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Zimbabwe nears unity deal as Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai prepare to meet

President Robert Mugabe and his leading opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai, are
expected to meet on Thursday after details emerged of a possible settlement
of Zimbabwe's crisis.

By Sebastien Berger, Southern Africa Correspondent, and Peta Thornycroft in
Last Updated: 8:11PM BST 06 Aug 2008

Under a 50-page draft agreement, Mr Mugabe would become a ceremonial
president with Mr Tsvangirai as prime minister and head of government until
new elections are held.

In this form, the deal could vindicate President Thabo Mbeki of South
Africa's insistence on solving Zimbabwe's impasse through quiet diplomacy.

But a Western diplomat described the plan, which effectively amounts to
creating a government of national unity, as a "shocking outcome" that failed
to heed the will of the people as expressed in the presidential election's
first round on March 29, which Mr Tsvangirai won. Observers said it could
leave key institutions, including the army and Reserve Bank, under Mr
Mugabe's control.

The worst outcome for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
would be to join a government in which it ended up marginalised and
powerless - while allowing Mr Mugabe to claim legitimacy and receive
international support.

That was the fate of Joshua Nkomo's Zapu party after it merged with the
ruling Zanu-PF in the Unity Accords of 1987. "Unless Tsvangirai has real
executive power then the whole thing will break down almost immediately,"
said a constitutional lawyer in Harare. "There is no mechanism for this
transition to be policed, so who will Tsvangirai appeal to if Zanu-PF break
out of the deal once they have got their hands on some international

Under the draft agreement, as reported in "The Star", a Johannesburg daily,
Zanu-PF would control the defence ministry while the MDC would run home
affairs, which includes police and prisons.

Other key ministries, including finance, land and justice, would go to
independents - although finding such people in a deeply divided nation may
be impossible.

The Joint Operations Command, the collection of generals who now wield
ultimate power, would be made answerable to a National Security Council
chaired by Mr Tsvangirai.

A new constitution would be required to implement the agreement and Mr
Mugabe would have to appoint Mr Tsvangirai to the Senate for him to become
prime minister.

In theory, this would be a transitional government leading to new elections,
which the MDC wants in two years and Zanu-PF wants to extend to five.

Foreign aid has been promised if there are reforms in Zimbabwe, where
inflation officially runs at 2.2 million per cent. A senior Western diplomat
said: "We will look at the deal. If it reflects the will of the people as of
March 29, then fine, if not then nothing will change. It is very shocking
that people go and vote and then land up with a government of national
unity, which is not what they voted for."

A senior opposition MP said: "Unless home affairs, justice and the Reserve
Bank are out of Zanu-PF hands, there can be no deal that the people can
trust. The international community must be very careful. Zanu-PF is only
interested in the money, in lifting of sanctions. Once that is done, they
might decide to do their old things, then what happens?"

The agreement would give all those guilty of political violence, from Mr
Mugabe to his loyal thugs, a blanket amnesty. More than 100 opposition
supporters have been murdered this year alone.

Both parties issued a joint statement yesterday urging their supporters to
stop all "violence in any form". This appears to treat Zanu-PF and the MDC
as equally culpable. In fact, Mr Mugabe's party has been guilty of the great
majority of violent incidents.

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Zimbabwe rivals call on supporters to halt political violence

Yahoo News

by Fanuel Jongwe 2 hours, 19 minutes ago

HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe's rival parties issued a joint statement Wednesday
calling on their supporters to halt all political violence in a sign that
power-sharing talks may have moved closer to an agreement.

After more than two weeks of negotiations in South Africa aimed at resolving
a political crisis that intensified after President Robert Mugabe's
controversial re-election, the parties vowed "to eliminate all forms of

Both Mugabe's ZANU-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) acknowledged their supporters had carried out violence following the
March 29 first-round presidential election.

The statement said the parties "call upon all our supporters and members and
any organs and structures under the direction and control of our respective
parties to stop and desist the perpetration of violence in any form".

Power-sharing talks mediated by South African President Thabo Mbeki began
after the two sides signed an agreement on July 21 laying the framework for

The negotiations followed Mugabe's re-election in a one-man run-off poll in
June that MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai boycotted, citing rising violence
against his supporters that had killed dozens and injured thousands.

Mugabe blamed the MDC for the violence, but the UN said the 84-year-old
leader's supporters were responsible for the bulk of it.

Tsvangirai finished ahead of Mugabe in the March first round of the
election, but with an official vote total short of an outright majority.

Sources close to the South African presidency have told AFP that Mbeki, who
has been heavily criticised in the past over his quiet diplomacy approach to
the crisis, had recently increased pressure on Mugabe to accept a deal.

Wednesday's joint statement came as a South African newspaper reported that
Mugabe would have amnesty from prosecution and a ceremonial role in
government under what it called a draft settlement to resolve the crisis.

Tsvangirai would run Zimbabwe as executive prime minister under the plan,
The Star reported, saying it had obtained a copy of the draft.

It also reported that Mbeki would facilitate a face-to-face meeting on the
draft between Tsvangirai and Mugabe in Harare on Thursday.

The report could not be confirmed, and Mbeki spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga
could not say whether the South African leader would be traveling to
Zimbabwe this week.

In a further sign the talks may be moving ahead, UN troubleshooter Haile
Menkerios has also flown back to South Africa to monitor the discussions, UN
spokeswoman Michele Montas said.

Menkerios, a UN assistant secretary general for political affairs, was first
heading to Pretoria for consultations on the mediation process, but also
planned to visit Zimbabwe before returning to New York this weekend.

Tsvangirai believes his first-round total gives him the right to the lion's
share of power, but sources in his party said previously that Mugabe's
negotiators had so far only offered him one of several vice presidential

The ruling party has insisted Mugabe must be recognised as president as part
of any deal, since he won the June 27 vote.

Zimbabwe, once seen as a regional breadbasket, now faces the world's highest
inflation rate and major food shortages.

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Zanu-PF, MDC joint statement on violence

August 6, 2008


We, Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the two
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations pursuant to Article 10 of
the Memorandum of Understanding signed by our Principals, Comrade Robert
Gabriel Mugabe of ZANU-PF, Mr. Morgan Richard Tsvangirai of the one MDC
formation and Professor Arthur Guseni Oliver Mutambara of the other MDC
formation in Harare on 21st July, 2008, enabling the resumption of dialogue
under the auspices of the SADC mediation and supported and endorsed by the
African Union in a bid to resolve the challenges and the multiple threats to
the well-being of our people hereby unequivocally condemn the promotion and
use of violence as a political tool and call for the cessation and end to
all politically motivated violence in the country.

The Parties, acknowledging that violence that is attributable to us and
which has been injurious to national and human security has indeed occurred
in the country after the 29th March, 2008 Harmonised Elections hereby call
upon all our supporters and members and any organs and structures under the
direction and control of our respective Parties to stop and desist the
perpetration of violence in any form.

We, further, reaffirm our commitment to ensuring that the law is applied
fairly and justly to all persons irrespective of political affiliation, to
take all necessary measures within our power to eliminate all forms of
political violence, including by non-state actors, and to ensure the
security of persons and property and provide support to victims of violence.

The Parties express their readiness to work individually and together in the
ongoing Dialogue to make public undertakings in ensuring the safety of any
displaced persons and their safe return home and to enable humanitarian and
social welfare organisations to render such assistance as might be required.

Signed at HARARE this day of August, 2008.

1. N.T. GOCHE ..............



2. P.A. CHINAMASA ...........

1. T. BITI ..................


2. E. MANGOMA..............

1. W. NCUBE..................



2. P. MISIHAIRABWI...............

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Land a major sticking point in Zim talks


     August 06 2008 at 03:06PM

By Fiona Forde

When they meet in Harare on Thursday, Robert Mugabe and Morgan
Tsvangirai will decide between them who will hold executive power in the
country's transitional government.

They will also have to decide who will lead the various ministries and
who will ultimately be guaranteed protection under the thorny issue of an

Their discussions, which will be mediated by President Thabo Mbeki,
will be guided by a 50-plus-page draft settlement, obtained by The Star,
which outlines the framework of a transitional government, "which will come
to an end upon the holding of the general election preparatory to the
introduction of the new democratic constitution".

However it is also understood that while the two-day meeting in Harare
will go a long way towards securing a peaceful settlement, a final deal
could still be several weeks away.

But if the two rivals reach agreement on the core issues set out in
the agenda of the two-day encounter, the bulk of the dealings would be

In a series of indirect negotiations in Harare over the past
fortnight, the pair agreed in principle on the model set out in the draft
settlement under which Mugabe would become ceremonial president while
Tsvangirai would assume the role of executive prime minister.

While neither man was opposed in principle to the power-sharing
agreement put before them, they have to formally agree on it in the coming

Sceptics argue they have been this way before, both in 2003 and again
last year, when Mugabe withdrew his support at the eleventh hour.

Members of the Joint Operation Command, which governs Zimbabwe's armed
forces, have repeatedly said in recent weeks that they would not recognise
an MDC-led government.

At a cabinet meeting held on July 15, Vice-President Joseph Msika
echoed that view when he said he would not recognise a Zimbabwe led by
Tsvangirai - a man he called an mgodhowi, the Ndebele word for a small dog,
which takes on a derogatory connotation when applied to people.

However, Zanu-PF sources say it was Mugabe who reined in Msika that
day, telling him he would have few other options in the near future.

Despite the numerous deals almost brokered in the past, this is the
first time that all parties to the talks say they have reached the point of
no return and that a settlement is inevitable.

Land and the redistribution of it is one of the early sticking points.

The draft settlement proposes the establishment of a land commission
that would carry out an immediate audit of ownership, illegal or otherwise,
throughout the country, with a view to "giving security to lawful holders of
land and enable them to use and develop the land to the fullest possible

However, the two parties are furthest apart on this issue than they
are on any other.

If the draft document is signed, two deputy prime ministers would
constitute what would be known as the national security council, together
with the prime minister and one other cabinet member.

In that single strategic move, the core powers of the existing regime
are severely diluted and restricted, to which many members of the existing
Joint Operation Command, along with senior members of Mugabe's government,
are opposed.

In return, the planned settlement offers a blanket amnesty to every
person "who in the course of upholding or opposing the aims and policies of
the government of Zimbabwe, Zanu-PF or either formation of the MDC may have
committed crimes within Zimbabwe".

That amnesty would take effect from the date when an agreement is
reached. The settlement also proposes a fund to compensate victims.

This article was originally published on page 1 of The Star on August
06, 2008

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Mbeki visiting Harare after breakthrough

August 6, 2008

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - The pace of Zimbabwean political events in Pretoria has gathered
such momentum that South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki is expected to fly
to Harare Thursday to present a power-sharing deal to President Robert
Mugabe and the two Movement for Democratic Change leaders.

Meanwhile Mugabe is said to have requested a one-on-one with MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai, possibly ahead of Mbeki's arrival. The MDC leader is due
back in Harare after a whirlwind tour of the African continent.

Mbeki's decision to travel to Zimbabwe for the second time in a fortnight
follows hard on the heels of dramatic breakthrough in inter-party
negotiations currently being held in Pretoria by negotiators from Mugabe's
Zanu PF party and the MDC.

Mbeki's impending visit was prompted by the Zanu-PF's surprise accession to
a major MDC demand that the post of executive Prime Minister be created for
the party's leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, in return for immunity from
prosecution for crimes committed during Mugabe's often bloody 28-year reign.

Mugabe would be retained as a ceremonial President in a transitional
government likely to span the period of two years. Thereafter free and fair
presidential elections would be held, a senior MDC source privy to the talks
said. Tsvangirai would also be allowed to pick two deputies, one from his
MDC and the other from Zanu-PF.

Mbeki's spokesman, Mukoni Ratshitanga, was not immediately available for
comment. But a senior SADC diplomat in Harare confirmed Mbeki's Thursday
visit to Harare, saying he was due to hold a joint meeting between Mugabe,
Tsvangirai and the leader of the breakaway MDC faction, Prof Arthur

"The president's visit forms part of ongoing South African efforts to assist
the people of Zimbabwe in the challenge of reconstructing their country," he
told The Zimbabwe Times.

Mugabe rejected a similar call for national unity last week but backtracked
after the first round of talks collapsed over power-sharing differences.
Meanwhile a highly placed source in Zanu-PF has disclosed that Mugabe has
requested an urgent meeting with Tsvangirai, possibly before Mbeki's

"The President has requested a meeting with Mr Tsvangirai," he said. "But
the request has been kept such a secret that many in the Zanu-PF leadership
don't know about it."

A different source said Mugabe and Tsvangirai were definitely due to hold
another face-to-face meeting Thursday. He also said the meeting was at the
request of Mugabe.

Mbeki, facilitator of the talks, travelled to Harare last Wednesday where he
met Mugabe and Mutambara after meeting Tsvangirai in Pretoria the previous
day in a bid to break the deadlock in Pretoria.

Mugabe's dramatic climb-down reflects the growing pressure on the southern
African leaders to take a principled stand against the dictatorship of
Mugabe, 84.

Mbeki is now racing against time as he is under pressure to have a deal in
place in time for the SADC heads of State and government summit to be held
in Midrand, South Africa, on August 16. Mbeki is due to take over the
rotating SADC chairmanship from Zambian President, Levy Mwanawasa.

Tsvangirai was heading back to Zimbabwe Wednesday for the crucial meetings
with Mbeki and Mugabe after a whirlwind tour amid a flurry of diplomatic
activity on the continent.

The thawing of relations between the rival parties was reflected in a joint
statement issued by both Zanu-PF and the MDC. It acknowledges that "violence
is injurious to peace and security".

There have been reports of sporadic acts of violence, allegedly perpetrated
by Zanu-PF militants in the aftermath of the onset of the talks in Pretoria.

The MDC alleges that the torture camps operated by Zanu-PF's militia across
the country in the run-up to the June 27 presidential campaign remain
intact. An MDC official has made an urgent application to the High Court in
a bid to force Zanu-PF to close the torture camps.

A total of 55 such bases are reported to be still operational throughout
Zimbabwe. The names of war veteran leader Joseph Chinotimba and a Col
Mzilikazi have been linked to an ongoing campaign of violence with total

The statement, issued in Pretoria Wednesday and read out to The Zimbabwe
Times, said both parties called on their supporters, organs of their parties
and structures "to stop and desist from perpetrating violence".

The parties have also reaffirmed their commitment to work together and said
the law should be applied fairly and swiftly in dealing with all cases of
political violence.

This was a key issue in the Memorandum of Understanding signed in Harare on
July 21.

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Zimbabwe Faces 50 Million Percent Inflation, Uses Gasoline Coupons For Currency

ANGUS SHAW | August 6, 2008 12:40 PM EST |

Associated Press

HARARE, Zimbabwe - Reeling from the highest inflation rate in the world,
barred by the government from using U.S. dollars for purchases, Zimbabweans
turned to a new money source Wednesday: gasoline coupons.

The move reflected the complete chaos of Zimbabwe's financial system, where
prices are openly quoted in the American currency, in Zimbabwe's own new
currency that came out Friday, and in its old denominations, which have 10
more zeros than the new bills.

Even coins have returned to circulation after being abandoned in 2002.

Auctioneers Hammer and Tongues announced the first "auction by barter" to be
held Friday. Dozens of cars and other goods will be up for bids payable in
gas coupons instead of hard currency and the government says the system is
legal, the auction house said Wednesday.

"Homegrown solutions for Zimbabweans. Now we are selling in liters (gallons)
not in dollars," the statement said.

Bidders must put down a deposit of 1,000 liters (220 gallons) of gas
coupons, worth about $1,500 at the current gas price in Zimbabwe, and pay
the rest in coupons when they pick up their purchases.

Zimbabweans face acute shortages of local currency. Already gas coupons can
be used to pay some household accounts. Many businesses also pay workers
part of their earnings in scarce foodstuffs, or demand dollars for
purchases, which is illegal.

"Where coupons become a currency it reflects the rapidly falling value of
the Zimbabwe dollar. Barter selling provides something that holds its
value," said independent Harare economist John Robertson.

Private financial institutions say Zimbabwe's inflation rate was about 12.5
million percent in May and estimate it has likely climbed to 50 million
percent this month.
On Aug. 1, the central bank slashed 10 zeros from the plummeting local
currency and Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono warned companies against
doing business in U.S. dollars. He said such transactions were still illegal
and should be reported to police.

Obsolete coins have also been revalued, sending Zimbabweans hunting for
coins they squirreled away in recent years.

Shops battled to count heaps of coins, causing long lines at checkout
counters. One enterprising Harare business on Tuesday advertised coin
weighing machines that even banks had discarded after coins went out of
circulation in 2002.

Shopping and visits to cafes and restaurants became further confused this
week by a range of different exchange rates used against the U.S. dollar.

Banks on Wednesday quoted the official exchange rate at about 10 new
Zimbabwe dollars (one billion old Zimbabwe dollars) to a single U.S. dollar.
Businesses quoted an exchange rate in new dollars of between 25-1 and 100-1.

Embattled restaurants were offering discounts of up to 80 percent for either
U.S. dollars or local cash because of shortages of both. They also added a
penalty fee of up to 80 percent on top of bill for those who paid by check,
estimating price rises in the five days it takes a check to clear.

Businesses reported a slight upturn in transactions since Friday despite the
money crisis.

"I think people were more sanguine about spending 100 new dollars instead of
a trillion old dollars. It doesn't feel so bad," said Robertson, the

But that would not last long, he said.

Since the new money came out Friday, it had already fallen in value against
hard currencies by about 20 percent.

"The petrol coupon has a more stable value and barter works," Robertson

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Zimbabwe State Media: Police Suspected in Bomb Blast


By VOA News
06 August 2008

Zimbabwe's state media report several police officers have been questioned
in connection with a bomb blast Saturday at the Harare Central Police

The Herald newspaper Wednesday, citing sources close to the investigation,
says a number of policemen and detectives are suspected of being involved in
the bombing.

A police spokesperson contacted by the paper would not confirm whether
police were being investigated.

According to the Herald, investigators recovered two unexploded bombs at
police headquarters following the blast.

Initial reports said no one was injured.

The incident occurred on the same day Zimbabwe's ruling and opposition
parties resumed talks on a power-sharing government, to end a crisis over
this year's controversial presidential elections.

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Civic Groups Demand to be Heard

Institute for War & Peace Reporting

Zimbabwean non-government organisations say their concerns are ignored
because they are shut out of political talks.

By Mike Nyoni in Harare (ZCR No. 158, 06-Aug-08)

Negotiators at the Zimbabwe crisis talks in Pretoria, South Africa are under
growing pressure from civic organisations which want to be more directly
involved in the process.

As talks between the main political parties continued beyond the August 4
deadline, all three leaders - President Robert Mugabe of ZANU-PF and Morgan
Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara of the two factions of the Movement for
Democratic Change, MDC - indicated that they were largely happy with the
progress of the talks. Tsvangirai pointed out that some "sticking-points"

Analysts believe the obstacles to progress could be fundamental differences
at the negotiations over whether Mugabe or his main rival Tsvangirai should
lead a transitional government. Both of them claim that right, based on two
different election results - the March 29 poll in which Tsvangirai got more
votes than Mugabe, and the June 27 run-off which Tsvangirai boycotted,
citing violence against his supporters.

For Zimbabwe's main civil society organisations, neither man is acceptable.
A group of these organisations said in mid-July that they would not
recognise an interim administration headed by Mugabe or Tsvangirai, and
instead wanted to see a neutral figure fill the role.

As the talks dragged on past their two-week deadline this week, more
organisations voiced demands to have a greater say in the talks process.

The militant Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe, PTUZ, which claims to
represent the interests of most teachers in the country, voiced concern at
the restricted number of participants in the negotiations, from which it
said the "voice of civic society" was palpably missing.

Only political parties are involved in the talks in Pretoria.

"It is our conviction that dialogue would have been more meaningful if the
players were broadened than is the current scenario. Reducing participants
to ZANU-PF and two MDC formations led by Tsvangirai and Mutambara is at best
too simplistic and at worst a fabrication of political processes," said a
statement issued by the PTUZ, recalling that the negotiations which led to
Zimbabwean independence in 1980 were "broader than the current dialogue".

The trade union indicated that it was sceptical that the talks could succeed
in their present format, given the deep divisions between ZANU-PF and the
MDC and the "secrecy and mystery" surrounding the talks.

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, an umbrella body which represents 350
organisations, also expressed concern about whether the process would result
in an effective political deal - and it warned against "quick fixes" which
"do not address the constitutional and democratic deficit".

"The coalition is utterly opposed to a pact agreed between the political
elite which does not adequately address the socioeconomic and political
crisis, which is by and large. a crisis of governance and legitimacy," the
group said in media advertisements this week.

The Media Alliance of Zimbabwe, which brings together key players from the
sector, has a particular interest in ensuring that any new constitution that
comes out of the talks contains specific guarantees of free speech.

However, the alliance complained this week that with no media figures
present at the negotiations, and participants barred from even speaking to
reporters, it was not in a position to press this important demand.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association also said the talks should have been
"more inclusive", with "the input of civil society organisations".

So far, politicians appear to be ignoring such calls for greater inclusivity
or a broader forum.

An analyst who did not want to be named said that whatever the merits of
such demands, the short deadline set by the July 21 Memorandum of
Understanding did not allow of it.

The analysts said it was feared that expanding the format of the process
would make it harder to stop information leaking out.

"The real fear is that expanding the negotiating process could raise more
dust than shed light on the way forward," he said. "The real key issues in
the current negotiations are about leadership, so there is simply no
meaningful role for any of these civic society organisations."

Mike Nyoni is the pseudonym of a reporter in Zimbabwe.

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Zimbabwe economy update for August 2008
Wednesday, 06 August 2008 17:58

Inflation has soared in the past few months at a pace that has surprised most Zimbabweans and raised many questions, if not suspicions of exaggeration.

For these reasons, the figures deserve frequent re-appraisals and, given the attempts being made by authorities to place all blame for price increases on the business sector, everyone needs to become better equipped to account for their origins.
Parallel market exchange rates clearly have a lot to answer for and this graph makes the startling rate of increase very clear. Because the percentage increases shown as measures of the widening gap between the actual 2007 and 2008 rates look so impossibly large, the point must be made that it is a log-scale graph, so each division on the vertical axis depicts a ten-fold increase.

That shows the increases from February to July 2008 as a rise of 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10, and in the adjacent table, which shows only the two most recent months, the rise from June 2 to July 31 this year was almost 700-fold. The table compares these months with the same months of 2007 so that the percentage-change calculations can be seen and checked.
Most of us will recall vividly the severe treatment meted out to retailers and manufacturers in June and July last year, and the table shows evidence that the price blitz reduced demand for foreign exchange, which led to falls in the rate of exchange in the last week of June and the kept it more stable in July 2007.   
This reduced rate of change, shown as the nearly horizontal portion of the 2007 curve, forms a nearly constant base against which the higher and rapidly rising 2008 figures are now being measured. So part of the reason for higher rates of increase now is the freeze imposed last year.
However, these figures do not illustrate the causes of inflation. They are themselves caused by other pressures, most of which can be linked to one or more of the wide range of scarcities impacting on all Zimbabweans. Whether as buyers, sellers, producers, consumers, employers, employees, landlords, tenants, lenders, borrowers, doctors, patients, teachers, students, drivers, passengers, tax collectors or taxpayers, all are affected by the reduced supplies and higher prices of everything.
These all stem from reduced foreign earnings, starting with the shrinkages seen in agricultural production volumes and soon afterwards falls in every other sector. Fewer imports could be paid for, fewer goods could be made, so even fewer could be bought or exported. But soon, very much more had to be imported. Competition for increasingly scarce foreign currency soon increased its cost and automatically increased the costs of every import.  
Higher costs, reduced turnover and reduced efficiencies soon cut profitability as well as employment. Tax revenues looked like they were rising, but in terms of the dollar values, they were falling. Government needed to borrow more to fund rising budget deficits, so they cut the interest rates to make borrowings more affordable. Lenders then started receiving repayments that, in buying power terms, were worth a fraction of the amounts they had lent.
As most of the lenders’ capital was effectively being confiscated, they soon had far less to lend. Before long, the amounts needed by government no longer existed. Even the amounts it could demand from the banks in the form of Statutory Reserves, amounting to 50% of deposits, were not enough. For quick answers to rapidly worsening problems, it was left with no option but to print the money it needed.
But while government can quickly generate credit balances that can support vast increases in the buying power of ministries, parastatals and the beneficiaries of its patronage, it lacks the ability to generate things to buy. As burgeoning sums of money descended on limited supplies, all prices rose even faster. And the more they printed the faster all the money in the system lost value. 
This graph illustrates the extent of the destruction suffered by the value of the funds represented by Money Supply M3. Based on estimates, because up-to-date M3 figures have not been released, the real value of the nation’s funds, as measured by the parallel exchange rate, had fallen to 2,2% of their value in January 1997.
To regain some control over the situation, government last year chose to increase its control over sums held in Foreign Currency Accounts by exporters by demanding that they be transferred from each exporter’s bank to the Reserve Bank and then by assuming control over its disbursement.
About eight months ago, money from FCAs ceased to be available to most exporters as government had chosen to appropriate the funds, first for electioneering purposes, but more recently to fund purchases of imported consumer goods that are now being offered at very low prices through People’s Shops. Although these goods are reaching very few individuals, their low prices are being touted as evidence that inflation is being beaten. 
This step-by-step account might help to counter claims being made by government that the shortages have all been caused by the business sector's efforts to cause embarrassment to the authorities and that all inflation has been caused by the business sector’s greed and exploitative habits.
Demands that supermarket chains must restock their shelves without delay, or risk unpleasant consequences, are bringing to the fore evidence that the authorities are planning yet again to place all the blame for the shortages and rising prices on manufacturers and retailers.
This they are doing in spite of production cuts that were forced on manufactures by setting controlled prices at below production costs, and in spite of specific instructions to banks that no foreign exchange should be released to consumer goods importers. Now, even the industrial goods importers will face additional constraints as government is reducing the amount that exporters are permitted to retain in FCA balances from 65% to 55% of their total revenues.
Stores that now try to respond to customers’ needs by ordering imports will be adding to the buying pressure that is already driving up the parallel market exchange rate, so the effect seems certain to be a further acceleration in the cost increases of everything else. Food scarcities are bad and getting much worse as the country’s very poor 2008 harvests have been almost consumed. Easier access to money, with the relaxation of withdrawal limits, is bringing forward much more severe shortages as people try to build food stocks.
While all Zimbabweans try to get used to currency numbers with ten fewer zeros, awareness that inflation is continuing unchecked is growing by the day and much scepticism is being expressed about the prospects that the resurrected Social Contract might make any difference. Even now, 19 months after it was presented to the people, it has yet to be ratified by the contracting parties and formalised by the drafting of Statutory Instruments and official regulations. Any claim that we even have a legally constituted government that is empowered to pass such legislation could also be challenged.
The Social Contract is said to be between government, the business sector and organised labour, but the support possible from all three is more seriously limited now than it was in March last year, but it is specially government’s ability to commit to its own contribution that is suspect. Employers and employees could agree on fixed wages and producer and consumer representatives could agree on fixed prices, but none of these agreements would hold if government could not agree to stop printing money.
In the absence of such a commitment, the arrival of money that had not originated from economic activity, but simply from the addition of zeros on credit balances on computer screens, would be so certain to erode the value of all the money in the system that the other Social Contract partners would be unable to keep their promises, no matter how hard they tried.
It is at this conceptual level that government consistently – and perhaps deliberately – gets it wrong. The problem is that money values are being destroyed by the delinquent behaviour of central bankers and government officials who have far too much authority and far too little integrity. When money values go down, the automatic and absolutely inevitable effect is that prices go up.  The people who damaged the money values are the culprits, and they are not the shopkeepers or manufacturers or currency traders. 
That said, Zimbabweans have to take note of Robert Mugabe’s veiled threat that if compliance was not readily forthcoming from the population, emergency measures might be adopted to force people into line. But willingness to show compliance might not be enough to make the very basic arithmetic work.
Employers and traders in the business sector are not simply unwilling to pledge support for a contract that could automatically eliminate any prospect of reasonable mark-ups on the stock they can find, they would be unable to keep going if they tried. Stock replacements would become more difficult by the day and impossible within a week or two.
Those in the business of producing goods that depend upon some imported materials will remain badly affected by deeply entrenched foreign currency shortages and by their complete inability to influence its price. Their difficulties in recovering its costs will force them out of business too. Efforts to control prices of imported finished goods will be made equally futile until the scarcity-driven foreign exchange rates are made stable by production and foreign earnings increases that overcome the scarcity. They cannot be stabilised by threats against the victims of scarcities created by government policy choices.
Government, as both the lead partner and the biggest spender in the Social Contract should be seen already to have no prospect of keeping within its budgeted expenditure commitments. Revelations in the Monetary Policy Statement last week show that increases approved for public sector salaries, wages and allowances have already carried the totals appreciably higher than the budgeted figures. Equally seriously, government has no prospect of curtailing the demands from parastatals, every one of which is certain to post vastly bigger losses than in 2007.
But on the production front, current crop estimates suggest that, following the dismal yields of food crops in 2008, the prospects for the harvests in 2009 are already even more dismal. Taken with the higher international maize prices and the limited foreign exchange available to pay for more than ever before, a Social Contract that merely tries to fix wages and prices for six months at a time is not what the country needs.
What Zimbabwe does need is policies that have prospects of working and people that have the ability to make them work by increasing production. Such people are readily available, but they will need confidence and financial support.
As the country’s savings have been dissipated and its foreign earnings so badly damaged, the financial support will have to come from elsewhere, and that brings in the needs of lenders and investors. They too will need confidence. This will not be forthcoming from an environment that has demonstrated contempt for property rights, civil rights, the rule of law and the importance of respect for market forces, so these need to head the list of challenges. With the right attention being given to them, no Social Contract would be needed.
An excellent editorial comment appeared in Zimbabwe’s weekly newspaper, The Independent, published on March 2 2007. It made valuable contributions to the debate and 16 months later it is even more pertinent. It reads as follows:

When Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono proposed a social contract in his January monetary policy statement to rescue the country from an economic recession, now in its seventh year, but whose tell-tale signs became evident much earlier, he forgot that the issue of legitimacy surrounding President Robert Mugabe's regime had to be addressed first.
The reason for this is that under the social contract theory, government has to be the enforcer of the contract.
Essentially, the social contract theory is an argument that government is necessary because it is in the interests of all citizens, who are, however, essentially free, interacting under laws meant to produce a happy life for all instead of anarchy. Its essence is that society and the state agree on a mutually-reinforcing relationship. The government has to derive its authority and power from the consent of the governed.
The social contract gives a people a way to distinguish a good law from a bad one, tells them what sort of behaviour ought to be considered criminal, and establishes limits on the way government can use its power to hurt and punish its citizens.
Mugabe's government fails on every detail of a social contract, and this is precisely the reason why Gono's project totters on the brink of collapse, assuming the process to come up with the social contract had been initiated.
Firstly, the growing disillusionment in the country points to a glaring lack of confidence in the government, and various electoral disputes by the opposition over rigged elections cast doubt over the legitimacy of the incumbent regime -- its power and authority are not derived from the governed.
Besides, government has, since a constitutional referendum for a new constitution, which it lost against the backdrop of increasing social upheaval, put in place several bad laws that have criminalised all sorts of social and economic behaviour in a clearly authoritarian manner.
Public protests have been banned and people have been restricted from expressing their views publicly on issues related to Mugabe's regime and how it has run the country's economy. Many have been arrested, tortured and brutalised for daring to stand up against the injustices of the regime.
Business people have been arrested for increasing commodity prices to remain in business, while the independent press has been beleaguered by the state and its security agents for carrying messages different from those purveyed by the establishment.
Almost everything done by Zimbabweans to earn an honest living has been criminalised, but ruling party and government bigwigs and their cronies have plundered the economy with reckless abandon without apprehension from Mugabe's regime.
This has left many citizens in no doubt that Mugabe's government is not "in the interests of all citizens".
In his monetary policy statement that called for a social contract, Gono recognised the evil presented by the skewed policies of his principals, but skirted forthright criticism by calling for the removal of price distortions in order to start "decriminalising Zimbabweans".
"The deep-rooted distortions currently prevailing in the economy are making it virtually impossible for the average citizen to earn a living strictly and entirely through ways that are fully compliant with the laid down laws and regulations," Gono said in his monetary policy statement.
Such laws and regulations, Gono said, should be removed and the central bank, itself a partner to policies that have resulted in the incarceration of bankers and informal market players, would "restrict our surveillance roles strictly on matters relating to banking sector prudence, exchange control affairs as well as anti-money laundering".
This, Gono said, would deepen "the virtuous drive to promote mutual trust and confidence" in the economy.
But that view, while laudable, is narrow and timid. Mugabe needs to completely overhaul all laws that have criminalised free speech, public protests, and criticism of his regime for policies that have pushed  the country to its worst economic crisis since Independence in 1980.
He needs to deal with all delinquent elements within his regime that have plundered the economy and impoverished the nation.
This is partly the reason why proposed parties to the social contract are saying government needs to adopt the Kadoma Declaration which calls on government to move away from interference in commerce and industry, to respect the rule of law and promote good governance and human rights.
Only then will people be prepared to go through the pain of a comprehensive package to turn around the economy under a social contract. Comments from John Robertson

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Farmers fighting for their Rights

Wednesday, 06 August 2008 13:31


There has been a heap of misinformation dished out in Zimbabwe as to
what took place in Windhoek. Here is what really happened: -

We had been told to be in Court at 9.30 am on Wednesday morning 16
July and things started happening right then. In this courtroom there are
five Judges who sit in high backed chairs right at the back in a line facing
the court. In the next tier in front of them and a little less elevated sits
the Registrar and one other who is the Clerk of Court. They also face in the
same direction as the Judges.

Before them, also in a line but this time facing towards the Judges,
sit the front rank of the lawyers who are to argue the case. Those for the
Applicant lay claim to the left hand side and those for the Respondent the
right hand side. Campbell's front rankers were Elize Angula, a partner in
Lorentz Angula which firm acts as Mike's Namibian lawyers; next to her
Adrian de Bourbon who assists and sits next to Jeremy Gauntlett who presents
the case. Only a couple of seats away from Jeremy was seated Mr. Prince
Machaya Zimbabwe's deputy Attorney General, who in similar fashion to Jeremy
Gauntlett presented the government's case. Next to Mr. Machaya sat his
assistant deputy Attorney General - Civil, a Mrs. Maxwell, and next to her
the Deputy Attorney General - Crime J Tomana who doubles up we are told as
Mayor of Bindura. Next to him initially sat the lawyers for the squatters G
Mlotshwa and F Mutamangira seeking, in spite of the judgement handed down
after the last hearing which told them they couldn't, to join with the
Zimbabwe government as co-Respondents.

In the next row towards the back of the court sit the attorneys Dave
Drury, Josephat Tshuma and Alex Masterson who all prepared the initial
papers together with Zach Freeth and his son Ben. On the second day Josephat
Tshuma was accompanied by lawyer Grayson Inyoni who hails from Bulawayo but
is now practising in Windhoek. He owns a farming property on the outskirts
of Bulawayo which like that of everyone else has been thieved. On their
right sit the assistants to the attorneys for the government team and a lady
complete with Nigerian style turban clutching a book on the Selous Scouts in
which on about page five she kept storing her pen. We were told she is the
Zimbabwe Ambassador to Namibia. In the final row sit reporters and the sound
engineer who plays cards on his computer when not checking the sound waves
of his microphones. There is indeed a good view from the gallery.

As things were due to start, the Registrar gathered together two
lawyers each from the Applicant's and Respondent's teams and Mlotshwa and
Mutamangira who were hoping to put the case for the squatters to ally
themselves with government and by so doing delay the main hearing for ever.
They were traipsed off together to a room off the passage to the main court
building set aside for lawyers and were given the sad news that there was
going to be no muscling in by Mlotshwa and Mutamangira representing Nixon
Chirinda on Conrad van der Merwe's farm sub division one of Reinfield in
Makonde district with 342 others. They were told to pack their bags and go.
Somewhat crestfallen, they did just that to the merriment of some of us in
the public gallery.

Then, in walked the Judges and the Judge President stated that they
were to proceed with the main case. Jeremy Gauntlett asked if this was case
2A, the urgent application (the Contempt of Court application which was
shown first on the Court Roll). He was again told that it was the main
hearing that was to be heard.

There was a quick bit of re-arranging of papers, and Jeremy began his
presentation. Here we need a little amplification. There are two types of
hearings, those that have evidence led by hearing and questioning verbal
evidence from various witnesses who appear in person, and those which have
all the evidence recorded in affidavits stored in the "bundles" of papers
presented to the Court. It was this last type of case that was before the
Tribunal, and both parties had previously agreed that no witnesses would be
called to amplify anything. This made nonsense of the Herald's clarion
assertion that ex-Minister Mutasa was to appear in Court. He didn't, nor
could he have done so other than as a spectator.

The approach by Jeremy was that he would make his way through his
Heads of Argument, highlighting the points he wished to emphasize. This he
did in depth in a crisp and succinct presentation which glared out and dared
the Respondent to refute anything he said. Adrian de Bourbon then argued his
way through the aspects of compensation pointing out that it was an
essential and very necessary part of acquisition. Then the now quite
recognisable and predictable Mr. Prince Machaya stood up and took his turn
to try and interest and sway the minds of the Judges. Apart from suggesting
that the requirements of the Treaty were merely guidelines for the countries
in the region and not binding, Mr. Machaya had little else of substance to
say. Predictably, he had little choice but to ramble on with Zanu PF's well
known political justifications to try and give credibility to all sorts of
abominations. Farmers have heard this sort of drivel so often from all those
doing the party's bidding that they now refer to it as "the history lesson".
It didn't have much impact on the Judges as it has nothing to do with law,
and they seemed to lose concentration slightly and began a little of the
eyes rolling and gazing at the ceiling routine.

Then it was Jeremy Gauntlett's turn to reply and comment on what Mr.
Machaya had said. Well, Jeremy whacked it a little differently. We really
enjoyed one of his observations on the discrimination aspect. Not only had
the Respondent discriminated in the taking of the farms he said, they had
done it again when they dished them out to their cronies. Any white skin
lost out on both occasions. He helped coach his antagonist on how he could
improve his future deliveries by reminding him of the numerous points he had
left out or glossed over but should have countered in some way. He was very
polite and at the same time very cutting. He cut him up worse than the thugs
had cut up the Campbells and Ben Freeth. In fact he was so nasty we began to
feel sympathy for this poor man who had to sit there and endure abject
humiliation. There was no more of the eyes rolling/ceiling gazing by the
Judges. They were enthralled.

Thus ended the first day Wednesday. There was no doubt that justice
was in the making.

The next day dawned, but as we sat around the breakfast table none of
us knew the drama and delight that this day would bring. It began with a
request by a young lady to be driven at 8.00 am to the historical Turnhalle
which now houses the SADC Tribunal and its offices. This young lady is part
of the documentary movie making team and felt that a personal approach to
the Tribunal Registrar, Judge Mkandawire from Zambia, might have more
success in obtaining permission to film in the Courtroom than those made
previously. And she was right! Justice Mkandawire realised the importance of
this landmark case for both the Tribunal and for SADC. It had to be shown
that the whole procedure was beyond reproach by both parties and the outside
world. There could be no grounds for later criticism of the final judgement.
The movie makers were given what turned out to be a fantastically flexible
five minutes of filming time to capture the essence of the proceedings on
condition they stayed put in the far corner. Oh joy! oh rapture! - but they
just didn't realise the ramifications of what Mkandawire had authorised, nor
what their celestial scriptwriter had lined up for them on that day!

So, on the second day in Court the Judge President began by asking if
there were any points that had arisen the previous day which needed
clarification. There were none so he said the Court would then hear the
"Urgent Application". This application would be more recognisable to the
layman as a hearing to establish "Contempt of Court" in that the Tribunal
ordered that Campbell and 74 of the 77 Joinders with him should be left in
beneficial and unfettered occupation of their properties, unhindered in any
way by state agents and their thugs. They weren't, and this led to the
Urgent Application which as we explained in the previous newsletter it was
not possible to hear immediately.

Then things became a bit American Soap Opera-ish. Jeremy rose and
began with due decorum to deliver his presentation. He had only got a couple
of words in when up jumped Mr. Machaya rudely interrupting the proceedings.
Jeremy looked more than a little surprised, displaying too by his body
language a smattering of extreme annoyance. Jeremy is not the sort of fellow
who puts up with wayward behaviour. Mr. Machaya was finding it difficult to
accept that things in Windhoek were not proceeding as they had decided in
Harare they should, so he proceeded to lambaste the Bench telling them that
he couldn't see any need for the Urgent Application to proceed now that the
main hearing had already been dealt with. When the Judge President
re-iterated that they were to hear the contempt application Mr. Machaya lost
his senses and went so far as to demand of the Judges that they should give
an explanation of their behaviour.

Then Jeremy stepped in, pointing out the monstrous impudence of the
Zimbabwe government's lawyer (and by inference that of his principal). The
Judge President kept his cool, merely saying that the hearing would proceed.
So Jeremy gets up on his pins again and opens his mouth only to find Machaya
has beaten him to it again. Now the threats start to roll and Jeremy, who
heaven forbid we should refer to as a peeping tom, detected the desperation
in Machaya and had a quiet squiz at his paperwork on the desk a mere two
seats away. There clearly wasn't any! For the shrewd Gauntlett this
demarcated the exact spot where the next blow from the boot was to land.
Immediately we recalled how on two previous occasions the Judges had we
thought too easily acceded to demands for postponements and back then we had
the suspicion they were setting the Respondent up in a trap. And now the
Respondent had swallowed it hook, line and sinker. Like an errant schoolboy
the Respondent had omitted to do his homework because the lies given twice
before could definitely not fail to work again!

So Jeremy put the boot in yet again and emphasised the facts. The
Respondent had had ample time to prepare, he had received his set of papers
thirty days before and had even responded, but the Zimbabwe Government had
not bothered to do anything about opposing the allegations other than ask
for more time to do so. He asked for the hearing to continue. The Judge
President concurred with everything that Jeremy had said and declared that
the application for postponement was just another delaying tactic. He
ordered the hearing to proceed. Now Machaya's desperation deteriorated into
abject despair and he pulled his last card from the pack. He stated that he
needed to consult with his principal back in Harare and asked for an hour's
postponement. The Judges, after consulting amongst themselves, reluctantly
gave thirty minutes.

Now our movie maker whose watch had long since stopped saw the drama
in the making. So, with sound engineer, complete with furry microphone
hanging from extended boom in tow, he lugged his camera out on to the
outside walkway and proceeded to film the Zimbabwe lawyers huddled together
with the Zimbabwe Ambassador (the Selous Scout history lesson book no longer
quite so prominent) all desperately working on cell phones which were
rapidly getting red hot. Mlotshwa, the gentleman lawyer of Rydings school
and the missing $800 million fame, immortalised himself on camera and
soundtrack by refusing any filming. After the allowed thirty minutes we all
returned and the drama unfurled a little more.

The government of Zimbabwe, said Machaya, took this case very
seriously. So much so that they had instructed him to demand a postponement
so that affidavits and other evidence could be gathered to present to the
Tribunal. This would prove that it was mere criminals who had committed the
Contempt. The Zimbabwe Government was "not the one". It would be unfair to
hear the matter unless they were given further time and the interests of
justice and fair play would not be served. This submission we had heard
before often - in fact it was beginning to rival "the history lesson". The
patient Judge President again pointed out that the Respondent had had ample
time to prepare their submissions and he was going to hear the matter

The trap was sprung. Machaya continued with his patter that unless
they were granted an extension of time there was no alternative but to
refuse to take part in the proceedings. That would have made the point and
he and his entourage could have sat down and looked snooty, but before he
had even finished his statement our Ambassador (if that word also covers the
female of the species) and the rest of their team had upped sticks and were
striding out of the Courtroom. That sneaky movie maker, whose five minutes
only time machine was now working double time overtime, faithfully in the
interests of fair play and justice too, recorded the whole walk out - and
Mlotshwa this time forgot to tell him "no filming"!

So now Machaya was left all on his tod, packing up his various files
and papers. Jeremy for the umpteenth time launches in to his presentation
and was just into the meat of it when the attention of all is disrupted with
a visibly embarrassed Mr. Machaya making his way past the full Bench and in
front of Jeremy heading for the door. So Jeremy stops again and all
attention is centered on the hapless Machaya looking as though he is sorry
to have been chosen as the defender of the indefensible. And worse, that
callous fellow wielding his metre long boerewors of a movie camera has now
crept out of his innocuous five minutes only don't move about corner and is
filming at close range poor Machaya's acute discomfort.

One now wonders what was the purpose of setting the dogs on to
Campbell, Etheredge and all the others in Chegutu and after all the adverse
publicity going flat out to make amends by arresting all the perpetrators
and recovering much of the looted property. We were convinced it was a set
up so as to try and wriggle out of being held in Contempt. But the Attorney
General's office failed to capitalise on it and walked out instead. Those
whom the Gods wish to destroy, they first make mad!

Whereafter things in Court return to simulating a sedate British type
conservative Courtroom. All similarities to Yankee soap operas disappear and
Jeremy Gauntlett, no longer interrupted, fires with both barrels, no holds
barred and now unopposed. The evidence was everything that evidence can be.
Josephat Tshuma had earlier told us what good lawyers should strive for when
making their case. Judges are human and you need to tug at their
heartstrings, then you have to draw them in to become involved in the
picture you sketch in words. Jeremy did all of that. Elize Angula had with
some magic managed to print in full colour a selection of those twenty four
horror photographs taken just after Mike, his wife Angela and son-in-law Ben
were admitted to hospital. But they were now no longer just photographs,
they were now the size of Castle Lager (sorry, Windhoek Lager) billboards
and horrible in their detail. That of Mike's broken and torn open finger
hanging obscenely at right angles that precluded him from signing the
"withdrawal from the court case in Windhoek" as demanded by his attackers
was particularly gruesome and not one to gaze upon before breakfast. Mike's
picture made him look like a battered cadaver and bruised and battered
Angela's image too tugged mightily at the heartstrings.

The evidence was unassailable, and had Mr. Machaya heard it he would
have found no "history lesson" to refute any of it. Names, ranks of army and
police involved in the state orchestrated operation poured out. Details of
how the authorities tasked with maintaining law and order did the opposite
and assisted in the continued looting and violence could not be challenged
even had the Respondent's legal team remained. But the supreme bit of
stupidity was a letter written on 11 July 2008 by the Attorney General's
office, and signed by J Tomana himself as the Deputy Attorney General -
Crime, to firm of lawyers Coghlan, Welsh and Guest, incorporating Stumbles
and Rowe, for the Attention of Mr. A N B Masterson. He wrote: "the
provisional order of the SADC Tribunal cannot and has not suspended the
Attorney General's Constitutional responsibility to prosecute violators of
any of Zimbabwe's existing criminal laws such as section 3 of the Gazetted
Lands (Consequential Provisions) Act. As I stated in my previous minute to
yourselves the Attorney General's Office is proceeding with the
prosecutions." The letter was copied to the Acting Attorney General -
Justice Patel. Again, those whom the Gods wish to destroy, they first make

The Zimbabwe Ambassador wasted no time after their walkout to try a
little damage control. She called a press conference complete with
television cameras and explained that the whites had infiltrated the
Tribunal and as they were now prevented from receiving a fair deal they had
no choice but to withdraw. The damage was compounded.

There is no doubt that this case is of great importance for future
governance in the SADC region. In fact, it is going to have a bearing on
land matters throughout Africa. What the Judges don't know is that there is
this delicious documentary "Mugabe and the White African" in the pipeline
and that this film although not yet released has already generated great
interest, admiration and not a little annoyance in some quarters. It too
will provide for the man in the street much detail of what the case and
issues are all about. We all wish that the final Tribunal judgement and the
facts portrayed in the film will together and in unison bring the saga to
the sort of end it obviously deserves.

We now have the judgement in the Contempt of Court case and the
Government of Zimbabwe has been found without any shadow of a doubt to be in
Contempt. The Contempt has been conveyed to the SADC Summit who in line with
the rules of the Tribunal will have to deal with it. This meeting of the
Summit will take place quite soon, but may be a damp squib as South Africa
is to take over its chairmanship and President Thabo Mbeki, who has just
asked the International Criminal Court not to proceed with the prosecution
of Sudan's President Al Bashir, will occupy the chair.

To rev him up a bit, we arranged for the Contempt judgement to get to
the EU before Mbeki's visit there where he is seeking investment for Africa.
We shall do what we can to point out to the SADC Embassies that unless they
take a hard line on this judgement which clearly establishes the lawlessness
of one of their members, there will doubtless be repercussions on the
western aid they can expect in future. Aid obviously cannot flow to those
who are in bed with the lawless. Further evidence of ongoing prosecutions,
harassment, evictions and looting of those supposed to be under the
protection of the Tribunal interim relief order is being prepared and will
be delivered to the SADC Secretariat in Gaborones in good time before the
SADC Summit sits on the 15 August.


Once again we have nothing but praise for the people of Namibia and
their capital city Windhoek is as delightful as ever. Wherever we went
sympathy and support for our cause came our way and all the people we met
with were friendly and chatty. The Namibian Agricultural Union could not
have been more hospitable. We all met with their President Raimar von Hase.
He is an aristocratic gentleman, whose ancestry hailed from Germany some
three generations back, and his sojourn in Africa has matured what was a
fine wine to start with into a most charming and polished product. There is
however a darker side to this delightful fellow, but of that more later.
Dave Conolly together with Deon Theron and Alex Masterson also met with the
NAU Executive Manager Sakkie Coetzee who kindly organised a quick whip
around to buy some groceries for the pensioners of Harare.

Raimar joined us all for a drink at the Guest House on Wednesday
evening and stayed for dinner. We were also joined by Mr. Robert Ridgway who
hails from the UK and has a friend in common with Zach Freeth, Ben's father.
It transpires that Mr. Ridgway is in Namibia working on a project funded by
the European Union to survey and grant title to the communal lands of
Namibia. Your scribe unfortunately did not meet with Mr. Ridgway but has
written to him to obtain details of this trail blazing giving of title which
in SACFA's opinion is the key and solution to many of the ills of Africa. it
is especially important for all of us in the southern end embroiled in
various land reform programmes. We shall bring to you more detail when we
receive it.

So far Mr. Ridgway has set up and surveyed using satellite imagery the
land holdings of about five hundred families in the north. He also disclosed
that Botswana is similarly engaged in granting formal tenure, in fact they
are further along the road than Namibia he said. The word was that the EU
had earmarked 53 million Euros for the task in Namibia. We find this
programme really exciting for there is no doubt that the benefits of title
will soon become apparent in Namibia and Botswana and without doubt will
spur their neighbour Zimbabwe to implement the same programme. In so doing
we can cut out the lunacy of the present theft and destruction of productive
farming properties.


The mills of God grind slow but exceeding fine. Mr. G Mlotshwa, the
lawyer who did not want the Zimbabwe legal team to be on film outside the
Courtroom, was by some quirk of fate placed in a seat on the plane back to
Harare which nestled next to those he considered his arch enemies lawyer
Dave Drury and worse still, Ben Freeth. This was an untenable state of
affairs so he complained bitterly to the Stewardess but to no avail. When
however they arrived in Harare, Mlotshwa decided to film Ben as mobile. This
was to prove the farcical assertion made by both the Chronicle and the
Herald that Ben had suffered no injuries and he was only made up to look
like he had been injured. What particularly incensed Mlotshwa was that he
had seen Ben walk on or off a plane somewhere so his appearance in court in
a wheelchair proved the humiliation they had suffered was all stage managed.
It had nothing to do with neuro surgeon Mr. Auchterlonie's instructions that
Ben could walk a little if he had to, but otherwise had to use the chair.
Mlotshwa should have taken time to glance at the Windhoek Observer newspaper
and read Ben's Medical Report which was quoted verbatim.

Things became particularly unpleasant when Mlotshwa began to harass
Ben in front of his camera. He was creating such a ruckus that three
security gentlemen in civvies came to find out what was going on. Mlotshwa
wanted Ben taken down to the dungeons for questioning which Ben politely
refused. Mlotshwa's rage knew no bounds when the security gents took Ben's
side and started asking him how the case had gone. Then they made it worse
by insisting that Mlotshwa leave Ben alone. So he took his camera and
stormed off. We wonder whether Ben had the presence of mind to take a leaf
out of Mlotshwa's book, hold up his hand and shout "no filming"? Mlotshwa's
strange behaviour has been reported to the Law Society.


Dave Conolly decided that because he had no South African visa it
might be a good idea to travel to Windhoek by road with the scribe through
Botswana. He was warned of the unpredictability of such an escapade. We left
Bulawayo early on Monday morning and stopped in Francistown for fatty
biltong for the road and a box of Select Claret to go with the dinner
sandwiches when we stopped to sleep on the roadside. Conolly showed the
effects of his misspent youth by referring to Select Claret as "happy
juice". At the roadblock at Kuke we told the police we were on our way to
the SADC Tribunal for the case, and when we returned through there several
days later they remembered us and wanted to know exactly how it had gone. We
made good progress and had reached the town of Ghanzi by nightfall. We were
planning to stay with Jack and Jane McLellan who live on a farm 20
kilometres out of town on our way back from Windhoek, but decided we were
early enough to go and bother them for a bed which we did. We were right
royally received and spent some time chewing the cud and supping "happy
juice", Conolly included. We left the next morning to make our way to

 Again we made good progress and decided to wait at the Windhoek
Airport for the arrival of the rest of the gang. We met the sound engineer
who had been waiting since morning and had been detained for not having the
right bit of paper. Unlike Zimbabwe, where he would have been dragged off to
the cells, he detained himself in the restaurant and after a while the
correct piece of paper appeared. After some time our camera man appeared
from town with his good lady and the equipment was assembled pending the
arrivals of the stars. They duly arrived and were filmed for inclusion in
the documentary. Then we set off for the Klein Windhoek Guest House which
was to be our base whilst the case was being heard.

The case was completed by Thursday lunchtime, after which we were free
to try and source all the various items we had been tasked to buy. This
routine continued the following day and we got off to a late start on
Saturday morning for various nefarious reasons which will remain
unmentioned. The late start was compounded by the Namibians who lose an hour
to their neighbours by changing their clocks each winter and we arrived at
the Botswana border in the dark. From there we travelled to a place called
Tshootsha, formerly known as Kalkfontein, where we turned off along the
original untarred road from Ghanzi to the border at Buitepos. Having
travelled on this road from the McLellans before, the Scribe knew he could
safely leave the driving to Conolly whilst he softened the bumpy road with
shots of "happy juice". Just the right degree of somnolence had been
obtained by the time we turned off onto the remarkably bad road leading to
the farm. The scribe slept for the forty five minutes or so it takes to
negotiate the 15 kilometres of Neanderthal road which rather surprised
Conolly. Rather rudely he described the scribe's resting to the "setting of
a snoring jelly"!

The next morning, Sunday, we were asked what our plans were. They were
to leave early on Monday morning so that we could reach the bank in
Francistown and do some shopping before everything closed. When Jack told us
nothing would even open until Wednesday morning because Monday and Tuesday
were holidays so the scribe seized on the opportunity to see a little more
of the Ghanzi hinterland. Conolly lost much of his sense of humour and
suggested he was going to steal the bakkie and go home. Later, we were taken
for a short tour of part of the farm by Jack and saw close up their battle
to tame and make profitable this vast waterless Kalahari flatland.

There is no electricity reticulation to this area and eight solar
panels on the house's outbuilding roof provide the means of charging 18 very
large 2 volt batteries connected so as to provide a 36 volt supply. This is
fed through a large inverter which converts the 36 volts of direct current
into 240 volts of alternating current to supply the house. The house has a
gas stove but the refrigerator/freezer is a low wattage type run by the
solar electricity supply. The hot water supply comes from the donkey boiler
outside which we noticed had a neat pressure release valve fitted instead of
the tall breather pipe contraption we are all used to.

These Ghanzi properties were originally used as cattle ranches, but
many are now turning to game and are building lodges to cater for the
tourists. Bush encroachment is similar to that in Namibia. The same species
are to blame, swarthaak and sekelbos, only here they go by the names of
blackthorn and sicklebush. Jack showed us a bush cutting machine one of the
neighbours had bought and lent to them for a trial. It has a circular saw
blade mounted in front parallel to the ground, which is hydraulically driven
and has hydraulic rams which can move the blade from side to side. Wheels
are solid rubber so as not to suffer from punctures in this thornveld, and
the driver sits in an expanded steel plate cage so that falling thorn trees
do not damage him. These invader species are very hard woods and take quite
a bit of cutting and not very much had been cut down in one day. For the
huge areas involved this machine seemed not to be a solution. A really hot
fire would solve the problem, or maybe the Namibian methods of brush killer
chemicals and the making of charcoal. This area employs Zimbabwe labour, all
with work permits and legal. Farm wages are apparently in the region of 1800
Pula monthly and the staff are issued with overalls, industrial boots and
food rations. All have cell phones. Small wonder then that there is a
shortage of labour in Zimbabwe.

There are several boreholes on the farms which supply water to the
cattle and game. These are each equipped with submersible electric pumps
which are solar powered by four panels but have no storage batteries so
pumping starts at sunrise and stops at sunset. The water table in the areas
underlain by calcrete is only about ten metres below the surface and these
solar powered pumps produce about two to three cubic metres of water per
hour. In the kalahari sands the boreholes can be up to two hundred metres
deep and would need many more panels to cope with that head. The farm was
busy installing a cold room and meat processing facility which was going to
have 20 solar panels.


On our final night in Windhoek, the Namibian Agricultural Union very
kindly invited us all out to dinner at Joe's Beerhouse of which you have
heard before. Most of us ordered steak, but the scribe ordered Eisbein which
for those who haven't lived properly is a roasted pork shank. At Joe's these
are very different to the emaciated specimens you can on occasion find in
present day stock feed free Zimbabwe. Joe's Eisbein could really be confused
with a whole leg of pork. What is more, for some very delightful reason they
don't serve you one, they serve you two!

Conolly was still in friendly mood as he had not yet heard of his
upcoming extended stay in Botswana, but he was still amazed to observe that
the scribe, whom he insulted in Ghanzi as two livestock units, was only able
to deal with one. For those of you mere crop farmers, one livestock unit is
a fully grown cow weighing 450 kgs. The second Eisbein provided a late lunch
for the two of us the following day on the road to Gobabis and the border.

Now this is where the plot grows darker and more ominous. After dinner
we were presented with a couple of shots of Joe's favourite liqueur,
Jaegermeister. Then at about 11.00 pm when it was time to go home, we
gathered in the car park, and Walter Mitty's partner in crime Marietjie van
Staden who produces the NAU magazine Agriforum took three of us back up the
road to the Guest House. The scribe then took Josephat Tshuma on to his
larney lodgings at the Country Club beyond Eros airport. On the way back he
wondered how he was going to get back in to his lodgings as Conolly had the
flat keys in his pocket together with the remote control for the gate. By
this time he was no doubt cosily tucked up in his bed. The scribe rang the
bell at the gate and lo and behold the gate was opened by a tired young lady
at reception who then retired.

The scribe headed for the flat to find the lights on and the
television playing - but it was all locked up and Conolly was missing! No
key, no more receptionist but worst of all no Conolly with the keys either.
He wasn't with any of the others whose rooms were all in darkness. No way of
going to look for him as it was not possible to open the gate. So the scribe
sat down in reception wondering if it would be more comfortable than
sleeping in the car.

At 2.00 am guess who comes home? Conolly and his tsotsi friend from
the CFU Deon Theron. And guess what else? These vulnerable Zimbabwean
youngsters had been led astray by that villain von Hase and his cohort van
Staden, ensnared and corrupted by that drug Jaegermeister which is unknown
in our blighted country. That nearly geriatric juvenile delinquent von Hase
had enticed Conolly and Theron back into Joe's from the car park and stayed
with them until they had got the taste of Jaegermeister and were hooked on
it. Then he sneaked away leaving these poor youngsters in the care of that
terror Marietjie who proceeded to supply them liberally with the
Jaegermeister stuff that gets served in little glasses.


The ruling in Mr. von Abo's case has just been released. Mr. von Abo
is a South African citizen who maintains that his interests and investments
in Zimbabwe were not properly protected by the South African government. In
spite of many approaches they did little to protect the affairs of von Abo
and stood idly by while his farms in this country were stolen. Mr. von Abo
took the matter to court and Justice Bill Prinsloo agreed and ordered the
South African government to remedy Mr. von Abo's rights and report back to
the court within 60 days. Mr. von Abo, like pretty well everyone else, was
not paid any compensation. SACFA congratulates Crawford von Abo and thanks
him for his tenacious stand over many years which has now culminated in a
blow against those who refused to oppose the blatant theft of other people's
property. We look forward to see how President Mbeki's merry men are going
to deal with this one.


At long last some maize is being imported from South Africa and there
is a little maize meal to be had on the black market at $500 billion per ten
kgs or if you are well connected you might get it closer to the mills at
$350 billion. Whole maize is allegedly being sold at GMB depots for $250
billion for supposed 50 kg bags.


Mike Campbell and his wife Angela have recovered sufficiently to be
able to be driven back to their farm for their first visit since being
abducted and assaulted. There were some touching scenes as their staff
gathered around to greet and welcome them back to their home. Mike's station
wagon has been found. The transponder which was not transmitting for some
reason decided to work late one night and showed that the vehicle was parked
in a garage in Kadoma. This led to the arrest of Gilbert Moyo and some of
his cronies. The prosecutor has withdrawn charges against many of those
arrested and they have been released.

The electronic wizardry in the tracking device of Mike's car shows
exactly where the vehicle has been. It went, on Mike's two full tanks of
diesel, to Harare, Mutare, the Mozambique border and various other little
sorties. Best to keep the tanks empty! Moyo didn't realise he was being
spied on and the information was invaluable in locating other skelms in the
looting, abduction and assault saga.

The electricity supply in Chegutu and environs is worse than that in
Bulawayo. There the power goes off for the whole day, whilst here in
Bulawayo on the bad days you are only without power for about eight hours at
a stretch.

Harassment and evictions of remaining farmers is ongoing, this
treatment seems especially aimed at those in the district who have joined
with Campbell. In spite of it all, the harvest of oranges proceeds apace and
the whole area is flooded with oranges being peddled by vendors. Others ship
sacks full of oranges to other markets.

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Millions Face Starvation As Food Aid Ban Remains in Place

SW Radio Africa (London)

6 August 2008
Posted to the web 6 August 2008

Alex Bell

As the secret power sharing talks continue between the MDC and ZANU-PF in
South Africa, Zimbabweans are fighting a day to day battle to feed
themselves and their families, in a situation that is increasingly

Although the Zimbabwean government this week announced a partial lifting of
the ban on international food aid, to permit the resumption of feeding
programs for people living with HIV/AIDS, the wider NGO distribution ban
remains in effect and continues to block the flow of food aid to an
increasingly distressed population.

As a result, food security for millions of Zimbabweans is deteriorating
rapidly. The population has also been forced into a situation where basic
food is already a luxury, with hyperinflation driving prices beyond the
means of the majority of people. The country's most vulnerable, with no
money to even consider making food purchases, have been left completely
helpless without crucial aid needed to survive.

Last week, disaster relief officials for the US Agency for International
Development (USAID) made an urgent appeal to the Zimbabwean government to
rescind it's ban and guarantee the safety of humanitarian workers. It came
after a visit to the country, which USAID described as "extremely alarming".

Fambai Ngirande from the National Association of NGO's, told Newsreel on
Wednesday that at least 5 million of the country's population are facing
starvation, and called the situation a "hidden crisis". He said the
government's refusal to lift the ban is "complicating an already dire
situation" that will have ripple effects well into the future. He said the
food crisis is forcing people to become criminals or "enter prostitution for
food and money", and added that "an entire generation is being wasted away".

Ngirande also labeled the continuation of the talks between MDC and ZANU-PF
"ridiculous" given that millions of people are starving in the country. But
he added, that if the government cannot be pressured to aid its own people
in the face of such suffering, "what else can be done?"

Meanwhile, the Red Cross said on Wednesday it was launching a multi million
US dollar emergency food security appeal, to help the Zimbabwe Red Cross
deliver food aid to "particularly vulnerable people" and for the
organisation to import over 350 000 tons of food. It said it's concerns are
based on future figures that "5.1 million people could face food insecurity
by the beginning of the year if the current harvest projections are

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CIO abduct student leader

By Roy Chinamano ⋅ © ⋅ August 6, 2008 ⋅  Email This Story
⋅ Post a comment
As power sharing talks are progressing in Pretoria,state sponsored violence
has reared its ugly head again.

A University of Zimbabwe student activist and ZINASU general councillor
Tafadzwa Mugwadi was yesterday kidnapped and assaulted by state security
agents in Harare.

Mugwadi was at the Market Square bus terminus on his way home in Glenview
when seven unidentified men bundled him in a their vehicle before being
taken to an area near Kopje. The gang took turns to assault him using
various objects including sjamboks, sticks and clenched fists, accusing him
of training polling agents for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

In a statement ZINASU condemned the crackdown,”We condemn any acts of
violence and banditry at a time when the main political players in the
country are currently on the negotiating table to find a solution to the
crisis facing the nation.”

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Zimbabweans hopeful of speedy resolution to crisis


August 06, 2008, 21:15

Thulasizwe Simelane, Harare
Reports of an imminent power-sharing deal have raised the expectancy of
ordinary Zimbabweans. Political punters have hedged bets on a new look
government where Zanu-PF and the MDC both occupy strategic positions.

Others believe change must find expression in all tiers of government.
"While you parcel out positions in governmentt or the executive, you must
ensure that you carry out meaningful reforms, including personnel changes as
well in key policy making institutions and key democratic institutions in
the country - if you want it to be meaningful," said McDonald Lewanika, of
the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition.

With ongoing claims of state sponsored violence, it will be interesting to
note who takes control of security institutions like the Army, Intelligence
and Police Departments. The state media, which has come under fire by the
opposition, could also expect a facelift.

The country's economic meltdown, which has seen inflation rocket to over 2.2
million percent, will demand major shakes up in institutions like the
reserve bank.

"The executive arm of the state would be charged with dealing with these
matters, a ceremonial president would (have) very little influence in these
matters. But if it's true that President Mugabe would be ceremonial, given
the fact that he's been at the helm of government for 28 years, he'd have a
lot of influence in the manner in which dispensations starts, and the urban
flow of that dispensation," said Ibbo Mandaza, a researcher at Sapes Trust.

In a country that has experienced more that 10 years of bitter political
strife, expectations are now high that peace will finally take root in

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Political violence caught on video, even after talks deal

By Lance Guma
06 August 2008

Ruling party militants were caught on camera beating up MDC supporters, 5
days after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Robert
Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara where all parties agreed to
stop the violence. The damning footage shown by UK Channel 4 news exposes
the terror inflicted by militants, operating at a rural primary school
outside Harare. The film shows a group of thugs armed with machetes and
clubs beating up a man lying on the ground. One of the guards confessed on
camera that the reason he was opposed to the MDC coming to power was that he
would face prosecution for his involvement in the Zanu PF terror campaign.

The man who runs the camp openly boasted about maiming and killing
opposition supporters and declared; 'Some we aim to cut off their limbs,
some we remove their (sex) organs. The MDC will never rule this country.'
Despite claims that Zanu PF was closing down its torture bases, only the
smaller ones have been shut, with the militants being transferred to bigger
bases known as District Command Centres. Each constituency in the country
has one major base still in operation and attacks on suspected opposition
supporters are still ongoing.

On Wednesday the Zimbabwe National Students Union said its general
councilor, Tafazdwa Mugwadi, was kidnapped and assaulted by state agents
Tuesday. Mugwadi was at Harare's Market Square bus terminus trying to catch
a bus to his home in Glen View. Seven unidentified men accosted him before
bundling him into a waiting vehicle. 'The gang took turns to assault him
using various objects including sjamboks, sticks and clenched fists,
accusing him of training polling agents for the MDC,' a ZINASU statement
read. The assailants also told Mugwadi they were looking for ZINASU
President Clever Bere, the Secretary General Lovemore Chinoputsa and former
President Promise Mkwananzi, who is now studying in the Netherlands.

In Buhera South two MDC activists, Witness Maambire and a friend, were
abducted at gunpoint by Colonel Morgan Mzilikazi at Chapanduka Business
Centre on the 24th July. Three days after the signing of the MOU the local
MDC MP Naison Nemadzviva, Maambire and a truck driver attempted to rescue 17
MDC activists injured in brutal assaults by Zanu PF militia on the 17th
July. The injured have been stranded in the area with no access to medical
treatment while Colonel Mzilikazi blocks their movement. Mzilikazi and a
large number of militants came to their truck, took out a gun and abducted
Maambire and the driver. The MP managed to escape into the mountains and has
since been holed up in Mutare fearing for his safety.

These and many other incidents have led to serious questions being asked
about the sincerity of Zanu PF in it's engagement with the MDC at the talks.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Update: Situation in Mashonaland West

Tribune Staff 06 August, 2008 07:24:00
In Mash. West, persecution of MDC supporters and activits continues, but on
a smaller scale that was the trend before the talks began

Hurungwe North

Persecution of MDC supporters still continues but on a smaller scale. In
Kazangarare area, near the town of Karoi Malberiegn Kauchivenga, a 53 year
old MDC supporter was seriously assaulted by Jawet Kazangarare on 25 June
2008. The victim had approached Kazangarare at his homestead claiming money
for a goat allegedly forcefully taken from him by the perpetrator as a form
of punishment and sign to show that he had repented from being an MDC
supporter. Kazangarare was detained briefly by the Zimbabwe Republic Police
in Karoi but was later released for reasons still unclear. Rueben
Marumahoko, Senator for Hurungwe, and Peter Chanetsa, previous governor of
Mashonaland West and now MP for Hurungwe North were seen entering Karoi
police station shortly after Kazangarare's arrest and ordering his release.
The police complied despite the many crimes he has committed.

The notorious Jawet Kazangarare, a "war veteran" is known in Mashonaland
West for spearheading the murder of Tapiwa Mubwanda, a MDC activist murdered
in cold blood on the 12th of April 2008, and for organizing and leading the
violent persecution of MDC supporters and accused sympathizers. Returning
residents, who had been displaced when the violence peaked, are being forced
to pay cattle, goats and chickens by Jawet Kazangarare for them to be
readmitted into the community. Those who are failing to do so are being
subjected to further violence and intimidation and the threat of being
permanently chased away from their homes and livelihoods. Confiscated
animals and grain are the major source of food for the unemployed Zanu PF
youth and "war veterans".


In Musambakaruma area reports of continued violence are being received.
Cosmetically, torture bases in the area have hurriedly been dismantled in
recent weeks but the perpetrators have now resorted to a "new" strategy. It
is reported that they gather up in large numbers after a short, prior
arrangement and descend on unsuspecting victims, unleashing an orgy of
violent beatings and arson.

The remaining provinces have reported that violence has died down but that
distribution of food aid and maize meal from the Grain Marketing Board (the
only source of the staple food) is still being controlled by ZANU PF
councilors and chiefs who are denying any known MDC supporters access to the
scarce commodities

The violence experienced in the province of Mashonaland West has displaced
close to 100 MDC supporters with many being left homeless as their houses
and property burnt or destroyed. Three known deaths of MDC activists have
been reported and many more injured.

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Diarrhoea outbreak hits Harare, CHRA warned the Government

6 August 2008


Residents in the eastern suburbs of Harare, including Masasa Park, Letombo Park, Mabvuku and Tafara have been hit by a wave of diarrhoea outbreak. Some parts of Mabvuku and Tafara have had no water for years, while Letombo and Msasa Park have been dry for over two months now. The Government transferred the responsibility to manage water supply from the city council and gave it to ZINWA. The Government took this decision despite warning by the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) and other civic society organizations, that ZINWA does not have adequate technical capacity to manage water supply for Harare and other local authorities . On one hand, reports abound that  ZINWA is failing to pay its employees, while on the other, the authority has also run out of water treatment chemicals. As a result, ZINWA employees have gone on strike on numerous occasions, leaving water problems unattended. In an effort to keep ZINWA inefficiencies undercover, there was media blackout on the industrial action by the ZINWA employees. The shortage of water treatment chemicals has also seen water production being reduced by almost three quarters; hence the critical shortage of water in Harare.


CHRA has consistently called upon the ‘Government’ to reverse the ZINWA take over, and return the responsibility to manage water supply to the city council. However, the Government remains adamant and maintains that there is ‘no going back on its sinister and reckless decision to give ZINWA such a delicate mandate’. Last week Walter Muzembi, the ‘Minister of Water’, vowed that the Government will not reverse its decision to mandate ZINWA run Harare water supply. This is despite public and professional outcry that such a decision must be reversed. CHRA condemns the ‘Government’ for failing to appreciate that the residents in both their personal and professional capacities are suffering as a result of its decision and such arrogance . CHRA has on numerous occasions warned of a cholera outbreak if urgent measures are not taken to address the deepening water crisis. CHRA demands the immediate reversal of the ZINWA take over. The city council must be given back its responsibility of managing Harare water supply, so that ZINWA can focus only on bulk water supply.


Meanwhile CHRA dismisses the claims by ZINWA and the city health department that the eastern suburbs are dry because they are ‘situated on high ground and therefore it is difficult to pump water to those areas’. Those are ridiculous statements characteristic of a defunct yet ruthless institution. Before ZINWA, these suburbs have always been situated on high ground yet they have always had clean water supply though erratic at times . CHRA asserts that these suburbs are not getting water not because of their location, but simply because ZINWA is bankrupt and its management is not serious and diligent enough in executing its responsibilities. The residents are not suffering because they are living in suburbs situated on high ground, but simply because they are being ruled by parastatals and a regime that is not attentive or sincere about their plight. CHRA suspects that the Government wishes to maintain its decision on ZINWA so that the water crisis can continue, and generate hostility between the city council and the residents. The residents are aware that the privatization of such social services like water provision is a milking cow for the political heavy weights. CHRA wonders who is getting the tenders to supply ZINWA with chemicals and protective clothing.         


Farai Barnabas Mangodza

Chief Executive Officer

Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)

145 Robert Mugabe Way

Exploration House, Third Floor


Landline: 00263- 4- 705114


Contacts: Mobile: 011 563 141, 0912638401, 011862012 or email, and

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Diamonds are Mutare's best friends

Photo: IRIN
Boom times
MUTARE, 6 August 2008 (IRIN) - Diamonds have scripted a typical rags to riches story for Bonny, 35, who spent most of his life on the streets before the discovery of the gems three years ago, near the eastern Zimbabwe town of Mutare, transformed his life. "I have, over the last two years, acquired a fleet of 12 cars and several houses in Mutare and in the capital, Harare," Bonny told IRIN.

"When the diamond rush began, very few people believed the stones were precious. In fact, a company which had been doing some explorations here even went as far as to say the stones were worthless industrial diamonds," he said.

"We had nothing to lose because we had little to occupy our time as street dwellers. We collected as many stones as possible and when buyers started flooding in, we realised we had made a lot of money," Bonny said.

Most of the diamond fields are located in the Marange area, about 60km southwest of Mutare, the provincial capital, but wealth is a difficult condition to keep secret; before long, Zimbabwe's ruling elite arrived in a second diamond rush, bringing with them policemen and soldiers to seal off the diamond-producing area.

Entry to the diamond fields is gained by producing a national identity card, proving the bearer is a local resident, or a police clearance letter confirming that the bearer has legitimate business to conduct in the area.

The state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation is responsible for mining the diamonds, which are marketed by another state entity, the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ).

The US government targeted both organisations with sanctions in response to the recent elections that were widely condemned as not free or fair, for "undermining of democratic processes and institutions in Zimbabwe".

An IRIN correspondent managed to enter the area after paying a soldier an "entrance fee" of R100 (US$13), and was guided around the diggings by Simeon Nyati, from the Marange area.

Militarised zone

"The whole area is like a militarised zone which can only be accessed by the powerful. There are checkpoints leading into and out of Marange, complete with sniffer dogs," he told IRIN.

"One of the vice-presidents has a big diamond field which is guarded by the military. During the presidential campaigns, President Robert Mugabe visited a diamond field, together with the First Lady, Grace Mugabe. We don't know the reason behind the visit, but one of the most heavily guarded fields is said to belong to the First Family," he alleged.

The diamond boom has made cellphones, a symbol of wealth, a common feature in these rural areas, but appearances were deceptive, resident and retired policeman Talent Makoni told IRIN, as the diamonds had seen the town's population of 150,000 balloon to nearly one million people, stretching the ability of Mutare to deliver services.

''Unfortunately, our clients are not the traditional tourists. They are diamond traders, who usually hire the services of local prostitutes and many actually pay using the scarce US dollar''
The diamond rush also has brought rising levels of crime - last year an official of the ruling ZANU-PF party was arrested after trying to persuade customs officials to allow a Lebanese woman carrying several kilograms of diamonds to board a plane - and sex workers were being drawn to the area to take advantage of the "free spending" diamond dealers, Makoni said.

A hotel employee, who declined to be identified, said they were always fully booked, even though tourism arrivals had declined. "Unfortunately, our clients are not the traditional tourists. They are diamond traders, who usually hire the services of local prostitutes and many actually pay using the scarce US dollar."

A police officer, who declined to be named, said: "There has been an upsurge in crime and corruption following the discovery of diamonds. Our cells in the city are full, and we are now holding some of the suspects in police cells outside Mutare. It is either that the suspect stole somebody else's diamonds, or sold another person fake diamonds."

Outside the town's courthouse there are often an unusually large number of people milling around. "Most of them are here to pay bail money for friends, relatives or spouses engaged in diamond trade," the officer said.

In many cases diamond exhibits used as evidence had been replaced by worthless pieces of glass, the police officer remarked. A visit to the local police housing revealed that despite their low pay, many officers had luxury electrical gadgets and television satellite dishes installed on their roofs.

Zimbabwe economy is in meltdown, with unemployment in excess of 80 percent and annual inflation officially at 2.2 million percent, forcing people to seek alternative ways of making a living.

"Cases of children dropping out of school are higher in Marange, where the diamond fields are found," said an official at the ministry of education, who declined to be identified. "The explanation from the children and their parents is that they see no need to pursue education when diamond panning can provide instant riches."

He said the public service had also lost many employees, who had opted for diamond trading "after seeing the change in lifestyles of other people in the city".  

The majority of shops in Zimbabwe, where even basic commodities are difficult to obtain, have empty shelves, but in Mutare the shop shelves are well stocked with groceries and electrical gadgets, mostly imported from neighbouring Mozambique and South Africa.

Foreign currency only

Widespread use of foreign currencies, such as South African rands, Botswana pulas, the Mozambican metical and the US dollar, instead of the increasingly worthless Zimbabwean dollar, had driven up the cost of living and the local hotels were now charging more than those in Harare, a local journalist, who declined to be identified, told IRIN.

"Transactions in most commodities and services, such as medical consultations, rentals, even purchasing firewood, are now done in foreign currency. Even commercial sex workers now demand payment in foreign currency," he said.

However, other residents said the proceeds from the diamond boom were not a curse but a blessing that had greatly improved their standard of living. Mutare's residential suburb of Murambi was until recently the most affluent in the city, until Murambi East sprouted nearby, where multi-storey mansions are being built on the side of the mountain.

Ephraim Milanzi, a taxi driver, said the profits from diamonds were trickling down to all levels of society and had created a source of employment for hundreds of residents.

"I resigned from the civil service just over three years ago and used to ply the border route when it was less lucrative. When the diamonds were discovered, business improved and I have increased the number of my taxis to four," he told IRIN.

"On average, we gross US$400 a day. Business improves a lot during public holidays. I am now building my second house in one of the prime residential areas."


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

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Politician's Luxury Armoured Car is an SA Government Vehicle

SW Radio Africa (London)

6 August 2008
Posted to the web 6 August 2008

Alex Bell

South African police are investigating how a controversial Zimbabwean
politician became the owner of an armoured Mercedes-Benz, registered with
the South African government's VIP protection unit.

The two million rand car was discovered parked in a lock up garage at an
upmarket residential complex in Johannesburg on Saturday by the maintenance
man. He had been asked to unlock the garage for a new tenant and phoned the
police shortly after suspecting the dusty S 600 Mercedes parked inside was a
stolen government car.

The luxury vehicle was found to be complete with bullet proof windows,
hidden blue siren lights and an internal camera.

Justine Chiota, who founded the Zimbabwe People's Party, was eventually
traced by police and told South African media he had left the car parked at
his girlfriend's house, but would not explain if he bought it or if it was
given to him.

Chiota has been making waves in Zimbabwe's political waters, after filing
two cases in court to contest his exclusion from the March elections and to
halt the crisis talks currently taking place in South Africa. The latter was
filed at the Johannesburg High Court this week and names Presidents Thabo
Mbeki and Robert Mugabe and MDC leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur
Mutambara as respondents.

According to South Africa's The Star newspaper, independent sources ran
checks on the customised number plate "GP GP" - and the car's individual
engine number - and confirmed it was registered as a state-owned car
belonging to the "VIP government protection unit (diplomatic)". The car's
windscreen also displayed a second number plate number on a separate licence
disk - and that, too, was registered to the government.

A case of suspected stolen property is under way.

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Investigation:Who is behind Justice Chiota P1

By Investigations Unit ⋅ © ⋅ August 6, 2008 ⋅  Email This
Story ⋅ Post a comment
Controversy is brewing as speculation is rife that the South African
government could have worked with a shadowy political party and the Central
Intelligence Organisation to influence the outcome of the March 29th Poll.
In the centre of this controversy is Justice Chiota president of a shadowy
political party that became active just before the March 29 election has
been found in possession of South African customized Government VIP Mercedez

Justice Chiota is the President of a shadowy political party, the Zimbabwe
People’s Party (ZPP). He is the only known official of the party. While the
party has registered offices and vehicles according to our investigation it
has no structures whatsoever.

According to the party ’s website the party was created on the 19th of
February 1994 by its Founder President, Justine Chiota, “Its main mission is
to take a leading role in the restructuring of Zimbabwe’s policies by
bringing a majority of all Zimbabweans together in a dynamic political
movement based on proven core values and standards for the future.”, reads
an introduction on the website.

No other candidate has ever contested an election under the party ’s name to
date except Chiota himself who in 2000 contested the Harare North
constituency (ZPP),he amassed 222 votes, against the winner MDC’s Trudy
Stevenson who got 18 976.

After that election he was never heard of again nor his party until eight
years later on the March 29 harmonised election as an aspiring presidential
election candidate.

During the campaign period his party raised eyebrows when it flighted
full-page advertisements in the state media and buying spots on TV and
radio,signalling that is it well financed.
It is not plausible Chiota could have financed these adverts himself since
his only registered business is a film production company,hardly a big
investment in Zimbabwe.

“Fight poverty, join ZPP. Be active - it is your future,” said one of the
advertisements then.
Chiota has never granted an interview to any journalist and in August last
year declined an interview with Zimbabwe Standard reporter Caiphas Chimhete
telling him he was not prepared for an interview as it would jeopardize his
political strategy.

He said he would only grant the newspaper an interview after he had
registered “several vehicles and a building” he had bought for the party.
“There is a strategy which we want to use and talking to the press now would
kill that strategy,” he said.

After the presidential election
After the presidential election Chiota alongside a former ZANU PF chair
Daniel Shumba president of United People’s Party of Zimbabwe filed a chamber
application arguing that there were unlawfully denied registration as

Chiota claimed that he arrived at the nomination court in sufficient time on
nomination day, to be told that his papers were soiled and could not be
accepted. He was advised that he could fill in new papers, and as he was
present at the court they would be accepted even after the 4.0pm deadline.
The papers were rejected but Chiota appealed the decision and the
Nominations Court refused the appeal. However, the case then went to the
Supreme Court, which agreed that there was a prima facie case. A ten-judge
bench is now due to consider the case.

Chiota has since instructed his lawyer to write to President Thabo Mbeki,
demanding to join the ongoing talks,Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Robert Mugabe
and MDC leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara as respondents.

Chiota also plans to file an urgent application in the Pretoria High Court
instructing the talks to cease and the participants to return to their home
countries, as well as to pay the costs of the application.

Links with South African government?

This week on Saturday in the plush suburb of Sandton, Chiota was found in
possession of a R1,4-million armoured Mercedes-Benz S 600 allegedly
registered with the South African government’s VIP protection unit.

The explanation lurks somewhere between Justine Chiota’s claims that the car
legitimately belongs to him and the vehicle’s two different number plates
linking it to the VIP fleet.

The Sandton area is one of the most opulent in Johannesburg and South
Africa, homes in the estate sell for as much as R3-million.

The car has bullet-proof windows, blue sirens behind the front grill and an
internal camera by the rear-view mirror.

When South African paper The Star contacted Chiota about the car, his
response was: “That’s my car. Period,it’s just a full bullet-proof vehicle”.

He would not explain whether he had bought it in Zimbabwe or in South Africa
or whether it had been given to him.

Independent sources who ran checks on the customised number plate “GP GP” -
and the car’s individual engine number - and confirmed it was registered as
a state-owned car belonging to the “VIP government protection unit

The car’s windscreen also displayed a second number plate number on a
separate licence disk - and that, too, was registered to the government.

Chiota also claimed he was in a position to speak personally to Mbeki.

Could the Mbeki government have worked in cohorts with the Central
Intelligence Organisation(CIO) to sponsor the ZPP as as to split the
opposition vote in the last election?The court application by Chiota could
it be Mbeki’s underhand plan to delay reaching a settlement with the MDC?The
investigation continues.

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Gono Demands Vehicles From ZBC

HARARE, August 6 2008 - Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor,
Gideon Gono has demanded back close to 21 vehicles he leased to the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) for the coverage of the 2008 general

Sources at ZBC said Gono last month wrote to the corporation's
management requesting that the vehicles be returned to the Central Bank
given that election coverage was over.

ZBC had, prior to the elections, failed to cover some rallies, which
were addressed by President Robert Mugabe alongside a host of other Zanu PF
officials in various parts of the country where it runs bureaus, owing to
shortage of vehicle.

The sources said management was in a panic following the request for
the return of the vehicles as this could bring the newsgathering activities
at the state broadcaster back to its knees.

"Gono wrote to the ZBC board last month demanding that his cars be
returned to the bank because they had served their purpose. All the bureaus
had been allocated vehicles from the RBZ fleet and the demand leaves the
organization in a precarious position," said the source.

Radio VOP understands that Gono was angered by the prohibition imposed
on RBZ's live broadcasts of the monetary policy statements as well as other

It is understood that Gono wanted a two-way relationship where he
would not be charged for live broadcasts and would in-turn, subsidize ZBC
through vehicle schemes and other loans.

ZBC management, however, has insisted that the Reserve Bank should pay
for the broadcasts being subsidized by the bank.

The ZBC management said there was a crisis at the company as workers
were still to be paid their July salaries, owing to poor cash flow.

"If Gono manages to pull out as he is threatening, then there could be
a serious problem that would need government intervention through extensive
funding of the corporation's operations," a source said.

No comment could be obtained from ZBC management.

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Zim"s milk production tumbles low

Wednesday, 06 August 2008 14:32

--as price of milk affecting production
Milk production in Zimbabwe has drastically decreased with the
consumption of milk by a Zimbabwean being 14 litres per year. Milk
production fell from 430 tons in 1980 to 248 in 2006. The country needs over
13 million litres of milk every month , but production is now less than 9
million litres.
The Presidential land report recommended that 20 000 heifers be
imported ''to boost the national herd '' and ''concrete plans[by
government ] should be made to increase the number of new indigenous farmers
in milk production  through various support programmes '', to resuscitate
the dairy industry, africa Dairy Mail reports.
Meanwhilst the National Dairy Farmers Association  recently called on
the government to review the price of milk upwards to enable  dairy farmers
sustain operations.
NDF Chairman Ajs Kirk called the government that the gazetted price of
milk ws to low to sustain  production since prices of dairy inputs such as
stockfeed  and vaccines were constantly being adjusted in line with the
hyperinflationary environment .
"Farmers  are finding it difficult to maintain production levels as
returns are not matching  costs of production ,'' he said.
Kirk urged the govrnment to consider  introducing  a willing -buyer
and willing -seller concept  for dairy farmers  since the industry  could
not withstand the prevailing hyper inflationary environment.
''The industry will continue to sink if the governmentdoes not address
the plight of  dairy farmers ,'' he added.
He said farmers were also failing to access funds  at financial
institutions while in some cases the money was released late.

Kirk  said the stock feeds constituted about  77 percent of the total
costs incurred in milk production while the use of vaccines was another
major factor. Dairy farming is one of the zimbabwe's major components of
agriculture but unviable prices have affected the industry over the past few
Export of dairy products generates substantial amounts of foreign
currency for the country whikle in  large number of locals  depend on the
industry for emloyment.
Most shops are dry  and have no milk products stocks . Most of these
commodities are readily available on the parallel market  where the prices
are not within the affordable reach of many.

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Targeted by ZRP: Ian Kay

Tribune Staff 06 August, 2008 07:30:00
Ian Kay, charged by the pro-ZANU-PF police for "inciting violence", has had
his passport denied today by a magistrate in the town of Marondera

Harare -- Hon. Iain Kay MP elect for Marondera Urban who is being charged
with "Inciting violence in Wenimbe resettlement" has appeared three times in
three days at Marondera Magistrates court seeking to have his bail
conditions lifted ie. his passport returned to him and his twice weekly
reporting to Police stopped.

Hon. Kay's lawyers made this application as he and his family had booked and
paid for a short five days holiday in Mocambique over the long weekend.  The
magistrate has just dismissed the application.  An urgent application will
be made to the High Court on Thursday morning.

This is clear harrassment as the State has no evidence to substantiate their
allegations of inciting violence.

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Red Cross appeals for money to feed millions of Zimbabweans

Aug 6, 2008, 13:14 GMT

Geneva/Johannesburg - The Red Cross in Zimbabwe on Wednesday issued an
emergency appeal to donors for 26.6 million dollars for food aid to
Zimbabwe, saying millions in the politically and economically unstable
country faced hunger.

The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
(IFRC) in Geneva said the funds would help those already in need and avert
an aggravation of the situation.

The number of people in need could rise to up to 5.1 million, almost half
the population, by the end of the year, the IFRC noted.

The IFRC currently provides food aid to 260,000 people in Zimbabwe,
including orphans, the chronically ill and other vulnerable people, IFRC
relief programme coordinator John Roche said.

'Given the worsening supply situation, we want to expand these efforts in
the coming six to nine months and also coordinate with other relief
organizations,' he said.

Populist policies that have resulted in hyperinflation of several million
per cent, combined with drought, are blamed for the hardship of many in the
southern African country.

Aid agencies say food imports are urgently needed to counter the situation.

Zimbabwe's controversial President Robert Mugabe, whose re- election in a
one-man election in June has been derided as a sham by the West, has come
under fire for ordering 'pro-opposition' aid agencies to suspend their field
operations in the run-up to the poll.

Under pressure from the African Union and the dire state of the economy,
Mugabe's Zanu-PF party has entered talks in South Africa with Morgan
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on the formation of a
unity government.

A unity government that is led by the MDC would attract a glut of donor
funding and foreign investment.

According to South Africa's The Star newspaper Wednesday, a draft agreement
that is being circulated at the more than two-week-old talks proposes that
Tsvangirai be made executive prime minister and Mugabe a ceremonial

Johannesburg-based radio station 702 also carried a similar report.

The Star said the deal would also give Mugabe and other Zanu-PF leaders
immunity from prosecution for atrocities committed under his 28-year rule.

Neither party to the talks would confirm the report because the they are
subject to a media blackout.

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Appeal: Please help Zimbabwe SPCA

Appeal for ZNSPCA

ZNSPCA are once again appealing for assistance to feed over 110 dogs that
have been put into our custody by the Zimbabwe Republic Police pending a
Court Case for charges of animal cruelty. We originally had over 50 dogs but
unfortunately more dogs are now starving, resulting in our involvement once
again. We appreciate all the assistance offered to us since our last appeal,
without which we could not have catered for the needs of the animals in our
care. We are unsure as to how long the Court case will take, but will keep
the public informed on its' progress. Some of the animals are under
veterinary attention and may not recover from the abuse that they have

The dogs under veterinary attention are being housed at Harare SPCA, the
remainder of the animals are "on site". In order to protect these remainder,
ZNSPCA Inspectors are camping at the premises and taking care of the dogs.
Once again, any donation, no matter how small, will be appreciated by both
us and the animals. Please contact our offices for further information in
this regard - on cell numbers 0912 335 464 and 011 630 403.

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