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Price control authorities ban cattle auction at Zimbabwe agriculture showcase

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: August 30, 2007

HARARE, Zimbabwe: Price control authorities banned a public livestock
auction at Zimbabwe's main agriculture show Thursday, fearing it would make
a mockery of price controls on beef that have forced meat off the shelves
across the country, show officials and farmers said.

Farmers expected to get the market value of at least double the government's
price on commercial prime beef per kilogram and up to five times the fixed
price on peasant-raised cows.

The government had waived its fixed price on cattle for the long-awaited
auction of about 160 animals, which was widely publicized in state media as
one of the main attractions of the annual Harare Agricultural Show.

Show officials said they were notified at the last minute the auction would
not be allowed to go ahead.

Most of the cattle were from peasant farms within about 100 kilometers, or
60 miles, of the showground arena.

"We have been tricked. We have brought our cattle here to make it look good
for the politicians. It is to pretend things are getting better," said
Freddy Vera, a small-scale farmer.
The livestock exhibit that included pigs, sheep, guinea fowl and chickens,
was the biggest for several years. President Robert Mugabe had a dozen
cattle on show from his Gushungo farm in his home district in Zvimba, 50
kilometers, or 30 miles, southwest of Harare.

The show chose an official theme this year on the revival of farming after
seven years of political and economic turmoil following the often-violent
seizures of thousands of white-owned commercial farms that began in 2000 and
disrupted the agriculture-based economy.

Vera said some of the livestock exhibitors borrowed money for stock feed for
standard fattening of their animals after the price waiver for the exhibit
and auction was announced.

Buyers from hotels and restaurants planned to start bidding for top grade
meat at double the price paid to farmers by the state slaughter monopoly of
about 130,000 Zimbabwe dollars - US$8.50 (?6.25) at the official exchange
rate, or 55 US cents (40 euro cents) at the dominant black market rate - a
kilogram (2.2 pounds), show officials said.

The authorities "don't want it shown what cattle are really worth and why
there's no meat out there," said one rancher who asked not to be identified.

Village cattle would likely have fetched bids of five times the government
price in the meat-starved nation, he said.

In June, the government ordered price reductions of about half on all goods
and services in a bid to tame official inflation of 7,634 percent, the
highest in the world.

Independent estimates put real inflation at closer to 25,000 percent, and
the International Monetary Funds has forecast it reaching 100,000 percent by
the end of the year.

Cornmeal, bread, meat, milk, eggs and other staples have disappeared from
stores and supermarkets and acute shortages have fueled a thriving black
market in scarce foodstuffs, often selling at more than five times official

The agriculture show is scheduled to be officially opened Friday by
President Teodoro Obiang Ngeuma of the oil-rich West African nation of
Equatorial Guinea.

Amid its increasing international isolation, Zimbabwe has signed an
extradition treaty and a series of trade deals with Equatorial Guinea since
a group of mercenaries linked to a coup plot to overthrow Obiang were
arrested in Harare in 2004.

Show officials said some 40,000 visitors passed through the gates on
Wednesday, nearly double the number on the same day last year.

Many bars and restaurants across the Zimbabwean capital have run out of
supplies, but in sharp contrast, food, drink and cotton candy stands were
thriving at the Harare Exhibition Park showground. The sole beverage maker
said it was delivering 900 24-bottle cases of beer and soft drinks to the
show each day over the six day event.

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Zimbabwe Economic Crisis Wipes Out Forests


By Peta Thornycroft
Southern Africa
30 August 2007

Zimbabwe's forests are being destroyed at the rate of 400,000 hectares a
year because of crippling power shortages. This is just the latest statistic
on the ever-deepening economic crisis, which has seen unprecedented numbers
of Zimbabweans fleeing across the border to South Africa.  Peta Thornycroft
has more for VOA.

The state-controlled Herald Newspaper has quoted Abednigo Marufu, senior
official from the state's Forestry Commission on the deforestation of
Zimbabwe. He told that Herald, "We are losing forests at an appalling rate."

People have turned to wood for cooking as the electricity supply has become
so unreliable.

Electricity is usually unavailable for 15 hours in every 24-hour period. The
wheat crop, which depends on power for irrigation failed this season because
of the lack of electricity.

The Herald, in an editorial Thursday, said the lack of electricity should be
classified as a "national disaster."

Water in many towns and cities is also hard to find. In second city
Bulawayo, a dry part of the country, the opposition-controlled municipality
is resisting the take over of its water system by the government.

It has almost no water in dams serving the city, and people are going days
without water into their homes.

Zimbabwe is in its worst ever economic crisis without enough food to feed
its population nor foreign currency to import food. It will need food aid
from the United Nations for more than a third of the population before next
harvest in April next year.

That harvest is likely to be even worse than the year before.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change's (MDC)agricultural secretary
Renson Gasela said there will not be nearly enough fertilizer for the coming
summer crops.

Three companies producing essential nutrients for summer crops have closed
down in the last week because of lack of electricity, Gasela said this week.
He said there will only be 50 percent of fertilizer available for this
year's export crops, like tobacco, and food crops, like corn.

Zimbabwe's supermarkets have little food for sale. Neither protein nor
carobohydrates are available in most of the urban areas now, according to
wholesalers who say they have no products to supply to retail outlets.

As the crisis escalates, President Robert Mugabe's supporters have come out
to support him in public. Opposition demonstrations are never allowed in
Zimbabwe, but on Wednesday, several hundred veterans of the independence
war, marched through central Harare in support of President Mugabe.

The War Veterans Association chairman, Jabulani Sibanda said the march was
the first of a series to show support for President Mugabe.

MDC spokesman, Nelson Chamisa questioned why police banned opposition
marches, but allowed President Mugabe's supporters freedom to hold

Scores of opposition leaders, including the party's founding president
Morgan Tsvangirai and civil rights activists were arrested and assaulted in
police custody when they tried to attend a prayer meeting in Harare in

President Robert Mugabe says the West is trying to bring about regime change
and that Zimbabwe's economic crisis is caused by sanctions. Zimbabwe
continues to trade normally with tradition partners, such as the United
States and the European Union.

President Mugabe claims the West is punishing him for seizing 90 percent of
white-owned farms over the last seven years.  Economists say Zimbabwe's
fortunes changed when commercial agriculture declined dramatically after the
seizure of white-owned farms, most of which are now idle.

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Mbeki confident Zimbabwe elections will be free


Thu 30 Aug 2007, 14:53 GMT

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South African President Thabo Mbeki expressed
confidence on Thursday that next year's general elections in troubled
Zimbabwe would be free and fair, despite fears to the contrary.

In answering questions in parliament, Mbeki said he had been assured by both
Zimbabwe's leadership, civil society and non-governmental organisations that
they will be able to agree on procedures to ensure a fair poll.

"Now I believe the Zimbabweans about their own country," said Mbeki, who is
mediating talks between the ruling ZANU-PF and opposition Movement for
Democratic Change.

President Robert Mugabe, 83, who has led Zimbabwe since independence from
Britain in 1980, is expected to seek re-election in March presidential and
parliamentary elections.

The previous two general elections were mired in allegations of vote-rigging
and intimidation. Critics have questioned whether the next polls will be
fair, given restrictive media laws and a government-ordered security

Mbeki, whose quiet diplomacy with Zimbabwe has been criticised, reiterated
South Africa's stance that an imposed regime change was "fundamentally

Thousands of Zimbabweans are fleeing what was once the bread basket of
southern Africa but is now facing severe food, fuel and foreign currency
shortages and the world's highest inflation rate of more than 7,000 percent.

Africa's biggest economy, South Africa is bearing the brunt of the
Zimbabwean influx, with thousands crossing crocodile-infested rivers in
search of a better life.

Mugabe, who blames the west for his country's economic decline, stands
accused of engineering Zimbabwe's chaotic descent with controversial
policies, such as confiscating white farms and redistributing it to the
black majority.

Mbeki said beyond the political and economic interventions of the 14-member
Southern African Development Community, there was nothing else that could be

"Indeed I do believe that to try and cook up some other intervention will
not help us to solve the problem with Zimbabwe," Mbeki said.

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Mugabe solicits oil from Nguema

From Business Day (SA), 30 August

Zimbabewan President Robert Mugabe solicited more oil from visiting
Equatorial Guinea leader Teodoro Obiang Nguema yesterday at the start of
Nguema's four-day official tour, to alleviate severe shortages of many
commodities intensified by a recent price freeze. Official sources said
Mugabe and Nguema, who will open the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show tomorrow,
held talks in Harare yesterday as part of the oil-rich western African state
president's state visit. Sources said the private talks between the two
largely focused on fuel. The two leaders were also expected to discuss the
fate of former British Special Air Services officer Simon Mann, who is
facing extradition to Equatorial Guinea for allegedly trying to overthrow
Nguema in 2004. The issue of Mann is understood to be connected with
potential fuel supplies. If Zimbabwe extradites Mann to face charges of
treason and a possible life sentence at the notorious Black Beach prison,
Equatorial Guinea would provide fuel supplies on favourable terms.

Zimbabwe consumes 3,5-million litres of diesel, 3-million litres of petrol
and 5-million litres of jet A1 fuel a day. This requires $130m a month. Last
month, Mugabe dispatched a high-powered delegation that included Energy and
Power Development Minister Mike Nyambuya and Reserve Bank governor Gideon
Gono to hunt for fuel in Equatorial Guinea. This followed acute shortages in
the market caused by energy price controls and cancellation of fuel coupons
by the government. The delegation did not complete its negotiations, which
Mugabe is now expected to finalise. The government is said to have already
received fuel worth $24m from Equatorial Guinea, which it is unable to pay
for, and now wants to use diamond loot to amortise the debt. Zimbabwe wants
to use diamonds controversially extracted from disputed mining concessions
to pay for fuel.

Zimbabwe is withering under an economic meltdown precipitated by the seizure
of white-owned farms in 2000 and the destruction of agriculture, the
economic base. The economic crisis is characterised by acute shortages of
foreign exchange, fuel, food, and basic commodities. Forex shortages are
caused by policy failures, poor export performance, the drying up of donor
financial aid and foreign direct investment and the lack of balance of
payments support. Zimbabwe is also unable to get or renew lines of credit
due to the high political risk spawned by a breakdown in the rule of law and
assault on property rights. Targeted sanctions imposed by the west on Mugabe
and his cronies have compounded the situation. Mugabe has been trying to
secure financial aid from China, Russia and South Korea without success.
Nguema is apparently willing to help him.

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'Meddling in Harare is fundamentally wrong'

The Star

30 August 2007, 23:10
Cape Town - The South African government would not do anything beyond what
the Southern African Development Community (SADC) had tasked it to do with
regards to Zimbabwe's crisis, President Thabo Mbeki said on Thursday.

Responding to a question in the National Assembly on the South African
government's role in assisting Zimbabweans, Mbeki said the task he was given
by SADC was to bring together Zimbabwe's political parties, civil
organisations and other groups so that Zimbabweans could agree on the best
way to deal with their situation.

"There are no separate measures that would be undertaken by the South
African government outside that process.

"We are not going to be involved in any regime change in Zimbabwe - it would
be fundamentally wrong," he said.

Zimbabwe's ruling party and the opposition, the movement for democratic
change (MDC), were fully committed to the talks and both parties were
confident that elections will take place under peaceful conditions.

"They are committed to ensuring that elections take place in the atmosphere
SADC described," he said.

Asked by Democratic MP Mark Lowe how hungry Zimbabweans, who were already
fleeing their country in large numbers because of the economic meltdown,
were expected to be part of a solution, Mbeki said the SADC was currently
finding ways of assisting Zimbabwe to deal with its economic crisis.

He said an economic rescue plan for Zimbabwe was adopted by SADC head of
states at a recent Lusaka summit, and that regional finance ministers were
looking at how it could be implemented.

"We are responding to the issue of hunger," he said, adding that sanctions
had contributed to Zimbabwe's economic meltdown.

Mugabe has blamed Western sanctions for his economic woes, and clamped down
on an opposition he accuses of being Western stooges. But most observers say
that it is Mugabe's disastrous economic policies that are to blame for
inflation of nearly 8 000 percent, unemployment of 80 percent and shortages
of most basic products. - Sapa

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Crumbling economy threatens Mugabe's grip

Mail and Guardian

Cris Chinaka | Harare, Zimbabwe

30 August 2007 04:27

      Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe survived years in colonial
prisons and still more years of international isolation.

      He has weathered the challenge of a now weak and divided
opposition, seen pressure from Western powers fade, and maintained support
from neighbouring countries that still regard him as an African liberation

      But Zimbabwe's deepening economic turmoil could be the veteran
leader's Achilles' heel and pose the biggest threat to his 27-year rule,
analysts say.

      Discontent is growing on the streets despite a tough crackdown
on dissent that has drawn accusations of widespread human rights abuses,
including arbitrary detentions and torture.

      "In my view, although they appear to be in control, their grip
has loosened and the economic crisis remains a big threat," said Eldred
Masunungure, a professor of political science at the University of Zimbabwe
in Harare.

      "Things have gone so bad in the last two months that they are
finding it difficult to explain that the government is not to blame for the
food shortages, the electricity cuts, the water and transport problems," he

      Food, fuel and foreign currency shortages and the world's
highest inflation rate of more than 7 000% show no signs of easing. Mugabe
imposed a price freeze that backfired, leaving store shelves empty and
spreading frustrations.

      "I don't think they have a workable plan to get out of this
crisis, and actually all the programmes they have been trying have been a
real disaster," said John Robertson, a leading private economic consultant.

      "Their programmes have made things worse, and as things get
worse, they are also getting worse in terms of their plans and their

      Classic strategy
       Critics say Mugabe's controversial policy of seizing white-owned
farms for landless black Zimbabweans in 2002 has destroyed the economy by
undermining farming.

      But Mugabe is still pursuing his classic strategy of trying to
focus public attention away from his failures by condemning his Western
foes, especially former colonial master Britain.

       Mugabe accuses Western powers of trying to oust him in
retaliation for the land grabs, carried out by liberation war veterans,
sometimes violently.

      At stake is the economy, once one of Africa's most promising.
The World Bank says Zimbabwe's economy is shrinking faster that any outside
a war zone.

      Hardships have forced millions of Zimbabweans to neighbouring
nations with few hopes of jobs or a future.

      But explaining the economic meltdown to empty-handed Zimbabweans
who wait in long food and fuel queues is becoming more and more difficult,
analysts say.

      "There is no doubt that almost everyone here, except the elite,
is suffering badly and believe the government is not managing the economy
well," said Masunungure.

      The possibility of economic collapse has not discouraged Mugabe

      Future options
       The former Marxist guerrilla, once hailed as a model African
democrat, has been tightening his grip on power ahead of next year's
political and parliamentary elections.

      He is seeking to push two Bills through Parliament, which is
dominated by his ruling Zanu-PF.

      One is designed to give local companies majority ownership of
foreign companies, including banks and mines, which are critical for
investment in Zimbabwe.

      The other would give him room to change the Constitution and
allow him to choose a successor if he were to retire. That may not happen
anytime soon.

       "Mugabe is looking at the future and at his options. In my view
the [constitutional amendment] Bill will give him some fairly reasonable
space to ease himself out if he wants to, and to have a big say on who can
come after him," said Masunungure.

      Looking fit and confident, Mugabe drew the loudest applause at a
summit of regional leaders this month. It seems his credentials as a former
freedom fighter still go a long way in African, where he has faced little
public criticism.

      On Wednesday, in a rousing speech to war veteran supporters, he
vowed to crush his opponents in the contest and said nobody could ever force
him into exile.

      About 5 000 of the veterans of the country's 35 000 rallied in
support of Mugabe in a march on Wednesday, a potent reminder of the glorious
old days of the independence war. -- Reuters

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Much-awaited fiscal policy review next week

Zim Online

Friday 31 August 2007

By Nigel Hangarume

HARARE - Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi will next week seek
parliamentary consent for a supplementary budget seen worsening the country's
world record inflation.

Mumbengegwi, who took charge of the country's economic levers following a
reshuffle of the cabinet by President Robert Mugabe in April, faces a
difficult task when he presents a long-awaited mid-term fiscal policy review
statement, which will also contain a request for a supplementary budget to
cover the last four months of the year.

"The Minister of Finance, Dr SC Mumbengegwi will present to Parliament the
2007 mid-term fiscal policy review statement and the 2007 supplementary
budget on Thursday, 6th September 2007," Finance secretary Ivanhoe Gurira
announced in a press statement yesterday.

The supplementary budget mirrors a deteriorating economic crisis that
government critics blame on mismanagement and is reflected by world record
inflation of more than 7 600 percent, deepening poverty and unemployment
estimated at above 80 percent.

Mugabe, in power for the last 27 years and seeking another five-year
presidential term next year, denies charges of economic mismanagement and
instead blames the West for sabotaging the economy to punish him for handing
over white-owned farms to blacks.

Analysts say the government wants parliamentary approval to raise more funds
to meet food and fuel imports, subsidies for companies affected by a
controversial blitz on prices introduced last June as well as higher
salaries for civil servants.

Economists estimate that the 2007 national budget has ballooned to over $30
trillion against a budgeted expenditure of Z$6.5 trillion.

The country has been importing maize from Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and other
countries following another poor harvest this year.

The country's teachers last July submitted proposals for salary increases of
more than 400 percent, citing mounting poverty amid reports that 7 200 of
their colleagues have resigned since last January over low pay and poor
working conditions.

They have threatened to abandon classrooms if the government does not
increase their salaries to $15 million a month with effect from September
from about $2.9 million currently.

The demands were submitted to the Public Service Commission and the Ministry
of Education, Sports and Culture through the APEX council that represents
all civil servants.

Approval of the supplementary budget is expected to pave way for the delayed
announcement of the mid-year monetary policy review by the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ).

RBZ governor Gideon Gono has kept the market guessing on direction of
monetary policy, saying he was waiting for a cue from the supplementary

Gono, postponed his mid-year monetary policy review in July, saying he would
make the statement soon after the supplementary budget in order to
recalibrate monetary policy in line with the additional budget. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe state grain firm says no one will starve

Zim Online

Friday 31 August 2007

By Hendricks Chizhanje and Nqobizitha Khumalo

HARARE - Zimbabwe's Grain Marketing Board (GMB) on Thursday said no one in
the country would starve because it had secured enough supplies of food from
neighbouring countries while local farmers had increased deliveries from
last season's crop.

Chairman of the state-owned GMB Charles Chikaura told ZimOnline that despite
the evident shortage of the main staple maize meal across the country, the
parastatal was sitting on comfortable stocks of maize while some was being
imported from Malawi.

"GMB is sitting on comfortable stocks of maize. We are certainly getting
imports from Malawi. That (starvation) is out of the question. There is a
lot of maize out there. Prices are good and farmers are delivering," said

President Robert Mugabe and other top government officials have in the past
also insisted no Zimbabwean would go hungry despite poor harvests last
season and warnings by relief agencies that hundreds of families especially
in remote rural areas were running out of food.

In a vivid illustration of glaring contradictions between official
statements claiming enough food in the country and the reality on the
ground, Zimbabwe's biggest baker, Lobels Zimbabwe, on Thursday said it had
stopped production and sent workers back home because of wheat and flour

"We have not received any flour and wheat supplies from the Grain Marketing
Board (GMB) since May this year and all along we have been using flour from
our reserves and as it is, our reserves have been exhausted," said Ngoni
Mazango, the bread maker's managing director for the southern region.

The GMB - tasked to ensure food security in the country - supplies wheat and
maize to millers and is the only company in the country permitted to trade
in the two commodities.

The state grain utility is currently importing 400 000 tonnes of maize from
neighbouring Malawi to augment supplies, but has reportedly failed to pay
US$10 million to an unnamed foreign supplier before it could take delivery
of 36 000 tonnes of wheat held at the Mozambican port of Beira.

Critics blame Zimbabwe 's food crisis directly on Mugabe's haphazard
fast-track land reform exercise that displaced established white commercial
farmers and replaced them with either incompetent or inadequately funded
black farmers.

Food production plunged by about 60 percent as a result while chaos in the
agriculture sector because of farm seizures also hit hard Zimbabwe's once
impressive manufacturing sector that had depended on a robust farming sector
for orders and inputs.

Most of Zimbabwe's industries have since the beginning of farm seizures in
2000 either closed completely or scaled down operations to run at or below
30 percent of capacity, in a country where unemployment is more than 80
percent. - ZimOnline

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Hot Seat interview: Former journalist Luke Tamborinyoka exposes the depths of inhumanity in Zimbabwe ’s prisons

SW Radio Africa Transcript

Hot Seat interview: Former journalist Luke Tamborinyoka exposes the depths of inhumanity in Zimbabwe ’s prisons

Broadcast 28 August 2007

Violet Gonda: Our guest on the programme Hot Seat today is the former news editor of The Daily News, Luke Tamborinyoka, who spent 71 days in remand prison as a political detainee. Tamborinyoka, who now works as an information officer for the Morgan Tsvangirai MDC, was one of the more than 30 people who were arrested shortly after the government embarked on a vicious campaign against the opposition in March.

Welcome on the programme Luke.

Luke Tamborinyoka: You are welcome Violet.

Violet: Let’s start with the charges. Now, you were released on the 7 th of June after it emerged that the state had created fictitious witnesses to incriminate your group in “acts of terrorism”.

Luke Tamborinyoka: Yes, we were released on the 7 th of June. We had appeared in court for more than 20 times but it was very clear that the state witnesses were fictitious. For example, they said we had orchestrated a spate of bombings in Harare , Mutare, Gweru and Masvingo.

But when asked who was their witness, the state gave the name of one “Peter Chindodhana” which was incredible on its own to imagine that while we were petrol-bombing all these places, “Chindodhana” was watching us all along.

This “Chindodhana” was also said to be staying at Porta farm in Banket. But we all know that Porta farm is in Norton. This “Chindodhana” had five numbers on his I.D card; but we all know that Zimbabweans have six numbers in the middle of that whole I.D inscription. But this “Chindodhana” only had five.

And when the magistrate asked that this man be brought to court, the state failed on three occasions. And on the fourth time, the magistrate asked that the state at least bring “Chindodhana’s” I.D and birth certificate, the state again failed.

It was clear that “Chindodhana” was a fictitious character invented by the state in order to concoct these charges against us.

Violet: What about the police stations that were said were bombed. Were these also lies?

Tamborinyoka: That was a lie because it also emerged that some of these police stations had actually got burnt up as a result of electrical faults.

And in any case some of these petrol bombings took place simultaneously. So this witness was saying that; the seven of us, not acting in concert with anyone else had actually bombed these places. So it was actually unbelievable that we could bomb a police station in Masvingo and a police station in Mutare at the same time and the same night. So it was very unbelievable that we would be able to do that.

Violet: Why do you think you in particular were targeted?

Tamborinyoka: You see it was very clear because I had a call from this officer, whom I suspect is C.I.O, on a Saturday morning of the 31 st of March and he made a whole host of allegations against me.

One of these allegations was that I was still continuing with my job as the news editor of The Daily News; and that I was responsible for co-ordinating a pool of Daily News reporters in stringing for various online publications.

He sighted a particular date in October 2002 and he said I had allegedly made a certain (anti-government speech) in Gweru, at the Midlands Hotel, during my time as secretary general of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists.

He also said I had made other such speeches including one on Saturday the 3 rd of May 2003 at the Harare gardens and said for all those anti government speeches I was going to be thrown into prison.

He made a whole host of allegations. He also referred to the column “Role of Shame” that was published in The Zimbabwean and said that I was the brains behind that newspaper’s column.

So for all those “sins”, he said I was going to be thrown into prison.

Violet: So you were being punished for the work you did as a journalist at the Daily News before you joined the MDC…

Tamborinyoka: Yeah, It was part of the reasons. But also they asked the same questions like why I worked for the MDC. Didn’t I know that the MDC people are puppets of the whites?

But you see, the so-called crimes that he raised against me had no criminal basis so the best way was to lump me together with the so-called terror bombers.

Violet: The Mugabe regime told the SADC heads of state that you were terrorist and that you were economic saboteurs. Would you now then say they lied to the African leaders?

Tamborinyoka: Yes of course, it’s the periodic lies…the same lies they were saying in Lusaka .

It is ironic that a lawyer like Patrick Chinamasa continues to say these things and refer to the MDC as terrorists when in fact none of the charges have stuck. What we have seen in the past one month is the collapse of the state case like a deck of cards.

The so-called allegations of terrorists who were trained in South Africa , the so-called cases against some of us who were said to have orchestrated the spate of petrol bombings across cities. No one has been convicted and even if you read the judges comments, you will find that the cases are failing to stand.

And even if you look at our case, for example, it is the state itself, which conceded before the magistrate. That it had no evidence and we were removed from remand. We were not removed from remand as a result of the magistrate’s ruling; we were removed as a result of the state conceding in court that it had no evidence against us.

So it is ironic that you have people purporting to be lawyers like Chinamasa lying to the whole world that the MDC harbours terrorists and that orchestrated all these petrol bombings when there’s no evidence linking the MDC to all these activities.

Violet: Do you know or believe that SADC is aware of the real situation on the ground in Zimbabwe ?

Tamborinyoka: I am not sure. I am convinced that Mugabe lauds himself over them. I am not sure what kind of fear strikes them when they see Mugabe because it is quite clear that SADC has become a boys’ scout movement. And it is quite clear for some of us here in Zimbabwe that SADC; especially the SADC leaders have chosen to align themselves with the Zimbabwean leadership and not with the Zimbabwean people. It is quite clear for example that in Zimbabwe there is all these series of crisis - there is no water, no power, there is no food, there is no fuel and that has nothing to do with the colonialist mantra and the puppet mantra that this regime purports to be the cause of the Zimbabwean crisis. And it’s got nothing to do with land. It’s a pure case of mis-governance and so we are shocked when SADC begins to side with a tyrannical regime and not with the people of Zimbabwe .

Violet: Now you recently wrote after your release an article entitled “71 Dark Days in Mugabe’s Jail,” can you tell us what it was like? What conditions were you being held under?

Tamborinyoka: (sighs) I am not sure which one is better hell or Mugabe’s prisons. You see remand prison is supposed to be a temporary prison where you go pending your sentence. You are supposed to be assumed innocent when you are in remand prison until convicted but I can tell you, I can tell you my sister the conditions in Harare Remand Prison are terrible!

For starters you are supposed to have three blankets. And when I say blankets I am dignifying pieces of rags that are served as blankets. And the kind of food that is served there is a morsel of sadza and boiled cabbage and water, which masquerades as soup! There is a perpetually boiling drum of water and they take a certain amount of cabbage, then they throw it in the drum. And as soon as they throw it they take it out again and serve people. And this is done on aluminium plates, which are fit to serve dogs! And the sadza is coming from bins – aluminium bins, the real bins that you see in the streets of Harare . That is exactly where the sadza is served.

Violet: It’s served in aluminium bins?

Tamborinyoka: From an aluminium bin into aluminium plates, yes. It’s really a real bin in the true sense of the word and then they serve it (food) into dirty aluminium plates. And it’s a one-meal affair that is served around 2:20pm and at 3 o’clock you are supposed to be asleep waiting for such a ration the following day. So the conditions there are very, very terrible. For example Harare Remand is very overcrowded – especially the D Class section where we were detained. There were about 500 people there and when you want to go and bath there are about four showers and out of those four showers only two function most of the time. So you are talking about 500 people who are supposed to be using those two showers in order to bath.

And you have some inmates who have never received relatives for the past three or so years. And in any case it is a wonder why they have been there for three years when they are supposed to have been sentenced but you see that is the state of Zimbabwe .

You see when you are in prison, especially in the remand prison, you are supposed to go to court and it’s because of your going to court that you are granted bail but you would find that – I think for three consecutive weeks at one time we failed to go to court. It meant the whole D-Class section there was no one who went to court because there was no diesel. The government could not afford five litres of diesel kuti vanhu vabve paRemand paya paya near Newlands (for people to travel the short distance from the remand prison near Newlands).

And because you have not gone to court it means the magistrates are not going to grant anyone bail because the inmates have not turned up. The prison officers just take your warrants to court and the magistrate just change the dates you are supposed to come to court. So no one is granted bail because you are not appearing in person. So this leads to overcrowding because there is no fuel and when you have a whole government failing to find five litres of fuel goodness me it’s a crisis!!!

Violet: And it doesn’t mean that these other inmates are actually guilty when they are in remand prison. They are just waiting for their day in court.

Tamborinyoka: Yes it doesn’t mean that they are guilty but you see the other angle that you should look at this issue from, Violet, is this angle that if conditions are like this at Harare Remand Prison where you are supposed to be assumed guilty – in other words you are a suspect you are not a convict – you can only imagine what it must be like at Chikurubi (maximum prison), you can only imagine what it is like at Harare Central Prison if conditions are this bad in a (remand) prison where you are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty.

So you are there and there is the whole host of you and some of them have never received any visitors. You get in there you are clutching your piece of soap you want to bath but as soon as you put soap in your eyes you find that you can no longer find your soap. So it’s a very filthy kind of living that you undergo at Harare Remand Prison.

Violet: And how many were you in a cell. I know you said you were 500 in the area that you were in but how many would be in a cell?

Tamborinyoka: The number varies from 40 to 70 and this is a 5x7 room with an open pit that serves as a toilet and they don’t flush! So you are crowded there and you are sleeping and the whole night – because of this malnutrition and the kind of food that they serve – your brothers are going there in the toilet and they are using the toilet. And some of them have diarrhoea and so forth so the whole night you have to put up with that! And also half the time you are fighting the cold and you are fighting the lice and then these brothers are using this open toilet. So it’s terrible! It’s terrible.

Violet: And in your article you mentioned that there was no toilet paper?

Tamborinyoka: Ya, ya there is no toilet paper. There is no toilet paper. There are no longer any rations of toilet paper. There are no longer any rations for soap so you have to make do with what is available. So half the time you find that if someone has diarrhoea there is an outcry in the cell! And there are actually some cells called cages where there is not even that open toilet. So they use buckets for both the urinal and the other kind of thing. So in the morning they have to take the buckets and offload in a proper toilet. So it’s a small cage where they are about seven of them then there is a bucket there, which they use and if there is someone with diarrhoea then God help them.

Violet: And going back to the issue of food, you mentioned that only adventurous inmates such as “Reason” - you said he is one of the notorious prisoners in D-Class – could actually afford the rare taste of meat and you said he was well known for what became known as the “rat barbecue.”

Tamborinyoka: Yes.

Violet: What was that exactly?

Tamborinyoka: You see there are these stray rats that move around the cells and Reason would actually murder or assassinate some of them at any given time. And then he would use the overhead globe – it’s called Chadhuvha in the prisons parlance in Zimbabwe . So he would go there and roast it and then during the night he would have that rare taste of rat meat. You know they would actually remove the bulb and put the rat there – there is some scientific process that is used – it is actually the same place where they light their cigarettes. Matches are a rarity they are scarce in prison but they use that place as well to light their cigarettes. So they go up there – which is a feat on its own because it’s an overhead globe several metres high but they use their own tactics there and places that rat over there and then it serves as his supper.

Violet: Oh my goodness. What about the issue of treatment? How were you treated as political prisoners?

Tamborinyoka: If you political prisoners, especially when there were 30 of us, it was quite clear we had become a threat to the usual so called peaceful atmosphere at remand prison. What happened was that we were routinely changed cells and we were later told by some who were sympathetic to us that they had planted spies in each of our cells in order to spy on what we were saying. And obviously a lot of regulations went on to be changed because of the MDC team. You would find that food (from visitors) usually used to come anytime between 9am and 3pm but because of the MDC team they later changed the regulations to say that food would only be served twice. Some of the “war veterans” amongst the prison officers argued that the MDC team was turning prison into some kind of Chicken Inn. So they weren’t happy with the food that we were getting from outside. In fact they wanted us to eat the food that was being served from prisons so they reduced the number of times that we could receive food from our relatives and friends outside.

So I believe that if it had been left to them they really would have stopped us from receiving any food from outside so that we would eat the food from prison. But I think they had a tight time with the Prisons Act because the Prisons Act is very clear that if you are in remand prison you are not a convict so you are allowed to receive food from outside. So the best that they could do was to determine the time in which we could receive food from outside.

Violet: And were you tortured in remand prison?

Tamborinyoka: In remand prison we were not tortured but what would happen is that the police would come and then they would use what is called “form 86” in which the police apply to prison authorities to be given custody to someone who is already in prison. So they would use “form 86” and then they would ask some of us – like Philip Katsande was asked at one point, Kudakwashe Matibiri, (MP) Paul Madzore, (Presidential aide) Ian Makone – they would come to prison and then they would be taken back to the police station where they would be slapped with further charges and where they were further tortured. It had to take a court order – our lawyers had to go back to court – and it was only after that, that these policemen stopped coming to prisons and taking some of us back.

Violet: And can you tell us what happened to you before you were put on remand, from the day that you were arrested at Harvest House (MDC headquarters). I read in your article that “ an assortment of visibly drunk policemen” opened the doors and seized party equipment and you were made to lie down on the floor for several hours. Can you tell us what happened from there?

Tamborinyoka: It was horror my sister! It was horror my sister! And it’s only a tyrannical government that could afford such feat. They just came there – movie style – and they just bombarded and took over the whole office and ordered everyone to lie down. And so there we were lying down while these people were indiscriminately beating us on the back, on the head with gun butts, batons – you name it. And then later we were ordered to get into police vehicles, police busses and police vans. It was a quite a convoy! We went into these vehicles and we were taken to Harare Central police station where we spent three days.

I tell you those three days were hell! They would step on people’s genitals! They would order you to lie down. They would call you one by one into a particular room – ask you questions, torture you and beat you all over the body with an assortment of weapons which included bottles filled with water with which they would hit your knees and all the other joints and they would use baseball bats to attack you all over the body and they would step you on your groin!

My friend Kudakwashe Matibiri actually suffered genital abrasions. It was torture! It was torture! It was torture! And what they would do is when they called you one by one they’d come again and call another name and I tell you to this day I can’t stand the sound of slamming doors!!! Because the doors that were slammed at Law and Order were synonymous with torture. You’d know that your time is up and you are supposed to go there and you are going to receive your fair share of this kind of treatment!

Violet : I remember reporting on this issue at the time and the lawyers were complaining - that’s Alex Muchadehama and Andrew Makoni - they were complaining that they were not getting enough access to their clients and that the political detainees were collapsing because of the injuries. Now the Magistrate did put you on remand in hospital, what happened then?

Tamborinyoka: My sister it’s a chapter that I will never forget in my life. It was a Saturday, a sunny Saturday afternoon on the 31 st March 2008 . There we were at Avenue Clinic and we had been put on these intravenous tubes and the magistrate had remanded us in hospital until the following Monday. But wonder of wonders, around 12 at midnight, there came this group of an assortment of prison officers and this guys who I assumed to be CIO and they were shouting they had came to take us - and there you are in khaki shorts you are already under prison guard and you are in leg irons which are tied to you’re bed. And these guys are shouting that they have come to take our people!

For the first time in my life I was afraid because I didn’t know where these guys were taking us. They first haggled with a sister-in-charge who was arguing that we had been remanded in hospital by the magistrate and that in any case they had no right to take us without a proper discharging procedure from hospital. But you see after haggling this sister; she shouted because I think a gun had been drawn at her.

And while this was happening the other guys were busy pulling out our intravenous drugs from the wall and we were ordered to go out through the fire-escape into this van where there was another team of prison officers - I found out later they were prison officers but it was dark - who had AK riffles and they were sitting around the van and we were ordered to sit in a bench in-between and we were taken to an unknown destination. And I can tell you those 20 or so minutes that we were taken from Avenues Clinic to the remand prison were the most fearful moments of my life because we didn’t know it was a prison vehicle and we didn’t know where these guys were taking us.

And then they went there and they dumped us at Harare remand prison and I remember seeing Paul Madzore actually plucking the needle out of his arm and actually throwing the needle on the floor when we were at the remand prison and then the officer in charge took us and started delivering us in cells.

So, there we were 30 minutes from hospital and we were back in prison!

Violet: And what about the magistrate could she not do anything about this?

Tamborinyoka: (heavy sigh) I’m not sure but I think this was too big a case for magistrates. You see, you would look at these innocent girls (presiding magistrates) you look at their age and you see the politics surrounding this matter and you would really feel sorry for them. I remember at one time the officer- in-charge a Mr. Musonza was asked to come and testify in court after our lawyers made submissions that we had been smuggled out of hospital. I remember the officer-in-charge being asked to come and testify in court as to what had happened. The officer-in-charge clearly said that he was under instructions from above; he actually sighted the Commissioner of Prisons. He said he was under orders from the Commissioner of Prisons that we were taken to prison.

Violet: And I saw in your article you said that the Law and Order Section at Harare Central police station is the most misnamed office where neither law nor order prevailed?

Tamborinyoka: You see at any given point when there is a group of people detained at Law and Order Section, when you go there you can’t believe you are in a police station, which is supposed to protect people.

You see the way they try to investigate, they take you there and they don’t have any evidence and they believe that the only way that they can extract the truth from you is by beating you and they have this strange belief that truth resides from under the feet! Everyone you see at Law and Order they don’t have their shoes on and they are being hit in the soles and they are just asking you to tell the truth but you are telling them the truth but they don’t believe you!

You see the kind of torture that takes place in there you can’t believe you are in a police station, But then they are named Law and Order and one assumes that when you are there you are going to witness law and order but they just batter people there. You can stay there for five days and they don’t take you to the court as required by law. They are just trying to get the answer that they expect from you even though you have not committed any crime.

Violet: So, what kept you going during those long months in prison?

Tamborinyoka: You see its this belief in the struggle, you can tell this is the end game - the viciousness of these people - you can tell that this is the end game. But obviously we were quite lucky in that there were quite a number of us in prison, so we sort comfort in numbers.

For example we had Paul Madzore, he is a good musician he is actually a recorded musician, so we would sing in prison, we would sing songs of the struggle, we would sing gospel songs. We had Ian Makoni there, Zebediah Juwabha, Kenneth Nhemachema who had turned into some kind of preacher, and I had actually become some kind of preacher myself. So we were there and there is a big number of you and you are keeping each other company and its just the sight of seeing your fellows and the visits that we used to get from our own families and from the party leadership especially from President Morgan Tsvangirai, Secretary General Tendai Biti and other senior officials. They would visit us in prison and so this kept us going at least we knew that there was this umbilical cord between us and those outside and our firm belief from this struggle.

Violet: So, you had some idea of what was happening outside the prison cell through the people who were visiting.

Tamborinyoka: Yes,

Violet. And can you tell our listeners and readers what is written on the door of Cell C6, which was your home for the 71 days that you were in remand prison?

Tamborinyoka: On the door of Cell C6 there is an inscription there that someone wrote in white chalk “Zvichapera boys dzangu.” I was musing over these words, you see they could mean a whole host of things. “Zvichapera boys dzangu” you see obviously this guy maybe he was thinking of his detention in the remand prison and maybe he was thinking that it would one day come to an end. But for me as a political prisoner I was saying to myself will this regime continue to torment its own people? Will this regime continue to incarcerate people for no apparent reason? Will this regime continue this onslaught, this unjustified onslaught on the innocent people of Zimbabwe ? And I was saying to myself and I was looking at this message - “Zvichapera boys dzangu” - and for me it was a message for Robert Mugabe.

Violet: What do you think is the strategy, you know, to overcome? What is the solution to these problems in Zimbabwe ?

Tamborinyoka: I think the whole nation should just pin its hopes on the next election and its my hope the next election is going to be a free and fair election, which is going to register the legitimate voice of the people of Zimbabwe. I have faith in the struggle that we are waging, I have faith that the people of Zimbabwe shall overcome. I have faith that tyranny will never triumph over good. I have faith in the people of Zimbabwe that we shall overcome in the next election.

Violet: But you know it’s remarkable that after all that you’ve actually gone through you still have faith in the struggle. But on the issue of elections do you think with the way things are right know, Zimbabwe can have a free and fair election especially if its going to be held in March next year?

Tamborinyoka: One asset that you should never lose, Violet, is hope. We should never lose hope. For me I look at Charles Taylor, for me I look at Kamuzu Banda, for me I look at Mobutu Sese Seko. These were tyrants and no one thought that they would one day leave the political landscape. So, I have faith that one of these good days and I have faith that 2008 is going to be the people’s year. I have faith that this regime is going to go and I have faith that time is now and I had faith that 2008 is going to be the year.

Violet: You said in your article that as you walked out of the prison complex you were struck by the fact that the whole country was just another big prison?

Tamborinyoka: Yes, you see in prison you can’t visit anyone. You are incarcerated. In prison there is starvation- like I told you there is a lot of malnutrition there is no food. In prison your freedom is limited and that is exactly the same scenario we found out. People cannot visit each other. You cannot drive from Harare to Mutare because you don’t have fuel. You cannot even board a bus to Musambakaruma, to Mandidzudzure, to Kazungula, to Tamandayi because you just don’t have the transport fare. You can’t even afford to go to hospital. So this whole country is becoming a kind of prison. Everyone’s rights are constricted to a certain extent. So it was ironic that what we were simply suffering was a microcosm of what this whole country has become.

In prison you don’t have the freedom to scream and shout and say whatever you want and these are the same limitations that we meet when you come out because of this battery of repressive legislation because this country has become a securocracy. There are all these people all over and you don’t have liberty to even say what you want. So, it’s ironic that you come out into a bigger prison.

Violet: You know speaking of human rights abuses and if I can go back to the issue of some of the people you met in remand prison – can you tell us about one Takawira Mwanza, who you said is a former army officer and has served four years for stealing Robert Mugabe’s prized bull, which had been airlifted from China?

Tamborinyoka: You see it is a story that is quite popular among the inmates at Harare Remand Prison. This guy was working at Mugabe’s farm and it is said that Mugabe had his prized bull that is called Garigamombe. It is alleged that bull was stolen and the time that Mwanza took his off duty at the farm coincided with the time that this bull disappeared. And further investigations revealed that Garigamombe was actually at the rural home of Mwanza. So Mwanza was actually arrested and he was sent to Chikurubi where he served his sentence. But unfortunately Mwanza happens to be at remand prison even though he has served his sentence. If you go there, you talk to him and you speak to those who are familiar with his case they would tell you that he is there because the President said he still believes this guy should be in prison. Even though he has served his sentence he is still in remand prison waiting for the day when Mugabe wakes up in a good mood and allows him to go back and meet his family! But obviously considering all these problems, the pressure that is mounting on this regime one wonders whether Mugabe will ever wake up in a good mood for a long time to come!

Violet: It’s shocking that this particularly case shows that Robert Mugabe is running the country like his own private house. When you say even though this man has already served four years in prison for stock theft he is still waiting for Mugabe to pardon him and also what this story seems to expose is the extreme wealth of Robert Mugabe because airlifting a prized bull from China must have cost a fortune.

Tamborinyoka: Yes of course when you are talking about airlifting bulls – I think you are familiar with the case that all tyrants are associated with grandeur. This affinity for lavish lifestyles. This affinity for grandeur is synonymous with all tyrants all over the world even when their own people are suffering. So it’s not new, it only tells you that Mugabe has entered the premium league of the world dictators!

Violet: and your final words Luke before we go?

Tamborinyoka: My word is that the people of Zimbabwe will overcome.

Violet Gonda: Thank you very much Luke Tamborinyoka

Tamborinyoka: You are welcome.

Comments and feedback can be emailed to

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Mugabe Could Benefit From Diaspora Vote

Institute for War & Peace Reporting

The MDC may regret pressing for exiles to participate in next year's

By Joseph Sithole in Harare (AR No. 129, 30-Aug-07)

Zimbabwean ruling party ZANU-PF may benefit if it gives into opposition
demands to allow the country's sizeable diaspora to vote in next year's
elections, warn analysts.

The right for all Zimbabweans in the diaspora to vote in next year's joint
parliamentary and presidential elections is among key demands put forward by
Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, in ongoing talks
with ZANU-PF.

The government has so far opposed extending the vote to an estimated 3.5
million Zimbabweans living abroad, arguing that it would give the MDC an
unfair advantage as ZANU-PF senior officials cannot campaign in Europe or
the United States following travel restrictions imposed on them in 2002
after a disputed election.

But analysts warn it could be to the authorities' advantage to give ex-pats
the vote, as the difficulties of verifying the identity of Zimbabweans
scattered around the world would create the potential for vote-rigging.

The Zimbabean diaspora includes people of all social classes and political
persuasions who have fled the country in the past seven years of political
and economic turmoil which has come about as a result of President Robert
Mugabe's ruinous policies.

Millions of Zimbabweans in neighbouring South Africa have now formed lobby
groups under the banner of the MDC, demanding the right to vote in the
crucial parliamentary and presidential 2008 elections.

But few are prepared to return into the country before they know the outcome
of the ballot, which is widely expected to be won by the ruling party using
whatever means are at its disposal.

Mugabe, who has put himself forward as the sole candidate for ZANU-PF in the
elections, is still to be endorsed by the party, but different groups such
as the Women's and Youth Leagues have already vowed to support his

The MDC say that most Zimbabweans who have left the country in recent years
have fled Mugabe's repressive policies and the precipitous economic

This, it argues, would make them predisposed to vote for Mugabe's opponent.

"They are angry with Mugabe whose incompetent and illegitimate government
has ruined their lives," said an MDC official in the capital of Harare.

"Mugabe is afraid that once such people are allowed to vote, he has no
chance of staying a day longer in power. He will therefore resist this
demand with his life."

But analysts caution that MDC's demand may hand ZANU-PF victory on a silver

In the past, ZANU-PF has been criticised for allowing military personnel on
international duty and embassy staff around the globe to vote - in a process
which the opposition said lacked transparency.

Without any means of immediately verifying the residential addresses and
authenticating the names of ordinary Zimbabweans registering and voting from
different locations across the globe, analysts say extending the vote to the
diaspora could be manna for the ruling party's rigging machine.

"The real irony is that it is in fact ZANU-PF and the government who are
resisting pressure to allow people in the diaspora to vote," said a
political analyst at the University of Zimbabwe.

"But very soon, they may discover it might, in fact, be to its advantage."

The analyst explained that so-called ghost voters are normally eliminated by
voting requirements, such as national IDs, proof of residence and

"But if the MDC's claims of vote-rigging by ZANU-PF over the years are to be
taken seriously, it means even this rigorous screening process is not
foolproof. What then would stop them taking advantage of voters whose
addresses we don't know?" he asked.

"The MDC would have to act with great circumspection in trying to leverage
the diaspora vote. They may live to regret ever raising the point in the
first place."

Another Harare-based analyst said there was a danger that ZANU-PF "might
make a show of resisting this plum offer and then strike when the enemy
least expects.

"They can decide at the last minute to 'make a huge concession' for
Zimbabweans in the diaspora to vote after they have played with the
numbers - and the MDC will be the biggest loser."

The analyst said a low turnout in the recently ended nationwide voter
registration exercise may prompt the government to exploit the situation in
order to gain more votes.

The registration process ended on August 17. Only an estimated 80,000
people, or about four average urban constituencies, were added to the voters'
roll, bringing the total number of registered voters countrywide to about
5.5 million.

There are also concerns that voter numbers will be low as a significant
number of those on the voters' roll have since left the country for various
reasons, including further education and better employment opportunities.

"There is a longstanding dispute over legitimacy which has caused Zimbabwe's
isolation from the international community. That in part is also responsible
for the country's relentless economic slide," said the analyst.

"If the diaspora vote can be counted on to boost numbers and give the
[election] winner the appearance of legitimacy, ZANU-PF will grab the
chance. In fact, ZANU-PF appears more adept at changing and adapting to
changing circumstances than the MDC."

Joseph Sithole is the pseudonym of an IWPR journalist in Zimbabwe.

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Man stabbed in water queue

The Zimbabwean

As Bulawayo's water crisis contiues to worsen, a 23-year-old man was stabbed
and seriously injured by "water touts" for trying to jump a borehole queue
in the city's high-density suburb of Nkulumane on Friday.
Eye-witnesses told The Zimbabwean that the man, whom they identified as
Trust Maphosa, was rushed to Mpilo hospital in a relative's vehicle, after
having been stabbed twice in the belly.
"He arrived at about six, with two other young men of about his age. He
joined the queue, which was very long and managed by a group of youths. Some
young men were busy getting money from people so that they could get ahead
of the queue and fetch water.
"However, this incensed Trust, who took his 20 litre container and went
straight to the borehole. The touts tried to prevent him from fetching the
water, but he punched one of them, resulting in a fist fight," said a woman
who only identified herself as Memory.
"The boy, who is in his early 20s, drew out a knife and stabbed Trust twice
in the belly and fled. A relative rushed him home and took him to Mpilo in
his motor vehicle," added Memory. Trust's condition is now reported to be
"Doctors said that the knife only ripped his flesh and did not reach his
intestines. We expect him to be stitched but I cannot say when he will be
released because the wound is very long and needs close attention," said the
Police confirmed receiving the report, but no arrests have been made.
"I would like to appeal to people not to resort to violence, but to dialogue
to settle their differences," said the acting police spokesman, Assistant
Inspector David Nyathi. - Bayete Zitha

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Rights Activist Betty Makoni & Broadcaster Amai Chisamba Arrested

SW Radio Africa (London)

30 August 2007
Posted to the web 30 August 2007

Violet Gonda

Last week Betty Makoni was arrested for allegedly smuggling two US nationals
to make a film about the country's crisis without accreditation. On Thursday
the Director of the Girl Child Network was back in detention, this time on
charges of violating the Child Protection Act. Makoni was arrested together
with talk show host Rebecca Chisamba of the popular Amai Chisamba Show.

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said the human rights campaigner is being
accused of violating the Act after showing a television programme on abused
minors for the local broadcaster - the ZBC. The Coalition said in a
statement: "During the program, Betty was calling for every concerned
citizen to safeguard the rights of the girl child as a panacea to national

Their lawyer Tafadzwa Mugabe confirmed that Amai Chisamba recorded what was
supposed to be a feature on women and children who are survivors of rape and
child sexual abuse. The participants for that particular feature are
survivors who are presently being sheltered by the Girl Child Network.

Makoni brought in the victims to participate in the show.

Mugabe said: "Now two months down the line the police then come down on
Betty Makoni and Rebecca Chisamba alleging that they broke the law by
publishing or publicising these minors."

It is unlawful to publicise the identities of minors but the lawyer said
these are trumped up charges as the minors' faces were concealed during the
Mai Chisamba show which was broadcast on June 16th.

We could not get a comment from the police.

Just last week, Makoni was released without charge while the two US
nationals were deported on Thursday without having any legal recourse. They
were accused of filming a documentary on the Girl Child Network without
permission from the state.

The Girl Child Network is an organization that works with orphans and abused
children in Zimbabwe and Makoni has been at the forefront, exposing
perpetrators of violence against children and women. The outspoken activist
has been on a campaign of mobilizing women in parliament and the NGO sector
to fight domestic violence. She has been following cases where those in
positions of power are believed to be abusing minors. As a result she has
collected some powerful detractors. Observers believe Makoni is being
targeted because of her campaigns to expose abuses, especially by some of
the nation's lawmakers.

Some critics accuse the state of hypocrisy saying it is ironic that the
latest arrests comes at a time when the authorities are guilty of splashing
pornographic pictures allegedly of Archbishop Pius Ncube in the state media.
This was in direct contravention of the Censorship Act, the Child Protection
Act and the Broadcasting Services Act, among other laws.

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Bulawayo Faces Water Crisis

Institute for War & Peace Reporting

Government refuses to intervene to tackle acute shortages in opposition

By Mike Nyoni in Harare (AR No. 129, 30-Aug-07)

The government is refusing to tackle increasing water shortages and
instances of waterborne diseases in Bulawayo because of a struggle over
control of the city's water supply.

Unless local officials hand over control of the water supply to a government
agency, the central authorities have said they will not help residents in
Zimbabwe's second largest city where waterborne diseases are on the increase
and most of the water supply has now dried up.

Resistance to a takeover by the government agency is fuelled by reports that
it has failed to tackle the water crisis in Harare and other cities.

Water shortages and contaminated water supplies are the latest in a long
line of daily hardships to face people all over the country.

In Harare, residents of the poorer suburbs of Mabvuku, Tafara and Glen View
sometimes go without tap water for up to four weeks at a time. Even the
wealthy are beginning to suffer, with the water supply in the upmarket
suburb of Glen Lorne drying up two weeks ago.

Water shortages in Harare have led to doctors treating 900 cases of
diarrhoea a day, according to a report by the state-run Herald newspaper on
August 20.

"We have a persistent problem and have decided to continue treating all
diarrhoea-related cases free of charge," said Harare health director Prosper
Chonzi, in the report.

Even where there is access to water, it is often unfit for human

The Bulawayo authorities have resorted to stringent water rationing,
allowing residents to access water for only a few hours every three days.

In Harare, Gweru and Mutare, the government agency the Zimbabwe National
Water Authority, ZINWA, took control of the supply and distribution of
water, after President Robert Mugabe's regime fired popularly elected
opposition mayors and councillors and appointed its own favoured

But Bulawayo city council has resisted a ZINWA takeover bid.

Situated in the heart of Matabeleland 450 kilometres west of Harare,
Bulawayo has always been an opposition city, voting against the ruling
Zanu-PF in every election since independence in 1980.

The city has for years battled with water shortages, due to drought and a
rapidly increasing population.

The ambitious and expensive Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project - which plans
to pipe water from the Zambezi river 450 km away to Matabeleland - has
remained a pipe dream for political reasons.

Even if there was the political will to see it through, the recession-hit
government lacks the resources.

Bulawayo is now facing its worst water crisis ever - which is compounded by
the fact that the government refuses to help unless the city allows a
government agency to take control of the supply and distribution of water.

The city's mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube last week accused the government of
trying to destroy the city.

Without water, people are unable to wash their hands or flush their toilets,
increasing the risk of disease outbreaks. Most people answer nature's call
in the bush or open public spaces at night.

While the effects of the water crisis may be similar in Bulawayo and Harare,
analysts say the causes are different.

Water shortages in Bulawayo are exacerbated by drought and the standoff over
control of supplies, whereas those in Harare are the result of gross
mismanagement, inefficiency and lack of planning, as the city's population
continues to expand rapidly.

"Harare is very different from Bulawayo," said a Harare council employee who
requested anonymity.

"Our water problems here are man-made. The shortages are mainly a result of
old pipes which keep bursting. A lot of expensively treated water is wasted
through leakages."

He said any deaths which occur as a result of water-related illnesses could
be blamed on poor management of the city's affairs.

Since ZINWA took over water management in the capital nearly a year ago,
supplies have worsened. This has fuelled resistance by Bulawayo residents
who say they have no faith in ZINWA given its record in Harare and other

Mike Nyoni is the pseudonym of an IWPR journalist in Zimbabwe.

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MISA-Zimbabwe Alert: Journalist Acquitted

The Zimbabwean


Journalist Gift Phiri was on 30 August 2007 acquitted of contravening a
section of the repressive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act (AIPPA).

 In his brief ruling, Magistrate Stanley Chimedza stated that the section
under which Phiri was charged did not create the alleged offence but that
the offence would have been created under another section of AIPPA.

 Phiri, whose trial opened on 27 August 2007 was facing charges of
contravening Section 79 (1) of AIPPA which relates to practicing journalism
without accreditation. He was acquitted after the defence applied for his
discharge at the close of the state case.

 Phiri's lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa made the application after the arresting
officer, Sergeant Tapera Ranjisi, had given his evidence. The state had
indicated that it would not be calling further witnesses after Chimedza's

 Ranjisi had earlier told the court that they had received information that
Phiri was practicing journalism without accreditation.  He told the court
that Phiri was arrested at his home in Harare 's suburb of Sunningdale
before he was handed over to Ranjisi's Police Law and Order Section.
Ranjisi said he was instructed by the officer- in- charge of Harare 's Law
and Order Section, detective inspector Mavunda, to search Phiri's home where
he recovered two copies of The Zimbabwean newspaper.

 Under cross-examination by Mtetwa, Ranjisi conceded that they searched
Phiri's home without a search warrant.   He denied participating in Phiri's
torture. He, however, admitted that the police had not conducted any
investigations following reports that Phiri had been tortured while in
custody as ordered by the court on 5 April 2007.

 He was allegedly severely assaulted by the police while in custody
following his arrest in Harare on 1 April 2007.

 Through Ranjisi, prosecutor Editor Mavuto produced as exhibits two copies
of the Zimbabwean newspaper dated 16-22 November 2006 and 4-11 December

 In the application, Mtetwa argued that the court had failed to prove that
Phiri had in fact practiced journalism as envisaged by Section 78 of AIPPA
which she argued is an integral part of the charge.  Section 79 (1) reads,
"No journalist shall exercise the rights provided in section seventy-eight
in Zimbabwe without being accredited by the Commision". Section 78 relates
to the rights of journalists in terms of AIPPA.

 She further argued that while Phiri was being charged for having practiced
journalism without accreditation since August 2006, the Media and
Information Commission (MIC) Research, Monitoring and Investigations Officer
Academy Chinamora, had confirmed that Phiri was actually accredited for the
year 2006.  Mtetwa dismissed the production of the two copies of The
Zimbabwean newspaper as irrelevant since Phiri was in fact accredited during
the material time.

 Mtetwa further argued that even though Phiri had written for The
Zimbabwean, he had done so as a social commentator as is the case with the
MIC Chairperson Tafataona Mahoso who writes for the Sunday Mail and
Nathaniel Manheru who writes in The Herald of every Saturday.

 "We concede that we did not establish any prima facie case," was all the
prosecutor could say in response to the application.


 For any questions, queries or comments,please contact:

 Nyasha Nyakunu
Research and Information Officer
Media Institute of Southern Africa - Zimbabwe
84 McChlery Ave
P.O Box HR 8113
Tel/Fax:  263 4 776165  / 746838
Cell: 263 11 602 448

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Same Old Story Over Farm Preps

Financial Gazette (Harare)

29 August 2007
Posted to the web 30 August 2007

Shame Makoshori

ZIMBABWE'S agricultural season is two months away and farmers have begun
making the traditional land preparations and hunting for inputs, farm
implements and financial lifelines.

But they remain sceptical about other stakeholders' commitment towards a
vibrant agricultural season, especially concerning the disbursement of
financial support to small-scale farmers without access to bank financing.

Moreover, erratic power supplies and coal shortages, which have dogged
operations in the past, are likely to present significant challenges to the

Edith Kagoro, an A2 farmer in Nyabira said last week the main factor that
has contributed to the fall in output had been the late disbursement of
funding to farmers by financial institutions.

The funding is from the government but is disbursed through banking

"It takes long to get the funding approved, at times up to three months. By
the time the funding is secured, its value would be lost due to
hyperinflation," she said.

Tobacco farmers have indicated that they would require 200 000 tonnes of
coal this season.

There are serious problems in the supply of coal from Hwange Colliery
Company, the main supplier of coal.

Irrigation needed for the dry planting of tobacco is likely to remain a
pipedream for most farmers because of recurrent power blackouts that have
destroyed the country's winter wheat.

Once a net maize exporter, the country has relied on imports and recently
ordered 500 000 tonnes of maize from Malawi and Zambia.

Maize output has also declined because of unviable producer prices offered
in an environment of increasing overheads.

In May, government was forced to review the producer price of maize from $52
450 to $3 million per tonne to attract farmers.

But this has been eroded by inflation, now at 7 634 percent.

This could dampen farmers' capacity to plant maize for commercial purposes.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture David Chapfika, however, remains optimistic
and has thrown out ambitious production targets.

"For the 2007/08 summer cropping programme, the ministry will target the
following; a minimum of 2.4 million hectares of maize, sorghum, and millet
to be financed by government," says Chapfika.

"Operation Maguta will target the production of one million hectares of
maize and 200 000 hectares of small grains respectively. In line with the
strategies to resuscitate quality tobacco production, government is
targeting tobacco production at 60 000 hectares," Chapfika said.

"Our main target is to increase output to at least 120 million kilogrammes
during the 2007/08 season. We are targeting a minimum of 400 000 hectares of
cotton and a minimum of 120 000 hectares of soya beans. Groundnut production
is forecast to have a minimum hectarage of 200 000 hectares," Chapfika said.

On paper, government's statistics point to sufficient output, enough to
surpass the annual maize requirement of 1,8 million tonnes.

Assuming tobacco output per hectare would be at a minimum 2 500 kilogrammes
per hectare, this would translate to about 150 million kilogrammes during
the season, far ahead of the 2006/07 targets of 80 million kilogrammes.

But government has to address all the impediments in order to encourage
tobacco farmers, who have complained of poor producer prices.

At the same time, input costs had been tracking hyperinflation.

Agribank last week announced it had disbursed $305.9 billion under the
Agricultural Sector Productivity Enhancement Facility (ASPEF) this year for
working capital and capital expenditure.

The tranche is earmarked to fund horticulture, poultry and piggery, beef and
dairy, irrigation and other crops.

Agribank has also disbursed $21.2 billion to A1 and communal farmers under
the Public Sector Investment Programme.

"With regard to the 2007/08 summer crop season, Agribank is expected to
finance 500 000 hectares of maize and 100 000 hectares of small grains. In
partnership with the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board, Agribank is
target-ing 15 000 hectares of tobacco through the provision of inputs and
working capital," says Agribank chief executive, Sam Malaba.

In pursuit of this goal, government says it had put in place a number of
financial lifelines like the US$200 million facility to finance inputs and
capital equipment while the Zimbabwe Farmers Development Company/Chinese
facility for tractors and related agricultural equipment involves US$25

Last week, the PTA Bank bankrolled the agro-export sector with a US$10
million loan via Agribank.

But while targets have been set, analysts say it is at the implementation
stage that government has perennially failed and unless this hurdle is
overcome, no plan could inspire the recovery of commercial agriculture,
which has declined by at least 60 percent in seven years.

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Rautenbach, Colliery Strike Deal

Financial Gazette (Harare)

29 August 2007
Posted to the web 30 August 2007

Shame Makoshori

MINING magnate Billy Rautenbach has struck a deal with the country's
struggling coal producer, Hwange Colliery Company Limited to mine coal under
a contract mining deal crafted to increase production, The Financial Gazette
has learnt.

Zimbabwe is facing acute coal shortages that have resulted in reduced
electricity generation at coal-powered plants, triggering blackouts that
have grossly affected industrial output.

A number of private firms have resorted to imports to limit the effects of
constrained domestic supplies.

Rautenbach, who is 20 percent shareholder in Alternative Investment Market
(AIM)-listed Central African Mining and Exploration Company (CAMEC) of the
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and counts President Robert Mugabe
among his associates, was recently deported from the DRC under controversial

Sources indicated to The Financial Gazette that the business tycoon, who
runs probably the biggest haulage fleet in the country, with recent truck
imports of at least 800, has already moved earthmoving equipment, which
includes a Caterpillar and front-end loaders to a coal claim owned by Hwange

Hwange Colliery's managing director Fred Moyo confirmed the deal with
Rautenbach this week, admitting he had already moved equipment to the mining
site. Under the deal Rautenbach's company will mine coal on behalf of Hwange
Colliery. The payment terms were not immediately available to The Financial

The deal is likely to result in increased coal output and could
significantly improve the fortunes of Hwange Colliery, which has been
battling severe capacity constraints due to ageing equipment, foreign
currency, power and fuel shortages.

Hwange Colliery suffered a 32 percent decrease in coal output in 2006.

A team of government officials is understood to have toured Hwange
Colliery's mines together with Rautenbach last week.

There is speculation Rautenbach could swing a surprise by taking up a stake
in the company, in which the government and British property mogul, Nicholas
van Hoogstraten, have controlling stakes.

Hwange Colliery is listed on the London, Johannesburg and Zimbabwe bourses.

Moyo said on Monday that while Rautenbach had been working with Hwange
Colliery to beef up production, there were no "confirmed plans" to bring him
in as a shareholder.

"He is not investing in the sense of buying shares," Moyo said in an

"Hwange Colliery is a public company listed on the Zimbabwe, Johannesburg
and London stock exchanges where investors can purchase shares," Moyo said.

"But Billy, together with three other guys had been providing contract
mining at the colliery in the last nine months. He has brought in a
Caterpillar and front-end loaders. It is a contract mining agreement (that
we will utilise) while we are organising our own equipment," Moyo said.

He could not confirm or deny last week's tour but said the coal producer had
run into serious "cash flow constraints" that had starved the market.

"We are trying, but it is not easy when the company runs into cash flow
constraints," he said.

Last month, Hwange Colliery Company Limited chairman, Tendai Savanhu told
journalists in Harare that the company required at least US$60 million to
replace its ageing equipment before increasing production.

The country requires about 380 000 tonnes of coal per month but Hwange
Colliery has been producing 197 300 tonnes, leaving a shortfall of 182 700

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Deal Offers No Respite in National Power Crisis

Financial Gazette (Harare)

29 August 2007
Posted to the web 30 August 2007

Dumisani Ndlela

ZIMBABWE'S power supply situation remains precarious, despite a US$40
million deal signed with Namibia's NamPower for the refurbishment of the
Hwange Thermal Power Plant.

In fact, investigations by The Financial Gazette revealed that Zimbabwe's
power utility, ZESA, would be unable to start generating increased
electricity from Hwange in January as scheduled, and might be forced to
start exporting electricity to Namibia from the scant local supplies.

The deal, described by the NamPower as "one of the best supply deals ever
secured by the company in the interest of the country", involves a firm
power supply agreement in terms of which NamPower will receive electricity
from Hwange, which should start flowing as early as January 2008.

Firm electricity exports to Namibia would be increased on a pro-rata basis
once Hwange rehabilitates all its units.

NamPower will then start receiving firm supplies amounting to 150 MW with
effective from July 2008 for a minimum of five years.

The power would come cheap for the Namibians.

From the four rehabilitated units, NamPower will draw the 150 MW and pay for
the drawn power at US0.21 per KWh. Forty percent of the payment would go
towards servicing the US$40 million loan.

While the refurbishment will result in an increase in output by 300 MW, The
Financial Gazette is reliably informed that for the plant to give reliable
generation of 300 MW, ZESA would require additional funding for essential

Moreover, while the refurbishment had been scheduled to be finalised mid
next year, sources said indications are that it could be finished in
December 2008, or even spill over into the following year.

ZESA can possibly generate up to 1 110MW from its various power plants out
of potential capacity of 1 680MW.

Power demand for peak periods during the year has often run into 2 000MW
during certain months --like in June and July this year -- despite the fact
that most industrial operations are operating at between 30 and 40 percent

Power imports face an immediate risk of curtailment due to non-payment.

ZESA is understood to be sitting on overdue invoices amounting to nearly
US$20 million for power imports.

Previous ZESA deals

THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) has over the years signed
mega deals both offshore and locally for the creation of new power plants or
boosting capacity at existing plants. Very little has come out of these
deals. Below, we highlight a few of those deals.

2007 (January): ZESA signs a deal with Turbo Engineering of Russsia for a
US$150 million joint venture facilitating the creation of 17 mini-hydro
electricity power plants across the country.

2006: Reserve Bank makes available a US$30 million package for the
refurbishment of Hwange Power Station.

2004: ZESA signs a memorandum of understanding with China National Aero
Technology Import and Export for the injection of US$600 million towards the
renovation of Hwange Power Station. Talks are held early this year for a
Built Operate Transfer arrangement.

ZESA has also entered into several agreements for the refurbishment of the
power plants with Indian, Malaysian and Iranian investors, with very little
to show for the deals, some of then riding on the government-to-government
cooperation agreements.

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Delegation Flies from Vic Falls Via Joburg to Get to Harare

Financial Gazette (Harare)

29 August 2007
Posted to the web 30 August 2007

Stanley Kwenda

A GROUP of visiting Chinese investors who flew into the country from South
Africa via Victoria Falls this week for a series of meetings with the
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) had to fly back to Johannesburg to catch a
flight to Harare after they failed to connect from Victoria Falls because
all Air Zimbabwe flights are booked until early October.

The officials had visited the country to explore investment opportunities in
the tourism sector, but got more than what they had bargained for after they
even failed to get accommodation in the resort town of Victoria Falls, with
all hotels fully booked after locals took advantage of the price slash.

ZTA had to save the day after it used its muscle to secure a place for the
Chinese delegation to put up for the night.

"We are very sorry that you had to come to Harare from Victoria Falls via
Johannesburg because you failed to get flights from Victoria Falls. Maybe
this is an indication that Victoria Falls is busy contrary to the
information that you read about Zimbabwe in the media," said ZTA chief
executive officer, Karikoga Kaseke responding to questions on the Chinese
delegation's bungled trip.

"We know that you have read falsehoods about tourists deserting Zimbabwe but
you went to Victoria Falls and saw tourists. Reports that you have been
reading are not true. The fact that you failed to get a flight from Victoria
Falls to Harare is a sad fact but in another way it's a demonstration of
just how busy it is and even accommodation is a problem. We had to use our
muscle to get you accommodation in Victoria Falls. At the moment we are told
all the flights to Victoria Falls are fully booked," Kaseke said.

Perennial air transport problems have dogged the tourism industry for years
as the national carrier Air Zimbabwe, the only airline servicing local
routes, has been hamstrung by a myriad of problems, including a skewed
pricing system and very few planes to ply designated routes.

The introduction of Skylink, an Air Zimbabwe brand meant to link local
tourist destination with major business centres, has not helped either.

Air Zimbabwe flies daily to Victoria Falls, operating direct flights and
indirect flights, which go via Bulawayo. Currently all flights to Victoria
Falls are fully booked until the beginning of October.

Air Zimbabwe spokesman, David Mwenga, attributed the current scenario to low
fares charged by the airline, which has made flying a lot more cheaper and
convenient than road transport.

"The fares are very low. So many people are now able to fly," he said.

A number of other factors have also been cited as causes for the constrains
faced by airlines in Victoria Falls.

Shingi Munyeza, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chairman, told The Financial
Gazette last week that there was need for the government to speed up the
extension of Victoria Falls International Airport runway to enable bigger
aircraft to land at the resort town's airport.

According to Munyeza, the biggest aircraft that the airport can accommodate
is a Boeing 737.

So far only the clearing of shrubs has been done at the airport as part of
the expansion programme and the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe says it
needs billions of dollars to execute the projects, which also includes the
sprucing up of Bulawayo International Airport.

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Pardon Mugabe to prise him out, says Zimbabwe's Tsvangirai

Earth Times

Posted : Thu, 30 Aug 2007 11:50:05 GMT
Author : DPA

Sydney - Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said Thursday
that granting immunity from prosecution to President Robert Mugabe was the
only way to force the authoritarian leader from office. Speaking in Sydney
while on a tour of Australia, Tsvangirai described Mugabe as a dangerous man
who had declared war against his own people.

He urged Australia and other western countries to consider an amnesty
as a way of encouraging Mugabe to stand aside.

There have been calls in Zimbabwe for a severing of links with
Australia over remarks the opposition leader has made during his speaking

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Sweden calls for Harder Stance Against Mugabe

Radio Sweden

Sweden's Liberal Party foreign affairs spokeswoman, Birgitta Ohlsson, is
calling on Sweden and the EU to take stronger action against Zimbabwe's
president Robert Mugabe.

The Liberal Party is one of the four partners in Sweden's center-right
coalition government.

Ohlsson, who has spent a week in Zimbabwe meeting oppostion groups, says the
situation in the country is deteriorating by the day. Speaking to Swedish
Radio News, Ohlsson claims Mugabe is using food as a political weapon to
hold opposition to his rule in check.

She describes the situation in Zimbabwe as one of the world's most pressing
crises, and criticises what she sees as the outside world's failure to stand
up to Mugabe. Ohlsson is calling on the Swedish government to encourage the
EU to introduce a raft of sanctions targetting the Mugabe regime, including
the withdrawal of aid.

Ohlsson is also calling on the international community to give people in
Zimbabwe hope that economic support for their country would resume once
Mugabe leaves power.

So far, there has been no official response from the Swedish government.

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Yet another wheat deficit looming in Zimbabwe

30th Aug 2007 10:23 GMT

By Ian Nhuka

BULAWAYO - The government has admitted, after months of denial, that yet
another wheat deficit is looming next year after farmers missed the target
to plant 76 000 hectares of the crop.

Since the beginning of the winter wheat season in May, the government has
been typically bullish about the production of the cereal, despite
widespread lack of fertiliser, finance and electricity to irrigate the crop.

But yesterday, the minister of agriculture, Rugare Gumbo said farmers have
only planted wheat on 50 000 hectares.

"The projected yield will be below the initial target because of power cuts,
so we have revised the national hectarage to at most 50 000 hectares down
from 76 000 hectares," he said.

A shortage of Queleatox, a chemical used to control wheat-eating quelea
birds is also likely to further affect the yield this year.
In June, the reported that the government did not
have the required number of aircraft to mount spraying programmes against
the birds.

We reported that the country only had one plane for use in its national
spraying programme to control quelea birds, instead of four.
Gumbo's estimate is higher than the one advanced by United States-based
Famine Early Warning System (Fewsnet) which last month said only 30 000
hectares have been put under wheat.

"Assuming national average yields of between four metric tonnes and 4.5 per
hectare, preliminary production estimates are in the range of 120 000 metric
tonnes and 135 000 metric tonnes for 2007, which slightly below last season's
production level of 144,000 metric tonnes," said FEWSNET in a report.

The report cited inadequate tillage capacity of the farmers, inadequate fuel
supplies, a shortage of farming equipment, and a shortage of fertilizer as
the main factors that curtailed production this season.

Since 2000, Zimbabwe has been failing to produce enough wheat for national
needs. The country requires about 400 000 tonnes annually for national
consumption, but has managed to reap an average 200
000 tonnes yearly since then.

The deficit is filled by imports. But because of the prevailing foreign
currency shortage, bakers have failed to finance the imports, resulting in
erratic supplies of bread.

Wheat is grown in winter under irrigation in Zimbabwe. Planting is done in
May while harvesting is done around September. The crisis facing the winter
wheat season was dramatised last month when a prominent Mashonaland West
farmer, Doug Taylor-Freeme made headlines after he destroyed 40 hectares of
his 30-centimetre-high
wheat saying the crop will still be a write-off anyway because of poor
irrigation caused by constant power cuts.

"I informed the Reserve Bank that had funded the wheat crop and political
leaders in Mashonaland West that I wanted to do away with 40 hectares of the
wheat crop so that I could only be left with a manageable 210 hectares," he
said then.

"Our local transformer had been destroyed by fire in May and continuous
power cuts contributed extensively to the wilting of the wheat crop as we
could not properly manage our irrigation scheme. I then ploughed down the
crop so that I could quickly prepare the land
for another crop. The wheat had already failed so I had to take irrigation
pipes and use the little water I was getting for 210 hectares and the crop
is doing very well."

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City Council Of Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe, Bars Opposition Campaign Rally


By Carole Gombakomba
30 August 2007

The faction of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change headed
by MDC founder Morgan Tsvangirai is seeking relief in high court after being
denied a permit to hold a rally by the town council in Chinhoyi, northwest
of the capital.

Mashonaland West officials of the Tsvangirai MDC faction said the branch
received police permission to hold the rally, but that the town council said
it would not take up the matter until Monday although the rally has been
called for Saturday.

The opposition faction's provincial secretary for Mashonaland West, Gift
Konjana, said the Chinhoyi magistrate's court dismissed the case, saying
that it was not urgent, so the formation intends to file an urgent
application in Harare high court Friday.

Chinhoyi Acting Town Clerk Abel Gotora said he was not aware the opposition
applied for a permit to hold a rally, or that the matter was pending
deliberation by the town council, or the party's had sought judicial
recourse in magistrate's court.

Konjana told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that
the opposition in Mashonaland West, a ruling ZANU-PF stronghold, has been
facing major challenges as police and local officials obstruct its efforts
to rally supporters.

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