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

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ZIMBABWE: Parliamentary committee concerned over lack of key farm inputs

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

JOHANNESBURG, 27 December (IRIN) - Zimbabwe may face another season of
reduced agricultural output unless the government moves to improve the
supply of seed and farming equipment, a parliamentary portfolio committee
on agriculture and water resources heard last week.

Edward Mkhosi, an agricultural land use planner and member of the
committee, told IRIN that reports received from seed and fertiliser
suppliers noted a serious shortage of the key inputs. In addition, less
than half the tractors used by the District Development Fund to provide
free tillage to communal and newly resettled farmers were in working
order, with the parastatal struggling to raise money for spares.

"There are serious shortfalls for every requirement. Seed and fertiliser
manufacturers say they have forwarded all their stock to marketing
organisations, but there is still a great need all over the country. In
terms of tillage, the District Development Fund reports that it has only
304 tractors working out of the 733 set aside for the programme. There is
no prospect for a good harvest, things look bleak at the moment," said

He said the committee was reviewing the report and would send its
recommendations to the agriculture ministry.

Agriculture and Rural Land Resettlement Minister Joseph Made admitted
there were problems in land preparation and planting. He told IRIN the
government was in the process of securing more seed and equipment
following an Iranian donation of US $28 million, but the shortage of
spares for tractors had crippled the country's preparations for the
current season.

"There is a big problem of equipment. We have adopted a long-term solution
to the tractor problem. We are in the process of finalising a deal under
which a consortium of Iranian bankers will help the local Industrial
Development Corporation set up a tractor manufacturing plant in Harare.
That will reduce our dependency on foreign companies and improve the
supply of tractors in the farms," said Made.

He estimated that the country needed around 50,000 tractors to service
both the small-scale and commercial farming sectors.

A Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) report at the beginning
of December said that although farmers had started receiving maize seed
and some fertiliser on credit through the Agricultural and Rural
Development Authority (ARDA) and the Grain Marketing Board (GMB),
"transport problems are proving to be serious challenge for farmers from
areas far removed from the GMB and ARDA distribution depots."

The planting season usually takes place between October and December, with
the cereal harvest due in May to July. Zimbabwe has faced recurring food
production shortfalls due to drought, and the disruption to agriculture
caused by the government's land redistribution programme.

"A significant proportion of rural households have run out of their own
food stocks and are finding it extremely difficult to meet their staple
food needs due to both limited supply in the grain deficit areas and high
market prices," said the FEWSNET report. Around 3.3 million rural people
were forecast to become food insecure from December 2004 through to March
2005, but given the larger than anticipated rise in food prices, FEWSNET
warned that the figure could be even higher.

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Sent: Monday, December 27, 2004 9:43 PM
Subject: ZIMBABWE: Concern over conditions in prisons

ZIMBABWE: Concern over conditions in prisons

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

HARARE, 27 December (IRIN) - A senior prison official has warned of
widespread malnutrition and disease in Zimbabwe's jails, due to a
shortfall in funds for food and medicines.

Zimbabwe Prison Service (ZBS) chief accountant Rosemary Kanonge told
parliament's portfolio committee on justice and legal affairs earlier this
month that, apart from the shortfall in funds, overcrowding in Zimbabwe's
jails would also worsen the situation.

The country's prisons have the capacity to hold 16,000 prisoners, but are
currently home to about 22,000 inmates.

The committee, which has been assessing the adequacy of the 2005 budget
allocations to the ministry of justice and the prisons department, will
report its findings to parliament when it resumes in February next year.

Kanonge told the committee that although "there is a statutory instrument
that stipulates the basic requirements of prisoners for food and bedding
provisions, ... in most cases this is difficult to fulfill owing to
inadequate resources".

She said out of a budget request of Zim $212.4 billion (about US $37
million) for prisoners' food, as well as bedding and uniforms for both
inmates and prison officers, the department had been allocated $126
billion (US $22 million).

Kanonge said the department was given Zim $10.6 billion (US $1.7 million)
for medicines for both prisoners and their guards, enough to purchase
drugs for three months only. The department had asked the finance ministry
for Zim $236 billion (US $41 million) for medicines for its prison

Recent reports have warned that infectious diseases such as tuberculosis
have become increasingly prevalent in Zimbabwe's prisons.

Meanwhile, the director of the NGO the Prison Fellowship, Peter
Mandiyanike, has urged the judiciary to review sentencing for petty

"For example, minor crimes in our culture went before the chief. It was
the family or kraal head who dealt with them and compensation was the
major issue. For instance, if I stole your chickens, it was not a big deal
as this was dealt with at family level, the kraal head would say, 'look
you've been caught with Taurai's chicken which could have laid eggs ...
return the chicken to her plus another chicken as compensation',"
Mandiyanike explained.

An analysis of Zimbabwe's prison statistics from about 10 years ago
revealed that some 60 percent of serving prisoners were persons with six
months imprisonment terms or less. Eighty percent were persons serving 12
months' jail time or less.

U N I T E D  N A T I O N S
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN)

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Zimbabwe Arrests Executives Of Collapsed Bank

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP)--Zimbabwe authorities arrested two senior executives of a collapsed Zimbabwean bank and seven others were being sought for questioning over fraud allegations, the central bank said Monday.

CFX Bank, a former foreign exchange dealership, was shut down by monetary authorities Dec. 18 after allegations of fraud and mismanagement triggered mass withdrawals from the bank's branches.

All transactions and accounts at the bank were frozen for six months by an independent regulator appointed to supervise investigations into the bank's affairs.

Thousands of depositors were left without cash over the holidays and hundreds of others faced losing their investments with the bank.

The central bank, known as the Reserve Bank, said in a statement Monday that investigators believed CFX executives produced false profit statements to conceal the theft of at least 115 billion Zimbabwe dollars ($20.5 million).

CFX Deputy Chief Executive Gary Shoko and Financial Director Onias Ndlovu were arrested on Sunday.

Others being sought for questioning include executives of the computer department after forensic auditors restored erased computer data.

"A cartel of bank management existed in the institution, using its influence to conceal financial irregularities ... and illegal and unethical deals," the central bank said.

It warned efforts will be stepped up to "smoke out errant bankers" in the country's troubled financial sector.

Six other private banks have been shut down in 2004 and put under the control of independent accounting experts.

  Dow Jones Newswires
Copyright (C) 2004 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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Evicted Zimbabwean farmers arrive Kwara ...To begin commercial farming, 2005


Tuesday, December 28, 2004

A GROUP of white Zimbabwean farmers forced from their lands by the president, Robert Mugabe, have arrived in Nigeria to establish new farms. The Zimbabweans’ move to Nigeria follows a vigorous courtship by President Olusegun Obasanjo and the  governor of Kwara State, Bukola Saraki, who wants the men hounded by Mr. Mugabe to kick-start commercial agriculture in Nigeria.

Mr. Saraki said he wants another 200  Zimbabwean farmers to follow the pioneers because Nigeria, despite its abundant land, is spending more than £1.6 billion each year on importing 98 per cent of its basic food needs, which could be produced domestically.

Hundreds of white farmers have left Zimbabwe in the wake of Mr. Mugabe’s land confiscation strategy, leaving farms idle and creating huge food shortages in a country once known as the breadbasket of Africa.

Many have moved successfully to neighbouring Zambia and Mozambique, but the 15 who arrived in Nigeria are the first to take their skills 2,000 miles across the continent to a country whose economy is based on revenues from its oil reserves.

The farmers, led by Alan Jack, whose Zimbabwean tobacco and maize farm was forcefully occupied four years ago by so-called war veterans loyal to Mr. Mugabe, have each been allocated 1,000 hectares of Nigerian bush. They have also been given a derelict sugar refinery and estate which once supported a community of 20,000 people to rehabilitate.
Mr. Jack, 46, had been planning to leave Africa for good when he was invited earlier this year to Abuja, the Nigerian capital, to meet Mr. Obasanjo and listen to the head of state’s proposal for a pioneering Zimbabwean farming enterprise in Kwara, western Nigeria.

“Why leave Africa and go to Australia?” Mr. Obasanjo asked. “We do not want to take away what is good for Zimbabwe from Zimbabwe, but I believe that it is in the best interests of Africa that you do not leave this continent. The more of you who come (to Nigeria) the better.”

Kwara itself has no oil reserves, which inspired Mr. Saraki to spearhead a national drive to wean Nigeria off oil-based revenues - totaling more than £200 billion over the past 40 years - and make it self- sufficient in food.

 Mr. Jack’s team will this week mark out their new farms, which have already been mapped by satellite images. They will begin farming in the New Year, using Niger river water to irrigate maize, rice, sugar, cotton, soya, citrus, cowpeas and fodder crops for Nigeria’s first modern dairy industry. 

Mr. Jack insisted the land they farm be virgin bush, not soil already cultivated by local people. “We know what it feels like to be kicked off farms,” he said. “If the same was to have happened to the local Nigerians the project would fail because we would get a bad name locally and internationally.”

He said he was excited to be a pioneer commercial farmer in Nigeria. “We reckon that with our know-how, we can triple or quadruple yields of crops like maize and soya.
“This has given me an entirely new incentive. There was no chance any more of farming in Zimbabwe, where I’ve been under siege in my farmhouse for the past four years.”

Asked about Nigeria’’s reputation for violence and corruption, he said: “There are risks in all businesses. But the governor and the president are right behind us. They’re very switched-on.”

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The Herald

Individual investors keen to inject capital into glass company

Business Reporter
TWO individual investors are keen to inject capital into the collapsed Kadoma National Glass Company, a failed project under a commercial contract between the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and Romsit, a Romanian firm.

The Romanian Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Luminita Florescu, told the Herald Business last week that two ambassadors, whose identity he could not divulge, had expressed willingness to pump capital into the project if IDC and Romsit are prepared to discuss the proposal.

"Two ambassadors approached me and indicated that they were prepared to bring in new capital if the right conditions were put in place.

"The amount of money the investors are prepared to put in the project would vary with the conditions agreed upon in the contract and that would be very beneficial to both parties as (IDC and Romsit) themselves have not been able to do as such due to cash constraints," said Mr Florescu.

However, Mr Florescu said he had approached the IDC three times, earlier, over the offer and with a view to mediate in the dispute between the companies, but the IDC had not responded. Neither was there regular interaction between stakeholders from the two warring camps.

He said Romsit was still prepared to provide modern technology if the glass project was resuscitated and the resources, which have been lying idle at the "botched" project, could be put to better use, adding that there was huge demand for glass sheets locally and in the region.

The Romanian ambassador said it had not been easy to find an amicable solution to the wrangle between the two erstwhile partners due to the absence of regular dialogue. The impasse was scuttling potential investment opportunities that could be exploited by the two parties.

Mr Florescu said dialogue between the IDC and Romsit could also have allowed the Romanian company to negotiate for a softer payment mode while discussions for continued mutual and beneficial interaction took place simultaneously.

He said it made sense for the two firms to re-establish links as they shared a long history of co-operation on both the economic and political fronts.

However, when contacted for comment, officials at IDC professed ignorance over the latest offer.

"I am not quite aware of that position because, as IDC, we have a general policy that where we think it is good strategy to share risk, we enter into partnership.

"Under our existing portfolio we have several partnerships and I do not think we would have done any good to turn down anybody if the offer is not problematic," said Mr Collin Mutingwende, IDC’s human and public relations executive.

He also pointed out that IDC was still prepared to continue its co-operation in all spheres with Romsit, but due to ownership changes at the Romanian firm, the local enterprise was in the dark as to what Romsit had to offer.

Romsit has reportedly offered to settle its dues to IDC by supplying glass sheets, although the Romanian ambassador said he had not been appraised on this proposal.

Problems between IDC and Romsit came to the fore when the glass project collapsed due to technical complications at the Kadoma-based company.

Viability constraints, which eventually led to a fallout between the companies were allegedly caused by "sub-standard" glass produced at the Kadoma factory.

The glass sheets had "air bubbles" in some parts, which had to be cut off in what proved to be a cumbersome and costly exercise.

When the project failed, IDC was quick to put the blame on Romsit and demanded compensation from the latter.

The case was referred to the International Chamber of Commerce whose judgment required that both parties pay an equal amount towards compensation for the abortive project.

Since IDC owed Romsit monies for technical assistance provided by the Romanian firm, it was not entitled to full compensation as a certain percentage had to go towards offsetting IDC’s obligations to Romsit, the ICC ruled.

Romsit is said to have, at first, contested ICC’s determination, which according to authorities at IDC it lost. But the Romanian embassy indicated that according to information at hand, the dispute was still pending before the High Court in Bucharest.

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The Herald

Platinum market set to end year with surplus

Business Reporter
Leading platinum miner Impala Platinum (Implats), the major shareholder in Zimbabwe Platinum (Zimplats), expects the global platinum market to end the year with a surplus of 50 000 ounces, a figure projected to increase three-fold next year.

Implats marketing executive Mr Derek Engelbrecht made the following observation: "Implats sees the world platinum market ending with a surplus of 50 000 ounces, while in 2005, that surplus is likely to increase to between 100 000 ounces and 150 000 ounces as more primary platinum metal comes on to the global platinum market."

The surplus is largely attributed to Zimbabwe, the world’s second largest producer of platinum after South Africa. Between them, the two Southern African countries supply 80 percent of the world’s platinum. Zimbabwe has enormous platinum reserves, which at the present rate of extraction would take over 4 000 years to exhaust.

Implats has a 87 percent stake in Zimplats. The company is mulling the idea of injecting about US$750 million into its Zimbabwe mines. The injection is likely to commence in March next year. This would see the country’s production levels rising by more than 600 percent over the next 10 years.

Next year 15 percent of the entire stake in Zimplats would be allocated to a local consortium, Nkululeko Rusununguko Mining Company of Zimbabwe. The deal has already been approved by shareholders from both sides. January 5 2005 has been set as the date for the formalisation of the transaction.

The last time the world market for platinum was in surplus was in 1998, when Johnson Matthey Company had the surplus at 30 000 ounces. In November, Johnson Matthey said it expected platinum to trade in the range of $760 per ounce and $880 per ounce in the period to May 2005.

Zimplats is a platinum development and mining company with significant assets in Zimbabwe. The company holds around 165 million ounces of platinum resources in the Great Dyke of Zimbabwe, comprising the majority of the Hartley Geological Complex.

This is the largest known near-surface undeveloped platinum and palladium resource in the world. These assets position Zimplats as an important future supplier of platinum from an alternative source to traditional suppliers. Zimplats has provided investors with unique exposure to the emerging Zimbabwean platinum industry.

However, the price of the metal, which is used mainly in jewellery and as autocatalysts, is likely to fall, as 2005 could be the first time in six years that the global market for platinum will move into surplus. London-based analyst for Barclays Capital Kamal Naqvi was quoted in the media as saying he expected platinum to trade in the range of US$750 an ounce and $950 per ounce in 2005. In 2004, platinum traded between $766 per ounce and $944.50 per ounce. The mineral’s price averaged $845 per ounce, the highest annual average since 1980.

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The Herald

ZABG opening set to change banking sector

Business Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG) is set to open its doors to the public next week in a development that is likely to change the face of the local banking sector for good.

ZABG is an amalgamation of formerly troubled banking institutions, the most notable candidates being Barbican Bank, Trust Bank, Royal Bank, Intermarket Commercial Bank and Time Bank.

But efforts at formalising the hugely capitalised group have been overshadowed by the recent placement of CFX Financial Services’ three banking arms under curatorship.

However, the names of potential office holders are already being floated around and expectations are high that the team tasked with leading the country’s biggest commercial banking institution will be announced this week.

The advent of ZABG is expected to go a long way in restoring public confidence in the country’s banking sector as depositors will finally be reunited with their frozen funds.

Curators at Barbican Bank, Trust Bank, Royal Bank, Intermarket Commercial Bank and Trust Bank submitted reports on the position of these financial institutions to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe at the end of last month.

It is on the basis of these curatorship and special investigation reports that the fate of the troubled financial institutions would be determined.

"There has been unprecedented anxiety in the financial sector especially in the last two months as many people are eager to know what is going to happen to the banks placed under curatorship.

"Some of the people are eager to know whether the timeframe which was given by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe would be sufficient to complete all the technical complexities involved.

"However, we are waiting to hear what the central bank has to say about the big bank," said one analyst from the banking sector.

In announcing the idea of an amalgamated bank, RBZ made it clear that under the prompt corrective action standards, the lender of the last resort facility would be available to those institutions requiring temporary liquidity assistance.

The liquidity position of each of the constituent banks is likely to emerge from the reports that have been prepared by the curators managing the affairs of the troubled financial institutions.

Banking institutions requiring relief for more than 30 days are going to be accommodated through the troubled banking fund for a maximum period of 90 days.

ZABG will be owned by the Government and other local institutional and individual investors (including large depositors with $5 million and above), thus giving a new lease of life to indigenisation which had been the biggest casualty of the shake-up in the banking sector.

The banking group would initially be managed by a team of turnaround and integration experts supported by a competent management board of directors.
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Stabbed mother named
11.11PM, Sun Dec 26 2004 - ITV

A mother stabbed to death on Christmas Day has been named by police as 37-year-old college student Noebhle Ndlovu. Detectives fear the attack could have been witnessed by her three children

West Yorkshire Police said the victim, born in Zimbabwe, and a student at Bradford College, had died from stab wounds.

Detectives fear the attack could have been witnessed by her three children.

Police and paramedics were called to an address in Scholemoor Avenue, Bradford, West Yorkshire, shortly after 8am on Christmas Day.

The woman's three children, two teenage boys and a 12-year-old girl, were in the house at the time of the knife attack and detectives suspect all three witnessed the killing.

The 12-year-old girl suffered a slight injury and was taken to hospital for treatment.

A 25-year-old man, believed to be the victim's partner, was arrested at the scene and was taken to Bradford Royal Infirmary with stab wounds.

West Yorkshire Police tonight said his condition had improved but it could be days before he was fit to be interviewed.

A spokesman said: "The suspect is still detained in hospital where his condition is no longer critical but now stable.

"It may be some days before police can interview him and he is presently being guarded by police officers."

Shortly after the incident West Yorkshire Police said a motive for the attack remained unclear but they were treating the death as a "domestic" incident.

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