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

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      Obasanjo and Mugabe are kindred dictatorial spirits

      12/11/2002 8:10:05 AM (GMT +2)

      I met Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, the secretary-general of the Pan African
Movement based in Kampala, Uganda, in the late 1990s at the Art Gallery in

      His stance on human rights issues was straightforward and unflinching
and, though journalists from Zimbabwe's State media tried to extract
partisan statements by asking leading questions, he remained focused.

      At the Art Gallery, Abdul-Raheem spoke about the Gukurahundi
massacres, the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), its
implications on Zimbabwe, and about many issues affecting the African

      He predicted the war in the DRC would end in a stalemate with leaders
of belligerent armies looting the DRC of minerals and timber. He was

      He has been vindicated.
      His arrest at the hands of Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo's
security agents mirrors broadly the treatment of activists by African
governments. By rightly stating, "the majority of African presidents are not
leaders but rulers, camouflaging themselves in civilian attire while running
military regimes", Abdul-Raheem has invited the wrath of many dictators.
True, towards election time, many African rulers become patriotic and

      For those of us in Zimbabwe, Abdul-Raheem's arrest is no surprise. The
Nigerian and Zimbabwean governments are both the same - no tolerance
      towards those who do not sing praises.

      It is for this reason that Obasanjo rendered the 9-11 March 2002
presidential election in Zimbabwe "legitimate", despite overwhelming
evidence to the contrary.

      The Chairman of the Commonwealth Observer Group, former Nigerian
President Abdusalami Abubakar, had the opportunity to talk to many
Zimbabweans, witness the ashes of homes burnt down by Zanu PF militia at St
Peter's Pumula, interview victims of the militia and Central Intelligence
Organisation, the refusal by the government to obey a court order to open
polling stations to voters, and the Zimbabwean army surrounding the MDC
offices in Harare and Bulawayo in the aftermath of the election.

      Laden with more evidence, Abubakar had to let his conscience declare
the elections "not free and fair", for no amount of intimidation and killing
of MDC supporters will change that fact.

      The arbitrary arrest of Abdul-Raheem in Nigeria does not change in
anyway the Nigerian people's yearning for genuine civilian rule, nor does it
change at all the resolve of other Pan-Africanists.

      Instead, for those of us in Zimbabwe, it highlights the stark
similarities Obasanjo's administration has with Zimbabwe's. Both of them are
dictatorial administrations.


      This unfortunate incident reminds me of the arrest of Professor
Welshman Ncube, the secretary-general of the MDC, at the Plumtree border
post on 11 March 2002.

      On hearing of Ncube's arrest we arrived at Plumtree Police Station at
1:18pm in the company of two journalists from the South African Broadcasting
Corporation (SABC) - Desmond Dladla and Donald Chauke.

      Three police officers clad in riot gear and armed with AK47 rifles
were about the yard, probably hallucinating a rescue attempt by the MDC.

      When we inquired from two officers the whereabouts of Ncube, we were
rudely told: "We do not know him."

      We insisted that we had information from his lawyer that he was being
detained at Plumtree Police Station.

      Hearing this, one officer pretended to peruse a black book, after
which he declared: "He is not in the detention book (DB), so we don't know
him." But Ncube was there, in one of the rooms frequented by plainclothes
police officers.

      Seeing that no police officer was interested in stating the reason for
Ncube's arrest, SABC reporter Chauke phoned police spokesperson, Assistant
Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena, more than seven times to get clarification.
Bvudzijena referred SABC to Job Moyo, the publicity representative for
police in Plumtree. Moyo, in turn, referred the SABC to Bvudzijena
contending he had neither authority over Ncube's arrest nor the right to
allow SABC to film the Zimbabwe flag and the front courtyard.

      Despite efforts by lawyers Josphat Tshuma and Nicholas Mathonsi to get
the State's charge against Ncube, nothing was forthcoming except the State
media's obsession with the lie that Ncube had been arrested while trying to
flee to Botswana.

      It became clear to us that Ncube's arrest had been ordered by high
government officials. As in the case of Abdul-Raheem at the hands of the
late Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha's forces, Ncube's passport has to this
day been withheld by Zimbabwean authorities.

      Such is the folly of dictators whose failure to see that denial of
their citizens' right to movement, by imprisonment and confiscation of
travel documents, is not synonymous with imprisonment of the mind. No one
can imprison the mind. The mind will always seek liberty.

      Fellow activists who mooted the idea that Obasanjo was not interested
in condemning President Mugabe over the 2002 presidential election because
he sought to copy Mugabe's ways were very correct.

      Both of them are filthy dictators, and the world's hope in Obasanjo
playing conscience to Mugabe is terribly misplaced.
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Daily News

      Madhuku accuses West of false promises

      12/11/2002 8:45:55 AM (GMT +2)

      By Precious Shumba

      LOVEMORE Madhuku, the chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly
(NCA) on Monday evening castigated the international community for
misleading Zimbabweans into believing they would give them moral and
material support in the face of government and Zanu PF repression.

      Addressing a meeting in Harare organised by the Mass Opinion Public
Institute (MOPI) to review events in 2002, Madhuku said it was unfair for
the international community to pretend they were in full support of
Zimbabweans fighting against post-independence State-inspired violence
against all democratic forces.

      "There are some Zimbabweans out there who really believe in the
propaganda being spread in the Western media," Madhuku said. "We,
Zimbabweans, should not allow those foreigners to be in the forefront of
articulating our problems. "Zimbabweans should take the
      lead to liberate themselves from this autocratic regime."

      Madhuku said in July 2001, the country celebrated when the United
States of America passed the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act
which barred the USA from funding any government programmes.

      The Act sought to promote civil society, the opposition and other
organisations engaged in democratic challenges to the status quo. "Civic
organisations have received nothing since that piece of paper became law,"
he said. "The NCA has not received any cent since its enactment. Today, I
urge all people in this country not to be fooled that something will come
out from the Americans and European countries. There is very little for them

      Nearly 200 people attended the meeting. Madhuku said the solution to
Zimbabwe's problems, where people were being killed every day for expressing
their views about the government, could not be expected to come from the
international community.

      He said the major handicap facing the struggle was that most people
believed they should be paid before they engaged in any activity.

      "Seek ye democracy first and everything else will follow. It is only
in a democracy that you can get an accountable government that respects
human rights. To all forces who believe in change, let us confront this
regime because this argument about whether President Mugabe is legitimate or
illegitimate will not help us. Let's engage in small actions that will build
into something big."

      Other speakers included Brian Kagoro of Crisis in Zimbabwe, and MOPI's
Charles Mangongera.There was tension during question time when speakers from
the floor took turns to attack Kagoro for his anti-NCA and anti-MDC

      "The situation at the moment points to the crumbling of major MDC
pillars of support, if you analyse the results of the September rural
elections," said Kagoro. "Zanu PF was in danger of collapsing before the
Febru-ary 2000 referendum. During 2002, Zanu PF re-created its structures by
the use of violence. Demonstrations are not sufficient to sustain a mass

      In response, Madhuku said: "These meetings should not be personalised.
Some people speak their personal prejudices instead of their professional

      One man asked: "What is your Crisis in Zimbabwe doing and how many are
you in that small organisation of yours? There is a serious crisis in that
organisation. We have only seen you at gatherings like these and nothing
else. You don't have a membership, neither have you done anything for the
cause of the revolution. You are not organised."

      Kagoro had criticised the NCA leadership for seeking newspaper
publicity but achieving nothing on the ground. Other speakers criticised the
NCA for placing so much authority in one leader - Madhuku.
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Daily News

Leader Page

      Lack of consultation failed job stayaway

      12/11/2002 8:06:16 AM (GMT +2)

      YESTERDAY'S mass job stayaway failed because of poor timing and lack
of co-ordination. It is doubtful whether there was wider consultation.

      There was poor timing because either this week or next, many
industries and factories will close for their annual two-week shutdown.

      Many workers are waiting to get paid before they can go and do their
Christmas shopping. This is something that the organisers should have taken
into account before the hastily called mass action.

      There appears to have been a last-minute decision, especially as the
meeting which decided on the stayaway was held on Monday. Two weeks of
intensive planning would have been beneficial.

      It is difficult to understand why the organisers were in such a hurry,
when with more careful planning and consultation, the results would have
been far-reaching.

      But this is the second time a proposed mass stayaway has failed to
take off, and it raises serious questions either of the foresight of the
planners or possibly of infiltration, with the resultant effect that
organisers are deliberately sidetracked while they are unaware they are
being driven into a strategy that is doomed to fail before it even takes

      The other factor contributing to the failure of yesterday's mass
stayaway is the planned three-month shutdown by industry to consider various
strategies for surviving what is an increasingly hostile operating
environment, which threatens to throw out onto the streets nearly 400 000

      There are also discordant voices coming from the mining sector,
threatening the shutdown of the country's biggest mining companies. This is
the bigger picture than the one-day stayaway, which in comparison looks like
a picnic.

      While industry has not described its proposed action as a stayaway, it
amounts to the same thing. This is the most profound statement of discontent
ever to come from the business sector in this country.

      A three-month shutdown will have far-reaching consequences than
yesterday's one-day wonder. Already industry is in a wind-down mode and
yesterday's action would have disrupted their plans.

      The suggestion, therefore, must be that there was no consultation
between the organisers of the stayaway and the business sector.

      Otherwise, if such consultation had taken place, the organisers would
have been informed that yesterday was not the right time.

      But there is also the problem of being a Zimbabwean. This is a
condition that drives many into believing that, while the situation is tough
and there is need to confront the government in order to force it into
addressing problems facing the nation, this war must be fought by others, so
that the rest can live to enjoy the benefits.

      Unwittingly people become party to their own oppression. The
government is aware of this.

      In March a stayaway organised by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
(ZCTU) was unsuccessful. The same ZCTU said it supported yesterday's failed
action. It is frightening to think that they have not learnt anything from
their last failure.

      In reviewing failures, there is normally an evaluation of the
strategies used, consultations on the method and style used to
      implement the strategies and new approaches emerging from this

      This does not seem to be what has happened in the process of planning
yesterday's failed stayaway. It may be time to change the planners and
organisers of any future stayaways because the current team has failed -

      Perhaps this recognition needs to start with the organisers
themselves. They have been planning and organising failures, perhaps it's
time to call it a day. Let new blood take over.

      One of the reasons why not many people heeded the call for mass action
was that they doubted the ability of the organisers to make a success of it,
even though the current hardships present fertile ground for discontented
people, who should be eager to vent their anger against the authors of the
problems facing Zimbabwe.

      If the groups organising the mass stayaway have been infiltrated by
government fifth columnists, then they need to suspend operations until the
moles have been neutralised.
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Daily News

      Madzongwe slams MP for not respecting Parliament

      12/11/2002 8:29:45 AM (GMT +2)

      By Columbus Mavhunga

      EDNA Madzongwe, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, yesterday called on
MPs to take the business of the House seriously and justify their election.

      She said this after Gabriel Chaibva, the MP for Harare South (MDC),
stayed outside the Parliament building after having moved notice to debate
on adjournment on a matter of urgency, the Harare water crisis."Let's take
the business of this House seriously, otherwise we will get nowhere," said
Madzongwe, in a voice in which she barely concealed her anger.

      "How can an MP stay outside when he has a motion to move? We have to
adjourn to next Tuesday because we have no more business here."

      MDC MPs who were in the House tried to buy time by debating with
Madzongwe for about 10 minutes, hoping that Chaibva, the MDC's shadow
minister for Local Government, would return to move his motion.

      But Madzongwe was having none of that.After the adjournment of
Parliament yesterday, most MDC MPs, unable to disguise their disappointment
with Chaibva's behaviour, surrounded him outside the House, demanding an
explanation.He said he had gone out to switch off the lights of his car.

      But one of his disappointed colleagues said: "So you expect people to
respect you as a government-in-waiting when you cannot take Parliament
seriously? This was the only opportunity which we could have used to have a
better understanding of the current water problems in Harare."

      Harare City Council is struggling to obtain foreign currency to buy
vital chemicals to purify the city's water before it is released to
residents for consumption.

      Some suburbs have had no water for days, threatening the city with a
health catastrophe.MPs, mostly of the MDC and a few from Zanu PF, have a
tendency of staying in the House for a few minutes before going out,
resulting in debates and motions being discussed and passed in their

      Some MPs come in when the bells start ringing to signify that the
House is about to be divided. Such MPs return to the House hurriedly and end
up voting for something they would not have debated or heard being debated.

      For example, yesterday the Zimbabwe-Democratic Republic of Congo trade
agreement sailed through because most MDC MPs were not in the House.

      But last week MDC MPs were against the passing of the pact, insisting
they needed more information on trade between Harare and Kinshasa from the
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Daily News

      Domestic debts now $319,4 billion

      12/11/2002 8:36:24 AM (GMT +2)

      By Chris Mhike Business Reporter

      Domestic debt rose to an all time high of $319,4 billion by the end of
October this year, leaving the country's macro-economic stability in deep
water, says the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).

      In its Weekly Economic Highlights released this week, the central bank
said the level of domestic debt had unhealthy consequences on the economy.

      "The size of the national debt has grown unsustainably, leading to
macro economic instability, low savings, reduced investment and retarded
growth," said the RBZ.

      The October figure reflects a sharp rise in the domestic debt overhang
in the past 12 years. In 1990, the country's domestic debt stood at
      $6,7 billion.

      The composition of the outstanding domestic debt transformed in the
period under review from long-term debt instruments towards the more
expedient but costly short-term debt-instruments.

      The RBZ said the share of treasury bills in total domestic debt rose
from 5 percent in 1990 to more than 95 percent by October this year.

      Very little financial support has been coming from multi-lateral and
bilateral creditors owing to Zimbabwe's depressed credit worthiness rating,
and the adverse effects of the country's human rights and socio-political

      The widening foreign resource gap, occurring against the background of
declining activity has led to the increased reliance on domestic sources to
fund persistent fiscal deficits.

      Fiscal deficits in the past dozen years resulted from revenue and
expenditure mismatches.

      The Zimbabwean government has been criticised at home and abroad by
multi-lateral creditors for its fiscal indiscipline that has been manifested
in over-expenditure.

      Herbert Murerwa the Minister of Finance and Economic Development
admitted last month during his presentation of the 2003 National Budget,
that the national budget deficit status was unhealthy at 17,8 percent.

      He said: "The revenue shortfalls coupled with higher expenditures have
increased the total domestic borrowing requirements for the 2002 budget from
$87,4 billion to $136,3 billion."

      Government's continued borrowing patterns from domestic sources has
resultantly entrenched debt distress as a key feature of the economy.
      On debt distress, the Reserve Bank said the feature "is reflected by
rising interest on debt, as a share of the total government expenditures,
from 10 percent in 1991 to 31,7 percent in 2000."

      An increasing proportion of revenue collected was thus being
channelled towards debt servicing.

      The $319,4 billion domestic debt level recorded at the end of October
amounts to 33 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

      The economic implication therefore is that out of every dollar of the
country's GDP, 33 cents was committed to domestic debt.

      According to RBZ statistics, interest payments on average consumed
more than 58 percent of government revenue.

      RBZ advised that the burdensome domestic debt could be reduced through
fiscal consolidation, that is, a combination of restrained public
expenditures and increased revenue collection.

      The central bank said: "Fiscal requirements should be consistent with
existing economic and financial conditions.

      "Further, increasing the proportion of domestic debt channelled to
non-monetary institutions such as insurance companies, pension funds and
individuals would reduce the adverse effects of domestic debt on the
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Daily News

      Zimra pays informer $7 million

      12/11/2002 8:33:03 AM (GMT +2)

      By Colleen Gwari Business Reporter

      IN one of the rare cases set to woo the public and boost the country's
dwindling revenue base, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) last week
reportedly paid a whistle blower $7 million.

      Though no further details could be provided, Zimra said it was set to
pay more as the whistle blower continued to volunteer more information.

      Citing client confidentiality, Charles Jaure, a Zimra tax
investigations officer, said the government department was getting valuable
tips and information from members of the public on tax evaders.

      He said: "Last week we paid a whistle blower who volunteered vital
information some $7 million and we are likely to pay him more as he divulges
more information."

      Jaure told participants to the annual Budget tax conference in Harare
that among the top whistle blowers were employees and rivals.

      Desperate to raise revenue against a backdrop of a collapsing economy,
the government is tightening the grip, enforcing stringent mechanisms on

      Although nobody was willing to put their neck on the block, it is
widely believed in financial circles that Zimbabwe is virtually bankrupt and
some of the measures the government is implementing are a sign of

      The net is closing in on the few surviving companies and workers as
the tax base continues to shrink.

      Recently, the government announced that landlords would now be subject
to tax. The government is in the process of compiling a database for
collecting the tax from landlords.

      The much-talked about vision of hope, the informal sector, would by
next year start contributing to the national cake as they are now subject to

      Jaure said his organisation was legally armed to raid any business
concern without prior notice in search of what he termed "valuable

      He said the country's tax laws gave Zimra officers the powers to
access any business concern.

      Jaure said: "Next year will see tax evaders and other culprits pay
heavily and so we urge every taxpayer to comply."

      Zimra said it was in the process of adopting an integrated system that
would help it to hook up with most organisations throughout the country, on
the continent and beyond.

      A six-year prescription period has been put in place in an effort to
come up with track records of various companies on tax payments.

      However, Zimra conceded that policing people to pay tax was not the
best way forward and said every government's objective across the world was
moving towards voluntary compliance.

      Jaure said his organisation was confident that Zimra would raise the
$540 billion needed for the 2003 National Budget.

      "We will certainly surpass the target for the coming year as
everything else is in place," he said.

      Economic analysts and business leaders attacked government for
prioritising revenue collection at a time when industry was faced with a
bleak future.

      At least 370 000 people were likely to lose their jobs owing to
      closures and retrenchments.

      To date 32 companies in the manufacturing and export sectors had
closed shop as the economic climate got hotter.
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Daily News

      300 resettled families face starvation in Chiredzi

      12/11/2002 8:13:36 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Masvingo

      More than 300 families are facing starvation in Chiredzi after the
three water pumps they use for irrigation broke down four months ago.
Farmers in Chilonga irrigation scheme who had planted a variety of crops,
including maize, said the government had failed to repair their pumps, which
had resulted in their crops wilting because of moisture stress.

      "The crops we planted for winter have already wilted and this has
affected our farming," said one farmer. "We appealed to the government to
help us, but nothing has been done so far."

      The farmers said that their irrigation pumps had been taken to the
Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) for repair but had not been
returned to them.

      Felix Chiramba, another farmer said they rely on this irrigation
scheme, especially during dry periods and if the pumps are not repaired it
is a disaster for them.

      The farmers said the situation was likely to be worsened by the
erratic distribution of maize by food aid organisations. "We hardly receive
food aid from local and international organisations, so we only rely on the
crops we grow. So if our pumps are repaired we can survive," he said. The
farmers complained that the Grain Marketing Board depot in their area was
supplying maize-meal to Zanu PF councillors and officials only at the
expense of other ordinary villagers.

      ZINWA admitted they had failed to repair the irrigation pumps because
there was not enough money. "We have failed to repair the pumps due to lack
of foreign currency," said Albert Mare, ZINWA area manager.

      "The pumps are big so we were actually trying to get foreign currency
to import a number of parts required to repair them," he said. Mare said
their board had recently acquired the foreign currency needed to repair the
pumps and would soon repair the pumps and return them to the owners.
      At Chilonga irrigation scheme more than 300 farmers occupy about 141
hectares of land under irrigation.

      The farmers grow maize, cotton, groundnuts, vegetables, tomatoes and
other crops for commercial and subsistence purposes.
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Daily News

      Winding fuel queues resurface

      12/11/2002 8:18:06 AM (GMT +2)

      By Tendayi Nyakunu and Chris Mhike

      Long and winding fuel queues resurfaced in major cities and towns
yesterday as government and the State-controlled media remained adamant that
the situation was under control.

      By yesterday most filling stations in and around Harare had run dry.
Most dealers said the situation was likely to get worse without any solution
in sight.

      Ambassador Amos Midzi, the Minister of Energy and Power Development,
could not shed any light on the situation. Midzi said: "I have decided to do
more work and talk less."

      The sales manager at the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim), a
Mr Manduku would not comment either. He said: "I am not the right person to
comment. These are sensitive issues. It is only the minister who can issue
statements on such matters."

      Players in the fuel industry were not helpful either. Most were
engaged in negotiations to procure their own supplies and could not comment
for fear of reprisals.

      A manager from BP Shell, who refused to be named, said: "We don't have
figures at hand on the levels of fuel available in the country. Whatever we
receive from Noczim is all that we sell. Noczim or the Ministry of Energy
would be in a better position to assist you."

      In the city centre, most taxis were grounded while a sizeable number
were queueing for fuel. The same applied to commuter omnibuses. At Saviour
Kasukuwere's filling station in Harare Drive, Marlborough, there were
two-kilometre long queues on all sides of the premises. Kasukuwere owns the
Comoil dealership in Zimbabwe. Commuter omnibus drivers spent the night in
the queues but by yesterday morning they still had no hope of filling up.

      Fani Kangondo, Comoil's corporate communications manager, said local
players in the fuel industry were still waiting for the "affirmative" fuel
allocation system in favour of indigenous distributors, to be functional.

      He said: "Contrary to the misconception that indigenous distributors
receive greater supplies of fuel, at Comoil we have been receiving, in
recent days, as little as 10 000 litres a day. That allocation is supposed
to be distributed to the 13 Comoil filling stations dotted around the
country, an expectation we cannot practically meet."

      He said: "Under normal circumstances we should receive at least 200
000 litres to service all our clients, both retail and corporate."Kangondo
said the anomalous fuel supply situation had forced Comoil to serve only
retail clients "who would have spent the night in fuel queues". Fights
erupted as tempers flared with drivers accusing each other of queue-jumping.

      One commuter omnibus driver said: "I don't have any hope of getting
fuel. There has been no fuel delivery for the past 12 hours that I have been
in this queue. I don't think the indigenous fuel suppliers are able to cope
with demand although they are being given first preference by the

      "The NCA need not have called for a stayaway at all. If there is no
fuel, there will soon be a spontaneous stayaway. It doesn't have to be
called for, or organised by anyone. The country will soon grind to halt,
whether Zanu PF likes it or not."Another driver said: "This is definitely
going to be the worst festive season in living memory. No fuel, no bread, no
maize-meal, no meat, no end in sight to the political and economic turmoil
this country is going through. We definitely need divine intervention,
otherwise we will all perish."

      A severe foreign currency crisis has hit the country for the past
three years as the international and donor community expressed discontent at
the on-going fast track land reform programme and general disrespect for the
rule of law. Harare has suffered isolation from the international community,
dealing a huge blow to the economy

      Meanwhile, filling station owners in Musina in the Limpopo province of
South Africa were up in arms over petrol bought in Zimbabwe which was being
sold cheaply across the border on the black market, at Beitbridge and

      Some Zimbabweans bought petrol in their country and then crossed into
South Africa at the Beitbridge border post to sell it at reduced prices. 20
litres of petrol cost R87,40 in South Africa but one can get it on the
streets for R50. Local motorists and taxi operators were only too happy to
oblige. Most of the taxis that operated between Beitbridge and Gauteng were
dependent on Zimbabwean fuel. The petrol from across the border was being
carried in motor tanks and then drained into 20 litre containers for resale
on the streets. The dealers said they were trying to make a living. Three
trips a day were enough to put bread on the table, they said.

      Local motorists also crossed the border into Zimbabwe to fill up their
tanks at a much lower price. However, local garages were losing business, as
the Limpopo Shell Ultra City was only able to get enough customers when the
supply line from Zimbabwe ran dry.

      Anel Theunissen, manager of the filling station is concerned about his

      "It is affecting us quite a lot, we heard that the people are bringing
in the petrol and diesel from Zimbabwe across the border and selling it on
the bridge. But at this stage we can't do anything about the situation as we
don't know who these people are," said Theunissen.

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Daily News

      Zimbabwe's democracy record still poor: US envoy

      12/11/2002 8:06:49 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      BRUCE Wharton, the spokesman for the United States Embassy in Harare,
said yesterday Zimbabwe is yet to benefit from the incentives offered by the
Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act 2001 because it is still far
from observing the rule of law.

      Wharton said Zimbabwe had much to benefit from the Act, which was
condemned by Jonathan Moyo, the government spokesman, when it was passed
into law by the US Congress.

      Wharton was responding to questions on the progress made more than a
year since the Act was passed. He said since July 2001, several churches,
mission hospitals and various non-governmental organisations had received
funding to help them implement their HIV/Aids, education and health

      "There are millions of incentives to be realised, if only Zimbabwe
returned to the rule of law, respect human rights and private property,"
Wharton said.

      "Unfortunately, none of it is coming because there is no rule of law
at the moment."Section 4 Subsection (d) (1) of the Act says there should be
certification under this subsection transmitted to the appropriate
congressional committees of a determination made by the President that:
      "The rule of law has been restored in Zimbabwe, including respect for
ownership and title to property, freedom of speech and association, and an
end to the lawlessness, violence and intimidation sponsored, condoned or
tolerated by the government of Zimbabwe, Zanu PF, and their supporters or

      Wharton said: "We are supporting certain civic organisations in
Zimbabwe but I am not revealing how that funding is being used. The main
thrust of the Act is not to provide funding for civic organisations in the
country but to provide assistance to the government of Zimbabwe to return to
the rule of law and engage in a transparent, equitable and legal land reform
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The Guardian

Opposition call for World Cup boycott

Paul Kelso
Wednesday December 11, 2002

Zimbabwe's main opposition group has called on the international cricket
community to boycott the country and refuse to play any World Cup matches

A senior member of the Movement for Democratic Change said yesterday that
political violence, doubts over the security of players and spectators and
the policies of Robert Mugabe's regime made Zimbabwe an inappropriate venue
for a major sporting event.

Welshman Ncube, the MDC's secretary general, said: "A boycott of World Cup
matches would send a clear message that the international community will not
tolerate Mr Mugabe's illegitimate regime, and would serve to further isolate

Zimbabwe, which was suspended by the Commonwealth following intimidation and
political violence during elections earlier this year, will host six games
in the first stage of the tournament, including matches against England,
Australia, India and Pakistan.

Ncube continued: "Given that seven million people - half of the population -
are on the verge of starvation it is inappropriate that a major
international sporting event should be held in the country.

"It is also the case that the security of those attending the tournament
cannot be guaranteed. Political violence is commonplace and militia
roadblocks are in place in both rural areas and the towns."

The MDC also fears that Mugabe, who is patron of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union,
will try to make political capital out of the event, particularly the match
against England, scheduled for February 13.

"Mugabe would use event for political propaganda purposes and seek to
convince the world that Zimbabwe operates in accordance with democratic
principles. He must not be given this opportunity," said Ncube.

The British foreign secretary Jack Straw has been fiercely critical of the
Mugabe regime's treatment of the MDC. Yesterday Denis MacShane, the foreign
office minister for Europe, hinted that England should not play in Zimbabwe.

He told the House of Commons foreign affairs committee: "I hope that the
England cricket team take cognisance of the fact that, if they go to
Zimbabwe, they will go in very odd circumstances that may not reflect to
their credit."

His statement appeared at variance with the sports minister Richard Caborn,
who had said earlier in the day: "If all the conditions are right for it to
take place, as far as the ICC is concerned, then that's the governing body,
they make the decisions, not politicians."

Yesterday a foreign office spokesman said it was waiting to see the contents
of the report by an International Cricket Council delegation that visited
Zimbabwe last month to examine security arrangements. The report, due out
this week, is not expected to raise any objections to Zimbabwe hosting

The delegation informally sought the views of MDC officials in Harare and
Bulawayo, the cities that will host the matches. A senior ICC source said
these officials indicated support for the tournament, which the report may

If the ECB unilaterally withdrew without the British government's
intervention, it would face ICC sanctions including points deduction and
large financial penalties.
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Should Britain's Cricket Team Play in Zimbabwe?
VOA Sports
10 Dec 2002, 22:13 UTC

A junior Foreign Office minister suggested on Tuesday that England's cricket
team should not play in Zimbabwe, where president Robert Mugabe is engaged
in a political stand-off with the international community.

Zimbabwe is due to host six first-round matches of the 2003 cricket World
Cup in Harare and Bulawayo in February, but fears have been expressed over
player safety due to political upheaval in the country. England is scheduled
to play Zimbabwe in Harare on February 13.

Zimbabwe has been plagued with violence in the wake of Mugabe's
controversial land reform program, leading to calls for the cricket World
Cup to be moved to South Africa. Malcolm Speed, chief executive of the
International Cricket Council (ICC), said late last month that countries
whose teams refuse to play in Zimbabwe could face legal action.

Australia and England have shown the most concern about playing in Zimbabwe.
India, Pakistan, Namibia and the Netherlands are also due to play there.
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Zambia News Agency

Mwanawasa, Mugabe to open Chirundu bridge
Lusaka - President Mwanawasa and his Zimbabwean counterpart Robert Mugabe
are this Thursday expected to officially open the new Chirundu Bridge.

A joint statement to the Zambia News Agency this evening said the new
Chirundu Bridge was constructed with a grant from the Japanese government to
Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The statement says on the day of official opening, the Chirundu Bridge
Border Post would remain closed to travelling public from 06:00 to 15:00
hours to allow for the ceremony.

Information and Broadcasting Permanent Secretary David Kashweka has since
announced that although the border will temporally close, it will however
re-open and would remain open up to 19:00 hours after the ceremony.

The two neighbouring countries have invited ministers, diplomats and
different stakeholders including the local population to celebrate the
official opening.

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Labour leaders jailed

Harare - A Zimbabwean labour leader and other union officials remained in
prison on Tuesday for allegedly organising a general strike over food
shortages and economic hardship, while the work stoppages failed to take

Wellington Chibebe, the secretary general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions (ZCTU), had been arrested on Monday evening along with eight other
union leaders.

The strike over severe food shortages and economic difficulties in the
southern African country was organised by the National Constitutional
Assembly (NCA), an alliance of rights groups, unions, opposition parties and

However, the one-day job stay-away, also intended to press for
constitutional reform, was largely ignored.

Lawyers for the imprisoned leaders were frantically trying to seek their
release late Tuesday "because there is no case to answer", according to ZCTU
president Lovemore Matombo.

"They have not been released yet. Their lawyer is trying to make an urgent
application for their release," Matombo said.

The ZCTU backed the strike but did not call for it, he said.

Most businesses, including banks, supermarkets and manufacturing plants,
were open for business as normal. Fuel queues stretched for kilometres at
some fuel stations as motorists scrambled for the scarce commodity.

Many people appeared ignorant of the strike while others said they could not
afford to stop working when they were hard-pressed to buy even the most
basic food supplies, as the cost of living spirals upward on a daily basis.

Inflation is officially pegged at more than 144% but analysts say it is much

Success rate

But organisers of Tuesday's strike claimed a 30% success rate.

"Our assessment is that there has been about 20 - 30% response in Harare,
but in other towns it has been quite poor," NCA chairperson Lovemore Madhuku

"We (however) are not disappointed, we are actually happy that some people
took heed of our call, given the political culture of intimidation in this
country," he said.

The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), based in
Belgium, condemned the arrests as "a chilling reminder of the repression and
intimidation faced by all those who do not support the policies of President
Robert Mugabe".

The strike was declared illegal by the police.

More arrests

Several other people were arrested in the capital's working class suburbs
for barricading roads and burning a bus, according to police spokesperson
Wayne Bvudzijena.

"A bus has been burnt and others have been stoned and we have made several
arrests today," Bvudzijena said.

"We have indications that some people were paid by the MDC (opposition
Movement for Democratic Change) to carry out those attacks," he charged.


MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has said he supports the work stoppage.

"The call by civil society for a day of protest ... is a welcome move, which
is long overdue," Tsvangirai said in a statement.

"The deteriorating economic situation has reached alarming levels," he


Zimbabwe's economy has been plunged into a deepening depression in recent
years. At least 80% of the population now live in poverty.

For nearly a year there have been critical shortages of basic commodities,
resulting in a thriving black market where prices are anything up to 10
times the official rates.

The strike was also called to push for a new, democratic constitution for
the southern African country.

Madhuku said there were plans to call for another strike before the end of
the week. - Sapa-AFP
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Business Day

      Nothing but destruction to show for land grab


      "WE NEVER thought it would be as bad as it is," said former farm
worker Albert Chanetsa, a veteran tractor driver.

      Nor did anyone else, including the foot soldiers who ran the land
revolution for President Robert Mugabe. "There is no planting. There is no
farming here," said Chanetsa , and a few former colleagues, now refugees,
sitting on a ledge outside an old farm kitchen nodded in agreement.

      The air was thick with the promise of rain and frangipani blossom, but
the conversation was as depressing as the deserted farm yards. "They won't
let us plant," said a health worker from another former commercial farm in
the area.

      They, are of course, some war veterans and ruling Zanu (PF) supporters
who have taken over the farm. In the most fertile cropping province,
Mashonaland West, along many kilometres of council and private roads, fields
are bare and weeds the only greenery. Hundreds of hectares of young coffee
is abandoned, and citrus orchards were burned in September and the blaze
melted the drip irrigation pipes which watered the trees.

      Footage shot from a light aircraft over the rest of the central
provinces in the past three weeks is an equally bleak record of the results
of nearly three years of agrarian reform. In place of mechanical maize
planters which put down 20ha of seed a day, thin old women bent double are
planting pip by pip, about half a hectare in the same time.

      Many of Mugabe's storm troopers have neither seed nor fertiliser. They
are hanging about scratching at the soil here and there, and waiting.

      At Lions Den, about 150km north west of Harare, there is an exception
to the desolation, 50ha of young maize, at present overcome with weeds,
planted by higher education minister and president of the Zimbabwe Red Cross
Society, Swithun Mombeshora. Mombeshora, assisted by police from the
provincial capital, Chinhoyi, finally chucked the owners off last month.

      He had an easy start to the season, free land, free irrigation
equipment, plentiful seed and fertiliser.

      Mombeshora said: "I don't know about planting in the rest of the
province, but I am farming."

      Ormeston, the farm he took, has for decades reaped 750ha of maize and
soyas, 80ha of tobacco, and 15ha of export flowers, and in the winter season
just ended, 600ha of wheat.

      Contrary to what Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge told South Africans a
couple of weeks ago that land reform was complete a productive farmer is
chased off his land almost every day, including some who planted summer

      It is 33 months since Mugabe launched some veterans of the liberation
war onto white-owned farms. There is nothing to show for it but destruction.
The drought was, in the scheme of things, a sideshow, as Zimbabwe has
weathered worse before.

      But what of the doughty, overcrowded communal farmers who are capable
of producing 800000 tons of maize in a year?

      The communal farmers are weakened by inflation, which will hit 200% by
year end, and by shortages of inputs. They are also hungry, and their
families are diminished by HIV AIDS. They have no access to dams or
irrigation, and prospects for decent rain this season, are dim.

      Mugabe's new farmers in Mashonaland West are largely businessmen or
politicians who bark orders down the phone to managers from their suburban
homes in the city.

      In the Mazowe Valley last week, west of Harare, is first lady Grace
Mugabe's farm, which she wrenched from a frightened old couple. She is
growing a few hectares of maize, government tractors were ploughing for her
last weekend at a dirt cheap price, and Mugabe's sister, Sabina, is trying
her hand at seed maize on one of several farms she has taken. But none of
them will in the foreseeable future produce enough food, or enough foreign
currency to import what was grown before.

      Next year will not be better. SA maize was trading at R1840 a ton
recently. In Zimbabwe, the monopoly trader, the government's Grain Marketing
Board is paying the equivalent of R220 a ton to local producers who won't
grow enough to feed even a quarter of the population, even in the unlikely
event of normal rains.

      Thornycroft is a Harare-based journalist.

      None of the farmers are going to produce enough food, or enough
foreign currency, to import what was grown before

      Dec 10 2002 07:33:40:000AM Peta Thornycroft Business Day 1st Edition

      10 December 2002
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Daily News

      Price controls cause confusion

      12/10/2002 8:59:58 AM (GMT +2)

      By Chris Mhike Business Reporter

      THE government has intensified the price controls policy by outlawing
the rebranding, renaming or repacking of goods specified in price freeze

      The enabling statutory instrument (SI) has, however, caused deep
confusion among retailers. In the Control of Goods (Price Freeze)
(Amendment) Order (SI 314C of 2002), published last week in an Extraordinary
Government Gazette, the government extended the price freeze regime to a
range of additional target products.

      Prices for consumable products including beef types, aerated
beverages, sugar, salt, cooking oil, margarine, milk and milk products,
wheat flour, yeast, and yarn, were all frozen last week.

      Also frozen were prices for soaps, washing powder, industrial yarns
and waste, window frames and building sands.

      Besides widening the list of "controlled goods", the government
introduced a new provision of price control regulations, to clamp down on
      evasion tactics that have been applied by manufacturers and
distributors in their battle for viability.

      In the months after the introduction of the controversial price
controls, shortages of goods on the formal markets became common. The scarce
products would, however, be readily available on the informal markets, but
at exorbitant prices.

      In supermarkets and other formal purchase centres, the products were
occasionally available, but under new brands and/or sizes, not appearing on
the price control lists. The sellers could then dispose of their controlled
products at higher prices, arguing that the brands and packaging sizes
availed were not controlled.

      SI 314C/ 2002 is designed to counter the evasion strategy.

      Section 2 of the Order amends the original price control SI to read:
"No producer or manufacturer of any service related to the distribution,
disposal, purchase and sale of goods generally which is affected by this
order may manufacture, produce or provide any such good or service under a
new name or brand, or in units (whether of weight, volume or otherwise) not
previously offered for sale, except with the written authority of the
Ministry or any person."

      The new provision was blasted by the business people who were
contacted for comment yesterday. They said it entrenched price controls, a
policy that had seriously affected the viability of many businesses.

      The Order was also heavily criticised for the confusion it created for
traders. SI 314C/2002 contains numerous mix-ups that defy basic logic.
      For instance, the Order pegs the retail price for a 400 gramme 1st
Grade Cheddar cheese packet at $2 539,12. A 200g packet of the same product
however costs more, at $2 590,04; 400g of Gouda (rindless) will cost $2
351,65 but a 200g packet will cost $2 462,67. According to the same Order $2
284,95 will be the price for Gouda Wedge, while 200g will cost $2 491,00.
Mozzarella is billed to cost $2 066,73 at 400g, while 200 grammes of the
same product is said to cost $2 161,52.

      Prices for numerous other milk and milk products appear to be mixed up
too. An official with the Ministry of Industry and International Trade said
she believed that the pricing anomalies emanated from "genuine typing
 errors". "I am sure the cases you have raised are a genuine mistake. In
fact, we also received many calls from people who were confused about the
Order. We are in the process of revising that particular Statutory
Instrument," the official said.

      She could not, however, shed light on the prices that would be valid
in the duration between yesterday and the time of the correction of the
mixed-up prices.

      "The person who can comment on that issue is currently in a meeting.
He will call you after the meeting to respond to your questions."
      By the time of going to press yesterday, the ministry official had not
contacted The Daily News. Shop owners complained that the failure by the
ministry to announce a more reasonable regime on the legitimate prices of
goods left them in a dilemma.

      "It does not make sense for me to sell greater quantities of products
at prices that are lower than those charged for lesser quantities. How shall
we explain this to monitors who come with their non-negotiable price lists?"
said a trader in Harare who refused to be named.

      The three price monitors contacted yesterday professed that they had
no knowledge of the contents of the troublesome Order in question. They
refused to answer questions on how they could monitor prices in ignorance of
the relevant pricing laws and regulations.

      Traders said the Ministry of Industry and International Trade's
failure to respond meant that "in the meantime confusion will prevail".
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Daily News

      Economic turmoil may lead to political uprising, warns Bloch

      12/10/2002 8:57:56 AM (GMT +2)

      By Colleen Gwari Business Reporter

      ZIMBABWE is on the verge of an uprising and the risk continues to grow
by the day as the economy deteriorates further, an economic consultant has

      Speaking in an interview with The Daily News at the sidelines of an
annual Budget conference being held in Harare, Dr Eric Bloch said violence
was regrettable and unwelcome, but seemed much apparent as more and more
people become desperate.

      He said: "Violence is the last thing we would want, but the risk for
an uprising is growing each day." Bloch said there was no way out for the
ruling Zanu PF government, but to restore the rule of law and once again get
on board the international and donor community.

      The economic commentator predicted that at least 500 000 people,
mostly children in the rural areas would starve to death in the next six
months if no immediate intervention was sought. He said the future was bleak
and with the disastrous Budget announced last month by Dr Herbert Murerwa,
the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, more company closures,
marking the total collapse of the economy, were looming.

      At least 250 000 Zimbabweans would lose their jobs if the government
did not swallow its pride and make a shift towards a total policy change
taking into cognisance the needs and expectations of all key stakeholders
comprising business and labour.

      Bloch said no less than three million more people across the country
would be forced into destitution as retrenchments and company closures
become the order of the day. Experts suggest that an estimated 60 percent of
Zimbabwe's companies would close down by May next year as the situation
becomes worse.

      "There is nothing else the government can do except to restore the
rule of law and, most importantly, investor confidence," he said. David
Harrison, a consultant, said price controls, just as they failed anywhere
across the world, would not bear the intended results. He wondered how
government would control prices of end products without taking into account
the cost of production.

      Harrison said: "Honestly there is no industry that can be expected to
run when it is making losses, companies would just but close due to
      a hostile environment."

      Zimbabwe has been hit by the worst socio-economic-political crisis
ever, mainly characterised by galloping inflation officially pegged at 144,2
percent, a shortage of foreign currency, basic commodities and fuel.

      Economic analysts have blamed the appalling state of the economy on
the government's arrogance, fiscal indiscipline and poor policy
implementation and co-ordination.

      Fearing the risk of growing unpopularity after the 2000 constitutional
referendum, the ruling Zanu PF government spearheaded the chaotic land
reform programme.

      Despite condemnation both at home and abroad, President Mugabe's
government has defended its stance insisting it was meant to redress
colonial imbalances.

      Early agricultural monitoring and surveillance indicates that the
country may be headed for yet another severe drought in the 2002-3 season.
      Bloch said: "I have been and remain an advocate for a sustainable,
equitable land reform programme."

      The economic commentator said in 1958 he presented a paper to the then
Rhodesian government advocating for a just and fair land reform, but his
efforts were rebuffed.

      Bloch castigated the government's programme saying any agrarian
revolution did not have to destroy the infrastructure.
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Daily News

      Poor rains herald bad harvests for countries in southern Africa

      12/10/2002 8:56:07 AM (GMT +2)

      From Sandra Mujokoro in Bulawayo

      THE Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) says the poor rains
recorded this season could result in another bad harvest for the southern
African region next year.

      In Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Lesotho and Swaziland more
than 14 million people need food aid because of poor harvests in the past
farming season.

      While there are wet conditions this week, most parts of the country
have had a dry spell for the past month, with early planted crops reported
to be suffering from moisture stress.

      According to the latest FEWSNET food security report, most of the
region had recorded only between one and 10 mm of rain with "substantially
inhibited" rainfall over parts of South Africa, Zimbabwe and central and
southern Mozambique.

      The rainfall deficit also covers South Africa's maize triangle, which
usually supplies surrounding countries with the staple grain, and
contributes to relief agencies' stocks. Zimbabwe survived on maize imports
from South Africa at the height of the food crisis early this year.

      So far, there has not been enough rain to plant the maize, wheat,
sunflower, sorghum and soya in South Africa, FEWSNET said. "There has been
no planting in the western Transvaal region, and planting in the east was
weakened by poor rains," Fanie Brink, an official in the South African grain
industry told a South African news agency last week.

      While northern Mozambique had received rain and made preparations
ahead of its flood season, rainfall in northern Sofala and southern Zambezia
in central Mozambique had been low throughout November, says the report.

      "It's not good for next year, it could be potentially very bad," said
Owen Calvert, World Food Programme (WFP) official said. In Malawi, there are
similar concerns and rains were only received during the last week of
November. "We still have the first half of December to plant and after that
it will be too late," said Abdelgadi Musallam, a WFP spokesperson in Malawi.

      Predictions from the South African Weather Service were grim.
"Rainfall is definitely going to be below normal, so the prospects for this
season are not good," Shaumani Mugeri, a meteorologist for the South African
Weather Service said.

      "What aggravates the matter is that we do have an El Nino in the
region, even though it is moderate, it is going to have an impact on us."

      The Department of Meteorological Services warned this year that the
country would receive normal to above normal rains during the first half of
the season, October to December, while there are chances of receiving normal
rainfall biased towards below normal during the second half of the season,
January to March 2003.

      Poor rains in the second half of the season are associated with the El
Nino weather phenomenon, which causes dry weather conditions in Zimbabwe.
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Daily News

      Chombo lied, says mayor

      12/10/2002 8:27:46 AM (GMT +2)

      By Lloyd Mudiwa Municipal Reporter

      DR Ignatius Chombo, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and
National Housing, deceived the nation when he said the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) had given Harare City Council US$500 000 (about Z$28 million
at the official exchange rate) for vital water treatment chemicals, said the
Executive Mayor of Harare yesterday.

      Chombo, in an interview with the government newspaper, The Herald,
accused the mayor, Elias Mudzuri, of "politicking and playing politics" over
the water crisis in the capital.

      Mudzuri challenged Chombo to a live public debate on TV so that
Zimbabweans could judge for themselves who was to blame for the water

      Mudzuri said it was Chombo who was politicising the water issue.
      He said his council only received confirmation that the money was
available late on Friday last week.

      According to a fax received by the council from the RBZ on Friday at
5:32pm, the value date of the money, to be used to buy ecol 2000 to kill
algae in raw water and for disinfecting, is only today, Tuesday.

      The city applied for the foreign currency on 16 September 2002, and
now owes the South African supplier of ecol 2000, Aqua Pro Vitae, the
equivalent of about $32 million in hard currency for previous deliveries.

      "So what did Chombo want me to do within a day?" said Mudzuri, saying
the government itself was struggling with the food shortages when it was
projected long beforehand that there would be a drought.

      Mudzuri said even if Chombo were to sack him, he would leave a happy
man knowing he did the right thing in trying to provide services to the

      The council has now issued a statement inviting all residents, the
Combined Harare Residents' Association, other residents' associations and
their affiliates, the business sector, civic organisations and any other
interested people to a public meeting to hear "the truth behind the current
water problem".

      The meeting will be held at Town House today at 5pm.

      Mudzuri said yesterday: "If they are serious that I am politicising
the water issue they should drag me before national television and ask the
residents to question me.

      "I want it to be broadcast live. If they want, I can even address the
nation now, instead of just politicising the situation - and I want Chombo

      "He is the minister who should oversee our success, but he appears to
be doing us down."

      But the mayor thanked the President's Office, through Dr Charles
Utete, the Secretary to the President and the Cabinet, for responding
quickly to the city's plea for assistance in securing the foreign currency.
      The municipality, he said, required more foreign currency.

      Mudzuri said Chombo was to blame for the water problem.

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Business Day

Mugabe's diplomatic triumph may be short lived

Europe has the money and the markets the ACP group needs
IF THE European Union's Glenys Kinnock, wife of the former leader of
Britain's Labour Party, who lost to Tony Blair, was ever known for her
diplomatic flourish, she isn't any more.

As an EU MP and co-resident of the parliamentary assembly in which EU and
African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) MPs discuss aid and trade benefits
under the Cotonou Agreement, she handed the Mugabe government a sensational
diplomatic victory last month.

She did this by forcing the ACP-EU body to split over a procedural matter
concerning Zimbabwean participation.

Among the recriminations, anguish and accusations of neocolonialism, the
Zimbabweans were able to hold out the incident as an act of unanimous
solidarity for their own racist policies, which is patently not the case.

The ministers concerned, Paul Mangwana (public enterprises) and Chris
Kurineri (finance and economic planning) are recipients of confiscated farms
and much else besides, and their presence in Brussels was repugnant to the

Instead of the EU seeking the support of the joint EU-ACP assembly in
preventing their entry to the EU parliament, Kinnock announced a unilateral

This enraged the ACP group. An unfortunate precedent was being created. Many
ACP delegates come from countries with dubious democracies and poor human
rights records. Some, like Haiti, Cuba and Togo, feel they are particularly
vulnerable to European censure. They do not want in future to find that
their delegates are individually subject to European obloquy.

The joint executive committee of the joint assembly (the bureau) met several
times, but neither side put forward any serious compromise. So none was

Further meetings may now be in jeopardy. For the EU has made it clear that
it is in no mood to compromise where blacklisted Zimbabweans are concerned,
regardless of the venue.

The Cotonou agreement itself is not in danger. It is an agreement among
governments subject only to the scrutiny or oversight of this assembly.

But negotiations of various regional agreements of great importance to small
countries (especially those in the Southern African Development Community)
that flow from the main agreement may now be harder to negotiate.

The ACP countries left the meeting in a blaze of self-righteous indignation,
claiming a monopoly on morality, righteousness and justice. But this victory
may be shortlived. The Europeans have the money and the markets that the ACP
countries need.

In the sober light of their return home, indignation may well turn to
recrimination and the road back to the joint assembly may be filled with
more humiliation.

For the EU and Mrs Kinnock have certainly sent out a very robust message:
any contact with blacklisted Zimbabwean recidivists will not be countenanced
even if trade relations have to be disturbed and regardless of income
disparities that this may cause between north and south.

But while the question of Zimbabwe cries out for a solution, it also demands
"smart" diplomacy, which in turn means concentrating on recalcitrant
democrats like Thabo Mbeki.

The introduction of a "smart" peer review to take care of ACP delinquents
might not be without merit.

Beginning a process that might deny a large part of the third world vital
sustenance is not a smart way of forcing Zimbabwean compliance.

For the latter remains oblivious to logic, suffering or equity while the
former will be alienated by an increase in its own suffering and

Bruce is a Democratic Party MP.
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Daily News

      Civic groups support stayaway

      12/10/2002 8:37:30 AM (GMT +2)

      By Pedzisai Ruhanya Chief Reporter

      A STAYAWAY organised by the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA),
the Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu), and the MDC to protest
against economic hardships and State repression begins today, the
spokesperson of the coalition, Dr Lovemore Madhuku, said yesterday.

      Madhuku, the chairman of the NCA, said the group agreed at its meeting
yesterday to have a one-day protest today and continue to have other civil
disobedience activities thereafter.

      He said: "The call is to express the people's anger at the
deteriorating economic conditions in this country. It is also a call for an
open democracy in our country.

      "We have said it openly that there is an urgent need for a new
constitution that will lead to new elections and we are not compromising on
these key national issues."

      Madhuku said the protest action was supported by many civic
organisations, but some had refused to be named.

      Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC president, said his party supported the
stance taken by the coalition as it was long overdue.

      Tsvangirai said: "The MDC supports the people in their quest for a
better future. Mass action is a universal and basic right. The deteriorating
economic situation has reached alarming levels.

      "We demand, as a way of correcting glaring anomalies, that the regime
desists from politicising food distribution and allow many actors to procure
food and make it available, at affordable prices, to all."

      He called on Zanu PF to negotiate itself out of "this mess and force
Robert Mugabe to retire".

      Tsvangirai said the MDC was prepared to support a resolution of the
political impasse through the establishment of a transitional authority to
stabilise the situation, rebuild confidence and inspire confidence in the
political process.

      Madhuku said the stayaway was a just cause and his partners were not
worried about the likely consequences of State repression against them,
"because we have been arrested before and we cannot allow the police to
stand in the way of democratic processes that will also benefit them".

      He said today's stayaway would be thoroughly reviewed and another one
will be carried out later this week.

      Lovemore Matombo, the president of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions (ZCTU), said his union supported the stance taken by the three
organisations because the economic situation was deteriorating everyday.

      He said his organisation was still consulting its structures through
the labour forums but warned that if the government refused to address their
demands, they would resort to the stayaways.

      Matombo said: "Life is difficult for everybody and we cannot continue
to pretend that things are well."

      He said the labour union was asking the government to immediately
resume the tripartite negotiations where the workers were demanding that the
minimum wage to be raised from $8 925 to $31 000.

      Matombo said the ZCTU wanted the government to cut taxes to allow the
workers to have better disposable incomes and to increase the pensions
because the pensioners' incomes were being eroded by the rise in inflation.

      The stayaway is likely to be supported by the employers whose
companies face an uncertain future because of the economic meltdown largely
caused by the government's failure to manage the economy.

      In the past the government has used the Public Order and Security Act
to thwart any protests against its policies and human rights violations.

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