The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Zim Online

State secret agents quiz churchmen for"misleading" UN envoy
Wed 20 July 2005
  HARARE - The Zimbabwe government's dreaded spy Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) has in the past week quizzed some clergymen, accusing
them of "painting a negative picture" of the government's controversial
clean-up campaign to United Nations (UN) envoy Anna Tibaijuka.

      In what observers said could be early signals of a possible
retribution campaign against church and civic leaders who spoke to
Tibaijuka, armed police this week razed down several buildings belonging to
Mutare city's mayor, Misheck Kagurabadza, who was also publicly singled out
by government officials for "lying" to Tibaijuka about the clean-up drive.

      Sources in the intelligence community told ZimOnline that the CIO last
week summoned two senior Mutare clergymen, Michael Bennett, of the Catholic
Church and acting Anglican bishop for Mutare, Eric Ruwona and quizzed them
on why they gave negative reports about the clean-up operation to Tibaijuka.

      During the same week, CIO agents also visited the Bulawayo offices of
outspoken Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube, who has led criticism against the
clean-up operation. The government spies were told the bishop was out of the
country and is only expected back next month.

      Bennett yesterday confirmed being summoned for questioning by the CIO
but would not be drawn to give further details of what the secret service
agency wanted from him. "Yes I was summoned. But it is a complex issue that
I would rather not give details. But I am continuing with my work and
projects though," Bennet said.

      It was not possible to get a comment on the matter from Ruwona
yesterday. But the sources said the bishop had told his interrogators that
he had only spoken to the UN envoy as part of the church's duty to "tell the
truth and help people."

      According to the sources, no specific threats were made against
Bennett or Ruwona when they were summoned to the CIO offices in Mutare but
the well-placed sources could not rule out possible punishment against
religious and civic leaders especially if Tibaijuka's report, expected in
days, is harsh against Harare.

      State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, under whose portfolio the CIO
falls, refused to discuss the matter yesterday. "I am not going to help
you," was all Mutasa would say after ZimOnline had recounted to him the
interrogation of Bennett and Ruwona by the CIO and the visit to Ncube's
offices by secret service agents.

      UN-Habitat boss, Tibaijuka toured Zimbabwe for two weeks as a special
envoy of the world body's chief Kofi Annan, to assess the impact of Harare's
urban clean-up campaign that left thousands of families on the streets
without food or water after the police demolished their city backyard
cottages and shantytown homes.

      Annan on Tuesday issued a statement expressing worry at the
humanitarian crisis caused by Zimbabwe's clean-up drive in what UN experts
said was indication Tibaijuka's report, expected by Friday or Monday will be
devastating against Harare.

      The United States, European Union, Zimbabwean and international human
rights groups have roundly condemned the clean-up drive as a gross violation
of human rights.

      President Robert Mugabe has defended the clean-up drive as necessary
to smash crime and restore the beauty of Zimbabwe's cities.

      But the main Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) opposition party,
which is most supported in cities, says the exercise was meant to punish
urban residents for rejecting Mugabe and his government in last March's
disputed election.

      In Mutare, police demolished buildings worth over Z$20 million owned
by Kagurabadza despite the mayor showing them detailed plans to prove the
structures were legal.

      Kagurabadza, who angered the government when he showed Tibaijuka
several families sleeping in the open after their homes were demolished by
the government, claimed he was being targeted for victimisation.

      "They said the buildings were illegal despite that they are on the
plan. I have been under fire since I told the UN envoy that the clean up
exercise had caused a lot of suffering to the people. I also showed her
families living in the open and now I am in
      trouble," said Kagurabadza, who is a member of the MDC. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

Bundestag wants home demolishers before International Criminal Court
Wed 20 July 2005
  JOHANNESBURG - The German Parliament (The Bundestag) has urged the German
government to help ensure that those masterminding Zimbabwe's demolition
blitz are brought before the International Criminal Court to account for
their actions.

      In the strongest ever statement by a European institution, the
Bundestag says President Robert Mugabe's demolition blitz against informal
settlements - that has caused untold suffering among the poor - constitutes
"a new dimension of terrorism" against Zimbabweans.

      The Bundestag's stance is contained in a strongly worded motion moved
by virtually all the major parliamentary parties - the SPD, the CDU/CSU,
Alliance 90/The Greens and the FDP.

      The motion called upon the German government to develop its own
initiatives concerning the situation in Zimbabwe, as well as initiatives
organised by the EU and the G8 states, in close co-ordination with
representatives of Zimbabwean civil society, in
      particular churches  and non-governmental organisations, and to
support the work of these groups.

      The Bundestag also urged the German government to ensure that
sanctions against the Mugabe regime are implemented rigorously and their
scope widened if necessary.

      The motion also called upon African governments to fulfil commitments
they have made in the New Partnership for Economic Development (NEPAD)
framework and apply these to Zimbabwe.

      The Bundestag urged the German government to "call on the states of
the African Union to become advocates for Zimbabwe's oppressed population,
and to make clear to them that Western pledges of assistance for Africa are
firmly linked to respect for human rights and the rule of law.

      The Bundestag also urged Gerhard Schroeder's administration to "remind
the South African government of its special responsibility vis-a-vis its
neighbour Zimbabwe and call on it to strive to ensure that the government in
Harare stops the forced evictions" of thousands of poor people whose homes
have been destroyed.

      The demolitions are continuing despite a Zimbabwe government pledge to
"temporarily halt" them at the weekend.

      The Bundestag said it also wanted the German government to ensure that
actions of the Zimbabwe government, which demonstrated contempt for human
life, were dealt with in the United Nations Security Council and that the
"Security Council examines the extent to which those responsible can be held
to account by the International Criminal Court". - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

ANALYSIS: Mbeki may shore up Mugabe to hold things together in Zimbabwe
Wed 20 July 2005
  HARARE - South Africa is most likely to financially bail out Zimbabwe
because President Thabo Mbeki would rather rehabilitate President Robert
Mugabe's government than let it collapse under the weight of worsening food
and fuel shortages, analysts said yesterday.

      Pretoria, under mounting international pressure to act on Zimbabwe and
itself increasingly irritated by events in its northern neighbour, would
also want to give part of the US$1 billion requested by Harare to "buy more
leverage on Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party," they added.

      But University of Zimbabwe political commentator, Heneri Dzinotyiwei,
said Mbeki was likely to approve the financial rescue package chiefly
because he would rather have a reformed ZANU PF - minus Mugabe - continuing
in charge in Harare than an opposition he remains suspicious of and regards
as an unknown quantity.

      "For Mbeki the way out of the Zimbabwe crisis is to rehabilitate
Mugabe and hope that he will gradually leave the political scene (on his
own)," Dzinotyiwei told ZimOnline.

      Mbeki, designated the point-man on Zimbabwe by United States President
George W Bush and other key world leaders, has repeatedly refused to
publicly flog Mugabe over his excesses while his Foreign Minister Nkosazana
Dlamini-Zuma has ably blocked censure against Harare at international fora
such as the United Nations (UN).

      Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
two months ago pulled out in a huff from a Mbeki-driven mediation process
accusing the South African leader of open bias in favour of Mugabe and ZANU
PF. But communication has since been resumed between Pretoria and the MDC
with Mbeki meeting the opposition party's leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, two
weeks ago.

      Pretoria insiders however insist Mbeki remains strongly unconvinced
that the MDC, a coalition of trade unionists, civic rights activists,
student leaders, lawyers and other intellectuals, could keep Zimbabwe
together, let alone pull the crisis-sapped
      country from the brink were Mugabe and ZANU PF to go.

      But Dzinotyiwei said Mbeki's strategy of shoring up Mugabe bidding for
the day the Zimbabwean leader will give up power to reformists in his ZANU
PF party was hurting ordinary Zimbabweans, shouldering the burden of a
severe and uninterrupted six-year economic recession.

      He said: "That (Mbeki's time buying strategy) is of course at the
expense of the majority."

      Zimbabwe's crisis has deteriorated in recent months with government
officials admitting that targeted sanctions imposed by the West were hitting
the country hard.

      Annual inflation surged by nearly 20 percentage points to 164.3
percent last month effectively throwing state economic policies off the
rails while a burgeoning HIV/AIDS pandemic is killing at least 2 000
Zimbabweans every week at a time public health
      institutions have collapsed after years of under funding and

      A fuel crisis that began six years ago after the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) cut financial support citing Zimbabwe's poor fiscal
record and bad policies has reached critical levels, grounding public and
private transport and forcing many people to walk to and from work.

      The IMF board, which meets today, might recommend Zimbabwe's expulsion
from the fund for nonpayment of a US$306 million debt and the UN is within
weeks expected to strongly censure Mugabe's controversial urban clean-up
drive that left thousands of families homeless.

      The US$1 billon loan sought by Harare is equivalent to about nine
months of Zimbabwe's total annual foreign currency earnings and if granted
could go a long way to ease pressure on Mugabe and his government.

      Harare-based economic consultant John Robertson said there were no
economic or financial conditions South Africa could attach to the loan that
a broke Mugabe could meet, adding Pretoria might and should instead seize
the moment and set political conditions for the loan.

      "There are no economic conditions that Mugabe will be able to meet,
South Africa needs to set political conditions," said Robertson. "There is
need for a strong message that if you are behaving badly nobody will lend
you money," he added.

      But South Africa, which has advanced smaller loans to Zimbabwe before,
has in the past resisted calls by Tsvangirai to use its economic and
political clout to pressure Mugabe into line.

      Meanwhile, Mugabe is expected to visit old ally, China, later this
week to seek a similar financial rescue package and Beijing might oblige to
whittle down Pretoria's growing leverage on Harare. -ZimOnline
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Zim Online

Banned newspaper takes battle back to the courts
Wed 20 July 2005
  BULAWAYO - Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), publishers of the
country's banned Daily News newspaper, last night said they will appeal to
the Administrative Court against the state Media and Information
Commission's refusal to licence the paper.

      Accusing President Robert Mugabe and his government of waging a
political campaign through the media commission to "kill dissent," ANZ chief
executive officer, Sam Sipepa Nkomo, vowed to carry on the "struggle" at the

      "The whole thing smacks of a repressive government which is determined
to kill dissent, which in this regard is overtly represented by The Daily
News and its sister publication, the Daily News on Sunday," Nkomo told

      "We condemn in the strongest terms the MIC decision and we shall be
filing papers shortly with the Administrative Court contesting Mahoso's
ruling.. The struggle will definitely continue, Aluta Continua!" said Nkomo.
He did not say when exactly ANZ will file its court appeal.

      The Daily News, Zimbabwe's largest circulating paper at the time of
its closure and the smaller Daily News on Sunday were forcibly shut down by
the police following a Supreme Court ruling that the two papers were
operating outside the law because they were not registered with the state
commission as required by tough government media laws.

      The state's Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
(AIPPA) requires journalists and newspapers to register with the commission.
Journalists can be jailed for up to two years for practising without being
registered while newspapers
      will be shut down and their equipment seized by the state for the same

      ANZ had refused to register and applied to the Supreme Court
challenging the constitutionality of the requirement that it registers to
publish its newspapers.

      The court in March this year dismissed the private publishing firm's
constitutional challenge but also ordered the state commission to review an
earlier decision in 2003 not to register the ANZ papers.

      Yesterday, the commission announced through the official Herald
newspaper that it had rejected a fresh application for registration
submitted by ANZ after the March 2005 Supreme Court ruling.

      The commission said it had rejected the application because ANZ had
published an edition of the Daily News in September 2003 after the Supreme
Court ruling that the company's newspapers were operating outside the law
because they were not registered.

      It also accused the ANZ of employing unaccredited journalists in
violation of AIPPA. But the company's journalists were not registered only
because the commission refused to do so until the papers they worked for
were first registered.

      The commission said ANZ had also contravened the Press Act by failing
to deposit copies of its newspapers with the state media body.

      Nkomo said the reasons cited by the commission were the same ones it
put forward when it refused to register the ANZ papers two years ago. "From
the reasons given, it is apparent that they did not consider our most recent
application, they only
      revisited the reasons they gave in 2003 and put them forward in their
(new) ruling," he said.

      The ANZ boss said the company shall in its appeal to the
Administrative Court argue that commission chairman, Mahoso, should have
recused himself from the panel that decided on the company's application for
registration of its papers.

      Mahoso is well known for his hatred of the Daily News in particular
and independent media in general. The Supreme Court noted in its ruling
earlier this year that the long articles the commission chairman has
published in state newspapers condemning the independent media did not
inspire confidence in his impartiality on deciding matters to do with the
same media.

      The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists and worker representatives at ANZ
condemned the commission's refusal to allow the two papers back.

      ANZ staff committee member Columbus Mavhunga said the commission
ruling worsened already strained relations between the government and
independent media in stark contrast to pledges by new Information Minister
Tichaona Jokonya to foster a new and less poisoned relationship between the

      "It is a sad chapter in the history of Press freedom," said Mavhunga,
adding that continued close of the two papers meant more suffering for
journalists thrown onto the streets when the papers were shut down two years

      "It is a sad day for journalism .we feel we have been robbed by Mahoso
at a time the media industry in Zimbabwe was already shrinking," added ZUJ
secretary general Augustine Mukaro. Both Mahoso and Jokonya could not be
reached for comment on the matter last night. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

SA churches gear up for massive Zimbabwe relief campaign
Wed 20 July 2005
  HARARE - A South African church group on an aid mission in Zimbabwe said
on Tuesday the challenges created by President Robert Mugabe's home
demolition programme would see the churches undertaking their largest ever
relief campaign.

      Irvin Abraham, the South African Council of Churches delegation's
spokesman told ZimOnline last night that the group was, together with the
Zimbabwe Council of Churches, creating a data base of the affected people
and the assistance they require.

      Aid groups say at least 300 000 people have been left homeless by the
government's blitz on city backyard cottages and shantytown homes but the
opposition puts the figure at 1.5 million people.

      "I have no doubt that this will be the biggest appeal being undertaken
by the South African churches," Abraham said after meeting with Zimbabwe
church groups. "There will also be international appeals because of the
scale of the challenges and already there are some pledges from some
churches," he added.

      The demolitions have attracted international condemnation from the
Commonwealth, European Union, among others and last month led United Nations
Secretary General Kofi Annan to send a special envoy to investigate the

      President Robert Mugabe has defended the crackdown as necessary to rid
urban settlements of crime and to end black market trading in basic
commodities in short supply in Zimbabwe.

      The government has however temporarily halted the operation in more
affluent suburbs a move seen as buckling to pressure from South Africa,
which has reportedly asked the government to end the demolitions.

      Harare officials, including central bank governor Gideon Gono last
week met his South African Reserve Bank chief, Tito Mboweni, to discuss a
possible financial rescue package for crisis-hit Zimbabwe.

      Annan's office on Tuesday said the UN boss would receive his envoy's
report in the coming days and would study its contents to determine the next
steps to be taken by the UN.

      South African President Thabo Mbeki, designated the point-man on
Zimbabwe by United States President George W. Bush and other key Western
leaders, has also said he will act after the UN report is released. -
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Zim Online

Impact of housing demolitions worries UN ahead of report
Wed 20 July 2005
  NEW YORK - United Nations secretary general Koffi Annan has again
expressed concern over the impact of the government's demolition of homes in
Zimbabwe blamed for throwing close to a million people onto the streets.

      In a statement released in New York yesterday, Annan's spokesperson
Marie Okabe hinted that the world body may come down hard on President
Mugabe's government over the demolitions.

      "The secretary-general is increasingly concerned by the human rights
and humanitarian impact of the recent demolitions of what the government of
Zimbabwe has called illegal settlements."

      The statement comes as UN envoy Anna Tibaijuka flew to New York to
hand over a report on her two-week assessment of the controversial clean up
exercise as international pressure mounted on Mugabe to stop the

      The UN together with the United States, Britain and human rights
groups have already criticised the operation as an assault on the rights of
the poor.

      But Mugabe has defended the programme saying it is necessary to clean
up cities which had become havens of crime in order to smash a thriving
foreign currency parallel market blamed for Zimbabwe's economic woes.

      Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party says
close to a million people have been rendered homeless in the government

      Yesterday, former United States president Bill Clinton added his voice
to the chorus of criticism of the 81-year old Zimbabwean leader urging
people to speak out over Mugabe's human rights abuses. - ZimOnline

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Govt to set up Zim Electoral Commission

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Jul-20

ZIMBABWE will soon have a constitutionally created electoral commission.
According to a Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No 17) Bill gazetted last
week, the government intends to abolish the Electoral Supervisory Commission
(ESC) and replace it with ZEC.
Currently the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), which was created last
year, is constituted through an Act of Parliament.
The Bill also seeks to reconstitute Parliament by establishing a bicameral
house consisting of a 150 member House of Assembly and a 66 member Senate
and put in place a provision confirming the acquisition of land for
resettlement purposes since 2000.
Part of the Bill reads: "Parliament will be reconstituted as a bicameral
legislature consisting of a House of Assembly of 150 members (120 elected on
a constituency basis, the 10 Provincial Governors, eight chiefs elected in
accordance with the Electoral Law to represent the eight non-metropolitan
provinces and 10 persons appointed by the President) and a senate of 66
members (made up of five senators elected in each of the 10 provinces, plus
the President and the Deputy President of the Council of Chiefs and six
senators appointed by the President)."
One shall become eligible for election as a senator if he or she is a
registered voter and is above the age of 40.
According to the proposed amendment, when the senate first meets, it shall
elect a presiding officer who shall be known as the President of the Senate.
The individual shall be elected from persons who are or have been members of
the Senate or the House of Assembly, but who are not members of cabinet,
deputy ministers or provincial governors.
In terms of the transitional provisions for the first election of senators,
the President shall not later than 90 days after the commencement of the
constitutional amendment provide for days on which the voters' roll shall be
regarded as closed for the Senate election through a proclamation.
The President will also provide for a day on which the nomination court
shall sit, not less than 14 days or more than 21 days from the publication
of the proclamation, with a polling day being provided not less than 21 days
or more than 45 days from the day candidates submit their papers to the
The amendment also seeks to provide for compensation for improvements on
acquired land.
A person having interest in the land will not be allowed to challenge the
acquisition in court and no court shall entertain such a challenge, the Bill
The constitution will also set limitation on freedom of movement for
instance where "it is discovered that a person intends to depart Zimbabwe
for purpose of engaging in terrorist training abroad," reads the Bill.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Govt, RBZ at odds over private fuel importers

Munyaradzi Ushehwekunze
issue date :2005-Jul-20

PERSISTENT fuel shortages have thrown the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and
the government into an energy policy uncertainty that reached its climax
this month when the government overturned a central bank decision to reduce
the number of private fuel procurers.
The RBZ in May announced that it would curtail the number of fuel importers
in an effort to destroy the fuel black market that  triggered an unending
fuel crisis.
"The number of companies licensed to import fuel and who constitute the
PMZ/IPMZ membership and, therefore, expect foreign exchange allocation from
the limited Reserve Bank pool, extends to more than one hundred and twenty
(120). This number is, in our view, excessive to optimal requirements for
players in this market and we urge the responsible authorities to withdraw
some of these licenses.
"We believe that the maximum number of players should not be more than 20.
The rest should either amalgamate or simply close shop because they are
distorting the currency allocation from the auction," RBZ governor Gideon
Gono said.
Barely a month after the announcement, Energy and Power Development Minister
Mike Nyambuya liberalised the energy sector and gave licenses to private
firms and individuals to import fuel in a bid to offload the burden from the
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM).
Nyambuya could not be reached for comment yesterday to explain the sudden
policy somersault.
But analysts told this newspaper that discretionary policies are testimony
of the government's perplexity regarding the country's energy policy and its
commitment to policy decisions, tendencies which make monitoring and
evaluation difficult.
Socio-economic critic Wozani Moyo said: "When you concentrate too much on
putting out a fire, the problem is you don't make room for strategic
planning. Everything you do becomes spontaneous and capricious.
"It becomes difficult to signal to the market and monitoring and evaluating
government policies becomes difficult too. At the moment the government does
not show a firm commitment to its policies. It just wakes up one morning
announcing a decision, which it revokes the next day.
"If liberalising fuel procurement is the best policy, then, let it be made
unambiguously and unequivocally clear. "But as with any policy reforms,
proper sequencing is very important. This is an area, which the government
needs to revisit. What it has done was to bring in more players, without
regularising issues of pricing and marketing. Are the individual procurers
going to sell the fuel at their homes? Where are they going to get the
foreign currency? Given the price of foreign currency and the absence of
fuel subsidies, what prices are they going to charge? These issues are a
mater of guesswork at the moment."
Nyambuya hinted that the government is mulling a full-fledged liberalisation
of the energy
sector with the goal of charging market prices to keep the pipeline running.
This follows shocking revelations that NOCZIM has been importing and selling
fuel at a loss since April, about $297 billion in aggregate terms, pushing
its external debt to US$80 million debt ($840 billion at the official
auction rate). In the three months the company has been making a loss of
about $4 250 per litre of petrol and $4 050 per litre of diesel, against a
surge in world oil prices.
The liberalization of fuel procurement is a response to clamors by the
industry to stimulate autonomous inflows of fuel through price incentives.
During the first four months of the year, the country has only managed to
import fuel worth US$111.1 million - an average of about US$28 million per
month, against the country's average monthly requirement of over US$60
million, which could increase again in response to the devaluation of the
local dollar.
But there are fears that the absence of a comprehensive operational
framework to regulate the activities of private players could re-ignite the
parallel market for the scarce commodity.
Jonathan Kadzura, an economic commentator, defended the government's ad hoc
policy decisions saying the parallel market would only end the day foreign
currency shortages ended.
Said Kadzura: "The ad hoc policies and actions we have now are a result of
shortages. The ideal situation would be where we have a regularized system
with reliable participants, but because we are unable to allocate sufficient
foreign currency to our traditional fuel importers we cannot have a
regularized system.
"That is the essence of liberalization. Of course, this has an impact on the
black market, but there may not be an end to the black market for as long as
the supply side is shrinking as the demand side is overshooting."
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Presidential ballots probe: police silent

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Jul-20

POLICE have remained mum on their investigations into the alleged tampering
of voting material used during the 2002 Presidential poll.
It has been alleged that the ballot voting material was tampered with at the
High Court in Harare, where they had been lodged pending an inspection by
the MDC.
Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena yesterday
declined to give details on progress made so far.
He said: "At the moment I cannot comment any further. Why don't you try the
High Court?"
Last week, he told The Daily Mirror that the police were indeed
investigating a breach of security at the court.
The Master of the High Court, Charles Nyatanga, had also promised to issue a
statement on the matter but has still not done so.
"I cannot comment on the issue. Can you please contact my superiors,"
Nyatanga said.
Inspection and verification of the ballots was initially set for July 11,
but has been on hold since then.
The opposition party has alleged irregularities in the conduct of the last
presidential poll and hopes to prove its case through the inspection and
verification of the voting material used.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is challenging President Robert Mugabe's
victory in the election.
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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Prelude text


Letter 1:

Dear JAG,

The Governments inhumane acts in its so called operation `Restore Order',
as well as the general lack of fuel, foreign currency and basic goods that
characterizes the country continue to be yet more fine examples of the
gross mismanagement and misgovernance of this once great country by those
at Jongwe house. Since coming to power in 1980, the ZANU PF government has
systematically decimated this once great country: its formerly robust
economy is in intensive care; its citizens have been tortured, raped and
beaten to silence; its justice system is one that protects the robber and
punishes the robbed; the education system once the pride and joy of Africa
is in tatters and the health system is on the brink of collapse. To add
insult to injury, we are told ad nauseum that that the cause of the
country's current malaise is Tony Blair and George Bush- As if it were
Blair and Bush that made the disastrous decision to go to War in the DRC,
as if it were the two who were party to the politburo decisions to embark
on land invasions with no thought to the consequences on agricultural
production, as if it were the two who made poor socio-economic decisions
that have left the Zimbabwean economy in tatters. ZANU PF's admission of
failure to govern Zimbabwe is evidenced by their total silence on the
immense challenges facing this once great country. The president has failed
to engage with his colleagues in cabinet to effectively address the root of
the problems facing Zimbabwe today.

In the meantime, the ordinary long suffering citizens of this country have
been helplessly watching as these shocking events have rapidly unfolded
before their very eyes. Those who have been courageous enough to apply
their citizenship to the fullest of its meaning in a bid to offer
constructive criticism have been branded `sell-outs, traitors, uncle toms,'
'racists' (recent letters by Kingston Dutiro been a typical example) and
all sorts of other terms not fit to published in any media. They have also
been systematically and brutally denied their inalienable entitlements to
freedom of speech, expression and association by the very government whose
principal duty is to uphold and protect those rights.

Through `rule by law', ZANU PF has propagated unjust laws that have made it
near on impossible for Zimbabweans to lawfully express their disquiet at
the status quo in the streets as well as the press. To parody Mugabe's own
words, the citizen's of this country have been terrorised and coerced into
the political-cum-religious doctrine that there is but one God in Zimbabwe,
Robert Mugabe and that Joyce Mujuru is his prophet.

However, such coercion and oppression can only be tolerated for so long: As
the great American civil rights leader Martin Luther King once said, `there
comes a time when people get tired of been trampled by the iron feet of
oppression'. Zimbabweans are tired of the ZANU PF government using their
hard earned tax dollars to fund the beating, torture and incarceration of
their brothers and sisters; to travel to talk shops in New York, Addis
Ababa, Geneva and Mauritius to pontificate ad nauseum on the so called
hypocrisy of Tony Blair and George Bush instead of exercising their minds
to address the fundamental issues that concern the citizen's of Zimbabwe
today: social justice, corruption, rampant crime, abuse of human rights,
food, shelter, HIV/AIDS and a functioning economy. They are tired of their
hard earned tax dollars been abused by the likes of Bright Matonga and
propaganda machinery (it would be a blatant lie to call ZBC, the radio
stations and Zimpapers anything else) to brainwash them into believing that
the immense challenges we face in Zimbabwe are to blamed on Bush and Blair
when it is as clear as day that they have come about as a direct result of
the gross negligence and incompetence of a political party that has been
too long in power and no one else. They are tired of their hard earned
funds used to maintain the upkeep of a police force and military machine
that protects the robbers, instead of them the robbed. They are tired of
been told by the powers that be in Jongwe house that they are `colonised',
or `stooges' of imperialist governments when they have openly cried out at
the litany of abuses perpetrated by ZANU PF. They are tired of the
selective application of unjust laws by ZANU PF.

It is common knowledge that was the MIC an impartial entity, Zimpapers
would have been shut down for the sort of articles that are published in
its presses on a daily basis. ZANU PF claims that there is rule of law and
justice for all. What rule of law is there when the Supreme Court has
failed to deliver judgements on over 20 pending election petitions that
were made over 5 years ago by the opposition party? What rule of law is
there when the government does not follow rulings of the courts that it
finds unpalatable to its taste? There have been hundreds of judgements made
against it by the courts that it has not bothered to uphold. What rule of
law exists when they imprison an MDC member of parliament for one year with
hard labour, when the minister who taunted him and also threw a punch is
left to go unpunished? What rule of law exists when the same government
that imprisons this MDC Member of Parliament for a simple crime of common
assault, illegally takes over his farm despite several lawful judgements
against them doing so?  What rule of law exists when the police fail to
carry out orders of the courts or punish members of government? Zimbabweans
are tired of the nonsense emanating from the government that there is rule
of law in Zimbabwe when none exists.

For several years since this crisis began Zimbabweans have been told `wait'
`chete!', `chilla kani!' Mbeki is exercising `quiet diplomacy' (I did not
know such diplomacy existed until Mbeki came into power). The long
suffering citizens of Zimbabwe certainly did not exercise `quiet diplomacy'
when it came to supporting the ANC against Apartheid in South Africa, a
fact Thabo Mbeki has conveniently forgotten) to end the crisis. "Wait!" MDC
is in informal talks about formal talks with ZANU-PF to end the crisis,
"Wait! "Don't leave the country yet, zvinhu zvichanaka! For several years
now they have heard the word "Wait" It rings in their ears with piercing
familiarity. This "Wait!" has almost always meant "Never'. Like Martin
Luther King, they have come to see that justice too long delayed is justice

The fact of the matter is that Zimbabwe simply cannot survive with another
5 years of more and the same from a ZANU PF led government. Perhaps it is
easy for Thabo Mbeki to tell Zimbabweans to "Wait!" for the dividends of
his `quiet diplomacy'. But I put it to Mbeki and his ANC government, when
you have seen vicious mobs torture your mothers and fathers at will while
the "police" stand by watching; when you have seen thugs rape your sisters
and aunts; when you have seen the vast majority of your fellow Zimbabweans
smothering in an airtight cage of poverty; when you find it necessary to
pay bribes to government officials for services that are meant to be
provided free; when you cannot leave your money in a bank account because
it becomes more worthless each and every hour that it remains there; when
you can no longer afford to put your child through school; when you have to
wake up early in the dawn of the day to queue for bread, water, fuel and
the Lord knows what else; when you have to sit and watch ZBC spew out its
propaganda telling you to stay determined for entertainment; when you go to
hospital and it has no drugs or doctors; when you are harried by day and
haunted by night by the fact you support a political party of your choice,
living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect
perhaps then Mbeki will understand why Zimbabweans are increasingly finding
it difficult to wait.

Zimbabweans have failed to get rid of Mugabe and his government because
they have been incapacitated by fear. From now on they need to stick
together as citizens of this once great country and say with boldness and
determination and one voice to Mugabe and his government- go! Unity is the
greatest need of this hour and if they are united they can get many of the
things that they not only desire but which they justly deserve. Do not let
anybody frighten you. You should not be afraid that what you are doing is
wrong when you protest. There is absolutely nothing wrong with getting
together and organising and protesting for your rights. Your true
liberation heroes Tongogara, Moyo, Chitepo, Mangwana and other glorious
dead sacrificed their lives for these very rights; your war veterans fought
for these very rights (though one cannot tell given their recent
behaviour). There is never a time in Zimbabwe's history that you must ever
think you are wrong when you protest. You reserve that right. Have the
moral courage to stand up for your rights. God grant that you do it before
it is too late.

Mudhara matik



Dear Family and Friends,
Zimbabwe is shuddering to a stop just 14 weeks after Zanu PF declared they
had won the 2005 parliamentary elections. Chronic shortages of petrol and
diesel have almost shut the country down. There is a silence spreading
over the land and with it is coming a sense of camaraderie and unity as
Zimbabweans literally walk to the end line of these years of madness. I
sit here on a cold but crystal clear winter morning in the silence that
has become suburban Marondera and flip through many hundreds of weekly
letters I have written since this began and wonder if this will be the
last winter of discontent. If I did not see my own words in black and
white I would not believe that such things could have happened or that our
prosperous country and her wonderful people could have endured such

In July 2000, four months after our farm had been invaded by war veterans
and government supporters, I wrote: " Went down to the little dam today
...Once densely enclosed with trees, the surrounds are now sparse and a
cold wind blew through the haven where our cattle used to drink. The dam
wall had been broken and water gushes out... the entire surface area of
the dam is covered with thick, choking, suffocating red Azolla weed.
Floating and bloated in the water is a dead animal ..."

In July 2001 I wrote : "I cannot tell you how I felt this week when a
grandfather phoned me to see if there was anything I could do to help his
son, daughter in law and three grandchildren under 10 years old who had
been barricaded into their farmhouse by two dozen war veterans. Gates had
been smashed down, fires had been lit on the lawn, dogs had been cowed
into submission and through the night the war veterans sang and drummed
and pelted the roof of the house with rocks to try and chase this family

In July 2002 : "I have an 84 year old man living two doors away from me
and he stood at my gate again this week. He calls me his Guardian Angel
and begged that I give him $60 for a loaf of bread. He is white and his
need is as great as the 14 year old black boy who runs alongside my car
when I turn in at the supermarket. He too begs for money to buy a loaf of
bread. If only the men and women in our government would stop their
motorcades, get out of their chauffeur driven limousines and see this
immense tragedy, see the huge suffering of all black, white and brown

In July 2003: "I heard how 200 Kamativi villagers are hiding in the
mountains to escape the violence of the government youth militia who have
hounded them out of their homes accusing them of not supporting Robert
Mugabe's Zanu PF. I can hardly bear to think of how those people are
surviving. It is the middle of winter here and as my son and I cycle to
school every morning wearing coats and gloves and wooly hats, the frost
lies in thick white sheets along the roadside. What sort of government
could knowingly allow their supporters to force people out of their homes
and into the freezing elements..."

In July 2004: "The issue under the spotlight at the moment is the
Government Ministers and high ranking officials who have got, taken or
been given more than one farm... One of the Ministers concerned said the
withdrawal letters were 'preposterous and annoying.' He said of the
multiple farms credited to him, one had been reallocated to his cousin and
another to his mother."

And now, many winters later, in July 2005, I quote the South African
Council Of Churches who have just visited Zimbabwe: "In God's name, stop
Operation Murambatsvina ...This operation is inhumane and causes
widespread suffering to the people." ..."They [the Zimbabwean government]
have no idea what to do with the people, and this is the sadness of it,"
The Church report estimated the number of people thrown out on the street
to be between 800 000 and one million. Until next week, love cathy
Copyright cathy buckle 16th July 2005 My
books on the Zimbabwean crisis, "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are
available from: ; ; ; in Australia and New Zealand: ; Africa:

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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Business Report

Zimbabwe needs to 'bite the bullet'
July 20, 2005

By Lucia Mutikani

Harare - The long-awaited economic turnaround of Zimbabwe after six years of
recession was doomed to fail unless the government liberalised the exchange
rate and introduced fiscal discipline, analysts said yesterday.

Official forecasts predict growth will resume this year, but the country is
still grappling with its worst economic crisis since independence from
Britain 25 years ago marked by acute foreign currency, fuel and food

It also has one of the highest inflation rates in the world.

The central bank has put in place measures to revive the economy - once the
breadbasket of the region - but analysts see no prospects for success as
long as the exchange rate stays on a crawling peg system and the government

"A reversal will only take place if the exchange rate is liberalised so that
it is in line with the purchasing power parity," said Luxon Zembe, the
president of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce.

The central bank's administered currency auctions are only meeting about 10
percent of the foreign exchange needs of local companies, which are unable
to import vital machinery.

On May 19, the bank devalued the local unit by 31 percent to 9 000 against
the dollar, and allowed it to slide further at the weekly auctions. It was
quoted at 10 800 against the dollar at Monday's auction, bringing its
depreciation since the devaluation to 16.7 percent.

But black market rates are said to be double that price.

Analysts argue that the foreign currency crunch could be alleviated if the
government adopts a managed float system for the exchange rate.

"They have to bite the bullet and liberalise the exchange rate. There will
be an inflation shock, but it will just be once off," said one analyst, who
wished to remain anonymous.

Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate accelerated to 164.3 percent in June from
144.4 percent the previous month, but was still lower than its record peak
of 623 percent in January 2004.

The bank has forecast inflation averaging between 50 percent and 80 percent
this year, a target seen as too optimistic by most.

Zimbabwe's money supply grew by 207.6 percent in the year to April after
surging by 210.4 percent in March.

Zembe said companies were operating at 30 percent capacity because of
shortages linked to the lack of foreign currency.

The government is due to table a supplementary budget, which analysts
estimate at Z$12 trillion (R7.40 billion) to meet a huge food import bill as
well as fuel costs. It is reportedly seeking to borrow money from
neighbouring South Africa to meet these requirements.
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Independent, UK

20 July 2005 15:21
Mbeki told to trade loans for Zimbabwe reforms
By Basildon Peta in Johannesburg
Published: 20 July 2005
Pressure is mounting on Thabo Mbeki, the South African President, to demand
comprehensive economic and political changes in Zimbabwe before granting
Robert Mugabe's request for $1bnto buy fuel and food.

A desperate Mr Mugabe dispatched Gideon Gono, the governor of the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe,with a begging bowl to South Africa at the weekend as the
embattled southern African country faced total collapse.

No fuel imports have been made into Zimbabwe in the past three weeks due to
a severe foreign currency crisis. Power cuts are frequent, forcing companies
to scale down operations. This has in turn worsened a dire food situation
with supermarket shelves now empty of basic foodstuffs, and at least four
million Zimbabweans in need of food aid.

With the Mugabe regime having completely destroyed the tobacco export sector
through the violent eviction of more than 4,000 white farmers, and with
virtually no prospects of foreign currency trickling in after the IMF and
World Bank rejected Mr Gono's pleas for new loans, the country desperately
needs foreign help to avert collapse.

Analysts said Mr Mugabe's plea for help from South Africa provided Mr Mbeki
with the best-ever opportunity to demand a package of reforms.

South Africa has already set some conditions, including a demand that a
demolition blitz of informal settlements in opposition strongholds be
stopped. The blitz, which has earned the ire of many including former US
President Bill Clinton who is visiting South Africa, has left hundreds of
thousands homeless.

After South Africa's intervention, Mr Mugabe's government announced at the
weekend that the demolition campaign was being temporarily stopped. But
analysts said Mr Mbeki should make more demands before considering any help.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said Mr Mbeki should
demand that Mr Mugabe restore the rule of law and engage the opposition and
civic society for a settlement of the political crisis before considering
help to Zimbabwe.

MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said Mr Mbeki should address the real
causes of the crisis in Zimbabwe instead of its symptoms.

South Africa's main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, has vowed to
resist attempts to use South African taxpayers' money to bail out a "rogue
regime" unless strict conditions were put forward.

Mr Mbeki's cabinet confirmed the bail-out request from Mr Mugabe.

The Zimbabwean government also confirmed it needed help. President Mugabe
leaves for China on Saturday to beg for more loans.

Pressure is mounting on Thabo Mbeki, the South African President, to demand
comprehensive economic and political changes in Zimbabwe before granting
Robert Mugabe's request for $1bnto buy fuel and food.

A desperate Mr Mugabe dispatched Gideon Gono, the governor of the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe,with a begging bowl to South Africa at the weekend as the
embattled southern African country faced total collapse.

No fuel imports have been made into Zimbabwe in the past three weeks due to
a severe foreign currency crisis. Power cuts are frequent, forcing companies
to scale down operations. This has in turn worsened a dire food situation
with supermarket shelves now empty of basic foodstuffs, and at least four
million Zimbabweans in need of food aid.

With the Mugabe regime having completely destroyed the tobacco export sector
through the violent eviction of more than 4,000 white farmers, and with
virtually no prospects of foreign currency trickling in after the IMF and
World Bank rejected Mr Gono's pleas for new loans, the country desperately
needs foreign help to avert collapse.

Analysts said Mr Mugabe's plea for help from South Africa provided Mr Mbeki
with the best-ever opportunity to demand a package of reforms.

South Africa has already set some conditions, including a demand that a
demolition blitz of informal settlements in opposition strongholds be
stopped. The blitz, which has earned the ire of many including former US
President Bill Clinton who is visiting South Africa, has left hundreds of
thousands homeless.

After South Africa's intervention, Mr Mugabe's government announced at the
weekend that the demolition campaign was being temporarily stopped. But
analysts said Mr Mbeki should make more demands before considering any help.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said Mr Mbeki should
demand that Mr Mugabe restore the rule of law and engage the opposition and
civic society for a settlement of the political crisis before considering
help to Zimbabwe.

MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said Mr Mbeki should address the real
causes of the crisis in Zimbabwe instead of its symptoms.

South Africa's main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, has vowed to
resist attempts to use South African taxpayers' money to bail out a "rogue
regime" unless strict conditions were put forward.

Mr Mbeki's cabinet confirmed the bail-out request from Mr Mugabe.

The Zimbabwean government also confirmed it needed help. President Mugabe
leaves for China on Saturday to beg for more loans.

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The Herald

Shortage of basic goods worrisome: CCZ

By Paul Nyakazeya
THE Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) says it is disheartened by the
continued shortage of basic commodities and exorbitant prices at which goods
are being sold and would ensure appropriate action is taken to anyone found
on the "wrong side of the law".

In a report on the shortage of basic commodities, the consumer watchdog said
the supply of bread, flour, cooking oil, toothpaste, bath and washing soaps,
milk and mealie-meal had remained intermittent in the last six months.

CCZ said manufacturers of basic commodities interviewed attributed the
current shortages mainly to foreign currency constraints and viability
problems, "which has seen the majority of them working below 50 percent, and
therefore failing to meet the demand for goods".

"Despite the recent review of basic commodity prices, their supply remains
irregular. Last month all brands of locally produced laundry and bath soap
joined the long list of shortages, opening the floodgates for imported
products," CCZ said in the report.

The Consumer Council said it observed that many producers were increasingly
evading controlled products by making sure they supplied the market with
expensive substitutes, which probably gave them better returns.

"This is being witnessed in the bread, mealie-meal and flour industries
where producers now make more expensive bread and fancy cakes at the expense
of ordinary bread and super refined mealie-meal instead of roller meal. In
the flour industry, cake flour is more available than plain flour.

"As CCZ we do not understand the rationale behind all this.

"Why not just make enough of what everybody eats. Strategies must be put in
place to make sure that production scales are tilted in favour of the
majority of people," said CCZ.

The consumer watchdog said from the survey, it appeared producers were not
happy with the prices of goods they were charging particularly those
producing controlled products, which partly explained the shortages.

"Our observations are that for controlled commodities, when they are
available many retailers are not charging the gazetted prices with the
exception of some major retailers.

"This is cause for great concern. But our main concern would probably be on
monitoring goods, while the CCZ appreciates that these are not controlled
products, it is perturbed by industry's resolve to increase prices without
any form of consultation and notification to consumers," CCZ said.

Proposals for further increases were said to be before the Ministry of
Industry and International Trade.

The only agreement to increase price guidelines was made in May when some
price guidelines were agreed to. The report said no one had really observed
the agreement and continued to charge "unjustified prices".

"Producers and retailers are just charging prices as they deem fit. If you
confront some of them over incessant increase they argue that it is because
their suppliers had increased prices. This means that business is dialoguing
in bad faith.

"Shareholders are not being truthful to each other, and for as long the
situation remains like that, the economic turnaround will be a mirage,
because people are not genuinely supporting it," the report said.

Furthermore, CCZ said it was worried about the shortage of foreign currency,
questioning how retailers were managing to stock their shops with imported

"CCZ is not against international trade, it encourages intra-country trade
because this promotes competitiveness and choice for consumers, but
something is wrong somewhere and needs to be checked," the report said.
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The Herald

Investors desert money market en masse

By Jeffrey Gogo
STOCK prices have been running unchecked on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange
during the last two weeks, as investors deserted en masse from the money
market, particularly in the face of rising year-on-year inflation.

While rates on short-term deposits have been firming as a result of the
central bank's recent decision to raise accommodation rates, returns on the
money market have continued to lag behind annual inflation presently running
at 164 percent as at the end of June.

Equities have of late been running strongly, driven by expectations of
higher inflation. The mismatch between the money market rates and the
inflation rate has remained high, driving investors back to the equities
market or other investment vehicles.

This flies in the face of the Reserve Bank policy on interest rates, which
was designed to dampen the churning of huge unproductive funds on the
equities market. Increased buying pressure on the market in the last
fortnight saw the key industrial index breaching the three million mark to
reach new four-week highs at 3 195 691,00 points on Monday this week.

The index put on 27 094,81 points on the day after having surged a weighty
13 percent from the previous week's opening figures of 2 801 146,19 points.

In Monday's trade, the index was spurred by gains in Natfoods up $600 to $6
400, ZSR rose $105 to end at $805 while tobacco processor TSL and Old Mutual
added $100 apiece to close at $650 and $46 000 respectively. On the downside
were Econet, which lost $200 to $18 300 whilst most counters traded

On a week-on week basis the major gain in last week's trade was clothing
retailer Edgars, which went up 54 percent to close at $3 700 followed by
Interfresh, up 50 percent to $165. Other counters to record reasonable gains
were heavyweights Old Mutual, Barclays and Econet.

The main loser for the week was Kingdom, down 10 percent to close at $540
and Gulliver which lost 10 percent to $450.

Minings have also maintained a bullish pattern driven by persistent gains in
rejuvenated Hwange and gold producer Rio Tinto.

The index put on 44 175,30 points on Monday to end at 570 815,33, just shy
of record highs of slightly above 600 000 achieved earlier in the year.

Financial analysts believe there is still value in the market and predict
the bull run will persist into the foreseeable future, particularly for as
long as the money market returns continue to lag behind inflation.

"Investors are also taking positions ahead of the reporting season that
starts in early August," commented a Harare analyst.

"Whether the current rally is sustainable remains to be seen. We are of the
view that investors should take positions in counters that are cash-rich and
have well-structured balance sheets."
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NZcity, New Zealand

      Mugabe footage screened at Parliament

      Greens say their bill to stop the tour to Zimbabwe does not breach
human rights; also release video footage

20 July 2005

New video footage has been screened at Parliament of Robert Mugabe's
demolition campaign in Zimbabwe.

It comes as the Greens release legal advice that their bill to stop the
Black Caps' tour does not breach human rights.

The footage was provided by Mugabe opposition campaigner Judith Todd.

It showed thousands of the newly homeless and featured claims some people
are being forced to demolish their own homes.

Meanwhile, law firm Russell McVeagh has concluded the Greens' bill to stop
the tour does not breach human rights.

It says laws imposing sporting sanctions only affect teams and have no
bearing on the travel rights of individuals.

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Cape Times

      Kruger under threat
      July 20, 2005

      The agreement to include Zimbabwe's Gonarezhou National Park in the
Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park may result in the end of the Kruger
National Park as a sought-after international tourist destination.

      It is a fact that Gonarezhou has been invaded by thousands of
homeless, starving Zimbabweans who are now permanently residing there and
resorting to slaughtering wildlife for their survival.

      The situation is now out of control and reversing it will prove a
mammoth task. Professional poachers are also now taking advantage of the
situation and killing endangered and rare species. As a result, tourists to
Gonarezhou are a thing of the past.

      Unfortunately, with the Transfrontier agreement in place, this
situation has the very real potential to spill over into the park, resulting
in a massive increase in poaching.

      Another concern for Kruger is what is due to happen with the Massingir
Dam in Mozambique (see July edition of Getaway Magazine). The dam, on the
Olifants River, is set to have its wall raised, which will result in the
drowning of the Olifants Gorge withi Kruger.

      It is almost a certainty that the gorge as we know it, which sustains
its own unique ecosystem, will also disappear as a result. The public has
still to be advised as to whether an environmental impact study has been
conducted and, if so, what the findings are.

      Due to the lack of meaningful feedback from the departments of
environmental affairs and tourism and water and forestry regarding
Gonarezhou and Massingir, one can only presume that these issues are being
given very little attention.

      The departments do not make themselves available to answer concerns
raised, nor do they seem prepared or willing to confront our neighbouring
countries on these two issues.

      Apart from the usual lip service granted to such issues, the
departments come across as dismissive of the concerns raised and inept in
their approach when dealing with these problems.

      The Kruger Park is under serious threat and our inability to deal with
the problems it faces could prove a disaster for wildlife protection in the
southern African region. The time for talking is over and meaningful action
now needs to be taken by those in positions of power.
      Mark Hackney
      Cape Town

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The Mercury

      Taking Action?
      July 20, 2005

      by The Editor

      It has taken what seems like an inordinate amount of time, but it
appears the South African government is finally preparing to take a stand
against the human rights atrocities being committed in Zimbabwe.

      We would like to believe President Thabo Mbeki is following the lead
of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who has voiced his
"increasing concern" over Zimbabwe's so-called clean-up campaign, Operation

      Earlier this week Annan's spokesman, Marie Okabe, said Annan was
preparing a plan for UN action, following which special UN envoy Joaquim
Chissano said he had been asked to intervene in the crisis.

      There has also been strong condemnation from the European Union for
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's actions and calls for the African Union
to respond.

      "There was strong and widespread condemnation of President Mugabe's
policy of demolition and clearances," said British Foreign Secretary Jack
Straw, whose country holds the EU presidency. "We called on the African
Union to use its influence to bring an end to the suffering of the people of

      While there has still been no official response from Mbeki's office as
to what steps South Africa is planning to take, chief government spokesman
Joel Netshitenzhe told The Mercury on Monday that "there has been intensive
interaction with the Zimbabwean government over the last few days".

      Some of the "interaction" is believed to have included a meeting
between SA and Zimbabwe reserve bank governors on Friday, which could see SA
providing its controversial neighbour with a loan in return for political
and economic reforms.

      The talk of a $1 billion loan follows a visit by SA Deputy President
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka to Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, last week, and a
planned visit to SA later this week by Zimbabwe Foreign Minister Simbarashe

      While the increasingly precarious state of Zimbabwe's economy is
obviously high on the agenda, the world's outrage at Mugabe's campaign to
destroy informal shacks and hawkers' kiosks in the cities has to be a top

      As a respected role player in Africa's rejuvenation, Mbeki can no
longer sit on the fence while Zimbabwe quite literally burns.

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