The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Massive power outages hit Zim


            19/12/2005 14:28  - (SA)

            Harare - Power outages blacked out most of the township of
Chitungwiza, including an already ailing industrial district south of the
capital, and may last for up to three weeks, Zimbabwe state media reported

            A lightning strike hit a main power facility Sunday in the
dormitory township of half a million people, 25km from Harare, causing a
fire that destroyed a transformer station, state radio said.

            James Maridadi, a spokesman for the state power company, said
power to some areas could be restored within a week. Full repairs would be
completed within 21 days, he said.

            The fire blazed for about six hours after firefighters had to be
called in from Harare, bringing their own water.

            Chitungwiza's own fire trucks were broken down and its fire
hydrants were dry, Maridadi said.

            The township, along with most other urban areas in Zimbabwe, has
suffered regular and lengthy power and water outages as the nation suffers
its worst economic crisis since independence in 1980, with spiraling
inflation of 502% and acute shortages of hard currency, gasoline, imported
equipment and spare parts.

            The magistrate's courts in Chitungwiza have been closed several
times this year by utility outages. In Harare, police and prison authorities
postponed cases, saying they did not have enough fuel to take suspects to

            Earlier this month, a state of the nation broadcast by President
Robert Mugabe was blacked out for half an hour by a power outage.

            Maridadi told state radio Monday power outages were worsened by
the theft of oil used in small, local relay stations that was then sold on
the back market in the fuel-starved nation. At last 40 such stations in
Harare were out of action, some irreparably damaged after being drained of

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Top UN relief official pleads for Security Council political action in Africa

UN News Centre

19 December 2005 - The top United Nations humanitarian relief official today
pleaded for the Security Council to take urgent political and security
measures to stem crises resurgent in Darfur, south Sudan, Zimbabwe and other
parts of Africa, so that humanitarian efforts will not be overwhelmed by
violence and Governmental problems.

"Humanitarian aid cannot be an alibi for unwillingness to address the root
causes of conflict," said Jan Egeland, UN Humanitarian Relief Coordinator.
"The greatest contribution we can make to addressing humanitarian crises in
Africa is determined, energetic and sustained efforts to bring an end to
conflict and injustice that cause so much suffering in Africa."

In Darfur in particular, he said, 13,000 international and national relief
workers are assisting more than 3 million people in that region and Chad
under constant threat, while they are witnessing a terrible reality on the
ground -- killing, rape, burning, looting and forced displacement.

"It cannot be right that we have twice as many humanitarian workers in
Darfur as international security personnel," he said, urging an expanded
security presence on the ground. "So I appeal to you very strongly to show
the sense of urgency and determination needed to achieve the objectives
identified in your resolutions and help bring this crisis to an end."

He also urged that the Council deal with the growing devastation by the
Ugandan Rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in south Sudan, Uganda and the
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), who are not only attacking local
people and refugees and cutting off humanitarian access to them, but are
also targeting humanitarian workers.

The Council must, he said insist on an immediate cessation of LRA violence
and an end to all sources of support to the group. He also called for the
convening of an expert panel to decide how the Council could most
effectively eliminate its threat.

In sourthern Africa, Mr. Egeland focused on the situation in Zimbabwe, where
almost one third the population will require food assistance this year,
basic services continue to deteriorate and the Government's recent urban
eviction campaign was "the worst possible action, at the worst possible

In that situation as well, he stressed it was not sustainable to keep
providing food assistance for millions of people year after year without
addressing the causes.

"From my discussions with the Government of Zimbabwe, I am convinced that
the UN and the humanitarian community at large must try to engage more
actively with the Government."

In addition, he said, there needed to be much more investment in sustainable
food security, livelihoods and basic services in Zimbabwe and other parts of

"I call upon all Member States to live up to their commitments to fund,
support and facilitate a much more ambitious development and humanitarian
agenda," he said.

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U.K. Court Says Tycoon Van Hoogstraten Ordered Murder


      Dec. 19 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. multimillionaire Nicholas van Hoogstraten
ordered ``thugs'' to murder business rival Mohammed Raja in 1999, a London
court ruled, boosting a bid by Raja's family to recover civil damages for
his death.

      Van Hoogstraten was convicted of manslaughter in 2002 for his role in
Raja's murder after hiring two men to `teach Raja a lesson.' The U.K. Court
of Appeal quashed that conviction in July 2003 on the grounds the jury
hearing the case had been misdirected, freeing the property tycoon from a
10-year prison sentence.

      The High Court in London today ruled that, for the purpose of civil
lawsuits brought by Raja's relatives, the evidence was ``overwhelming'' that
Van Hoogstraten had recruited the men to kill Raja, rather than to
intimidate him. At the time of his death, Raja was suing Van Hoogstraten for
around 5 million pounds ($8.8 million) for fraud.

      ``Nothing less than murder would rid Mr. Van Hoogstraten of this thorn
in his flesh,'' Justice Gavin Lightman said in the judgment. ``He clearly
recruited the thugs to `break' the thorn and resolve for good his problems
with Mr. Raja.''

      Robert Knapp and David Croke, Van Hoogstraten's alleged hitmen, were
found guilty of Raja's murder in July 2002 and are serving life terms in


      ``Mr. Hoogstraten is revealed in the judgment as an utterly dishonest
and ruthless criminal with no regard for other people, the truth or the
law,'' Peter Irvin, a lawyer for the Raja family, said today in documents
submitted to the court.

      Van Hoogstraten, who has extensive property holdings in Britain and
Zimbabwe, is worth around 500 million pounds, according to a Dec. 13 report
by London-based newspaper The Evening Standard. He wasn't present or legally
represented during the hearing and denies ever hiring Knapp or Croke to
commit the murder.

      Raja's relatives have filed four civil actions against him at the High
Court, seeking to recover millions of pounds in damages for his death.

      The cases, which are being heard together, will return to the court
next month, with a final judgment on any damages to be awarded expected
later next year.

      Van Hoogstraten was ordered to pay 500,000 pounds in interim legal
costs to the Raja family within 14 days.

      `Uphill Struggle'

      ``Naturally, we are very pleased with the court's findings, but it has
been a devastating and uphill struggle to get here,'' the family said in a
statement released after the decision.

      Justice Lightman said in the judgment that police couldn't identify
any other person who would have a motive to kill Raja and that his death had
``the hallmarks of a contract killing.''

      Van Hoogstraten has a series of criminal convictions dating back to
1956, including theft, criminal damage by explosion, corrupting a police
officer and assault.

      ``He has proudly acknowledged on television that he associates with
violent criminals,'' Lightman said. ``He has publicly stated that in dealing
with people who get in his way he goes for direct retribution.''

      The case is Raja v. Van Hoogstraten CH 1993 R 6492.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Megan Murphy in London at
Last Updated: December 19, 2005 11:51 EST

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Zimbabwe police arrest broadcasting boss

Zim Online

Tue 20 December 2005

      HARARE - Veteran Zimbabwe radio broadcaster and Voice of the People
(VOP) executive director John Masuku was on Monday arrested by the police
for allegedly breaching the country's tough broadcasting laws.

      Masuku and VOP board chairman David Masunda, who were in hiding since
last Thursday when the police raided the independent radio station's offices
in Harare, handed themselves over to the law enforcement agency on Monday.

      VOP lawyer Rangu Nyamurundira said the police last night insisted on
detaining Masuku overnight after searching the company's offices. The police
also confiscated computers and Masuku's laptop during the search.

      Nyamurundira said: "Police have detained Masuku and released Masunda
after searching the company's offices. They took with them Masuku's laptop
and computers."

      The lawyer said it was still not clear last night under which section
of the law Masuku would be charged but hinted that he could be charged under
Section 27 of the Broadcasting Services Act which makes it an offence to
broadcast without a licence from the state Broadcasting Authority of
Zimbabwe (BAZ).

      Masuku faces up to two years in jail if convicted of breaching the
tough broadcasting law.

      "At this stage, it is not clear what charges they will bring against
him but they hinted that they might consider charging him for operating a
radio station without permission from the broadcasting authority,"
Nyamurundira said.

      "We will insist that they bring him to court tomorrow (Tuesday) but
the problem is that police are arresting people for the purposes of
conducting investigations which is wrong procedurally," he said.

      Masuku's arrest comes as the police earlier in the day released three
journalists - Maria Nyanyiwa, Nyasha Bosha and Kundai Mugwanda - who were
arrested last Thursday for flouting the country's broadcasting laws.

      The journalists were released without charge after the police
indicated that they could not be charged for operating a radio station
without a licence as they were not owners of VOP.

      Under Zimbabwe's broadcasting Act, it is illegal for Zimbabweans to
own signal transmitting equipment or to broadcast from the country without
first seeking permission from the BAZ.

      But VOP does not broadcast from Zimbabwe although it maintains offices
and reporters in the country. The station broadcasts into Zimbabwe from a
Radio Netherlands transmitter off the Indian ocean island of Madagascar.

      The arrest of the journalists comes barely a week after Information
Minister Tichaona Jokonya threatened to crack the whip against journalists
whom he accused of serving foreign interests.

      At least four newspapers have been shut down in the last three years
for flouting the country's tough media laws. The United States based
Committee to Protect Journalists ranks Zimbabwe among the three worst
countries for journalists. The other two are Iran and the former Soviet
republic of Uzbekistan. - ZimOnline

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Crisis-hit Zimbabweans move around with bags full of worthless cash

Zim Online

Tue 20 December 2005

      HARARE - Inside this vast air conditioned banking hall in Harare's
central business district, is a giant television screen which is
strategically located to draw the attention of the bank's clients.

      Every few seconds, the "captive audience" in the queue which snakes
for some 12 metres, is bombarded with the bank's commercials telling them
why doing business with this particular bank was the best decision they ever

      But in this queue are individuals wearing exhausted faces, tired from
the daily grind of eking a living in Zimbabwe's troubled economy.

      For most of the people in the queue, each visit to the bank appears to
be a real test of endurance on its own as lifeless and visibly bored bank
tellers take their sweet time counting the huge "bricks" of Z$20 000 bearer
cheques and Z$1 000 notes.

      This is happening in an economy where coins have virtually been phased
out. The bearer cheques - they are not real money and many of the cheques
expired a long time ago but they still work just like real cash - were
introduced by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe three years ago as a stop gap
measure in a bid to end severe cash shortages in the country.

      For James Tsodzo, a 45-year old clerk in Harare, each visit to the
bank has provided challenges unthinkable only a few years back. Tsodzo says
with the rapid depreciation of the Zimbabwe dollar, he has had to carry
along a satchel to carry the huge wads of cash whenever he goes to the bank
to withdraw money.

      "You see this bag," said Tsodzo pointing at the satchel behind his
back. "It is specifically for carrying just $5 million which is my net
salary. It is embarrassing for us to be carrying bags to stuff in money. We
are exposing ourselves to thieves," he said.

      Touched by the subject under discussion, a woman who was also in the
queue quickly joined in.

      "I had to hire a taxi to assist me in carrying the $10 million I want
to withdraw. I am not sure what notes they will give me so I just decided to
play it safe, carry the bag and jump in a cab. It's unthinkable that things
have really become this bad," the woman said.

      The Zimbabwe dollar, which was stronger than the United States dollar
at independence from Britain 25 years ago, has shed most of its value since
November 1997 when the dollar crashed on the market after President Robert
Mugabe curved in to pressure from war veterans and awarded them Z$50 000
gratuities in recognition of their role during Zimbabwe's 1970s war of

      The Zimbabwe dollar has been on a free-fall since then. The economic
situation worsened after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) withdrew
balance-of-payment support to Harare in 1999 after differing with Mugabe
over fiscal policy and other governance issues.

      Mugabe's chaotic and violent seizure of white-owned farms for
redistribution to landless blacks, which he launched a year after the IMF
pulled out, only helped exacerbate Zimbabwe's economic collapse described by
the World Bank as unprecedented for a country not at war.

      Inflation currently stands at 502.4 percent. Food, fuel, essential
medical drugs are all in critical short supply because there is no hard cash
to import the commodities.

      The main opposition blames Mugabe for ruining what was once one of
Africa's success stories. But Mugabe denies the charge blaming the economic
crisis on sabotage by Britain and its allies whom he says were not happy
with his land seizure programme.

      But like the Germans under the Weimar Republic in the 1920s who had to
carry wads of cash in wheelbarrows only to return with the goods in plastic
bags, Zimbabweans are carrying millions of dollars in satchels.

      "The quantity of money we bank everyday is not congruent with the
value. It is just too many notes worth very little. The government must do
something about this," said an attendant at a mobile phone shop in the city.

      Most shops in Harare have been forced to acquire cash counters due to
the massive amounts of cash they have to handle during transactions.

      Mrs Adams, an Indian businesswoman in downtown Harare, said she had to
buy a money counter due to the huge amounts of cash they were handling.

      "If someone wants to buy a 5kg packet of sugar which costs $500 000
for instance, and they bring $1 000 notes which are being issued at most
banks, it means you will need to count 500 of these notes and this takes
time," she said.

      Even the workers are moving around with bags on pay days to stuff in
their million-dollar salaries which however are not enough to last a month.
An average worker in Zimbabwe earns Z$3 million every month while the
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe says an average family of two parents and four
children need Z$11.9 million every month to survive.

      "Each of my workers now brings a small bag every Friday to carry their
earnings home because you cannot fit it in the pocket," Adams said. -

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Dream turns sour for Zimbabwe's resettled black sugarcane farmers

Zim Online

Tue 20 December 2005

      CHIREDZI - Jowaki Chauke's dream of becoming a sugarcane farmer
appeared well set to become reality when the government land committee
allocated him a plot on one of Zimbabwe's prime sugar estates in the
country's south-eastern lowveld.

      But 15 months down the line, the sweet dream is gradually
disintegrating into a nightmare not only for Chauke but for many of the 180
black villagers given land for free on the giant Mkwasine Estates under the
government's controversial land redistribution exercise.

      Mkwasine belonged to two South African-owned firms, Hippo Valley and
Triangle Limited and was one of Zimbabwe's biggest sugar estates, producing
up to 850 000 of sugarcane before it was seized by the government - together
with sugar crop that was on it - and divided amongst Chauke and his fellow

      But ask Chauke or anyone of his fellow sugar farmers here at Mkwasine
and they will tell you that while the gift of free land and sugar was most
welcome, it would have been better had government land officers done a
little planning and above all ensured that the beneficiaries would be
allocated enough space on the sugar plots to build homes.

      "It could have been better for us had these areas been demarcated in
such a manner to allow us to build homes," bemoans Chauke, who was given 20
hectares of prime sugar growing land at Mkwasine.

      A father of three children, Chauke added: "I do not mean to be
ungrateful to our government, but I do not know how they expected things to
work out when they gave us land to grow cane without space to build homes."

      In yet another vivid illustration of the chaos and shoddy planning
that characterised President Robert Mugabe's controversial land reform
programme, government land planners demarcated Mkwasine into fine sugar

      But for some strange reason the government land planners decided to
leave not even one inch of land on which the newly resettled farmers could
build homes!

      Agricultural experts meanwhile say the compulsory acquisition and
subsequent subdivision of Mkwasine Estate by the government was done in a
manner bound to weigh down heavily on production.

      The composite estate was parcelled out into uneconomic units that
according to top agro-economist and main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change party politician Renson Gasela cannot be economically cultivated.

      Gasela, who is a former chief executive of the government's Grain
Marketing Board, said: "The allocation was done in such a way that the
fields for the new farmers are dotted about making any centralised operation
impossible. This is done deliberately to make everybody fail. Otherwise why
would the government allocate land in this manner?"

      The opposition politician said Mkwasine Estate was developed as one
unit comprising a network of fields, canals and dams for one owner.
"Apportioning land to multiple owners has proved uneconomic," he added.

      About 2 700 hectares have so far been allocated to 180 new farmers but
half the beneficiaries have since deserted their plots while some have left
them under the care of relatives and friends.

      But even for those farmers like Chauke who are determined to stick it
out and remain on the land to grown sugar - the odds are increasingly
looking insurmountable.

      For example, Chauke's neighbour, Tauzeni Mhlanguleni, says his cane
has overgrown and will soon be worthless because he has no money to hire
additional labour to help reap the cane.

      "We cannot afford the wages," said Mhlanguleni, adding that his most
important lesson in the past 15 months at Mkwasine has been that sugarcane
growing is both a capital and labour intensive project.

      "We have exhausted the initial government loans but have little to
show for it after the state deducted from our first earnings all what we
owed them," said Mhlanguleni.

      And just to compound the despairing Mhlanguleni's problems are the
fuel shortages gripping Zimbabwe which means that even if he eventually gets
to cut his cane, it might still rot on his hands because he has no fuel to
transport it to the mill about 65km away.

      A cursory glance at the statistics provides a good insight on how the
government's land reform exercise has been in this particular instance, a
giant leap backwards.

      The figures show that just about a year ago, Mkwasine under its former
owners produced 110 tonnes of sugarcane per hectare. Today, Chauke and his
colleagues can only manage 40 tonnes of poor quality cane pre hectare - a
yield not enough to cover the costs of transporting the cane to the mills
let alone the cost of fertilizers and other chemicals.

      "It is obvious that the future of the farmers, without sufficient
capital, without equipment, with no experience and working individually, is
bleak," Gasela said.

      "The government is set to destroy the sugar industry just as they have
done with tobacco, maize, wheat, beef, dairy, horticulture," he added.

      It would be easy to dismiss Gasela's predictions as the typical
ranting of an opposition politician were it not Mugabe himself who admitted
just as much during the conference of his ruling ZANU PF party earlier this

      Mugabe - who has defended his chaotic and often violent land reforms
as having been necessary to ensure blacks who were previously denied arable
land by previous white rulers also owned land - told the ZANU PF conference
that poor planning and corruption in the land reform exercise had
contributed to food shortages in the country.

      Zimbabwe has largely survived on food handouts from international
donors since the government's land reforms destabilised the agricultural
sector, knocking down food production by about 60 percent. An estimated
three million people or a quarter of the country's 12 million Zimbabweans
require more than a million tonnes of food aid between now and the next
harvest around March/April 2006 or they will starve.

      But Mkwasine with its homeless and broke sugar farmers could be the
most eloquent testimony yet to as what has gone wrong with Harare's
controversial land redistribution plan. - ZimOnline

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Three Zimbabwean journalists released

Zim Online

Mon 19 December 2005

      HARARE - Zimbabwe police on Monday morning released without charge
three journalists of the private Voice of the People (VOP) radio station who
were arrested last Thursday for allegedly breaching the country's tough
broadcasting laws.

      A lawyer representing the journalists, Jacob Mafume, told ZimOnline on
Monday that his clients were released after the police realised that they
could not charge them as they were not the owners of the radio station.

      Mafume said: "They have been released without charge but police are
still looking for the directors of VOP."

      TICHAONA Jokonya . . . threatened tough action against journalists

      Police last Thursday raided the VOP offices in Harare and arrested the
three - Maria Nyanyiwa, Nyasha Bosha and Kundai Mugwanda - whom they accused
of flouting the country's tough Broadcasting Services Act.

      Under Zimbabwe's tough broadcasting laws, it is illegal for
Zimbabweans to own signal transmitting equipment or to broadcast from the
country without first seeking permission from the Broadcasting Authority of

      VOP does not broadcast from Zimbabwe although it maintains offices and
reporters in the country. The station broadcasts into Zimbabwe from a Radio
Netherlands transmitter off the Indian ocean island of Madagascar.

      The arrest of the three journalists came a few days after Zimbabwe
Information Minister Tichaona Jokonya threatened to clamp down on
independent journalists whom he accused of serving a foreign agenda.

      But in an affidavit last Friday, Mafume said the police had indicated
to him that they were not going to release the journalists until VOP
director David Masunda handed himself over to the law enforcement agency.

      More than a hundred journalists have been arrested over the past three
years for flouting the country's tough media laws. Four independent
newspapers including the country's biggest daily, The Daily News, have also
been banned during the same period as President Robert Mugabe's government
tightened the noose on independent media.

      The United States-based press rights watchdog Committee to Protect
Journalists ranks Zimbabwe among the three worst places for journalists. The
other two are Iran and the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan. - ZimOnline

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Crime Awareness Update - 09/12/05

written and compiled by Tracey Burns
British Statesman in the 18th Century - Edmunde Burke said
"The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."
I felt it very necessary to do another update due to the surge in crime of late in Bulawayo.
Friday night last week was horrendous with so many robberies shootings etc.
  1. One incident happened when a guy from Harare parked his car outside OM's (Ivy League) at 01:00 hours to have a drink and came out half an hour later to find the suitcase and holder that had all his wedding decorations were stolen out of the vehicle.  Unfortunately he did not think this type of thing happened in Bulawayo, and to park it outside the club property, he thought all the youths that were loitering around would watch that nothing would happen to his car. CRIME is everywhere in Zimbabwe at present, with huge gangs moving from one city to another.  Even if there are people around, generally no-one will ask what a person is doing to a car, because the criminals are extremely good actors in pretending it is their own car that they are trying to get into.
  2. Gunshots were fired at a black man in his Suburbs home where the criminals got away with $ 140 Million in cash and gold.  This sounds like a deal that went bad before hand or an inside job.
  3. Another incident that took place in Burnside at 01:30 Hours.  The neighbours dogs were barking frantically and the owner went around the house and checked on the cars and found everything to be fine.  But what had happened was two men climbed onto the neighbour's wall, crossed the garden and went into the other yard where they proceeded to use a piece of metal found lying around, opened the heavy metal garage doors without breaking the padlock, just the bolt and moved into a tight space between the car and garage wall, taking 2 heavy welding machines and all the owners tools from his apprenticeship days.  The tools alone will be in the millions.  This is definitely again an inside job, confirmed by the police, as they knew exactly where things were in the garage and did such a good job of not even scratching the car.  If anyone knows of newish tools, second hand tools and welding equipment being sold, (one without the correct leads so that it will be useless to the individual - please contact me on the numbers given at the end of the update).
  4. Another incident that took place was a woman came home from the bowling club walked through the scullery out to see if her tenant in the cottage was all right, and saw all was quiet, so walked into the house and immediately behind her came a man who grabbed her around the throat.  He forced her onto the kitchen floor and took off all her 6 pairs of rings.  Then frog marched her to the bedroom where another 2 men came and tied her hands up with the cord of her hairdryer behind her back, tied her legs together with one of her jackets and proceeded to ransack the whole home.  They opened the gun cabinet, tried to see if some bullets would fit into one of the guns (which were all antique weapons), when it was discovered they could not fit, the stole selective clothing from the cupboards, clapped the woman's ears asking for more money and then left with the rest of the jewellery they found and the little money that was lying around.
Saturday night in Suburbs on the main Leopald Takawira Road, the owners of the house were out to dinner, but had left the gardener on duty.  This house has a high wall, Electric fence and the criminals came through the house on the side which was unoccupied, climbed on the overhanging tree from the neighbours house, into the yard and tied up the gardener.  They got through a downstairs locked window, ransacked the house and took the safe wall out with them, also taking selective clothes and two laptops.  If you know of anyone that tries to sell you a Silver in colour Proline or a Black Compac Presario 2200, please contact me on the numbers provided.  There is a huge reward offered on these items.  If anyone sees a guy wearing Nike, Blue sprung or a pair of Orange Cream Nike's these are specific type of shoes not yet available and SA have only just started bringing them in, then report that man to the police.  He could be one of the criminals.
I fear that the criminals are from Harare whilst the crime that is taking place in Harare are done by gangs from Bulawayo.  I would suggest that if you are robbed, to also advise Harare police central to take down the serial numbers and be on the look out for them.
I shall be visiting one of the police members in charge of crime Matabeleland this coming week, and if you feel I should bring up something specific then please do advise.  I am going to ask how the public can offer its support in trying to catch these criminals, but making sure that the public stays within the law!!
One thing I want to make prefectly clear, this is not a political or racial ploy in anyway.  Every colour in EVERY western, eastern suburbs in Bulawayo is getting hit very hard.  Unfortunately the criminals want their Christmas shopping done quickly and they certainly are not starving in anyway.  This is organised crime to the absolute hilt, just like anywhere else in the world.
I want to strongly urge members of the public that security must be first in your lives at present.  I know it costs a fortune, but I have made excellent contacts with individuals who do the following:
Christmas Wish List
A special thanks to each and every one of the sponsors, companies, individuals who helped the Bulawayo Trust to get bigger and better and efficient in every way possible.  Without your support we would've closed this year.  Thank you for your generosity at such incredibly hard economic times.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart and appeal to your kindness for the new year to keep this Trust running.
This will take place in April 2006 and I already have an excellent prize worth $ 20 Million (at current rates) which I shall auction.  It is a trellidoor from Safeguard.  So as an incentive, please could all companies around Bulawayo and any from Harare support me in donating wonderful prizes like we had last year which put our name on the golfing map.  You name will appear in my update along with any banners you wish to display around the course and also on our thank you list at the golf day. 
There are a great deal of vehicles being stolen from homes at all hours of the day and night.  I would like to suggest to those who would like to offer their services of being a "watcher" in their particular suburb or route to work, that they get in touch with me with their full name, address and phone number who I could then phone and if a car has been stolen in that particular area, then I can contact that person who could then look out for it.  I have the maps so can plot a radius and the "watchers"  could just look out for it.  If you are interested in helping each other, and help these poor people get their only cars back, get in touch with me.  All details are confidential and if you are not interested in contacting the police, when you have located a vehicle, just phone me and I will deal with the police directly.
Tracey Burns direct:  011-701 323
Immediate assistance:  62611 EMRAS and information passed onto Police and myself.
Due to lack of fuel, we have not held this for a few months.  But I have visited individuals and families around Bulawayo for counselling.  Hopefully in the New Year from February we should be able to start again.  A big thank you must go to the Bulawayo Agricultural Society for loaning us there wonderful hall at Trade Fair, free of charge for the support group.
Please contact me before school starts for any talks for schools, companies, groups or questions on individual security, etc on or cell phone no: 011-701 323 (anytime when you can get through!) or land line 243938 (Mornings only), for your bookings or questions so that I can place it in my diary.
P O Box 9161, Hillside, Bulawayo
Tracey Burns

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Volume of food aid causes transport bottleneck

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

JOHANNESBURG, 19 December (IRIN) - The volume of food aid and agricultural
inputs being shipped to those in need in Southern Africa has resulted in
bottlenecks as transporters struggle to cope.

This has impacted on the World Food Programme's (WFP) ability to preposition
stocks ahead of the rainy season in Zambia, one of six countries in the
region facing shortages.

The agency said in its latest situation report that its Zambia operation was
still experiencing food supply problems due to ongoing transport delays and
the slow arrival of food from South Africa. WFP said the number of people
requiring food assistance in Zambia was likely to rise above 1.2 million.

"Loading capacity in South Africa, along with regional competition for
transport needed to deliver food and other inputs, has seriously delayed
deliveries and compromised WFP's ability to preposition food before the
onset of the rains," the report noted.

Some commodities had to be diverted and shipped from South Africa's main
port city, Durban, to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, and Beira in Mozambique,
from where they were being transported to Malawi and Zambia, WFP spokeswoman
Stephanie Savariaud told IRIN.

Although there have been fuel shortages in South Africa over the past two
weeks, this had not yet affected WFP's operations, she added.

"There was a lot of [aid] traffic, and because of the volume of fertiliser
and seeds being transported it created a bottleneck. The food corridor for
Malawi has to go through Zimbabwe, where there's also a fuel shortage, but
it was less of an issue than the [quantity] of fertiliser and seeds. We had
to find other options," she said.

The options included contracting trucks to return to South Africa without a
load so as to increase turnaround times, but "the situation has now eased",
Savariaud added.

Some 12 million people, mainly in Zimbabwe and Malawi, are in need of
emergency food assistance due to failed harvests.

South Africa, however, has had a bumper crop of 12.4 million mt of cereals,
resulting in an estimated potential export surplus of about 4.66 million
mt - more than enough to cover the region's import requirements, according
to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.


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Flirtation of Zimbabwe's yesterday's man with East is not bearing fruit

Comment from The Cape Times (SA), 19 December

By Peter Fabricius

Two pictures in the Kuala Lumpur papers last week told an interesting story.
On Friday the Star carried a picture of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
seated on the right side of former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahatir Mohamed
in a group portrait of the participants in the Perdana Global Peace Forum,
which Mahatir had organised. Mugabe's prominent position in the line-up
suggested he was going to make a big speech. No doubt he would use the
platform to launch one of his usual tirades against his old foes, George
Bush and Tony Blair. The Star questioned Mahatir about the presence of
Mugabe, "who is known for human rights violations." Mahatir explained that
he had not called "only like-minded people. If they have anything to say
about how good it is for us to be a dictator, it is not for us to accept".
The next day the New Straits Times carried a photograph showing Mugabe
sitting glumly all by himself in an armchair at the conference centre. The
organisers of the forum explained that Mugabe's scheduled Friday lunch time
address to the forum had been cancelled - because it had become apparent
that the audience would be too small. Malaysians, it seemed, did not want to
hear what Mugabe had to say.

Mohamed was a friend to Mugabe in the past, because they shared a dislike of
the West. Some time ago Mugabe adopted a Go East policy to try to compensate
for his isolation by the West. He looked first to China, which had supported
Zanu during the liberation struggle. He seems to have got some help from the
Chinese but not nearly as much as he wanted. They are no doubt too savvy to
waste much investment in a dying concern. One could also see Mugabe's
flirtation with Libyan Brother Leader Muammar Gadaffi as part of the Go East
initiative, in a broad sense. Gadaffi, another old enemy of the West, agreed
to some investments in return for oil, including some farms. The fact is
that all these old friends of Bob are moving on and do not really have the
time or money to waste on someone who is increasingly being exposed for what
he really is - a monstrously extended ego who is prepared to destroy his
whole country to save himself.

Mahatir, for all his faults, did great things for Malaysia. There was a
logic to his criticism of Western institutions such as the IMF and the
global currency speculators like George Soros, whom he felt were hurting his
country. China has of course embraced the spirit of capitalism with furious
enthusiasm, even if it calls it "socialism with Chinese characteristics".
The Chinese may have applauded Mugabe's seizure of white farms back in 2000
but they can see now that he never really intended to develop them for his
landless peasants. Even Gadaffi has moved on. Since his flirtation with
Mugabe, he has publicly abandoned his nuclear weapons programme and begun
courting Western investment. Like the black intellectuals and journalists
who applauded Mugabe back in 2000 as a great liberator of the land, one by
one Mugabe's supporters have seen through him and dropped him. It may have
suited Mahatir to support Mugabe as an ally against the West. But ordinary
Malaysians, it was evident this week, have little time for him. The tedious
old anti-British colonialism drum that Mugabe beats may yet still resonate
in Africa but not much in the East. A Malaysian academic put it in
perspective last week when he said that; "Of course the British developed
Malaysia for their own good. But they also enriched us." The East accepts
that the past is past and looks to the future. And Mugabe, more than most,
is yesterday's man.

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Gold panners descend on Mozambique

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

From Netsai Kembo in Mutare
issue date :2005-Dec-19

GOLD panners fleeing police raids at Tarka Forest in Chimanimani have
reportedly shifted base and descended on Mozambican deposits amid an outcry
about causing massive environmental degradation there.
Police sources in Chimanimani said they had since intensified border patrols
in a bid to check and control the movement of people.
"There is much concern about the panners' devastating activities on the
Mozambican side. The illegal operatives are crossing the border in large
numbers to extract the precious mineral from the Chimanimani Mountain on the
Mozambican side and other areas like Madimba and Dima," said a senior police
officer who requested anonymity.
"The situation has prompted us to intensify border patrols, but we still
encounter problems in our endeavours to completely curb the practice (gold
The officer said traditional leaders from the affected areas had also
expressed their disappointment at the level of land degradation due to
unplanned gold panning.
According to villagers in Vumba-Rusitu Valley, the panners jump the border
into Mozambique at night to dig into the bowels of the earth where the
precious mineral is reportedly abundant.
Said headman Jacob Derera of Vumba: "A lot of people from far away places
are flocking to Mozambique for gold panning in the Chimanimani mountains and
other areas.  The scenario started just a few months ago after police
intensified raids at Tarka Forest."
Headman Derera said traditional leaders from the affected areas had since
approached their Mozambican counterparts with a view to finding a lasting
solution to the environmental menace.

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MDC expels 5 senior members


18/12/2005 21:44  - (SA)

Harare - Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has suspended five
senior members of his party, deepening serious splits in the party, a
spokesperson said on Sunday.

Nelson Chamisa, the spokesperson for Tsvangirai's faction of the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) said a disciplinary committee decided on
Saturday to suspend five senior party officials, including secretary general
Welshman Ncube and the party's president, Gibson Sibanda.

"Each of them had the right to defend themselves, which they gave up,"
Chamisa said.

He said Ncube and his deputy, Gift Chamanikire were suspended for two years,
while party treasurer Fletcher Dulini-Ncube and MDC lawmaker Trudy Stevenson
were each suspended for a year.

Sibanda, who was suspended for a year will be able have his case reviewed at
the national congress next February, said Chamisa. The others have the right
to appeal against their suspension before the party's national council.

The five are key members of a faction of the MDC that supported
participation in last month's senate elections.

The party has been seriously divided over the issue. Tsvangirai had called
for a boycott of the poll.

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SABC cameraperson assaulted at Beitbridge

Traffic congestion has subsided at the Beitbridge border post between Zimbabwe and SA

Home Affairs has dispelled all rumours that there is a go-slow at Beitbridge border post

December 19, 2005, 16:00

An SABC cameraperson was assaulted while filming at the South African side of the Beitbridge border post with Zimbabwe.

The man was filming outside the border post offices when he was allegedly attacked by a security guard who wanted to prevent him from filming at the border post. Four SABC journalists were reporting on congestion at the border post. The guard threatened to confiscate the camera.

The cameraperson allegedly injured his neck in the scuffle.

Earlier it was said that the border post was returning to normal after congestion at the weekend. Motorists wanting to enter Zimbabwe had to wait in long queues while their documents were being processed. Some travellers say they waited more than 24 hours.

Nkosana Sibuyi, a home affairs spokesperson, says this time of the year always poses a challenge. Sibuyi said customs officials were not on a go-slow.

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Players dispute Chingoka reassurances

From cricinfo, 19 December

Steven Price

Despite assurances from Peter Chingoka, the Zimbabwe Cricket chairman, that
the relationship between board and players is not as bad as the media has
been making out, cricinfo has found out that it is. Last week, Chingoka told
the Harare-based Herald newspaper: ""We do not see this as the battle for
the players. After successfully negotiating for them, the players have their
contracts now. Some have signed them while others are still to. Because they
got the conditions they asked for, we expect them to sign too." But a
spokesman for the players said that despite numerous attempts to meet with
ZC officials, that had not proved possible as the offices have been closed
at short notice for Christmas, adding that Chingoka's assertion the contract
issue was ended was "utter rubbish". While he accepted that the deal was
almost closed a month ago, ZC then "moved the goalposts". Three principal
issues remain unresolved - the exchange-rate peg used to calculate basic
remuneration; the unilateral decision by ZC to go back on an agreement to
pay contractually-stipulated match fees in US dollars (as they always have
been) and to instead now impose payment in local currency ; and the fact
that ZC are failing to meet contractual obligations to provide fuel and, in
some cases, also vehicles for players. Cricinfo has learned that one
national player is having to jog 12km to and from training because ZC have
not given him a vehicle or fuel allowance. At the same time, it is reported
that ZC officials' cars are being kept on the road.

Furthermore, private statements by some ZC staff to players are to the
effect that the players are now being deliberately punished for standing up
to the ZC and are being victimised as a group, for they are seen by the
administration as being the party responsible for involving the monetary
authorities in investigating ZC. While the players are training ahead of the
forthcoming tours to Bangladesh and South Africa, that appears to be to
ensure they are ready should the dispute with the board be resolved and also
because they are being placed under pressure by the authorities not to miss
international fixtures for fear it will place Zimbabwe's continued ICC
membership in jeopardy . If it is not resolved, then they are likely to take
a vote shortly before they are due to leave for Bangladesh in early January
and will decide then if they are prepared to play. As things stand, few of
them seem willing to go back on their statement that they would will not
play for Zimbabwe while Chingoka and Ozias Bvute remain in charge.

The contract dispute should have been resolved by the end of August and the
players only agreed to take part in matches against India on the written
understanding that ZC would sort things out in September. However, not only
has no solution been brokered, but many players have yet to be paid for
either series against India or New Zealand in August and September. The
patience and courage of the players is also being tested by threats
allegedly made against some of them that they face being reported to the
authorities for foreign exchange offences if they do not toe the line. Last
week, two players and the team manager were briefly held in custody and
subsequently fined for contravening the country's forex rules. If that were
not enough, there is a dispute as to who is the legitimate person to coach
the side ahead of January's tours, with both Phil Simmons and Kevin Curren
laying claim to the position.

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Zimbabwean evictees return, find no refuge

From The Los Angeles Times, 19 December

Many displaced when the government razed squatter camps are back, desperate
and fearful

By Robyn Dixon, Times Staff Writer

Killarney - Six months after the government tore down her house, Sifelani
Lunga lies sweating in a dirt-floor shack on the same desolate stretch of
mud. Just coming back has made her a fugitive. Like thousands of people
dumped in rural areas after the government razed squatter shacks and street
stalls, she crept back to the remains of this settlement outside Zimbabwe's
second-largest city, Bulawayo, because she could not survive in the
countryside. As the Zimbabwe government and United Nations argue about
providing shelter for the people who have been thrown out of their homes,
thousands like Lunga have no secure refuge and live in fear of police raids.
The UN's top humanitarian affairs official, Jan Egeland, tried to persuade
President Robert Mugabe this month to accept tents for those left homeless
after the government implemented "Operation Murambatsvina," a Shona phrase
meaning "clean out the filth." The demolitions, which began in May,
destroyed the homes of 700,000 people and affected a total of 2.4 million,
according to a highly critical UN report.

"The humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe is extremely serious, and it is
deteriorating," Egeland told journalists after his visit this month,
describing the evictions as "one of the worst things at the worst possible
moment in Zimbabwe." But Mugabe told Egeland, "We are not a tents people..
We believe in houses," said presidential spokesman George Charamba, who was
quoted in the state-owned Herald newspaper. The government has agreed,
however, to accept UN food aid for 3 million hungry people, about a quarter
of the country's population. Zimbabwe announced a massive housing
construction plan in the aftermath of Operation Murambatsvina, but by
December only a few hundred houses had been built and the program had come
to a halt. Human Rights Watch said the program was unaffordable to the vast
majority of displaced people because it required proof of regular salary and
payment of a deposit.

After riot police and bulldozers destroyed houses in Killarney, thousands of
displaced people found shelter in the city's churches until police evicted
them again. They were sent to the countryside in what critics call a
campaign to dismantle the opposition's urban support. When Lunga, a
43-year-old widow with HIV, arrived in the village where she'd been exiled,
she found no food and no clinic. She struggled back to the ruins of
Killarney, along with hundreds of others, but she has no money for transport
to Bulawayo clinics or churches where food is handed out, and is too ill to
make the walk of nearly two hours. She lay curled on a ragged blanket on the
dank ground in a smoky, leaking hut. She had a fever and had been vomiting
for three days. Albert Chatindo, pastor of the Christian Faith Fellowship
Church, is coordinating efforts to trace those evicted and to feed the
hungry, but he said the churches did not have enough food or vehicles to
feed everyone sent into the countryside.

"I see the government has no love for the people. Since they moved them and
dumped them, they never followed up," he said. Chatindo said the demolitions
dismantled delicate social networks of support: Most people had no family or
friends in the rural areas where they were sent. Some were rejected by local
chiefs. "People are not accepting them. They are accused of being the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change," he said, referring to the only
significant opposition party, now bitterly split. "People say to us, 'Why
are you giving food and shelter to these people? They are not your
children.' " In Bulawayo, churches are not allowed distribute food to the
returning squatters. "We can't take the food out there because if we do,
we're confronting the government structures. They must come and collect it,"
Chatindo said. "But we have defied the rules. I often take porridge or
[corn] meal to the sick people. You have to save lives."

Chatindo has adopted four teenage girls he found wandering in the street
during the demolition operation. Last month, he buried a 6-month-old baby,
Flora Mkandla, who was born at the time of the evictions. Her family is
squatting in an abandoned, half-built house with no roof on Bulawayo's
outskirts. Flora's death certificate was marked "malnutrition." She died
five days after her mother, Mavis Mkandla, who was HIV-positive and unable
to get treatment. "Mavis used to tell us she wouldn't live," said Mkandla's
sister-in-law, Silanesiwe Kiwani, 39. "She said, 'Take this baby of mine.
What is going to happen after I die is that this baby will also die.' I
accepted with a willing heart, but it is not an easy thing." There is a
cautious, fearful atmosphere hanging over the scattered makeshift huts that
several hundred people have hastily put up in Killarney and at the Ingozi
mine outside Bulawayo. "When the police come, they'll definitely destroy
these shacks," said one returnee, Jutias Muleya, 37. "We are not really safe
here." Chatindo said the number of those returning grows daily: "People are
flocking back here. They could not make it where they were."

One who came back, Bernard Ncube, 52, has been unemployed for 10 years. He
used to scrape a living by panning for gold near Killarney to feed his four
children. Since being evicted, there has been no way to make money. He was
sent to Mbembesi village, about 50 miles from Bulawayo, and stayed three
months. He had no relatives or friends there, and no work. "It is far away.
There was no way to live there. I came back here to find money to buy food,"
he said, but he relies on Bulawayo churches for food. "If I could find a
job . " He trailed off. "But now I can't get a job. I can't do anything."
Another squatter who has returned to Killarney, Jealous Moyo, 46, had been
sent with his wife and five children to stay with his younger sister in a
village 125 miles from away. But his sister has eight children of her own,
and within a few days it was obvious her husband could not feed everyone. "I
saw the food was too little," he said. "I didn't tell them the truth, that
we could see they couldn't afford to feed us." Recalling his old house,
bulldozed to dust, he was wistful. It was brick, with a good snug roof and
three small rooms, the kind of home he fears his family will never have

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Zanu PF Plot To Shut Down NCA, DFID, WOZA And Bulawayo Agenda Unveiled

Zim Daily

            Monday, December 19 2005 @ 12:05 AM GMT
            Contributed by: correspondent

             A confidential Zanu PF document obtained by zimdaily reveal a
plot to shut down four non governmental organisations which the ruling party
accuse of "ratcheting pressure to unseat the government using clandestine
and subservience means." The report unveils a plot by the ruling Zanu PF to
shutdown constitutional lobby group National Constitutional Assembly (NCA),
humanitarian agency Department for International Development (DFID) and two
Bulawayo based pressure groups Bulawayo Agenda and Women of Zimbabwe Arise

            The report, compiled by Zanu PF administration secretary and CIO
boss Didymus Mutasa was presented to the ruling party's central commitee
during the just ended Zanu PF conference. The report unveils a plan hatched
by the ruling party to "bring to book" the NGOs which the ruling party
accuse of pursuing an agenda to "unseat the legitimately elected government
of Zimbabwe." The report further alleges that the four NGOs were "surrogates
of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)."

            "The opposition is also grouped in the form of non governmental
organisation and civic groups all sponsored by the United Kingdom, the
United States and the European Union. NGOs such as DFID, NCA, WOZA and
Bulawayo Agenda are clear cases in point. Stern action shall be taken
against them," the report says. The report came as the ruling Zanu PF took
steps to retable the NGO Bill that could not become law after Mugabe
hesitated to put his signature to the Bill following an international outcry
over the despotism of the law.

             Zimdaily heard that during the presentation of the report to
the Central Committee, Social Welfare minister Nicholas Goche lobbied to
have the NGO Bill returned to Parliament "for further consideration and
refinement now that we have a senate." The NGO Bill proposes a raft of
despotic measures against NGOs that include criminalisation of NGO
activities including humanitarian work and civic education. The ruling party
alleges that the NGOs are carrying out "political activities using funds
from foreign sources." The report states that "government agents" are
presently "monitoring" the NGOs to probe their activities.

            Goche is said to have appointed a task-force with members
recruited from other government ministries and from the CIO to inspect and
investigate the activities of the four NGOs. The government hopes to unearth
information that might give it a pretext to close or restrict the NGOs which
it says are "opposed to our rule The National Association of
Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO), the main representative body for
civic society groups in the country, said the report reinforces reports from
several local and international NGOs who say they are receiving "regular
visits at their offices by the government taskforce."

            NANGO information officer Fambai Ngirande charged that the probe
appeared to go beyond merely establishing whether civic bodies were
operating within the law but had a "political dimension" to it. Ngirande
said: "The inter ministerial team, which appointed inspecting officers, is
currently doing the rounds investigating NGOS around various aspects of
their operations. We understand that the team also includes representatives
from different line ministries.

            "Whereas the minister is legally entitled to carry out
investigations under the auspices of PVO (Private Voluntary Organisation)
Act on incidents of maladministration, the process appears to go beyond
merely adhering to the dictates of the law as there are other political
dimensions evident particularly in the identification of the probed
organisations." The report states that the government taskforce will among
other things inspect the affairs and activities of each NGO, examine all
documentation relating to the group's registration and also establish who
constitute its board of trustees or directors.

            The investigators will also probe funding of NGOs to ensure that
groups receiving funding from outside the country comply with foreign
currency regulations. NGOs have become the target of government attacks
after exposing in the last five years corruption, gross human rights abuses
and general misrule by President Robert Mugabe and his government. Mugabe in
turn accuses NGOs of working with his Western enemies to incite Zimbabweans
against his rule.

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Untrained Teachers On Way Out

The Herald (Harare)

December 17, 2005
Posted to the web December 19, 2005

Zvamaida Murwira Recently in Nyanga

NON-QUALIFIED teachers must be phased out within four years and replaced by
retired and student teachers.

The resolution was adopted on Thursday by senior Government officials at a
conference on teacher education in Nyanga.

It was agreed that by 2009 no unqualified teacher should be allowed to go
into the classroom to conduct lessons.

The officials included Secre-tary for Higher and Tertiary Education Dr
Washington Mbi-zvo and his Education, Sport and Culture counterpart Dr
Stephen Mahere.

Also present were provincial education officers, directors in both
ministries, lecturers from the University of Zimbabwe, principals of teacher
training colleges, and teachers' representatives.

Dr Mbizvo, who moved the motion, pointed out that other countries did not
use untrained teachers in their system and questioned the logic of Zimbabwe
placing reliance on them.

"We did a research in 2000 whilst I was Secretary for Education, Sport and
Culture and discovered that some headmasters and other people were
capitalising on that as there were getting a beast every year from them
(unqualified teachers) as kickbacks," said Dr Mbizvo.

"In other countries, a person cannot just walk from the street into a
classroom and tamper with children as what is currently happening here.

"Why don't we just do away with them? That is one way of making the job
regarded as a profession. If a temporary teacher has failed to get a place
at colleges, it means something is terribly wrong with him and some of them
have 12 certificates obtained from many sittings," he said.

Kwekwe Technical College principal Mr Joyce Mbudzi concurred with Dr Mbizvo,
saying in other spheres like nursing, engineering and lecturing, no
temporary personnel were but trained professionals.

"Teaching has not been realised as a profession by our employer because we
engage general hands (as unqualified teachers) so the argument would be: Why
pay you higher salaries when your job can be done by unskilled workers?" he

The conference resolved that student teachers should fill vacant posts and
take full charge of a class unlike the present system where they are
attached to a qualified teacher as one way of filling the gap.

It was felt that student teachers should be deployed in remote areas to
expose them to the environment they would be working in after completion of

This was expected to go a long way in reducing the long-standing problem of
newly qualified teachers shunning to work outside urban areas, resulting in
severe understaffing of rural schools.

Public Service Commissioner Mr Steven Ngwenya, who was guest of honour, said
the commission's regulations were alterable and they were open to discussion
about proposed changes.

"The PSC (Public Service Commission) regulations are looked into regularly
and are changeable. We did that with other departments like the immigration,
pensions offices and those with no qualifications, we gave them three years
to get the requisite qualifications," said Mr Ngwenya.

The PSC was exploring ways of giving non-monetary incentives to teachers and
other civil servants to avoid the inflationary effects of frequent salary

The conference adopted the setting up of a Teaching Service Council by
December next year and this was expected to be a watchdog on education

The adoption came after protracted debate as some called for the
introduction of a Teaching Service Commission, which would have the effect
of removing teachers from the PSC.

Masvingo Teachers' College principal Mr Rangarirai Masarira, who moved the
motion, said the setting up of a commission, in the manner of the Police
Service Commission, would go a long way in improving conditions of service
for teachers.

Mr Masarira, a long-serving president of the Zimbabwe Teachers' Association
(Zimta), criticised the conditions of service for teachers and even college
principals, saying principals were no longer affording to continue staying
in low-density suburbs, let alone meeting the running costs of their

Dr Mbizvo, however, opposed the setting-up of a commission but a council,
saying the latter would be more effective than the former.

He said countries with teaching service commissions had needs peculiar to
them and these might not be applicable to Zimbabwe.

"We might have 20 service commissions, but that would not improve conditions
of service. Let us create a council to set the standards for employment and
quality for teacher training. By so doing, we would then professionalise the
job," he said.

"Right now, I have a letter from the Medical and Dental Practitioners'
Council complaining about the quality of dental training at NUST (National
University of Science and Technology), so that is what we want -- a
teacher's council that oversees quality and standards."

The conference also agreed on the need to reintroduce education officers who
were removed from the system during a rationalisation process by the
Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture a few years ago.

Zimbabwe Open University chairperson of the Teacher Education Department, Dr
Sharayi Chakanyuka, said the distance learning institution would start
offering a Diploma in Education on a part-time basis for temporary teachers
in Matabeleland North and Mashonaland Central provinces next year.

She said this would be done on condition that they would continue working in
those provinces when they qualify since it had been noted that the provinces
had the highest number of untrained teachers.

The objective of the conference was to involve stakeholders in exploring,
recommending, and mapping the vision and way forward for quality in

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Loss of Fish Sparks Council, Zinwa Wrangle

The Herald (Harare)

December 19, 2005
Posted to the web December 19, 2005


THE Bulawayo City Council and the Zimbabwe National Water Authority are
embroiled in a bitter exchange of words after the latter allegedly released
water from two Umguza dams resulting in the loss of fish worth millions of

According to a monthly report of the local authority's Environmental
Management and Engineering Services Committee for November, the Zimbabwe
National Water Authority employees allegedly drained the water to cater for
farmers downstream.

"A report was received from Mguza Nature Reserve indicating that all the
water had been drained from both Upper Umguza and Lower Umguza.

"When rangers arrived locals had collected all the fish and all forms of
aquatic life had been totally destroyed.

"People were seen carrying 50 kg bags. Apart from the destruction of aquatic
life, no consideration was given to leave some water for game," the
committee said.

The committee said that some of the fish had been imported, including the
bass and carp species.

"Revenue from fishing on council servitude is no more although the council
had stocked the dams with fish that included the bass and carp which were
exotic species," the committee noted.

Before the rains started falling early this month, the council had resorted
to resuscitating a borehole in the area to provide water for wild animals.

Bowsers were also used to ferry water to the Mguza Nature Reserve. The
council's Director of Housing and Community Services, Mr Isaiah Magagula,
told the committees that council rangers reported that 15 people found on
the scene collecting fish were all Zinwa officials.

He said that Zinwa was informed of council's intention to use the dams. The
water authority owns the two dams.

The committee resolved that "the office of the Executive Mayor, (Mr Japhet
Ndabeni-Ncube) should contact and express council's concern over the action
taken by the water authority to drain all the water from the Mguza dams
destroying aquatic life which council had invested in."

Efforts to get a comment from the Zinwa catchment manager, Mr Matson
Chidakwa were fruitless.

Zinwa recently announced plans to build three dams namely Mid-Umguza, Lukwe
and Cowdray Park to solve water shortages in the farming area of Umguza.

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Labor, the State, and the Struggle for a Democratic Zimbabwe

Monthly Review

      by Patrick Bond and Richard Saunders

     When Zimbabwe attained its first independent government in 1980, led by
President Robert Mugabe and liberation fighters of the Zimbabwe African
National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), there were reasons to hope for a
bright future. The new country inherited significant infrastructure from the
prior Rhodesian settler regime, including relatively modern transportation
and communications systems and an impressive set of import substitution
industries. The economy had been built with extensive state support and
planning (along with capital controls) to evade UN sanctions. By way of
reconciliation, Mugabe sought good relations with local and regional
capital, while establishing economic ties to China and East Bloc countries
that had supported the liberation struggle. Roughly 100,000 white settlers
remained in the country, operating the commanding heights of commerce,
finance, industry, mining, and large-scale agriculture, as well as domestic
small businesses. The 1980s witnessed rapid growth at first, then droughts,
with 5 percent GDP growth when rainy seasons were average or better. Thanks
to the construction of thousands of new clinics and schools, indices of
health and education showed marked improvement.

      But 1991 was a turning point for Zimbabwe, as it was for Iraq, the
Soviet Union, Argentina, India, Cuba, and elsewhere. The United States was
suddenly the sole superpower, and the IMF, World Bank, and General Agreement
on Tariffs and Trade (later the World Trade Organization) wasted no time
imposing a global neoliberal iron heel. Zimbabwe had significant
international debts, and suddenly new debt service was "conditioned" on
yielding to the global neoliberal dictatorship. The large state sector and
protected local industries inherited from the prior regime were condemned as
"inefficient" and an Economic Structural Adjustment Program (ESAP) was
adopted by Mugabe with considerable enthusiasm. The results were disastrous.
Manufacturing output declined by 40 percent from 1991 to 1995, accompanied
by a similar decline in workers' real standard of living and a dramatic
increase in inflation that ravaged savings and those in the informal
economy. Hunger struck the countryside. Public education and health
expenditures shrank at the very moment that the AIDS pandemic struck the
country. The adult HIV infection rate is over 20 percent, and according to
government figures, about 5,000 people die of AIDS-related illnesses each
week. More than one thousand schoolteachers have died of AIDS since
mid-2004, and the teachers union reports that 25 percent of its members are
living with AIDS. The great majority can no longer afford the
government-subsidized antiretroviral therapy, which in any event is
available only in the two major urban centers. Foreign exchange is scarce,
and with domestic industry destroyed in the 1990s by ESAP, many consumer
goods are often unobtainable, from gasoline to sanitary napkins. At one time
self-sufficient in food grains, Zimbabwe must now import massive amounts of
cereals from donors to avoid outright starvation in the countryside. Through
this nightmare the exhausted nationalist Mugabe ZANU-PF regime has clung to
power, too sick to arrest the accelerating decline but yet too strong to

      Beginning with the introduction of ESAP, Zimbabwe's workers in the
shrinking organized economy and especially the head office of the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) have been the center of gravity for the
country's political opposition, broadly defined. In elections the Mugabe
regime resorts to blatant vote-rigging, patronage politics, and brutal
repression. As the economy disintegrated, the regime responded to the
consequences (including rural flight to the cities) with force. The mid-2005
Operation Murambatsvina-"clean up the trash"-was one of the more extreme
instances, leaving an estimated 300,000 urban families uprooted during the
cold winter without warning, their informal township houses and market
stalls razed while they were dumped in the countryside.

      Although ZCTU membership has oscillated between just 150,000 and
200,000 (roughly 15 percent of the employed workforce), in a country of
approximately 12 million, the labor movement is today the most powerful
single non-state force in the society. As in Zambia to the north during the
late 1980s (leading to a change in government in 1991), and in South Africa
from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, organized workers could still play the
decisive role in this society's slow, painful democratization. Moreover, in
advancing a desperately needed anti-neoliberal alternative, a left alliance
between labor and Zimbabwe's emerging social movements remains the sole
continuing hope for a truly democratic way out of the disaster.

      Over the post-1991 period the ZCTU has oscillated between, on the one
hand, opposition to neoliberalism and, on the other, anti-Mugabe electoral
pacts with petit-bourgeois sectors that openly called for increased
neoliberal measures. A crucial period lies ahead, during which corporatist
bait may once again be dangled in front of the ZCTU. The prospect of
personality-pacting within the petit-bourgeois political elite, combining
"moderates" from the ruling party and the badly-split opposition Movement
for Democratic Change, will arise when eighty-one-year-old Robert Mugabe is
finally-before a scheduled 2008 presidential election-eased out from his now
quarter-century-long rule, in part by South African president Thabo Mbeki.
(The opposition is divided over whether to participate in the November
election of a new Senate, with the labor-oriented bloc advocating a boycott
due to the Senate's illegitimacy and Mugabe's vote-rigging tactics.) Mbeki
must also be worried about the potentially parallel role of the Congress of
South African Trade Unions (COSATU), which last year embarked on a ZCTU
solidarity offensive, putting it in direct conflict with Mbeki's African
National Congress (ANC). The danger in Zimbabwe is that both the established
and the new political elites seek a transition to a post-Mugabe government
that will entail marginalizing the popular sector.

      Democratic Challenges, State Responses

      Since Zimbabwe's formal independence in 1980, the majority of the
country's workers and urban poor have come to understand and criticize the
exhaustion of the national liberation movement's moral standing, the state's
zigzagging economic policies, the ruling party's malgovernance, and Mugabe's
dictatorial tendencies. Workers were not as important as the guerrilla army
in bringing an end to Rhodesian colonial rule in 1980, but they voted
overwhelmingly for ZANU-PF-even over the Zimbabwe African People's Union,
led by the late Joshua Nkomo, the country's first national trade union
leader-given the former's stronger military presence across the country and
its broader-based linguistic and cultural links. The honeymoon ended nearly
immediately, as Mugabe conspired with Anglo American Corporation leader
Harry Oppenheimer to smash strikes at the company's Hwange colliery and
sugar plantations a few weeks after independence. Shortly afterwards, Mugabe
declared a strike of bakery workers to be "nothing short of criminal," as he
reined in potentially explosive urban demands for change.

      Long a site of factional conflict and competition in the late colonial
period, the labor movement became a key target for ZANU-PF's political
restructuring shortly after 1980, following a series of widespread and
sometimes violently suppressed industrial actions. In 1981, the ruling party
engineered institutional control over labor by welding existing labor
centers into the ZCTU and manipulating the key leadership positions. Debased
by direct political intervention, unaccountable union leadership and an
increasingly hostile labor regime put in place by government, the new
national labor center crashed by the mid-1980s under the weight of
corruption, conflict among political factions, and growing unpopularity
among workers. They saw few results produced by the politically ensnared
organization. A significant factor was the rise of a new generation of union
activists, slowly moving into affiliate positions of authority, who were in
place to demand greater accountability to workers. By 1987 a new ZCTU
leadership emerged from the ranks of the labor center's affiliates,
including ZCTU Secretary General Morgan Tsvangirai from the mines and
President Gibson Sibanda from the railways.

      Slowly, the ZCTU began to nurture a degree of autonomy from the ruling
party, reflected in the formation of public alliances with other
groups-especially students-petitioning the state over the fading of
progressive values and over the first revelations of corruption in the
ruling party and civil service. While ZANU-PF maintained the rhetorical
pretense of a socialist development program, this presented few serious
points of conflict. But with the ruling party's shift to the right at the
end of the 1980s, confirmed by its wholesale adoption of ESAP, the labor
movement's growing autonomy, grassroots popularity, and vociferous
skepticism about adjustment represented an important obstacle for ZANU-PF.

      Already in 1989, Tsvangirai was jailed briefly after he endorsed
strident student protests against government corruption and multinational
corporate influence. As structural adjustment bit harder, Mugabe introduced
labor laws that severely restricted collective bargaining and other union
activities. The government used security forces to disrupt peaceful
demonstrations against structural adjustment and the labor regulations. A
decade of unprecedented industrial and social action was launched, featuring
a wave of public and private sector industrial actions in the mid 1990s that
soon grew to include nationwide "political actions" against government
intransigence, unaccountability, and mismanagement.

      In the first national strikes since 1948, commerce and industry were
brought to halt in "stay-aways" on three occasions during 1997-98. In
December 1997, more than one million workers, management, informal sector
entrepreneurs, and civil servants left work and joined street demonstrations
to protest new levies and taxies imposed by the government to cover the
unbudgeted costs of a secret, enormous payout deal struck between President
Mugabe and "war veterans"-a move provoked by public revelations of
high-level political corruption in draining a war veterans injuries
compensation fund dry. Follow-up strikes in 1998 were equally successful in
attracting broad-based support across social and economic interest groups.
Again, the ruling party and its allies responded with violence backed by
increasingly exclusionary, nationalist posturing. In December 1997
Tsvangirai was severely assaulted in his office by suspected ZANU-PF
militants, and in March 1998 the ZCTU's Bulawayo offices were firebombed.

      "IMF Riots" occurred in Harare periodically during the 1990s, as in so
many other Third World settings. Finally, Zimbabwe's creative worker, NGO,
social movement, women's, youth, student, church, and media activists
unified in search of programmatic action, through the February 1999
"National Working People's Agenda for Change" convention. This seminal
meeting issued a progressive platform, which inspired its leading
participants to form a new party, soon known as the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC). But within months of its September 1999 launch, the MDC
revealed ambiguities. On the one hand, Tsvangirai worked hard to build local
structures. On the other, the MDC attracted funding and support from the
black petit-bourgeoisie and white elites, and found dubious international

      In many ways, contemporary Zimbabwe politics date from the pivotal
moment in February 2000 when an alliance of diverse civil-society
organizations including the ZCTU and its National Constitutional Assembly
allies defeated the government in a constitutional referendum. It was the
first referendum in the country's history, and the first-ever defeat of
ZANU-PF in a national poll. The result sent shock waves through the ruling
establishment and with parliamentary elections looming in June 2000
precipitated a series of deeply destabilizing events-including the invasion
by veterans of the liberation war of settler-owned commercial farms, and
eventually mines and other productive enterprises. Since then, state
institutions have been dramatically restructured, and the militarization of
society has altered the nature of both the ruling-class alliance within the
political hierarchy and the terrain of civil-society activism. By these and
other means, new challenges have emerged for the consolidation of the labor
movement's political-economic agenda since 2000.

      The state's onslaught on the MDC's structures, leadership, and rank
and file did not eliminate the opposition, but nonetheless severely
constrained the party's capacities on the ground. Some commentators focus
narrowly on leadership politics within the MDC and highlight significant
dangers for popular constituencies in the MDC's apparent confusion over
whether to advocate social democracy or neoliberalism, as well as internal
divisions between competing blocs. Optimists rebut by reminding us of the
amorphous nature of the party membership, institutional structures, and
leadership, and the continuing open-ended debates on these issues throughout
the party. Most important may be the comparatively large influence of union
structures and members within lower and middle ranks of the party, although
many leading MDC politicians are professionals, especially lawyers.

      Mainstream observers also tend to focus inordinate attention upon the
unfolding ZANU-PF leadership scuffle, often reducing political processes to
ethnic loyalties. For some, the problem of "governance" can allegedly be
solved by a transition to a more moderate ruling-party leadership and
perhaps augmented by the integration of opposition forces into government.
This is the solution long sought by the South African government, which in
turn gives MDC leaders periodic (false) hope that Mbeki will put substantial
pressure on Mugabe to cut a deal. But in the process, fundamental aspects of
restructuring in state and civil society that have occurred since 2000
mostly fell off the radar screen. The political and institutional
restructuring of the state, the continuing realignments in the domestic
economy, and the impact of both on the array of social forces in civil
society pose extreme challenges to the labor movement and to any politically
progressive project for the medium term.

      The old semi-developmental/welfarist state of the 1980s, undermined by
1990s structural adjustment, has since been transfigured by irregular
militarization. This has involved the removal or marginalization of
professional state functionaries in key command posts and the placement of
personnel from the state security agencies and informal paramilitaries into
positions of effective public authority. Evidence is found in the rebirth of
the land-invading war veterans as a paramilitary grouping patronized by the
ruling party; the restructuring of local commands within the Zimbabwe
Republic Police to bring into positions of authority personnel linked to
ZANU-PF; the increasing role of the Zimbabwe National Army in "policing" and
suppressing opposition voices inside Zimbabwe; and the creation of a second
paramilitary organization in the form of the national youth brigades.
Through these instruments the opposition been attacked and in many areas
physically decimated. In addition, they reflect the subordination of state
institutions to the short-term political needs of the ZANU-PF leadership.

      The new wave of militarization facilitated the entrenchment of more
direct partisan control over public administration, and it
deprofessionalized Zimbabwe's once-impressive state bureaucracy. Physical
assaults, threats, and intimidation against senior and junior civil
servants, public sector professionals (including teachers, doctors, and
nurses), magistrates and High Court judges, defense attorneys, and public
prosecutors, among others, have been widely reported. In many instances-for
example, the expulsion from their posts of senior government administrators
by war veterans, and attacks on legal professionals by ruling-party
supporters in the presence of the police-it appears that one aim of this
violence has been to profile the irregular powers enjoyed by the ruling
party and exercised with impunity, as a warning signal to potential
opponents. In addition, Mugabe has introduced a series of extremely
regressive laws regulating media and information institutions, rights to
public assembly, modes of political party financing and organization, and,
more recently, non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Highly partisan forms
of selective and strategic "justice" have been deployed in attacking the
opposition, its perceived supporters in civil society, and the wider terrain
of local communities.

      Aside from ubiquitous militarization, state capacity has been weak and
uneven. State-directed experiments have been tried without adequate
administrative competence. Key institutional elements in ZANU-PF's early and
modest developmental project-the local health-care system, educational
institutions, local consulting structures, etc.-were financially and
administratively undermined during the era of structural adjustment.
Subsequently, the widespread "cleansing" of large sections of the education
sector of perceived government opponents-since many teachers support the
MDC-reduced school access and quality.

      In the face of the deepening crisis, favored ZANU-PF elements have
gained new power in the domestic economy. High level state corruption dates
to the 1980s, but since 2000 has worsened because the "fast-track" land
redistribution program entails reallocation of large-scale agricultural
capital assets in a climate of low transparency and high partisanship under
ZANU-PF's direction. Major political and economic benefits have accrued to
ZANU-PF clients. These benefits range from the former white-owned commercial
farms (nearly 90 percent of white and corporate-owned farms turned over
since 2000) to sections of the once substantial collection of state
corporations and public infrastructure, including the national power grid,
public telephone and telecommunications network, national radio and
television monopoly, national railway, and commercial plantations and
forestry holdings. Several dozen of the major state corporations were slated
for privatization during the early 1990s by structural adjustment planners,
but only a few were sold off at the time, in a more or less public fashion.
Currently, in contrast, key assets-energy, telecoms, and transport among
them-are being quietly acquired by interests associated with the ruling
party, through direct means and through other avenues such as special-access
licensing, leasing, and insider trading.

      The opaque character of the reshaped ZANU-PF state leaves details
about the full extent of asset stripping mostly unaccounted for. ZANU-PF's
private fire sale has compounded continuing disinvestment by the state in
institutions servicing the social sector-and moreover, the increasing
diversion of public resources away from social spending towards the security
sector. In the process, elements of a parasitical "briefcase businessmen"
elite have emerged through renewed deepening primitive accumulation which
will pose a major barrier to labor's agenda in coming years.

      New Popular Responses

      Many in the political and civic opposition have failed to take full
cognizance of the implications of the state's structural transformation, and
some would say, for good reason: the key challenges posed by the state
transformation involve the opposition's very survival. However, the labor
movement has, arguably, better positioned itself to resist the implications
of the ongoing state restructuring, thanks to its resistance to
privatization and support of popular demands for the restitution of social
and economic rights. This occurs both through daily practice within the
labor movement and in the ZCTU's role in broader
social-civil-society-coalitions. Hence the labor movement is mapping out
policy terrain and strategies that are independent of, and on occasion at
odds with, those of the MDC-notably on issues of economic policy, where
factions of the MDC continue still to advocate neoliberal policies.

      At the same time, the ZCTU has shown a willingness to defend its
positions through periodic mass action, despite continuing state attacks.
Notwithstanding a failure of nerve immediately after the 2002 presidential
election theft, the ZCTU subsequently led or participated in a series of
strikes and demonstrations, especially in 2003-04. Alone and in conjunction
with civic allies and the left flank of the MDC, the ZCTU continues to
represent a problem for ZANU-PF's reconfigured elitist nationalist project,
challenging the regime's claims of having delivered "national justice"
through the economically disastrous and politically chaotic land
redistribution program. Labor also influences MDC and wider civil-society
debates by insisting on redistribution, arguing for state rebuilding, and
pressing demands for social and economic rights of a more tangible, popular
kind than those propagated by the ruling party.

      In reply, the state has been uncompromising, meting out repeated
detentions, beatings, and threats against (and in some instance, the torture
of) senior ZCTU officials, trade union leaders, and activists. At the same
time, the state is undermining the ZCTU from within labor, through attempts
(mostly unsuccessful) to establish a ZANU-PF-linked counter-labor center,
the so-called Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU). For a time headed
by prominent Harare war veteran Joseph Chinotimba, the ZFTU developed few
structures on the ground and instead relied upon violence, threats, and
state support to sustain its presence financially and organizationally.
Preying on more vulnerable sectors of workers-in rural plantation
agriculture and mining, for example-the ZFTU leveraged irregular access to
workers (and revenue) by means of press-gang tactics. Their cadres include
war veterans and other ZANU-PF-linked paramilitaries. It seems clear that
without support from the state and paramilitaries, the ZFTU would disappear.

      The medium and long-term consequences of restructuring,
de-democratization, and in some instances gutting of the state during the
current period are profound. While mainstream commentators have focused on
the need for a leadership transition in ZANU-PF, the more substantial issue
of state/society form is left largely unaddressed. Although ZCTU leaders
have sometimes sought relief in corporatist institutions, these have
systematically failed to deliver.

      Indeed, the more likely outcome of the current political trajectory is
a deal which leaves out labor. Other forces in civil society, lacking
accountability to (and representation of) an identifiable popular
constituency, will more readily entertain an elite transition acceptable to
the dominant faction of the ruling-party leadership, recently-empowered
security apparatuses, black business circles, and regional power brokers
like Mbeki. Therein lies a critical role for regional and international
trade union organizations: shoring up both the institutional integrity and
political-economic agenda of the ZCTU. Can the Johannesburg-based COSATU
begin a meaningful program of solidarity, given the federation's formal
Alliance partnership with Mbeki's ANC?

      Factoring in South Africa

      Beyond conjunctural moments such as the March 2005 election, the
highest-profile way in which South Africa's influence is brought to bear on
Zimbabwe may be via a bilateral lending relationship-to force economic
liberalization and political "normalization" (as Pretoria put it)-and
diplomatically through the African Union. That body's neoliberal
political-economic strategy, the New Partnership for Africa's Development
(NEPAD), was endorsed by the Bush administration as "philosophically
spot-on." It was launched by Mbeki and his closest ally, Nigerian president
Olusegon Obasanjo, in October 2001. Mugabe initially opposed NEPAD as an
extension of the imperialist project into Africa. But within a year, Mugabe
and his foreign minister Stan Mudenge were visited by Pretoria's foreign
minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and a few days later, finance minister
Herbert Murerwa proclaimed in his budget speech that it was "critical that
Zimbabwe remains part of this [NEPAD] process."

      As a reward, in February 2003, Dlamini-Zuma stated, "We will never
criticize Zimbabwe." The NEPAD secretariat's Dave Malcomson, responsible for
international liaison and coordination, then admitted to a reporter,
"Wherever we go, Zimbabwe is thrown at us as the reason why NEPAD's a joke."

      To illustrate, Mbeki failed in his March 2003 attempt to have Zimbabwe
readmitted to the Commonwealth group of former British colonies, following
the March 2002 election-related suspension. He then tried to ensure Mugabe
would be invited to the December 2003 meeting of the Commonwealth in Abuja,
but lost more ground even among his standard African allies. Indeed,
Zimbabwe was suspended indefinitely, leaving Mugabe immediately to announce
at a ZANU-PF congress that Zimbabwe would quit the organization. Mbeki,
clearly bitter upon his return home, helped craft a statement issued by the
Southern African Development Community plus Uganda, complaining that unnamed
Commonwealth members were "dismissive, intolerant and rigid." Throughout
2004, similar displays of Mbeki-Mugabe solidarity occurred, culminating in
the November veto by South Africa's United Nations representative of a Human
Rights Commission condemnation of Zimbabwe's repressive regime.

      The most striking case of Pretoria's support for Harare was the offer
of a $500 million loan last August, apparently at the urging of the World
Bank. A large amount was meant to repay the International Monetary Fund, to
which Zimbabwe's arrears reached $200 million by mid-2005. Mugabe initially
rejected Mbeki's offer and instead scrounged $135 million in hard currency
from internal sources-by depriving most Zimbabweans of gasoline and food
imports-so as to make a down payment on the arrears.

      Aside from the futile top-down financial power politics, the most
significant recent bottom-up development in South African-Zimbabwe relations
was labor solidarity. When several COSATU leaders arrived in Harare in
October 2004 to meet the ZCTU and other activists, they were quickly
arrested, driven 600 kilometers to the South African border, and dumped
there in the middle of the night. The ANC responded by criticizing the South
African union leaders. The ANC's leading official, Kgalema Motlanthe
(himself formerly a mineworker leader), said: "They go there with the
intention of defying a country's laws and they make it known. This has value
for the newspapers but it has very little to do with familiarizing yourself
with the situation." One of Mbeki's chief aides, Joel Netshitenzhe,
dismissed with ridicule the eviction of the COSATU fact-finding mission: "If
we allowed ourselves to be diverted by sideshows we might lose sight of the

      Refusing to be intimidated, COSATU sent a high-profile delegation in
February 2005 which was evicted immediately. "The Zimbabwean government's
action confirms reports that it is contemptuous of human rights and civil
liberties," COSATU stated in a follow-up session with the ZCTU in a border
town: "We will not abandon our colleagues in Zimbabwe in their hour of
 need." The result, notwithstanding hysterical opposition from the ANC Youth
League-on this issue, loyal to Mbeki, and in turn to Mugabe-was COSATU's
threat to barricade the Zimbabwe-South Africa border during the run-up to
the election. The threat was downgraded to a picket during the run-up to the
March 2005 election.

      There was similar ambiguity within South Africa's independent left. At
the opening of a mass demonstration of nearly 20,000 against the
Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002, a leader of
the Landless People's Movement (LPM) called out from the stage, "Viva Robert
Mugabe, Viva! Viva ZANU-PF, Viva!" to applause from a large rural
delegation. In response, Trevor Ngwane (nephew of the assassinated
Zimbabwean liberation leader Herbert Chitepo), who is a key figure in the
country's main radical urban social movement, the Anti-Privatization Forum
(APF), took the microphone: "While we are happy to have unity with the
landless, we respectfully disagree on the matter of Mugabe. He is a dictator
and he has killed many Zimbabweans." In early 2005, the LPM, APF, and
Jubilee South Africa engaged in a joint fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe on
the shared premise that Mugabe was a repressive dictator. Even though they
did not have a consensus statement on the election, South Africa's leftist
movements agree that both urban and rural social movement solidarity must be
established for the long haul.

      Time will tell whether short-term border pickets and other contentious
acts of labor solidarity, in the context of ongoing structural adjustment in
South Africa, might drive a wedge between the ANC and COSATU, not dissimilar
to that of ZANU-PF and the ZCTU during the late 1990s. Mugabe's tainted
victory at the March 31 parliamentary poll only fueled a growing South
African-Zimbabwe solidarity movement, one which has gathered widespread
support through a South African left that is otherwise divided on most
strategic issues.

      Whose Internationalism?

      ZANU-PF is itself in crisis over Mugabe's successor, as reflected in a
spectacular February 2005 purge of former information minister Jonathan Moyo
and a dozen high-ranking politicians in his orbit. The main tension
concerned whether parliamentary speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa or long-time
minister Joyce Mujuru-wife of Mugabe's most trusted military chief-would
gain a vice-presidency; the latter won in spite of a conspiratorial effort
led by Moyo. But ZANU-PF's internal chaos does not derail Mugabe's desperate
search for legitimacy, according to socialist commentator Briggs Bomba: "The
party is doing everything to regain the confidence of international capital,
and to reintegrate with the 'international community.' Reserve Bank Governor
Gideon Gono is leading efforts to liberalize not just the monetary system
but the whole economy and to re-engage international institutions like the
IMF and the World Bank. Politically the party is softening its attack on
western powers, as by the recent IMF debt repayments."

      In this confusing context, certainly the biggest challenge for
Zimbabwean labor is to survive so it can fight another day and in the
process to strengthen links to left-leaning allies in community
organizations and social movements. The society's dangerous drift may only
be reversed once labor and its progressive civic allies set the opposition's
agenda firmly to the left.

      In the midst of the brief threat that Zimbabwe might be expelled from
the IMF, a leading MDC figure saw fit publicly to ask the IMF to impose on
Zimbabwe "a wide range of reforms designed to strengthen the private sector
and the market mechanism." The MDC division is, at surface level, over
whether or not to participate in electoral politics. But the split also
reflects the incoherent coalition of ZCTU and civil-society leftists with
political elites and neoliberals who are unabashed in seeking support from
the Bretton Woods Institutions and the Blair and Bush regimes. The goal of
the imperial powers is the creation of a "corporatist" coalition between the
MDC and "reasonable" ZANU-PF figures based on an "elite-transition" program
that reintegrates Zimbabwe into the U.S.-UK world order. Mbeki prefers to
let ZANU-PF retain power, with a post-Mugabe regime guided by the business
bloc around the neoliberal central banker Gono and potentially led by former
finance minister Simba Makoni.

      In late October 2005, the ZCTU held a workshop of its leadership. The
ZCTU leadership resolved that "[m]arket-based economic strategies, which
have caused untold problems for the working people of Zimbabwe and
elsewhere, especially women and children, should be discontinued...," that
"[t]he current pro-globalisation regional integration should be replaced by
a solidarity-based regional integration which promotes industrial
development and protects national economies from the adverse impacts of
globalisation", and that "[e]fforts to liberalise economies through
negotiations on Economic Partnership Agreements, World Trade Organisation
and especially the Doha Development Round of negotiations and the
forthcoming 6th WTO Ministerial scheduled for Hong Kong in December 2005
should be resisted."

      This stand is the basis for renewed social leadership by the ZCTU. The
union structures will have to transcend their current ability to call
periodic but generally containable mass stay-aways, and target more surgical
parts of the regime's capacity without risking decapitation by ZANU-PF and
its paramilitaries. And while increasing its technical inputs into
programmatic work by civil society, the ZCTU will need to avoid the
temptation of potential corporatist deals associated with an Mbeki-style
elite transition.

      Still ahead on the immediate horizon are major socio-political
upheavals, ranging from renewed fights for control over both the ruling
party and opposition, to intensified austerity once the inflationary era
subsides, in the context of potentially voracious South African subimperial

      International solidarity, of the sort COSATU has begun, will enhance
the survival capacity of Zimbabwean labor (and its left civil-society
allies) in the face of legal and extralegal repression. The eventual success
of a mass-based and labor-led movement at one and the same time for
democracy and against neoliberalism and imperialism would have the most
significant consequences for all of Southern Africa.

      Notes for Further Reading

      Amid a barrage of largely shallow, mainstream-oriented publications
about Zimbabwe and especially Robert Mugabe over the past five years, there
emerged a diverse and largely progressive set of book-length studies on
contemporary politics and political economy, including D. Moore & T. Leddy,
eds., Zimbabwe: Crisis and Transition (Pietermaritzburg: University of
KwaZulu-Natal Press, forthcoming); B. Raftopoulos & T. Savage, Zimbabwe:
Injustice and Political Reconciliation (Cape Town: Institute for Justice and
Reconciliation, 2005); P. Bond & M. Manyanya, Zimbabwe's Plunge: Exhausted
Nationalism, Neoliberalism and the Search for Social Justice (London: Merlin
Press; Pietermaritzburg: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press; and Harare:
Weaver Press, 2003); H. Campbell, Reclaiming Zimbabwe: The Exhaustion of the
Patriarchal Model of Liberation (Cape Town: David Philip; and Trenton:
Africa World Press, 2003); A. Hammer, B. Raftopoulos & S. Jensen, eds.,
Zimbabwe's Unfinished Business: Rethinking Land, State and Nation in the
Context of Crisis (Harare: Weaver Press, 2003); M. Manyanya, ed., NEPAD's
Zimbabwe Test: Why the New Partnership for Africa's Development is Already
Failing (Harare: Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development, 2003); S.
Dansereu, ed., special issue of Labor, Capital and Society 33, no. 2 (2001);
B. Rutherford Working on the Margins: Black Workers, White Farmers in
Post-Colonial Zimbabwe (Harare: Weaver Press, 2001); J. Alexander et al,
Violence and Memory: One Hundred Years in the "Dark Forests" of Matabeleland
(Oxford: James Currey, 2001); and T. Bowyer-Bower & C. Stoneman, Land Reform
in Zimbabwe: Constraints and Prospects (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing
Company, 2003);

      The most important trade union compilations are B. Raftopoulos & L.
Sachikonye, eds., Striking Back: The Labour Movement and the Post-Colonial
State in Zimbabwe 1980-2000 (Harare: Weaver Press, 2001); and P. Yeros,
Labour Struggles for Alternative Economics in Zimbabwe: Trade Union
Nationalism and Internationalism in a Global Era (Harare: Southern African
Political Economic Series Monograph Series, 2001).

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