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Report: Zimbabwe price police to prosecute overchargers

Monsters and Critics

Jan 7, 2008, 7:45 GMT

Harare/Johannesburg - President Robert Mugabe's price police are getting
ready to prosecute shopowners who are flouting price controls as Zimbabweans
struggle to afford the most basic goods, state media reported Monday.

The National Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC) set up after Mugabe's
controversial programme of price slashes in July has finished compiling a
list of manufacturers, shop owners and service providers who have been
circumventing gazetted prices and has handed over their names to the police
for prosecution, said the official Herald daily.

The Herald said recent weeks had seen a repeat of the price madness that
prompted the authorities to impose price slashes last year.

More than 23,000 people were arrested and fined in the blitz, which rapidly
emptied supermarkets. Many basics like meat, bread and cooking oil are still
in short supply. Shop owners hesitate to replenish their stocks because of
the low prices imposed by the NIPC.

Prices have shot up in recent weeks on the back of skyrocketing inflation
now rumoured to have topped 24,000 per cent and rampant cash shortages. A
single chicken was this weekend selling for more than 25 million Zimbabwe
dollars, more than a teacher's average monthly salary.

'We are aware of some manufacturers and service providers who are
contravening the pricing regulations. So the commission has listed them and
has since provided police with the information for them to take action,'
NIPC chairman Godwills Masimirembwa said.

'We have held meetings with some of the manufacturers, shop owners and
service providers and we asked them to stick to the stipulated prices but
some have decided not to, obviously prompting us to act accordingly,' he

An earlier threat from the NIPC to prosecute overchargers was shot down by
central bank governor Gideon Gono who said consumers could not expect prices
to remain the same in a hyperinflationary environment.

In a separate editorial the Herald said life had become unbearable for many
Zimbabweans because of the rising cost of goods.

Skyrocketing prices have left many Zimbabweans hopeless, not knowing where
their next meal would come from, despite availability of commodities in
supermarkets, said the Herald, urging police to swiftly prosecute errant
shop owners.

'We do not want the list to become one of those that are compiled just to
fill up office drawers, without taking deterrent action against the
offenders,' said the paper.

Manufacturers and storekeepers say they have no choice but to hike prices,
given the rapid fall of the local dollar against major international

Although the finance minister has fixed the official rate of exchange at
30,000 Zimbabwe dollars to 1 US dollar, on the unofficial black market the
greenback trades at between 1.8 and 5 million units.

© 2008 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur

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Zanu PF forces traditional leaders to head rural party structures

By Tichaona Sibanda
7 January 2008

Traditional chiefs in most parts of the Midlands province are being forced
to take charge of cell branches of the ruling Zanu-PF party, in attempt to
coerce villagers in rural areas to vote Zanu-PF, Newsreel learned on Monday.

Blessing Chebundo, the MDC MP for KweKwe, told us that headmen and chiefs
are being forced to join ruling party structures starting from cell, up to
district levels.

‘We have received reports of intimidation and we also have irrefutable
evidence of chiefs and headmen being forced to become part and parcel of
Zanu-PF. These are all well orchestrated moves by the regime to ensure they
force villagers in rural areas to vote Zanu-PF,’ Chebundo said.

Chebundo’s allegations come in the wake of reports over the weekend of
Zanu-PF tightening the screws on the operations of non-governmental
organisations perceived to be against the ruling party.

The Zimbabwe Standard reported that intimidation and harassment of NGO
workers by Zanu PF youth militia in rural areas was increasing as the 2008
elections draw nearer.

Political harassment is pronounced in rural areas countrywide where Zanu PF
purports to command most of its support. National Association for
Non-Governmental Organisations spokesman Fambayi Ngirande told the paper
they were concerned at the harassment of their affiliates.

He said; ‘We are worried by the increasing cases where workers of NGOs are
seen as enemies of the State. The NGO Human Rights Forum has documented
several such cases.’

The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) said it has recorded increased cases of
people being intimidated for their involvement in civil society activities,
ZPP said among the organisations targeted are the Civic Education
Network Trust, Zimbabwe Election Support Network, Women of Zimbabwe Arise
and the National Constitutional Assembly.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Harare says won’t touch farms protected under investment treaties

Zim Online

by Simplicious Chirinda Monday 07 January 2008

      HARARE – Zimbabwe says it will not evict white farmers occupying
properties protected under Bilateral Investments Promotion and Protection
Agreements (BIPA) until it puts together enough funds to pay the affected

      The decision to spare properties protected under the investment
treaties will come as a huge relief to hundreds of farmers whose properties
are still being targeted for seizure by senior government officials.

      According to minutes of a meeting held between Lands Minister Didymus
Mutasa and senior ruling ZANU PF officials in Harare last month, the
government ordered that the farmers should stay on their properties until it
raises enough funds to compensate the farmers.

      “They (the farmers) should remain there as the government is going to
compensate the former owners as per BIPA agreements,” said Mutasa in the
minutes of the meeting.

      The weekend meeting was called to thrash out issues concerning the
continuing occupation of farms, some which are covered under bilateral
agreements between Harare and foreign governments.

      Among those who attended the meeting were ZANU PF Mashonaland West
provincial chairman, John Mafa, Mashonaland West governor Nelson Samkange,
the President of the Senate Edna Madzongwe and State Policy Minister Webster

      ZANU PF officials have over the past few months led fresh farm
invasions particularly in Mashonaland West province as they sought to kick
out the remaining few white farmers in the country.

      There are just about 600 white farmers who are still occupying their
properties following the controversial land reform programme that saw
President Robert Mugabe parcel former white land to landless Zimbabweans.

      The government, which argued that the land reforms were necessary to
correct historical imbalances in land allocation, even disregarded BIPA
agreements during the mayhem.

      Under the terms of the agreement, farms and other investments should
be exempted from seizures.

      A group of 10 Dutch farmers have taken the Zimbabwean government to
the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes seeking
compensation following their eviction from the properties.

      The farmers say Mugabe should accept liability for breaching a
bilateral treaty signed between Harare and the Netherlands. The court is
still to rule on the matter. - ZimOnline

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Mugabe churchman conducts rival service in Harare

Zim Online

by Nigel Hangarume Monday 07 January 2008

HARARE – There was chaos as the Anglican’s St Mary’s and All Saints
Cathedral in Harare yesterday after ousted controversial bishop Nolbert
Kunonga held a rival service under heavy police presence.

Kunonga, who is a vocal supporter of President Robert Mugabe, is refusing to
leave office as archbishop of Harare after he arbitrarily pulled out the
diocese from the Province of Central Africa.

The Province of Central has since appointed the retired Bishop Sebastian
Bakare to take over from Kunonga.

On Saturday, Father Morris Brown Gwedegwe claimed Kunonga was still in
charge of the diocese.

"The only bishop who is there is Bishop Kunonga and you can see that all
priests attended our meeting," Gwedegwe said.

But events proved otherwise yesterday when the majority of the Cathedral
parishioners attended a service in the church's hall conducted by Father
Webster Mahwindo, who had been posted to Bindura by Kunonga two years ago.

Kunonga's faction held its own service at the same time in the main church,
led by Father Caxton Mabhoyi.

"We decided at our vestry on Saturday that we should hold a separate service
because we no longer recognise Bishop Kunonga," a warden of the Bakare
faction announced yesterday.

"Bishop Bakare will be formally appointed at a function which the leaders of
the Province of Central Africa will attend on February 3, and we hope our
colleagues would have seen the light and joined us."

The warden said they had to hire the police force for protection during the
service after violent skirmishes that have rocked the diocese since Bakare's

Kunonga's supporters have allegedly been attacking parishioners who back

Kunonga has in the past vociferously defended Mugabe over his controversial
policies particularly the violent seizure of white farms for redistribution
to landless blacks eight years ago. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe’s economic lights to get dimmer in 2008

Zim Online

by Tsungai Murandu Monday 07 January 2008

HARARE – Little is expected to change in Zimbabwe’s economic fortunes amid
bleak forecasts by analysts concerned about the impact of President Robert
Mugabe’s political policies ahead of this year’s watershed polls.

According to the analysts, Zimbabwe would continue to be a victim of Mugabe’s
political policies, especially as the country glides towards combined
presidential, parliamentary, senatorial and council elections that the
beleaguered Zimbabwean leader has to win at any cost.

Shortages of goods and services are expected to wreck havoc on the tottering
southern African economy once described by the World Bank as the worst
performing country outside a war zone.

A four-month shortage of banknotes has continued to hog the limelight
despite desperate attempts by the central Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to
rid the country of so-called cash barons.

The shortages are seen continuing for the foreseeable future as long as
inflation remains the country’s number one scourge.

Consultant economist John Robertson said one of the main drivers of the
economic meltdown would continue to be money printing during the next three
months as the government desperately tries to win votes.

“We expect much more inflation during the coming months because government
needs to continue printing money to finance its expenditure in the face of
its poor credit rating,” Robertson said.

The government would need to print more money to finance salary increases
for civil servants, political campaigning for the ruling ZANU PF party ahead
of the elections and to finance regular needs such as fuel and power

The RBZ is expected to continue scrounging the illegal foreign currency
market for hard cash to finance energy imports, helping to further weaken
the Zimbabwe dollar exchange rate and worsening the inflation outlook.

Zimbabwe’s headline inflation, estimated at nearly 15 000 percent last
October and considered the highest in the world, is seen climbing
drastically until March.

Bulawayo-based economic commentator Eric Bloch said month-on-month
inflation, which reflects movements in prices of goods and services, was
expected to rise between January and March driven by populist policies meant
to win the elections for ZANU PF.

“I see inflation averaging 120 percent for the first three months of the
year,” Bloch told ZimOnline.

He, however, said headline inflation could ease to around 12 000 percent by
year-end on the back of a progressive easing of pressure on prices from May
assuming there is a change in the economic direction of the country.

The analysts said a change in the country’s economic fortunes would require
some painful policy decisions by whoever comes into power in March.

“I am expecting nothing to come from the elections unless there is a change
in political policies,” said Robertson.

These would include improving the productivity of the business sector and
viability of Zimbabwe’s export sector as well as a drastic cut in government
spending and returning agriculture to its former glory.

Zimbabwe’s industrial sector was last year estimated to be operating at
below 30 percent of its capacity, largely due to the government’s incoherent
economic policies such as price and exchange controls.

“Another price blitz, which we suspect the government could come up with
before the March elections, will effectively drive the industry into the
ground and cause more hardships for the whole spectrum of society,” said an
investment analyst who could not be named for professional reasons.

Mugabe ordered producers to slash prices by half last June under a campaign
to reduce inflation.

The price blitz triggered the closure of several companies in the
manufacturing and retail sectors. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe’s economic collapse almost complete

By Lance Guma
07 January 2008

Zimbabwe’s drift towards total economic collapse is edging closer to reality
as just about all sectors of the economy go into meltdown. Doctors, nurses,
magistrates, prosecutors and other court staff are on strike while the
entire population battles a crippling cash shortage that has denied people
access to their own money in the banks. This week began with reports that
banks were dealing with an additional problem. They are now unable to
dispense money because their machines rely on electricity.

The queues for cash have also cost the lives of many, including former
journalist Kevin Johnson. He was seriously ill with a chronic illness but
his family was unable to access money to pay a private clinic that was
demanding Z$600 million upfront. The electricity cuts also meant he was
unable to get a blood transfusion as the blood supplies had gone bad,
because of the lack of power for refrigeration. His wife called her brother
in-law to arrange for a bed without a deposit at St Annes Hospital in
Harare, but by this was time Mr. Johnson had bled to death.

Tourist destinations have not been spared. Those staying in hotels in the
lower Bvumba area have been without electricity since the 9th December.
Local papers say the theft of cables has made things worse and there is a
real likelihood the entire mountain range and surrounding areas could be
without electricity very soon. Hotels battled to honour bookings made by
their customers for the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Millions of urban residents in the country are also faced with chronic water
shortages as the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) battle to
maintain or even repair pumping equipment for water supplies. Even the heavy
rains wreaking havoc across the country have not helped reduce the water
problems. Foreign currency shortages have meant ZINWA is unable to import
much needed chemicals to treat water and as a result there is not enough
clean drinking water to service the major towns. There are reports of
dysentery and diarrhoea outbreaks in areas like Mabvuku and Tafara and these
are spreading to other parts of Harare.

Meanwhile magistrates who went on strike demanding better pay and working
conditions are reported to have rejected a 600 percent pay rise offer from
government. The state owned Sunday Mail reported that magistrates and
prosecutors were set to earn between Z$316 million and Z$1 billion a month,
following their 3 month strike which began in October. The Secretary in the
Justice Ministry David Mangota said they would pay the staff half their
salaries mid-month and the remainder at the end of the month. But our
correspondent Simon Muchemwa says the state media reports are misleading.
The strikers say only regional magistrates have been given awards in that
region, while the junior magistrates have been offered Z$150 million a
month. They say this offer is not enough.

As if to highlight the depth of the crisis the pay increases awarded to
civil servants by government have coincided with a hike in the cost of
utility bills. Zimbabwe’s hyper-inflation means any pay rises are
meaningless, within days.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Lessons for nation building

by Mutumwa Mawere

Zimbabwe – Nathaniel Manheru/Charamba and lessons for nation building

Zimbabwe will turn 28 this year not because the country did not have a
history prior to independence but citizens chose to build a new civilization
in 1979 based on a just and democratic constitutional order underpinned by a
simple concept of self government.

The post colonial state was a product of a protracted civil rights struggle
and I would like to think that many would agree that the Zimbabwe of today
is not exactly what the struggle was meant to help establish.

On paper, Zimbabwe is a democratic state but if there is a more potent
threat to Zimbabwe’s constitutional order, Mr. Charamba, President Mugabe’s
chief spin doctor, would top the list.

He writes a weekly column that is published by the state controlled daily
newspaper, the Herald, in which he expresses views that exposes the extent
of the collapse of the semblance of a constitutional order that is normally
expected in a democratic society.

Having followed some of Charamba’s articles, I have come to the inescapable
conclusion that in as much as many people may believe that President Mugabe
is the sole poison pill to national progress, the real problem lies in our
generation of which Charamba can count as my contemporary but whose views
pose a much more significant problem for Zimbabwe to extricate itself from
the avoidable humanly created economic and political quagmire.

President Mugabe is on record saying that the destiny of Zimbabwe can only
be shaped by its citizens who ultimately should own the nation building
project. At the core of the foundational principles of the post colonial
state was the notion that citizens would create their own government and
express their wishes through the constitutionally defined channels.

It was never part of the deal that the constitution would be cynically
interpreted to allow a single individual to monopolize state power even in
the face of monumental failure and then rely on state power to intimidate
citizens into believing that there is no alternative than to surrender their
sovereignty to an exclusive club with the monopoly of abusing the media to
advance views that threaten the very constitutional order that the President
purports to uphold.

Although ZANU-PF has dominated the post colonial era, it cannot be said that
the framers of the constitution of Zimbabwe intended to create a situation
where the ruling party and the state would be one thing. Indeed, reading the
diatribe of Charamba confirms that either he is unaware that the state
belongs to citizens and ZANU-PF should be nothing but a club of believers
and members or he thinks that citizens should be mere pawns that are
occasionally used to legitimize through the electoral process a
predetermined outcome.

It seems odd that a civil servant working for the people would openly insult
his masters without whose sweat and taxes the state would not exist and
ultimately he would be in the ranks of the condemned majority poor.

Although he uses the name Manheru, his cover has already been exposed. He
is, evidently, not afraid to air his partisan and often offensive views as
would any rational civil servant working as a permanent secretary for a
state institution.

The head of the civil service under a properly functioning democratic order
would ordinarily be apolitical and the name Permanent Secretary was
deliberately chosen to highlight the permanency of the job. In other words,
the change of a government would ideally not have any impact on the civil

It cannot be said that Charamba behaves like a civil servant rather he
behaves like an intellectual terrorist armed with the venom that can only be
expected from a political commissar. It is evident that Charamba has reached
a point of no return and he has chosen to identify himself as a
revolutionary civil servant prosecuting a national democratic revolution
that so far has failed to confer real benefits to citizens.

To the extent that Charamba appears to believe that democracy, rule of law
and human and property rights are a nuisance, it is reasonable to ask why
President Mugabe, his principal, would subscribe to elections if the outcome
of such democratic experiments could produce undesirable outcomes.

Although the constitution of Zimbabwe is clear and deliberate in terms of
the bill of rights, the last 28 years have created an atmosphere of fear
where citizens who may aspire to be considered for political office are
easily dismissed, vilified and scandalised by so-called civil servants.

Would Charamba be prepared to serve any other person than President Mugabe?
Is it in the national interest for a highly opinionated civil servant to be
on the payroll of the state rather than the party?

Zimbabweans have allowed their civil service to be polluted by political
prostitutes who have no respect for the constitutional order that their
masters purport to respect.

Some have argued that due to externally influenced factors, Zimbabwe should
suspend the democratic order so that the state is not accountable to its
masters, the citizens, until the so-called bilateral dispute with the former
colonial master is resolved.

We can see in the actions of Gono and Charamba that they have accepted that
any other democratic choice expressed by the people of Zimbabwe would not be
acceptable if it did not yield a predetermined outcome.

ZANU-PF is supposed to be a juristic person in its own right with a separate
and distinct existence from the state. However, Charamba whose position in
the party is not known appears to have stepped into the shoes of Professor
Moyo to act in a Nazi-style manner with no regard to the constitutional
consequences effectively making the state an agent of the ruling party.

Ideally, any government should belong to all the citizens and transparency
would be the only basis on which a state can function in a democratic order.

In the minds of Charamba and similar sycophants it seems that they have
accepted that citizens should not have a right to question government
actions and even peoples’ representatives in parliament like Butau are
exposed to the worst form of intimidation.

I read Charamba’s article entitled “Zim: Lessons from a splitting rainbow”
that was published by the Herald on Saturday, 5 January 2008. Charamba is
characteristic style was not interested in state matters but with the threat
to ZANU-PF of an alleged project to broaden the menu of political options
available to Zimbabweans in the forthcoming elections.

It is not surprising that Charamba would hold Simba Makoni, a member of the
politburo of ZANU-PF, in contempt only because of allegations that he may be
considering becoming a candidate in the 2008 elections.

Ordinarily any civil servant working for the state in a democratic order
would be indifferent to political contestants but this is no longer the case
in Charamba’s Zimbabwe.

Charamba has no shame in using Makoni’s taxes against his democratic right
to make himself available if nominated to stand as a candidate.

Who would have thought that the country that the likes of Chitepo,
Tongogara, Joshua Nkomo, Ndabaningi Sithole and others would end up a
hostage of people like Charamba and his ilk.

His dismisses Makoni using the state newspapers without allowing citizens to
make their own informed choices. If Makoni is disqualified because of
incompetence I am not sure what rational Zimbabweans would say freely about
the performance of the state over the last 28 years under Charamba’s boss?

Charamba then goes on diminish the role played by Ibbo Mandaza whose record
in the post colonial state is well established. I am informed that Mandaza
worked for the state for 10 years and it is irresponsible for anyone working
for the same administration to seek to undermine the record of a former
colleague just because he has chosen to exercise his constitutional right to
seek to advance the cause of change.

I should point out that I hold no brief to represent both Makoni and Mandaza
but find it unacceptable that Charamba would arrogate to him the role of a
custodian of the national democratic revolution project in a partisan

If it is true that Makoni is associated with a project that would increase
the available choices for Zimbabweans notwithstanding his alleged
questionable credentials, anyone who loves Zimbabwe and is cognisant of the
current policy bankruptcy and rudderless navigation would support such

Is it not strange that it now takes courage to even accept to be a candidate
for political office in post colonial Zimbabwe, a country that rose from the
womb of colonial oppression?

I am not sure what the heroes and heroines buried at the heroes’ acre would
think of Charamba’s views against Tsvangirai, Chibhebe and others who have
taken it upon themselves that Zimbabwe needs a change of direction.

The real reason for me to write the article is partly to address the
comments made by Charamba in response to my article that exposed the
hypocrisy of the RBZ in the ongoing Butau saga. This is what Charamba had to
say:”Mawere, poor Mawere!

To have an opponent like Mutumwa Mawere is a blessing. You never struggle
for feedback. I am sure Charamba relishes his tango with him. I mean if such
a pithy line on Butau is acknowledged so profusely, so sanctimoniously, so
expansively, who needs to cast lots to tell where and how the blow has
fallen and has been received respectively?

What piqued and hurt this born-again South African? A mere reference to
fugitives who run and run until they unfailingly hit the shores of Albion?
Fugitives who know no other land to run to?

And he dares talk about Gono and patronage. He, of all people? What business
did he start here without Zanu-PF and Government guarantees and patronage?
Let him not push his luck too far, this clever-for-nothing bitter charlatan.
Tizvinyore. Ngaati pwee. Icho!

He obviously sees me as an opponent which is expected from any civil servant
that does not understand the role of the state. It is wrong for Charamba to
see my criticism of the manner in which he is politicising the civil service
as personal. I am sure that if the Public Service Commission still exists in
Zimbabwe, the comments made by Charamba about Butau and other so-called
fugitives would be of concern warranting disciplinary action.

As long as Charamba is an organ of the state it cannot be acceptable that he
thinks he is above the law. He makes the statement above that his comments
about the role of the West in allegedly undermining the interests of
Zimbabwe was not targeted at me and, therefore, I should stay out of the
fray as if to suggest that people are only entitled to comment on matters
that affect them personally.

Charamba recklessly uses the term “fugitive” to describe not only Butau but
Makamba, Mushore, Makoni, and others and attempts to make a distinction
between the so-called fugitives that are domiciled in the shores of Albion
and those domiciled in Africa suggesting that the term has territorial

The use of the term fugitive to describe the circumstances of Butau and
others is not only mischievous but irresponsible. According to what has been
published so far in relation to Butau, it is evident that he cannot be
classified as a fugitive for to be a fugitive one would have to fall in
anyone of the following categories:

1. If one has run away from Zimbabwe when charges were being formulated
against him;
2. If one has breached any bail given to him;
3. If one has escaped from prison
4. If one has left Zimbabwe to avoid any legal process;

Charamba is fully aware that all that Butau has done is simply to exercise a
constitutional right to require the government of Zimbabwe to act in terms
of the law if he is to face charges in Zimbabwe. We all know what happened
to Kuruneri, Makamba and others who after being unlawfully placed on remand
were eventually acquitted by the courts.

Would Butau have been treated any differently from Kuruneri, a former
cabinet minister, who only last week was set free by a Supreme Court judge?
Kuruneri’s circumstances are not different from the allegations against
Butau. What is striking is that Kuruneri, Butau and Makamba are all from
Mashonaland Central Province where Vice President Mujuru comes from giving
credence that the selective targeting of people by Gono may be driven by an
ulterior motive.

To the extent that the Zimbabwean police are looking for Butau for the
purpose of investigating certain allegations, he cannot be considered to be
a fugitive. He ran away from nothing and in any democratic society it would
be unacceptable for citizens to be presumed guilty before the intervention
of the judiciary. The outburst of Charamba goes a long way towards
confirming that Zimbabwe is no longer a democratic state in which the
separation of powers doctrine is applicable.

If a duly elected Member of Parliament and a Chairman of the powerful Budge
and Finance Committee is susceptible to intimidation then citizens have
reason to be concerned. Butau has not left Zimbabwe to avoid any legal
process but like Joshua Nkomo before him came to the conclusion that things
have fallen apart and no interests of justice would be served by exposing
himself to what the likes of Kuruneri endured.

It is interesting that Charamba is of the view that Butau ought to have been
included in the sanctions list and is angry that the British chose to omit
his name. Why would the government of Zimbabwe be concerned about a
sanctions list when the official position is that they are illegal? If Butau
is not on the sanctions list, then how can President Mugabe blame the same
ineffective sanctions on the economic collapse?

I am sure that Charamba is aware of the call by a state Prosecutor, Mr.
Tawanda Zvekare, in the Manjoro case in which Butau is alleged to have
facilitated the procurement of foreign currency for an investigation to
establish the circumstances surrounding the release of more than Z$7
trillion by the RBZ to Flatwater Investments, a shelf company.

He urged the court to give an order for thorough investigations into the
matter saying the central bank should have verified the suitability of
Flatwater Investments to be contracted to procure tractors for the
mechanisation programme before releasing the money. Charamba should be
concerned like any loyal and honest civil servant about what Manjoro said in
court regarding the mandate he got from the RBZ to import tractors from a
pre-selected foreign supplier, Michigan Tractors, a company allegedly
connected to Gono.

If Mr Zvekare can openly blame the RBZ, as reported by the Herald, for
disbursing Z$7 trillion without undertaking any due diligence on the
beneficiary, then why is it that Charamba sees no problem in focusing his
attention on the RBZ?

With respect to the RBZ’s role in the Butau saga, this is what Zvekare had
to say in court:

"The firm contracted Manjoro to source foreign currency on the black market
on their behalf, who also subcontracted several runners like (fugitive MP
David) Butau to assist him. The rest of the money given to Manjoro is not
accounted for and the rest of the money he gave to his friends is also not
accounted for. What we have now is a grand theft involving the RBZ itself.

I find it incredulous that a whole central bank of a country would release
trillions to a company on the strength of a mere letter, which was not
verified. This marks of a conspiracy between the central bank and the
company to steal all this money.

Right from the RBZ to the lowest runner at Road Port no mercy should be
accorded them. The court should give an order for thorough investigations
right up to the central bank to avoid a situation whereby the courts would
be only dealing with runners instead of cash barons and baronesses."

Even President Mugabe would agree that if what Zvekare said is true about
the RBZ then it would not be in the national interest for him not to take
responsibility for the decay.

Charamba then challenges my views on Gono and the mafia-style operations of
the RBZ. He alleges that my business was started with ZANU-PF and government
guarantees and patronage and then fails to expose how such patronage
manifested itself. Surely, for a spin doctor like Charamba it should not be
difficult for him to expose me. Why try to protect the public from knowing
the truth about my businesses? If my businesses were corruptly acquired,
then surely Charamba should not hesitate naming my accomplices? Why would
Charamba seek to expose Butau and then refuse to expose my alleged

He threatens me not to push my luck too far suggesting that if I heed the
message then he will have no incentive to tell the public the truth about
me. I am challenging Charamba openly to expose any information that may be
available to him substantiating his baseless allegation that I acquired
Shabanie Mashaba Mines (Private) Limited in 1996 using a government
guarantee. It is important that Charamba grows up and walk the talk. The
public deserves to know the truth.

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Breakdown plunges parts of Zimbabwe into darkness

The Herald (Harare)  Published by the government of Zimbabwe

5 January 2008
Posted to the web 7 January 2008


Some parts of Zimbabwe
were yesterday plunged into darkness following a major breakdown at Hwange
Thermal Power Station and a minor fault at Kariba Power Station.

The breakdown at the two power stations have resulted in the loss of at
least 80 megawatts at Hwange and about 125 MW at Kariba, which generates
about 730 MW at full capacity. The situation was also further worsened by
the electricity supplies, which were cut off by Mozambican power firms
Hidroelectrica de Mozambique and Electrica de Mozambique, which provide
300MW to Zimbabwe.

The affected towns and cities include parts of Harare, Kadoma, Chipinge,
Chegutu, Chiredzi and Marondera. In Harare, suburbs including Warren Park,
Hillside, Borrowdale, Avondale, Kuwadzana and Glen View were affected. The
power cuts also affected telephones as most landlines were down.Zesa
Holdings chief executive Engineer Benjamin Rafemoyo said electricity supply
disruptions and blackouts being experienced in some parts of the country
were as a result of the breakdown at Hwange and Kariba Power Stations.

"We had reduced electricity generation yesterday morning at Hwange Thermal
Power Station as all our mills were out as a result of the breakdown of
machinery that processes coal," Eng Rafemoyo said. The machines, which broke
down, are used to process wet coal. Eng Rafemoyo said the engineers were
working flat out to repair the units at Hwange, which should be running by
next week. In Kariba one of the units developed a leak and this led to
reduction in power generation but engineers were attending to the problem.
Eng Rafemoyo also said the refurbishment of other units at the power station
would increase generation and ease power cuts.

He said the power cuts were being worsened by the debt to Mozambican power
firms. "The major impact we have was the failure to access supplies from
Mozambique because of credit control issues. We hope they (Mozambique power
firms) will install us again," he said.Zesa recently reduced its debt to the
firms by US$7 million bringing to US$35 million the amount it has paid to
Hidroelectrica de Mozambique and Electrica de Mozambique.

In November last year, Zesa paid a total of US$28 million it owed the power

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"God Only Loves Mugabe"


By Elles van Gelder

JOHANNESBURG and PLUMTREE, South-Western Zimbabwe, Jan 7 (IPS) - Sikhumbuzo*
was only 18 when he left Zimbabwe for South Africa. He managed to find a
job, and sends home close on 150 dollars a month in cash and goods -- 
although he can’t say how many people he supports. Sitting in a café in the
financial hub of Johannesburg, Sikhumbuzo (now 25) tells of a mother and
sister in Bulawayo, south-western Zimbabwe; aunts, uncles and cousins also
get part of what he sends.

Hundreds of thousands of others find themselves in Sikhumbuzo's position,
and the influx of Zimbabweans to South Africa shows no signs of diminishing
as economic difficulties in their country deepen and the political crisis
there continues. Mismanagement of a state that was once a regional
breadbasket has brought about hyper-inflation, poverty and widespread
unemployment, obliging citizens to make their living across the border -- 
the principal destination being South Africa. The United Nations World Food
Programme estimates that four million Zimbabweans, about a third of the
population, are in need of food aid.

Ahead of elections scheduled for March, government has been engaged in talks
with the two factions of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), the target -- along with others -- of extensive human rights abuses
over recent years. But even as negotiations are underway, said Amnesty
International recently, violations continue.

Just over 40 percent of Zimbabwean migrants in South Africa take care of
three to four people, and 30 percent more than five people -- this according
to research conducted by the University of South Africa (UNISA) under the
auspices of the Zimbabwe Diaspora Forum, based in South Africa; the Mass
Public Opinion Institute, a non-profit in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare; and
the Institute for Democracy in South Africa.

For the study, a team interviewed 4,654 Zimbabweans in the Johannesburg
suburbs of Berea, Hillbrow and Yeoville. UNISA professor Daniel Makina, who
headed the team, thinks there are about 800,000 to a million Zimbabweans in
South Africa, far less than the more widely-cited estimates of two to three
million -- although he acknowledges that these figures need further

His findings show that most of the migrants left Zimbabwe after 2001. Their
motivation, at first, was related to intimidation and torture by government
forces. But for some time now, economic issues have topped the list of
reasons for leaving.

Those who manage to enter South Africa find that life in this country can
present a new set of difficulties. With unemployment at about 40 percent,
there is competition for jobs -- and feelings of anger towards migrants,
seen as reducing employment prospects for locals. Work, when it is
available, is often badly paid: 60 percent of Zimbabwean migrants earn less
than 300 dollars a month, Makina’s research shows.

The research also indicates that the vast majority of migrants send home
money or goods to an average value of about 40 dollars, monthly. This may
not sound like much; but when the number of Zimbabweans in South Africa is
considered, a different picture emerges. If there are indeed some 800,000
Zimbabweans in South Africa, of whom just half have work, then they could be
sending home upwards of 190 million dollars annually. Added to this is the
money sent by Zimbabweans living elsewhere in the region, and further
afield, notably Britain.

Florence, 48, is another migrant who is keeping a family afloat -- nine
people, to be precise. She arrived in South Africa at a time when it was
easy to get a work permit, and has now been in the country for 11 years.

Florence cares for the son of expatriates; none of her family members in
Zimbabwe is employed. They do own a piece of land near Plumtree in
south-western Zimbabwe where they grow vegetables -- but have struggled with
farming in past months because of poor rains.

Every month, Florence sends home money and goods such as maize meal,
paraffin, soap, sugar and clothing. She also sends building materials,
because she is putting up a house for herself on the family property.

On this land, some 800 kilometres from Johannesburg, goats wander around
amid Mopane scrub, the bells around their necks tinkling; granite hills can
be seen on the horizon. Florence's son lives in a one-room home, which
contains a bed, an old bicycle and some cupboards; he says his mother takes
good care of the family.

The relatives had planned to put on the roof of Florence's house last year,
but needed additional zinc sheets. Letting her know that two more had to be
sent the next month involved walking to a village about 15 kilometres away,
to make a call using the phone of a friend.

Makina says his research indicates that two thirds of the Zimbabwean
migrants living in South Africa would return home if the political and
economical situation north of the border improved. Florence is a case in
point. "My mother is old and needs my love. I am only here because I have to

Sikhumbuzo also wants to go back, but doesn't hold out much hope of being
able to do so soon. "I will only return when...President Mugabe is gone," he
says, in reference to head of state Robert Mugabe. "For a long time, I
prayed every day for change in Zimbabwe. I stopped. I think God only loves
Mugabe. For now, I will stay in South Africa."

* Certain names in this article have been changed to ensure the safety of
the people concerned.

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Zim prosecutors, magistrates weigh new salary offer

Zim Online

by Thulani Munda  Monday 07 January 2008

HARARE – Zimbabwe prosecutors and magistrates meet in Harare today to decide
whether to call off a three-month strike after the government offered to
hike their salaries by more than 2 000 percent.

The government at the weekend offered to hike the salaries of prosecutors
and magistrates to between Z$360 million and $1 billion. The court officials
have been on strike since last October demanding more pay to cushion them
against runaway inflation. Previously, the lowest paid among magistrates and
prosecutors earned Z$20 million per month.

The judicial officers, who are scheduled to meet at 11am at the regional
magistrates court in Harare, on Sunday expressed mixed feelings on the
government salary offer, which some described as “almost useless given the
rate of inflation and the high levels of taxation in the country.”

"I really wonder why they took so long to award the salaries, but most of my
workmates are pretty unhappy about it whilst others are just adopting a wait
and see attitude," said a prosecutor, who declined to be named.

Zimbabwe's economic crisis, highlighted by the world’s highest inflation at
about 8 000 percent, has since last year triggered wildcat strikes by
workers pressing for more pay.

Doctors, nurses as well as teachers have all at one point or another during
the past year boycotted work to press for more money, in a country that is
officially experiencing classical hyperinflation with prices rising by more
than 50 percent on month-on-month basis.

The Hospital Doctors Association, whose members have been on strike since
December, says a limited number of doctors have returned to work on
humanitarian grounds but most are still holding out for higher pay.

The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe warned last month that teachers
might not return to work when schools open for the new term next week unless
salaries were hiked to about $300 million per month up from about $20

Zimbabwe’s deep recession, which critics blame on repression and wrong
economic policies by veteran President Robert Mugabe, has left more than 80
percent of the country’s labour force without jobs and shortages of food,
fuel and foreign currency.

Mugabe, in power since Zimbabwe’s 1980 independence from Britain and seeking
another five-year term in elections in March, denies that his policies are
responsible for the economic meltdown and instead blames his country’s
problems on sabotage by Western governments he says are out to topple him. -

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Govt policy condemns thousands to poverty, ignorance

The Zimbabwean

 Monday, 07 January 2008 17:04

MASVINGO - Ruvimbo Manjoro (13) of Govo village in Masvingo, has just passed
Grade Seven with flying colours.
Manjoro has always been at the top of her class and her teachers thought she
could turn out to be anything she wanted to be. However, there is nothing
certain anymore for the young girl who has always wanted to be a doctor. Her
father, Tobias Manjoro, has recently moved out of Govo village to a remote
farm, under the land grab programme. There are no schools or clinics there -
not even borehole water to drink.
"I don't think she will be able to go to school this year," says Manjoro's
father. "There are no schools here, especially secondary schools, and even
if there were schools I am only left with one cow and I cannot sell it to
send her to school."
The nearest secondary school, Mudavanhu, lies about 50km from the farm.
Manjoro's case is not unique, according to a Unicef education project
officer. The organisation has been monitoring the movement of children since
the beginning of the land redistribution process.
"The patterns are not very clear because some parents are leaving their
children in the villages with relatives to attend school while they move to
new areas. However, an estimated 400 000 children have been affected," says
the aid worker.
According to government figures at least 450,000 families people have moved
from the communal areas onto farms under the land grab programme. "It has
affected the provision of education in a very significant way," said the aid
worker. "I don't think the government will be able to provide infrastructure
for 90percent of the affected areas in the next 10 to 15 years. There hasn't
been enough infrastructure anywhere and this just aggravates the problem".
Many schools report dwindling pupil numbers since the relocation to remote
farms began. "Classes are basically getting empty as more and more children
pull out of school to join their families in farms," says one school
principal who refused to be named. "We don't know if children will come back
when schools reopen," he said.
The Zimbabwean government has not paid much attention to this issue.
According to Didymus Mutasa, the minister for Land Reform, the priority is
on land. "As the president has said, land first and infrastructure will
follow. The government's focus at the moment is on land and we will look at
education, health and other things at a later stage. Children cannot go to
school if they are impoverished. We first deal with the problem of poverty
by providing land and then come other things," he said.
Recently the Ministry of State Information and Publicity has published a
100-page document on the land redistribution programme, but the document
doesn't deal with education, health or any other form of development.
Mutasa said the government would seek aid from international donors to
provide the infrastructure for schools, roads, clinics, water, electricity
and houses. "We will invite international donors to assist with
infrastructure but we will not allow them to interfere with policy issues."
However, Unicef says it is going to be very difficult for the Zimbabwean
government to attract foreign donors as international organisations such as
the UN do not support the current policy on land redistribution.

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Zimbabwean exile calls for vote delay

Montreal Gazette

Kevin Dougherty, Gazette Quebec Bureau

Gabriel Shumba, executive director of the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum, says
pressure from outside the country should be brought to delay his country's
March presidential election.

"International pressure is needed to ensure that elections are delayed to
allow for the rectification of all shortfalls in the process, as well as to
ensure that those in exile are allowed to vote," Shumba said in an email
exchange from Pretoria, South Africa, where more than 2 million Zimbabweans
have sought refuge.

"The upcoming elections cannot by any stretch of the imagination be deemed
free and fair if they are held in March."

Shumba came to Canada in 2006, as a guest of Montreal-based Rights &
Democracy, to talk about human rights abuses under Robert Mugabe, who is
seeking re-election as Zimbabwe's president at age 84.

Keith Martin, Liberal MP for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, wants Canada to send
observers to counter vote tampering.

Irregularities in Zimbabwe's  2002 presidential election led to the
country's suspension from the Commonwealth.

Shumba said  Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change is split
and this could allow Mugabe, who has ruled the country with an iron grip
since 1980, to win this time even without rigging the vote.

"It is a capital indictment of our opposition that at a time when our people
are suffering, they have to bicker and quarrel over personality and other
differences when they should be working to unite the people against a regime
that has exhibited scant regard for the people's welfare, let alone their
fundamental human rights," he said.

"Mugabe's regime has tortured thousands, massacred more than 30,000 since
the 1980s, has starved and displaced millions. This alone should have given
the opposition a win in any free and fair election."

Shumba said laws stifling democratic rights of association, assembly and
expression work against the opposition party. As well, about a quarter of
the population has fled the country, some to Canada, and can't vote in the
March election.

Mugabe controls much of the media and authorities can intercept all
reporters' phone, Internet, and mail communications. Information Minister
Sikhanyiso Ndlovu explained last year the law targets "imperialist-sponsored
journalists with hidden agendas" and aims "to protect the president, a
minister, or any citizen from harm."

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has documented the
beating, jailing and expulsion of journalists who don't toe the Mugabe line.

Still, some journalists and newspapers in Zimbabwe openly defy Mugabe.

The Financial Gazette of Harare, the Zimbabwe capital, reports that
reformers within Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front
party are talking with the opposition MDC party, pointing to Mugabe's
"unyielding grip on power" as their motivation.

Quoting unnamed sources, the newspaper says the MDC and the ZANU-PF
dissidents are trying to agree on a candidate to oppose Mugabe. It also says
Mugabe's intelligence operatives are "sniffing around" for clues about this

Martin, who wants to prosecute Mugabe for crimes against humanity, estimates
inflation is 25,000 per cent, as the Zimbabwe economy melts down and people
starve or flee.

Shumba said the official inflation rate is 14,000 per cent, but independent
analysts put it at about 150,000 per cent and the International Monetary
Fund predicted inflation could rise to 400,000 per cent.

Mugabe blames Western interference for the cash crisis, but Shumba says
Canada should not back down over such unfounded accusations, intended to
mask human-rights abuses.

"We live in a global village where the abuse of human rights in one part of
the globe is likely to affect another part of the globe," he said.

"Canada needs to speak out about the atrocities in Zimbabwe."

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Floods hit southern Africa, more than 1 mln at risk


Mon 7 Jan 2008, 17:36 GMT

By Shapi Shacinda

LUSAKA, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Zambia said 1.5 million people would be displaced
by floods and aid agencies warned the lives of tens of thousands were in
danger on Monday as rising waters inundated southern Africa.

Zambia put half of its territory on alert, while floods in Mozambique, fed
by heavy rains from there and Zimbabwe, killed six people and cut major
transport links to neighbouring countries, relief officials said.

The early heavy rains have swollen rivers to alarming levels across the
region, catching authorities off guard and forcing governments and aid
agencies to step up efforts to avert crisis.

"At least 1.5 million will be displaced by the floods and the government and
aid groups will have to provide relief food and shelter to the families in
tents for some time," said a senior Zambian government official who wished
not to be named.

Waters that had reached a depth of six metres (18 feet) forced some people
to seek refuge on trees and rooftops in Mozambique, where the United Nations
said it would take urgent measures to help victims of the floods.

The U.N. noted an estimated 56,000 people had been affected, including
13,000 who had been relocated to resettlement centres, after heavy rains led
to a sharp rise in water levels on the Zambezi, Pungue, Buzi and Save

"Governments and international humanitarian organizations are scaling up
their efforts to ensure a swift response and save lives," said John Holmes,
United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and
Emergency Relief Coordinator said in a statement issued in New York and

In early 2007, floods in central Mozambique killed 45 people and left
285,000 homeless, while cyclone Favio displaced another 140,000 people.

It was the worst flooding to hit the former Portuguese colony since floods
in 2000-2001 killed 700 people and drove half a million from their homes.

International aid agencies also expressed worry over erratic weather
patterns in southern Africa, which have devastated harvest prospects for
millions of people.

"We are greatly concerned at the emergency responses this early in the rainy
season," said Kelly David, Head of the United Nations Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for Southern Africa.

"If this continues, we can expect a substantial impact."

Guy Robinson, president of umbrella farmers group the Zambia National
Farmers Union (ZNFU), told Reuters heavy rains had wiped out some plantings.
He said the most affected area was southern Zambia, one of the country's
major farming regions.

"We are very concerned that the entire crop has been destroyed in some areas
due to heavy flooding and it is still raining heavily," Robinson said.
(Reporting by Johannesburg newsroom and Shapi Shacinda in Lusaka, Writing by
Michael Georgy; Editing by Michael Winfrey)

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Water Shortages Cause Diarrhoea Outbreak

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

7 January 2008
Posted to the web 7 January 2008


A diarrhoea outbreak that has hit hundreds of people in the Zimbabwean
capital, Harare, is being attributed to a combination of factors, including
a failure by the local city authority to provide clean water and collect
refuse in residential areas.

Harare's director of health services, Stanley Mungofa, told journalists
during a recent tour of Mabvuku and Tafara, two of the capital's low-income
suburbs hardest hit, that more than 400 cases had been reported in these

"There has been an increase in diarrhoea cases, with 459 reports of
diarrhoea being received towards the end of 2007. The figures of diarrhoea
cases received so far are way above what is normally experienced at this
time of the year," he said.

A nurse at Harare's Glen View clinic, who declined to be identified, told
IRIN that while cases were concentrated in Mabvuku and Tafara, the rest of
the capital had not escaped unscathed.

"Most parts of Harare have gone without water for several weeks and garbage
has not been collected throughout the city, and that means the whole city
has an environment conducive for the spread of waterborne diseases."

Health care workers on strike

Medical services have been severely stretched since health workers embarked
on a strike at the beginning of the year to demand higher salaries. The
wages of doctors and nurses are rapidly eroded by the world's highest
inflation rate, officially cited at 8,000 percent but estimated at 25,000
percent by independent economists.

Doctors are paid Z$60 million monthly (US$30 at the parallel market rate of
Z$2 million to US$1), while nurses earn Z$25 million a month (US$12.50).
Government has offered health personnel a 600 percent wage hike if they
return to work.

Precious Shumba, spokesperson for the Combined Harare Residents Association,
a civic organisation advocating good local governance, said the incidence of
diarrhoea could have been avoided but for the interference of the ruling
ZANU-PF government in 2001, when a government-appointed commission, staffed
by ruling party loyalists ill-equipped to deliver services to the capital's
residents, replaced the city's elected authority.

"The Harare municipality used to provide clean and reliable water to
residents until the government started meddling in the affairs of the city
by awarding water supply to the parastatal Zimbabwe National Water Authority
(ZINWA), which has failed dismally to provide clean water all the time."

The two worst affected residential areas have not have had access to potable
water for months and during that time have experienced sporadic outbreaks of
waterborne diseases, including cholera.

"While some homes have gone for as long as three months without water, the
spreading of waterborne diseases has been encouraged by failure of the
commission running Harare to collect refuse from residential areas," Shumba

"Residents now dump garbage in open areas, which has caused an increase of
flies in many residential areas, making it easy for diarrhoea to spread.
Many sewerage pipes have burst but they are never attended to on time,
resulting in raw sewage flowing in residential areas and creating a health
time bomb in the process," she told IRIN.

Water for a few

Elias Mudzuri, former executive mayor of Harare and member of the opposition
party, the Movement for Democratic Change, told IRIN that during his term of
office he had arranged twinning agreements with European cities, in terms of
which Harare would have received assistance with refuse collection through
the delivery of vehicles to dispose of household rubbish.

"However, following the sacking of the elected Harare municipal leadership
by the ZANU-PF, all the arrangements that were in place, especially with the
city of Munich, in Germany, were cancelled, as they insisted that they would
only partner [cities with] democratically elected municipalities," Mudzuri

"Most of the problems being experienced in Harare are generally to do with
the fact that people with no history in local governance were hand-picked to
run the capital city, which is not an easy thing to do."

Most of the problems being experienced in Harare are generally to do with
the fact that people with no history in local governance were hand-picked to
run the capital city, which is not an easy thing to do

Health services director Stanley Mungofa confirmed that the diarrhoea
outbreak was attributable to sewer blockages, unreliable water supplies and
uncollected domestic refuse. The city is also experiencing unusually high
levels of seasonal rainfall.

The diarrhoea outbreak has finally moved the authorities to pump water to
the affected suburbs, but at a cost: according to ZINWA chief engineer,
Albert Muyambo, "We have prioritised Mabvuku and Tafara areas and cut off
other areas," leaving most of Harare's other suburbs without water.

Health and Child Welfare minister David Parirenyatwa told IRIN that health
personnel had been deployed to affected suburbs to monitor the situation.
"As far as I know, there have been no deaths caused by the diarrhoea
outbreak, although some people have been hospitalised."

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

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Bank governor in the political fray?
6th Jan 2008 23:39 GMT

By Chenjerai Chitsaru

GIDEON Gono, the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, spoke at some
length at the Zanu PF extraordinary congress last December.

Records of such a distinguished financial, monetary or economics fundi
appearing at the conference of a ruling party are readily available, even
going back to 1924, when Southern Rhodesia was granted self-governing status
by the British government.

In that respect, then, Gono was blazing a trail of sorts. To many political
analysts of the stormy, unpredictable but basically unstable political
climate in Zimbabwe, this was an extraordinary development.

It heightened speculation that President Robert Mugabe had indeed earmarked
Gono, in whom he has reposed extraordinary trust, for something “big”

Gono’s background contains little that is political. He did distinguish
himself as a banker fairly early in his career, but he was soon  performing
tasks for President Robert Mugabe which required him to display some loyalty
to him and to his party.

For a while, he seems to have solved problems which many others had failed
to tackle before him. Yet as he came closer and closer to Mugabe as his
adviser, it was inevitable he would be sucked in to Zanu PF politics, which
invariably revolve around loyalty to Mugabe, persona.

There was a time when many political pundits, absorbing this special bond
between the two, speculated on the possibility of Gono being roped into
Mugabe’s cabinet as prime minister, a new post he was expected to create to
ease his way into retirement.

Now, there are reports that Mugabe’s critics or his competitors for the
presidency, fumed at this likelihood, which led Mugabe to shelve the
project – for the moment.

But it remains clear that Mugabe still has a lot of confidence in Gono. He
went for his month-long holiday in the East, leaving Gono to launch one of
the most controversial and, as it turned out, disastrous monetary exercises
of his career.

Gono was going to phase out a Z$200 000 note from circulation in a bid, or
so he said, to beat the crooks he called cash barons: people who stashed the
notes in their homes as part of their clandestine plot to carry on
high-profit business in illegal foreign currency deals.

The whole plan came unstuck when it turned out that there were not enough of
new currency notes – Z$750 000, Z$500 00 and Z$250 000 - to exchange for the
now “useless” old notes.

Almost on the day the Z$200 000 note was to cease to be legal tender, Gono
withdrew the order.

The outcry could be heard from the Bvumba mountains in the eastern highlands
to the Limpopo river on the border with South Africa. Gono was vilified by
people who had got rid of the condemned notes before the 31 December
deadline without obtaining the new notes.

Before this, there had been drama involving a woman arrested with billions
worth of the condemned notes. There was also a curious case of a company
which claimed it had been granted trillions of dollars by the central bank
to buy tractors and other farm implements for a government farm
mechanization scheme, in which Gono featured prominently.

All this left Gono with a lot of egg on his face: besides, there were
accusations being bandied about by his critics that he was not as squeaky
clean as he claimed to be.

A Member of Parliament of the ruling party, the chairman of a parliamentary
committee dealing with finance, among other functions, had fled the country.
Clearly, he had taken the drastic step because the police had publicly
announced that they were seeking him in connection with illicit foreign
currency dealings.

From his hideout overseas, the MP responded by hurling accusations against
Gono, suggesting – as others had done before him – that the reputation of
the bank governor was not as clean as he made it out to be.

All of this left a bad taste in the mouths of many citizens, some of them
going so far as to call for his resignation. Gono would not respond publicly
to the innuendos of wrong-doing.

Moreover, it now turns out he is being courted by two distinct political
camps in Zanu PF – one led by Mugabe, the other by his rivals for power.

For that reason alone, many analysts, even those who had previously sided
with Gono’s monetary policies, now consider him a sort of “lame duck”  bank

They believe he has now become a political hostage of one or the other
political camp in the ruling party. Moreover, they tie his failure to
implement his policies, including the phasing out of the Z$200 000 note, to
his focus as a tool in the machinations of the two rival Zanu PF camps –
meanwhile, as they say, Rome is burning.

There has never been a category declaration from either Mugabe or Gono
himself about the prospect of his taking up a heavyweight political post at
some future period while Mugae is still in the saddle.

Yet the confidence the president has invested in the bank governor would
seem to suggest that they are on the same wavelength on the direction of the

Gono no longer speaks regularly of “returning to the basics” – re-engaging
the IMF and the World Bank. He has now fully embraced Mugabe’s “Look East
Policy”, anchored in solid relations with the People’s Republic of China.

There was what some people thought was a glitch when Gono courted South
Korea for a bio-diesel project: Zimbabwe has enjoyed closer links with the
North Koreans than with Seoul.

But even before this, Gono had lavished much praise on the late dictator Pak
Chung Hee’s economic policies in South Korea than on Mugabe’s
comrade-in-arms, the late Kim II Sung’s of Pyongyang.

So far, there has been no official explanation of this seeming switch in the
foreign policy thrust of the government, except that both governments have
diplomatic relations with Zimbabwe.

So far, there is no suggestion that Gono has burnt his bridges with Mugabe,
or that he has switched sides, in preparation for a change of government in
the 2008 elections.

What may transpire is that Gono could become an issue in the election
campaign. Clearly, he has performed so dismally as governor of the central
bank, most ordinary voters would vote against any party supporting him – out
of  both spite and principle.

He has caused untold heartache and headaches among depositors.
But the political cauldron that is Zimbabwe has always preferred extremist
solutions to what may appear to be intractable problems.

Gono could be just another casualty of this scenario: both sides may decide
he is no longer a factor in their electoral equations.

Still, Gono’s performance may influence voters during the election: there is
such palpable distaste for the government’s impunity over many issues of
development, finance and politics that voters may prefer to record their
feelings graphically in the ballot box.

Whichever party wins the election, Gono will be remembered for a long time
as someone who got his political sums so wrong he should have stuck to
monetary issues and not meddled in politics.

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Furore Over Prison Deaths

Zimbabwe Standard (Harare)

6 January 2008
Posted to the web 7 January 2008

Kholwani Nyathi

The bodies of three prisoners' were exhumed last Friday almost a fortnight
after their pauper's burial because the prison authorities were accused of
trying to conceal the cause of death.

The prisoners from Khami maximum prison were buried in a single grave at
Luveve cemetery on 21 December.

Prison sources said the controversial episode could lift the lid on an
alleged cover-up of prisoners being buried without the proper procedures
being completed.

The sources said there was suspicion that such burials were designed to
camouflage the cause of death of inmates who are said to have died of
unnatural causes.

There has recently been a flood of reports of alarming deaths in overcrowded
jails due to hunger-related ailments, among them pellagra, a vitamin
deficiency disease caused by a lack of vitamin B3 and protein in the diet.

Other deaths being targeted for camouflage occur due to HIV and Aids
complications, reportedly rampant in the prisons.

The relatives of Sibusiso Mkhwananzi (63), raised alarm after Zimbabwe
Prison Service officials informed them of his death only after they had
buried him.

They demanded the exhumation of the body.

Mkhwananzi was serving an 18-year sentence for rape. He was reportedly
buried within 12 hours of his death, together with two prisoners from
Masvingo, whose relatives, it was claimed, could not be located.

Mkhwananzi's relatives witnessed the exhumation and said they were shocked
at his treatment while in detention and suspected foul play in his death.

"We have arranged for a private doctor to carry out a post-mortem
examination before we can rebury him," said Samson Mkhwananzi, a family

"Ever since they informed us of my brother's death they have been trying to
avoid the exhumation and we have now seen what they have been hiding.

"The bodies were just thrown one on top of the other, as if they were not
human beings. Why were they rushing to bury him without following proper

Mkhwananzi's body was on top of the pile and was barely 60 centimeters under
a heap of soil. The other two bodies were reburied in the same grave.

A prison official, who refused to be identified by name, claimed there had
been a mix-up of bodies at a funeral parlour, leading to Mkhwananzi's body
being taken straight from the prison mortuary to the cemetery.

"We have an arrangement with the funeral parlour that when we bring bodies
we should remove a certain number that has been there for a long time," he

"The people who were removing the bodies could have left Mkhwananzi's body
in the car while removing others and ended up mixing it up with those that
were due for burial."

The ZPS officer commanding Matabeleland, Rhodes Moyo, blamed the incident on
a mix-up of bodies and pledged the government would meet the costs of the

During the past two years, Parliament's portfolio committee on Justice,
Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has produced a string of reports painting a
gloomy state of affairs in the country's 43 prisons.

The reports say prisoners go for days without food, toiletries and essential
medical supplies.

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JAG urgent legal communique,  Dated 7 January 2008

Email: :

JAG Hotlines: +263 (011) 610 073, +263 (04) 799 410.  If you are in trouble
or need advice, please don't hesitate to contact us - we're here to help!
1. Update on the Mike Campbell SADC Tribunal Case

Letter One:-

Dear farmers, - Ben Freeth: Chegutu

As you will all be aware the first part of our SADC case was won last month.
African legal history has been made:  for the first time we as people who
are victims of a confrontational regime can approach an international court
and get good and binding judgments meted out.

I wish to write about this case in general terms before writing another
letter shortly on what we are to do about it.

There is something so wonderfully civilised about a court of law out in the
public eye.  You put your argument and then they put theirs; and everything
is so orderly and calm. There are no threats; no terror tactics; no drums or
slogans or beatings in the darkness on the lawn.

"What is truth?" Pilate enquired at the trial of Jesus.  When Pilate asked
that question the Truth was staring him in the face. "I am the...truth"
Jesus had said.  Pilate ignored the truth and tried to bury it in his
perverse trial; but the truth can not be buried.

The court process is the dispassionate search for the truth as measured
against the law in any given situation.  The law ultimately is the truth.
"I am the fulfilment of the law" said Jesus.

Where we ignore the law and the courts and do not use them resolutely in the
face of evil we fail to stand for justice and the truth as we should. There
is no political solution of compromise and appeasement in a situation of
gross injustice such as we are facing now.  We have gone beyond that.

 Above everything stands the law.  When Jesus said”I am the fulfilment of
the law" He was championing Gods law of justice and mercy which was
personified in himself.  His law stands above every law that man has ever
contrived.  It is the benchmark that dictates whether we are on the right
road or not.

When Gods finger wrote on the tablet of stone "thou shalt not steal" nearly
3500 years ago, that commandment, like the other 9, was not to be altered.
Property rights matter.  Societies, civilisations even, crumble without
them.  In no place in recent history has this been demonstrated more
graphically than in Zimbabwe over the last 7 years.

That is what this SADC case is ultimately about. But are those that have
also had their homes and life’s work stolen from them going to put pressure
on their farmer bodies to go to court too?

Have those in positions of farmer leadership got the moral courage to try to
assert the law through the international courts?

Are the farming leaders that are wavering prepared to make room for people
that will assert the truth?

For those farmers still "out there" struggling on, the time has come to tell
your farming leadership with conviction that you want them to finally take a
public legal stand against what is going on; because publicity is the very
soul of justice; and avoiding the tools of justice is not going to get the
job done.

Sitting on the sidelines in secret "dialogue" simply will not do. It has
failed.  It never had a chance of ever working.  The truth of this may hurt
for some; but the alternative [avoiding asserting the truth in the courts]
will be more painful in the fullness of time.

 The time has come to wade in.  This SADC ruling, in Jeremy Gauntlett's
words, is a "heaven sent" opportunity for the farming bodies to protect
their members by getting the same blanket cover for all of us.

We who have been involved in the Campbell case are ready and willing to
address your decision makers in any meeting that you care to set up for us.
If the "dialogue" policy has not worked over the last 6 and a half years
lets change the policy. Since abandoning the courts nearly 90 percent of
white owned farms have been all but destroyed; and more continue on the road
to ruination every month. Judge for yourselves. The time has come...

Please pass this on to other farmers too..
Ben Freeth

Letter Two:-

Dear Farmers - Ben Freeth, Chegutu

I wrote recently explaining why it is that we need to use the law.  I wish
to try to explain more specifically where we are at with the SADC case and
how it can affect you.

Time is short and I do not need to tell you that there are an ever
increasing number of people being driven off their land.  Do we continue to
allow these injustices to continue so that we are then wiped off the land
without trace; or do we try to stand for justice and the future of this
country and indeed our future on this continent?

A precedent has been set in the first ever case of the SADC tribunal in
Windhoek.  In the Campbell case full relief was given to us until such time
as the main case is heard in Windhoek - possibly in March. The Zimbabwe
President and the lands Minister say that they will go by what SADC says.
So far they have done so.  The question is "how can others fall under the
wing of this SADC protection?"

Obviously individual farmers or farmer bodies can not go to SADC unless all
domestic remedies have failed.  The farmer will therefore have to have been
to the Supreme Court and not got justice meted out there. As there are no
others in that boat, farmers will have to assert that they are in the same
boat as the Campbell’s and that the constitutional and human rights issues
that apply in that case apply to them too. i.e. [amongst other things]:
- they have been targeted because of their skin colour;
- Amendment number 17 is against all principles of justice;
- and acquisition can not be deemed to have taken place without

To get protection through the SADC relief farmers have 3 options:

1. Indivividual farmers take out their own individual cases.
2. A class action is initiated.
3. Farmer bodies take out cases to protect their farmer members.

I wish to deal with the 3 options.
1. In the first option we are looking at the "you’re on your own and you
have to fend for yourself" plan.  Unfortunately this has been the reality
over several years now.  It has resulted in the Party achieving its aims of
driving the white farmers off the land and making the people poor enough to
be easily controlled.  The problem with this plan is:
a/ Farmers do not have the time or finance for going to court individually
and paying hefty legal bills.
b/ Many farmers do not really understand the law and what they have to do to
remain on the right side of it until it is "too late".
c/ The few dispirited "land" lawyers left simply could not cope with the
work load of putting together hundreds of separate rushed applications as
each farmer gets into the soup.

 2. The second option then is for a class action to be put together under
the class actions act where individuals club together to put forward a
single case to protect themselves.  This option is unfortunately fraught
with difficulties.  The class actions act makes it extremely complicated, if
not impossible under the present justice system, to make a successful and
timeous application.

3. The third option is that farmer membership organisations come together
and get into the "Campbell Case boat".  The only disadvantage with this is
that it means a shift in policy from those organisations that for one reason
or another have not put their names to any court cases over the last 6
years. I am quite sure that we have come down the road far enough to now see
the sense in a policy shift.  With the SADC court in place we must act.  The
advantages of membership bodies going to court are many:
a/ It will protect every member of the bodies that go forward.
b/ It will ensure that the best legal brains work on a single water tight
c/ It will not cost individual farmers anything.
d/ It will be able to be done timeously before too many more farmers are
evicted from their homes.
e/ It will strengthen and unify the agricultural bodies which is healthy for
the long term future of commercial agriculture.
f/  It will build the credibility of the agricultural bodies amongst civic
society and the international community.
g/ It will be something tangible for us to say "yes our membership bodies
are doing more than paying lip service to the critical importance of the
upholdence of property rights. They are now asserting those rights through
litigating.  Let us all throw our weight behind them for the future of us

Advocate Jeremy Gauntlett SC is perhaps the leading advocate in Southern
Africa. He is, amongst other things, co-chairman of the Forum for Barristers
and Advocates of the International Bar Association [IBA];  former chairman
of the General Council of the Bar of South Africa; founding Vice President
of the Bar of the International Criminal Court etc..  He has spear headed
the SADC case.

After the result of the first part of this case in December Advocate
Gauntlett said that this is a "heaven sent" opportunity for the farmer
bodies to protect their members.  We must not, through fear, squander
"heaven sent" opportunities if we indeed do have an eye for the future.

Ben Freeth


A decision was made in November last year at both JAG Board of Trustees and
the JAGMA General Committee level, with regard to a “joinder application”
being brought in the SADC Tribunal with the Campbell Case.  That decision
was a resounding “affirmative” from both JAG organisations, in fact there
were no reservations tabled, NOR a single dissenting voice.  That decision
has been made clear to both the CAMPBELL and FREETH families and to their
respective lawyers.  Both JAG organisations stand poised to assist and wait
to be advised of the legal formalities and requirements.

Advocate Adrian de Bourbon is due in the country on Wednesday 9th January
and will be meeting with concerned and affected farmers and with the CFU, at
10.00am, at the CFU, to discuss the way forward re: the merits or demerits
of “joinder applications”.  Please could as many farmers as possible attend
this benchmark meeting; especially, but not only, current CFU members.


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Zimbabwe: How to live without money

blogger news network
January 6th, 2008 by Nancy Reyes

One of the “underreported” stories in the world, according to Doctors without Borders, is the collapse of the medical system in Zimbabwe.

When I was there, between private donations, church related charities, international organizations, and the government paying our salaries, we managed to run a hospital, a clinic, and supervise another locally funded clinic. Was there good medical care? Heh. I was the only doctor in an area with over 20 000 people,  and my surgery experience was mainly limited to gynecology, but nevertheless, we did manage to save a lot of lives.

But now things are worse. HIV is widespread (partly due to the long time men spend away from home working to raise a bride price, partly due to promiscuity of the better educated who no longer have polygamy as an outlet, and partly due to native medical practices such as scarification and untrained people giving injections with unsterilized needles).

But now, the medical system is in collapse. Many of the public hospitals simply don’t pay enough: with inflation, the salary is essentially useless. So many doctors and nurses are still on strike. And many more have emigrated to other countries, including South Africa and the UK, where they can work for a higher salary.

Yet even when one can find a doctor, there is danger that without being able to pay, you won’t get seen.

KubatanaBlog has the story of a man whose wife developed stomach pain, but the public hospital had no lab, and because the banks had long lines, could not get her seen in a private clinic either.

Yet even if one is seen by a doctor, there is no guarantee that the needed medicines will be available. Things are especially desperate for those with HIV:

An April report by WHO and two other U.N. agencies said about 6 percent of children in need of treatment were getting it. The government says more than 2,200 Zimbabweans die every week of AIDS complications.

Zimbabwe’s delivery of ARVs is below average for low- and middle-income countries, according to the agencies’ report. In sub-Saharan Africa, an average 28 percent of the people in need of the drugs get them. In Zimbabwe, the percentage was about 24 percent.

Without enough money, medicine can’t be imported. Without money for seeds and fertilizer, there might not be enough food. Without decent salaries, the hardest working people will leave.

One alternative would be to allow locals to use foreign currency. Actually, this is being done, but it is illegal. You are supposed to use official banks to exchange all foreign currancy, but since the exchange rate is so low, few wish to do so. Many locals are nevertheless supported by money sent by overseas relatives or friends. Yet much of this money is lost, either to the government (who exchanges it for a very low exchange rate or to the black market, where the exchange rate is higher but one risks arrest. When I sent money to one of my friends for her nephew’s school fees, not only did those dispensing the money take a huge percentage, but they gave it to her at the official exchange rate, which was one fifth of what she could get in the black market. Later I sent another friend some US cash via a friend traveling there; to prevent breaking the law, she took a bus to the South African border, exchanged the bills, and bought groceries. Alas, even that loophole is being made illegal. Perhaps this is why there are so many companies that offer to send groceries to one’ family in Zimbabwe.

So what should one do?

Perhaps if South Africa pressured people, things would improve. But so far that government hesitates to criticize a fellow revolutionary hero, never mind that he has gone megalomaniac in the past ten years.

Rev. Hove has started a petition ( alternate petition ) to encourage Europeans boycott the World Cup Games of 2010 when they are held in South Africa. Will this help? Sports is a religion in the region, and it might. But it says a lot about the state of political correct progressive activism that the petitions against killing whales has 40thousand signitures but those for Zimbabwe only a few hundred. LINK2
Whales are more important than black children for too many people, unless one can blame Bush for their deaths, and the dirty little secret is that thousands of Africans are alive because of Bush’s funding of health projects there.


But until then, all I can do is pray, and send my friend her blood pressure medicine monthly, since she cannot get it locally.

Every little bit helps.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket and she writes about Zimbabwe at MakaipaBlog 


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