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      Panic over UN envoy

      Rangarirai Mberi Senior Reporter
      6/30/2005 10:56:07 AM (GMT +2)

      GOVERNMENT this week launched a pre-emptive drive to discredit United
Nations secretary general Kofi Annan's special envoy Anna Tibaijuka, who is
currently in the country to assess the impact of a month-long demolition
operation, in anticipation of a negative report that would attract damaging
UN censure.

      Sources say the government was unnerved by a report released last week
by a team of 10 top UN experts, close advisors to Annan, who have urged
Tibaijuka to look beyond the evictions and focus "on the grave human rights
implications raised by the evictions, and Zimbabwe's legal responsibility"
over the operation.
      Tibaijuka met President Robert Mugabe yesterday and toured areas
devastated by "Operation Murambatsvina" a day after government publicly
questioned the credibility of the UN diplomat, with Information Minister
Tichaona Jokonya playing up remarks by British Prime Minister Tony Blair
that he was confident the UN envoy would produce "a good report" on the
operation. The British premier said he hoped the UN mission would pave way
for the tabling of the matter in the Sercurity Council.
      Jokonya had latched onto Blair's comments, suggesting the Tanzanian
diplomat was under pressure from the British leader and Western governments
critical of the Zimbabwean government "to do a dirty job." In an interview
carried by the state broadcaster, Jokonya said he would demand an
explanation over Blair's remarks.
      However, after Tibaijuka met President Mugabe yesterday, Jokonya
showed signs of recanting, saying Tibaijuka was "a diplomat of high
      Tibaijuka, who was escorted on her field trip by Local Government
Minister Ignatius Chombo, Harare Commission head Sekesai Makwavarara and UN
officials, said she had a "constructive" discussion with the President.
      President Mugabe said he had told Tibaijuka that government had
planned the operation before the general election, "but then we feared it
would be said that we were preparing the way for our own victory and
affecting the posi-
      To Page 31

      tion of the MDC adversely. She was receptive".
      Tibaijuka's report will be of critical consequence to Zimbabwe, as an
adverse report would be a godsend to Western nations itching to have
Zimbabwe condemned by the Security Council. Jokonya yesterday conceded that
such a development would be "very bad" for Zimbabwe, but banked on support
from permanent Security Council members China, France and Russia to veto any
proposal to formally cite Zimbabwe for rights abuses.
      Censure by the world body would further attenuate Zimbabwe's already
insecure international standing, and could see Africa, which has always
closed ranks behind Zimbabwe against sustained Western criticism, being
forced to turn on Zimbabwe.
      The thinly veiled attacks on Tibaijuka's credibility as an independent
envoy were part of a deft strategy to discredit any negative report the UN
envoy might make as "a ploy by the British".
      Ahead of Tibaijuka's field tour, dozens of families were hurried out
of Caledonia farm in open trucks "to their rural homes". Officials were,
however, clearing out more space at the squalid camp to allow for up to 5
000 more families, a sign that demolitions continued despite weekend state
media reports that the operation was winding up.
      Police on Tuesday hit Porta farm, despite an existing High Court order
protecting the settlement government created as a transit camp 13 years ago.
Goodrich Chimbaira, Movement for Democratic Change MP for Zengeza, also
reported that police had on Tuesday demolished homes in his constituency,
leaving more families without shelter.
      Government insists "Operation Restore Order" has slashed crime and
prevented disease outbreaks, but critics charge the operation is a
deliberate campaign by the ZANU PF administration to punish pro-opposition
urban voters and distract attention from a deepening economic crisis.
      International pressure continued to build on Zimbabwe this week. South
African churches said they plan a visit to Zimbabwe next month, while
international rights groups and governments turned up the heat on Zimbabwe
and her neighbours ahead of this weekend's African Union summit in Sirte,
Libya, and the meeting of the G8 wealthy nations next Wednesday.
      Cape Town Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane said he would lead
a delegation of church leaders to Zimbabwe on July 10, confident President
Mugabe would agree to meet his team despite signs government is growing
increasingly irritable over widening global criticism of the programme.
      "The assault on property, homes and the meagre sources of income of
the poor and destitute in Harare and other major cities has impacted the
lives of over a million Zimbabweans," Njongonkulu said on Tuesday.
      European Union President Jose Manuel Barroso said Africa should join
the West in condemning the Zimbabwe government for what he described as
human rights violations. But South African presidential spokesman Bheki
Khumalo said last Friday Africa would "not be scared into a response" by
Western references to the G8 summit.
      Reports say South Africa is unlikely to allow Zimbabwe onto the G8
agenda at a time the regional heavyweight is canvassing African support for
a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

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      Hopes get dimmer for golden leaf

      Zhean Gwaze
      6/30/2005 11:07:03 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S biting fuel shortages have affected tobacco deliveries to
auction floors as hopes for the recovery of the sector, whose output has
plunged by more than 50 percent due to the land reform programme, get dimmer
by the day.

      The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) this week said the
acute fuel shortage was affecting deliveries of the golden leaf, Zimbabwe's
single largest foreign currency earner, to the country's three auction
      Zimbabwe, in the throes of an economic recession now in its sixth
year, has been battling critical fuel shortages, which have cut industrial
output by more than 60 percent.
      The government has failed to deal with the fuel crisis, which has
worsened during the past few months and is not expected to end despite this
week's close to three-fold pump price hike.
      "Deliveries have been retarded by fuel and wrapping paper shortages,"
said TIMB in a trading update.
      Cumulative tobacco sales to June 15 amounted to 23 million kilogrammes
at an average price of US128 cents per kilogramme, compared to 26 million
kgs sold at US197 cents per kg during the same period last year.
      Tobacco sales have so far earned the country US$29.6 million, against
the US$51 million earned during the same period last year.
      Zimbabwe's three tobacco auction floors cancelled the season's opening
sales in April following spirited protests from more than 150 farmers
against a sharp drop in the selling price.
      While producers have been protesting at what they deem unfair prices,
tobacco merchants have taken a dim view of the quality of the crop this
      Tobacco production has also been affected by coal and chemical
shortages, as well as barn rehabilitation problems.
      The golden leaf, which enjoyed a peak output of over 200 million kgs
in 2000, has slid year-on-year over the last five years to 160 million kgs
in 2001/2, 85 million kgs in 2002/03, 83 million kgs in 2004 and to an
estimated 80 million kg this year.
      Tobacco's contribution to Zimbabwe's export earnings was 20 percent
last year, down from around 30 percent in 2000.
      The drop in tobacco output comes against a backdrop of a rise in the
number of growers from 1 493 in 1990 to 12 700 in 2003 as a result of the
government's controversial land reform programme that it said sought to
empower previously marginalised black Zimbabweans.

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      Things fall apart

      Staff Reporters
      6/30/2005 11:05:59 AM (GMT +2)

      THE massive fuel price hike effected this week means a long-cherished
economic recovery might take much longer to materialise, leaving ordinary
Zimbabweans - who have borne the sharpest edge of a five-year recession -
facing even tougher times ahead.

      The Petroleum Marketers Association of Zimbabwe has dismissed hopes
that the 178 percent price hike will release more product onto the market,
saying supply will remain tight as importers still have to queue for the
little foreign exchange made available through the central bank's auction
      Energy Minister Mike Nyambuya said the fuel price hike would end the
loss of scarce oil to foreign motorists who were taking advantage of
Zimbabwe's cheap price, but economists say the real cause of the shortages
has been Zimbabwe's continued inability to generate hard currency to fund
      Industry experts say Zimbabwe needs two million litres of petrol and
2.5 million litres of diesel per day, but the deepening foreign currency
crisis has seen the country failing to meet even a third of its
      Economists say the increase in the price of petrol - a key input in
industry - will immediately have a ripple effect on production costs. This
will in turn cause a sharp rise in prices on shop shelves, in addition to
the more direct consequence on transport fares.
      Reports yesterday said commuter bus operators were already agitating
for higher fares.
      Zimbabweans - caught between declining disposable incomes and an
escalating cost of living and grappling with alarming unemployment levels
estimated at 70 percent - are growing poorer by the day with no respite in
      Analysts this week said the prevailing shortages of basic commodities
such as milk, bread, sugar and cooking oil would also continue to fuel
illegal parallel market prices, seen as the biggest threat to austere
economic recovery strategies being driven by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
      Many basic commodities have already vanished from the supermarket
shelves, with consumers having to endure long hours in queues at outlets
that would have succeeded in securing little supplies.
      Medical and school examination fees have also increased, worsening the
plight of the collapsing health and education sectors.
      It seems it never rains but pours for Zimbabweans, especially the
urbanites, who have been affected by the current "clean-up" exercise that
has courted the United Nations.
      The world body has since sent a representative to compile a report on
an operation which has rendered more than 200 000 families homeless.
      As a result of the "clean-up" campaign, rentals have gone up by as
much as 1 000 percent in recent weeks. Municipal authorities are battling to
put a lid on the spiral, which is putting pressure on inflation, up 15.3
percentage points in May to 144.4 percent.
      The RBZ expects to keep inflation below 80 percent by year-end, but
the anticipated surge in prices across the board will make it harder for the
central bank to make its tough target.

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      CIO rapped over UK MP's security breach

      Felix Njini
      6/30/2005 11:00:25 AM (GMT +2)

      KATE Hoey, a British Member of Parliament who slipped into the country
incognito last week to get a first hand view of the controversial "Operation
Murambatsvina", has caused a furore within the country's state security

      The outspoken former cabinet minister in British Prime Minister Tony
Blair's government slipped into Bulawayo from United Kingdom through Zambia
a week ago and filmed the evictions of thousands of urbanites under the
ongoing operation.
      Well-placed sources said Didymus Mutasa, minister of state for
national security, was breathing fire over what is being considered a
security laxity in intelligence circles.
      Hoey, who has been in Zimbabwe before, is believed to have shot videos
of the clean-up campaign and met with members of the country's main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in Bulawayo.
      She spent a week undercover, only to reveal her Zimbabwean adventure
when she started tormenting Blair with questions in the House of Commons on
what the British government was doing to help millions of Zimbabweans who
have been rendered destitute by the operation.
      The British Labour MP for Vauxhall also launched an attack on South
African President Thabo Mbeki, whom she accused of turning a blind eye on
the Zimbabwean crisis.
      While in Zimbabwe, Hoey visited several suburbs in Bulawayo and Harare
where she witnessed bulldozers razing people's homes down.
      "They are driving people back to the rural areas where it is much
easier for the government to control the food, which is in short supply and
to also control them politically," Hoey said.
      "I think if I had attempted to talk to anyone in the government, I
would probably have been put straight into a police station and kept there
for some time, because nobody can get in really who is . . . who is there
politically. And I'm obviously a former British minister.
      "So I think Mugabe would have quite liked to have held me for a day or
two. But there are some - very many brave people - in Zimbabwe who are
helping to take these films. And we try to get them out as much as
possible," Hoey said in a radio interview with a UK station.
      Sources said Mutasa had asked for an explanation from the Central
Intelligence Organisation on "its laxity in monitoring the activities of
foreigners from hostile countries coming and leaving the country."
      Tichaona Jokonya, Minister of information however said Hoey was only
giving "a little bit of fillip to (Tony) Blair's anti-Zimbabwe campaign."
      "She came here with a pre-conceived idea. Hoey had to promote her
coming into the country. She came to take only the bad information but we
would have allowed her in as an MP, anyway," Jokonya said.
      "But we need to control our borders and look at these people," Jokonya

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      Mahoso's term at state media commission ends

      Felix Njini
      6/30/2005 11:08:53 AM (GMT +2)

      Speculation was rife in Zimbabwe this week over the fate of Media and
Information Commission (MIC) chairman Tafataona Mahoso, whose term of office
at the statutory body expires today.

      The future of Mahoso, an academic and former journalism trainer, as
well as that of the entire MIC board now rests with Information Minister
Tichaona Jokonya and his deputy Bright Matonga, who are currently pushing
for a conciliatory approach in dealing with the country's small but vibrant
private media.
      Under Mahoso, the MIC has closed four newspapers, namely The Daily
News, The Daily News on Sunday, The Tribune and The Weekly Times, for
breaching some aspects of the draconian Access to Information and Protection
of Privacy Act.
      Sources said chances were high that Mahoso and his board could be
dissolved following recent indications by the Ministry of Information that
it wanted a self-regulating media body. Government spokesperson George
Charamba sought to downplay inquiries on Mahoso's future at the MIC.
      "The board is still in office and at the appropriate time, we will
decide whether to dissolve or re-appoint," Charamba said.
      The other MIC board members, who were all appointed by the government,
are Rino Zhuwarara, head of Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings; Stephan Mlambo,
principal at the Upper Bulawayo United College of Education; Pascal
Mukondiwa, a former editor of The Sunday Mail; Jonathan Mapenduka, a former
assistant editor of The Chronicle; Alfinos Makoni, a former officer in the
Ministry of Information; and Daphne Tomana, wife to lawyer Johannes Tomana.
      "The ministers have shown immense interest in a voluntary media
council. Moreover, indications from the ministry suggest that Mahoso and his
board are now a liability," said a well-placed source.
      "He (Jokonya) might maintain them as institutional memory and for
organisational continuity but not for long because they have become useless
in the current scheme of things," the source said.
      Speculation over Mahoso's future at the MIC comes at a time when
Mahoso has chosen to remain mum on applications for licences by the
Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe, publisher of The Daily News and The Daily
News on Sunday, as well as African Tribune Newspapers, publisher of The
      The MIC last week met to look into the applications of the two media
houses but has not disclosed its decisions.

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      Demolitions creating hole in economy: IMF

      Rangarirai Mberi
      6/30/2005 11:10:00 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S future in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) looks
increasingly dire after the global lender this week demanded more
"comprehensive" economic reforms, including a free exchange rate long
rejected by the government, while painting a grim outlook for the economy.

      Zimbabwe had been looking for encouragement from the IMF, anticipating
a fresh reprieve after a February decision by the fund to give the country
six additional months to show more commitment to reform.
      The IMF system has its critics, but economists say a return to the
fund would be a signal to pessimistic foreign investors that hope still
remains for Zimbabwe.
      "A rebuilding of relations with the international community is a
critical part of the effort to reverse the economic decline," the IMF team
said at the end of its visit this week.
      There had also been hopeful suggestions that the economy had bottomed
out and could not possibly sink any lower. However, the IMF's verdict is
that Zimbabweans are going to have it a lot worse this year.
      The IMF mission that last Friday ended a 12-day tour of Zimbabwe kept
up the mandatory diplomatic talk on Monday, claiming in its report to have
held "cordial meetings" with the country.
      However, the IMF report itself reveals otherwise.
      The IMF team's keen criticism of two matters that are at the heart of
current government policy - "Operation Murambatsvina" and price controls -
suggests Zimbabwe and the IMF may not exactly be drowning each other in hugs
and kisses any time soon.
      Weeks ahead of a crucial meeting of the IMF board on the possibility
of Zimbabwe's "compulsory withdrawal" - diplomatic speak for getting the
sack - the IMF said the Zimbabwean economy was headed for ruin if
authorities continued on their current path.
      "The mission projects that, on the basis of present policies, the
budget deficit will increase markedly in 2005, partly due to the cost of
higher food imports, interest payments and higher pension costs. Together
with the RBZ's (Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe) substantial producer and credit
subsidies, these deficits would fuel a sharp increase in money supply, and
hence inflation, by end-2005," the IMF said.
      Discussions, according to the IMF, had focused on "policies to place
Zimbabwe on a path to achieve sustained growth, low inflation, and improving
living standards".
      But despite such an apparently feel-good agenda, the IMF still
forecasts that the economy will see further trouble this year, marked by a
sharp fall in output and even deeper foreign exchange shortages.
      "The authorities indicated their desire to address these problems by
taking measures to contain further increases in the budget deficit," said
the IMF.
      But it is unclear how the government would have promised narrower
deficits while at the same time spending $3 trillion in unbudgeted
expenditure on a housing scheme for up to a million displaced people - in
addition to an earlier $1 trillion pledged for "reconstruction".
      To put that $4 trillion housing money into perspective, the government
has projected a $4.5 trillion budget deficit for 2005.
      The government also needs US$420 million for urgent food imports.
      The IMF report attempts to toe the diplomatic line, but by sticking to
previous criticism that Zimbabwe is drifting without any recognisable
economic policy, it is clear the fund believes the country has not moved an
inch since the last meetings. If Zimbabwe has moved at all, the IMF infers,
it has moved backwards.
      "As indicated in previous rounds of discussions, the mission stressed
that the magnitude of the economic problems confronting Zimbabwe calls for a
comprehensive policy package that should include decisive action to lower
the fiscal deficit, a tightening of monetary policy, and steps to establish
a unified, market-determined exchange rate. The package should also include
structural reforms, such as the removal of administrative controls, to ease
shortages and restore private sector confidence," the fund said.
      The government has long shown a deep revulsion for "a unified,
market-determined exchange rate", and is unlikely to take lightly to this
key IMF demand.
      The IMF's advice that removing controls would ease shortages runs
opposite to long-standing government reasoning that commodity scarcities are
only there because the state had stopped intervening in the affairs of the
private sector.
      Then the clincher: "The macroeconomic outlook is further clouded by
the gravity of the food security situation and implementation of 'Operation
Restore Order', which threatens to worsen shortages, contribute to lower
growth, and aggravate inflation pressures."
      "Murambatsvina" sits at the core of everything the Zimbabwe government
does these days, and the authorities have in recent weeks grown increasingly
touchy about any criticism of the programme, especially after Western
countries upped their opposition to the operation.
      Zimbabwe's arrears to the IMF amounted to US$295 million as at June
20. Expulsion is the last in a series of escalating measures that the fund
applies to members that fail to meet their obligations under its articles of

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      Horrified groups petition SA, AU

      Felix Njini
      6/30/2005 11:07:31 AM (GMT +2)

      MORE than 150 human rights groups outraged by the ongoing crackdown on
shantytowns have petitioned presidents Thabo Mbeki and Olusegun Obasanjo, of
South Africa and Nigeria respectively, to put pressure on the Zimbabwean
government to abandon the campaign, which has rendered hundreds of thousands
of people homeless.

      It has been established that the Legal Defence and Assistance Project,
Amnesty International, the Centre on Housing Rights and Eviction, and
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights are some of the 150 human and civic
organisations that made an appeal in Lagos this week, calling on Harare to
end the evictions of families from their homes.
      Kolawole Olaniyan, director of the Africa programme of Amnesty
International, called on the continental body, the African Union (AU), and
international organisations to pressure President Robert Mugabe to end the
evictions, which they say are an infringement on human rights.
      The AU is currently under the leadership of Nigeria's Obasanjo.
      "This complete and wholesale destruction of people's homes and
livelihood estimated to have affected some 200 000 people so far constitutes
a grave violation of international human rights law and a disturbing affront
to human dignity. There can be no justification for the government of
Zimbabwe's actions, which have been carried out without prior notice,"
Olaniyan said.
      "We condemn it in the strongest terms because due process of the law
or assurance of adequate alternative accommodation is not observed in the
process of forced evictions," he said.
      "President Obasanjo and other African leaders are hereby urged to
address the situation in the country as urgent at the forthcoming AU
Assembly in Libya," said Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights representative
Jessie Majome.
      Amnesty International accused African leaders of maintaining a
"conspiracy of silence", saying "the people of Zimbabwe are being sold out
in the interests of a false African solidarity".
      International pressure has also heated up on Harare, with British
Prime Minister Tony Blair expressing outrage at the situation in Harare.
      "The only salvation for Zimbabwe will come from the countries
surrounding Zimbabwe and inside Zimbabwe itself. I urge the countries
surrounding Zimbabwe to recognise that what is happening in Zimbabwe is a
disgrace," said Blair.
      Blair's statements come amid hopes that United Nations (UN) special
envoy Anna Tibaijuka's report would see Zimbabwe being put on the agenda of
the UN Security Council meeting.
      The calls on regional leaders to act on President Mugabe are unlikely
to yield much, with Mbeki's spokesperson Bekhi Khumalo last week saying
Pretoria was growing "irritated" by such petitions.
      On the other hand, the AU has been accused of "shirking
responsibility" by its failure to intervene as the Zimbabwean crisis
continues to unfold.
      Reuel Khoza, chairman of the New Partnership for Africa's Development
(NEPAD) Business Foundation, was quoted in the South African media as saying
the AU and NEPAD should be in the forefront of condemning the ongoing
      "The AU and NEPAD should be the ones leading pronouncements on
anything such as this which causes pain and tribulations to African people,
rather than shirk responsibility," Khoza said.

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      Deportations litmus test for Blair govt

      Nelson Banya
      6/30/2005 11:10:34 AM (GMT +2)

      THE raging debate over 114 failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers due for
imminent deportation from the United Kingdom is symptomatic not only of all
that has gone wrong in diplomatic relations between the former metropole and
its erstwhile colony, but the deepening economic and political crisis that
has created a stream of economic refugees from a country whose descent into
the abyss has accelerated in recent months.

      As British prime minister Tony Blair this week expressed outrage over
the deteriorating human rights situation in Zimbabwe-calling for the United
Nations security council intervention over the destruction of shantytown
across Zimba-bwe-he did so while reiterating his government's position on
the failed asylum seekers with no hint of the irony his opponents within and
without the isle quickly sought to play up.
      The opposition Conservative and Liberal Democratic parties in the
United Kingdom, as well as some members of Blair's own Labour party, have
voiced concern over the deportations-which have already seen about 95
Zimbabweans returned home this year after the expiry of a two-year
moratorium-arguing that ongoing human rights abuses made it "immoral" to
return people to a country they had fled.
      The Zimbabwe government-never one to miss out on an opportunity or
propaganda- hails the deportations as a clear sign that Britain, was only
posturing when talking about rights abuses in Zimbabwe because it had found,
in the words of Home Secretary Charles Clarke, that there had been "no
substantiated reports of mistreatment" of the jailed asylum seekers back in
Zimbabwe. Clarke has argued that not all Zimbabweans who claim asylum in the
UK genuinely face persecution.
      Zimbabwean government spokesmen have been quick to condemn the British
government over the detention of the failed asylum seekers, with deputy
information minister Bright Matonga accusing Britain of racism.
      State media reports quoted Matonga saying: "As government we feel
concerned by this racist scenario where black Zimbabweans are being unfairly
treated because the reason for their deportation is that they are blacks."
      All manner of political positions have been taken on the issue-a major
talking point in the UK's May general election in which Labour's majority
was whittled down significantly-with church leaders, politicians and rights
activists in the UK and Zimbabwe denouncing the planned deportations.
      For their part, the asylum seekers themselves, many of whom cited
political persecution in their applications, have gone on hunger strike as
protest against their treatment by the British immigration authorities as
well as their imminent deportation.
      Some political analysts have said the British government finds itself
in a fix over the asylum issue, which has generated a lot of debate in the
country, and how to treat the degenerating situation in Zimbabwe.
      Blair and foreign secretary Jack Straw have, in recent weeks, renewed
calls for President Robert Mugabe's censure over alleged human rights abuses
in light of his government's controversial campaign against shanty-towns and
informal industries, which housed and employed millions of poverty-stricken
      On the other hand, they have to justify the denial of asylum to
several Zimbabwean applicants.
      To qualify for refugee status and, as a consequence, asylum in the UK,
one has to justify fears of returning to one's home country because of
      Refugee status will guarantee one indefinite leave to remain in the
country and in order to qualify as a refugee, applicants need to convince
the authorities at the Asylum Screening Unit in Croydon that they meet the
definition of "refugee" set out in the UN Convention Relating to the Status
of Refugees.
      Under the convention, one has to demonstrate a "well-founded fear of
persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a
particular social group or political opinion" in your country of nationality
or your former country of residence.
      The protection given to a recognised refugee is called 'asylum' and
that the UK agrees not to send refugees granted asylum back to a country
where they face such persecution.
      It has been argued that most Zimbabwean asylum seekers in the UK do
not quite fit this criteria and opposition groups, mainly the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), have in the past disowned some applicants who
claimed to be prominent members of the party who faced persecution back
      Heneri Dzinotyiweyi of the University of Zimbabwe, however, contends
that Zimbabwean economic refugees should not expect special treatment in the
UK, taking advantage of the history between the two countries, or anywhere
else for that matter.
      "As Zimbabweans, we do recognise the difficulties that have forced our
people to go abroad in search of asylum, but the matter is for the British,
in this case, to react in their own terms. I do not think they have to treat
Zimbabweans any differently, but they have to consider the humanitarian
element and act accordingly," Dzinotyiweyi said.
      However, MDC spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi, whose party has pleaded
with the British authorities to halt the deportations, said the Zimbabweans'
case demanded special attention.
      "The most important thing is that those people are Zimbabweans first
and perhaps MDC second, third or even fourth. It would be very unfair if we
were to reduce their plight to partisan politics, but that is the problem
with Zimbabwe right now.
      "Any Zimbabwean who finds himself outside the country demands sympathy
due to the well documented circumstances back home. When someone seeks
asylum in a cold and inhospitable country like Britain there must be
aggravating circumstances. Secondly, states are urged, in terms of
humanitarian considerations, to be considerate to asylum seekers and we have
pleaded their (asylum seekers') case on that basis," Nyathi said, adding
that there had been no formal response from the British government to their

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      Fresh power cuts hit Zim

      Staff Reporter
      6/30/2005 11:01:05 AM (GMT +2)

      A FRESH round of power cuts has hit Zimbabwe, following the
interruption of supplies from SNEL of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
and the failure of two generators at Hwange Power Station.

      Although ZESA Holdings was yesterday quick to say it had lost 100
megawatts (MW) from SNEL due to a line fault, analysts were adamant that the
power utility was failing to pre-pay for energy imports due to a worsening
foreign currency crunch.
      Mounting fears of a potential blackout have been exacerbated by the
loss of two generators at Hwange Power Station (HPS). Each unit was
generating 120 MW. This means the power utility has a deficit of 340 MW,
which will result in power cuts during this winter period when demand
reaches its climax.
      Zimbabwe, whose peak electricity demand is projected to have shot up
to 2 900 MW, imports nearly 45 percent of its national requirements from
Hidroelectrica de Caporal Bassa of Mozambique, Eskom of South Africa and
      Local generation capacity has been affected by inadequate coal
supplies to HPS, which requires stocks for a maximum of 45 days but is
receiving only enough for two days per delivery from Hwange Colliery Company
      As a result HPS, which is also reliant on obsolete equipment and lacks
spare parts for repairs and maintenance, has been generating around 400 MW.
      "We are importing the maximum accessible power from Eskom of South
Africa to bridge the shortfall but cannot meet the high demand due to the
winter peak season," said ZESA's general manager, corporate affairs, Obert
Nyatanga. He added that the two generators are expected to be back in
service before the end of this week.
      Government, which is desperate to avert an imminent blackout in 2007,
is desperately trying to lure Chinese investors to develop the country's two
power generation plants in return for coal concessions.
      ZESA has to prepare for self-sufficiency before 2007 when regional
power suppliers are expected to run out of surplus energy to export.
      A Chinese firm, China Aero Technology Import and Export Corporation
(CATIC) has agreed in principle to undertake development of the power
      ZESA's erratic payments for power imports have sometimes resulted in
regional suppliers demanding pre-payment for electricity.
      The national utility requires a minimum of US$21 million monthly to
meet electricity imports obligations, service debts and purchase of spare
      ZESA is only managing to raise a paltry US$2.4 million a month.
      The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) sometimes chips in with allocations
to the financially handicapped ZESA to foot its monthly electricity imports.
      The power outages are expected to impact negatively on the country's
industry, which is already suffering from a fuel crisis that has dragged
capacity utilisation below 40 percent.

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      Prioritise agriculture

      6/30/2005 11:07:42 AM (GMT +2)

      FIVE years ago, it was hoped that the land reform programme would
unlock the agricultural sector's immense potential, which would in turn move
through the economy like an electric jolt and help government deal with
poverty and inequality. What with tobacco destined for the unmanufactured
international leaf market earning the country US$600 million annually and
horticulture being the fastest growing industry. Not to mention the beef
industry which then had a reputation for quality and was the supplier of
choice to the lucrative EU market.

      The euphoria touched off by the radical land reform exercise however
masked more sobering realities. The scandal-tainted programme slipped on too
many banana skins, which had more to do with lack of strategic planning than
the style, form and approach of the exercise even though this raised
partisan shots from both sides of the political aisle.
      This is why the much-hoped-for agricultural revolution has largely
remained a could-have-been-that-never-was, leaving Zimbabwe with the spectre
of what might be the biggest sectoral failure in the history of the country.
Indeed, with the country's food security situation at its most precarious
and agriculture adding very little, if any value to the national economy,
the back-to-the-land idealism could very well come unstuck - a victim of
lack of planning.
      Logic dictates that once the government identified agrarian reforms as
one area of intervention to achieve national food self-sufficiency and
economic empowerment for the historically marginalised majority blacks, it
was critical to ensure that there was planning in advance, well before the
exercise to parcel out large tracts of land to deserving individuals
commenced in earnest so as to prepare for or guard against any
      Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be evidence that this was the
case. On the contrary, government seemed to have been in a hurry to give out
land for political expediency as if giving people land was the be-all and
end-all for ensuring food security and economic empowerment.
      Yet nothing could be further from the truth. Redistributing land,
while a noble idea, is not a goal unto itself but a means to an end. Suffice
to say though that nothing succeeds where there is no planning. History is
unequivocal on that. Hence the chaos in the critical agricultural sector
where there was no plan necessarily laid down and the disposal of time was
surrendered merely to the chances of incident. If this were not the case,
then matters agricultural should have been prioritised if government knew
how the process was going to unfold.
      Without belabouring the point, government should, like a novelist,
have known what its last chapter in the story of the land reform programme
was going to say and one way or other work towards that chapter. This did
not however seem to be so. Otherwise the lion's share of national resources
should have been channelled towards bolstering and enhancing agriculture
through the rehabilitation and expansion of irrigation equipment and
infrastructure to offer a fall back position seeing that the country is
subject to the vagaries of intermittent but devastating droughts.
      True, Zimbabwe had an irrigation infrastructure in place and in some
provinces dams were indeed grossly underutilised but the capacity of the
irrigation infrastructure needed bolstering to cater for the increasing
numbers of farmers in the face of land reform. It is disappointing, to say
the least, that it is only now that the government is talking about the need
to boost the country's irrigation facilities more as an afterthought that
could have gone unthought of, when this should have been part of the
long-term plan. Why then the seeming lack of vision and clarity of thinking
if government believes that in agriculture, lies the seed of economic
prosperity and self-sufficiency? The mind boggles!
      Apart from guaranteeing a reliable state-of-the-art irrigation
infrastructure, such long term planning would also have put paid to the land
reform exercise's terrible aura where scores of newly settled farmers are,
instead of productively using their land, destroying it through
deforestation and environmental degradation for want of critical inputs. It
is an open secret that most of the erstwhile peasant farmers allocated land
did not have capacity, which is why the gears did not immediately engage
soon after these farmers were allocated the land. As we have said before,
over the past five years, most of these farmers were left devastated with a
psychology of impotence and pessimism against a background of biting
shortages of fertilisers, seed and chemicals among other critical inputs -
which again boils down to lack of long term planning on the part of the
scapegoating and blundering officials running the country's agriculture who
have ironically been sermonising the nation on the need for food
      Not only that but a well-thought out long-term plan for the land
reform programme could have made provision for checks and balances and in
the process prevented the flagrant violation of the government's
one-man-one-farm policy which, in the court of public opinion, borders on
      It is against this background that we feel that it is all very well
for the government to talk about its plans for bolstering the irrigation
infrastructure but it should be noted that no plan is worth the paper it is
written on until it gets you doing something. It's no longer time for
rhetoric but action. Government should now show resolve and walk the talk if
land reform is to become a genuine avenue of redress for those negatively
affected by historical injustices.

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      Clean-up raises queries on workers' welfare

      6/30/2005 11:52:36 AM (GMT +2)

      FOR the past three weeks the nation has been held in shock and awe by
the economic and social upheavals caused by the wanton destruction termed
"Operation Murambatsvina".

      However, as a society, we have been looking at one side of the coin,
that of criticising the authorities, who agreeably have reached the peak of
economic, political and social mismanagement.
      The government and its municipalities have exhibited a serious
deficiency in strategic planning within their structures. The government,
through its ministry that is in charge of small and medium enterprises,
failed to plan for the current economic situation where less than 10 percent
of our employable people are in formal employment.
      Research institutions in both public and private sectors also failed
to read the script that has been penning itself since as far back as the
year 2000, hence no-one advised the government and other interested
stakeholders on the time bomb that we have been sitting on. This is
surprising and shameful, especially for a nation which boasts of having some
of the best brains in Africa.
      This article is an analysis of the role that our private sector played
or did not play in contributing towards the pain that the whole nation is
      Over the past 25 years, our private sector executives decided to bury
their heads in the sand like the proverbial ostrich so as to hear no evil
and see no evil even when it meant pinning the welfare of their employees
onto an iron stake.
      In my view this is a dangerous red light signal to the whole nation.
It signifies that our private sector executives look in the mirror and only
see their faces looking back at them when they are supposed to see behind
their faces. This means that for the past two-and-a-half decades we have
been staffing our private sector with greedy people whose myopic views only
accommodated their self aggrandisement.
      I find this to be one of the plausible explanations to the
accommodation and transport problems being faced by hapless employees in our
towns and cities.
      The corporate world experienced jolting electrical shocks from the
clean-up exercise. Most industry executives woke up one morning with half
empty shop floors and even unmanned managerial and supervisory cubicles.
Employees lost their shacks, backyard lodges as well as houses that were
built by various housing cooperatives. The United Nations estimates the
number of those who lost homes to be around 200 000 and only God knows how
many of them are the pride of our private sector.
      A number of private sector employees went to the extent of "invading"
peri-urban farms as well as buying five-dollar "housing stands" from various
war veterans' groupings just before the 2000 parliamentary elections. These
so-called housing stands were such a hit that people went "AWOL" from work
hunting for them.
      Meanwhile, our intelligent and adaptive private sector executives saw
and knew what was happening. What did our private sector do about these
"biblical signs" of what was to come? They did nothing just like our
"revered" authorities.
      Our private sector has also become a living example of myopic
planning, greed and rampant corruption. Some executive directors are in the
habit of denying employees housing loans for no economic reasons even when
company policy says so in black and white. They are more comfortable giving
employees clothing and cell-phone allowances so that they all look smart and
prosperous while they are troop out of their backyard shacks. Instead of
getting car loans, some employees get company cars with no option to buy
them later but with the certainty of leaving them behind when they have had
enough of the blood sucking companies.
      Meanwhile, a few houses may be bought secretly for those employees who
are involved in furthering the directors' other interests that include
personal companies and even some illegal business activities. These are the
very executive directors who buy new models of cars as if they are buying
new pairs of socks as well as awarding themselves multi-million dollar
loans. They are the very same executives who have stands or houses in every
new posh residential surbub that springs up. As an employee, I experienced
all of the above and it left me wondering whether these executives do it for
their amusement. Can anyone stand up and tell me if this is not being
myopic, greedy and corrupt?
      Operation Murambatsvina exacerbated transport problems that we have
been living with since 2000 due to fuel shortages. I vividly remember that
in 2000 we had transport blues in Kuwadzana. An executive director who was
my immediate supervisor advised me to wake up early so as to get to work on
time. It was fuel shortage and not anything of my own making, stupid!
      Currently fuel shortages have become our daily bread and everyone in
the country is affected. However, a few strategic planners within our
private sector saw what was in store and acquired buses and minibuses that
pick up and drop off employees at strategic points around cities. Some are
quite content to have their employees walking all the way from Msasa Park to
First Street Mall in Harare. These are our industry executives who have
decided to see no evil except when it comes to sourcing fuel for management
cars. They only have themselves to blame when employees report for work at
10 am or even fail to come to work altogether.
      Our private sector has proved to be just as inept as their public
sector counterparts in terms of strategic planning, especially where the
welfare of employees is concerned. Let us not hear the private sector
blaming it on the economy because we had up to 2000 to put our act together.
Proper strategic management and planning will result in companies investing
more in the welfare of employees.
      Employees are a cornerstone of every business entity. All the
luxurious benefits and perks enjoyed by executive management and their
families are generated on the shop floor. Your employee's welfare is a key
result area in that results will simply not come out of a human being who
has no proper place to call a home and walks all the way or half the journey
to work.
      The clean-up operation has proved that we do not have strategists to
deal with the economic, political and social problems in this country. If we
have them then they do not know what they are supposed to be doing. History
is showing that we have become a nation of reactive managers. Unfortunately,
this seems to have rubbed off on our private sector, which should be leading
the way by lifting high the torch of strategic management and planning.
      We are a nation that seriously needs qualified and practical strategic
managers and planners. This is a special field in management studies, so let
us not hear any scientist, economist or politician claiming to be all in
one, lest our lives are messed up again by another "operation".
      It is my hope that the current events have taught our private sector a
valuable lesson that a humanitarian crisis will not spare industry as well.
This is why the private sector should contribute to national strategic plans
that militate against such mishaps. The informal sector provides suppliers
and customers to the formal sector such that the private sector has lost
valuable business through the demise of the informal sector. The private
sector should be seen participating in the rehabilitation of the informal
sector, which is a significant stakeholder to all economic sectors.
      Our oldest institute of higher learning, the University of Zimbabwe,
should establish a faculty for strategic management studies which will have
to be closely linked to both public and private sector so that the studies
will be practical and relevant to our country.
      lVimbayi M Kusema is an independent research analyst and writer. He
can be contacted on 023 414 903.

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      Fresh evictions on farms

      Zhean Gwaze
      6/30/2005 11:31:39 AM (GMT +2)

      FRESH farm evictions have erupted as the government moves to
completely boot out the remaining white commercial farmers, contrary to
recent official statements calling for restoration of order on the farms.

      The move to seize land from the few remaining whites is completely at
variance with calls from pragmatic business minds that some of the
repossessed commercial farms should be returned to productive white
commercial farmers. The government had slammed the brakes on fresh farm
evictions pending the outcome of its numerous land audits.
      The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) told The Financial Gazette this
week that an average five of the 400 commercial farmers remaining on the
farms were being booted off the land every month.
      CFU president Douglas Taylor-Freeme said some white commercial farmers
had kept the farms for various reasons and some had pledged their support
towards resuscitating the country's agricultural industry, which is on its
      "Farm evictions are still continuing as recent as yesterday. An
average of four to five farmers are being evicted every month,"
Taylor-Freeme said.
      The government's often chaotic land reform programme, which resulted
in more than 3 000 whites being hounded from large-scale productive farms,
is squarely blamed for plunging the country's once vibrant agricultural
sector into the abyss.
      Hordes of government supporters invaded white-owned commercial farms
in 2000, vandalising and looting agro-implements worth billions of dollars
in what the government and the ruling ZANU PF termed the "Third Chimurenga".
      The farm invasions, which also claimed the lives of seven white
commercial farmers as violence reared its ugly head, have earned the country
worldwide condemnation.
      Taylor-Freeme said the white commercial farmers being booted out had
already prepared their farms for the winter wheat crop but the continued
onslaught on their activities had further placed the industry in jeopardy.
      Out of fear, some white farmers had even started attending ZANU PF
functions and sponsoring some of the party's programmes.
      Documents at hand reveal that towards the March elections, the Selous
community donated fuel worth $44 million to transport all voters in the
Selous area to their respective polling centres.
      The community later contributed three beasts towards celebrations to
mark Joice Mujuru's appointment as Zimbabwe's first female vice president.
      State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, whose expanded portfolio now
covers land redistribution, refused to comment on reports of fresh evictions
on the farms.
      Independent food aid agencies say Zimbabwe has more than 2.4 million
starving and malnourished people.
      The country, which is reeling from the effects of a four-year drought
and a recession spanning over five years, is now among Southern Africa's
major maize importers.
      Zimbabwe requires more than 158 000 tonnes of maize per month. The
Famine Early Warning Systems, a USAID agency, said the country could fail to
plant the 77 hectares of winter wheat planted last year due to biting fuel
shortages, seed and low water levels in irrigation facilities.
      The CFU however dispelled rumours that there were moves to return
displaced farmers back to the land, with Taylor-Freeme saying: "No one has
really come directly to us on that."

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      Chinese suitor shows fresh interest in Zisco

      Chris Muronzi
      6/30/2005 11:38:25 AM (GMT +2)

      PERENNIAL loss-maker Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCO) is set to
sign another agreement of cooperation with Shougang International Trade and
Engineering Corporation of China, a few months after the same company pulled
out of a deal that would have seen the injection of US$200 million into the
giant steelworks.

      Zisco managing director Gabriel Masanga said the company was set to
sign the agreement with Shougang, which has renewed its interest in the
business, in a bid to facilitate the turnaround of the ailing steel giant.
      He could not be drawn into shedding more light on the issue, except to
say negotiations with the Chinese group were back on course.
      Zisco, whose output has tumbled over the years due to lack of
investment and mismanagement, hopes a new investor could improve its
      Shougang International Trade and Engineering Corporation of China
backtracked on an earlier deal that would have seen the injection of a
US$200 million lifeline in working capital for unspecified reasons.
      Zisco needs about 1 200 tonnes of coal a day although it is operating
at below 50 percent capacity. When fully operational, the steel giant can
take up to 2 000 tonnes of coal in the same period.
      The steel giant has the capacity to produce one million tonnes of
steel annually, but has lost some of its markets in East Africa and Europe
due to sagging productive capacity.

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      Local fim in pay phone deal with Chinese partner

      Staff Reporter
      6/30/2005 11:34:05 AM (GMT +2)

      A LOCAL businessman, Langton Nyatsambo, has entered into a lucrative
deal with a Chinese telecommunications firm, Shenzen Tozed Communication
Company, that will pave way for the manufacture and marketing of pay phone
equipment locally and on the continent, with an initial projected annual
revenue of US$40 million.

      In an interview with The Financial Gazette this week Nyatsambo, who
has an interest in the telecommunications and technology business, said his
company was awarded sole rights to cater for the African market under the
      "We want to manufacture pay phones in the country following the
signing of a deal with a leading Chinese firm. The project will involve
technology transfer. At the moment we are sending our team to China for
training. The first load of equipment is expected in the country in the next
few weeks.
      "Additionally, we are looking into providing SMS facilities with the
new phones. Currently we are negotiating with Econet to facilitate the
provision of the first ever text service on pay phones," he said.
      He said over $10 billion would be sunk into the project, which he
claims will also move to address in part the huge demand for
telecommunications services, especially in the lower end of the market.
      Under the same deal, Nyatsambo says his company, Leythem Investments,
will also provide special pay phone handsets which can be converted for home
use should the system be accepted.
      "We are working closely with Econet so that we can offer our services
in countries they are doing business in," said Nyatsambo, adding that
markets in Nigeria, Kenya have been targeted.
      At least 80 percent of the products are targeted for the export
      Zimbabwe has seen a boom in the pay phone business over the year owing
mainly to poor service delivery by the state-controlled Tel*One, which
provides fixed phone lines, and inadequate cellphone lines intermittently
released to the market by the three mobile network operators - Econet,
Net*One and Telecel.

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      Homelink project spreads

      Property Reporter
      6/30/2005 11:56:25 AM (GMT +2)

      HOMELINK (Private) Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of the central
bank, has set aside funds for the construction of houses countrywide.

      The company, which mobilises foreign currency from Zimbabweans living
in the diaspora, is designing a specific programme for that purpose.
      "Currently, we are engaged in high-level discussions with local
authorities, who have indicated that they will give us more stands for
residential construction purposes," said Lovemore Chitapi, Homelink's head
of marketing and communications.
      Among the Homelink housing projects is the Westgate housing scheme,
which will accommodate 120 units ranging between 800 and 3 000 square
      Chitapi said John Sisk and the Ministry of Local Government and
National Housing had been allocated 60 stands in the Westgate scheme, while
the balance would be allocated to building contractors selected via the
tender process.
      Zimbabweans in the diaspora have shown they are mainly interested in
the two major cities of Harare and Bulawayo.
      Chitapi said visits had been made to Mutare, Gweru, Gwanda, Chinhoyi,
Rusape and Bulawayo to discuss possibilities of getting more stands.

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      No SOS: we ain't got fuel

      Property Reporter
      6/30/2005 11:56:59 AM (GMT +2)

      THE crippling fuel crisis is definitely sparing no one.

      Schindler Lifts Zimbabwe, a leading elevator company, this week
announced it had suspended ordinary servicing of lifts and would only be
responding to emergencies.
      "Due to the critical shortage of fuel in the country, please note that
we shall be attending to callouts for emergencies only at institutions like
hospitals," the company said in a statement.
      For fear of being dragged to the courts, Schindler made some tactical
exceptions. It said: "We, however, advise that we shall continue to carry
out the normal monthly maintenance in accordance with the law."
      Zimbabwe is currently going through an acute shortage of fuel blamed
on poor exports, lack of balance of payments support from traditional
lenders and the current standoff between the southern African state and
former colonial master Britain, backed by the United States of America and
other European states.
      The fuel crisis has seen industry operating at an estimated 50 percent
capacity, while public transport woes have worsened.
      "The situation is getting worse at the moment that we at times fail to
attend to emergency calls in Harare," said an official with Schindler.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Uproar over State House visit

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Jul-01

WEDNESDAY's State House visit by two senior MDC officials has caused outrage
within the rank and file of the opposition amid reports that the pair did
not consult the party before meeting President Robert Mugabe.
Tensions reportedly boiled over at the MDC headquarters, Harvest House,
yesterday after vice president Gibson Sibanda and party chief whip Innocent
Gonese were taken to task over their rare encounter with the elder
Sibanda and Gonese landed themselves in trouble after they escorted
Parliamentary Speaker John Nkomo for his official presentation to the
President as Speaker of the House.
What seemed to irk other legislators, supporters and party officials was the
fact that Sibanda and Gonese then went ahead and had a photograph taken with
the President - posing as if they had just been appointed to Cabinet.
Insiders said their visit to State House was in breach of protocol as it is
the opposition party's stance not to attend State functions or anything to
do directly with President Mugabe, whom they have since refused to recognise
as Head of State.
MDC legislators have this year boycotted three functions officiated by the
Head of State. These are: the banquet for Parliamentarians before the
official opening of the august House; the official opening of Parliament by
the President; and a luncheon for lawmakers hosted soon after the opening of
MDC MPs who declined to be named described the visit to State House by their
colleagues as a betrayal of the principles of the opposition party.
Said one MP: "Their visit to see Mugabe took us by surprise. We were unaware
of it. We doubt if (MDC leader )Morgan Tsvangirai is also aware of this. How
can you wine and dine with Zanu PF when they have embarked on a programme to
displace people and increase unemployment through their operations?"
MDC spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi expressed "shock" at the visit, which
Gonese earlier said they were required to make by Parliamentary Standing
Orders - and asked: "You are saying they were photographed together with
(President) Mugabe? I am not aware that they went there and I have not
spoken to any of those guys (Sibanda and Gonese).
"I do not know anything about them attending a function at State House.
"It is not possible for them to attend such a function without the blessing
of the party," Nyathi said.
He said he needed to consult with secretary-general Welshman Ncube before
commenting in detail on the issue.
Reached later for comment, Nyathi referred The Daily Mirror to Sibanda and
Outside Harvest House in the morning, some legislators were heard denouncing
Sibanda and Gonese's attendance to the State House function.
While Sibanda would not comment saying he was in a meeting, Gonese promised
to send a detailed statement only after he had first consulted the vice
president, but had not done so by late yesterday.
MDC national chairman Isaac Matongo said: "Bvunza vakaendako ini handina
kuendako (Ask those who attended (the State House function), I did not go to
State House)."
Yesterday, political analysts spoke highly of the two MDC lawmakers' visit,
with Eldred Masungure saying: "No one predicted senior people from the MDC
would attend an official ceremony hosted not only by the President but at
State House because of the nature of current politics.
It may mark the normalisation of relations between Zanu PF and MDC,
signifying the thawing of relations and heralding a sustainable working
relationship between the two."
He said it was high time the two parties admitted the reality that Zimbabwe
is a multi-party state, adding, the era of mutual hostility "as if Zanu PF
and MDC came from Jupiter and Mars", should be abandoned once and for all in
the interest of local politics and the economy.
Another political analyst, Heneri Dzinotyiweyi, said: "As Members of
Parliament, they are expected to attend such events as it is more reasonable
for them to interact at such level. It helps provide space for them to
exchange views informally with other members who are not of their party."
Dzinotyiweyi said if it was indeed true that the pair attended the State
House event without the MDC's knowledge, then it was up to them to give a
satisfactory explanation.
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairman Lovemore Madhuku said: "The
MDC is in parliament and what they did (Sibanda and Gonese) is part and
parcel of their being in parliament. There is nothing dramatic about it."
Gonese could not be reached for comment yesterday.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Heather Bennett withdraws poll petition

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Jul-01

MDC losing candidate for Chimanimani Heather Bennett has withdrawn her
Electoral Court petition challenging the winner, Zanu PF's Samuel Undenge in
the March 31 parliamentary poll.
The retreat came a day after her husband and former MP for the constituency,
Roy Bennett, was released from Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison on Tuesday.
Her husband had been jailed for contempt of Parliament after he physically
assaulted Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa last May.
David Coltart, MDC secretary for legal affairs, confirmed the withdrawal
saying this was precipitated by recent High Court rulings that the hearing
of electoral petitions should continue despite two constitutional challenges
in the Supreme Court.
The challenges, one by the MDC and the other by Heather, seek the
nullification of the appointment of Electoral Court judges by Chief Justice
Godfrey Chidyausiku on the grounds of unconstitutionality.
"Her case is no longer in the Electoral Court. She has been effectively
forced to withdraw it by the presiding judge, Rita Makarau, who said if she
does not continue with the hearing she would be in contempt of Parliament,"
said Coltart.
Heather had wanted the Electoral Court to stop hearing her petition until
the Supreme Court had disposed of the constitutional matters.
However, Coltart noted that the opposition member's constitutional challenge
would continue.
In the electoral petition, Heather had been contending that the election was
rigged in favour of Undenge.
She also claimed that members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)
harassed the electorate to vote for the ruling party, among other unfair
Heather contested in Chimanimani after the nomination court rejected Roy's
papers, arguing that he was still behind bars.
When the Electoral Court okayed Roy to contest, Heather indicated that she
would withdraw from the race.
But when the judgment was suspended she stood and lost to Undenge, now
economic development deputy minister.
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New Statesman

      Aid must help people, not governments
      NS Special Issue
      Moeletsi Mbeki
      Monday 4th July 2005

      G8: Africa - The best way to keep Africans poor is to continue handing
money to political elites who suppress development. The imperative is to
rebuild society and business, and so make rulers accountable, argues
Moeletsi Mbeki

      After more than US$400bn of overseas aid, channelled through African
governments, the African people are on the whole poorer now than they were
30 years ago. Will doubling aid and channelling it through those selfsame
governments change anything?

      It is expected that the G8 leaders will approve at Gleneagles what
Gordon Brown has called "a modern Marshall Plan for Africa". But the
Marshall Plan for rebuilding Europe after the Second World War was driven by
the principle of strengthening democratic institutions and free markets,
using existing skills and putting money into productive investment. Whereas
the Marshall Plan produced the intended results in Europe and Japan, the
hugely vaster sum of aid to Africa has failed to produce results either in
economic performance or the welfare of the people. Why is this?

      One of the little-known facts about Africa is that it is a major
exporter of capital. The World Bank estimates that by 1990, 39 per cent of
sub-Saharan Africa's private wealth was held outside Africa; for south Asia,
east Asia and Latin America, the figures were 3 per cent, 6 per cent and 10
per cent, respectively. According to another estimate, for the period
1970-96, capital flight from 25 sub-Saharan African countries was $193bn,
growing to $285bn when interest was taken into account. This money is made
up of the savings or surpluses produced by the efforts of Africans or
siphoned off from the aid pump, and it represents lost investment and lost
opportunities for entire economies and millions of people.

      There is a strong underlying assumption in the UK-sponsored Commission
for Africa report that strengthening the state will lead to development.
Throughout most of Africa, strengthen- ing the state has led to more
oppression, less accountability and greater underdevelopment. Since
independence, political elites have suppressed or prevented the development
of the civic institutions that strengthen society and provide a balance to
the power of the rulers: not just an independent judiciary, civil service
and news media, but popular groups such as churches, chambers of commerce,
trade unions, universities and, of course, opposition parties.

      One reason why South Africa has become one of the most mature
democracies in Africa is that such institutions pre-date apartheid and could
not be eradicated by the rule of a police state: these institutions not only
survived but struggled against the system and eventually brought it down.
Nigeria, on the other hand, does have elections, but it will take a long
time to rebuild its institutions. Under military rule and one-party states
such institutions, where they existed, were crushed. The primary focus of
aid must be to rebuild these institutions - all the elements that hold
society together and make governments accountable.

      The more the African political elites consolidate their power and the
more aid they get, the poorer Africans will become and the more African
economies will regress or, at best, stagnate. The Swedish economist Fredrik
Erixon has noted the inverse ratio between aid and growth and shown how aid
diverts money from productive activity to inefficient statist projects. Aid
has actually held development back. Politically, one of the unintended
consequences of foreign aid is to make African governments even less
accountable to their people because they do not need their taxes and
therefore their consent: instead, their budgets come from aid donors who
demand little accountability in return.

      For any of the current initiatives to have a meaningful impact on
Africa, they need to focus on support for the development and protection of
the private sector and civil institutions. All modern schools of political
thought, from Marx and Lenin to Hayek and Friedman, agree on at least one
thing: the private sector is the driver of modern economic development. Like
people everywhere, Africans want security and comfort, but the great
majority of Africans face daily hunger, homelessness, threats of violence,
actual violence, and starvation. Yet these suffering people are
entrepreneurial and full of creative energy. They would be perfectly able to
build their own security and comfort if only allowed to do it within a
stable framework. In most African countries, however, it is illegal to start
a business without a licence, and getting a licence usually involves bribery
or good connections.

      Few countries have any form of private land rights. South Africa
provides a good contrast. It is one of few countries to have freehold
embodied in its laws (so does Zimbabwe, but it does not have the rule of law
any longer) - yet it retains communal ownership in the former bantustans or
tribal homelands. This communal ownership is subject to the whims of chiefs
and state: these areas have fallen far behind in any growth or poverty
index, while the areas with freehold are sharing in South Africa's
increasing prosperity.

      The reason is quite simple: with no title to land, you have no reason
to develop it; with no land, you have no collateral to raise capital to
invest in it. Worse, most Africans have no access to open and stable
financial institutions that could provide loans. The vicious circle closes
tight around the poor. Even when peasants or entrepreneurs do have a surplus
to sell, they face enormous internal barriers to trade. Agricultural produce
is subject to compulsory purchase by national marketing boards (a legacy of
British colonialism), which pay artificially low prices. If those producers
do find demand for their goods in neighbouring countries, they face
exorbitant customs duties - duties that are levied even on essential drugs
for Aids and malaria. Finally, if their goods do get to the global market,
they face market-distorting quotas; and what with subsidies (paid by
European, Japanese and American taxpayers), smallholder farmers and basic
industries cannot competitively trade their goods in world markets.

      There are, of course, some exceptions in Africa to these general
observations - in particular South Africa and Mauritius. These two countries
are developing industrial economies that, if sustained over a significant
period, could become important drivers for African development because of
their emerging role as foreign investors in other parts of Africa.

      At independence in 1968, Mauritius was a typical African country -
small land mass, small population, single-crop economy (sugar) accounting
for most of its export earnings and formal employment, multi-ethnic society
and low per capita income. Today Mauritius is, next to South Africa, the
richest non-oil- producing nation in Africa. It boasts an economy that is
almost as diversified as South Africa's, with a per capita income that now
surpasses South Africa's. This phenomenal achievement was driven by
competitively priced, high-quality clothing and textile exports to world
markets. Mauritius, like South Africa, has emerged as an important foreign
investor in other African countries.

      As these two countries show, the emphasis in Africa should be placed
on strengthening national economies and democratic practice by freeing the
private sector. Putting money in the hands of the political elite is futile;
you have to put it in the hands of entrepreneurs, either as commercial loans
or simply by allowing them to produce and trade freely.

      During the past 40 years or so, vast amounts of time and money have
been expended on promoting regional co-operation in Africa, largely to no
avail. The pathetically low trade flows among African countries - excluding
South Africa - have hardly changed from what they were a generation ago. As
for promoting political reform, African leaders are notable for their
reluctance to criticise their neighbours. So what can be done?

      The real freedom Africans need is not just shows of democratic reform
but real institutional reforms: property rights and the rule of law,
allowing them to produce and trade freely, to save and to prosper, free of
overbearing officials and institutional corruption. The real trade "justice"
they need is free trade with each other, within their countries and with
each other's countries, free of compulsory-purchase marketing boards, of
customs barriers and of preferential licences. The real aid Africans need
from the west is free trade without tariff barriers and other protectionist
distortions - which happen to be burdens on western taxpayers, too. In fact,
the money value to Africans of lifting these subsidies would far exceed the
amount they receive in sterile aid. The real help Africans need is from
business and industry, investing in production and investing expertise.

      A practical example of commercial opportunity is Mali's cotton. Mali
is the second-biggest producer in Africa after Egypt, yet it does not have a
single cotton mill. With a fairly stable political and legal system, it is a
straightforward candidate for a commercial venture that would make money
producing even the basic grade of woven fabric. Ethiopia, with huge amounts
of livestock, needs scientific management to improve the lot of the owners,
who are unable to deal with disease and cannot afford better feed.
Traditional farming is not quaint: it is subsistence, living on the edge,
with very little reward for very hard work.

      These examples show what Africa lacks most: not money but expertise.
This is what generous donors could most usefully offer, sending out
engineers, managers, accountants and so on. With stagnant economies and poor
education systems, most Africans who are perfectly capable of learning all
these skills have had no chance of acquiring them. Worse, many of those rich
enough to get an education use it to work abroad: the UN estimates that
70,000 African professionals leave the continent every year.

      The real debt relief Africans need is relief from the wasteful
political elites with statist plans and Swiss bank accounts who ran up those
debts. Imposing economic and political conditions on aid may well draw
accusations of interference in sovereign affairs: that is just too bad.

      Donors have to say loud and clear to African governments and to their
constituents at home that aid is there to help people not governments,
entrepreneurs not bureaucrats.

      Moeletsi Mbeki, deputy chairman of the South African Institute of
International Affairs, is the author of Perpetuating Poverty in sub-Saharan
Africa, published on 30 June by International Policy Network. This is an
edited version of a speech given at IPN in London on 29 June

      This article first appeared in the New Statesman. For the latest in
current and cultural affairs subscribe to the New Statesman print edition.
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Rotorua Daily Post, NZ

      Making their new life after Zimbabwe strife

            By KRISTIN MACFARLANE in Rotorua
            Tina Doorman remembers the day an army vehicle, loads of armed
government officials and youth militia forced her and her family off their
Zimbabwean farm with nothing and nowhere to go.

            That was the heartbreaking day in September 2002 when the
Doormans lost their farm, 100km north of Harare, where Tina had made her
home for 16 years and her husband Christopher had lived all his life.

            This was a time when Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe sought to
retain his hold on power with a controversial land grab programme forcing
white commercial farmers off their farms.

      Mrs Doorman said there was a lot of corruption during this era and she
experienced first-hand a lot of the scare tactics used on people who were
not Mugabe supporters.

      She heard her next-door neighbour screaming over a radio system for
help as their servants were being beaten to death because they willingly
voted against President Mugabe.

      "They used a lot of brutal, brutal force. That was very much a regular
daily occurrence."

      Three weeks after the Doormans were forced off their land, Mr and Mrs
Doorman and their two children Jeremy and Holly fled Zimbabwe and headed for
a fresh start in New Zealand.

      "We left everything we had behind," she said.

      The Doormans have spent the last two-and-a-half years in Rotorua
trying to put their past behind them.

      "I just want to forget it. We've had to close that door." The family
have since bought a house in Ngongotaha and Mrs Doorman's mother,
75-year-old Beth Powell, is also living with them.

      "For her, it's been two years of grieving and heartache."

      Mrs Doorman was pleased her family did not have to go through the
strife in Zimbabwe day by day, but she was concerned for others she knew who
were still living there.

      "It is good, it's much better, my children are much happier. I'm just
glad I'm not living there now."

      Mrs Doorman, along with friends and fellow Zimbabweans, the brother
and sister co-owners of Fairy Springs Pumpkin Planet, Stuart Steel and
Georgie Beattie, are all disgusted about the state of their home country.

      "Since we've been here, it's just getting worse and worse," Mrs
Beattie said.

      "It's just heartbreaking, it's your home."

      Both Mrs Beattie and Mr Steel had nothing did not believe Mugabe was
the only person to blame for the tragedies.

      "He's lost the plot completely," Mr Steel said.

      "It's not only him, it's him at the top, but there's [others just like
him]," Mrs Beattie said.

      The pair travelled from Zimbabwe in 2002 with a family of 10 including
parents, partners and children and say they will never look back.
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From: Trudy Stevenson
Sent: Friday, July 01, 2005 6:10 AM
Subject: Africa Commission on Human and Peoples Rights - Press Release

Special Representative of the Africa Commission on Human and Peoples Rights
for Refugees and IDPs Appointed to visit Zimbabwe today 30 June to 4 July.
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