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Net closes on fuel facility abusers

Zim Standard


THE net is closing in on senior Zanu PF and government officials who abused
the subsidised fuel facility meant for the agricultural sector. Manicaland
war veteran, Enock Saidani, yesterday became the first A2 farmer to face
charges of selling subsidised fuel on the black market. Saidani allegedly
sold 17 600 litres of diesel on the illegal parallel market between June
2005 and 10 February this year.

Saidani owns Mazonwe Farm 4 in Mutare and was arrested last week after the
government launched a probe to establish how fuel meant for farming
activities had been used.
The Standard last week exposed a list of several high-ranking Zanu PF and
government officials under investigation for abusing the fuel facility.

The government, anxious to ensure the success of its "agrarian revolution",
provided subsidised petrol at $11 000 and diesel at $13 500 a litre to A2
farmers, most of them Zanu PF stalwarts. However the facility was widely
abused as the fuel was immediately sold on the black market. The abuse is
partly responsible for Zimbabwe's food crisis.

Saidani appeared before a Mutare Magistrate, Fabian Feshete, facing charges
of abusing 17 600 litres of diesel valued at $193.6 million at the
subsidised price.

The State alleges that from 1 June 2005 to 10 February 2006, Saidani
acquired diesel from NOCZIM Mutare ostensibly for ploughing his fields.

Court documents, however, show that he sold the diesel allocated to him on
the black market.

Saidani applied for bail but the magistrate reserved the ruling to tomorrow.

The State argued, through acting area public prosecutor Levison Chikafu,
that Saidani was not a suitable candidate for bail and was most likely to
abscond. "There is a possibility for a conviction in this matter given the
evidence against the accused. Prospects of a lengthy custodial sentence will
induce the accused to abscond," said Chikafu during his submissions against
granting of bail.

Defence lawyers, said the accused was a respectable citizen since he is a
war veteran who fought for the liberation of the country.

The prosecution is likely to send shivers among other Zanu PF and government
heavyweights, who were beneficiaries of the fuel facility, but whose
questionable agricultural production is the subject of an on-going probe.

Investigations have already been instituted countrywide, starting in
Manicaland, where senior government officials and well-connected individuals
allegedly abused the fuel facility by re-selling the scarce commodity.

Zimbabwe has been reeling from acute fuel shortages which have brought the
former vibrant economy to its knees.

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Arthur Mutambara returns to head MDC

Zim Standard


ARTHUR Mutambara, a former militant University of Zimbabwe student leader
who spearheaded crippling demonstrations in the late 1980s, is tipped to
take over the leadership of the pro-Senate faction at its congress this
weekend, The Standard can reveal.

The congress takes place this coming Saturday and Sunday (25 -26 February)
in Bulawayo.
The move could boost the fortunes of the pro-Senate faction, which has for
the past few months scouted for a leader who could competently challenge MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai who heads the anti-Senate faction.

Mutambara, who was scheduled to arrive in the country from South Africa last
night aboard a South Africa Airways flight, could encounter opposition in
the faction that has sought to wrest the heart and soul of the opposition
party from Tsvangirai.

Gift Chimanikire, the MDC deputy Secretary-General, warned yesterday that
Mutambara's nomination would be opposed.

"I expressed my intention to be the president of our faction and I am
canvassing for the position. I know that some people approached Mutambara
and he is coming to congress. But if he so qualifies to stand, which some of
us doubt, he will be opposed. Wakamboona kupi kwaunonzi pakura sadza rausina
kubika," said the tough-talking Chimanikire.

However, authoritative sources told The Standard that Mutambara was expected
to be elected president of the faction at the congress in Bulawayo.

One of the sources said: "We expect Mutambara to be in the city within the
next few days because he has agreed to contest the post of president in our
party. He will be the sole contestant as we have persuaded one of the
presidential aspirants, Gift Chimanikire, to settle for the other powerful
post - that of national chairman."

Paul Themba-Nyathi, the spokesperson for the pro-Senate faction, confirmed
Mutambara would be one of those gunning for the post of president of the

He said: "Indeed Professor Arthur Mutambara's name has been mentioned as a
possible candidate for the position of party president. Other names include,
Gift Chimanikire, my good friend Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga and
Professor Heneri Dzinotyiwei. Anyone is free to submit their CV, although
they would have to come via a province."

The Standard on Friday tracked Mutambara in South Africa. Asked to comment
on reports that he would take over the leadership of the MDC, and
subsequently spearhead a campaign to liberate the country from Zanu PF, he
laughed long and then said he was travelling and therefore could not discuss

"I am coming to Zimbabwe tomorrow. Can't we meet on Sunday and then you can
do your story afterwards," Mutambara suggested.

When contacted again yesterday, Mutambara said: "I am not making any public
comments at the moment."

Mutambara's background in student activism and a sound academic background
could win him many followers keen to give a fresh impetus to the democratic
struggle in Zimbabwe.

Mutambara, who led UZ students in high profile protests against the ruling
party's proposed one-party state and the chaotic socio-economic and
political situation in Zimbabwe in the 1980s, has excelled as an academic
and is an expert in the field of robotics.

After serving as head of a leading bank in Africa, Mutambara is now based in
Sandton, South Africa, where he is the managing director of Africa
Technology and Business Institute (ATBI).

He is well-connected internationally and has been singled out as one of the
future leaders of Africa.

Besides the president's position, the pro-Senate faction is not expected to
make significant changes to its leadership.

Vice president Gibson Sibanda will retain his position as well as Secretary-
General Professor Welshman Ncube. Misihairabwi-Mushonga is likely to take
over the chair of the Women's Assembly.

William Bango, Tsvangirai's spokesperson yesterday refused to comment on
developments in the pro-Senate faction.

"We don't want to say anything about the activities of people who have left
the party," Bango said curtly.

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Ministers terrorising me, cries Zanu PF official

Zim Standard

By Nqobani Ndlovu

BULAWAYO - A senior Zanu PF official has told a Bulawayo Court that top
government officials are terrorising him after he refused to endorse the
nomination of Vice President Joice Mujuru and exposed them for multiple farm

Suspended Matabeleland South ruling party chairman, Lloyd Siyoka, told
Matabeleland North provincial magistrate John Masimba that government
ministers turned against him since he had exposed their corrupt activities
and clear defiance of President Robert Mugabe's one-man-one farm policy.
Siyoka, facing charges of defaming Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi, told
the court that the charges were trumped up because of his frosty relations
with the minister and other top ruling party politicians.

Mohadi, who is also the MP for Beitbridge, filed criminal defamation charges
against Siyoka over utterances he allegedly made at a meeting at Elangeni
Training Centre in Bulawayo in November 2004 that Mohadi drew a gun and
threatened to shoot him.

In his defence, Siyoka accused Mohadi and the other witnesses of taking up
the matter because of their political differences from the time he assumed
chairmanship of the province.

Siyoka said his differences with Mohadi started in 2003 after he had refused
to evict war veterans allocated land at a farm in the province to pave way
for the Minister.

He said his relationship with the Minister deteriorated when he refused to
issue a public statement stating that Mohadi did not own a number of farms.

According to Siyoka, sour relations with John Nkomo started during his
tenure as the Minister of Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement, when during a
central committee meeting he pointed out that there was chaos on farms as
people were being arrested and evicted on a daily basis.

On utterances he allegedly made against Mohadi, Siyoka said: "I told the
President that the local leadership was victimising us. I said that Mohadi
had threatened to shoot me ... I did not see the gun but when Mohadi was
threatening me he was shivering and his hand was in his pocket. My
assumption was that he wanted to produce a gun."

Testifying last Monday, Mohadi said Siyoka told the President at the meeting
that he produced a gun.

The trial continues on 13 March.

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Zanu PF bars NCA members from buying maize

Zim Standard

By Godfrey Mutimba

MASVINGO - Members of the National constitutional Assembly (NCA) in Masvingo
have cried foul over the distribution of grain in rural areas. They allege
that they are being barred from buying maize by Zanu PF officials who link
them with the opposition MDC, The Standard has learnt. A massive grain
shortage has hit the province as the Grain Marketing Board provincial depot
has not been distributing grain to most districts in the province. Officials
attribute this to erratic supplies of the much sought after commodity.

However, when the few deliveries that are made after long period arrive, NCA
members say they are being turned away from various selling points by ruling
party officials.
The NCA has been conducting workshops in the rural areas in a bid to
sensitise the rural folk to the importance of drafting a new constitution.

However, ruling party officials are allegedly targeting people who attend
these workshops.

NCA members who spoke to The Standard said they were facing difficulties in
accessing maize meal as the ruling party instructed councillors and chiefs
to exclude them from buying lists.

"We are being turned away by our councillors and Zanu PF officials whenever
we go to the selling points to buy grain on the few occasions that it is

"They say we are linked to the MDC because the NCA is anti-government. Our
families are starving because sometimes we go for weeks without eating

sadza, '' said Shadreck Guruva from Zaka.

The most affected members are in Chivi, Zaka, Mwenezi and Chiredzi.

Mabel Sikhosana, NCA vice chairperson, confirmed to The Standard that their
members from all the seven districts of the province were being denied the
right to buy grain from GMB. "We have received reports from our members in
different districts that they are not allowed to buy grain by ruling party
officials who accuse them of links to the MDC.

"As NCA, we are going to take the matter up with the help of our legal
advisers because it is not right to bar one from buying maize just because
of joining our organisation. We are not a political party,'' Sikhosana said.

Sikosana said more than 1 000 people in the province were affected.

Last year Zanu PF barred all members of the opposition MDC from buying grain
in a bid to fix them for supporting the opposition during the March
parliamentary elections.

Zanu PF provincial chairperson, Samuel Mumbengegwi, was not immediately
available for comment. His mobile phone was continuously not reachable.

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Microbicides trials in fight against Aids

Zim Standard

By Foster Dongozi

MASVINGO - Trials are being conducted on the use of microbicides in the
fight against the spread of HIV and Aids and Sexually Transmitted

Three organisations, Women AIDS Support Network, Women Action Group and
Musasa Project have been appointed as national trainers and to galvanise
other AIDS organisations in leading lobbying and advocacy programmes for the
provision of microbicides.
The trials are being conducted under a programme supervised by the
University of Zimbabwe in partnership with the US based University of
California and San Francisco.

Microbicides are substances in the form of gels or creams that are inserted
in the vagina before sex.

They prevent the transmission of HIV and STIs, according to researchers.

Activists involved in the fight against HIV and Aids said the advantage with
microbicides was that they empowered women in that their use was controlled
by women.

The executive director of WASN, Mary Sandasi, said: "Microbicides are a
revolutionary introduction in the fight against HIV and Aids in that they
empower women by reducing their vulnerability to infections of HIV and STIs.
In many instances women are not able to negotiate for safe sex in marriages
or relationships. The introduction of microbicides empowers them to protect
themselves from infection."

Angeline Chiwetani, the National Co-ordinator of Network of Zimbabwe
Positive Women (NZPW), said the microbicides represented a revolutionary
breakthrough in the fight against HIV.

"One of the reasons why the fight against HIV and Aids has not been
effective is that in most cases is that if women insist on protection like
using male or female condoms, they are accused of having loose morals. This
resulted in many women submitting themselves to unprotected sex, resulting
in many exposing themselves or their partners to HIV infection. The
advantage with microbicides is that women in abusive relationships can
protect themselves and their partners from infection. In addition, for
couples living with HIV, the advantage is that microbicides will ensure that
there is no re-infection."

A Bulawayo based AIDS organisation, Mission to Live Trust, says it has also
thrown its weight behind the project and has already started awareness
programmes in the city.

Mandlenkosi Sibanda, the organisation's executive director said: "The use of
microbicides is a good concept that will enable women to make more informed
decisions about their sexuality. The idea needs the backing of both men and
women to ensure that its use is accepted by all."

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New political party set to be launched in Bulawayo

Zim Standard

By our staff

BULAWAYO - A newly formed party, the Patriotic Union of Mandebeleland (PUMA)
led by the former president of the Zimbabwe Teachers' Association and
ex-Zanu PF councillor Leonard Nkala, is expected to be launched within the
next two weeks.

"We have done enough ground work for launching the party whose aim is to
ensure that the people of Matabeleland are not marginalised by the ruling
elite. We expect to launch the party within the next two weeks," said Nkala,
the party's interim president.
Nkala said the official launch would be in the party's nerve centre,
Bulawayo, where he expects hundreds of people to attend.

He could not reveal PUMA's sources of funds claiming that, with or without
money, the party was set to change Zimbabwe's political landscape.

The party, seeking to divide Matabeleland and the Midlands into eight
provinces and the devolution of powers to these regions, has already drafted
its constitution and election manifesto, with the former indicating that
they will participate in all elections in Zimbabwe.

The manifesto says PUMA will fight for the redistribution of land acquired
by the government since 2000 in the two regions and allocated to outsiders,
as well as the setting up of a commission of inquiry into the death of more
than 20 000 Zimbabweans in Matabeleland and the Midlands in the 1980s.

The party is looking at the recruitment of local people for top government
posts, claiming that 90% of individuals currently occupying such positions
are outsiders from Mashonaland.

According to its election manifesto, the division of the provinces in the
two regions is based on the nation established by King Mzilikazi whose
kingdom stretched from Tate River in Botswana to Munyati River in Kadoma.

Against this background, Nkala dismissed suggestions that PUMA was a
regional party aiming at making a State comprising Matabeleland and the

"We are not a tribal party. We are not looking at secession but
concentrating our efforts on the self-determination of the people of this
region. We recognise all the structures of government although we favour the
concept of devolution of powers to provinces. It is far-fetched to think of
making the Midlands and Matabeleland a separate state from the rest of the
country," Nkala said.

The party's interim secretary-general and former Zanu PF publicity secretary
for Bulawayo Province, Sikhumbuzo Ndiweni, said members of PUMA's interim
executive committee were drawn from Zanu PF and both factions of the
opposition MDC.

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Angry students mount 'jambanja' over fees

Zim Standard

By Vusumuzi Sifile

STUDENTS at the country's state universities are bracing for more
demonstrations aimed at forcing university authorities to scrap a new fee
structure that will result in students paying $93 million in tuition and
accommodation fees.

Property worth several billions of dollars was destroyed last week when
disturbances rocked the National University of Science and Technology (
NUST) in Bulawayo.
Unhappy with the fees, students threw stones at the administration block
destroying window panes. Medical students at the University of Zimbabwe
boycotted lessons in Harare, protesting against the new fee structure.

For the first time all students at state universities will be required to
pay their own fees.

In a notice published two weeks ago, the UZ urged all students to pay the
new fees "promptly".

Medicine and Veterinary Sciences students residing on campus will now pay
$93 million a year in tuition and accommodation fees. Those in Engineering
and Natural Sciences will pay $37 million in tuition fees and another $48
million if they live on campus, putting the figure at $85 million. Students
in Arts and Humanities programmes will pay $30 million in fees, with
accommodation and meal costs pushing the figure to $78 million.

The Standard understands the second semester of the 2005/2006 academic year
has been moved to 27 February to allow students to pay fees.

UZ Students Executive Council treasurer, Simba Muponda, said students would
not pay the "ridiculous fees" on time because of the short notice.

He said temperatures were running "very high" among students, staff and

"Most of us can not afford these fees, that is why we apply for government
loans," he added.

The students receive loans of only $17 480 000, $13.3 million and $11.4
million respectively. The loans are far less than fees for one semester,
meaning students would be required to pay the remaining amount. Before this
latest increase, students were paying fees of between $900 000 and $3.5
million, leaving them with a huge chunk of their loan.

An official at the UZ bursar's department told The Standard that students
would not be allowed to attend lectures unless they paid the new fees.

"There is nothing unusual with these fees as they are less than what most
pre-schools and boarding schools are charging per term. All those who do not
pay will not be given keys to their halls of residence," said the official.

But Washington Katema, president of Zimbabwe National Students' Union
(ZINASU), said they were going to demonstrate against the new fees.

"Our concern is very clear and demonstration is inevitable. Parents must be
co-operative and not pay the new fees because they were unilaterally
decided," Katema said.

"We wanted to negotiate, but these people unilaterally decided to impose the
new fees on us. No more negotiations! We are going to demonstrate," he said.

Regis Gunda, the secretary general of the Association of University Teachers
(AUT) could not be reached for comment yesterday but some lecturers at the
UZ said they were prepared to go on strike in solidarity with the students.

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Masvingo teachers duped $61bn

Zim Standard

By our staff

MASVINGO - More than 14 000 members of Masvingo Teachers' Savings and Credit
Co-operative Society (MTSACCOS) were left high and dry after about $61
billion in their society accounts went missing, The Standard has learnt.

MTACCOS, a registered co-operative, was formed in 2003 by teachers in the
province who envisaged a financial pool where they could access cheap loans.
Teachers first contributed to the society and were later able to borrow
money at 15% interest.

But at an Annual General Meeting held last Saturday at Victoria Junior
School, it emerged that financial accounting systems at the society were lax
and the teachers may have lost their saving to an internal fraud.

The society's management committee has since been suspended and the police
Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has started investigations.

An external auditor's report in the hands of The Standard reveals that about
$30 billion from members' contributions is unaccounted for.

The report says an identified official withdrew money from the club account
at CBZ amounting to $1 973 000 000, 00 from 10 February to 29 August last
year, allegedly without the knowledge of others members.

"We observed that a number of withdrawals in cash and bulk cheques were made
as follows CHQ NO CQ019101 by Mapepeta, on 10/2/2005, amount $200 000 000,
Since cash payments would be made for other reasons apart from loans and
refunds, one would expect a reconciliation of each bulk withdrawal. These
continued and are still happening,'' reads part of the report.

However, the external auditors said it was difficult for them to audit the
books of the co-operative, as there were no accounts.

"We brought this to the attention of management who told us to prepare the
accounts from the books and records of the society, which would be made
available to us.

"We requested for all the books and records and we were given cashbooks,
files for payment and bank statement files. The society operates five
accounts, four with the Jewel bank and one with Barclays Bank. The cash
books, files and bank statements which were given of the Jewel bank main
account were not balanced and all of them had false reconciliation
statements,'' says the report.

The report also noted that the management had no asset records and several
motor vehicles were not in the name of the society but in names of

"The society had no fixed asset register.we did not have sight of the bulk
assets. We were given a schedule of assets and their purchase prices.

"Some of the computers on the assets schedule are said to have been sold and
cash used to meet current expenditures without being properly accounted for.
All the motor vehicles are not in the name of the society; they have no log
books; they have no service/repair records," said the report.

The report also claimed that Mapepeta, who could not be reached for comment,
was the manager of the loans committee, supervisory committee, accountant
and the internal auditor.

The disgruntled teachers elected a new management committee led by a
Masvingo teacher Ephraim Matanda to carry over on an interim basis.

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Workers face eviction after mine closure

Zim Standard

      By our correspondent

      CHINHOYI - Workers at Golden Kopje Mine, wholly owned by McDonald
Chapfika, a relative of he Deputy Minister of Finance, David Chapfika, which
was closed last month now face eviction from the mine houses. Workers, who
spoke to The Standard last week, said the move came as a surprise and has
left many wondering what to do next. They said they were still to receive
their December salaries and chances that they will be paid their exit
packages appeared doubtful.

      To compound their misery, the 150 workers have received notices from
the Chinhoyi Municipality to vacate the houses they are occupying. Chinhoyi
Town Council executive mayor Risipi Kapesa confirmed they were taking over
the houses.
      The houses, according to the mayor, ceased to be mine property the
moment the mine closed. He said the initial agreement between the Council
and the mine was that in the event that the mine closed for whatever
reasons, the houses automatically became Council property. Although the
houses were put up by the mine, the land belongs to the Council.

      While the workers do not dispute the assertion by Council, they insist
that there is a clause which further states that the sitting tenants will
have the first right of refusal on purchasing the houses. The workers allege
that Council is "trying to short-change them because it wants to allocate
the houses to Zanu PF party members, the same way they did to 'Operation
Garikai' houses".

      They suspect they are being victimised because the mine was the venue
of the first activities that spearheaded the formation of the opposition MDC
in the province, setting the stage for a showdown between the workers and
the Council.

      A source privy to the developments at the mine said in January 2005
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe allocated $6 billion for the resuscitation of
the mine.

      Increments awarded in June 2005 were not paid until the mine closed,
according to the workers.

      The crisis at mine culminated into workers going on a strike, at one
time holding the mine management hostage until they were paid. They were
paid but at a cost as 13 of their colleagues, including four workers'
committee representatives, were suspended.

      Their case was still pending when the mine was forced to close
following an inquiry by Ministry of Mines.

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ZESA's $3.5b lin electricity bill shocks tenants

Zim Standard

By our staff

CUSTOMERS who receive outlandish electricity bills from the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) should think twice before paying - the
national power utility is prone to guess work.

Owners of 1 Kwame Nkrumah Avenue Complex in Harare were shocked recently
when they received an electricity bill of nearly $3.5 billion from the power
However, upon enquiry they were told it was a computer error!

The Zesa statement, for the consumption period from 11 November to 8
December 2005, says: "This bill is based on actual readings."

The complex, houses several companies including the ZimInd (Pvt) Limited,
publishers of two private newspapers, The Standard and Zimbabwe Independent.

One Union Owners Association (OUOA) chairman, Alan McCormick, said: "It was
shocking especially for me because I had been paying bills averaging about
$10 million a month. It just demonstrates how rotten the organisation is."

Thousands of customers are forced to pay huge bills which they receive and
if they fail, they are switched off.

Zesa has also not been sending statements but forces customers to pay huge
estimates. It blames Zimpost for the slow movement of its statements.

Zesa holdings corporate affairs manager, James Maridadi, responded
off-handedly, saying computer errors were common but suggested customers
approach the nearest Zesa offices if they had queries.

Meanwhile, a customer who stays in Harare's Grange suburb was recently asked
by Zesa employees based in Mabvuku to buy fuel for them so that they could
attend to fault in the area.

Maridadi's response? "It's not Zesa policy to require fuel from customers."

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Drug makers win concessions Franklin gothic head

Zim Standard

Our staff

THE GOVERNMENT has given in to pressure from pharmaceutical firms and has
removed customs duty levied on imported raw materials used in the
manufacture of anti-retrovirals (ARVs).

A senior official in the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers' Association (PMA)
revealed that the duty was removed last year between July and August.
"The government gave in after intense lobbying from the industry but the
issue is a very complex one and needs to be looked at in a holistic manner,"
said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The official could not immediately say what had caused the government to
give in to their demands.

The local pharmaceutical manufacturers were concerned by a situation where
local companies were being charged duty for raw materials while foreign
companies who imported finished drugs were exempted from doing so.

The scenario rendered locally manufactured drugs less competitive and very
few companies were interested in investing in the manufacture of the
potentially life-saving ARVs.

The manufacturers had allegedly been paying between five and 15% in import
duty for raw materials.

The government in the mid-1990s removed duty for finished drugs because the
country was facing a critical shortage of drugs in most health institutions
and the few drugs available were expensive.

Industry players argued that charging duty militated against the fight
against HIV/Aids because local pharmaceutical companies were reluctant to
invest in anti-retroviral drugs since locally manufactured drugs were more
expensive compared to imports.

Zimbabwe has one the highest number of people infected with HIV/AIDS with
nearly 2 million people living with the virus

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Mars launches air service

Zim Standard

by Bertha Shoko

THE Medical Air Rescue Services (MARS) on Wednesday officially launched a
new air ambulance as the medical service provider continues to improve its
service for its members.

The launch was held at the Harare International Airport and attended by
players in the health service industry as well as government officials from
the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare.
Health experts present at the launch commended MARS for continuing to
improve service for its members in spite of the economic meltdown Zimbabwe
is experiencing.

Speaking at the air ambulance launch the Minister of Health and Child
Welfare, Dr David Parirenyatwa, commended MARS for continuing to play a
major role in the medical field.

Parirenyatwa said the private ambulance provider's efficient services were
made possible by well-trained nurses and doctors, some of themtrained by his
ministry before they sought greener pastures.

MARS managing director, Jonas Mushangari, said the new air ambulance had
state-of-the-art equipment that he hoped would save many lives and reach
people requiring help in the shortest possible time.

The new air ambulance can accommodate two patients at any one time and 10
other people, including two pilots and one nurse and doctor

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NAC to spend 15bn on orphans under BEAM

Zim Standard

By our staff

THE National AIDS Council (NAC) has earmarked $15 billion during 2006 to the
Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) as part of its programmatic
intervention towards educational assistance targeting orphans and vulnerable
children due to AIDS.

NAC only makes contributions to BEAM when this is consistent with its
commitment to mitigate the impact of the epidemic in Zimbabwe. During 2005,
the council disbursed $5 billion to BEAM.
HIV and AIDS, according to the council, are leaving a trail of orphans and
vulnerable children, who have various needs such as education, shelter,
food, psychological interventions and others.

Apart from the funds disbursed to BEAM, the council also provides school
uniforms, stationery and toiletries to orphans and vulnerable children. A
total of 16 160 pupils were supported with school uniforms, while 43 693
received stationery assistance in 2005.

NAC said last week that orphans and vulnerable children as well as people
living with HIV and AIDS also received assistance in the form of blankets
and food packs. A recommended standard food pack contains matemba, maize
meal, cooking oil, peanut butter, sugar beans, soya mince, honey and salt.

Resources targeted for mitigation are being spent on income-generating
projects under the seven District Response Initiative and the Zunde
Ramambo/Isiphala Senkosi project in order to strengthen food security at
community level.

Under the scheme, chiefs are expected to feed orphans as well as other
vulnerable groups including child-headed families and widows, using harvests
from the Zunde Ramambo/Isiphala Senkosi project.

During 2005, NAC spent more than $39 billion on mitigatory interventions in
the whole country.

NAC said the challenges faced in this exercise included the growing number
of orphans and vulnerable children, when in fact the resources are not
increasing in value terms. Interventions have also been strained by shortage
of commodities that is coupled with ever increasing prices.

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It's never too late to do the right thing

Zim Standard


ZIMBABWEANS will welcome President Robert Mugabe's plea to Britain to build
"formidable bridges" between the two countries, because it is a belated but
nevertheless important acknowledgement that the direction this country has
pursued over the past six years has not yielded results that are in the
interests of the majority.

After six years of being on the offensive, Mugabe realises the return on
this investment is not worth the while. The evidence is overwhelming: never
in the history of independent Zimbabwe have shortages of basic commodities
been so acute. Agriculture has collapsed to record low levels during the
past quarter of a century.
An example will put Zimbabwe's predicament in its proper context: The
tobacco crop that is a major foreign currency earner at less than 60 million
tonnes this year is a quarter of the size the country produced six years

Foreign currency earnings from the "golden leaf" will be considerably less
than last year's.

The new British Ambassador Andrew Pocock flew into the country on Saturday
last week and inside a week he was presenting his credentials to Mugabe at
State House. Other envoys have been known to wait for months before their
accreditation. Therefore, the pace at which events moved for Whitehall's new
representative to Zimbabwe suggests a change of strategy by both countries.

Tony Blair, the British Prime Minister's absolute silence on Zimbabwe, while
he met other African leaders just south of the Limpopo, in South Africa,
signalled a change in the way London wants to do business with Zimbabwe.

Blair said: "There is a great deal of hard work ahead. I am convinced that
there is a growing consensus that an ambitious pro-development outcome is
possible. We need to make sure it is the poorest who benefit most."

Mugabe seems to have made an important concession when he told the new
British Ambassador: "We want you to help construct formidable bridges. We
need a bridge with the British. We politicians come and go, but the people
are there all the time."

Whatever Mugabe's understanding of "building bridges" is, there is no
denying that it is time Zimbabwe mended its relations with Britain and the
West so that Zimbabwe's poor benefit most. The abandonment, 10 months later,
of "Operation Garikai" houses meant for victims of the government's
so-called "Operation Murambatsvina" is an example of how the country's poor
have not been able to benefit as a consequence of Zimbabwe's strained
relations with the West.

The speed with which Zimbabwe accredited the new British Ambassador would
suggest a change in strategy in the way Harare wants to relate to London.
Mugabe's address when Pocock presented his credentials seems to suggest as
much. It takes great men to admit the necessity for change, but it requires
men with greater leadership qualities to change the destiny of their

In the case of reconciliation, after Zimbabwe's independence, the common
understanding was that of forgetting about the past wrongs and forging a
better future for Zimbabwe. But the meaning of reconciliation evolved into
something else. We expect that when Mugabe told Pocock to "report reality"
he had no other latent meanings in mind.

Former Kenyan president Daniel arap Moi committed many errors of judgement
that were not in the greater interests of his nation. But when he realised
that the will of the majority needed to prevail and agreed to step down,
Kenyans forgave him because he put the interests of the nation first than

Similarly, Zimbabweans would forgive Mugabe for the hardships he has caused
them if he is embarking on genuine mission to restore relations with Britain
and the West, for the benefit of the people of this country.

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Security stalls Frontier Park

Zim Standard


SECURITY concerns are threatening the progress of the Great Limpopo Trans
Frontier Park amid reports that the Zimbabwean government does not have land
to resettle villagers from Sengwe.

The Governor for Masvingo, Willard Chiwewe, said the government wants the
villagers out but admitted that would take longer than expected because they
do not have land to relocate them.
"We will remove them as soon as we have an alternative place to relocate
them. Right now we do not have the actual land," Chiwewe said.

The Governor, however, said a committee in the district was looking into the
problem to avert a crisis.

The State will have a hard time convincing the Sengwe community who are
adamant they will not move out of the park, they consider their ancestral

The Sengwe community were moved out of the Gonarezhou to pave way for the
establishment of the park in 1975 but invaded it at the height of the Land
Reform Programme in a development that has irked Zimbabwe's partners in the
project - Mozambique and South Africa .

Fears are that their stay could create security concerns chief among which
would be fuelling poaching and increased animal and human conflicts.

National Parks and Wildlife Authority public relations officer, Major Edward
Mbewe, said they are keen to see the community leaving.

"As Parks we want them out. We have reserved that area as an extensive zone
for the rhino," Mbewe said.

A meeting was held in Masvingo and culminated in a tour of Sengwe but
according to Mbewe there was no consensus on the how to handle the
relocation of members of the community.

"There was a tour. Our director (Dr Morris Mtsambiwa) went there but no
decision was made. Another meeting has been scheduled for the 23rd of this
month (this week) to map the way forward," he said.

Mbewe said progress on the Great Limpopo Trans Frontier Park would go ahead
despite the security concerns.

"We cannot stop it (GLTP) because of security concerns. There are more
advantages to having the GLTP," Mbewe said.

But official reports said progress would be stalled because of outstanding
security worries.

Among these are the illegal activities that would be fuelled by the removal
of fences dividing the Kruger National Park of South Africa, Gonarezhou of
Zimbabwe and the Limpopo National Park of Mozambique.

Mbewe said the fences were still to be removed but did not anticipate
"problems" once that has been done.

However industry officials told Standardbusiness last week that the three
parties were edgy about their removal with suggestions of creating periphery
border posts having been dismissed by South Africa, which raised worries
that it, could increase border jumping.

Incompatible legislation was also raised as a concern with fears that it
could fuel poaching because of the varying penalties imposed on those

"There was also the case of clearly defining roles among security officers
to reduce negligence. A number of security agencies would be present
including defence, police, veterinary and the challenge would be to
co-ordinate roles so that people do not neglect their duties and blame it on
someone else. For Zimbabwe, it would also be providing the necessary
infrastructure given the lack of funds," said an official.

The tourism industry last year said it was unhappy at the progress being
made by the National Parks and Wildlife Authority to develop the Gonarezhou
and was reluctant to invest.

Mbewe said the three parties had established a security committee to deal
with the worries but did not elaborate the progress made.

The GLTP project began after the heads of states for the three participating
countries signed a treaty in 2002.

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Stay of execution for Zim, but IMF axe still hanging

Zim Standard


THE International Monetary Fund let Zimbabwe off the hook last week but with
a strong warning to improve economic policies and pay off other debts to be
eligible for funding.

The Bretton Woods institution was considering compulsory withdrawal for the
Southern African country but reversed the decision after a payment of US$9
million that settled its outstanding obligations to the General Resources
The GRA is a fund made temporarily available to members to provide them with
an opportunity to correct maladjustments in their balance of payments.

The IMF however said the payment did not guarantee an improvement in
relations and maintained that Zimbabwe remained excluded from the Poverty
Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF)-Exogenous Shocks Facility Trust to
which it owes S$119 million.

"Zimbabwe still has substantial overdue obligations to the Poverty Reduction
and Growth Facility (PRGF)-Exogenous Shocks Facility Trust amounting to SDR
83 million (US$119 million). Zimbabwe, therefore, remains excluded from the
list of PRGF-eligible countries," said the IMF in a statement released last

The Board still has to consider the country's co-operation with the Fund and
the suspension of its voting rights all of which will top the agenda at the
8 March meeting, the IMF said

"The Executive Board is scheduled to conduct its next regular review of
Zimbabwe's arrears to the Fund on 8 March 2006. At that time, Executive
Directors will have an opportunity to consider Zimbabwe's co-operation with
the Fund on policies and payments, as well as the remaining sanctions and
remedial measures relating to Zimbabwe's arrears," it said.

The sanctions include the suspension of Zimbabwe's voting and related rights
in the Fund, ineligibility to use Fund resources under the GRA, declaration
of non-cooperation, and suspension of technical assistance, the Bretton
Woods institution said

The IMF Board suspended Zimbabwe's voting rights on 6 June 2003 because of
Zimbabwe's lack of co-operation in policy implementation and payments.

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Scepticism over RBZ money market measures

Zim Standard

marketwatch with Deborah-Fay Ndhlovu

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe last week increased its bank rate and
introduced an average rate for Treasury Bills in a bid to evoke activity
onto the sluggish money market.

Activity on the money market has been dampened by hyper-inflationary
conditions that have reduced returns for investors.
But the increase in the bank rate to 650% for secured lending and 660% for
unsecured lending and the capping of the TB rate is expected to make the
money market attractive to the public.

The RBZ has adopted a new policy on the TB and will be allotting tenders at
an average rate. What they do not want is for the market to take positions
ahead of the RBZ and offload the TBs in a surplus market at ridiculous
margins like what used to happen in the old system," said Washington
Mehlomakhulu of Highveld Financial Services

However, Mehlomakhulu said the increase in the bank rate was unlikely to
induce an upward movement in short-term rates which remained low at an
average of 10% last week on the back of a $63 billion surplus on the money
market on Tuesday.

These developments on the money market however brought commotion onto the
stock market, hindering chances of a recovery.

The equities were expected to claw back reasonable gains last week after the
release of the inflation figures but fear over an anticipated rise in
interest rates took its toll on the local bourse.

The industrial index made some marginal gains on Monday to open the week
1.59% higher at 43 219 392.66 points after announcement that inflation had
risen to 613%.

The lustre however did not last long with the benchmark index dropping,
070.68% on Valentine's Day to close lower at 43 217 321.98 points.

Wednesday was an even sadder day for the equities, which receded a further
0.31% to close the day at 43 084 780.63 points.

Analysts said speculation of an interest rate hike fuelled losses of the
industrial index.

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Mineral price boom no joy for Zimbabwe

Zim Standard

By Our Staff

FIRMING international prices are unlikely to rescue Zimbabwe's ailing mining
industry without a corresponding depreciation in the exchange rate, the
industry has warned.

International prices for major minerals like gold, platinum and nickel have
been on an upward trend but Zimbabwe is wary that it will not reap the
benefits if the exchange rate remains fixed.
"The mining industry needs a competitive exchange rate. I do not foresee
their problems ending in the future if the rate is not revised because that
would mean limited foreign currency reserves to replace ageing equipment. So
they will not derive much benefit from the firming international prices,"
said Best Doroh, a senior economist with Finhold.

Platinum prices rose by 9% this month on the international market driven by
a strong demand to US$ 1 073 an ounce.

Gold also followed on hot on the heels with a 7 % increase in prices to
US$569 an ounce while copper and nickel each rose by 8 and 12 % to US$5 000
and US$15 500 respectively.

However the Zimbabwe dollar remained stagnant, only rising to $ 99 201.58
against the US dollar since the announcement by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
that it was introducing volume based adjustments of the exchange rate.

The president of the Chamber of Mines, David Murangari, said the industry
was worried about the consequences of capping the exchange rate on mining

"After the October monetary policy we hoped to see improved production. We
are still trying to understand the outcome of the recent moves but our fear
is that the changes will create a situation where the exchange rate remains
fixed for long periods. If that happens production will be affected,"
Murangari said.

Zimbabwe was hoping to change the fortunes of the mining industry after a
recession that saw a 34 % and 10 % decline in gold and nickel output
respectively last year. The country produced 14 tonnes of gold in 2005
compared to 21 tonnes in 2004.

Asbestos, palladium and platinum however bucked the trend to outpace gold in

Local production of asbestos went up by 17 % to 122 041 tonnes in 2005
despite an international campaign against their use while platinum and
palladium rose by 9 % each to 4.8 tonnes and 3.9 tonnes respectively.

Copper production went up by 8 % to 2.6 tonnes in the period under review
after fears of a decline in world output drove prices up.

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Employers struggle to contain soaring costs

Zim Standard

By Our Correspondent

MUTARE - Business executives here say they are outsourcing more and more of
their labour requirements to broking specialists in a concerted effort to
contain runaway employment costs.

For some of the executives, this means they must actively seek contract
services with labour broking companies based in this border city.
"We're experiencing an upsurge in business transactions nowadays, as more
and more firms, both publicly-listed and those privately-owned, engage us in
providing labour," Charles Pemhenayi a managing director confirmed to The

"And, of course, they're getting value for their money. We're talking
savings that run into billions of dollars a year," said Pemhenayi, who set
up the consultancy as a family business in 1998.

The broking firm, with headquartered in the city's northern fringes,
provides and manages up to 6 000 workers a month on average. A majority are
employed in the forestry, food processing, tea plantations, timber
production, general manufacturing and tourism industries.

Labour outsourcing, while a flourishing industry in more developed
countries, has for the past few years remained an elusive enterprise. That
scenario, however, appears to be changing.

Senior company officials, both in the public and private sectors, are
targeting labour costs as a primary area for massive reductions.

They are forced to do this in attempts to stem the rivers of red ink on
their balance sheets, while grumpy shareholders and directors expect them to
meet demanding financial targets.

"In our case," said a senior manager with a timber-related firm, "the
decision to outsource or not translates to monthly savings of up to
$400-$600 million on our wage bill. We don't have much of a choice but to
outsource, do we?"

Another official, in the tea and coffee plantation industry, said labour
costs had "gone through the roof" leaving little choice of alternative
options. "It's a matter of survival, not just for the company but for
workers as well," said the official.

The managers asked not to be identified, citing client protection

As the executives spoke, representatives of labour, employers and the
government were meeting in Harare in talks designed to come up with
acceptable parameters for wage negotiations this year, as the country's
economic meltdown continues to play havoc with the survival of a majority of

The tripartite talks, scheduled to conclude later this week, are expected to
address, among other issues, the plight of workers who are reeling under the
effects of a spiralling rate of inflation.

The workers' wages, meanwhile, remain far below the $17 million peg, set as
the poverty datum line by the Consumer Councils of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe, the
main watchdog group.

The outcome of the Harare talks, business leaders here agreed, could have a
direct bearing and far-reaching consequences on their companies' operations.

This is where, they asserted, companies like CBC Consultancy play a critical

In that regard, the broking firm said it would organise a workshop in about
two weeks in Harare that would exclusively dwell on labour outsourcing.

"Many company officials, unfortunately, are afraid of change management and
would try and resist the introduction of concepts such as outsourcing," the
managing director said.

"We'll be trying to correct such misconceptions, showing the advantages
assorted with this trend, which is really widespread in other countries
elsewhere. We want to discourage executives from resisting change at the
expense of shareholder values."

Pemhenayi's company, which opened an office in the capital last year, plans
to move there eventually.

While a reduction in the wage and salaries bill remains the prime motivator
for companies that opt for broking services, other variables are equally
attractive. For example, a firm eliminates expenses for preparing a payroll,
advertising for vacancies or legal and labour costs in the event of worker

One manager, who runs a medium-sized manufacturing operation said: "Since
our labour broker set up satellite offices at our premises to handle
contract workers and their needs, our employment exposure and risk as a
company has been reduced."

Moreover, supporters of outsourcing insist, the arrangement frees a
participating company to concentrate on its core operations, improving
productivity and efficiency.

"Each of the contracts we sign is tailor-made to meet the particular needs
of a client," Pemhenayi added.

While outsourcing is still in its infancy in Zimbabwe, prospects look
brighter in neighbouring South Africa, according to a recent study by
lecturers at the University of Cape Town.

The study, undertaken under the university's "Labour and Enterprise
Project", concluded that the number of firms "providing employment services
... in the formal sector would be in excess of 3 000" with millions of

The CBC Consultancy boss said: "We'll continue to network and conference on
the concept until we have real competition in labour broking. That will be
good for the workers, the employers and broking firms like ours."

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Zim Standard Letters

Divisions in MDC are a betrayal of the masses

AS Church leaders who share the responsibility of ministering to all the
people of this land we confess to being deeply troubled by the uncertainty,
confusion and widespread despair which have followed the collapse of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) as a single and united, national
opposition movement. We are equally troubled by the increasing factionalism
and tendency among those committed to the struggle for freedom and democracy
to allow themselves to be polarised according to the particular leader each
chooses to support. The provocative and inflammatory statements made by some
have only served to exacerbate the divisions, and we condemn them.

Lest there be any doubt we say again that we ourselves are non-partisan. We
are concerned with politics in the broad sense of the word which constitutes
a significant part of life and as such falls under the Lordship of our
Saviour Christ. But we do not take sides in party politics. We have no brief
for any particular party or faction of a party; we seek rather to bring
every existing and aspiring political party under the most searching
examination and critique of the Scriptures. The standards against which we
judge the policies and practices of every party are the most exacting
standards of all, namely those of the Servant King, Jesus Christ and the
kingdom values of truth, justice and compassion, especially for the weakest
and most vulnerable in society. Against these standards all parties fail
lamentably of course, but some represent honest attempts to serve the nation
and are worthy of support from individual Christians. Others are so far
opposed to the concept of servant leadership and the kingdom values that a
Christian cannot support them without betraying his or her Lord.
In this matter as we have said before we find the present policies and
practices of Zanu PF to be abhorrent to God - indeed to amount to an attack
upon his kingdom of truth and righteousness. It is our judgment that the
Sovereign God says to the present Zanu PF leadership as he said to King Saul
through his prophet Samuel: "Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
he has rejected you as king." (1 Samuel 15/23)

When God rejected Saul as leader of his people he anointed another to be
servant king under Him. That man was David, a man described by God as "a man
after my own heart". In the same way, just as the Sovereign Lord has
rejected those who now rule our nation we believe he waits to anoint another
leadership entirely, but they must be men and women after God's own heart -
wise, caring, humble and obedient to the word of God. They will be men and
women who aspire to leadership not because of what they can get out of it
but because of what they are willing to give of themselves. And they will be
men and women who are always willing to be held accountable by the people
for what they do or fail to do.

It is for this reason that we view the disintegration of what was once a
united opposition party committed to the democratic principles of freedom,
tolerance and non-violence with such dismay. The disintegration represents a
betrayal of the hopes and aspirations of millions of peace-loving
Zimbabweans who were looking for a radical break with the politics of lies,
violence and lawlessness entrenched under so many years of Zanu PF misrule.
Nor have those who have assumed the leadership of the resulting factions of
the MDC so far demonstrated the qualities of godly leadership for which the
nation looks.

At this moment of indecision in the nation's history we urge our fellow
citizens to commit themselves with us to the search for a new leadership of
Christian insight and integrity. We urge our people to reject the rush to
join one or other of the factions or new parties and the making of shallow
and superficial judgments about who is right and who is wrong. Instead we
urge a deeper Christian reflection and a closer examination of all those who
put themselves forward for leadership positions and what each one

It may be that the sovereign Lord has rejected all those who now posture as
leaders or potential leaders of his people. It may be that the prayers of
the faithful for deliverance from evil during the last six years of crisis
are about to be answered in a new and altogether unexpected way. In any
event it will fall to us as mature Christians to consider carefully the
character and record of any who offer themselves for the task of leading
this nation out of Satan's hold and creating the conditions necessary for a
new beginning under Almighty God.

We take heart from the promise of God which we understand to be directed to
his people engulfed as we are in deep crisis: "I know the plans I have for
you . plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a
future." (Jeremiah 29/11) Let us then reflect carefully and exercise a godly
discernment as we wait to hear what the Spirit says to the Church today.

Christians Together for Justice and Peace



How can parents pay for their children when they get peanuts?

I had the privilege of studying in South Africa, at the University of Fort
Hare, supported by the government, when it was still a government. What
triggered this article is the revelation by The Herald of 11 February 2006
that fees at the University of Zimbabwe had been increased.

I sympathise will fellow Zimbabweans who are yet to complete their degrees
at the UZ. What surprises me is not the increase because this is now normal
in Zimbabwe. The magnitude of the increase is also unsurprising for the same
The surprising part is that the government is unwilling to give workers
genuine salary increments but would endorse such astronomical fee hikes.

The same government would expect parents to pay fees, and set deadlines. I
really wonder what kind of people are governing this country. Do they at all

They refuse to give workers money but expect the same people to pay huge
amounts of money as fees. This is not only disgusting. It is also criminal
on the part of the government. This is a clear indication that the
government simply doesn't care.

According to the paradox of value, water is more important than gold but
gold, less important, is more expensive than water. Millionaires (elsewhere
except in Zimbabwe) are very rich people.

Paradoxically (for Zimbabwe) almost everyone in the country is a millionaire
and almost every millionaire is poor. I pray for Zimbabwe and through prayer
Zimbabwe will be born again.




No politics in church

I was astounded to watch Mashonaland Central Governor, Ephraim Masawi,
addressing a church gathering of the Johanne Marange sect, urging the
members to be patriotic to their "leaders".

As a member of that sect, I wish to remind the governor to stop putting his
political agenda in the limelight disguised as the word of God because
church gatherings are not political rallies.

TPZ WekwaMarange



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