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Government shuts down private slaughterhouses in prices crackdown in Zimbabwe

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: July 11, 2007

HARARE, Zimbabwe: The government withdrew the licenses of all private
slaughterhouses Wednesday, accusing them of defying orders to reduce meat
prices by 50 percent in the state's attempts to rein in rampant inflation.

Industry Minister Obert Mpofu said the Cold Storage Company, part owned by
the government, was given sole responsibility for slaughtering livestock,
state radio reported.

Private abattoirs dotted around the country served small-scale local pig and
cattle producers unable to transport livestock to Cold Storage Company
facilities in regional centers. Their closure was expected to worsen already
severe meat shortages.

"Abattoirs were granted licenses to provide a service to the public which
they are no longer providing," Mpofu said.

Some had stopped buying animals from local producers, he said.

But in an earlier statement, the Cold Storage Company reported its
production was down because farmers were reluctant to sell livestock at
prices reduced by at least half ordered in a government June 26 edict
affecting all goods.
Farmers said CSC buyers offered as little as 3 million Zimbabwe dollars -
which at the official exchange rate is worth US$200 (?147), but at dominant
black-market rates is worth US$25 (?18) - for cattle valued at up to 12
million Zimbabwe dollars a head (US$800; ?588 at official rates; US$92; ?68
at black-market rates) used for meat packs known as "economy beef."

Bigger reductions were demanded on pedigree beef cattle.

"They are telling me I'm worth a huge amount less than I thought I was
worth. Hard work, feedstock problems and everything else, I am insulted,"
one farmer said.

He said he was told it was his "national duty" to sell his livestock. He
asked not to be identified for fear of incrimination. "They must think I'm

Police and government inspectors continued to arrest traders and businessmen
accused of selling goods at above stipulated prices.

At least five second-hand car dealers joined scores of executives and
company directors arrested since Friday. Most have been released after being
fined both as individuals in their private capacity with their companies
also paying penalties.

State radio said Wednesday a senior magistrate in the second city of
Bulawayo warned businesses that courts would impose jail terms for offenders
and profiteers who could easily afford fines.

Shelves in stores across the country remained bare of cornmeal, bread, meat
and other staples.

Factories, stores and gas stations were unable to replace materials sold at
below the original cost since June 26. The sudden drop in prices has sparked
panic buying, stampedes and near-riots by impoverished Zimbabweans.

In Harare, gasoline shortages worsened and commuter bus operators ignored
orders to slash their fares and abandoned some routes. But as the cold
winter dusk fell, buses cruised past crowded downtown bus stops demanding
fares even higher than those before the price cuts from commuters who
managed to get to work and were anxious to go home to the capital's
satellite townships.

"Don't pay, don't go," said a fares tout, speaking in the local Shona
language and keeping a watchful eye for police.

Mpofu said the government would cancel the licenses of bus owners flouting
its rules on fares. Gasoline, subsidized to half the importation cost, was
being made available to transporters, he said.

Police said Monday more than 1,300 businesses were charged and fined over
the previous two weeks for defying orders to slash prices in half or
hoarding goods. Police spokesman Oliver Mandipaka said the crackdown was
"not a gimmick and will be sustained at all costs to stop consumers being
ripped off."

Official inflation is running at 4,500 percent, the highest in the world,
though independent financial institutions estimate real inflation is closer
to 9,000 percent.

The government accuses business leaders of being part of a political and
economic campaign of "regime change" to bring down longtime ruler President
Robert Mugabe.

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Zim - Till the cows come home


11/07/2007 17:06
By: Chris Muronzi

Harare - Meat-loving Zimbabweans descended on butcheries and outlets today
to get a piece of a meaty price cut of beef and pork after Zimbabwe's crack
price-monitoring team withdrew operating licences of abattoirs accusing them
of causing a shortage of the commodity.
Meat had vanished from outlets ever since the government introduced a
blanket price cut.

Hoards of people had queued outside butcheries as early as 7:00 this morning
waiting patiently for a chance to buy cheap beef and pork at Z$120 000/kg
more than R8/kg.

Prior to the price cuts, a kilogram of beef had gone up to a high of over
Z$400 000/kg or R27/kg.

This comes after Industry Minister Obert Mpofu and also chairperson of the
Cabinet Task Force on Price Monitoring and Stabilisation, the crack team
responsible for ensuring that business complies with a government directive
to slash prices of basic goods by 50%, canceled licences of abattoirs.

Now, a defunct state enterprise riddled by gross mismanagement and near
death, has assumed its old role.

Abattoirs can re-apply

The Zimbabwean government had to let other players into the sector several
years ago after the Cold Storage Commission (CSC) failed its mandate

Analysts say the decision to withdraw abattoirs' licences is a piecemeal
gesture aimed at calming restive meat-munching Zimbabweans, who could not
bear the brunt of meat shortages.

Mpofu said: "As a follow-up to the previous statements made by the taskforce
on Price Monitoring and stabilisation, the taskforce has noted with grave
concern that private abattoirs recently stopped slaughtering cattle for
reasons best known to themselves. Abattoirs were granted licenses to provide
a service to the public, which they are no longer providing.

"In view of this, the government has thus with immediate effect, revoked
licenses of all private abattoirs. The Cold Storage Company immediately
assumes the sole responsibility of slaughtering cattle."

Mpofu, however said abattoirs, who want to continue doing business could
reapply to the taskforce.

Cattle a measure of wealth

The announcement lends credence to reports that the Zimbabwean government
seized a sizable chunk of beef and pork consignments meant for export last
night. The consignment was reportedly headed for Malawi.

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has threatened to seize and nationalise
firms that do not comply with the order.

Already a number of executives have been arrested. Yesterday over 20
managers appeared in court for defying the price cut order and could soon be
charged in their own capacity, should the police follow through on such

This in not the first time executives have had a brush with the law of price
increases. Last year an executive of a the country's largest bakery was
detained over the weekend and charged in personal capacity.

A police spokesperson earlier this week had appealed to rural folks to
intervene in the worsening meat shortage for the good of the country.

Cattle is a measure of wealth for rural Zimbabweans, who are Mugabe's

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Zim transport operators ground fleet over fares

Zim Online

Thursday 12 July 2007

By Nqobizitha Khumalo

BULAWAYO - Public transport operators in Zimbabwe's second biggest
city of Bulawayo on Wednesday grounded their fleet in protest over a
government directive to slash fares by 50 percent.

In a clear sign that a government clampdown on prices of commodities,
service charges and public transport fares could be finally bringing
Zimbabwe to a halt, transport operators withdrew services after the police
arrested 50 commuter bus drivers for defying the order to reduce fares.

Thousands of workers were left stranded with only a few buses seen
ferrying commuters to and from work after transport operators responded to
the government crackdown by parking their buses.

Bulawayo Public Transporters Association chairman Strike Ndlovu said
his association had not ordered members to withdraw buses but individual
operators had parked buses because it was uneconomical to halve fares when
they were still buying fuel on the illegal parallel market where diesel is
costing about Z$150 000 a litre.

"This is not a decision made by the association . . . if there is no
transport on the road, it means maybe the transport operators failed to get
cheap fuel," Ndlovu said.

Diesel and petrol are readily available on the black market where the
cost per litre is more than double the official price.

A senior police officer in the traffic section, Superintendent Wonder
Mavhudzi said the police would continue to arrest transport operators who
defied the directive to reduce fares.

"Those who are defiant risk losing their operators' licences and
permits and we will fine those that overcharge. We will continue mounting
roadblocks until everyone complies," he said.

Under the new fares ordered by the government, operators must slash
fares from Z$50 000 a trip to between Z$15 000 and Z$20 000 from the working
class suburbs to the city centre.

The crackdown on transport operators began on Monday but its effects
began to be felt on Wednesday as more police were deployed on roads to force
transporters to halve fares.

The transport crisis comes a few days after scenes of chaos and
pandemonium at shops around the country as hungry Zimbabweans stampeded to
take advantage of reduced prices to stock on essential commodities.

Most shops in Harare and Bulawayo have been cleared of all basic
commodities following the order to roll back prices. Mugabe has threatened
to seize all businesses that defy his order to slash prices.

At least 1 300 business executives and managers have been arrested
around the country since the crackdown, codenamed Operation Dzikisa Mutengo
(Operation Reduce Prices), began last month.

The Harare administration has defended the blanket freeze on price
increases as necessary to stop business from conniving with its western
enemies to unjustifiably hike prices in order to incite popular revolt
against Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party.

However, main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has dismissed the
price freeze as a desperate gimmick by the government to pacify voters ahead
of elections next year and which will plunge the economy into chaos with
more companies forced to close and shortages of basic goods. - ZimOnline

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Near riot in Harare as shoppers demand cheap chicken

Zim Online

Thursday 12 July 2007

By Patricia Mpofu

JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwean riot police had to be called in at a shop in
Harare last night after hordes of shoppers besieged a supermarket demanding
that management slash the price of chicken.

A 3kg packet of chicken cost about Z$730 000 at leading supermarkets in
Harare before the government ordered all shops to slash prices by 50 percent
and roll back prices to 18 June levels.

A similar packet of chicken is now available for about half the price, a
bargain considering the astronomical prices that were there before the
government directive late last month.

Management at the shop had to quickly call in the police as situation
threatened to get out of hand.

There have been several reports of looting and near riots around the country
as desperate Zimbabweans take advantage of the price cuts to hoard basic

Meanwhile, police yesterday shut down Makro Store in Harare owned by South
Africa's giant Massmart retail store and arrested a senior manager at the
retail store as they continued to crack down on businesses over the price

"They detained our assistant manager and asked us to close the store," said
Grant Pattison, Massmart chief executive.

"Our lawyers are meeting with the police to get our man freed and to try and
understand it (the decree). What I am picking up from speaking from the guys
is that it is all quite non-violent, unthreatening and unaggressive."

Pattison criticised the Harare authorities saying the move to crack down on
prices in Zimbabwe would not work.

"I understand they are trying to fix a problem . . . Unfortunately, what the
Zimbabwean government is doing in response is ill-advised and won't work,"
he said. - ZimOnline

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Harare denies planning salary cuts

Zim Online

Thursday 12 July 2007

By Patricia Mpofu

HARARE - Zimbabwe Industry and Trade Minister Obert Mpofu on Wednesday
denied reports that the government was contemplating ordering employers to
slash salaries and wages by 50 percent.

Mpofu, who chairs a government the task force on prices that last month
imposed a blanket freeze on prices, described claims by the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) that the government was considering ordering
salary cuts as mere "propaganda of the ZCTU".

"We are only concerned about price stabilisation not incomes. I don't know
what the ZCTU is talking about," Mpofu said.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary general Wellington
Chibebe claimed in a statement earlier in the day that the government
planned to order all employers to reduce salaries by 50 percent, in a move
that would dovetail its ongoing clampdown on prices of commodities.

Chibebe vowed the ZCTU would "fiercely resist" the salaries cut and warned
Zimbabwe could be plunged into chaos and anarchy were the government to
press ahead to order employers to reduce wages.

The confusion over whether the government planned to order salaries cut
mirrors the general chaos and the tension in Zimbabwe since President Robert
Mugabe's administration ordered a freeze on prices of all commodities.

Soldiers and police have raided several shops in Harare to force owners to
lower prices while there have been unconfirmed reports of looting from
several shops.

Over 1 300 business owners and executives have been arrested and the figure
is set to rise as the police intensify the crackdown on businesses defying
the order to reduce prices.

But the price cuts have seen goods such as bread, cement and fuel vanishing
from shop shelves and are now available on the illegal and more expensive
black market. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe's workers threaten strike amid fears of salary cuts

Afrique en ligne

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) Zimbabwe's largest trade union federation
Wednesday threatened to incite workers to strike amid speculation the
government was planning a 50 per cent cut of workers' salaries.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary general Wellington
Chibhebhe said the labour body's sources had informed it of a plan by the
Zimbabwe government, the business sector and the central bank to extend to
salaries an ongoing purge on prices.

The Zimbabwe authorities have in the past two weeks waged a war on
price increases, ordering producers and service providers to reduce prices
by half.

"The ZCTU is prepared to resist any move to cut salaries of all
workers by 50 per cent and, therefore, urges workers to be prepared for
massive resistance," Chibhebhe warned Wednesday.

There was no comment from the Public Service, Labour and Social
Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche nor central bank governor Gideon Gono.

The unionists charged that any moves to cut salaries would be
retrogressive and go against the dictates of International Labour
Organisation conventions.

"Government and business are the only parties that came up with the
idea, which goes against the spirit of tripartism enshrined in ILO
Convention 144," said the ZCTU secretary general.

The ZCTU is the largest trade union body in Zimbabwe, with links to
the main opposition party.

It has in the past clashed with President Robert Mugabe's government
over its economic policies.

Chibhebhe was among several labour leaders brutally assaulted after
police disrupted a ZCTU march in Harare in September 2006.



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Mugabe looks set to disappoint Mbeki again

Zim Online

     Thursday 12 July 2007

By Edith Kaseke

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe looks set to scuttle a regional initiative
to pluck Zimbabwe out of crisis after failing to send envoys to South Africa
for a key round of talks with the main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party, analysts told ZimOnline.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) last March tasked South
Africa's President Thabo Mbeki to bring Mugabe's governing ZANU PF party and
the MDC to the negotiating table after a widely condemned violent government
crackdown on opponents heightened Zimbabwe's multifaceted crisis.

While the two MDC factions sent their representatives to Pretoria at the
weekend for what would have been the first substantive talks after the first
meeting two weeks ago set the agenda for discussions, Mugabe's men, Justice
Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Labour Minister Nicholas Goche, did not show

Mugabe's lieutenants did not pitch up for the talks - that some analysts say
present the last chance to save Zimbabwe from total economic collapse and
possible anarchy - apparently because they were busy attending routine ZANU
PF meetings in Harare.

"Mugabe is trivialising the whole mediation process," John Makumbe, a
political science lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) said. "This is
why you find he has not even commented about the talks at any forum because
he is not interested."

Political analysts said when Mugabe was cornered by SADC to accept Mbeki's
mediation efforts, the ageing Zimbabwean leader was desperate to buy time
and ease pressure on his government, adding that he was more concerned about
consolidating his power base.

Now, with the March 11 crackdown against the opposition in the distant
horizon and outside pressure having somewhat eased on his government, the
Zimbabwean leader could afford to play truant with Mbeki, according to the

Armed police brutally assaulted main MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and
several opposition and civic leaders for defying an official ban on
political protests.

About fifty activists, including Tsvangirai, were hospitalised after the

Analysts said international outrage over the assaults had naturally died
down leaving Mugabe to concentrate more on a parallel political process that
they said he had always viewed as of more value than the Mbeki-led talks.

That parallel process entails Mugabe's governing ZANU PF party amending
Zimbabwe's constitution to allow him to stay in office virtually for life,
they said.

The government has tabled Constitutional Amendment No. 18, which among other
things will harmonise parliamentary and presidential elections and empower
Parliament - in which Mugabe enjoys sweeping support - to elect a successor
in the event that he dies or steps down from office.

"Mugabe is more interested in a parallel political process because he knows
that part of the agenda of the (SADC-led) talks is to ease him out of power
which he does not want," Eldred Masunungure, a leading political analyst

Makumbe added: "He is deliberately sabotaging Mbeki and daring him that 'if
you want the talks off, so be it'."

Mbeki has put his reputation on the line, promising a breakthrough by the
end of last month and despite reports that he briefed SADC leaders on
progress on the sidelines of the just ended African Union summit in Ghana,
analysts say Mugabe will eventually dash his hopes.

A combative and wily figure even at 83-years, Mugabe has again stirred
controversy at home by imposing a blanket price freeze, which has seen shops
running out of basic commodities like cooking oil, maize-meal, sugar and
beef after panic buying by consumers.

The opposition has denounced the move as a ploy by Mugabe - who will extend
his rule to 33 years if he is re-elected next year and finishes the
five-year presidential term - to appease desperate workers who were being
hit by daily price hikes.

The MDC says SADC-backed dialogue is critical to resolve the Zimbabwean
crisis and says a new constitution will create conditions for a free and
fair election in 2008. But Mugabe, desperate to hang on to power, ruled out
a new constitution at the weekend, although the issue tops the agenda of the

Zimbabwe is suffering a debilitating economic crisis that is highlighted by
the world's highest inflation rate of more than 4 500 percent, a rapidly
contracting gross domestic product, the fastest for a country not at war
according to the World Bank and shortages of foreign and fuel.

But Mugabe denies his policies like his seizure of commercial farmland from
white farmers to resettle blacks have wrecked the economy. He instead says
Western governments had crippled the economy through sanctions and sabotage
to punish him for giving back to blacks land stolen from them by white
colonists. - ZimOnline

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Mbeki will ditch Mugabe

Sent: Wednesday, July 11, 2007 7:39 PM
Subject: Mbeki will ditch Mugabe

Mbeki will ditch Mugabe

I can no longer see any benefit to South Africa for continuing to support
mugabe . . . it must be costing Mbeki a lot of credibility in the western
democracies which are SA's main export markets and source of sophisticated
imports and technology , whilst bringing no benefits . . . surely Mbeki ,
and the other leaders in africa have realized that even if the West is at
war with Mugabe and whatever it is that Mugabe is fighting for, other than
power, he is losing. . . why would SA want to keep on flogging a dead horse?

Assuming the west has destroyed zimbabwe's economy as mugabe and his
aplogists claim , what benefit would there be to the region to continue
supporting mugabe either politically or financialy ? . . the battle having
been lost thus far, it would surely be lost again fairly quickly and then
what ? . . more money? . . to what end beyond feeding mugabe and his family?

No this is a war the west can't lose and no amount of brutalization of our
population by mugabe and his aparatchiks as he holds the Zimbabwean citizens
hostage , will sway them? Mugabe still believes  that he can make the region
bail him out but they won't because whatever it is he is trying to achieve
it is impossible for him to do so.

Those who support him because they might be next will have to bow to the
inevitable as well . . . democracy, not autocracy, is here to stay . .
Africa will fit into the framework or it will continue to flounder and
consume itself . . . this war was fought and lost by Africa in Ghana,
Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania , Zambia, Angola and Mozambique . They have all
gone on to embrace democracy and the market economy . . . Zimbabwe has
called for far too much indulgence from a watching and concerned world and
has failed to deliver a better, different , African way.

South Africa will now ditch Mugabe and the rest of the continent will go
along with him.

" The Thinking Man"

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SADC "disassociates" itself from Zimbabwe support reports


Wed 11 Jul 2007, 8:36 GMT

GABORONE (Reuters) - A southern Africa regional body has distanced itself
from reports of a plan to use South Africa's rand currency to ease
Zimbabwe's economic crisis, but said it was looking at ways to help the
beleaguered country.

South Africa's Sunday Independent quoted unidentified sources as saying the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) was working on a plan to
extend the rand monetary union to Zimbabwe, struggling with a meltdown
critics blame on the skewed policies of President Robert Mugabe's

The crisis is manifesting itself in chronic shortages of basic commodities,
fuel and foreign currency, while inflation has soared to 4,500 percent -- 
the highest in the world.

"SADC disassociates itself from any reported support packages as they did
not originate from its Secretariat," the Botswana-based body said in a
statement seen by Reuters on Wednesday.

But it said a summit of southern African leaders held in Tanzania in March
had mandated SADC Executive Secretary Tomaz Salomao to undertake a study on
the Zimbabwe economic crisis and propose measures on how SADC could help
resolve it.

"To this end, a study has been conducted and a report will be prepared and
presented to the Summit Troika of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and
Security for consideration in due course," the SADC statement said.

The Sunday Independent said Zimbabwe could benefit from joining the monetary
union, under which currencies are pegged to the solid rand, and which
presently consists of South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland.

The Sunday Independent said the plan would involve the central banks in
South Africa and Botswana injecting huge amounts of funds into their
counterpart in Zimbabwe.

But on Wednesday Zimbabwe's state Herald newspaper quoted central bank
Governor Gideon Gono as saying that "nothing of the sort, as reported, has
even been or is under consideration."

Economists have said any regional aid package would only work if Mugabe's
government agreed to significant economic and political reforms -- something
it has resisted in the past.

Once regarded as southern Africa's breadbasket, Zimbabwe has suffered
erratic food supplies over the past seven years or so, with critics pointing
to the forcible redistribution of white-owned commercial farms among blacks
ill-equipped to properly use the land.

Western donors, led by the IMF and the World Bank, have also suspended
financial aid, citing among other reasons charges human rights abuses
against political government by Mugabe, in power since Zimbabwe gained
independence from Britain in 1980.

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Joy at Zimbabwe price slash ebbs fast

Earth Times

Posted : Wed, 11 Jul 2007 09:19:06 GMT

Mutare, Zimbabwe - Shops in Zimbabwe's normally thriving eastern border city
of Mutare are fast running out of stock. Seven days after President Robert
Mugabe's government began a blitz on shops and businesses, forcing them to
slash prices by half, Mutare's biggest stores look in part like they have
been decimated.

Huge white meat freezers stand empty. There are empty shelves where eggs
should be stocked. There is no cooking oil, sugar or flour.

In TM stores - a popular grocery chain on Mutare's main shopping artery -
more than 200 people waited patiently in a line Tuesday for scarce supplies
of bread.

Bakers are reported to have massively reduced production since price
inspectors ordered a loaf be sold for 22,000 Zimbabwe dollars (less than 20
US cents at the parallel rate of exchange).

They say it costs at least 35,000 Zimbabwe dollars to produce one loaf.

"Look, the store is empty," whispers a teller in an upmarket department
store as she scrubs down bare shelves.

"By December, what will there be to buy?"

Last week, residents say, shoppers stampeded from one store to the next to
get bargains. Price inspectors and police ordered store managers to slash by
around half the prices of most goods, including shoes, clothes, cement and
pots and pans.

After struggling under rampant inflation of at least 4,500 per cent, many
could not believe their luck. Popular soft drink Coca Cola, which is bottled
in Mutare, had shot up to more than 50,000 Zimbabwe dollars a bottle. For
the last few days it's been selling, as ordered, for 20,000 dollars.

"The town's awash in Coke," giggled one 28-year-old mother-of-two, who was
drinking the fizzy drink for breakfast.

But the euphoria, it appears, could prove short-lived.

Already there is talk that many shop owners, angered at being forced to sell
at a massive loss, simply won't restock their shelves. Owners and managers
from more than 20 stores in Mutare and its nearest town Rusape were arrested
in a move likely to prove the last straw for some stressed business people.

And, as in the days of unaffordably high prices, shoppers are already
wandering around TM with empty baskets. This time it's because the goods
they want just aren't available.

Provincial governor Tinaye Chigudu last week sounded a note of alarm at the
growing shortages.

He accused Mutare business people of siphoning precious basic commodities
across the border into Mozambique, where demand for quality Zimbabwean
products like pasteurized milk, sugar and body lotions is high.

"We know businesses are making billions of dollars in profits but people are
struggling out there," Chigudu, a staunch senior member of Mugabe's ruling
ZANU-PF party, said in comments carried by the local Manica Post newspaper.

But with black marketeers quietly offering unavailable commodities at huge
premiums on the pavements outside supermarkets in Mutare and elsewhere,
government opponents aren't convinced. They accuse Mugabe of making a
last-ditch bid to win popular support ahead of next year's presidential and
parliamentary polls.

Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) described the attack on the local business community as a "poor
election gimmick" and predicted Zimbabwe was headed for "serious chaos" as a
result of the price blitz.

The main Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) also condemned the
campaign, warning job losses were "imminent" and calling on the government
to deal with the "root causes" of Zimbabwe's economic rot.

Back in Mutare's supermarkets, there are still some goods on sale: things
like mayonnaise, ketchup, fancy brands of imported South African breakfast
cereal, slabs of locally-produced chocolate and Polana branded pasta from

But these are hardly things that will keep a city of nearly half a million
people satisfied for long.

Copyright © 2007 Respective Author

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Zimbabwe hyperinflation to intensify: economists


July 11, 2007, 18:15

Economists have warned that hyperinflation in Zimbabwe is set to intensify
and moves by that government to force price cuts will only worsen matters.
They also say South African companies operating in Zimbabwe will soon cease
doing business there as they are running at a huge loss.

Shops were ordered to cut prices in a bid to stem rocketing inflation, which
now stands at 4 500 - the highest in the world. Several South African shops,
including Makro and Edgars, have reported that staff have been detained as
confusion reigns about the implementation of this decree. As consumers take
advantage of the price cuts, shop shelves are emptying, and it is unclear
whether they will be restocked. Economists are warning of a looming

Zimbabwe's inflation rate has been climbing steadily. The country's currency
has become virtually worthless. As the government continues to print
currency in order to reduce its deficit, Zimbabweans in Johannesburg say
hundreds of thousands of Zimbabwean dollars are worth nothing at home.

Pegging the Zim dollar to the local currency is not the solution if broader
economic changes are not put in place. These include reducing public
spending, raising interest rates and introducing a new currency. Economists
warn that the move could hurt South Africa's economy.

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Uncertainty over Mugabe's invitation to summit


July 11, 2007, 18:15

Paulo Barbosa, Portugal's ambassador to South Africa, says the European
Union (EU) has yet to make a final decision on whether to invite Robert
Mugabe, the Zimbabwean president, to the upcoming EU-Africa summit.

Barbosa was speaking at a seminar at the University of the Witwatersrand in
Johannesburg. Portugal, which currently holds the EU presidency, is under
pressure from some African countries to include Zimbabwe in the summit,
while some EU countries want Mugabe excluded. Barbosa says they are focusing
on finalising the agenda.

Last week, Aziz Pahad, the deputy foreign affairs minister, said African
leaders were unlikely to accept a ban preventing Mugabe from attending the
summit in December. Pahad expressed the hope that the matter would be
handled sensitively.

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MEPs defend decision to invite Mugabe to Afro-European summit

Belfast Telegraph

 Wednesday, July 11, 2007
MEPs have defended a controversial decision to invite Robert Mugabe to speak
at an Afro-European summit later this year.
Critics claim the Zimbabwean President shouldn't be allowed to speak at the
conference in Portugal because of his poor record on human rights and
freedom of speech.

But Fianna Fáil MEP Eoin Ryan has said Mugabe should be brought over, in
order to answer hard questions on how he has brought his country to its

He also says that if Mugabe isn't invited, other African leaders might be
discouraged from attending this vital summit.

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Mbeki's Zimbabwe mediation efforts suffer setback


July 11, 2007, 17:45

President Thabo Mbeki's Southern African Development Community (SADC)
mandated efforts to secure a lasting Zimbabwean political settlement through
dialogue suffered a setback this week after the ruling Zanu (PF) party
failed to turn up for talks in Tshwane last weekend.

Indications are that Zanu-PF may turn up for talks at a later date this
month. When the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations returned
to Zimbabwe on Monday, there was still no word from Zanu (PF) on why they
did not turn up in Tshwane. Insiders within the opposition told the SABC
there was a feeling that Zanu (PF) was not taking the formal talks

Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche, Zanu (PF) delegates, attended a
crucial party central committee meeting addressed by Robert Mugabe, the
Zimbabwe president, instead of the Tshwane meeting. Morgan Tsvangirai, the
MDC leader, was addressing rallies in Harare's townships but would not be
drawn about the talks. "I can't talk about the negotiations because the
nature by which those discussions are taking place is not for me not to make
a formal announcement, but for the organisers themselves to do that," said

One month to break impasse
South African delegates now have come up with a convenient date for both
parties. Other Zimbabwean political parties excluded from the talks are
pessimistic. "These talks are essentially Zanu (PF) and MDC talks. They are
more of peacemaking initiatives between the two and nothing more to do with
the broader picture," said Daniel Shumba, of the United People's Parties. He
says they want to see an all inclusive process.

This is the third time South Africa has tried to mediate in Zimbabwe.
President Thabo Mbeki has a month to break the impasse and find a lasting
settlement, which he will present at the next SADC meeting in Zambia in

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Zimbabweans flock to SA as crisis intensifies


July 11, 2007, 20:30

Zimbabweans are flocking to South Africa to stock up on basic commodities.
Zimbabwean food shelves are empty as people rush to buy products in bulk
after the government ordered businesses to freeze prices.

Analysts say much of the commodities are finding their way on to the black
market. Zimbabweans queuing at the Beitbridge border post say there are
serious food shortages in their country, leaving them with no choice but to
cross into South Africa to buy groceries. Earlier, Zimbabwean police said
they have arrested over 1 500 people since the launch of Operation Reduce
Prices. The crackdown is targeting retailers who defy government's directive
to slash commodity prices by 50%.

The government issued the order following a spate of price hikes that had
seen prices of basic goods rising by more than 500% within three weeks. The
price cuts have seen goods such as bread, cement and fuel vanishing from
shop shelves only to resurface on the black market. Oliver Mandipaka, a
police spokesperson, says they have also arrested some retailers who were
smuggling commodities to rural areas.

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Zim businesses strike conciliatory tone

Mail and Guardian

Godfrey Marawanyika | Harare, Zimbabwe

11 July 2007 06:03

       Zimbabwe business leaders held out an olive branch to the
government on Wednesday over its controversial price controls, pledging to
make goods more affordable and accepting there would be no let-up of a
crackdown that has seen hundreds of retailers arrested.

      At a conference organised by the Harare Chamber of
Commerce to discuss the impact of a recent government order to slash prices
across the board, executives struck a markedly conciliatory tone and
acknowledged they needed to produce and sell goods that were affordable to
the public.

       "There is no doubt that business have been affected by
this directive [but] it is also important to recognise that business has an
obligation to produce goods and services to satisfy demand at the affordable
prices," Ozwel Bimha, chairperson of the Chamber of Commerce, told

      "In order to achieve this it is important for business to
acknowledge that there was need for some intervention to avert this crisis."

      More than 1 700 shop owners and managers have been
arrested since Industry Minister Obert Mpofu ordered businesses on June 26
to halve the prices of their goods and services after accusing them of
rampant profiteering. Security forces were sent to raid shops and check

      Among those who have been arrested are executives from
international firms such as Nandos chicken and the Spar supermarket chain,
most of whom have been released after paying heavy fines.

      Stores had been hiking their prices several times a day as
they tried to keep pace with the galloping rate of inflation, now believed
to be well beyond 5 000%.

      President Robert Mugabe, who is seeking re-election next
year, has accused retailers of "growing greedy at the expense of the
majority" and dismissed critics of the price controls as stooges of former
colonial power Britain.

      Andy Hodges, head of treasury for the Zimbabwe Allied
Banking Group, said the business sector had played into Mugabe's hands with
their price increases.

      "In essence we set the stage for intervention as the
government perceived prices increases as a third force," Hodges told

      "The government is not going to back down on this,
although this has created shortages and that is worrying because people will
have to hunt for these goods on the parallel market."

      Hodges said the price increases by the business sector
over the past two months were as a result of manufacturers and retailers who
were basing the price of their goods products on future inflation forecasts.

      Manufacturers say the government-set prices mean they
cannot cover their costs and have stopped production, leading to widespread
shortages of staples such as cooking oil and salt.

      Hodges said it was important there be dialogue between
government and business leaders, "since price controls do not work as they
are not good for both government and business".

      Brains Muchemwa, a leading Zimbabwean economist, told
delegates it was important the business sector was not at odds with the

      "Business and government have to walk in one direction,
but in this case business seems to be trailing behind," he said.

      Muchemwa also expressed concern on the loss of value of
the local currency, saying this has resulted in no one wishing to have the
Zimbabwe dollar in large quantities "except if it is being used for
speculative activities". Sapa-dpa, AFP

      Sacrificial lambs
      Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's main unions on Wednesday said they
would fiercely resist a rumoured plan to cut worker salaries by 50%.

      Details of the plan have not been officially confirmed,
but the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) said it had wind of the
proposal that would allegedly see workers subjected to a 50% salary slash in
line with the half-price cuts being enforced by Mugabe's government.

      "It would be unfair for the government and its agencies to
want to cut salaries by half when workers are struggling to survive," said
Wellington Chibebe, ZCTU secretary general.

      He said workers were tired of being sacrificial lambs and
warned there would be massive resistance should a 50% salary cut be

      This is the first time rumours have surfaced of alleged
plans to cut worker salaries and it was not immediately possible on
Wednesday to confirm whether in fact such plans existed.

      Chibebe claimed it had been mooted by businesses,
government and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, whose chief Gideon Gono was
reported to have disagreed with the price blitz.

      "We demand that the authorities rethink this heartless
strategy," Chibebe said in a statement. -- AFP, Sapa-dpa

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Police release activists in Harare

African Path

July 11, 2007 03:23 PM

By Ntando Ncube

POLICE in Harare on Wednesday morning released twelve National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) activists and officials who were arrested and
detained by police in Marondera on Thursday last week.

They were released without appearing in court, after spending four days and
four nights in police cells, NCA National director Ernest Mudzengi said.

In an act that typifies oppression and repression of the medieval era, the
twelve of our activists and officials who were arrested and detained by
police in Marondera were this morning released without appearing in court.
This is yet another sad story of innocent citizens spending days in police
cells on baseless grounds. It is a pathetic case of justice delayed and
justice denied. Mudzengi said.

Mudzengi said the state is now to pursue the case by way of summons after a
prosecutor who had been assigned to the case refused to handle it.

Among the arrested was Assembly Chairperson for Mashonaland East for Leon
Chiimba and Field officer Dasly Kagwambo and ten other activists who have
had to spend four days in jail cells.

NCA said the fact that the twelve activists and officials were held and
released without appearing in court points that the Zimbabwean government is
ever growing determination to continue hanging onto power through
oppression. The arrests came in the back of the SADC initiative towards the
resolution of the Zimbabwean crisis.

"At a time when the government is ostensibly working towards the resolution
of the country's crisis by engaging in talks with the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), the Marondera incident and other repressive
acts that surrounded peaceful demonstrations point to this government's
outright hypocrisy", NCA South Africa Coordinator Tapera Kapuya said.

On Thursday last week police in Masvingo severely assaulted over, three
hundred people, among them school children demonstrating, NCA Gender
Chairperson for Masvingo province, Selina Maridza was apprehended on the

Meanwhile police in Manicaland disrupted a demonstration held in Mutare
yesterday and arrested NCA Manicaland field Officer Benard Dube accusing him
of inciting the NCA activists to be rebellious.

More than 150 activists took part in the demonstration

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NCA Members Arrested In Mutare

African Path

July 11, 2007 12:19 PM
Trust Matsilele

Scores of National Constitutional Assembly members have been arrested in
Mutare following demonstrations in the city center seeking a constitution
reforms that we see democracy and political sanity returning in Zimbabwe.

State security agents (ZRP) are currently detaining field officer for NCA's
Manicaland province, Bernard Dube.

These arrests comes few days after some members of the NCA were arrested,
detained and tortured in Masvingo and Marondera, which saw some suffering
life threatening assaults whilst in cells.

?This style of approach to national crisis can not be tolerated, such kind
of cruelty and inhuman treatment to innocent citizens should not go
unchallenged, in due time perpetrators should be brought to book to answer
for their own atrocities, ?said NCA coordinator in South Africa Tapera

Meanwhile those who had been in police custody for the past few days have
been released whilst new arrests being taken into cells.

NCA's Harare office has also confirmed that protests are also currently
going on in the capital Harare.

Lawyers are also said to be fighting nail, tooth and claw to see that those
arrested are brought before the courts or released at earliest time

Since the defeat of the Mugabe-led government in the 1999 constitutional
referendum by the NCA, the government has launched a relentless attack on
the organization that has seen, a senior member Gift Tandare, being killed
in March this year.

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Church looks for food for Zimbabweans booted from university housing

Catholic News


By Bronwen Dachs
Catholic News Service

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNS) -- The Catholic Commission for Justice and
Peace in Zimbabwe is battling to find food to give university students a
meal a day while they take exams.

Officials at the University of Zimbabwe ordered up to 5,000 students out of
university housing July 9 just as they were to begin two weeks of written

Alouis Chaumba, head of the Harare-based justice and peace commission, told
Catholic News Service in a July 10 telephone interview that the students had
been asked to pay additional housing fees of more than a million Zimbabwean
dollars (US$4,000), "and most were unable to do that."

The students' failure to pay the fee, and July 7 incidents of vandalism on
campus that authorities blamed on students, prompted the authorities to
order "all students to move off campus," he said.

Chaumba said the shortage of accommodations in Harare -- even for those
students who have friends to put them up while they take their exams -- and
"the scarcity of food makes this a crisis."

"We want to set up a mobile kitchen to provide a meal a day for the
students, but we can't even do that for two weeks," Chaumba said, noting
that shelves in supermarkets are mostly empty and, where food can be found,
stores are only allowed to sell each individual two loaves of bread.

Nonperishable items such as candles, which are essential in a country with
frequent power cuts, "are very expensive," and there is little fuel at gas
stations around the country, he said.

Zimbabwe is crippled by the highest rate of inflation in the world,
unemployment of more than 80 percent, and shortages of foreign currency and
fuel. Food shortages are acute, and large numbers of people are migrating to
the neighboring countries of South Africa and Botswana. With elections
scheduled for March, political violence has intensified.

"We are in a desperate situation, and we cannot endure any longer," Chaumba

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Torture, ill-treatment and denial of medical care

Amnesty International

To: Health Professional Network
From: Health and Human Rights Team
Date: 6 July 2007



Members of Zimbabwean civil society organisations and opposition political parties have been tortured and ill-treated by officers of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) over recent months. Human rights activists have been arbitrarily arrested whilst participating in peaceful demonstrations, and whilst in police custody hundreds have been tortured and experienced other forms of ill-treatment at the hands of the ZRP, including beatings. Scores of activists have sustained injuries as a result and often require medical treatment. However, police have repeatedly denied them access to medical treatment.

AI believes that denial of medical treatment is being used by police as a form of additional ill-treatment and is in contravention of nationally and internationally recognised standards of human rights and policing.

The Zimbabwean government has failed to investigate reported ill-treatment, including denial of medical care and excessive use of force by the police against human rights defenders exercising the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of association.


Torture and other ill-treatment of government critics, and denial of medical care as a form of punishment are part of a pattern of harassment by the police. The cases detailed below are merely a few recent examples of the many Amnesty International has documented since 2003.

Case 1: Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)

6 June 2007

On 6 June 2007, seven members of WOZA were arbitrarily arrested and detained after engaging in a peaceful protest in Bulawayo. The women were reportedly beaten by riot police who were trying to disperse the peaceful protestors. Two of those detained were also reportedly beaten while in police custody.

Five of the women were charged under Section 46 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) as read with Section 2(v) of the schedule to the Criminal Code(1) and released on 8 June. The remaining two, WOZA leaders, Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu, were charged under Sections 37 (1a)(2) and 46 (2v) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act and released on 9 June.

One of the women alleged that whilst she was in custody, several policy officers beat her with baton sticks, including across her breasts. Additionally, according to the detained women, police officers had thrown bucket loads of water into the cells each day, forcing them to spend time on wet concrete, despite it being late autumn. The seven women were only given two blankets between them. Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu had no blankets on their last night in custody. None of the activists were able to access medical treatment until they had been released.

29 November 2006

On 29 November 2006, WOZA members were arbitrarily arrested in Bulawayo while engaged in a peaceful march to commemorate International Women Human Rights Defenders Day. Several women sustained severe injuries from police action. A woman in her sixties and a baby both sustained injuries to the legs after being assaulted by riot police. More than 30 demonstrators were arrested and detained. Most of the detained people had sustained injuries and were denied access to medical care while in police custody.

Case 2: Save Zimbabwe Campaign

11 March 2007

On 21 February 2007 police announced a three-month ban on rallies and demonstrations in Harare South District and the Harare suburb of Mbare. Following the police bans, the Save Zimbabwe Campaign, a coalition of church and civil society organizations, called for a prayer meeting in Highfield, Harare, on 11 March 2007 to protest the police ban. Police clamped down on the gathering before it had even started, arresting about 50 activists and shooting dead Gift Tandare, an activist from the National Constitutional Assembly,. The protestors, including leaders of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and other civil society organisations, were severely beaten during arrest and later tortured while in police custody at Machipisa police station. Several suffered multiple fractures and soft tissue injuries and most were denied access to medical care whilst they were in custody. Following their release many of them had to be hospitalized. The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR), one of the organisations working with victims of violence in Zimbabwe, stated that in the case of one of the leaders beaten, Morgan Tsvangirai, who they examined medically, the delay in providing medical treatment led to the aggravation of his medical condition.(3)

Grace Kwinjeh and Sekai Holland, who were reportedly tortured by police following the events of 11 March 2007, were prevented from seeking further medical attention in South Africa. On Saturday 17 March police prevented the injured women from boarding an air ambulance. They were taken from Harare International Airport to Harare Central police station and their travel documents were confiscated before the ambulance was instructed to take Kwinjeh and Holland back to hospital where they were placed under armed police guard.

Case 3: Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)

13 September 2006

On 13 September 2006, 15 members of the ZCTU, including President Lovemore Matombo, First Vice-President Lucia Matibenga and Secretary General Wellington Chibebe, were arrested in Harare after attempting to engage in a peaceful demonstration. They were severely assaulted during arrest. The Solidarity Peace Trust, a non-governmental organisation based in South Africa, captured the arrest of the ZCTU members on film. The footage clearly shows the police using excessive force as they load the demonstrators, who are not resisting arrest, into a police van.

They were detained at Matapi police station and were systematically tortured. Doctors confirmed that the ZCTU activists were beaten on the soles of the feet – a torture method called falanga which leaves many victims with life-long problems with walking. Whilst in detention, the ZCTU members were not allowed to receive medical treatment for the injuries that were inflicted by state agents.

On the same day, in the farming town of Chegutu, 11 members of a ZCTU affiliate union, the General Agricultural and Plantations Workers’ Union (GAPWUZ), were arrested after handing over a petition at a government office. They were taken to Chegutu Police Station and reportedly tortured while in police custody over a three-day period. They were made to lie on the stomach and were beaten on the soles of the feet while held in leg irons and handcuffs. The 11 trade unionists were later charged under the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and granted bail. They only obtained medical treatment after their release from custody.

Violation of international human rights standards

Zimbabwe has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter). The two human rights standards outlaw torture.

    • Article 7 of the ICCPR states that ‘[n]o one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.’
    • Article 5 of the African Charter states that ‘[a]ll forms of exploitation and degradation of man particularly slavery, slave trade, torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment and treatment shall be prohibited.’

In addition:

    • Section 15 (1) of the Zimbabwe Constitution states that ‘[n]o person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading punishment or other such treatment.
    • Principle 24 of the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment states that a ‘proper medical examination shall be offered to a detained or imprisoned person as promptly as possible after his admission to the place of detention or imprisonment, and thereafter medical care and treatment shall be provided whenever necessary. This care and treatment shall be provided free of charge.’
    • Article 5 of the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials states that ‘[n]o law enforcement official may inflict, instigate or tolerate any act of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’. Article 6 states that ‘[l]aw enforcement officials shall ensure the full protection of the health of persons in their custody and, in particular, shall take immediate action to secure medical attention whenever required.’
    • Article 4 of the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Co-operation Organization [SARPCCO] Code of Conduct for Police Officials states that ‘[n]o police official under any circumstances, shall inflict, instigate or tolerate any act of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to any person’. Article 5 states that ‘[p]olice officials shall ensure the protection of the health of persons in their custody and, in particular, shall take immediate action to secure medical attention whenever required.’

Required action:

Please write to the following:

      1. Police Commissioner
      2. Officer in Charge of the Law and Order Section of the Criminal Investigations Department
Some or all of the cases mentioned above could be cited in your letters.
      3. Officer Commanding Harare Province
Please cite the cases of the ZCTU members tortured at Matapi police station and the case of the MDC activists tortured at Machipisa police station.
      4. Officer Commanding Bulawayo Province
Please cite the case of WOZA members beaten in Bulawayo.

In the letters you write, please include the following points:

    • Introduce yourself as a health professional from [name of your country] gravely concerned at the ill-treatment of members of civil society organisations and opposition parties by the Zimbabwean Republic Police, and of the denial of medical care to those in custody as a form of punishment.
    • Urge the recipient of your letter to ensure that police officers under his/her command protect citizens from torture and other ill-treatment as specified in the Zimbabwean Constitution, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
    • Urge them to ensure that the Zimbabwean Republic Police operate in a manner consistent with the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Co-operation Organisation (SARPCCO) Code of Conduct for Police Officials in upholding the rights of all individuals in their custody.
    • Urge them to ensure that police take immediate action to secure medical care for those in their custody, whenever required, as specified in Article 6 of the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and Principle 24 of the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment.
    • Call on the ZRP to respect the rights of human rights defenders including recognising their right to peaceful assembly and freedom of association.

5. Please also write to the chair of your medical association:

Request that they write to the addresses suggested expressing grave concern at the denial of medical treatment to detainees and urging the targets to ensure that the Zimbabwean Republic Police uphold nationally and internationally recognised human rights standards toward detainees including the provision of medical care. Ask them to write (or send a copy of their letter) to the Zimbabwe Medical Association (ZIMA). You could suggest that they ask ZIMA to express concerns to the government about violations of human rights and especially denial of medical care.

Addresses for appeals:
Please note that sending faxes to Zimbabwe can be very difficult and takes a lot of perseverance. It is easier to send letters.

Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri
Zimbabwe Republic Police
Police Headquarters
PO Box 8807
Harare, Zimbabwe
Fax: +263 4 253 212
Salutation: Dear Commissioner

Officer-in-Charge of the Law and Order Section of the Criminal Investigations Department
CID Headquarters
Box CY34
Fax: +263 4 253 212
Salutation: Dear Officer-in-Charge,

Officer Commanding Police – Harare Province
P O Box CY 154, Harare

Fax:+263 4 754176/ 753 501
Salutation: Dear Provincial Commanding Officer,

Officer Commanding Police – Bulawayo Province
P O Box 701, Bulawayo

Fax: +263 9 65763
Salutation: Dear Provincial Commanding Officer,

Zimbabwe Medical Association
Zimbabwe Medical Association
P.O. Box 3671
Tel. (+263-4) 791553
Fax. (+263-4) 791561
Dr Billy Rigava, President

(1) This prohibits any person employing "any means whatsoever which are likely materially to interfere with the ordinary comfort, convenience, peace or quiet of the public or any section of the public, or does any act which is likely to create a nuisance or obstruction."

(2) This prohibits any person "who acts together with one or more other persons present with him or her in any place or at any meeting with the intention or realizing that there is a real risk or possibility of forcibly disturbing the peace, security or order of the public or any section of the public."

(3) ZADHR, ‘Nature of injuries of tortured civil society activists and opposition party leaders’, March 14, 2007

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Makro shut down - report


    July 11 2007 at 03:14PM

Johannesburg - Zimbabwe police have shut down the Makro Store in
Harare and took in a manager for questioning, Grant Pattison, chief
executive of the retail giant Massmart told Fin24 on Wednesday.

Pattison said the arrest and order to shut down the store was over
confusion with the interpretation of the presidential decree to all
businesses to slash prices by 50 percent.

"They detained our assistant manager and asked us to close the store.
Our lawyers are meeting with the police to get our man freed and to try and
understand it (the decree)," Pattison said.

"What I am picking up from speaking from the guys is that it is all
quite non-violent, not threatening and not aggressive.

"We have complied with the laws and instructions of the authorities,"
he said.

Pattison said the actions of the Zimbabwean government were

"I understand they are trying to fix a problem... the problem is
massive... even as retailers the product prices going up everyday is
unsustainable but unfortunately what they are doing in response is
ill-advised and won't work," he said.

"For people doing business in Zimbabwe the issue is about survival...
this time will pass, I am just keeping the business going.

"We are committed to doing business in Zimbabwe. It's a Zimbabwean
business, we've got employees, we got stakeholders there, we will continue
to act as a responsible Zimbabwean business."

Pattison said Massmart employed 500 Zimbabweans between its two stores
in Harare and Bulawayo.

"For several years the business in Zimbabwe has not contributed to
Massmart profit and from an asset perspective we've written off the
investment there sometime ago. It has no material impact on our financials.

"It is a stand-alone written off separate business but that it does
not make money doesn't stop us running the Zimbabwean business in a
responsible way. Our number one interest is to try and keep our staff
employed and to ensure customers have product," he said.

The Zimbabwe Industry and Trade Minister Obert Mpofu issued a
directive last month to businesses to cut prices in half in an attempt to
tame rampant inflation, which at more than 4 500 percent is the highest in
the world.

Shelf prices for commodities such as maize meal, sugar, flour and
cooking oil have been rising daily and have become unaffordable for most

The price freeze is said to be backfiring and has driven goods off
shelves and onto the black market. - Sapa

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Post-Mugabe Quandary

Institute for War & Peace Reporting

There's little consensus amongst analysts over who should lead the country
once Mugabe finally goes.

By Benedict Unendoro in Harare (AR No. 121, 11-July-07)

As the Zimbabwean crisis deepens, analysts are already exploring which
political party would be best equipped to turn around the country's fortunes
in the post-Mugabe era.

Many observers, including outgoing United States ambassador to Zimbabwe,
Christopher Dell, have predicted the demise of President Robert Mugabe's
regime in six months. Mugabe has no choice but to step down by September
this year, for the good of himself, the country and his ruling Zanu-PF
party, said ZANU-PF insider Ibbo Mandaza.

The Zimbabwean crisis has deepened in the last two weeks since Mugabe
ordered a price slash on all goods and services, a populist move many see as
the tipping point for his own fortunes. To wriggle out of the resulting
chaos, Mugabe has no choice but to introduce subsidies, which economists and
the IMF say will increase quasi-fiscal deficits that will in turn stoke
hyper-inflation further. The IMF says the government will have no choice but
to resort to printing more money in order to finance the subsidies. This,
economists say, will trigger the further decline and the fall of the

Zimbabwe faces a combined presidential and parliamentary election early next
year which many are pinning their hopes on to bring about much-needed change
to the country. However, commentators say the poll may not in itself be the
solution, even if it is held in a free and fair atmosphere.

It's thought South African president Thabo Mbeki, who is currently seeking
to mediate in the Zimbabwean political crisis, and Britain, the former
colonial power, prefer a reformed ZANU-PF as the way forward.

But Arthur Mutambara, leader of one of the factions of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, said this option was unlikely to work.

"The international community, particularly western governments, have shown a
keen interest in the jockeying for positions among ZANU-PF factions, which
seems to imply that if any one of the factions were to successfully replace
Mugabe they would consider normalising relations with Zimbabwe," he wrote in
an opinion piece for a Zimbabwean news site.

"The thinking seems to be that the problem is Robert Mugabe the person, and
that anyone else will do just fine."

In his piece, Mutambara argues that ZANU-PF as a political construct is
beyond redemption and should not have a future in the new Zimbabwe, "First
and foremost, the Zimbabwean crisis is bigger than the person of Robert
Mugabe. There are institutional, structural and systemic dimensions to the
challenges we are facing.

"Over the past 27 years, ZANU-PF has developed a distinct
socio-politico-economic culture and value system rooted in political
illegitimacy, poor country governance, economic mismanagement, bad policies,
corruption, patronage, incompetence, and disrespect for the rule of law.

"Whilst Mugabe is the personification and cardinal symbol of this misrule,
these traits are now deeply rooted within ZANU-PF, which is rotten to the
core. Mugabe is the glue that keeps the rot together."

Prominent Zimbabwean economist Tony Hawkins supported Mutambara's views in a
recent interview with the independent Zimbabwe radio station SW Radio, "I
also don't believe the people of Zimbabwe are willing to be governed by a
reformed ZANU-PF because I think ZANU-PF has gone way beyond the point of no
return in respect of re-branding and so on.

"When you have done as much harm as they have done it is very hard to
believe that voters - if they are given a free and fair opportunity - would
vote for a continuation of this party regardless of whom is leading it."

At the same time, however, political observers do not see a weakened MDC as
a viable alternative to ZANU-PF.

The MDC split in October 2005 over an issue that many saw as trivial - the
newly introduced upper house of parliament, the senate.

The main faction of the party, led by founding president Morgan Tsvangirai,
did not see the value of contesting elections for the senate, arguing that
the results were a fait accompli because the playing field was so heavily
tilted in favour of ZANU-PF. But the other MDC faction participated in the
ballot - though won an insignificant number of seats. The latter group
alleges that Tsvangirai triggered the MDC split with his "dictatorial
tendencies" and his followers' propensity for violence.

Many also see the chance of either MDC faction winning the elections next
year as remote. "The MDC surprised everyone in the 2000 general election
when they almost upset ZANU-PF. But people should remember that that was
mainly a protest vote. Ever since that shocker, the MDC's fortunes have been
dwindling, as has been shown by the loss of several seats in subsequent
polls. Now a divided MDC cannot be expected to fare any better," said an
independent journalist working in Harare.

Even if the MDC won the election, buoyed by the support of a disgruntled
populace struggling under a collapsed economy, this would not signal the
beginning of a new era, he said.

He cited the Zambian experience where the opposition Movement for Multiparty
Democracy, MMD, swept to power on a protest vote but once in charge became
guilty of the same misdemeanors that Kenneth Kaunda's United National
Independence Party, UNIP, was ousted for.

He pointed out that Frederick Chiluba's party was in fact seen as more
corrupt than its predecessor; and Chiluba himself is currently on trial for
siphoning 500 million US dollars from state coffers.

Analysts also cite the Kenyan model where the Rainbow Alliance, a grouping
of opposition politicians and ruling Kenya African National Union rebels,
swept to power under Mwai Kibaki, pointing out that corruption and
repression remain as all-pervasive as under Daniel arap Moi.

The journalist also said signs of corruption were already showing in the MDC
as some of the party's most senior cadres were benefiting from Mugabe's
largesse. Recently, several senior party officials took delivery of farming
equipment including tractors from Mugabe's farm mechanisation programme.

An opposition politician in the fringe Democratic Party, DP, said, "Even if
the MDC somehow won the combined presidential and parliamentary polls the
transition would be far from smooth. Mugabe has militarised all state
institutions and generals have been quoted as saying they would not allow
Tsvangirai to rule Zimbabwe."

Indeed, in many areas of the public sector, including the judiciary and
state-run companies, military men now hold key positions. On the eve of the
2002 presidential election, senior officers released a statement saying that
the army would not support a president who lacked liberation war
credentials - a clear reference to Tsvangirai.

Defence forces chief, General Constantine Chiwenga, reiterated this partisan
stance in a speech made just before the March 2005 legislative polls.

"The period immediately after Mugabe's fall should see the demilitarisation
of state institutions and no one can do this except ZANU-PF itself, or its
offshoot, because these military figures have no respect for the
 opposition," said the DP politician.

But a reformed ZANU-PF option faces a major challenge in the person of
Mugabe himself - especially if he decides to hang on until elections next

"Mugabe is not a Nyerere," said the journalist, referring to the late
founder of the Tanzanian nation, Julius Nyerere, who, on seeing the
disastrous course his socialist policies were steering the country, stepped
down from the presidency and played mid-wife to the reform of his own party,
Chama Cha Mapinduzi, CCM. In 1985, Nyerere relinquished the national
presidency but retained the chairmanship of the party to oversee its

Ever since Tanzania, one of the most stable nations in sub-Saharan Africa,
has been ruled by successive CCM governments and its democratic system is
seen by many as a model to emulate.

"Unfortunately, Mugabe lacks Nyerere's integrity and wisdom. Mugabe, unlike
Nyerere, won't admit his mistakes, and won't show flexibility and
pragmatism. Instead, he would like to drag his country into the mud with
him," said the journalist.

But Simba Makoni, tipped by many observers as the one likely to lead a
reformed ZANU-PF, said during a recent visit to South Africa that much was
taking place inside ZANU-PF and a reformed party would soon emerge.

Benedict Unendoro is the pseudonym of an IWPR journalist in Zimbabwe.

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The party's over in Zimbabwe

Business Report

July 11, 2007

By Guy Pearse

Mutare - Shops in Zimbabwe's normally thriving eastern border city of Mutare
are fast running out of stock.

Seven days after President Robert Mugabe's government began a blitz on shops
and businesses, forcing them to slash prices by half, Mutare's biggest
stores look in part like they've been decimated.

Huge white meat freezers stand empty. There are empty shelves where eggs
should be stocked. There is no cooking oil, sugar or flour.

In TM stores - a popular grocery chain on Mutare's main shopping
artery -more than 200 people waited patiently in a line Tuesday for scarce
supplies of bread.

Bakers are reported to have massively reduced production since price
inspectors ordered a loaf be sold for Z$22 000 (less than 20 US cents, or
about R1.40, at the parallel rate of exchange).

They say it costs at least Z$35 000 to produce one loaf.

"Look, the store is empty," whispers a teller in an upmarket department
store as she scrubs down bare shelves.

"By December, what will there be to buy?"

Last week, residents say, shoppers stampeded from one store to the next to
get bargains. Price inspectors and police ordered store managers to slash by
around half the prices of most goods, including shoes, clothes, cement and
pots and pans.

After struggling under rampant inflation of at least 4 500 percent, many
could not believe their luck. Popular soft drink Coca Cola, which is bottled
in Mutare, had shot up to more than Z$50 000 a bottle. For the last few days
it's been selling, as ordered, for Z$20 000.

"The town's awash in Coke," giggled one 28-year-old mother-of-two, who was
drinking the fizzy drink for breakfast.

But the euphoria, it appears, could prove short-lived.

Already there is talk that many shop owners, angered at being forced to sell
at a massive loss, simply won't restock their shelves. Owners and managers
from more than 20 stores in Mutare and its nearest town Rusape were arrested
in a move likely to prove the last straw for some stressed business people.

And, as in the days of unaffordably high prices, shoppers are already
wandering around TM with empty baskets. This time it's because the goods
they want just aren't available.

Provincial governor Tinaye Chigudu last week sounded a note of alarm at the
growing shortages.

He accused Mutare business people of siphoning precious basic commodities
across the border into Mozambique, where demand for quality Zimbabwean
products like pasteurised milk, sugar and body lotions is high.

"We know businesses are making billions of dollars in profits but people are
struggling out there," Chigudu, a staunch senior member of Mugabe's ruling
ZANU-PF party, said in comments carried by the local Manica Post newspaper.

But with black marketeers quietly offering unavailable commodities at huge
premiums on the pavements outside supermarkets in Mutare and elsewhere,
government opponents aren't convinced. They accuse Mugabe of making a
last-ditch bid to win popular support ahead of next year's presidential and
parliamentary polls.

Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) described the attack on the local business community as a "poor
election gimmick" and predicted Zimbabwe was headed for "serious chaos" as a
result of the price blitz.

The main Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) also condemned the
campaign, warning job losses were "imminent" and calling on the government
to deal with the "root causes" of Zimbabwe's economic rot.

Back in Mutare's supermarkets, there are still some goods on sale: things
like mayonnaise, ketchup, fancy brands of imported South African breakfast
cereal, slabs of locally-produced chocolate and Polana branded pasta from

But these are hardly things that will keep a city of nearly half a million
people satisfied for long. - Sapa-dpa

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Hundreds More Arrested As Police Setup Roadblocks in Price War

SW Radio Africa (London)

11 July 2007
Posted to the web 11 July 2007

Tererai Karimakwenda

The police on Tuesday accused businesses of moving their goods to rural
areas to avoid reducing prices and in response, roadblocks are reported to
have appeared everywhere. Police spokesperson Oliver Mandipaka told state
radio that the roadblocks had been setup to block the movement of goods to
rural areas and also prevent farmers from moving maize to urban areas.

But our contacts say they are raiding minibuses and impounding vehicles,
accused of overcharging. From Bulawayo our contact Zenzele said there is a
serious shortage of transport and people carrying others to ease the problem
are being arrested and their vehicles impounded for not having licenses. As
it is in Harare, Zenzele said a petrol station owned by Abednico Bhebhe was
raided by police who insisted the fuel be sold for Z$60,000 per litre. But
Bhebhe had been selling it at Z$150,000 a litre on the base date when prices
were frozen. Zenzele reports that Bhebhe lost at least Z$3.8 billion.

Police spokesperson Mandipaka also announced that hundreds more business
executives and managers had been arrested as the government continued
enforcing the new law freezing the prices of basic commodities. He said a
further 468 violators had been arrested countrywide in the last 24 hours.
This brings the total to 1 768 since June 26th when the original price
reduction order was effected. The police said they had beefed up their price
monitoring team and there would be more police in the central business
district and other residential area.

Meanwhile shops have mostly run out of stock and our sources say there is no
cooking oil, sugar, soap and many other basic commodities. There is also a
serious shortage of bread since bakers were ordered to reduce the price of a
loaf to Z$22 000, when it costs them at least Z$35 000 to produce it. Public
transport has all but disappeared as operators resort to parking their
vehicles rather spend days in petrol queues, then lose money charging less
than it costs them to buy fuel.

The news comes just days after government published a new law that freezes
prices and requires businesses to apply for permission before changing them.
Failure to comply could lead to the businesses being nationalised and to
owners and directors being charged in their personal capacities.

On Wednesday lawyer Sternford Moyo questioned the legality of the law
ordering price freezes, saying he had not seen it published in any regular
government gazette or any extraordinary gazette. The law suddenly appeared
in a government publication last Friday, but it is being used to prosecute
some owners and directors who were arrested before it was published. Moyo
said without being gazetted, the new law cannot be considered legally

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Malawian Grain Flows To Zimbabwe, But More Needed To Cover Shortfall


      By Patience Rusere
      11 July 2007

Months after reaching agreement with Harare, Malawi is finally beginning the
export of 400,000 metric tonnes of maize worth some $120 million to

Malawian Deputy Agriculture Minister Binto Kutsaira said some 90,000 tons
have been shipped amid controversy in Lilongwe over the payment terms
extended to Harare.

Kutsaira declined to disclose where Zimbabwe was obtaining the funds for the
grain deal, but other sources said some of the funding may be coming from
the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank, better known as
PTA Bank. Malawi meanwhile has extended Harare a US$10 million working line
of credit.

The full consignment is expected to be delivered over the next six months.
The Malawi government has stated that its bumper 2007 harvest allowed it to
export the grain.

Malawian Principal Secretary of Agriculture and Food Security Patrick
Kabambe told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that
Malawi has confidence in Zimbabwe's ability to pay - but exports will be
stopped if Harare falls behind.

Despite the Malawian supplies, Deputy Director Nyika Musiyazvirivo of
Christian Care, one of the World Food Program's main implementing partners
in the distribution of aid to the country, said the infusion would not cover
Zimbabwe's grain-supply shortfall.

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'Let me run home and get another million'

Brisbane Times

Dylan Welch | July 11, 2007

Sekai Holland, part of the democratic opposition to the Mugabe regime,
currently lives in Australia. She described how the recent shortages have
affected various member so her family still living in Zimbabwe.

Stories of rampant inflation in Zimbabwe were entirely true she said, and
described an incident involving her sister last week.

"My sister went to buy some groceries at a shop. They told her that the
groceries she had seen the day before at closing time had just gone up, so
she said let me just run home and get another million [Zimbabwean dollars].

"When she came back the prices had gone up again and the million she was
carrying could not cover that. And that was within the space of two hours."

In an incident yesterday, she described her family hearing there was cooking
oil and sugar at a local store.

"When they got there, there was just nothing. Absolutely not a thing on any
of the shelves. Not a thing."

She said the only way her family was obtaining goods was through the black
market, and occasionally by early morning trips to markets.

"If you got there 3am, 4am, 5am, sometimes if you are lucky you get the
goods you [want]. But things like bread, you will not get it anywhere,
because there is no flour in the country.

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Being rich in Zim

Africa News, Netherlands

11 July 2007, by Margreet Wewerinke.

Zimbabwe: these days a buzzword in South African conversations, as in the
popular phrase 'we're going towards Zim' to indicate a perceived state of
anti-development. Landreform? South Africa is a second Zim now! Zuma for
president? Then South Africa will have its own Mugabe, and many respectable
citizens will have no choice but to migrate to Europe. Does the Rand
devaluate? Shame, but fortunately we're not on the level Zim dollars yet.

Remarkably many South Africans tend to forget about political history, crime
rates and HIV-statistics when comparing countries. 'Crime is nothing to fear
for in Zim' I learnt within three minutes after arrival in Harare. The
streetwise Ryan continued: 'People here rather make money in business'.
Standing on obvious market-ground, surrounded by people trading peanuts,
juices, watches, imitation jewels, airtime, phone-covers but most of all
large staples of banknotes, it was not difficult to believe him. What a

Now, Ryan also knew someone, just a phone call away, who was - in contrast
to all the others - truly reliable. In case foreign banknotes needed some
contextualisation. Alternatively, a bank could provide the respectable
citizen with 90% reliability while paying only 50% of what Ryan's reliable
friend would provide for.

Thus, naturally some notes disappeared between the pages of a big red book
Ryan carried with him, and the book was closed after some well-acted seconds
of reading. Ryan would leave me now and look for his friend who was hiding
somewhere behind the bus station ('too much police'). All I had to do was
waiting a few minutes. 'Can I trust you?', I asked the young man who was
about to disappear while, professionally, carrying the 'transaction book'
under his arm. Ryan smiled: 'you can try!' and then moved into the colorful
noisy mass.

He came back. I read in his book of treasure again, and was able to take him
for coffee. It cost a few hundred thousand Zim dollars only. 'Sorry madam,
prices have just gone up. For sugar we also depend on the black market now.'
Sugar was the first thing people tried to sell after I crossed the Zim
border. '

But at the same time, you're way better off these days Margaret', Ryan
remarked jokingly, 'we've just removed three zero's!' I was amused by Ryan's
provoking style of talking. And his apparent understanding of Zim's present
state of being went surprisingly well together with a straightforward
chauvinism. 'No matter what, I will always love my country.'

'Our struggling country', some nicely dressed men tried to explain a few
hours later, 'will benefit significantly from the legalization of ivory
trade.' I had bumped into a complete television crew, and cameras were ready
to catch me pleading for increasing trade in all parts of the elephant. No,
I didn't need to know anything about anything, I could just repeat what this
man here just explained to me.

Compromisingly, I asked instead some quasi-informed questions before the
running cameras. (Which people are benefiting? Are these the very same
people that suffer from the present situation? Thank you.).

Since this was 'exactly what we wanted to hear madam!', I was escorted by
the entire crew to a simple hotel in town where I could stay for a few
hundred thousand dollars only. It was the cheapest hotel I'd ever slept in -
a loaf of bread was more expensive, thus complained a mother of five
children. How many zero's or embargo's to remove to make Zim affordable for
those without TV cameras, elephants or foreign currencies?

(But being rich, you'd rather keep quiet about politics in Zim...)

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The dividends of war


Africa's spin-doctors and bunny huggers can learn a lesson or two from the
Congolese activities of London-listed CAMEC.

Barry Sergeant
11 July 2007

Johannesburg - Central African Mining & Exploration (Camec, CFM.L, £0.71 a
share) once again raised eyebrows this week upon confirmation that it would
bid for the 78% it does not already hold in Katanga Mining (KAT.T, C$24.05).
Based on recent stock prices, such a bid would value Katanga Mining as a
whole at £773m (C$1.6bn).

In early April this year, Camec astounded even some specialist investors by
announcing its acquisition of 22% of Katanga Mining, one of the most
advanced brownfields projects in the rapidly re-developing Katanga Province
in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The takeover battle for Katanga Mining, now openly hostile, is set to open a
number of festering historical wounds in Katanga Province. Katanga Mining is
the current jewel in the DRC's globally important copper belt, which runs
across borders, to the southeast into Zambia, and in the west into Angola,
where it has hardly been tapped.

Katanga Mining is going to be the earliest big restart in the DRC
copperbelt, with metal ready for shipping before the end of the year.
Katanga Mining's two big peers, Nikanor (NKR.L, £6.25) and Tenké Mining
Corporation (TNK.T, C$24.00), owned 57.75% by copper giant Freeport McMoRan
(FCX, $88.36), are only likely to ship metal in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
Beyond the sheer size of the three projects, each has among the cleanest
sets of papers available to the current ministerial-level review of DRC
mining projects and licences.

While Camec would like to own all of Katanga Mining, its current interests
in the DRC copperbelt are patchy, at best, and more likely to be disputed.
In February last year, Camec bought a bunch of Katanga Province assets from
the notorious Billy Rautenbach, for $80m, comprising $25m in cash, and 172m
new Camec shares, issued at 18 pence a share. If Rautenbach has maintained
his stake in Camec, he would currently hold some 14% of the company, and be
its biggest shareholder.

The February 2006 transaction saw Camec buy Rautenbach's apparent cash-flow
rights from mining concessions 467, 469 (also known as C19 & C21) in Katanga
Province, and 50% of the Mukondo concession, said to be the richest cobalt
deposit in the world. The other half of Mukondo was sold in June 2006 for
around $60m by John Bredenkamp, also a Zimbabwean, to Israeli entrepreneur
Dan Gertler, a founding shareholder of Nikanor.

Camec later bought 80% of the shares in BOSS Mining SPRL, which held the
actual titles to the C19 and C21 concessions, and 50% of the Mukondo
concessions. Camec paid only a "nominal amount" for the 80% stake in BOSS
Mining SPRL, owned by Rautenbach. But immediately upon acquiring 50% of
Mukondo, Gertler shut it down, cutting off Camec's main source of cobalt ore
and concentrate.

Camec coyly said that mining at Mukondo had been "suspended until agreement
can be reached with the new owners" on how "best to develop the concession
area". Camec laughed off the idea that the Mukondo closure would affect it,
stating that production at its Luita processing facility continued with
supply from "newly opened deposits as well as in the region of 40 deposits
on the C19 & C21 concession areas".

Camec started up copper production at Luita in September 2006, with output
projected at 40 000 tons by 2007, rising to template capacity of 100 000
tons of copper cathode by the end of 2008. The fact is that Camec's
non-Mukondo ore sources may provide for a copper flow, but precious little
is moving in the way of cobalt. In its 2006 annual report, Camec said it was
"on track to produce 8 200 tons of cobalt" in full year 2006-07, viz., the
12 months to March 31 2007.

Beyond the unresolved Mukondo issue, Gertler is also now knocking heads with
Camec over Katanga Mining. Late last month, RP Explorer Master Fund (RPEMF)
said it had purchased some 6% of Katanga Mining, taking its total stake to
15.7% in Katanga Mining.  The latest RPEMF transaction manifests the
interest, directly or indirectly, of Gertler in Katanga Mining, via RP
Capital Partners Cayman Islands.

Camec's hunger for Katanga Mining squares it up not only against Gertler,
one of the most influential operators in the DRC, but also against Katanga
Mining founding shareholder, Georges Forrest, of Forrest International, with
a 24.5% stake in Katanga Mining, via George Forrest International Afrique
SPRL. None of these people or entities, bar Camec, have much time for
Rautenbach, who's had squabbles in and around the Katanga copper-cobalt
belts for years.

In November 1998, he was named the MD of state-owned copper-cobalt miner La
Générale des Carrières et des Mines (Gécamines) during a visit to Harare by
then-DRC president Laurent-Désiré Kabila. Some of Gécamines' best
cobalt-producing areas were transferred to a joint venture between
Rautenbach's Ridgepointe International and the Central Mining Group, a
Congolese company controlled by Pierre-Victor Mpoyo, then DRC minister of
state. Rautenbach, who had no mining experience, was also made MD of the
joint venture. Rautenbach's business practices saw Kabila replace him with
Forrest in March 2000.

Rautenbach was stripped of all connections to Katanga, including the Kambove
and Kakanda processing plants, and the large parcel of deposits known as the
Kababancola Concessions, including Mukondo. These assets were officially
transferred to Bredenkamp's Tremalt, which established a new joint venture,
Kababancola Mining Company (KMC).

Kabila was assassinated in January 2001, and replaced by his son Joseph. A
year later, Rautenbach's name cropped up again, as one of the biggest
exporters of heterogenite (cobalt ore) from the DRC, via Congo Cobalt
Company, known as CoCoCo.

But then Rautenbach's name was also linked to another DRC entity, Boss
Mining which, it was said, had acquired two lucrative mining concessions,
C19 and C21, as well as 50% of Mukondo. These were, of course, part of the
same portfolio of assets once stripped from Rautenbach and dealt to
Bredenkamp. So-called "rights" to the assets can be traced back to the DRC's
1997-2003 war, under the Zimbabwe military's Operation Sovereign Legitimacy
(Osleg), a period which saw more than 3m Congolese die from unnatural

Camec, which professes a deep belief in logistics in Africa, also owns
Wheels of Africa/SABOT, which Camec aims to build into a fleet of 500
trucks/vehicles. Wheels of Africa had long been associated with the
Rautenbach family, which for years used the fleet to ship copper and cobalt
concentrate from Katanga Province to ports on the east coast of Africa. In
March this year, Katanga Province governor Moise Katumbi started to crack
down on exports of the raw material, a practice said to cost the DRC
hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

London-based Camec executives Phillipe Edmonds and Andrew Groves (who, like
Rautenbach, hails from Harare) are not people who return calls. It would be
fascinating to hear their take on how and why Kinshasa-based lawyer Roger
Masamba transferred his 2% stake in Camec Congo SPRL to Katanga Investments
Limited, an entity incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, and
controlled by Camec.

Then there is Lubumbashi-based lawyer Herve Ngoy Kalumba, who acts for Camec
Congo SPRL, and has acted for CoCoCo and BOSS Mining. Then there was Casmin
SPRL, and, between and betwixt, there is John Swanepoel. These are smaller
names, all right, but may prove invaluable in unraveling the complex chess
game now overwhelming the southern parts of Katanga Province.

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JAG Open Letter Forum No.494

Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with “For Open Letter Forum” in the subject

JAG Hotlines:
+263 (011) 610 073 If you are in trouble or need advice,  please don't
hesitate to contact us - we're here to help!
+263 (04) 799 410 Office Lines


 Letter 1 –  Pro Lege

Dear JAG,

Pat Mangwende's candid style is so refreshing. I think we could be
kindred spirits.  I can only ask him to obtain a book to read -
Undeclared War - The Struggle for Africa - by Ivor Benson 1978. It might
hurt to read that this has all happened before - Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia,
Zaire.... As Zimbabwe collapses there will be a group of people watching
events unfold carefully. I can only guess that if Pat can tell me who
pays who for Zimbabwean platinum, and how it is marketed - we will have
an indication who are the real players are in the charade.

On 26/3/1970 I went to World's View, Matopos, with a headmaster and five
other little school boys - all dressed up in grey flannel shorts, striped
tie, trilby and purple blazers. We piled into his Valiant and went to
CJ's grave as the sun was setting in one of the most beautiful places in
the world, where we placed a wreath on his grave. Martin Olds went there
exactly two years earlier. Alan Burl possibly a few years before that. As
an eleven year old I was not aware that my grandfather was actually at
the burial some sixty eight years earlier.

African mourners pulled the gun carriage up the dwala. It was very hot on
the day of burial and a Jewish trader had brisk business selling 'aerated
water.' I cannot change the history or the legacy. Study the
international political landscape and it is covered with Rhodes Scholars
- from Clinton to Kristofferson, or Malcolm Turnbull to Mutumbara.


It seems that we are witnessing another epic period in the country's
history. As an eleven yearold I could not have known that there had been
a little boy growing up in Zvimba (in the 30's) who would have some
serious attitude which would affect the country some 30 years later. I
can only imagine that he might have been running around Zvimba with a
knobkerrie herding cattle with some ethnic canines, and was not able to
buy very much in the shops.

The instructions of the past week point to a true levelling of the
playing field in at least one person's opinion - nearly everybody (except
the store keepers) is entitled to a bargain. I can only assume that
anything left in "the pantry" will be shared out in the coming weeks.

In the future we will be judged on the legacy we leave behind.
Interestingly, whether we hate it or love it, Rhodes' political legacy
lives on largely in the USA but also in the UK. Before he died he said
"So much to do, so little done." At this stage from my current perch I
see a new legacy and quote emerging "So much destroyed, so little left."
I guess it all comes back to what we regard as civilization.

The Australian Govt. has admitted that "Australia is in Iraq because of
the oil."

The Australian equivalent of Pat Mangwende wrote... "You know the Howard
Government is getting desperate when they resort to telling the truth!" -
Mark Millard, WA I do not believe that Zanu is desperate yet.

Pro Lege.


Letter 2 – Stu Taylor

Dear JAG,

For the sake of P. Mangwende, let's revive the CFU question, as I believe
dialogue is good food for the brain!

In my opinion, CFU SHOULD actually dismantle itself, as they are a spent
force, like ZANU(PF), their masters.

CFU have always considered themselves a little superior to the rest. In
my dealings with them, since 1980, they have given me no reason to feel
that they warrant any illusions of grandeur. When I started farming in
1980, I worked on a farm bounded on 3 sides by communal area; cattle
strayed from the adjacent areas, people used the farm as a thoroughfare,
stole produce, and bushfires raged through the farm on a regular basis,
fencing was stolen and one of my drivers was actually killed in an
attempt to control one of the bushfires.

I sought advice from CFU - silence. A few years later I had an altrcation
with an employer over remuneration - again I sought help from the CFU -
"you are only a manager" I was told, "and not a member of CFU, so we
can't help".

Then came the "jambanja". I was involved in security in a certain farming
area, confronted 150-odd angry invaders on one of my first assignments
and on reporting this to CFU and again seeking advice was told nothing,
just "do what you feel's right". Nothing's changed.

Stu Taylor


Letter 3 – Sue Ellis

Dear Jag,

Both Stu and Graeme Bell might like to look at the following website: 

Graeme could advertise for his friends on this website.

Stu could contact SOAP - see message below.

Keep up the good work - there are so few now who care or who have the
energy to keep trying to help here - the despair of those suffering seems
to permeate the air itself and those who have just enough are scrabbling
to stay alive themselves.

What a mess... I can only hope that the end comes soon now, so we can all
make a new beginning and start rebuilding this beloved country, which is
currently so blighted.

Best regards,

Sue Ellis


Letter 4 – Egcross

A Warning

I hope nobody thinks that next week will be business as usual. This week
the private sector has gradually wound down its operations. The retail
sector – most retailers carry stock for a month approximately, are
the last to shut down but already you can see empty shelves and shortages
of all the fast moving basic items are now widespread.

Butcheries and bakeries that work on stock levels of about a week are
already closed as their stocks ran out. The same with filling stations.
Manufacturers must work with quite significant stock levels –
especially of imported items and they will run these down and then close
unless there is a U-turn on the part of the government and new directives
which are half reasonable.

There are no signs as yet as to what the State will do when this shutdown
occurs. But all that we are seeing and hearing right now are threats and
an insistence that this situation is going to be maintained for some

The most immediate problem is the very basics – fuel for transport
and the essential foods, maize meal, rice, bread, meat and milk. By
Monday all of these will be virtually unobtainable. Farmers with pigs and
poultry are pondering what to do with their animals as they run out of
stock feed, dairy farmers also face huge problems as they cannot pay
their feed bills and must start winding down – how do you tell a
cow in milk, used to being milked three times a day, that she must stop

Hundreds of thousands of workers and non-formal sector businesspersons
are being faced with no work and are being forced to stay home – at
present on full pay, but in a few weeks what then? There is no law to
turn to; there are no political leaders to go to with any sort of sense
and authority. We are in the hands of a madman who has nothing to loose
but his life and has his back to the wall and is using the only tools
that he knows to try and stay afloat while the country drowns.

How will the average Zimbabwean respond? Friends of mine are doing a day
trip to Francistown in Botswana – just 200 kilometers away, today.
They will buy what they need for next week and return. A few will do the
same. Others are going on holiday, unable to stand the specter of seeing
all that they have built up over the past decades swept away. They are
the lucky ones – what about the rest?

There is only one way out and that is across the Limpopo. I must warn
South Africa that they will now face a huge upsurge in economic refugees
and they had better brace themselves for that if nothing effective is
done to halt this madness. I mean hundreds of thousands of new,
desperate, hungry Zimbabweans flooding in and disappearing into the vast
urban slums that surround all South African cities.

The alternative is a military coup led by the junior officers with the
compliance of some in the ruling Party who see that this situation is not
sustainable and that it is creating a regional crisis of substantial
proportions. Such an event would close the door to the SADC process under
way today in South Africa and plunge the country and the region into a
huge political crisis that would require military intervention. Am I
being alarmist? I do not think so. The actions of this rogue regime in
the past week have been enough to tip us over and into a state of crisis
we have never faced before.

Irreparable damage is being done to the country and if this is not
stopped in its tracks by immediate and radical measures taken by regional
government’s very serious consequences are going to follow.

The humanitarian and economic crisis that is about to break out in
Zimbabwe is simply staggering and certainly way beyond the capacity of
the country to handle on its own.

Eddie Cross

Bulawayo, 7th July 2007


All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.

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