By VOA News
08 December 2005
Zimbabwe has suspended exports of ostrich and other poultry after
discovering a strain of avian flu that can be lethal to birds, but poses
little risk to humans.
Thursday, Zimbabwe's state-run newspaper The Herald reported that the H5N2
strain of avian flu was detected on two farms in Zimbabwe's Matabeleland
It quotes the state veterinary services director, Dr. Stuart Hargreaves, as
saying the virus was confirmed with samples sent to South Africa.
The H5N2 strain of avian flu is not known to pass from birds to humans,
unlike the H5N1 strain that has killed nearly 70 people in Southeast Asia
Dr. Hargreaves says all of Zimbabwe's ostrich farms have been placed under
quarantine until a national survey can determine the full extent of virus
Thu 8 December 2005
BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe immigration authorities have withdrawn the
passport of former editor and now publisher, Trevor Ncube, in a fresh
onslaught against the Press and critics of President Robert Mugabe's
Ncube's passport was seized at the airport in Zimbabwe's second
largest city of Bulawayo.
A former editor of the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper, Ncube now owns
the paper and its stable mate, the Standard. His highly regarded South
African title is a leading critic of Mugabe's rule.
The seizure of Ncube's passport is the first time the Harare
government has done so since controversially changing the constitution to
allow it to withdraw travel documents from citizens in the "national
Defending the constitutional amendment in Parliament last August,
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said it was necessary to curtail the
movement of citizens who campaigned against the economic interests of the
country abroad by urging foreign governments to impose sanctions against
Mugabe, his wife Grace and top officials of his ruling ZANU PF party
and government are under targeted visa and financial sanctions from the
United States, European Union, New Zealand, Australia and Switzerland.
The Western nations imposed the sanctions on Mugabe and his lieutenant
as punishment for the failure to uphold democracy, rule of law and human
Many more journalists, civic leaders and members of the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change are expected to have their
passports withdrawn after the seizure of Ncube's today.
But it has certainly been a bad week for Ncube, a prominent fighter
for freedom of the Press after the Australian government released an
error-riddled list in which the Zimbabwean journalist was included as one of
the people banned from that country because of their association with
Australian ambassador to Zimbabwe Jon Sheppard has since admitted the
list was erroneous and promised it will be reviewed. - ZimOnline
By Tererai Karimakwenda
08 December 2005
Another voice has been added to the existing chorus of calls for the
prosecution of Robert Mugabe and his ruling elite in the International
courts. On Wednesday, the United Nations humanitarian aid chief Jan Egeland
said Zimbabwean officials should be prosecuted for crimes committed during
the mass demolition of houses and businesses that took place earlier this
year. Egeland is the second U.N. official to call for justice for the
families who were displaced by the government's Operation Murambatsvina. The
demolitions were well documented and a case could be brought against Mugabe.
Many believe the UN should bring the case to the International Criminal
Special envoy for housing Anna Tibaijuka also called for the
perpetrators to be made accountable after a tour of the devastated areas
back in July. Several civic organisations, foreign governments, noted
individuals and religious groups have made the same call. The U.K. Guardian
journalist Andrew Meldrum told us that Egeland was visibly distressed by the
results of the demolitions, and did not want to hide it. Egeland made the
comments in South Africa after a four-day visit to Zimbabwe. Meldrum said
the U.N. envoy could not accept Mugabe's explanation that Murambatsvina was
an urban renewal programme.
Egeland also said he had open disagreements with Mugabe, especially
when it came to the government's obstacles to international aid. Meldrum
said this is most unusual because top officials normally speak in diplomatic
terms. Egeland could have said he had full and frank discussions with Mugabe
instead. Meldrum said it is important to let Mugabe hear the truth in the
language his victims might have used, because he is very removed and does
not communicate with them.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Stella Mapenzauswa
HARARE - Zimbabwe's ruling party meets this weekend triumphant after
solidifying its grip on power with a Senate win over a deeply divided
But analysts said ZANU-PF was unlikely to use its new strength to address
the country's mounting economic problems or the thorny question of who will
succeed President Robert Mugabe.
"These are issues they really should be talking about but previous
experience has shown that they are unlikely to do that," said government
critic and political commentator John Makumbe.
"Coming after last month's Senate poll victory this conference will be a
parade to say we are in power, we are ruling," he added.
ZANU-PF holds its annual conference on Friday and Saturday at the
south-western district of Esigodini against the background of a deepening
economic downturn critics say is testimony to 25 years of post-independence
The venue ranks among districts hardest hit by food shortages that critics
say are largely the result of flawed government land reforms, which in the
last five years have turned what was once the breadbasket of southern Africa
into a net food importer.
ZANU-PF officials said the summit would discuss charges that some
beneficiaries of the land programme, which saw the forcible redistribution
of white-owned farms among blacks, have not fully utilised the land.
But analysts say the party was likely to gloss over the country's other
economic problems -- chronic shortages of fuel and foreign currency,
unemployment of over 70 percent and rampaging inflation, which is expected
to revisit an all-time high of 600 percent.
Mugabe, 81, denies he has misruled the southern African country since
independence from Britain in 1980.
He says former colonial power Britain has sponsored Zimbabwe's main
opposition party since its formation in 1999 to topple him over his land
He also blames Zimbabwe's economic problems on Western sanctions.
ZANU-PF goes into this year's conference with more power than ever before.
With its victory in last month's Senate elections, the party now has final
say on all Zimbabwe laws and controls virtually all the levers of patronage.
The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change, by contrast, is beset by
factional infighting that analysts say has hobbled its ability to challenge
Within ZANU-PF a topic likely to be on the minds of members but largely left
unspoken is selecting a successor to Mugabe.
"Even if succession arises it will not be on the public agenda because there
are no vacancies, the president is only retiring in 2008 and therefore there
is no sense of urgency," Eldred Masunungure, a political analyst from the
University of Zimbabwe, told Reuters on Thursday.
Tensions still exist from last year's ZANU-PF row over a successor to
Mugabe. The dispute nearly split the party in two a few months before
crucial parliamentary elections, which ZANU-PF went on to win despite the
Mugabe persuaded his party faithful to endorse his preferred candidate for
the vacant post of second vice president in ZANU-PF party and government, a
post seen as a step up the ladder to his own position.
Mugabe then cracked down on senior members of a faction which had lobbied
for a rival candidate, suspending several from the party and demoting others
both within ZANU-PF structures and government, quelling any lingering
murmurs of discontent.
But the veteran leader has not publicly anointed a successor.
Analysts said while privately some ZANU-PF members wanted the succession
topic put up for discussion at Esigodini, Mugabe had fine-tuned his grip on
the party by reshuffling his lieutenants' positions to ensure that no one
stokes the fires that threatened to engulf ZANU-PF at last year's
"The faction leaders from last year's debacle have retreated and it is still
too early for them to re-enter the gladiator (arena) because the dust has
not settled," Masunungure said. -- Reuters
Mail and Guardian
Susan Njanji | Harare, Zimbabwe
08 December 2005 01:55
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe opens the annual congress of
his ruling Zanu-PF party on Friday, buoyed by his recent big win in
controversial senate elections and infighting that has left the opposition
About 5 000 delegates of the Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) will converge on the small town of Esigodini
in the southern Matabeland province, an opposition stronghold where the
party won all five seats for the new senate in the polls last month.
The three-day congress held under the theme "Consolidating Our
Gains" is to take stock of Zanu-PF's victories in the March parliamentary
vote and the November senate elections, said party spokesperson Nathan
Under Mugabe's leadership, Zanu-PF has kept a tight grip on
power in Zimbabwe ever since the Southern African country won independence
from Britain in 1980.
Delegates are also to discuss land reform and there may be new
appointments to senior party positions that will be closely watched for
clues about possible contenders to succeed Mugabe, who has said he wants to
retire in 2008.
Last year's congress was marred by a party revolt over Mugabe's
choice of Joyce Mujuru to be his vice-president, prompting the 81-year-old
leader to launch a purge of several senior party officials including six of
the 10 provincial party chairpersons.
Land reform to be debated
The ruling party weekly newspaper The Voice said in its latest
edition that land reform would be "widely debated" at the congress to assess
the performance of new black farmers who were given land seized from white
Top Zimbabwean officials have recently acknowledged that the
apathetic attitude of many black farmers who were given land was responsible
for the country's food crisis and warned that some farms could be reclaimed.
More than four million Zimbabweans are in need of food aid,
according to the United Nations World Food Programme, which last week signed
an agreement with the government to launch a massive food distribution plan.
About 4 000 white farmers have lost their land under the policy
launched in 2000 to redress imbalances created under British colonial rule
when the majority of farmland was owned by whites.
But after facing a stiff challenge for the past six years from
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Zanu-PF is expected to
The MDC remains divided and weak over a bitter row sparked by
leader Morgan Tsvangirai's call for a boycott of the senate elections.
Commenting on the state of Zana-PF's main political rival, party
chairperson John Nkomo dismissed opposition claims that the ruling party has
infiltrated the MDC.
"Zanu-PF has never interfered with the MDC. MDC has no agenda
and was bound to collapse," Nkomo was quoted as saying in the
state-controlled daily The Herald.
"The opposition party was a creation of our former colonial
master to ward off the land reforms," he said.
'Fuel is abundant here'
The price of fuel in Zimbabwe has been unofficially hiked nearly
six times, reports said on Thursday.
Petrol is now selling openly in fuel stations for up to Z$120
000 ($1,62) a litre, according to the state-run Herald newspaper. The price
set by President Robert Mugabe's government in September was Z$22 300 a
The Zimbabwe dollar has lost value in the last three months and
private fuel companies have decided that price controls no longer apply, the
"It is understood that most companies were using last week's
sentiments by the Minister of Finance Dr Herbert Murerwa that it was
'critical that market pricing mechanisms be embraced, which are central to
ensuring the viability of industry, as well as the well-being of consumers'
to mean that there were no more price controls," it said.
The price of basic goods has also rocketed in supermarkets in
the last few days.
Zimbabwe has been suffering from a critical fuel shortage since
March this year, and all but a few fuel stations ran dry. Drivers who could
afford it turned to the black market for fuel where the commodity was
available but at a much higher price.
Now some service stations appear to be openly charging black
"Fuel is abundant here and if you want you can buy your coupons
and get as many litres as you want," said one petrol attendant at a garage
in Harare's Kamfinsa suburb. Twenty litres at the garage costs Z$2,4-million
($32), the Herald said.
The state oil company appears to be turning a blind eye to the
"There has not been any price increases as far as we are
concerned. They [filling stations] are charging the prices to recover their
costs of importing the fuel into the country," an unnamed official at the
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) told the paper. - Sapa-dpa,
By Tererai Karimakwenda
08 December 2005
The international media watchdog Reporters Without Borders has called
for the resignation of Dr. Tafataona Mahoso, head of the Media and
Information Commission (MIC), which is responsible for the news media in
Zimbabwe. In a statement released on Thursday, the group said Mahoso must
step down after a journalist who resigned from the MIC board, Jonathan
Maphenduka, alleged that Mahoso takes orders from his political bosses.
Maphenduka claimed in High Court documents that the board had agreed
to allow the banned independent Daily News newspaper, to register with the
MIC and begin publishing again. But Mahoso allegedly bowed to pressure from
the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and ruled against the popular
daily. Leornard Vincent of Re porters Without Borders told us the evidence
of direct political control of the MIC involved in Maphenduka's case is
enough to warrant Mahoso's resignation. The Reporters said: "The MIC's
loyalty to the regime was already obvious but now there is proof that it is
under the government's direct political control".
The group also wants other officials on the MIC board to publicly
acknowledge government interference and dissociate themselves.
The full statement from Re porters Without Borders can be found on our
website at swradioafrica.com
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
December 08 2005 at 08:02PM
Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Thursday called on his
country's citizens to "celebrate" the return of their land at the start of a
three-day ruling party conference.
Addressing members of his ruling party's central committee in the
small southern Zimbabwe town of Esigodini, Mugabe said the country needed to
"Now our people can celebrate the final return of their land," Mugabe
"Our collective challenge is to give impetus and support to the
economic turnaround effort by making sure that we should grow and grow in a
big way, so our harvests from our fields can be enhanced," he added.
Agricultural production plummeted after the authorities started
seizing white-owned land for redistribution to new black farmers five years
ago. Once a regional breadbasket, Zimbabwe will this year have to import 1,8
million tonnes of maize.
Mugabe's call comes after a United Nations envoy this week described
as "very serious" Zimbabwe's growing humanitarian crisis. The country is
suffering acute food shortages, high rates of HIV and Aids infections and
At least 3 000 Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front
(Zanu-PF) supporters are expected to attend the conference in Matabeleland
South province, traditionally a stronghold of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).
But Mugabe's party took all five seats there in senate elections last
month. The polls were marred by record low voter turnout and a major split
in the MDC, which was divided over whether or not to participate.
The theme of this year's conference, which will be officially opened
Friday, is "Consolidating Our National Gains".
Ruling party officials say the conference will also look at ways of
arresting Zimbabwe's economic decline. The country's annual rate of
inflation is more than 411 per cent, one of the highest in the world.
The ruling party is reported to have spent billions of Zimbabwe
dollars refurbishing Umzingwane High School, the main venue of this year's
party conference. Trenches have been dug, a clinic set up, classrooms
painted and a borehole sunk, reports say. Roads in the area have also been
The meeting is also set to have its lighter moments. Education
Minister Aeneas Chigwedere on Thursday presented "samples" of a proposed
national dress to Thursday's central committee meeting, state radio said.
"The proposal has come after intense research," Chigwedere was
reported as saying. - Sapa-dpa
The Citizen, SA
HARARE - The price of fuel in Zimbabwe has been unofficially hiked nearly
six times, reports said Thursday.
Petrol is now selling openly in fuel stations for up to 120 000 Zimbabwe
dollars (1,62 US dollars) a litre, according to the state-run Herald
newspaper. The price set by President Robert Mugabe's government in
September was 22 300 Zimbabwe dollars (0,30 US dollars) a litre.
The Zimbabwe dollar has lost value in the last three months and private fuel
companies have decided that price controls no longer apply, the paper said.
"It is understood that most companies were using last week's sentiments by
the Minister of Finance Dr Herbert Murerwa that it was 'critical that market
pricing mechanisms be embraced, which are central to ensuring the viability
of industry, as well as the well-being of consumers' to mean that there were
no more price controls," it said.
The price of basic goods has also rocketed in supermarkets in the last few
Zimbabwe has been suffering from a critical fuel shortage since March this
year, and all but a few fuel stations ran dry. Drivers who could afford it
turned to the black market for fuel where the commodity was available but at
a much higher price.
Now some service stations appear to be openly charging black market prices.
"Fuel is abundant here and if you want you can buy your coupons and get as
many litres as you want," said one petrol attendant at a garage in Harare's
Kamfinsa suburb. Twenty litres at the garage costs 2,4 million Zimbabwe
dollars (32 US dollars), the Herald said.
The state oil company appears to be turning a blind eye to the hikes. "There
has not been any price increases as far as we are concerned. They (filling
stations) are charging the prices to recover their costs of importing the
fuel into the country," an unnamed official at the National Oil Company of
Zimbabwe (NOCZIM) told the Herald. - Sapa-dpa.
From Themba Nkosi in Bulawayo
07 December 2005
Villagers in Tsholotsho district in northern Matabeleland have told SW Radio
Africa that during the senate election campaign they were asked by ruling
ZANU-PF councillors and officials to choose between life and death.
They were told that choosing life meant voting for the ruling party. Voting
for the opposition MDC was like choosing starvation and death. The villagers
said they were left with no choice but to choose life by voting for the
ruling party candidate, Josephine Moyo despite the fact that the area is an
'We had run out of food and we were threatened that if we continued voting
for the MDC, aid organisations would be stopped from distributing relief
food,' said one villager, Mluleki Nyathi of Siphepha village.
According to the villagers, a few days before the election, aid workers from
the Organisation of Rural Associations for Progress, ORAP, arrived in their
villages accompanied by Zanu (PF) officials.
Zanu (PF) officials addressed the villagers before ORAP workers handed over
relief food. This was however in contravention of electoral laws. A high
court Judge in October ordered ruling party officials to stop using food
during election periods. The Judge said this during the hearing of two MDC
But it appears the ruling party continues to defy the electoral laws by
using food as a political tool. ORAP is the partner of World Food Programme
(WFP), the United Nations relief agency. ORAP has been distributing relief
food in Matabeleland on behalf of WFP. We were unable to get a comment from
ORAP officials in Bulawayo.
A teacher at Siphepha, who was one of the polling officers during the
elections, told us that villagers were given a choice of choosing starvation
by voting for the opposition or to vote for ZANU-PF and continue to receive
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
AI Index: ACT 30/029/2005 (Public)
News Service No: 335
8 December 2005
Make Some Noise - case studies
The following are examples of cases on which Amnesty International is
Speaking out for women in Zimbabwe, Jenni Williams
"Strike a woman and you strike a rock. We are not going to be deterred."
As one of the leaders of the human rights activist group Women of Zimbabwe
Arise (WOZA), Jenni Williams has been arrested or detained by police in
Zimbabwe at least 15 times in the last two years.
In March 2005 hundreds of WOZA women were arrested when they tried to hold a
peaceful post-election prayer vigil in Africa Unity Square, Harare. As they
were gathering they were surrounded by police.
"They started intimidating and provoking us," recalls Jenni. The police
crammed 150 women into open-topped vehicles, beating them as they did so,
then took them to the station where they beat them again as they got out.
Despite continued intimidation, Jenni and WOZA have continued their struggle
in an inspiring display of strength and courage.
For more information please call Amnesty International's press office in
London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566
Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW. web:
United Press International
KHARTOUM, Sudan, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- China has become the top supplier of
fighter-bombers to Sudan's Muslim regime, whose attacks on Christian rebels
in the south have made Khartoum notorious.
Sudan's air force recently bought $100 million worth of Shenyang fighter
planes, including a dozen supersonic F-7 jets, and also purchased 34 other
fighter-bombers from Beijing, Middle East Newsline reported Thursday.
In exchange, Chinese oil companies have become big stakeholders in Sudan's
oil and natural gas fields.
The state-owned China National Petroleum Corp., for example, owns 40 percent
of Sudan's largest oil field.
"China rarely attaches any political strings to its assistance to Africa,"
said a report from the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation.
"This has opened up space for China to deal quite profitably with some of
the more heinous regimes on the continent. It is no coincidence, for
example, that Sudan and Zimbabwe now play host to a very large Chinese
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
issue date :2005-Dec-08
THE High Court cannot involve itself in MDC matters because the opposition
party is a voluntary organisation with adequate mechanisms to deal
appropriately with its internal affairs, Morgan Tsvangirai's lawyer Selby
Hwacha has said.
Hwacha made the remarks yesterday responding to an urgent chamber
application filed by the pro-Senate MDC faction seeking the court to uphold
Justice Yunus Omerjee reserved judgment indefinitely after hearing
submissions from Hwacha and Advocate Garikayi Mandizha representing the
applicant, the anti-Senate faction.
In his heads of argument, Hwacha drew a parallel between the MDC, which he
said was a voluntary association, like a football club, whose operations are
guided by its constitution.
"Courts are generally reluctant to be arbiters of what is essentially a club
matter, especially where there are in existence sufficient mechanisms for
the resolution of disputes.
"The same principle arises in this matter. Nothing has been placed before
the court to encourage that it should, or must entangle itself in a
voluntary association's affairs," Hwacha stated in his heads of argument.
The lawyer maintained that Tsvangirai's suspension was null and void as
there were disagreements on the membership of the MDC committee that
"The basis of the application was a purported suspension (of Tsvangirai).
The respondent's position is that the suspension was invalid ab initio (from
the onset) and in any event, that it had been set aside," Hwacha said.
He further indicated that the MDC disciplinary committee had no jurisdiction
to suspend his client, adding that Section 10.5 of the party constitution
empowered the committee to suspend one only if "found guilty" of an offence.
Hwacha stressed that Chimanikire, who claimed to belong to the disciplinary
committee, was biased.
"Even now when he claims that the respondent (Tsvangirai) was suspended, he
is also at pains to be a witness," the lawyer said.
Mandizha told journalists soon after the hearing that his client (the group
including Gibson Sibanda and Welshman Ncube) was seeking an interdict
stopping Tsvangirai from using party structures.
"Judgment has been reserved indefinitely. The issue is, the applicant was
seeking an interdict against Tsvangirai on certain things to be complied
with," the advocate said without elaborating.
The MDC pro-Senate faction represented by Chimanikire in the application
would like Tsvangirai to stop using Harvest House, the party's national
headquarters in Harare, insisting that he should return some party vehicles
and stop using the party's logos and slogans during his suspension.
The pro-Senate faction suspended Tsvangirai from the MDC soon after the
Senate elections, accusing him of deliberately disregarding the party's
constitution when he campaigned against participation.
Tsvangirai immediately dismissed the move saying it was improper.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
From Nkululeko Sibanda in Bulawayo
issue date :2005-Dec-08
ALERT railways security personnel last week arrested three company employees
they caught red-handed allegedly draining fuel from the parastatal's storage
National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) public relations manager Fanuel Masikati
confirmed the incident yesterday, but said he was yet to get the finer
"The three senior railways employees were arrested by NRZ security details
for allegedly draining an unspecified amount of diesel from tanks at Mpopoma
workshop," he said.
"I am, however, yet to get more details about the incident, but I can
confirm to you the arrest."
An NRZ source told The Daily Mirror the trio had long been sabotaging the
troubled public transporter by draining millions of dollars worth of diesel.
"This has been going on for some time. These guys have been making money
selling diesel drained from storage tanks on the black market," the source
He added: "They were spending their ill-gotten loot lavishly in town and had
also been showing off and telling other workers that they were reaping where
they didn't sow."
The sources said the suspects - a fitter and turner and two diesel engine
artisans - would cause unnecessary blackouts by switching off power supplies
to the locomotives workshop.
"After switching off the power, one of them would drive the vehicle carrying
the drums into the workshop pretending to be supplying light inside," the
source said. "Once the vehicle reached the tanks, the lights would be
switched off. Fuel would be drained into containers loaded on the vehicle."
Concerned workers reported the theft to management and a trap was set up
leading to the trio's arrest.
The Daily Mirror is reliably informed that the same trend had also
manifested itself at workshops belonging to the Bulawayo Beitbridge Railways
(BBR) where claims abound that workers drain fuel from locomotives for the
black market in Beitbridge.
Masikati urged the public to alert the parastatal or the police if they find
any railway staffer selling fuel on the black market.
"This is what is called sabotaging the parastatal. We have been forced to
suspend traffic on some routes thinking that the nationwide fuel shortage
was also impinging on us. We have only come to realise it now that some of
our problems are internal jobs orchestrated by NRZ employees," Masikati
"Also it must be publicly announced that while it may appear as if the
employees are sabotaging the NRZ as an entity, it is actually the national
economy that is being sabotaged as the railways has emerged the biggest
transporter of bulk goods and people in Zimbabwe. The public should report
to the NRZ or police railways worker seen selling fuel on the black market."
In the past few years the NRZ has been rocked by a series of challenges that
have caused it to fail to deliver.
The serious operational and managerial hitches have also been blamed for a
spate of derailments some of which have claimed many lives and declared
Last month, the NRZ board of directors chaired by Sam Geza was dissolved by
Transport and Communications minister Christopher Mushohwe and replaced
with an interim general manager who replaced Munesu Munodawafa.
Mudodawafa has since been reassigned as a principal director in
Vice-President Joice Mujuru's office.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
issue date :2005-Dec-08
THE cost of private tillage services has gone up from around $300 000 to
more than $1,5 million per hectare, in a development that is set to further
worsen new farmers' ballooning costs of production The cost hike came into
effect last month.
It was established last week that most commercial farmers in the high
rainfall regions of Manicaland, Mashonaland Central, East and West provinces
have already finished planting and are offering tillage services to new
The farmers are not charging the services at the District Development Fund
(DDF) rates of $350 000 per ha although farmers deriving services from DDF
are expected to provide their own fuel.
A senior official with the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU)
yesterday confirmed that large-scale commercial farmers with tractors had
finished tilling their land and were now providing tillage services to
interested new farmers.
"Even if there were stipulated rates, we would not be able to monitor our
members to ensure compliance, because the tractors belong to individual
farmers who cannot be forced to stick to any stipulated charges especially
at this point in time when fuel is being
procured on the black market," the senior official said.
"Our members come up with charges that they feel ensures that they break
It is feared that the high cost of tillage services will have a negative
impact on food prices after harvest. This is especially so if government
accepts farmers' demands for high commodity prices based on fuel sourced
from the black market and services rendered under market driven forces."
Government has indicated that it will be offering post-harvest producer
prices after determining input costs.
The chairman of the Grains and Cereal Producers Association (GCPA) Denford
Chimbwanda felt that whatever producer prices government came up with were
unlikely to match costs incurred by all farmers in the production process.
"There is no unison in the manner in which most farmers are procuring inputs
including tillage services," said Chimbwanda.
One farmer pays a certain amount for a certain input commodity while another
pays a different price for the same commodity."
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
issue date :2005-Dec-08
A WEARY mother trudges along the busy streets of the city.
But she is not part of the business. She ceased to be months ago. Now she is
just part of the system - flowing with the numbers.
Her enterprise lies elsewhere, not inside the towering buildings of the
industrialised city. She is a mere vendor.
But besides that she is something else. She is also a single mother of three
emaciated children who look up to her for food, shelter and clothing daily.
Her youngest child is in Grade Four. Since she divorced the girl's father
when the little girl had just begun her first grade, the poor lady has been
fending for her daughter single-handedly through vending.
This is the plight and sad script of many a local vendor. Vendors suddenly
find their vocation outlawed and have nothing else to do for survival. They
get arrested and yet come back to their inconspicuous mini-marts dotted in
and around the city.
"It's unlawful for these people to trade on the streets. We arrest them
today, but tomorrow you find them on the same spot again," says Harare
Province police spokesperson Inspector Loveless Rupere. "We will keep on
arresting them because it is our duty to do so in accordance with the law."
City spokesperson Leslie Gwindi has acknowledged the determination by
vendors to return to the streets and make ends meet, but he said the
municipality had already embarked on measures to ensure that the situation
does not persist.
"We are in a major drive to revamp municipal police with the view of
sustaining pressure on the vendors," Gwindi said. "We should see a sustained
enforcement of the city's by-laws."
Once caught, vendors pay a $25 000 fine, a figure Gwindi said
did not act as a deterrent hence the need to revise it upwards.
Despite being outlawed from Harare's streets, vendors take advantage of the
night to parade and sell their wares on the periphery of the city's central
business district (CBD). Vending is very rampant around Harare Street, Mbuya
Nehanda Street, Park Lane, Samora Machel Avenue, Fourth Street, and the
Avenues area as well as in high-density suburbs.
To curb the problem, Harare City Council has enunciated by-laws guiding
vending in the city. This would see the CBD expanding to some areas outside
the city centre.
City authorities would also issue flea market licences subject to renewal
after a year on condition the operators don't violate vending rules and
The guidelines, would among other things, also empower the director of
health services to determine the number of stalls that can be accommodated
in any flea market area and the type of goods to be sold.
Licensed vendors would also be required to ensure adequate provision of
refuse receptacles. The conditions would seem as knotty as council's wheel
In response, desperate vendors are now resorting to hide and seek strategies
with the police. These cat and mouse ploys translate into the vendors
temporarily removing their merchandise upon noticing police details. The
defiant lot would then reappear as soon as the police have left.
"There is nothing we can do. If the police get us, it's tough luck, but
business has to go on. We have no other option," says a vendor who has set
up shop at the corner of Kaguvi Street and Samora Machel Avenue.
Among the items sold are sweets, cigarettes, green vegetables, maize meal,
cooking oil, firewood, maize, tomatoes, a range of other foodstuffs and an
assortment of toiletries and household goods.
In areas such as Mabelreign where flea markets officially operate on
Saturdays, clothing is the major merchandise.
Despite attempts aimed at stopping their ventures, vendors are adamant they
will never stop trading, as this is their major source of income.
They feel that with the pressing economic hardships that have seen
unemployment hovering above 70 percent the unemployed have no choice but to
sell the goods.
"I was sent to school using money obtained from vending on the streets. It
is a clean act. I do not see why it should be outlawed. If I cannot sell
something and get some profit, what am I going to survive on? Shall I go and
steal," queried a Fourth Street hawker who also masquerades as a newspaper
Police also realise the challenge they are facing in trying to stop the
illegal trade. Recently, a top police officer arrested some unscrupulous
fuel dealers during a business tour while accompanying Harare Metropolitan
Governor David Karimanzira.
"The $25 000 fine is not deterrent at all. After arresting a vendor, you
find that he or she returns to the same place because the fine does not
scare them. He can easily make $25 000 by selling a single apple," Rupere
"We urge authorities to review upwards this fine if we are to stop the
problem of vending once and for all."
But is vending a universally accepted problem?
While vendors may seem a nuisance, to some they are a convenience.
All over the world, vendors can be found at most street corners, but are
only arrested when it is convenient for the affected authorities.
Besides the Mbare market, there is little alternative for a person who
resides in the city centre or in a low-density suburb like Borrowdale for
instance, if they do not have a well-maintained garden at home.
"My wife is pregnant and she needs fruits. I cannot afford those fruits they
sell in the supermarkets and in any case I cannot stand in their long
queues, so I just pick the fruits here on my way home," explains a man while
buying oranges from a Fourth Street vendor.
While there have been stringent measures taken to stop vending in Harare,
the same has not applied for smaller cities and towns like Kwekwe, Kadoma