The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Zimbabwe police boss evicts farmer to build houses for officers

Zim Online

Thu 22 December 2005

      HARARE - Zimbabwe Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri has ordered a
white farmer to close down his agro-export business because the police want
to use the farmland to build low cost houses for its officers, ZimOnline has

      The move to shut down Gletwin farm, which trades as Ross and Sons and
is located near Harare's posh northern suburb of Glen Lorne, comes barely a
fortnight after Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono wrote to
President Robert Mugabe pleading with him to stop fresh farm seizures.

      In his letter to Mugabe, a copy of which was shown to ZimOnline, Gono
said that Zimbabwe, which is already grappling severe food shortages, could
next year face an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe unless the few
remaining white farmers in the country and newly resettled black farmers
were allowed to grow food this farming season.

      But State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, who is in charge of land
redistribution, yesterday vehemently defended the seizure of Gletwin farm
and called ZimOnline reporters "insane" for questioning the government's
decision to take the farm in order to build houses for police officers on
the land.

      "You would have to be insane to be worried that we are taking over a
farm from a white man to build accommodation for our law enforcers," Mutasa

      Gletwin farm, owned by Ian Ross, employs hundreds of permanent and
seasonal workers who will now have to join more than 300 000 other former
farm workers now jobless after their former white employers were chased from
the land by the government under its controversial land reform programme.
This, in a country where more than 70 percent of potential labour is

      The farm grows mainly potatoes for the local and export markets and in
the process generating hard currency in critical short supply in Zimbabwe.

      Ross said he had already been told by Chihuri to vacate the farm but
said he was still waiting for a written order before deciding on his next
course of action.

      "There has been nothing in writing yet. It has been verbal but I will
have to get something in writing," said Ross, who would not be drawn to
divulge further details on the matter.

      But the white farmer has little options after the government
controversially changed Zimbabwe's constitution last August to bar white
farmers from challenging in court the seizure of the farms by the state,
while courts were also prohibited from entertaining such applications from

      Powerful officials of Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party and government as
well as top army and police officers have since the amendment of the
constitution launched a fresh wave of farm seizures across the country.

      Many in Zimbabwe's ruling elite already own more than three or four
farms seized from whites in flagrant violation of the government's publicly
stated policy of one-man-one-farm.

      In his letter Gono clearly urged Mugabe to personally intervene and
stop his ministers, service chiefs and senior officials of ZANU PF from
seizing farms, saying continued disruptions on farms could see the
agricultural sector, the fulcrum of the economy, collapsing beyond

      ZimOnline has as yet been unable to establish how Mugabe reacted to
the letter by Gono, a close lieutenant he has tasked to lead efforts to
revive Zimbabwe's crumbling economy.

      But farm invasions have continued unabated since Gono's letter.

      Zimbabwe has faced chronic food shortages since 2000 when Mugabe began
grabbing productive farmland from whites to resettle landless blacks.

      The United Nations says an estimated three million people or about a
quarter of the 12 million Zimbabweans require food aid between now and the
next harvest around March/April 2006 or they will starve. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe government warns of bird flu

Zim Online

Thu 22 December 2005

      HARARE - The Zimbabwe government on Wednesday warned people to be wary
of the threat of avian flu which has ravaged Asia and some parts of Europe.

      In a statement yesterday, the Ministry of Health said: "The Ministry
of Health and Child Welfare in collaboration with the relevant stakeholders
is calling on the general public and people working with birds and poultry
to be wary and alert to the possibility of the occurrence of the bird flu."

      Although there have been no known cases of bird flu in Zimbabwe,
players in the business sector said the alert will likely dampen the high
demand for poultry products during the festive season.

      Fanuel Moyo, a senior member of the Zimbabwe Poultry Producers
Association said: "We are keeping our fingers crossed that this government
alert won't affect our sales at this important period. We have not recorded
a single incident (of bird flu) but we are following the advice of the
government to be wary of the disease."

      Bird flu has been reported in parts of Asia, Indonesia, China and
Thailand as well as in some European countries forcing the countries to
destroy millions of chickens in a bid to stop the spread of the disease
which can be fatal if it infects people. - ZimOnline

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Zim minister slams UN's 'sub-standard' houses


          December 21 2005 at 12:34PM

      Harare - A Zimbabwean cabinet minister has condemned as "sub-standard"
a model of a home built by the United Nations (UN) for victims of a
government clean-up blitz that left hundreds of thousands homeless.

      The government-run Herald Wednesday quoted Local Government Minister
Ignatius Chombo as saying that the UN was told to "follow set guidelines but
they went ahead and built this sub-standard building."

      "This structure is not permanent. We want permanent houses for our
people," said Chombo during a visit to a camp where the UN has built an
example of the brick and asbestos house.

      Chombo's remarks came two weeks after UN relief aid coordinator Jan
Egeland met President Robert Mugabe where the long-time Zimbabwean leader
snubbed a UN offer of tents for victims of Operation Murambatsvina (Drive
out filth).

      The demolision campaign, which the government said aimed at ridding
the country from crime and grime left some 700 000 people homeless earlier
this year, according to UN figures.

      Chombo said that the money spent on asbestos walling could have been
used to buy bricks, the paper said.

      "Comrade Chombo described the house... as below human dignity, saying
the people who designed the structure were guided by a
'this-is-good-for-Africa' attitude," The Herald said.

      Mugabe has said through his spokesperson that "tents just don't augur
well with our culture" adding that "if the UN does not have enough money for
permanent shelter let the little they have be used to augment what the
government already has."

      Egeland toured areas razed during a government "urban renewal"
campaign in May and expressed dismay at the poor living conditions in the
demolished areas, offering UN help.

      Zimbabwe is in the throes of severe political and economic crisis,
with some 80 percent of the population living under the poverty threshold.
More than 70 percent are jobless and inflation is running at over 400
percent. - Sapa-AFP

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UN "puzzled" by govt response to model house

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

JOHANNESBURG, 21 Dec 2005 (IRIN) - UN Resident Coordinator Agostinho
Zacarias has expressed surprise at the Zimbabwean government's criticism of
a model house built by the UN for those left homeless by the controversial
Operation Murambatsvina.

The official Herald newspaper quoted Local Government Minister Ignatius
Chombo as saying that the UN was told to "follow set guidelines but they
went ahead and built this sub-standard building".

Zacarias told a press conference in the capital, Harare, on Wednesday that
he was "somewhat puzzled" by the minister's response. He went on to describe
the model as a joint effort by the Zimbabwean government and the UN, as "it
was designed jointly by UN technicians, together with technicians appointed
by the ministry of local government, and is the result of extended
negotiations between the UN and the government of Zimbabwe".

The Zimbabwean government's controversial clean-up campaign, Operation
Murambatsvina left more than 700,000 people homeless or without a livelihood
when it started in mid-May.

The Herald added that Chombo, after viewing the model home on Tuesday,
commented that the people who had designed the structure were guided by "a
this-is-good-for-Africa attitude".

Zacarias underlined that the model "very closely" reflected the technical
specifications contained in a letter from the Zimbabwean government over a
month ago. "What is new is the request attributed to the government in
yesterday's coverage [in the Herald] that the temporary housing should
contain two rooms - something not contained in the aforementioned
specifications provided to us".

The Zimbabwean government initially rejected the UN offer to build temporary
shelters, saying there was "no humanitarian crisis", only to make an
about-turn last month. In its acceptance letter the government insisted on
drawing up the list of beneficiaries, and laid down specifications for the
construction of permanent brick and concrete one-room shelters.

Reiterating that the UN had never committed itself to constructing permanent
housing for those left homeless after the clean-up operation, Zacarias said
the model had been built, notwithstanding various constraints, such as time,
cost and the need to provide shelter to as many as possible before the onset
of the rainy season.

The UN's spokesman in Harare, Hiro Ueki, told IRIN that the temporary
shelter had been designed in such a way that people could remove some of the
building material to construct permanent shelters.

He added that the UN hoped to provide shelter to 2,500 families within a
period of three months during phase 1 of the shelter programme. Subject to
funding, the UN intends building 20,000 units at a total cost of US $18

On Monday the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland told the UN
Security Council in New York that the global body and the humanitarian
community should be more proactive in engaging the Zimbabwean government to
address the "enormous humanitarian crisis" in that country.

Egeland met President Robert Mugabe in Harare earlier this month, where the
Zimbabwean leader snubbed a UN offer of tents for those affected by the
clean-up operation.

Zacarias pointed out on Wednesday that "tents are used throughout the world
to provide temporary shelter to those in need".

He said the UN in Zimbabwe had "agreed to move beyond the use of tents in
order to construct what might technically be called 'temporary or
transitional homes', which beneficiaries might subsequently use as a basic
building block for their longer-term housing".

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'Zim's policies hasten decline'


21/12/2005 19:39  - (SA)

Harare - Sweden's outgoing ambassador to Zimbabwe, Kristina Svensson, on
Wednesday said the government's "haphazard land reform programme" along with
"bad laws and bad economic policy" were hastening economic decline.

Speaking to journalists ahead of her departure from Harare, the Swedish
envoy said "it's not only the drought that led to the decline but also land

"We think land reform was necessary but the way it was implemented was not
within the confines of the rule of law," Svensson said, since the
"consequences of the haphazard land reform have led to the decline in
agricultural production".

Svensson, who finishes a four-year stint in the Southern African country at
the end of the month, also blamed "bad laws and bad economic policy" for
Zimbabwe's decline.

Foreign investors scared away

"Laws like the Public Order and Security Act (Posa), the media laws and the
NGO (non-governmental organisations) bill scare away foreign investors," she

Zimbabwe's economy has taken a steep dive since the late 1990s, shrinking by
30% over the past six years, with inflation now shooting up to over 500%.

Over four million of Zimbabwe's 11.6 million inhabitants face food
shortages, according to United Nations agencies.

"The rules are changing every day and people ask themselves whether it's
wise to invest in the country when they don't know what will happen to their
business tomorrow," said Svensson.

Painting a sad picture

She added: "When I was ambassador in (neighbouring) Zambia, we used to come
here and there were lots of things to admire about Zimbabwe."

"We noticed big grain silos, herds of healthy, fat cattle, green pastures
and well-developed infrastructure.

"Now one sees abandoned tobacco barns, uncultivated fields, cattle looking
thin and the general decline. It's very sad."

A drastic change of policy however could restore Zimbabwe to its former
status as Southern Africa's bread basket, she said.

Government blames the economic drop on drought and targeted sanctions
imposed by the European Union and the United States government on Mugabe,
members of his inner circle and their families following disputed
presidential polls in 2002.

Economic analysts however also blamed land reforms in which government
seized farms from white commercial farmers and gave them to landless blacks.

Critics say the majority of beneficiaries lack farming experience and rely
on government handouts.

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Long way to go for Zimbabwe against corruption

Xinhua 2005-12-22 02:42:03

          HARARE, Dec. 21 (Xinhuanet) -- As Zimbabwe braces for the fight
against corruption, debate has been raging on the innumerable challenges the
crusade will face and whether these will be surmounted.

          Corruption has become embedded within the Zimbabwean society and
is affecting every sector of the economy as well as the social fabric of the

          From boarding a commuter omnibus to work, to purchasing scarce
basic commodities in shops, it has become the norm that one has to pay a

          In 1998, a meeting of the National Economic Consultative Forum
agreed on the need to tackle the problem, resulting in the establishment of
a Task Force on Corruption.

          Thereafter legislation to deal with corruption was drafted while
the Ministry of Anti-Corruption was also created.

          Last year, the Parliament passed the Anti-Corruption Act and
inSeptember this year President Robert Mugabe appointed a
six-memberAnti-Corruption Commission, comprising technocrats from different
backgrounds, to spearhead the crusade.

          This signaled government's commitment to dealing with corruption
which, together with inflation, has caused havoc to the economy.

          Concern has however been raised at the delay in unleashing the
Commission as it has not started operating, more than three months after it
was established.

          Explaining the dormancy, Commission chairman, Eric Harrid, said
the body was looking for suitable offices to operate from, adding they could
not start operating from a temporary base, as they needed to secure the
information they received from various sources.

          Once they secured accommodation, he said, the Commission would
also be able to discuss strategies to employ in the fight against

          Zimbabweans have become accustomed to paying bribes to obtain such
documents as birth certificates, passports and drivers' licenses while it is
common knowledge that one has to pay a bribe to secure housing stands,
farms, places in schools or colleges, employment and promotion.

          While there is disagreement on the extent of the problem in the
private and public sectors, it is generally agreed that it had reached
unacceptable levels in both sectors.

          The problem has however been more visible in the public sector
where the majority of the people seek different services that have a bearing
on their social and economic well being.

          As State Enterprises, Anti-Monopolies and Anti-Corruption Minister
Paul Mangwana put it, corruption had been left to take root in Zimbabwean
society and it would take concerted effort to eradicate it.

          "People have become used to paying extra to quicken the process
for decisions to be made," he said, adding that the public had to be
mobilized to take a position against the scourge for the war to be won.

          For this reason, he said, his ministry had taken a three-pronged
approach involving prevention, public awareness and prosecution, to fight

          He said the ministry had been using such interactive fora as
Agriculture Shows to raise awareness on the need to fight corruption.

          It was also using such medium as pamphlets and media programs,
with a column on the subject appearing in the Sunday Mail every week, he

          The involvement of individuals and institutions that should be at
the forefront of the war against corruption has further complicated the
situation in Zimbabwe, as these cannot be expected to participate in the
crusade whole-heartedly.

          It is for that reason that some skeptics have doubted the
integrity and ability of members of the Anti-Corruption Commission.

          Center for the Advancement of Dialogue and Democracy interim
national chairman, Kurauone Chihwayi, said Zimbabweans had resigned
themselves to corruption after realizing that it was cascading from the top
to bottom.

          Chihwayi said people had stopped reporting cases of corruption
when they discovered that no action was taken against perpetrators as they
were well connected with the highest echelons of the political machinery. He
said the major challenge that the fight against corruption was faced with,
was that most of those talking about corruption were corrupt, but were doing
it to receive publicity or to raise funds.

          "Most of these people are taking Zimbabweans for a ride," he said.

          "We need to engage in the crusade in good faith and stop

          There was also need for the government to put in place mechanisms
to protect people that exposed corruption as many had been victimized for
their actions, he said.

          Incentives should also be introduced for people to expose
corruption while the police should devise ways of conducting investigations
without exposing witnesses, said Chihwayi.

          National Economic Consultative Forum spokesperson, Nhanhla Masuku,
concurred that the authorities were to blame for turning a blind eye to
corruption for a long time.

          He said much information about corruption had been submitted to
the relevant authorities although no action had been taken.

          "What discouraged people was that no action was taken," he said.

          He said, instead, the authorities had used the information to
extort payment from the culprits in return for protection.

          Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) dismissed
allegations that corruption was rife within its ranks, saying the situation
was not as bad as was being portrayed.

          ZRP spokesperson, Chief Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka, said his
organization did not condone corruption and was on record for taking action
against those that had been found on the wrong side of the law.

          "We have discharged those that have been found out," he said.

          He accused society of starting the corruption cycle by offering
police officers bribes to avoid arrest or paying fines and urged the public
to desist from the practice and report any officers asking for bribes.

          The ZRP had established Complaints Desks in Harare and Bulawayo
for people to report such cases and more such desks would be opened
throughout the country.

          Meanwhile, Zimbabweans wait with bated breath for the Commission
to start cracking its whip and bring sanity to the economy and the social

          While many wait anxiously for the Commission to start its work,
many more are rueing the day they allowed themselves to succumb tothe
temptation to amass wealth through illegal means. Enditem

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Shortage of diesel stalls tillage in Zimbabwe

Xinhua 2005-12-22 02:06:51

          HARARE, Dec. 21 (Xinhuanet) -- Shortage of diesel is stalling
efficient land tillage across Zimbabwe with most rural farmers resorting to
draught power, an official said on Wednesday.

          The Department of Agricultural Research and Extension Services
director, Shadreck Mlambo, said tillage was expected to go beyond early next

          "We have not yet compiled the total hectarage tilled and we should
be in a position to do that once tillage has been completed throughout the
country," Mlambo said.

          A total of 1.3 million hectares are targeted to be put under maize
by communal and A2 farmers with an average output of 1.6 million metric tons
per ha expected. The central bank has introduced a maize and sorghum
production facility of one trillion Zimbabwean dollars (about 12.5 million
US dollars) to support A1 and communal farmers with seed and fertilizer.

          The government recently said the maize producer price for the
2005/2006 farming season would be announced after harvesting to factor in
the actual costs incurred by farmers.

          Zimbabwe has been experiencing fuel shortage for the past five
years and recently the government said it would allocate 50 percent of all
fuel imports to farmers.

          However, individuals are now allowed to import the commodity using
free funds.

          The country requires 1.8 metric tons of maize for livestock and
human consumption annually. Enditem

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Department to Launch New Model Tractor

The Herald (Harare)

December 21, 2005
Posted to the web December 21, 2005


THE Department of Agricultural Engineering and Technical Services in the
Ministry of Agriculture is seeking to launch a three-wheeled "walking"
tractor to augment animal-drawn farm implements.

The Industrial Development Corporation, in conjunction with the Department
of Agricultural Engineering and Ministry of Industry and International
Trade, has already carried out tests in Shamva.

The demonstration has shown that, with some adaptation, the proposed walking
tractor can be of immense use in Zimbabwe.

The three-wheel tractor is in line with the new Industrialisation Policy
adopted by the Government and would be specifically made for small-scale and
rural farmers.

With the necessary adjustments the tractor could prove very useful to
small-scale farmers not only in Zimbabwe but those from neighbouring

Simple and cost-effective, the walking tractor, manufactured and widely used
in China, is powered by a small motorised engine that can either be built
with a seat and driven like a tractor or fitted with handle-bars and be
guided by a person, as is done with draught-drawn farm implements.

The tractor is expected to benefit largely the more than 155 000 families
resettled by the Government under its land reform programme which it
embarked on 2000 to give land to the landless.

Most of the newly resettled farmers do not have the resources to buy
expensive farm implements such as tractors.

After the completion of the exercise, the Government is now focusing on
mechanisation as it seeks to boost agricultural productivity.

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Christmas and New Year Message from the MDC President

21 December 2005

Fellow Zimbabweans,

I know Christmas 2005 is not going to be as it should be for most of us.
Traditionally, the Christmas and New Year period offers us a time to
commemorate the birth of Christ, re-unite with our families, exchange gifts
and relax in our homes. But this year is different. My heart bleeds for the
millions out of work, the millions without food, the millions affected by
Operation Murambatsvina and the millions living with HIV and Aids.

As Zimbabweans, our needs are known and basic. We seek our freedom. Robert
Mugabe and Zanu PF have forced half the population to survive on food
handouts from international donors, despite abundant land, abundant farming
skills and abundant water bodies in our land. We live in an unsafe and
insecure political and economic climate. We cannot assemble and discuss our
plight in peace. Millions have sought refuge in neighbouring countries and
beyond. We are denied our basic rights. We are denied access to critical
medical drugs. We have no support. We are among the worlds poorest.

The crisis in our country is well documented. It is a crisis of governance.
The crisis has pushed us back to a level where the quality of life and life
expectancy are at the lowest level since time immemorial -- all because of
the dictatorship and tyranny imposed on us by Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF.

We have been brought down to this level of poverty and deprivation by an
intransigent regime that refuses to listen to the nation and snubs advice
from the international community. Zanu PF and Mugabe have tossed aside the
ideals of the liberation struggle, entrenched a culture of sycophancy and
political patronage and threatened the existence of our nation as a cohesive
unit. Families are torn apart and our children roam the streets, with a
future in ruins.

The MDC shares the national predicament. The MDC is with the people. The MDC
and the people shall triumph. Our political renewal process and leadership
re-generation programmes promise a strong, united force with sufficient
numbers and sufficient determination to confront the dictatorship in 2006.
The people rejected the Senate. The people have lost faith in elections that
breed illegitimate outcomes. The people rejected piece-meal approaches to
the search for a lasting solution to the national crisis. The crisis has
deepened to a point where a national resolve to take it on, once and for
all, must be muscled up as a matter of urgency. We are working with the
people to ensure that we free ourselves and determine our own destiny.

The past six years opened up numerous lessons for us in the MDC. The
experience we amassed shall be extremely useful as we shape out a born-again
strategy for intensive resistance in 2006. We shall involve all. Our
resistance is a national project. All democratic forces shall have a stake
in this struggle. We shall be inclusive; we shall seize opportunities; and
we shall organize and rally the people for change.

As we head for the final lap in this struggle for change, let me place on
record that we were faced with a coup attempt in October to subvert your
will. We found our unity and our focus sabotaged by starry eyed opportunists
with a dangerous power agenda that has nothing to do with your individual
and national needs at this time of a serious national crisis, an energy
sapping national emergency and a solemn political disaster.

I am happy to note that we have dealt with this temporary diversion by
surrendering the party back to you, the owners, to take corrective measures.
Your guidance and direction have put us back on track. The entire country
now feels the dominant presence of the MDC. The opportunities created by
recent political turbulence in the MDC -- generated and inspired by Zanu PF
and its infiltrating moles and cronies - have paved the way for immense
challenges and pushed us back to the positive spirit of 1999.

By the end of the festive season, we shall meet as a leadership and finalise
the Congress process. So far, seven out 12 party provinces have new leaders,
new programmes and a sharp eye on the national crisis. You put your trust in
them. They have to deliver a new Zimbabwe and a new beginning, in terms of
their contract with you, the people. As President, I shall lead from the
front. I shall make sure that we put the nation back onto the rails after
subjecting the dictatorship to a sustained programme of resistance.

We are expecting about 13 000 elected delegates, genuine people's
representatives at our Congress to reaffirm your belief and conviction in
freedom and democracy; to reassert your right to choose your leaders of the
future and to map out new strategies for change, reconstruction and

Zimbabwe remains a great country and for all the problems we are
experiencing we remain a remarkable example of national discipline,
principle and hope in Africa. Given the right leadership, policies and
management, Zimbabwe under an MDC leadership shall soon assume its place in
Africa as a beacon of hope and promise for all Africans.

The MDC shall remain steadfast and committed to its principles, and its
primary goals. We are determined to defend your right to peace, prosperity
and security in the land of your birth. Let us use this festive period to
reflect on the events and developments of the past six years. That
reflection and self-introspection should guide us into the final stage of
our resistance. We have adopted a paradigm shift, identified what works,
discarded ineffective strategies and we are ready to go. We shall remove the
roadblocks to change.

On behalf of my family and the leadership of the MDC, I wish all of you a
family filled Christmas and best wishes for the New Year. May God bless you

I thank you.

Morgan Tsvangirai

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Blackout Triggers Mixed Reactions

The Herald (Harare)

December 21, 2005
Posted to the web December 21, 2005


CHITUNGWIZA residents went into day three without electricity yesterday with
many expressing fears that the blackout could spill into Christmas.

Although Zesa Holdings officials have set tomorrow as the day when
electricity would have been restored in the town, residents are pessimistic
that the power utility would meet the target.

Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company managing director Engineer Ben
Rafemoyo said work was progressing according to plan.

"We are still on course and in fact indications are that we could restore
power much earlier. The weather has been kind to us a situation that made
work easier and faster.

"If we can beat the target and bring an early christmas present to the
suffering residents, the better," said Eng Rafemoyo.

Firewood vendors in the town were registering roaring business while scores
of desperate men, women and children invaded nearby bushes and others moved
across Nyatsime River into a nearby farm in search of firewood for cooking.

Residents complained of the expensive firewood, where three pieces of
firewood weighing less than two kilogrammes were being sold for $30 000.

"Zesa Holdings must do something fast to assist us because the problem is
causing untold suffering to residents. Most of us had bought chicken and
beef for the festive holiday but we have now been forced to throw these away
after they had gone bad as a result of the power outage," said Mr Dominic
Chinyanga of Zengeza.

Another resident Mrs Christine Chitengwe said: "This is promising to be a
bleak Christmas for us because during this period people buy food in bulk so
that you at least have a memorable holiday. But much of it has gone bad and
we have had to throw it away."

Eng Rafemoyo said work on replacing distributor cables of the remaining
transformer had been completed and what remained was reconnecting the
transmission cables.

The transformer would be able to produce 50 megawatts of power against
demand of 70 megawatts.

This, he said, would necessitate the introduction of load shedding during
peak hours.

Residents are being forced to travel long distances to get to Chitungwiza
Town Centre -- the only grocery shop that has electricity -- to buy food.

People coming from areas such as Units O, P and N in Seke and St Mary's and
Zengeza are travelling distances of between five and fifteen kilometres.

Business people in the town said they have lost potential revenue during the
three days they had gone without electricity.

"We have had to throw away large stocks of chicken we had hoarded in
anticipation of brisk business normally associated with holidays," said a
businessman at Makoni who preferred anonymity.

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Beitbridge border post traffic problems resolved


December 21, 2005, 16:30

The Border Control Co-ordinating Committee in Limpopo has resolved to
increase the number of traffic officials to 39. This is aimed at easing
traffic congestion at the Beitbridge border post in Musina, which is manned
by 24 traffic officials. Earlier in the day, vehicles wanting to cross the
border into Zimbabwe were queuing up to eight kilometers.

Maggie Mabuza, the spokesperson for the committee, says the queue is caused
by inadequate staffing at the Immigration and the South African Revenue
Services (SARS) departments at the border post.

Lorraine Makola, the chairperson of the Border Control Co-ordinating
Committee, says members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF)
will assist the police and border officers in keeping order. Makola says the
committee has looked at all problematic areas and that have been addressed.

"They are putting toilets outside the area and we are also talking to the
road people, who are also coming on board, to help us out. We have also
looked at queue marshaling which as something we did no have before", says

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Smugglers from Zimbabwe Ship Diamonds to S. Africa

         By Jeff Miller Posted: 12/21/2005 1:48 PM

        (Rapaport...December 21, 2005) Zimbabwe's deputy minister of mines
and mining, Tinos Rusere, confirmed to the press that some $100 million in
minerals, including diamonds, have been smuggled out from five mines in the
region of Midlands Province. The target location for diamond smugglers has
been South Africa, where they would then be shipped to international

      An investigation into the matter revealed diamond production, gold,
and magnetize mines are involved in smuggling operations throughout 2005.

      The Herald Business newspaper reports that investigations have led to
big companies being involved in "similar, shady practices and investigations
are underway at some mines."

      Zimbabwe holds deposits of diamonds, gold, nickel, chrome, and a
reported platinum reserve, which is said to be one of the largest in the

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Reporters Forum: The SWRA foot soldiers

Sent: Thursday, December 22, 2005 2:13 AM
Subject: Reporters Forum: The SWRA foot soldiers

Reporters Forum begins a new series interviewing its correspondents on the
ground. They talk about their work and the risks they take to bring out the
Zimbabwean story. The guest this week is Lionel Saungweme who works from
Bulawayo. He was recently placed on a list of 64 Zimbabweans whose passports
are to be seized at entry/exit points in the country. How does he feel about
being put on such a list? Is it worth the risk given the worsening media
environment? He gives us a snippet of his research article 'Project October:
The assault on the Zimbabwean media.'

Check website. for details of the programme.

Lance Guma
SW Radio Africa

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