housing shortage

It can take up to a year to renew a firearms licence which is only valid for
three years

A replacement drivers' licence can take up to three years

Electricity Supply Commission is unable to send out monthly accounts, so
estimates the usage - a previous average usage of $250,000 p.m. is estimated
at $24 million

A monthly govt. pension of $135 00 will buy one small sip of Coke.   But
this is not an issue because you can't buy cokes anyway.   Pensioners living
outside our borders would receive half one US cent per month


An ordinary washer costs  20 to 30 dollars. If you are lucky enough to find
a coin; drill a hole in it! Our largest coin is $ 5.

If you can find a 1 cent coin you can really "coin" it. It is even made of
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Zim Standard

Schools: Third term shocker
By our staff

PARENTS should brace themselves for a shocking rise in the cost of sending
children to school.

Enquiries by The Standard reveal that there has been a massive increase, in
not only fees which will be backdated to January, but also the cost of items
that are essential to undertake their studies.

The increases are so steep that some students may be forced either to drop
out of school or go without basics.

Rough calculations by The Standard indicate that a parent with a child
attending a government-run school would have to spend between $4 million and
$5 million buying items that were generally affordable a few years ago.

For example, the price of uniforms has shot up to almost $1 million.

At Enbee (Pvt) Ltd, a khaki polyester set uniform now costs $920 000, up
from $500 000 while a pair of shoes ranges from $500 000 to $700 000.

A pair of socks now costs between $80 000 and $120 000 while shirts go for
between $250 000 to $300 000.

It is not only school clothing that has become very expensive. A counter
exercise book which used to be $40 000 last term, has been increased to $78
500 each at Kingston's. A pen now costs $12 000 while a mathematical set
sells for between $83 000 and $90 000.

The prices of textbooks have also shot up. A new general mathematics
textbook for Ordinary Level now costs $236 000 while English for Zimbabwe
costs $260 000.

Apart from these items, parents have to grapple with rising fees which have
been increased by 1 000% and backdated to the beginning of the year.

The Minister of Education, Sport and Culture, Aeneas Chigwedere, last week
threatened to take action against school authorities, who followed his
directive (Circular No 7 Review of School Fees) issued in July for schools
to backdate fees.

School authorities who spoke to The Standard last week vowed to backdate the
fees unless Chigwedere issues another circular cancelling the first

Schools that were charging $300 000 last term are now demanding, $1.2

Highfield Secondary School, which was charging $450 a term, has increased
its fees to $1.4 million this term. Msengezi Government High School in
Makwiro increased its fees to $7 million, up from $3.8 million last term
while Prince Edward School has increased fees to $5 million for day
scholars, up from about $3 million last term.

An official at the school vowed to backdate fees unless Chigwedere withdraws
the first circular sent from his ministry, which gave them the green light
to hike fees.

"We will charge the backdated fees because Chigwedere sent us that circular
directing us to do so. We can't change that because he has said something
different in the media," said the official.

The chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe Teachers' Association, Peter
Mabande, blamed Chigwedere for the mix-up regarding the backdating of fees
as well as the general chaos in the education sector.

"The increase is too sharp and too sudden for most parents. It should have
been gradually increased. However, the amount realised from the increase is
relatively too small to meet educational needs."

Alexios Muzariri, the chairman of the National Association of Primary Heads,
who is also a teacher at Blakiston Primary School, could not be reached for

School Development Association chairman of Chaminuka Primary School in
Chitungwiza, Moses Mazhande, said the increases were necessary for Zimbabwe
to reclaim her status as one of the countries with the best education
standards in Africa.

"Parents have to find ways of making sure that their monies are being put to
good use. What we need is a new minister of education who is consistent on
policy," Mazhande said.
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Zim Standard

Patients panic as fire guts hospital
By Loughty Dube

BULAWAYO - Scores of panic-stricken patients at Mater Dei Hospital, one of
the best medical institutions in the country, were on Friday night lucky to
escape unhurt after fire broke out and caused extensive damage to the
Intensive Care Unit.

However, the fire brigade reported that one patient suffered burns during
the evacuation at the hospital.

The fire whose origin had not yet been established by the time of going to
press broke out at around 9 pm on Friday evening and was contained an hour

The fire brigade initially concentrated on evacuating patients and saving
equipment and some provisions at the institution before putting out the

It remained unclear yesterday why it took so long for the emergency services
to respond. The fire-fighting unit's headquarters is close to Mater Dei
hospital but they only got to know about the fire when it was at roof level.

Bulawayo Fire brigade spokesperson, Linos Phiri, said his team reacted
swiftly to the report but said the fire was already out of hand.

"The fire was reported to us at 22:29 and we arrived at the scene three
minutes later, but when we got there the roof was already collapsing," Phiri
said, adding they were still trying to establish the cause of the fire.

Most of the evacuated patients spent the night on the hospital grounds,
while the rescue services were making frantic arrangements to transfer
patients to other institutions.

Sources who spoke to this newspaper yesterday said authorities at Mater Dei
hospital were negotiating with officials at the underutilised Ekusileni
Medical Centre to arrange transfer of patients.

Ekusileni Medical centre, a brainchild of late nationalist and former Vice
President Joshua Nkomo remains, unused due to disagreements among the
hospital's board of directors.

Relatives of inmates at Mater Dei Hospital, who spoke to this paper
yesterday said they were impressed with the manner the hospital staff and
residents from the nearby Ilanda and Malindela suburbs handled the disaster.

"Malindela and Ilanda residents showed co-operation as they helped move
equipment and patients out of the building before the arrival of the fire
brigade. That explains why there were no lives lost in the incident," said a
resident, narrating events to onlookers yesterday morning.
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Zim Standard

      RBZ officials axed over fuel deal
      By Kumbirai Mafunda

      RESERVE bank governor Gideon Gono has wielded the axe on four of his
senior managers for allegedly botching up a US$60 million fuel loan

      Azvinandaa Saburi, head of the central bank's financial markets
division, Francis Nyathi, head of the external loans coordinating Committee,
Patience Chihota and an unidentified official who both head the central
bank's legal department were on Monday suspended for allegedly "messing up"
on the sourcing of fuel.

      The four are accused of botching up a loan agreement, which the
central bank entered into with an unidentified bank. The loan facility,
sanctioned by Gono in June, could have resulted in Zimbabwe sourcing 100
million litres of fuel.

      The country needs a minimum of 90 million litres of fuel a month for
basic needs and the financial package could have temporarily relieved
distressed motorists and industrialists.

      Gono, who sanctioned the deal, in May told the state media that fuel
supplies would ease "in the next two weeks" on the assumption that the 100
million litres of fuel would have landed in the country.

      But the RBZ boss was forced to eat his words when he came back from a
foreign trip only to realise that the crisis had reached catastrophic levels
as ships remained docked at the Mozambican port of Beira due to non-payment.

      Gono then launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding
the loan facility and sources close to the investigation said the suspended
officials were implicated.

      "The four were accused of sleeping on the wheel to the detriment of
the nation," the sources said. "They were accused of sitting on the offer
and yet the governor had approved the loan."

      The four are expected to appear before the central bank's disciplinary
committee which sources say could consider relieving them of their duties.

      Gono could not be reached for comment yesterday but officials at the
RBZ said Saburi and Nyathi had gone on sick leave, a situation that raised
eyebrows that the two heads of a crucial division could fall sick at the
same time.

      When reached for comment an agitated Nyathi refused to entertain
questions from The Standard while efforts to reach Saburi were futile.

      "Mapihwa nhamba dzangu naani (Who gave you my mobile phone number?) I
can't talk to you. There are people at the RBZ whom you can talk
don't need to talk to me," said Nyathi.

      Government officials have tried in tried in vain to secure supplies
from Libya, Kuwait, Sudan, Angola, Nigeria, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela
and Iran due to the country's poor credit rating. The shortage has disrupted
activities in industry, commerce and agriculture, while commuters have
resorted to walkining long distances owing to the persistent crisis.

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Zim Standard

MDC accuses Nkomo of bias
By Caiphas Chimhete

MEMBERS of parliament from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) last
week petitioned Speaker of Parliament, John Nkomo, over allegations of
"outright partisanship" towards Zanu PF MPs during debates in the House.

The MPs said Nkomo, who is Zanu PF national chairman, was stifling debate in
Parliament by being heavy-handed on opposition legislators, while letting
ruling party legislators "shout" whatever they wanted with impunity.

In the same petition, the opposition legislators also levelled similar
allegations against Nkomo's deputy, Edna Madzongwe, who last week ejected
Harare East MP Tendai Biti from the House for shouting "abusive words" at a
ruling party MP.

MDC deputy chief whip, Thokozani Khupe, last week confirmed that the
opposition party had petitioned Nkomo over "the biased manner" in which he
treated MDC legislators in the House.

She said by ejecting MDC legislators from the House, Zanu PF wanted to
portray opposition legislators as rowdy elements.

"Parliament is not like classroom where there should be dead silence.
Members should be allowed to converse with the next person. He wants us to
behave like school children," said Khupe, adding, "there is not even a
single Zanu PF MP who has been ejected from the House by Nkomo."

She said in the few months that Nkomo has been Speaker of Parliament, more
MDC legislators have been ejected from the Chamber than when Emmerson
Mnangagwa headed the House. Mnangagwa was speaker for five years. He is now
the Minister of Rural Housing and Social Amenities.

"From the way things are going, it appears Mnangagwa was better. When he
(Nkomo) was elected we thought he was level-headed but my God he is worse,"
said Khupe, adding that Nkomo should prove that he was not biased by
addressing the opposition MPs' concerns.

Nkomo was elected Speaker of Parliament soon after the controversial 31
March parliamentary elections, which saw Zanu PF getting 78 seats, MDC 41,
while an independent candidategarnered a single seat.

Nkomo refused to comment on the matter.

"That's a matter they (MDC MPs) can handle with the Speaker and not for
discussion in the media," Nkomo said when contacted for comment.

Madzongwe was said to be attending a meeting.

Two weeks ago, 30 MDC lawmakers stormed out of the Chamber after what they
called unfair ejection of two of their members, Biti and Nelson Chamisa, the
MP for Kuwadzana.

Biti had allegedly labelled Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Sylvester Nguni
a "thief" in retaliation for being called a "traitor" by the former Cotton
Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco) group managing director.

One MDC MP, who has on several occasions been ejected from the House by
Nkomo, said the Zanu PF national chairman was not treating them fairly.

"We have been labelled puppets and traitors by Zanu PF MPs but the moment we
respond that they are thieves, we are targeted for ejection from the House.

"The problem is that Nkomo is coming from dispensation of one-party system.
He is still resident in that dispensation of one-partyism," said the MP who
requested anonymity.

Another MP was also furious about Nkomo's alleged bias.

"Nkomo wants us to behave like we are in a Zanu PF caucus meeting. His
behaviour is uncalled for. We expected him to be level-headed," he said.

The MDC MP said although legislators from both political parties shout at
each other during debates in the House, only MDC parliamentarians were being

"It takes two to tango but always one legislator, from the opposition, is
punished leaving Zanu PF MPs free and shouting what they want in the House,"
he said.

Other opposition legislators who have so far been ejected from the House by
Nkomo or Madzongwe are Job Sikhala (St Mary's), MDC chief whip, Innocent
Gonese and Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga (Glen Norah).
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Zim Standard

Public concern as more ministers succumb to ill-health
By our staff

AS Zimbabwe mourns the death of national hero, Josiah Tungamirai, The
Standard can reveal that a number of ministers are ailing, casting doubt
over their ability to effectively steer the ship in President Mugabe's
"Development Cabinet."

The Standard has established that three ministers and a governor have not
been in good health and have sought treatment during the past few months in
either local hospitals or outside the country.

They are Home Affairs Minister, Kembo Mohadi, Higher and Tertiary Education
Minister Stan Mudenge, Information and Publicity Minister, Ambassador
Tichaona Jokonya, and Harare metropolitan province resident Minister, David

Jokonya who is currently on three months sick leave is unwell and is
believed to have sought treatment in South Africa and then, lately the
United States of America where he is said to be recuperating.

Acting Minister of Information and Publicity, Chen Chimutengwende also
confirmed Jokonya was out of the country.

Mohadi, the Minister of Home Affairs, yesterday dismissed rumours. "Where
did you get that information? I am not sick, right now as we speak I am in a
parade rehearsing for Cde Tungamirai's burial tomorrow (today)," Mohadi

Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Stan Mudenge all but confirmed that
he has not been well. When The Standard enquired about his health, the
minister said: "Ndavanani (I am feeling better now)."

Karimanzira, the Harare metropolitan province resident minister admitted to
The Standard that he has been having problems with his leg but said he is
now on a recovery path, after seeking medical treatment.
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Zim Standard

US Congress plots Mugabe isolation
By Valentine Maponga

A top US Congressional delegation has proposed to selectively engage
government officials and ruling party legislators to find ways to end the
current crisis, in a move likely to spark divisions in President Robert
Mugabe's party.

Gregory Simpkins and Pearl-Alice Marsh, senior professional staff members of
the US House of Representatives International Relations Committee (HIRC),
made the recommendation to the US Congress following a 10-day fact-finding
visit to Zimbabwe and South Africa in July.

In their congressional report, a copy of which is in The Standard's
possession, the delegation noted that by lumping all of Zimbabwe's leaders
in the same category, there would be no channels for discussions about how
to use influential people to reverse Zimbabwe's current slide.

"The Zimbabwe Democracy Economic Recovery Act of 2001 allows for a selective
waiver of the visa sanctions such that cooperative elements of Zanu PF could
be allowed into the United States for discussions, or if a visit to the US
would pose a problem for such Zanu -PF officials, then meetings could and
should be arranged in more neutral settings," reads part of the

They said by isolating the entire ruling party and government, this gave no
encouragement for any officials to change their behaviour or the direction
of the country.

"Zimbabwe has been a persistent problem for US policymakers. It is time for
the executive and legislative branches to devise a mutually agreeable,
coordinated policy to bring Zimbabwe into ranks of African nations who have
developed political and economic stability and help that nation avoid the
certain fate of becoming a failed state if its course is not changed soon,"

Failure to resolve the crisis, they said, would not only have a negative
impact on the country's population, but also will be a tremendous burden for
the entire southern African region.

The report also condemned the "clean-up" operation in Zimbabwe saying it was
cruelly executed as it left a lot of people homeless and others without
sources of income.

They also called for the need to work with the Zimbabwe business community
at home and abroad to build their capacity to survive the economic crisis
and strive towards improving the country's economic situation and provide
humanitarian assistance to the fullest extent possible to the many displaced
people, as swiftly as possible
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Zim Standard

Enquiries as show ends
By our staff

THE Harare Agricultural Show ended yesterday with exhibitors saying they
received more enquiries compared to last year.

Exhibitors interviewed by The Standard said enquiries about their products
were made during the show. An official at Hastt Zimbabwe said 100 orders for
ox-drawn ploughs were made throughout the week.

At Agrifoods stand, officials said the enquiries were on poultry and piggery
stock feeds.

Agro-processing machine specialist, Tanroy Engineering, said although there
were enquiries on their equipment, the company had faced problems in
securing fuel to transport its equipment to the Exhibition Park.

Seed producing firm Pannar said farmers had visited their stand enquiring
about maize seeds in preparation for the forthcoming farming season.

However, their rival, Seedco says maize seeds will be available next month.

ZFC Limited said enquiries this year were higher compared to last year. All
the fertilisers needed by farmers were on display save for ammonium nitrate,
which was not on the stands for the second time in as many years.

Zimbabwe Agricultural Society (ZAS) spokesperson, Chido Makunike, said the
organisation had put 480 stands, which were all taken up.

Makunike said last year ZAS had put 460 stands and all stands were taken up.
The ZAS spokesperson said the organisation put an incentive of $1.5 million
for cattle, exhibitors to encourage them to exhibit next year.

Makunike said the number of tickets sold were higher than last year as 60
291 had been sold as of Friday, compared to 57 562 in 2004.
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Zim Standard

Banned AU envoy to submit report
By our staff

BAHAME Tom Nyanduga, the African Union emissary who was in the country to
assess the widely condemned "clean-up" operation, says he will submit a
report about his aborted mission later this year.

Nyandunga, a member of the African Commission on Human and People's Rights
and Special Rapporteur responsible for refugees and asylum seekers, was in
the country from 30 June to 4 July.

He was not able carry out his mission after the government described
Nyandunga's visit as unprocedural and out of step with protocol.

"I will be reporting to the African Commission in November during its 38th
Session. You are advised to communicate with us in the Commission then,"
Nyandunga said.

The 38th ordinary session of the African Commission will be held from 21
November to 5 December.

He said his visit was prompted by the developments in Zimbabwe, which he
said had implications on humanitarian aspects, especially internal

Nyandunga's visit also coincided with that of United Nations special envoy
Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, who has produced a report, which is highly critical
of the operation.
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Zim Standard

Failure the only option for Gono
Newsfocus by Walter Marwizi

AN online visitor to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) website,, will hardly miss the Central Bank's clear and straightforward

"To become the financial cornerstone around which Zimbabwe's economic
fortunes and developmental aspirations are anchored."

A mission statement below that bold statement explains this would be
achieved through "leadership in the formulation, implementation and
monitoring of policies and action plans for fighting inflation,
stabilisation of the internal and external value of Zimbabwe's currency".

To the majority of Zimbabweans who have followed the activities at the RBZ,
both the vision and mission statement encapsulate the thoughts and
aspirations of Governor Gideon Gono.

Gono who took over the position in December 2003 declared right from the
start that inflation was the number one enemy, and immediately declared his
determination to reduce it to a single digit. To him, "failure was not an
option", as he was frequently quoted saying.

"The period between our medium and long-term vision should see our inflation
levels reducing to a single digit band of between 5 - 9%. That's our
ultimate goal during the life of my governorship!" said Gono, who
immediately turned his attention on the financial sector to signal the start
of his "turnaround" campaign.

His reforms, announced in periodic monetary policy statements, first claimed
the scalp of ENG Capital, a rapidly growing financial empire whose youthful
directors were evidently cutting corners to achieve their goals. A probe in
ENGoperations unravelled an intriguing web of corruption that ran deep in
the sector enabling those involved to reap super profits.

In blitzkrieg style, Gono tamed the menace of a sudden and worrying shortage
of local currency bank notes by introducing high denomination bearer cheques
as a "temporary measure." This was quickly followed by the Homelink
money-transfer scheme which, by enticing Zimbabweans working abroad to remit
their earnings back home through official channels, it was touted as the
panacea to foreign currency scarcities.

For a while, everything seemed to work. Inflation dropped from an all time
high of 622% in January 2004 to 123% in March 2005.

Riding on the crest of this and other achievements, Gono suddenly assumed
greater prominence virtually becoming the de facto Minister of Finance as
his powers encroached into fiscal policy formulation, traditionally the
prerogative of a cabinet minister responsible for finance.

But like all mortals, Gono seems to be losing his grip.

Inflation, his declared number one enemy, appears to be slipping away from
his control while foreign currency reserves have dried up despite the hype
surrounding Homelink.

The flourishing foreign currency black market, which he vowed to exterminate
has simply gone underground, following the government's widely condemned
"Operation Murambatsvina" and the US dollar is now fetching $47 000 to the
Zimbabwe dollar.

His strict supervision of the financial sector has not yielded results as
more asset management firms continue to tumble.

To add to his woes, his own "baby" the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG),
an amalgamation of banks - Royal, Barbican and Trust -continues to face
mounting operational problems.

While he might not admit it in public, Gono is facing the bitter truth that
as long as Zanu PF is in power and pursuing its self-serving policies, he
can never succeed in his quest to bring Zimbabwe back to the path of
economic growth.

President Robert Mugabe, who at one time boasted that no-one could manage
the economy better than he did, remains steadfastly against allowing market
forces to determine interest rates, leaving Gono's hands tied.

A managed system allows the government to borrow cheaply from the market.

"He (Gono) is trying to make bad ideas work, it's not his fault. Anyone in
his position would not have succeeded," economist John Robertson said,
adding that political interference remained Gono's major handicap.

"If I was in his position, I would try my best to convince the master
(Mugabe) to change his ideas. Maybe, Mugabe has decided to change his mind
because Gono has of late, made significant changes to the interest rates."

Announcing his monetary policy statement in July, the governor increased
interest rates to nearly 200 percent and devalued the dollar to $17 500 to
the US$. The devaluation of the dollar continued on the managed foreign
auction where it is now trading at $24 000 to the green back.

The government has a history of carrying out expensive and unplanned
programmes, aimed at consolidating its dominance of the political landscape.

Analysts fear this will increase money supply growth and consequently fuel a
further rise in inflation thereby defeating Gono's efforts.

Daniel Ndlela, an independent economic analyst says Gono was never going to
succeed because the government had destroyed the agricultural sector and
undermined property rights. "He thought he was going to perform a miracle
despite economic fundamentals which were bound to accelerate inflation and
depreciate the Zimbabwe dollar further thereby removing the basis for an
economy to function properly. He faces ultimate failure," Ndlela said.

He added: "Gono has gone full cycle. He can't get out of the circle. It has
closed. He has said all that he had to say."

As Gono plans his next move in his tough battle with runaway inflation, it
might as well be time for him to revise his boastful refrain that "failure
is not an option"as failure is now a real possibility staring him in the
face as long as Zanu PF remains in power against popular will, Gono's
critics say.

Investor confidence continues to dissipate and critics warn that nothing
short of a change in the political leadership will rescue the country from
its worst economic crisis.

Credited with turning around the fortunes of the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe
(CBZ), which he renamed "Jewel Bank" the governor remains a man who cannot
be moved away from his vision.

"As for some of us, we have said and will continue to say with abundant
determination that God willing, we will not rest until the job is done!
Failure is not an option!" Gono reminded The Standard.
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Zim Standard

Obstacles for demolition lawsuits
By Caiphas Chimhete

LITIGATION against local authorities for demolitions of houses during the
"clean-up" operation, which reportedly rendered 700 000 people homeless, has
been slowed down by the need to engage independent property valuers, the
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has said.

ZLHR public interest litigation lawyer, Rangu Nyamurundira, said most of the
people, whose buildings were destroyed, are very poor and find it difficult
to hire private assessors.

He said the courts would need the value of the structures to determine the
amount of compensation.

"With the majority of the people failing to put food on the table, to get
some funds to engage an independent assessor is very difficult,"
Nyamurundira said.

The ZLHR official said very few people had already hired private assessors
but the organisation was working on modalities to assist those who cannot do
it on their own.

"It is costly for poor people because obviously after their properties were
destroyed, they have very little to fall back on in terms of financial and
material resources," said the official.

About 70 percent of Zimbabweans live below the poverty datum line.

The ZLHR is handling litigation cases for co-operatives and individuals,
whose properties were illegally demolished in Harare, Goromonzi and Norton.

However, no case has been filed in the courts as ZLHR is still working on
the logistics.

"We are still working on the cases. Hopefully, we will be able to file them
in the near future," said Nyamurundira, who however could not give the
number of people taking the council to court.

The majority of the people had leases with the local authorities. The local
authorities did not give the 30-day notice to the affected people as stated
by section 32 of the Regional Town and Country Planning Act.

A Mutare-based human rights lawyer, Trust Maanda, said lawyers in the
eastern border town did not take the legal route following Justice Tedias
Karwi's judgment that the demolition of structures at Hatcliffe and Joshua
Mqabuko Nkomo were lawful.

"We stopped the legal route after that judgment because it is precedent,"
Maanda said.

The judgment was passed in early June.

In her report, United Nations Special Envoy on Human Settlement Issues in
Zimbabwe, Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, said the government breached national and
international human rights law provisions guiding evictions, thereby
precipitating a humanitarian crisis.

"The government of Zimbabwe should pay compensation where it is due for
those whose property was unlawfully destroyed," wrote Tibaijuka in her
damning 100-page report.
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Zim Standard

Magistrate in court
By our staff

MASVINGO - AN alleged love for meat landed a Mwenezi magistrate in trouble
after he accepted a beast and slaughtered it in exchange for freedom for a
colleague who was in remand prison.

Mwenezi resident magistrate, Macgregor Kufa, on Tuesday appeared before the
regional court facing charges of contravening the Prevention of Corruption
Act. He appeared before Masvingo magistrate Crispen Mberewere.

Dan Ndebele for the State told the court that on 25 July this year, Kufa
accepted a bribe in form of a cow from an accused person, Innocent
Mavirimidze's brother to facilitate his removal from remand prison
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Zim Standard

Politics undermine fight against Aids
By Bertha Shoko

THE greatest challenge Zimbabwe faces in the fight against HIV and AIDS is
ensuring that every HIV positive person has access to Anti Retroviral drugs
(ARVs), against a background of the country's political isolation by
international donors, says the Zimbabwe Medical Association (ZIMA).

Zimbabwe is one of the worst affected countries by the Aids scourge, with
more than 2.3 million estimated to be living with HIV and AIDS.

Focus on the pandemic is now on prevention of new infections and access to
treatment for People Living With HIV and AIDS (PLWAs).

However, due to current political and economic chaos in the country, the
international community has been reluctant to offer the assistance the
country requires.

Last year the government launched an ARV programme in Harare and Bulawayo
but, as the Minister of Health and Child Welfare, David Parirenyatwa
admitted, government does not have capacity to extend the programme to the
rest of the country. Parirenyatwa said the programme needed support from

Speaking to The Standard last week from Victoria Falls where ZIMA was
holding its annual general meeting, secretary-general for the organisation,
Paul Chimedza, said the country's health sector faced the challenge of
ensuring that every PLWA has access to treatment against a background of
limited resources.

Chimedza said the advent of ARVs, HIV and AIDS ceased to be a "death
sentence" and had restored hope among PLWAs.

Chimedza said: "The advent of ARVs has provided those living with HIV and
AIDS with a new lease of life. HIV and AIDS are now seen as chronic illness
such as diabetes or hypertension. Things have changed. The disease is now
more manageable."

Chimedza, however, lamented the lack of resources that had made it
impossible for every PLWA to access treatment and lashed out at donors who
wanted to politicise matters of life and death.

Chimedza was referring to the Global Fund's failure to provide funding to
Zimbabwe for HIV and AIDS treatment on previous occasions, on grounds he
described as "political".

He said: "It is true we have internal problems at the moment but is it not
proper for donors to attach strings to humanitarian issues such as HIV and
AIDS. Should our people suffer and die because of the problems in our

"We as ZIMA have spoken out against this in the past. Our lobbying and
pressuring together with efforts from other organisations resulted in the
Global Fund relenting on. These are the challenges that we have in ensuring
that our people have access to treatment."Chimedza said.

The Global Fund has however refuted these allegations in the past saying
Zimbabwe's proposals for funding were turned down on a purely "technical

The theme of this year's annual general meeting, which ended in the resort
town, last Sunday was Two decades of HIV - Rising Above a National Crisis.
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Zim Standard


Farming crisis undermines show

BY refusing to confront reality, we learn nothing. Consequently, responses
to national situations and challenges are misplaced and inappropriate.

The truth of the matter is that this year's Harare Agricultural Show was a
pale shadow of similar events held more than half a decade ago. The reasons
are many and self-evident. But Zimbabweans are masters of self deception.
The success of the show is not only measured in terms of attendances. Among
other factors, it is gauged by the latest goods and innovations on
exhibition, the variety of entertainment on offer and the business conducted
or contracts concluded.

It is not worth the while attempting to explain why there were so many
people visiting the show this year compared to last year - for many, there
is really nothing else to do.

From the beginning, it was evident that this year's event faced more
challenges than has been the case in the past. But by far the fuel crisis
was the major challenge: how does one get rural communities to participate
when there is little transport to move passengers let alone goods from one
part of the country to the next. Where transport is available, it is
expensive for the rural communities to afford. Most travellers have not been
able to get to or from rural areas.

The next challenge was on what to exhibit at the show. The reason why
Zimbabwe is expecting to import 1.2 million tonnes of maize and 200 000
tonnes of wheat is because the agricultural sector is in doldrums. The
rainfall pattern was part of the reason but not entirely the cause of such
poor performance in the farming sector, otherwise its neighbours, among then
Malawi and Zambia, who have never been better agricultural producers would
be worse off. In fact, maize production in both Malawi and Zambia shows an
increase in production for the period 1999 - 2004 compared to Zimbabwe.
Instead it is Zimbabwe that is in the pits and requiring more international
food assistance to feed more than a third of its population. Rather,
insecurity of land tenure remains a serious impediment to re-engineering
agriculture in the country. Investment inflows will continue to be affected.

Unfortunately, the same inability to anticipate and plan ahead in order to
ensure resources are available when they are required may affect the next
farming season. More significantly, where were the A2 farmers - the vanguard
and pride of the government's agrarian revolution, who have monopolised the
State's largesse to this sector?

Herbert Murerwa, the Minister of Finance, lamented the failure in
performance in this sector two weeks ago when he said: ". a disproportionate
share of agricultural support is finding its way to undeserving purposes,
undermining effective utilisation and scope for recovery. Hence, government
remains concerned that the substantial resources being availed to farmers
have not been commensurate with production, delivery and loan repayment
levels. This has meant that creation of a substantial revolving agricultural
loan facility has so far remained elusive."

As a consequence, the government now hopes to introduce what it terms
"targeted crop and livestock production", intended to ensure that resources
borrowed by farmers are efficiently utilised. It is providing a monitoring
mechanism that has the powers to recommend and effect repossession of land
that is likely to result in change in the productivity of the A2 farming

The First Lady was the only high profile person who decided to call a spade
a spade when she lamented the low level of representation and exhibits at
this year's agricultural show.

It is imperative to acknowledge what went wrong to what was once a star
performer agriculturally in the region, in order to rectify and plan to
avoid similar pitfalls.

The government's systematic and sustained undermining of the agricultural
sector is responsible for the lack-lustre Harare Agricultural Show this

The reason why some companies did not take up the space they had booked is
simply because they had nothing to show or they are just at their wits' end.
The few that did participate did so because they took the view that it is
better to go down fighting for survival.

It would be comforting if the organisers could quantify the amount of
business generated or the orders received from Namibian companies. The
rationale behind inviting foreign leaders is to interest them in products
from this country. Evidently, that has not been the case.

Unless Zimbabwe addresses the drivers of the fall in production in the
agricultural sector, it is preparing for failure.

But for trying to put a positive spin to an otherwise dull occasion, the
show organisers take the cup.
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Zim Standard


Disgusted by corrupt police officers

ALLOW me space to express my disgust and anger at uniformed police officers
who I personally saw receive favours to allow people who had not been in the
fuel queue to get their cars filled up, when the other people who were in
the queue were only getting 20 litres each.

It was Friday evening, at Bond Street In Mt Pleasant where I had been in the
queue from 12.30PM. After discovering that the queue had not moved for
several hours, I got out of my car and walked to the pumps to find out what
the problem was.

Well, much to my disgust, another queue had started forming in the opposite
direction to the one we had been all day and was being allowed to filter to
the pumps by a male police officer in uniform with the assistance of two
female officers.

On questioning why there was another queue forming in the opposite
direction, we were assured that those people in the new queue would not be
allowed to get fuel and would be told to join the original queue.

However, that was not what happened. Instead the guys in the "wrong" queue
were being called "Chefs" and were being ushered to the pumps by the very
police officer who said they would be sent away. We found out that these
police officers were receiving "tokens of appreciation" in the form of money
for getting the petrol attendants to fill them up.

Now, if policeman are receiving such "tokens of appreciation" in broad
daylight and as much as $500 000 to get a car filled up, what does the poor
man in the street have to do to get an honest 20 litres?

This is a shame and if I had a video camera on me I would have filmed these
officers in the act of receiving bribes.

Unfortunately, in today's Zimbabwe where the victim can easly become the
culprit, even if I had said anything to them, I would have been arrested as
it would have been my word against theirs and with no physical proof you can
guess who would win. What is the way forward?


Mount Pleasant

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Zim Standard


How 'the great' Dr Gono is destroying everything

OUR most celebrated "technocrat'' at the helm of the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe is at it again. He has finally "dollarised'' the economy as fuel
can now be bought officially using the US dollar.

(Smiles there for George and Condy at the White House as one of the
out-posts of tyranny, despite the usual fury that Zimbabwe will never be a
colony again, has finally succumbed and is also making frantic efforts to
pay IMF arrears to avoid being offloaded from the "imperialist" financial
organisation) Talk about sovereignty!

I knew Gono during my student days at the University of Zimbabwe when he
triumphantly replaced the William Turpin-led University Council after Dr
Ignatious Chombo moved to the Ministry of Higher Education.

With many promises clothed in political ideology and culture, the man soon
embarked on one of the most disastrous "privatisation'' programmes ever seen
after closing down the UZ for half year in 1998.

Almost all assets were striped during auctions which followed. Very soon the
pro-poor student policies of Professors Walter Kamba/ Gordon Chavunduka's
reigns were shelved and privatisation spread to food, accommodation and

Rich students from the northern suburbs went to expensive dining halls with
good quality food while poor students from the townships (Sowetos) went to
cheap ones cooking barely edible meals - varombo kuvarombo, vapfumi

Student hostels became run down and raw sewage was everywhere as the
obscenely paid maintenance companies contracted by the tender processes of
the privatisation were nowhere to be seen. Hard hit poor students looked for
alternatives hence anti-social activities like prostitution thrived.

On the academic front, the much acclaimed academic freedom of both the
teaching staff and students quickly evaporated. Elected faculty deans were
replaced by hand-picked "appointed'' blue-eyed boys. Gono said they would be
heading "business entities" to generate funds for the UZ.

Instead, new previously unheard of packages, such as vehicles became part
and parcel of the job, thereby rigidly mortgaging the once respected
deanship position to the political establishment. Sadly some once objective
academics joined in the line of parroting State propaganda in hope of being
noticed by ruling party politicians. They are still doing it.

Surprisingly, during all this man-made chaos at the UZ, some media sections
still reported that a "turnaround'' was in the process at UZ despite the
clear humanitarian disaster that was in evidence at the institution. I was
glad to finally graduate from the UZ.

Things further deteriorated as ZRP/ CIO finally became the "de-facto''
security establishment at the UZ.

Now Gono has again teamed up with politicians and supported the infamous
"Murambatsvina" operation. Flea markets, tuck shops, cross border trading
enterprises of the common high density "Sowetos" were targeted with, to
quote a former minister, "the ferocity of a tsunami''. The little foreign
currency found (the substantial part of it in Rands) for cross border trade
and small informal businesses for survival in face of the government-made
economic blunders, was paraded as evidence of economic sabotage.

Then came the surprise in this tragic-comedy. With this much publicised
rather humiliating demonisation of the poor people's foreign currency still
fresh in our minds, our government allowed some service stations to sell and
people to buy fuel in foreign currency. Sadly and predictably, there was no
apology to the demonised people whose foreign currency was seized only to
hear within some weeks that the same government has "dollarised" the

Predictably, the whole "Murambatsvina" project was cancelled as it
approached where the well to do people live. The ferocious "Murambatsvina"
suddenly transformed itself into mere "regularisation'' and culprits were
given time to be regularised. Forex in the hands of the low density people
was "regularised'' as the economy was "dollarised".

This is the true picture of Gono's turnaround projects. Long live the
sweet-talking Governor.

Denford Moyo

United Kingdom
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Zim Standard

Government left licking its wounds
marketmovers with Kumbirai Mafunda

THE government has lost more than $3 billion worth of revenue as a result of
the prolonged apathy on the ZSE.

ZSE CEO Emmanuel Munyukwi told Standardbusiness that on average, the local
bourse was paying $500 million a day in stamp duty. But the weeklong
stalemate brought about by investor's reluctance to trade has cost the
cash-strapped government $3,5 billion worth of revenue. On average the ZSE
rakes over $11 billion in turnover a day and the protracted impasse has
sacrificed $77 billion.
Investors are still reluctant to trade citing stringent conditions set up in
Finance Minister Hebert Murerwa's fiscal policy review, in which the
Minister introduced a 10% withholding tax on sale of listed marketable
securities, as well as the reduction in free funds after the increase in
prescribed asset ratios for fund managers.

On Thursday investors stayed on the terraces for the seventh straight day
waiting for the market to signal whether it will recover or continue mired
in bear market mode. The key industrial index continued wasting away on
Thursday tumbling 46 189 50 points to 3 813 007 71. Limited trade was only
limited to four counters with Old Mutual losing $2 000 to $56 000. Cotton
producer Cottco shed $120 to 380 while Medtech dropped $15 to $35. CFI was
the only counter to wear a broad smile climbing $200 to $1 200. Minings
stood motionless at 595 228 66 as there were no trades.
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Zim Standard

Cash squeeze scuttles recovery of agriculture
By our correspondent

ANY hopes of immediate recovery of the country's battered agricultural
sector were further dashed last week following revelations by farmers that
financing for next year's crop was inadequate for commercial crop farming
and this could drive many into subsistence farming.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has allocated $7 trillion to agriculture
through the Agricultural Productivity Enhancement Facility (ASPEF).
An official from the Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) said the money
allocated for crop financing was too little as only $1 trillion under ASPEF
was for crop financing while crops like tobacco alone required over $3

"Money allocated for crops is not enough for one to engage in commercial
farming and many farmers will resort to subsistence farming," said the
official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

He said the estimates revealed that more than $15 trillion was needed for
the whole agricultural sector although the money may also become also
insufficient due to the hyper-inflationary environment the country is under.

In his mid-term fiscal policy review, Minister of Finance Herbert Murerwa,
said due to pressure for resources on the budget crop financing for the next
season would come from the financial sector together with other facilities
by RBZ.

The money under ASPEF being allocated to farmers is being given at 20%
interest while minimum lending rate for most banks was over 200%.

Joseph Made, the Minister for Agriculture, when asked for comment evaded the
questions and referred this reporter to Murerwa's mid-term fiscal policy

When told that Murerwa had said that $9 trillion would be raised for the
next season, Made could only say they (government) had allocated enough
money for irrigation.

RBZ allocated $1 trillion to irrigation but Made said an additional $2
trillion had been availed to the Ministry Water Resources and
Infrastructural Development.

Efforts to get comment from Davison Mugabe of the Indigenous Commercial
Farmers' Union were unsuccessful as his mobile number was said to be no
longer in service.

The country's economy is agro-based and last year agriculture contributed
18.1% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 22.9% of the total foreign
currency inflows.

Any hopes for economic improvement are dependent on the recovery of the
agricultural sector.
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Zim Standard

Leaving teaching to make ends meet
By Linda Tsetere

CHARLES Moyo, a 30-year-old teacher no longer looks forward to spending the
whole day with his students.

Rather, he hopes that the day ends soon so he can rush home and engage in
other ways of making money in order to make ends meet.

He says: "The situation is terrible; I'm living poorly. I can say I am a
teacher only by name because I no longer go to work and do the job with all
my heart."

His feelings are similar to those of many teachers whose dedication and love
of the profession have been diminished by meagre salaries coupled with harsh
economic conditions that left many exposed to absolute poverty.

"This profession used to be my pride and joy but now it is just another
job," he adds.

This attitude is now a cause for concern as people fear an impending
collapse and demise of the country's education that was highly esteemed the
world over.

Many shortcomings have rocked the administration of education, which no
doubt is highly rated in the SADC region attracting students from almost all
neighbouring countries.

Most teachers are disappointed. They believe they have done a lot for the
country but their efforts are not equally rewarded.

"Being a teacher was rewarding. Now it is useless. I do not earn enough to
even cover transport costs," he says with

a pathetic look on his face.

Major blow

"Operation Murambatsvina" also came as a major blow as many teachers were
displaced and left homeless.

Moyo recalls the absence of teachers at school when the government blitz was

"Many teachers were absent from school looking for alternative accommodation
when 'Murambatsvina' was on.

"Many would say there was no point in coming to work when you had no home to
go to at the end of the day."

Moyo says teachers are hugely disappointed as their outcry for housing loans
have not been acted upon.

As a result many have fallen victim to dubious housing co-operatives, which
take their money.

The Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Raymond
Majongwe confirmed not one teacher had come out and confirmed they benefited
under "Operation Garikai" to provide shelter for victims displaced by

Last week's announcement by finance minister, Dr Herbert Murerwa, of a
salary freeze for all civil servants was a blow to thousands anticipating a
salary review.

Teachers complain that they can no longer take care of their families since
they earn too little.

Ever escalating

This is because prices of basic goods are ever escalating and many families
are living below the poverty datum line.

Their salaries are pegged at between $2 007 905 and $4 325 692 a month.

"The situation will only get worse now that salaries will not be reviewed. I
can only say those who have left the country are highly favoured. At least
they are doing much better than us," adds Moyo.

This is how the country has suffered a massive brain drain with people
leaving for greener pastures.

In fact, Zimbabwe has lost thousands of trained teachers to neighbouring
countries while general conditions of education have continued to fall.

Those who have remained behind are resorting to other ways of supplementing
their meagre salaries.

Teachers frequently take days off during the week and cross the borders to
bring home goods for resale.
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Zim Standard

Engaging Parliament on health issues
Aidswatch with Bertha Shoko

ON Tuesday I attended a meeting organised by the Futures Group, Zimbabwe
AIDS and Policy Project and the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health
and Child Welfare.

The agenda of the meeting was to establish a positive working relationship
between the parliamentary committee on health and various health related
organisations in this new Sixth Parliament, for the next five years.

The meeting was also meant to create better relations between the media and
the portfolio committees.

Futures Group and the Parliamentary Committee gave the media a chance to
articulate issues as they see them - that is, our previous experiences
working with the committee during the Fifth Parliament and how best we
thought, as journalists dealing with health issues, we could improve working
relations with Members of Parliament (MPs).

Sinikiwe Msipa, the director of the Federation of African Media Women in
Zimbabwe (FAMWZ) and I were given the task of presenting our views.

On behalf of colleagues in the media I made a presentation on our past
experiences with the parliamentary committee. Msipa suggested the way
forward in light of the issues we had raised.

I informed the parliamentary committee that the media felt that they had not
engaged us effectively to cover them and ensure the media appreciates their
terms of reference as a committee that shadows the Ministry of Health and
Child Welfare (MOHCW). Failure to engage media practitioners was one of the
reasons why coverage of the committee had been largely event and not

The media informed the committee, that journalists who were consulted ahead
of the appearance before the committee on Tuesday only seemed to be able to
associate the committee with the public voluntary testing they undertook
with Tendai Westerhof's Public Personalities Against HIV and AIDS (PPATT).

The media could also not follow other events of the committee because there
was no clear work plan, or if it was there, the committee did not make an
effort to inform the media.

The media also raised concern about the failure of other members of the
committee to avail themselves to the media. The only person in the previous
committee who seemed to interact with the media was its chairperson,
Blessing Chebundo, the MP for Kwekwe.

One would run into a "dead end" during the course of following up a story
once they failed to contact Chebundo. These were among the contentious
issues raised and based on past experiences with the committee.

As a way forward it was proposed that the parliamentary committee make an
effort to work with the media by giving a detailed diary of events and
contact details of all their committee members for easier access when the
media seeks comments on various issues. The committee also had an
opportunity to indicate, where, in its opinion, the media fell short.

Chebundo, chairperson of the committee was concerned about how articles
about their activities lacked depth and background. He also spoke of how
journalists appeared selective in their choice of stories from the
parliamentary publication Hansard without seeking further clarification from
the committee.

The meeting provided an appropriate platform for stakeholders, the media and
committee to interact on various issues and map out a way forward on the
issues raised.

It could not have come at a more opportune time as this was the first
session of the Parliamentary Committee on health and child welfare in the
Sixth Parliament.

I also believe we have started on a good note. As health reporters, we are
in agreement that this is a very crucial committee and there is no reason
why they should not be greater interaction.

We must close ranks on matters relating to health because they are issues of
life and death, especially in light of the economic meltdown facing the
country and the AIDS pandemic.

I look forward to providing readers with more informed articles about this
committee and hope the interaction between the media and the committee will
benefit the nation.

For your views and comments please email:
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