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

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Mbeki, Blair to meet this morning

July 08, 2005, 08:45

President Thabo Mbeki and Tony Blair, the British prime minister, are
meeting this morning at the summit in Gleneagles, Scotland.

The political situation in Zimbabwe is expected to dominate the talks. The
discussions will also include issues around African development.

Blair has returned to the summit after briefly abandoning the talks
yesterday to assess the situation in London.

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LA Times

      Zimbabwe's Split Opposition
      Movements to oust Mugabe are divided, demoralized and
cash-strapped. Some fear frustration could lead to violence.

      By Robyn Dixon, Times Staff Writer

      HARARE, Zimbabwe - A conservative white businessman expressing a
passion for freedom, tradition, polite manners and the British royals sits
at his long shiny boardroom table in Zimbabwe musing on plans to try to
topple President Robert Mugabe.

      With the same dedication he devotes to his business, he composes,
hides and secretly distributes fliers, sometimes swapping cars to dodge

      "When you are working for your country in a state of crisis, it's just
such a thrilling experience. It's just such a wonderful emotion to be
involved with people who are doing the same thing," he said in a quiet,
clipped voice. "In today's modern world, it doesn't really happen that much

      His aim, like that of other regime opponents, is simply to render the
country ungovernable. But the big question is how to do so.

      Sokwanele, the ghost organization to which he belongs, and a similar
underground movement called Zvakwana (both meaning "enough is enough" in
different African languages) are multiracial movements that eschew violence,
each struggling for change by trying to mobilize people to resist the

      The nation's March parliamentary elections were condemned by the
United States and European Union as neither free nor fair. However, Mugabe
did not employ the type of overt violence he has used in past elections, and
his victory was endorsed by powerful African allies such as South Africa. He
followed up with a national police operation to scatter urban opposition
supporters by demolishing informal shacks and traders' stalls across the

      At this point, Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change is
as deeply demoralized and divided as it has ever been. The limited impact of
a two-day general protest strike the MDC organized in June has raised doubts
on whether its plodding brand of peaceful resistance can ever pose a threat
to the regime. The organization is almost broke, squabbling and believes
itself to be infiltrated at the highest levels by the state intelligence
organ, the Central Intelligence Organization.

      Zvakwana and Sokwanele are more innovative, leaving fliers in buses or
pasted up in small rural shopping areas, distributing "revolutionary"
condoms branded with the exhortation to "Get Up, Stand Up," hiding
anti-regime messages in matchboxes or wrapping soap or candles in them. Yet
these too seem to have had little effect in encouraging people to actively
resist the government.

      Mugabe's regime has ruthlessly suppressed even small street protests.
Despairing of decisive leadership from the MDC, some regime opponents such
as the Roman Catholic archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube, are simply praying
for the 81-year-old Mugabe's death.

      "People in Zimbabwe, myself included, pray that God should take him
because we can't change anything here," Ncube said. "We are under constant
oppression. There's nowhere to run. He has all the guns and all the
aircraft. All the laws are on his side. Parliament is just his rubber stamp.
He divided the churches and bought some support from them."

      Ncube said the MDC general strike was badly organized. But David
Coltart, a prominent MDC lawmaker, said it had limited effect because the
regime did not care about damage to the economy. "Clearly we have to change
tack now. We have got to have strategic, peaceful strategies that will make
this regime wake up."

      Most regime opponents agree they need a new approach, but few have
specific ideas on what forms of protest might work.

      Money is just one problem.

      "We are a movement absolutely strapped for cash. We don't even have
enough money to publish pamphlets to call people out into the streets,"
Coltart said.

      "We certainly don't have enough money to buy lots of orange scarves.
The Orange Revolution [in Ukraine] cost hundreds of millions which we just
don't have."

      The Zvakwana website ( conveys the despair regime
opponents feel with scathing sarcasm, but the group's anger is directed at
the MDC as much as at the regime.

      The site displays a picture of MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai on a rum
bottle label, with the words, "Captain Morgan, Extra Light." A rum cocktail
recipe calls for drinkers to garnish the drink with plenty of appeals to the
international community, pour it, then "put your feet up, and sip slowly
while watching other revolutions unfold on TV."

      "We have to become our own leaders. We need to lead by personal
example, whether by organizing small house meetings to discuss challenging
the regime, or making and distributing our own leaflets, or standing up to
institutional repression by refusing to pay taxes in any form," the Zvakwana
site said.

      "We cannot go face to face with an enemy that has all the state
machinery at its disposal so we must work with stealth like a thief at

      Both Sokwanele and Zvakwana support ousting Mugabe through a peaceful,
popular revolt. Zvakwana is more imaginative in its approach, using condoms,
soap and candles to get its message out whereas Sokwanele concentrates on

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Mail and Guardian

      Zim army opposed house demolitions

      Godwin Gandu | Harare

      08 July 2005 07:14

            President Robert Mugabe ignored warnings from senior security
officials that his government had "got it all wrong" in executing the
controversial Operation Murambatsvina.

            The Mail & Guardian has learnt that the state security organ -- 
the Joint Operations Command, consisting of the army, airforce, police and
intelligence -- had told Mugabe three weeks ago during a weekly briefing
that the Local Government Minister, Ignatius Chombo, had overstepped by
"demolishing people's houses rendering them homeless". Mugabe was reminded
that the operation was only supposed to target informal traders in the
cities, but the President had felt "there was no going back now".

            Sources in Zanu-PF told the M&G that Mugabe came under fire at
the Politburo meeting two weeks ago for not discussing the operation with
the party's supreme organ or the cabinetbefore it was implemented. "The
whole process was bungled from the start. Mugabe is putting on a brave face
but he is getting it from all factions in the party," the source explained.
"There was a strong feeling that haphazard decisions were now being
arbitrarily taken without proper coordination and consultation."

            The fallout has already resulted in the resignation of central
committee member and MP Pearson Mbalekwa. Retribution for his action was
swift. On Thursday morning Mbalekwa himself fell victim to the government's
eviction squad. "Today they have come and taken all the equipment at my
farm. They want to repossess it under the pretext that it is underutilised.
Right now they are loading equipment into government trucks. My farm is
being laid bare. This is all political. They are attacking my source of
livelihood," he told the M&G.

            He claimed that the demolitions saga has divided Zanu-PF and
that senior members are likely to quit the party. "A lot of people in the
party are fed up, that I know. But they can't come out in the open out of
fear. They know who is behind all this in Zanu-PF but you will never get to
know who initiated it and why because they are all condemning it now."

            "There was no consultation in the party. It seems someone was
annoyed by the outcome of the elections in urban areas and is now making all
Zimbabweans suffer."

            UN site inspections
            This week intelligence agents were dispatched to Bulawayo and
Gweru ahead of United Nations special envoy Anna Tibaijuka's scheduled
inspection of sites and communities affected by the evictions.

            Tibaijuka was shocked to hear that people were destroying their
own homes and that the demolitions were continuing despite government
undertakings that the campaign had been halted.

            "Why did you destroy your own house," Tibaijuka asked an elderly
woman in Luveve township in Bulawayo. "We were going to pay huge fines and
were afraid of the police. If we don't destroy our homes there is a huge
fine," she replied.

            "I am very sorry for coming at night but I bring you greetings
from UN secretary general Kofi Annan," Tibaijuka said.

            An altercation ensued between the UN envoy, who has been in the
country for two weeks to assess the impact of the displacements, and three
Cabinet ministers - Informal sector minister Sithembiso Nyoni, Home Affairs
minister Kembo Mohadi and resident minister for Bulawayo Cain Mathema.

            "I was brought up in a rural home, then went to live in the
cities, I don't think it's appropriate to send people there [rural areas]
because they will always come back. Rural repatriation does not work. People
are here [urban areas] because that's where they earn their livelihood.
Urbanisation is a good thing.

            "Gweru was very cold and I can't imagine people living in the
open. We are here to minimise that suffering," Tibaijuka exclaimed.

            Her comments drew a sharp reaction from Nyoni: "It takes
political will to take such action. It takes such a bold decision to
galvanise the whole nation into doing this. If we hurt anyone, we are sorry.
Zimbabweans are not cleaning the cities of the poor, but we are cleaning the
poverty, turning around the economy."

            Tibaijuka retorted: "In discouraging evictions of such a nature
we are not encouraging lawlessness."

            Then Mohadi had his dig admonishing the UN envoy not to "worry
about the methodology. There are many ways of going to Johannesburg. You can
walk, fly or drive by road but the objective is the same. We are not
criminalising poverty. We are not repatriating people to rural areas so that
they become poorer. Many of the people that were living in the slums had
decent houses, but were renting them out in order to live in squatter

            Mathema also weighed in: "Slums are a characteristic of Africa.
Those who colonised Africa started poverty."

            Tibaijuka was visibly irritated by the ministers' reticence.
After learning that plans were underway to make 313 stands available to
accommodate a thousand people in Bulawayo, she asked: "So what happens to
the rest who can't get stands?"

            Mathema responded: "Some will have to go back to their rural
homes. We are busy vetting them. We have even discovered some are of foreign
origin, they come from Malawi, Zambia and so on."

            Tibaijuka replied: "We are all part of SADC (Southern African
Development Community)."

            Mathema's comeback: "They will have to sort out their papers."

            Ministers barred from council
            The three ministers were barred from attending a meeting with
the opposition mayor Japhet Ndabeni Ncube and his council where the envoy
was told: "We woke overnight to realise that vendors, who were operating
legally, had been chased and thrown out of the city without the knowledge of
the city fathers.

            Now we are caught in an unenviable position of having to raise
billions of dollars that were never budgeted for to finance the

            Tibaijuka is expected to leave Zimbabwe within a week and submit
her findings to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

            President Thabo Mbeki told journalists that he met Annan on the
sidelines of the African Union summit in Libya and that they had agreed to
await the report before deciding on a course of action.

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Zimbabwe's churches are not alone: SACC

July 08, 2005, 07:15

It is important that churches in Zimbabwe feel they are not isolated and
have the support of South African churches. This is according to Professor
Russel Botman, the president of the South African Council of Churches

The SACC, together with all Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), will be
leaving for Zimbabwe on Sunday. The delegation will be hosted by the
Zimbabwe Council of Churches.

"I think what is important is that churches in Zimbabwe are feeling that
they are not isolated, that they have the support of the churches in South
Africa, that they can speak to us and that we will act in ways that will
support and strengthen their situation," he says.

Keeping an eye on Zimbabwean situation
Almost a year ago, during a tri-annual SACC meeting, the council took the
decision that the SACC leadership should keep an eye on the situation in
Zimbabwe, Botman explains. The delegation will subsequently report on the
situation in Zimbabwe at the council's midterm meeting as to enable the
Church to decide on a response, he adds.

In addition to meeting with church councils in Zimbabwe, the delegation will
also meet with the country's political leaders and civil society. Botman
says the delegation would like to give the leadership the message that the
churches are concerned about the plight of poor people, and also receive the
leaders' feedback on the matter.

"Finally, we will have to take a decision about what we will do with all the
information we will be bringing back to the country," he says.
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Zim Independent

      Mugabe ally muscles into NMB
      Shakeman Mugari

      PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's long-time confidant and one of Britain's
richest men, Nicholas van Hoogstraten, sent shock waves through the banking
sector last week when he announced his controlling stake in NMB Bank.

      Van Hoogstraten, who has admitted bankrolling Zanu PF in the past, has
amassed enough shareholding in the bank to become the largest single
individual investor in the financial institution.

      Van Hoogstraten, whose land in Zimbabwe was spared in government's
violent land seizures because of his close connections with Mugabe, now
holds about 20% in NMB Bank.

      It is believed that van Hoogstraten is now also the largest individual
shareholder in Hwange Colliery with about a 30% stake through his company
Messina Investments and interests in the second largest shareholders,
Edwards Nominees. He is second only to government which owns 38%.

      He revealed that he was now the largest shareholder in NMB at an
annual general meeting last Thursday. Although he did not say how much stake
he held in the bank, van Hoogstraten told directors that he was now the
major shareholder. Brokers who attended the AGM said van Hoogstraten
complained to the directors that the annual report had not been sent to him
on time as a majority shareholder. They say he also complained about the
delay in the distribution of proxy forms.

      "As the largest shareholder in the bank, he expected to have received
them on time," a stockbroker who attended the AGM said.

      The latest NMB share register shows van Hoogstraten's company, Messina
Investments, as the fifth largest shareholder in the bank with 8,62%.

      Sources however said his stake was larger through other smaller
companies. The sources say he also has strong links with Palisades Ltd, the
fourth largest shareholder in the bank with 9,75%. Palisades is registered
in Great Britain where the businessman has the bulk of his wealth.

      It could not be established by yesterday how the new shareholding in
the bank would affect former directors and key stakeholders James Mushore,
Julius Makoni, Otto Chekeche and Francis Zimuto who fled to the United
Kingdom last year during the financial crisis.

      Market sources said the former directors, who owned 35% of the bank at
the time through their family trustees, could have shed portions of their
shareholding to van Hoogstraten, giving him a majority shareholding.

      The new shareholding gives him powers to influence appointments to the
board and management.

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Zim Independent

Chirundu Project threatens wildlife habitat
Daniel Calderwood
GOVERNMENT is planning a massive agriculture and housing project in the
Zambezi Valley on land designated for wildlife heritage, the Zimbabwe
Independent can reveal.

The Zimbabwe Conservation and Development Foundation (ZCDF) said in a
statement the development, known as the Chirundu Project, is set to cover
parts of Mana Pools National Park as well as the Hurungwe, Chewore and Sapi
Safari areas.

These areas are protected by the Parks and Wildlife Act and are also
designated as World Heritage Sites.

In a statement this week, ZCDF said the project, which covers a total of 1
000 square kilometres will be launched in early November and has since been
approved by an unnamed senior government official. The project is initially
aimed at building 600 low-cost houses as well as cultivating areas to be
used for commercial agriculture. The initial cost of the project is US$30
million that is set to cover agricultural equipment.

The ZCDF condemned the plan saying it would have terrible effects on the
environment and wildlife.

"It will be dire for well-developed communities of a diversity of trees and
woodlands," the foundation said. "Threat levels to a vast array of fauna
will accelerate in the short term. The balances of these sensitivities will
most certainly be disturbed in the immediate term."

Wilderness Africa Trust executive director Ian Jarvis said he backed the
views of the ZCDF and raised his own concerns over the development of the

"The destruction of the east bank of the Sabi Valley occurred in a similar
project under the name of the Middle Sabi Project. It is believed that the
Zambezi Valley is far more sensitive. There is inadequate electricity and
fuel to develop such a large project," Jarvis said.

"Valuable tourism will undoubtedly be negatively affected," ZCDF said.

However, Tourism minister Francis Nhema told the Independent that he was not
aware of the project in the National Parks area. "Who is building there? How
can they?" Nhema commented.

Johnny Rodrigues and John Fulton, chief executive officer and chairman of
ZCDF respectively, said the project would lead to the destruction of an area
that is internationally known for its natural wildlife, habitat and

ZCDF believes that over 380 species of fauna alone will be directly affected
by the human impact on the area. The air, soil, water and waste pollution
will be disastrous to the "highly sensitive region".

Commenting on the proposed irrigation scheme to be supplied by water from
Zambezi River, ZCDF said it was sure that clear procedures had not been

The ZCDF is adamant that "it is highly unlikely that permission has been
secured from the tri-lateral accord on the Zambezi River water usage that
exists between Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique".

"It is furthermore unlikely that any agreement between the projects
developers' and Zimbabwe's water-management authorities has been conducted

The ZCDF not only believe that there will be extreme damage to the natural
environment and species but the habitation of humans in an area that is
dominated by tropical diseases must be considered as well.

According to the ZCDF poaching is already a huge problem and can only
increase as well as the destruction to the natural environment.

Fulton was not prepared to make a statement or comment on any further
information about what the ZCDF know about the Chirundu Project and their
views towards it developing further.
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Zim Independent

Govt clueless about fuel crisis
Ray Matikinye
GOVERNMENT is clueless about when the fuel crisis will end but is pinning
its hopes on an elusive end to its international isolation.

Leader of the House and Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa last week blamed
the current economic crisis on sanctions imposed by the European Union and
the United States "and some in Zimbabwe who have been lobbying and
campaigning for the continuation of these sanctions".

He was answering a question by Job Sikhala, MP for St Mary's, when the
transport blues encountered daily by urban commuters would end.

Said Chinamasa: "The economic difficulties we are going through have been
caused by unofficial sanctions imposed against this country. We are unable
to access international credit facilities."

Chinamasa admitted that no country could operate "like we are doing".

"No country in the world, including the USA, can operate like we are doing
on a cash basis - whether to buy fuel, or import electricity," Chinamasa

"So, until that political isolation is terminated, we will continue to face
these challenges and there is no way I can give you a deadline of the time
on which those sanctions will be removed. When those sanctions are
terminated and we trade at no cost like other countries and we trade
normally, then we should be able to see that the shortages become a thing of
the past," he said.

Chinamasa refused to be drawn into responding to Luveve-Pumula MP Esaph
Mdlongwa's question whether Zimbabwe's isolation by progressive nations
stemmed from government's defiant utterances.

Masvingo South MP Walter Mzembi had told parliament earlier that investment
by internal and external investors depended on sacrosanct rules such as fair
and reasonable return on investment and protection of ownership rights.

"All the mentioned rules and more are essential to trigger investment
interest in any country," Mzembi said during a debate on the president's

"The current disjuncture between the body politic and the economic sphere
has accentuated the economic malaise afflicting our nation."
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Zim Independent

Pope endorses Zim criticism

POPE Benedict XVI on Saturday endorsed the stance taken by Catholic bishops
in Zimbabwe in condemning the state-sponsored "clean-up" operation and
government's human rights record.

The Pope said Zimbabwean bishops should remain "a voice that speaks with
authority on what is right and true of peace and justice".

"In your preaching and teaching the faithful should be able to hear the
voice of the Lord himself, a voice that speaks with authority of what is
right and true, of peace and justice, of love and reconciliation, a voice
that can console them in the midst of their troubles and show them the way
forward in hope," the Pope said in an address at the end of the bishops'

A Zimbabwean delegation comprising eleven members of the Zimbabwe Catholic
Bishops Conference visited the Vatican during the five-yearly ad Limina
Apostolorum where the Pope commended them for the action they had taken.

The bishops who visited the Vatican include the Archbishop of Harare, Robert
Ndlovu, the Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube, Archbishop Alexio Muchabaiwa
of Mutare, Archbishop Michael Basera of Masvingo (president), Bishop Angel
Floro of Gokwe, and Auxillary Bishop Patrick Mutume of Mutare.

Others in attendance were Fathers Alfonse Mapfumo, Father Matthew Jonga and
Father Albert Serrano.

The Pope said with the publication of the bishops' pastoral letter, The Cry

the Poor, the delegation had brought the wisdom of the Gospel and the rich
heritage of the Church's social doctrine to bear upon the thinking and
practical judgments of the faithful both in their daily lives and in their
efforts to act as upright members of the community.

The bishops described Operation Murambatsvina as "cruel and inhumane".

President Mugabe is a devout Catholic.

"Amid the difficulties of the present moment, the Church in Zimbabwe can
rejoice in the presence of so many communities vibrant in faith. Future
priests, for their part, should be helped to present the fullness of the
Catholic faith in a way which truly addresses and responds to people's
difficulties, questions and problems," the Pope said. - Staff Writer.
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Zim Independent

Police guard Msika's shop
Loughty Dube
POLICE in Bulawayo are providing all-night security at a shop owned by
Vice-President Joseph Msika in Gumtree suburb against state regulations that
bar them from guarding private business properties.

Police details from Hillside police station have been dispatched to guard
the shop since robbers broke in late last year and stole goods worth
millions of dollars.

Police protection unit officers guard the grocery shop situated next to the
vice-president's homestead in the suburb at night, arriving every evening
and leaving at dawn, investigations by this paper established.

Police spokesman, Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena,

promised to investigate the matter but said police were under no obligation
to provide security to private business properties of senior government

Police officers at Hillside police station confirmed that they were guarding
the shop since last year. "There is all-night security at the shop, a
policeman is stationed there from eight o'clock in the evening until six in
the morning," said a police officer who requested anonymity.

Gumtree residents confirmed that police guard the shop but said the times
the police report for duty was unusual hence most people were not aware of
their presence.

In July last year robbers broke into the shop and looted a variety of goods
worth $8,4 million after the policeman on duty left his post unattended.

The gang of robbers from Mzilikazi suburb was subsequently arrested. Sources
in the police force said the policeman who was on duty on the day of the
robbery had since been disciplined over the incident.
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Zim Independent

Zim tops humanitarian crisis list
By Nqobani Ndlovu/Susan Mateko
ZIMBABWE tops the list of Southern African nations facing the greatest
humanitarian crisis sparked by poor governance, high HIV and Aids infection
and recurring drought, the executive director of the World Food Programme
said on Wednesday.

According to the I-Newswire, James Morris, addressing a UN Security Council
briefing in New York, said more than four million people in the country, the
highest in the region, were in urgent need of food aid.

He added that HIV and Aids claimed a million lives in the region last year
alone, and was also impacting negatively on the country's ability to produce
food for its people.

"Earlier this year, it had been estimated that 3,5 million people will need
emergency food aid. That figure has more than doubled to 8,3 million, with
the return of drought conditions to some areas. More than four million
people are at risk in Zimbabwe, 1,6 million in Malawi, 1,2 million in Zambia
and 900 000 in Mozambique.

"At the same time, the prevalence of HIV was not only taking a toll on lives
and reducing life expectancy, but was also directly undermining the capacity
of communities to produce enough food. The impact of that catastrophe was
enormous," Morris said.

The latest remarks fly in the face of government claims last year and
earlier this year that the country has enough food. Last year, President
Mugabe went to the extent of telling international donors off, arguing that
the nation had enough food to feed its people.

Zimbabwe enters its fourth year of food crisis.

The HIV infection rate in the country is among the highest in the region and
reportedly claims close to 3 000 people every week. Life expectancy in
Zimbabwe has been cut to a mere 35 years.

As a result of the high infection rate, Morris said the people of North
America, Europe and Japan could "expect to live twice as long as compared to
the locals in Zambia, Malawi or Zimbabwe".

Though noting natural disasters like drought as the causes of food
shortages, Morris said: "Globally, hunger was a symptom of failure to cope
with natural disaster and to overcome social inequities, ethnic strife and
racial hatred. But addressing hunger and malnutrition - and saving the women
and children who suffered the most - required the co-operation of those in
charge where those very failures took place.

"Chronic hunger in the African countryside was a destabilising influence
that undermined political stability and security," he said.

Speaking at the same meeting, United States, Romanian and Tanzanian

representatives, Anne Woods Patterson, Mihnea Ioan Mosac, and Tuvako
Nathaniel Manongi respectively, condemned the clean-up operation in
Zimbabwe, saying it had worsened the humanitarian crisis in the country.

Patterson urged the government to end the "slum demolition campaign" that
had left 420 000 people homeless and to engage in dialogue to end the
political impasse and also halt economic decline.

She said United States, which was ready to assist Zimbabwe with food, was
disheartened by government policies that only compounded problems of

Patterson said: "The United States stood ready to assist Zimbabwe with
large-scale food assistance, as it did from 2002 to 2004, but it was
disheartened that government policies were making the problem worse.

"Zimbabwe's meltdown affected trade, investment and food security throughout
Africa," she said.
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Zim Independent

Byo rations water

THE Bulawayo City Council is facing a water deficit of 55 000 cubic metres a
month, a situation that has forced the cashstrapped local authority to
ration water.

Bulawayo has four supply dams - Mzingwane, Lower Ncema, Inyankuni and
Insiza - but currently only Inyakuni and Insiza supply water due to low

The city's deputy director of engineering services Simela Dube, addressing a
press briefing at the council offices this week, said drought conditions in
the country had forced council to introduce water rationing.

"Capacity problems are due to drought which has resulted in very little
inflows into Mzingwane and Lower Ncema dams during the rainy season and as a
result we are faced with a water deficit," Dube said.

He said the city was now relying on only two supply dams that do not use
pressure pumps but the force of gravity to draw water.

Dube said the city's demand for water was more than the dams could provide
at the moment.

"The dams (Inyankuni and Insiza) can supply 90 000 cubic metres of water a
day and the city's demand is 145 000 cubic metres a day. So we had to cover
the deficiency by introducing water rationing," said Dube.

He added that the dams' water levels were 38% of capacity and had enough
water to last the coming 15 months.

Engineer Dube said council was talking to the Zimbabwe National Water
Authority to resuscitate 41 boreholes at the Nyamandlovu aquifer to
alleviate the water shortages. - Staff Writer.
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Zim Independent

Harare City Council broke
Augustine Mukaro
GOVERNMENT'S proposed national reconstruction programme to benefit thousands
of families rendered homeless by the controversial clean-up campaign could
be headed for a dead end as one of the key partners, the Harare City
Council, is broke.

Council acting finance committee chairperson, commissioner Prisca Mupfumira,
revealed that the local authority was facing a serious budget deficit.

"The performance of the economy in general has exposed the operations of the
city to unmanageable levels through the increases in price of commodities
such as fuel, electricity, and water treatment chemicals," Mupfumira said
when she presented the 2005 council budget.

"Furthermore, the high levels of inflation, high interest and exchange rates
as well as foreign currency scarcity have compounded the economic decline
and hence council was experiencing a serious mismatch between income and

Council minutes dated May 30 show that council has plunged into serious
financial crisis and was forced to defer payment of the May salaries so as
to settle a ballooning debt with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.

"The town clerk reported that the city had encountered problems in paying
salaries for May 2005 on time due to the demand by Zimra for outstanding Pay
As Your Earn," the minutes say.

Council has been declared broke twice over the past year with employees'
salaries having to be paid directly from rate collection halls.

Zimra on the other hand has been threatening to place the city on a
garnishing order over outstanding debts.".
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Zim Independent

World leaders close in on Mugabe
Dumisani Muleya
WORLD leaders have fiercely denounced President Robert Mugabe over the
widely-condemned demolition blitz and political repression which have
reduced Zimbabwe to an international outcast. This week United Nations
Secretary-General Kofi Annan added his voice to the growing chorus of

Leaders from the powerful Group of Eight (G8) rich nations and Africa are
now speaking with one voice on Mugabe's failed leadership that has spawned
an economic crisis, pauperising a vast swathe of the population.

While Mugabe has been claiming it was only former colonial powers opposed to
his rule who were vocal, countries that supported Zimbabwe's liberation
struggle have also turned against him.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose government endorsed Mugabe's hotly
disputed re-election in 2002, this week joined the fray, describing Mugabe
as a dictator who does not deserve aid.

The usually reticent Kremlin leader's remarks came as Danish Prime Minister
Anders Fogh Rasmussen rounded on Mugabe, saying he was an autocrat who
should be denied assistance.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw launched a withering attack on Mugabe's
regime putting paid to any prospect of European Union help.

"In Zimbabwe the government has already trampled over democracy and over
basic human rights," Straw told the European parliament on Wednesday.

Australian and New Zealand leaders said they would intensify measures to
squeeze Mugabe's regime whose officials are banned from the two countries as
well as the United States and European Union.

South African President Thabo Mbeki has said he would only take a position
on the demolition crackdown after the United Nations envoy, currently in
Zimbabwe to assess the impact of the programme, has released her report. But
pressure is mounting on him to speak out on the deteriorating situation
across the Limpopo.

Annan's special envoy Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka has been in the country for
almost two weeks investigating the crackdown. On Wednesday she criticised
government's implementation of the exercise which has thrown thousands of
people onto the streets - without shelter, food, water or sanitation
facilities. Thousands are now detained in refugee camps like Caledonia Farm.

Annan said ahead of the G8 summit African countries should speak out on the
Zimbabwe crisis.

"I've often tried to tell them they cannot continue to treat these
situations as purely internal," said Annan. "It starts as internal but it
becomes a regional problem. Nobody invests in a bad neighbourhood and if you
have just one or two countries behaving that way, that hurts everybody."

The African Union has been trying to probe Mugabe's "clean-up" campaign
although its envoy has been barred from working here. This has put Mugabe on
a collision course with the AU, something that could worsen his isolation.

Even close friends are defecting from Mugabe's corner. Libyan leader Muammar
Gaddafi, Mugabe's erstwhile ally, showed how far he has drifted when on
Monday he suggested British Prime Minister Tony Blair was a progressive
leader. Mugabe considers Blair his sworn enemy.

Gaddafi also made pointed remarks about African leaders who go begging for

Blair and US President George Bush have slammed Mugabe for human rights
abuses and misrule. Bush has said Zimbabwe poses an "unusual threat to US
foreign policy".

The US has classified Zimbabwe as an "outpost of tyranny", alongside North
Korea, Iran, Burma, Cuba and Belarus.

Putin, who has not publicly commented on Zimbabwe's economic and political
crisis, said Western countries should stop subsidising the corruption and
incompetence of inept dictators.

"We should not be afraid to stop aid to dictators, like Zimbabwe's Mugabe,"
he said on Wednesday ahead of the G8 summit which started in Gleneagles,
Scotland on Wednesday.

Rasmussen slammed Mugabe at a press conference with Bush in Copenhagen on
Wednesday. Zimbabwe was expected to feature at the G8 summit which will
discuss Africa's problems.

Mugabe has been praising countries like Russia and China as his major allies
in the face of isolation largely by Western countries.

Russia funded and provided arms to one of Zimbabwe's main liberation
movements, Zapu, and its armed wing Zipra, while China bankrolled Zanu and
its military arm Zanla.

China and countries in the Far-East that Mugabe claims are his closest
allies are increasingly interlocked with the economies of Western countries.

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo said he would not become embroiled in a
public row with Mugabe but offered his "good offices" to resolve the crisis
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Zim Independent

Murerwa contradicts Mugabe on clean-up
Dumisani Muleya
FINANCE minister Herbert Murerwa has contradicted President Robert Mugabe's
claim that the clean-up programme should have been implemented before the
March general election, saying it was not budgeted for and was unplanned.

Murerwa told parliament on Wednesday that Operation Murambatsvina was not
budgeted for because "we had not anticipated this programme".

He was responding to a question from opposition Movement for Democratic
Change MP Priscillah Misihairabwi-Mushonga on why government was now
allowing "unbudgeted expenditure" when it said it would not do so.

"Well, it is very clear that when we announced the 2005 budget we had not
anticipated this programme. So it will translate into some parts of 2005
budget being re-prioritised to accommodate this expenditure," Murerwa said.

This means Mugabe could have misled United Nations secretary-general Kofi
Annan's envoy Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka when they met last week on Wed-nesday.

Mugabe told Tibaijuka his government had planned the demolition blitz -
meaning it was designed earlier - before the March 31 parliamentary election
but it could not be implemented because government would be accused of
trying to destabilise the MDC's urban strongholds.

He claimed he had promised during the campaign to implement the programme
after the election. However, there is no evidence of him saying so except
pleading with urban voters to support his party which lost all but one urban

Mugabe's former Information minister Jonathan Moyo said he agreed with
Murerwa that Operation Murambatsvina and Operation Restore Order were
unplanned because when he was in government there was no such project on the
drawing board.

"The Minister of Finance is right and I agree with him when he says this
year's budget did not anticipate this programme - which requires massive
resources - because it was simply not there," Moyo said.

"You can't budget for phantom programmes. If there was such an exercise on
the planning desk I would have known about it because I was in government
and would have naturally been in charge of its communication strategy," said

"Mugabe's claim the programme was planned but avoided because he was scared
of being accused of attacking MDC strongholds is a futile attempt to
hoodwink the UN envoy. It won't wash," Moyo said.

Since Tibaijuka arrived last week, government has been frantically trying to
mislead her fact-finding mission through a series of smokescreens that are
now blowing away in the face of stark realities on the ground.

The state-controlled media's attempts to distort Tibaijuka's statements have
also failed as the UN rebutted falsification of its envoy's remarks saying
she could not be held responsible for remarks made in her presence by

Mugabe also tried to take in journalists at the African Union summit in
Sirte, Libya, this week when he claimed nobody had been displaced and
rendered refugees by his ruthless crackdown. He did not mention Caledonia
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Zim Independent

European Union closes Caaz account
Godfrey Marawanyika/Chris Goko
THE European Union last month ordered a freeze on the Civil Aviation
Authority of Zimbabwe (Caaz)'s bank account as part of measures to tighten
economic and travel sanctions on the Zanu PF government.

The EU and the United States imposed an economic and travel ban on President
Robert Mugabe and close political aides in 2002 after the roundly condemned
presidential election.

At the same time US President George Bush successfully lobbied Congress to
implement the Zimbabwe Democracy Act.

Under the Act, Zimbabwe is not eligible to benefit from any sort of

assistance either from the US government or firms registered in that

Caaz's offshore account was closed mid-last month as the EU feared the funds
would be used to bankroll Mugabe's various activities.

When the account was frozen, Caaz was forced into frantic efforts to raise
money for June's staff salaries.

The closure of the account is also set to affect Caaz's procurement of
aviation equipment, officials said.

Caaz used some of the funds to meet its salary bill, but June's forced
closure obliged the parastatal's management to scrounge around for money to
pay the wages. Foreign currency in the off-shore account was liquidated into
local currency to pay salaries and fund operations.

David Chaota, Caaz's acting chief executive officer, confirmed the account
freeze earlier this week.

However, he could not be drawn into revealing the name of the bank, citing

"We had problems with our European Union-based account, but we are trying to
regularise everything," Chaota said.

"I cannot disclose the name of the bank for obvious reasons, but like I
said, we are trying to resolve everything," he said.

Chaota said they were getting assistance from the government, although he
did not explain the nature of the help.

The Caaz boss confirmed that they had to run around the capital to calm down
foreign airlines and travel agents who were panicking over the development.

Caaz, he said, had to reassure air travel players that they were no longer
conducting their billing via the International Air Transport Association
(IATA) system. This will now be done locally. Before the ban airport tax was
deposited into the Caaz off-shore account via the IATA billing system. The
tax is now being deducted locally and paid directly to a Caaz account in

The government, through Transport and Communications minister Chris Mushowe,
has since been briefed about the EU's latest move.

Meanwhile, Air Zimbabwe, which until last month was battling to settle its
billion dollar debt with IATA, has managed to pay up. According to
correspondence between the national flag carrier and the IATA manager for
Financial Services Cedric Chretien, Air Zimbabwe has cleared its US$1,4
million debt.
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Zim Independent

Attacks jeopardise plans to lure farmers
Augustine Mukaro
GOVERNMENT'S quest to get white commercial farmers back on the land could
hit a brick wall after their representative body this week took a swipe at
government for failing to restore law and order in the agricultural sector.

Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) president Douglas Taylor-Freeme in a
statement this week said farmers had been subjected to constant harassment,
abuse, threats, loss of property and equipment. He described the situation
on the farms as unacceptable.

"Government has on many occasions indicated that the land reform programme
has been completed but despite assurances from the relevant authorities,
forced evictions, seizures and threats continue," Taylor-Freeme said.

"This is unacceptable. CFU strongly objects to the constant lawlessness that
prevails in the districts where an average of five farmers per week are
subjected to forced evictions," he said.

Taylor-Freeme said despite numerous appeals to the law enforcement
authorities to investigate these incidents, they continue unabated.

"There is no respect for court orders made either by the High Court or the
Administrative Court of Zimbabwe," he said. "CFU calls upon government and
law enforcement agencies to bring an end to this senseless violence, threats
and intimidation, and appeals to them that the perpetrators of the latest
beatings be apprehended and brought to book."

Taylor-Freeme's protest follows an attack on three farmers from the Middle
Sabi area over the weekend.

Farm 28 owner Phil Mennie was last weekend attacked and severely beaten by
six individuals.

"Mennie was left unconscious," one farmer from the Sabi area said. "He had
to be rushed to Harare for treatment."

Farm 28 was producing 60 hectares of citrus, 120 hectares of wheat and soya
beans on rotation and 40 hectares of seed maize.

Contacted for comment, Mennie said he could not give details as he was
pursuing other avenues.

Farmers who spoke to the Independent said a wave of violent evictions hit
the Middle Sabi region over the past two weeks, with over a dozen farmers
thrown off their properties.

"Chipangai Estate is one of the farms that have fallen victim to the current
eviction wave," he said.

Taylor-Freeme said two other farmers were subjected to minor assault, and an
attempted hit and run.

"It would appear that despite numerous calls made to the relevant
authorities, no assistance was given and the appeals fell on deaf ears," he

He warned that the food situation in the country would not improve as long
as anarchy prevailed on commercial farms.

"The past agricultural season has been difficult with basic commodities in
short supply," he said. "There is need to show respect for each other's
lives and property so as to allow the agricultural sector to play its role
in the economy. Government has to put an end to these senseless incidents,
to stabilise the agricultural sector, and ensure that every farmer is given
an equal opportunity to contribute towards enhancing national production,"
he said.

An estimated 400 white commercial farmers remain on the farms out of the 4
500 who worked the land before the inception of the often-violent land
reform programme in 2000.
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Zim Independent

Murambatsvina targets Sam Levy
Nomalanga Masina
AS the controversial demolition campaign spreads to the northern suburbs,
the Harare City Council has set its eyes on the prestigious Sam Levy's
Village in Borrowdale that was built without council approval in the early

The office park and shopping mall, owned by tycoon Sam Levy, was built
without permission from the city council, making it an illegal structure
according to the current clean-up definition.

The land on which the mall wasconstructed was originally desig-nated as
residential. It is alleged Levy built the mall without getting the requisite
land change-use permission from the Harare City Council.

The council this week confirmed that the village could be demolished under
the operation.

"We have a critical issue against Mr Sam Levy about that office park," said
council spokesman Leslie Gwindi. "Technically, that structure is illegal
because it was not built with permission from the council.

"We are going to discuss the issue with him very soon. We are working
towards regularising every structure and Sam Levy's building is no
exception. It will be dealt with in the same manner that we dealt with other
illegal structures."

The village is located in Pomona along Borrowdale Road and is one of the
most upmarket shopping malls in the country. It houses offices,
supermarkets, banks, car dealerships, nightclubs and pubs.

The construction of the shopping mall was the subject of contention in the
early 1990s, with the residents' association led by David Samudzimu leading
the charge to stop the multi-million dollar project, one of the biggest such
undertakings then.

The alleged involvement of politicians saved the mall which is popular with
Harare shoppers in the northern suburbs escaping congestion in the CBD.

During 1989 and 1990, the residents of Borrowdale obtained two court orders
to stop the construction of Sam Levy's Village arguing that the area was
designated only for residential purposes.

It is alleged that Sam Levy sought the intervention of then Minister of
Local Government, the late Enos Chikowore, and Joseph Msika, the current

Levy also reportedly sought assistance from the then Local Government
secretary, Dr Mariyawanda Nzuwa, now the chairman of the Public Service
Commission, and the then town clerk, Edward Kanengoni. Although professional
advice was available to him from the then director of works, the late Tongai
Mahachi and the then director of physical planning in the Ministry of Local
Government, Jonathan Zamchiya, Levy went ahead with construction of the

He did this, it is alleged, in the safe knowledge that the senior government
officials he had spoken to would back his project.
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Zim Independent

Government slapped with 32m euro suit
Godfrey Marawanyika
AS forex shortages continue to bite, a Netherlands bank, ING, has instituted
a 32 million-euro (about $386,5 billion) legal suit against the Zimbabwe
government for defaulting on loan repayments, it has been learnt.

Government is cited as the first defendant, while international
telecommunications company Intelsat Ltd is the second.

The lawsuit is for a default on loan agreements entered into by the
government represented by the Ministry of Finance on July 9 1994, November
28 1994, February 21 1997 and December 5 1997.

According to papers filed by ING in the Supreme Court of Bermuda that were
also served on the ministry this week by the Deputy Sheriff, ING is seeking
that government meets the costs and interest of the debt.

The loans were advanced to Zimbabwe to pay for telecommunications services
and installations carried out by Intelsat.

ING is one of the world's largest financial services companies, offering
banking, insurance and asset management in over 50 countries.

In the application, ING lawyer Nathaniel Turner of Attride-Stirling &
Woloniecki said the government must pay the outstanding amount before
further proceedings can be stopped.

Intelsat Ltd is a provider of satellite communications services worldwide,
supplying video, data and voice connectivity in over 200 countries.

Turner said government was required within 22 days after receipt of the
court papers to act or face litigation in the courts in Bermuda.

Zimbabwe has since 1999 been experiencing acute shortages of foreign
currency which have resulted in it failing to meet its own critical import
essentials and to settle its overdue obligations.

Zimbabwe's foreign obligations are currently at US$4,5 billion.

Only last week the International Monetary Fund voiced its concerns over the
country's parlous foreign currency situation.
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Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

      Immoral looters

      GOVERNMENT'S response to a crisis is often a good indicator of the
effectiveness of its policies and the astuteness of its leadership. Crisis
situations are unavoidable but three things usually happen, depending on how
a situation is dealt with: The difficulty can linger on with constant
ramifications or it can be quickly dealt with and heroes are born. There is
also a good chance that a crisis can degenerate into a tragedy.

      A government which mismanages an economy cannot manage a crisis and is
most likely to star as a villain in national tragedies like our own economic

      I am not going to talk about its management of the economy because the
results are there for even the most politically naïve to see. I am more
worried about the mismanagement of the fuel crisis. The country was
virtually dry these past two weeks even though we were promised in May by
the "monetary authorities" that the problem would be solved in three weeks'

      False promises constitute mismanagement of a crisis. An administration
that's bereft of ideas to come out of a sticky situation will lie that a
solution is on the horizon. The problem will soon be "a thing of the past".
Such hopeless statements are coined to create the false sense of action.
Keeping the affected and afflicted in suspense is a better ruse than telling
them the painful truth. Let them hope against hope.

      If evidence was needed that the current crisis was not being managed,
this was provided by government seizing fuel from private organisations to
give it to the army, the police and intelligence officers. I got at least
half a dozen calls this week from companies whose reserves had been raided
by the authorities ostensibly to keep "strategic wheels" of government
business turning.

      On Saturday I witnessed three army Mazda Familia sedans laden with men
who appeared to be going fishing - judging by the fishing rods protruding
from windows of the cars. They were heading down Lomagundi Road, probably to
Manyame Dam or further afield to Mazvikadei Dam. These are the strategic
arms of our society getting preference ahead of companies that should
deliver goods or bring in supplies.

      The same goes for the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority whose vehicles get
preferential treatment ahead of us commoners at service stations. It is
evident that government needs to collect revenue but companies and
individuals have to make the money first. I hope it is not true, as we have
heard, that Zimra inspectors driving Peugeot 306s or Ford Bantams have an
allocation of over 200 litres each a month.

      There is no equitable distribution of fuel because manufacturers and
service providers do not have any. Ambulances and undertakers' vehicles
cannot get fuel yet soldiers going fishing have full tanks. Chefs in the
army use three-tonne trucks to run errands to their farms or simply to buy
lunch. Are all those up-and-down trips in Chinese-built trucks necessary?

      This is a clear example of mismanaging a crisis by failing to
prioritise sensibly. There are civil servants in middle-management positions
with allocations of 300 litres a month. It is frightening to imagine what
permanent secretaries and ministers are allocated in the same period.

      As a result of these skewed allocations in an environment of
shortages, fuel has found its way onto the black market where it is selling
for anything up to $100 000 a litre instead of $10 000.

      Kombis, which are also getting preference at service stations, are
some of the biggest suppliers of the black market. Carrying passengers is no
longer as profitable as simply parking the bus and selling the fuel to those
who are not strategic enough to get it at service stations.

      Why are fuel attendants allowed to fill up vehicles from the scrapyard
which at times don't have engines but carry improvised tanks of up to 200
litres? Where is our police force to deal with the black market? Who cares
especially if there is no mechanism to deal with the scourge of corruption?

      The government is not managing this crisis at all. It is simply
turning it into a tragedy. Where is the new Industry and International Trade
minister to protect companies from this unfair treatment by his colleagues?
Or simply, who is managing the country?

      The little fuel that is available could go a long way if there was
strict monitoring to ensure that there is reduced consumption for everyone.
When we are all being told to tighten our belts, chefs with insatiable
appetites still burn scarce fuel from Harare to Chitungwiza every night to
visit prostitutes. And Gono thinks that people with this mindset can lead an
economic recovery. Shame on these immoral looters!

      I do not believe this government has what it takes to get us out of
this crisis. Cynicism sets in when trust for government goes out. When this
happens citizens respond to the national crisis with expressions of disgust
and shortcuts of their own. It becomes every man for himself. Can government
convince me that it's managing the fuel shortages sensibly?

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Zim Independent

Political reforms vital for recovery

Dumisani Muleya/Shakeman Mugari

THE International Monetary Fund (IMF)'s damning Article IV findings after a
recent visit to Zimbabwe to assess the economic situation have further
exposed the fallacy of government's claims of an economic turnaround.

The IMF's statement on its overall impression of the economic state of
affairs in Zimbabwe was also an indictment of Reserve Bank governor Gideon
Gono who had assisted Zanu PF's election campaign with his repeated
assertions that the economy was on a recovery path.

Gono - who ministers see as "Mr Fix It" - has put himself in the firing line
by promoting Zanu PF propaganda on the economy. Now that the economy is in
serious trouble he has inevitably become the fall guy of President Robert
Mugabe's leadership and policy failures.

During the run-up to the March 31 general election, Gono parroted the Zanu
PF political line that there was an economic turnaround even though it was
evident that recovery was an illusion.

This raised serious questions about his capacity to deliver in an
environment fraught with the dangers of partisan politics and pitfalls of
political naivety.

It has always been clear to everybody who cares to put on their thinking
caps that the current economic crisis cannot be resolved without fundamental
political reforms.

This is because the boundary between the discipline of economics and
politics in reality is wafer-thin. The two conflate and influence each
other. Bad politics breeds economic failure.

Gono masqueraded as the nation's Messiah claiming "there was no room for
failure" when delivering his largely rhetorical monetary policy statements.
This left many wondering whether or not he really appreciated the depth of
the structural problems embedded in the economy and the social crisis facing
the country that was the direct product of Mugabe's misrule.

It also left many wondering if he understood the complex political problems
confronting him in his job. There was no evidence from his statements that
he factored in those dynamics in his turnaround equation.

As the situation on the ground now clearly shows, Gono and his team were out
of sync with the prevailing realities. Barely a month after the disputed
election, economic and social conditions started deteriorating at an
alarming pace.

Zanu PF had been holding the floodgates to secure an election victory by
blocking rational economic decisions and as soon it let go, the problems
came flooding back.

Severe shortages of foreign currency, fuel, electricity, water, food and
basic commodities resurfaced with dire consequences. Hoping to resist the
incoming tide, Gono delivered his monetary policy statement in May which
triggered the current demolition blitz.

In his statement Gono made a number of threats and admitted he was naïve on
some issues such as dishing out money like confetti, something the IMF said
was inflationary, and urged government to build more jails to put black
market traders in. This was seen as the trigger for the ongoing destruction
campaign which Gono has publicly said he supported.

But as the IMF said, the chickens are now coming home to roost. The crisis
has dramatically worsened and the situation by and large is worse than when
Gono came in in December 2003.

His modest achievements on the inflation front and relative price stability
are now being reversed with great rapidity and intensity.

Contrary to Gono's claims of an expected GDP growth of between 2 and 2,5%,
the IMF said it expected "output to decline sharply due to continued
difficulties in agriculture". It said the problems had been worsened by
drought and intensification of foreign currency shortages.

"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," the IMF said.

"Together with the RBZ's substantial producer and credit subsidies, these
deficits would fuel a sharp increase in money supply, and hence inflation,
by end-2005."

The IMF said although authorities indicated their desire to address these
problems by taking measures to contain further increases in the budget
deficit, the outlook was gloomy.

"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," it said.

"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."

It said the package should also include structural reforms, such as the
removal of administrative controls, to ease shortages and restore private
sector confidence.

"A rebuilding of relations with the international community is a critical
part of the effort to reverse the economic decline," it said.

"We hope the authorities will work more closely with us to formulate and
implement such a policy package, which would help stabilise the economy and
improve the welfare of the Zimbabwean people."

As of June 20, Zimbabwe's arrears to the IMF amounted to US$295 million,
showing its inability to repay. This has left Zimbabwe facing expulsion from
the institution through a compulsory withdrawal process.

Compulsory withdrawal is the last step in a series of escalating measures
that the IMF applies to members that fail to meet their obligations under
the Articles of Agreement.

On February 16, the IMF board decided to defer for six months
consideration of Zimbabwe's compulsory withdrawal, offering the country
another chance to strengthen cooperation with the
Fund in terms of policies and payments but Zimbabwe has failed to prove it
was serious. Economic analyst John Robertson said the IMF position shows it
has lost confidence in Zimbabwe.

"The statement confirms that we are doing things the wrong way and they are
saying that additional damage has been done to the economy since the last
time they came," Robertson said. He said the statement indicated that even
if it survives the chop Zimbabwe is still a very long way from getting the
balance-of-payments support it so desperately needs from the IMF.

The IMF concerns came as Finance minister Herbert Murerwa prepared to
present his mid-term fiscal policy review which analysts say, given past
performance, will do nothing to restore confidence in the economy. In his
budget last year Murerwa claimed agriculture would grow by 28% this year.

Fiscal policy has virtually been abandoned because of government's lack of a
settled economic programme. This has had grave consequences for Gono's
agenda. A monetary policy statement in a situation where fiscal policy has
collapsed is largely inconsequential.

The sooner Gono understands this the better, otherwise he will continue to
drive the economy into a ditch waving a bogus economic recovery flag.
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Zim Independent

The G8 Summit: Bob Geldof's nonsense
By John Pilger
THE front page of the London Observer on June 12 announced, "US$55 billion
Africa debt deal 'a victory for millions'."

The "victory for millions" is a quotation of Bob Geldof, who said: "Tomorrow
280 million Africans will wake up for the first time in their lives without
owing you or me a penny...".

The nonsense of this would be breathtaking if the reader's breath had not
already been extracted by the unrelenting sophistry of Geldof, Bono, Tony
Blair, the Observer et al. Africa's imperial plunder and tragedy have been
turned into a circus for the benefit of the G8 leaders due in Scotland next
month and those of us willing to be distracted by the barkers of the circus:
the establishment media and its "celebrities".

The illusion of an anti-establishment crusade led by pop stars - a
cultivated, controlling image of rebellion - serves to dilute a great
political movement of anger.

In summit after summit, not a single significant "promise" of the G8 has
been kept, and the "victory for millions" is no different. It is a fraud -
actually a setback to reducing poverty in Africa. Entirely conditional on
vicious, discredited economic programmes imposed by the World Bank and the
IMF, the "package" will ensure that the "chosen" countries slip deeper into
poverty. Is it any surprise that this is backed by Blair and his treasurer,
Gordon Brown and (US president) George Bush; even the White House calls it a

For them, it is an important facade, held up by the famous, naive and the
inane. Having effused about Blair, Geldof describes Bush as "passionate and
sincere" about ending poverty.

Bono has called Blair and Brown "the John and Paul of the global development
stage". Behind this front, rapacious power can "re-order" the lives of
millions in favour of totalitarian corporations and their control of the
world's resources. There is no conspiracy; the goal is no secret.

Brown spells it out in speech after speech, which liberal journalists choose
to ignore, preferring the treasury-spun version.

The G8 communiqué announcing the "victory for millions" is unequivocal.
Under a section headed "G8 proposals for HIPC debt cancellation", it says
that debt relief to poor countries will be granted only if they are shown
"adjusting their gross assistance flows by the amount given": in other
words, their aid will be reduced by the same amount as the debt relief. So
they gain nothing. Paragraph two states that "it is essential" that poor
countries "boost private sector development" and ensure "the elimination of
impediments to private investment - both domestic and foreign".

The "US$55 billion" claimed by the Observer comes down, at most, to $1
billion spread over 18 countries. This will almost certainly be halved -
providing less than six days' worth of debt payments - because Blair and
Brown want the IMF to pay its share of the "relief" by revaluing its vast
stock of gold, and passionate and sincere Bush has said no. The first
unmentionable is that the gold was plundered originally from Africa.

The second unmentionable is that debt payments are due to rise sharply from
next year, more than doubling by 2015. This will mean not "victory for
millions", but "death for millions".

At present, for every $1 of "aid" to Africa, $3 are taken out by Western
banks, institutions and governments, and that does not account for the
repatriated profit of transnational corporations. Take the Congo. Thirty-two
corporations, all of them based in G8 countries, dominate the exploitation
of this deeply impoverished, minerals-rich country, where millions have died
in the "cause" of 200 years of imperialism.

In the Ivory Coast, three G8 companies control 95% of the processing and
export of cocoa - the main resource. The profits of Unilever, a British
company long in Africa, are a third larger than Mozambique's GDP. One
American company, Monsanto - of genetic engineering notoriety - controls 52%
of the maize seed in South Africa, that country's staple food.

Blair could not give two flying faeces for the people of Africa. Ian Taylor
at the University of St Andrews used the Freedom of Information Act to learn
that while Blair was declaiming his desire to "make poverty history", he was
secretly cutting the government's Africa desk officers and staff. At the
same time, his "department for international development" was forcing, by
the back door, privatisation of water supply in Ghana for the benefit of
British investors. This ministry lives by the dictates of its "Business
Partnership Unit", which is devoted to finding "ways in which DfID can
improve the enabling environment for productive investment overseas
and...contribute to the operation of the financial sector". Poverty
reduction? Of course not.

A charade promotes the modern imperial ideology known as neo-liberalism, yet
it is almost never reported that way and the connections are seldom made.

In the issue of the Observer announcing "victory for millions" was a
secondary news item that British arms sales to Africa had passed $1 billion.

One British arms client is Malawi, which pays out more on the interest on
its debt than its entire health budget, despite the fact that 15% of its
population has HIV.

Brown likes to use Malawi as an example of why "we should make poverty
history", yet Malawi will not receive a penny of the "victory for millions"

The charade is a gift for Blair, who will try anything to persuade the
public to "move on" from the third unmentionable - his part in the greatest
political scandal of the modern era - his crime in Iraq.

Although essentially an opportunist, as his lying demonstrates, he presents
himself as a Kiplingesque imperialist. His "vision for Africa" is as
patronising and exploitative as a stage full of white pop stars (with black
tokens now added).

His Messianic references to "shaking the kaleidoscope" of societies about
which he understands little and "watching the pieces fall" has translated
into seven violent interventions abroad, more than any British prime
minister for half a century.

Geldof, an Irishman at his court, duly knighted, says nothing about this.
The protesters going to the G8 summit at Gleneagles ought not to allow
themselves to be distracted by these games. If inspiration is needed, along
with evidence that direct action can work, they should look to Latin
America's mighty popular movements against total locura capitalista (total
capitalist folly).

They should look to Bolivia, the poorest country in Latin America, where an
indigenous movement has Blair's and Bush's corporate friends on the run, and
Venezuela, the only country in the world where oil revenue has been diverted
for the benefit of the majority, and Uruguay and Argentina, Ecuador and
Peru, and Brazil's great landless people's movement. Across the continent,
ordinary people are standing up to the old Washington-sponsored order. "Que
se vayan todos!" (Out with them all!) say the crowds in the streets. Much of
the propaganda that passes for news in our own society is given to
immobilising and pacifying people and diverting them from the idea that they
can confront power.

The current babble about Europe, of which no reporter makes sense, is part
of this; yet the French and Dutch "no" votes are part of the same movement
as in Latin America, returning democracy to its true home: that of power
accountable to the people, not to the "free market" or the war policies of
rampant bullies. And this is just a beginning. - New Statesman.
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Zim Independent

Regime determined to shoot itself in the foot
By Chido Makunike
WHATEVER the real reasons for the Mugabe regime's astonishing actions over
the past few weeks, it is amazing that it seems so surprised and
ill-prepared for the barrage of criticism it has deservedly received from
much of the world.

It is a measure of how steeped in self-delusion this regime is that it
seemed unable to predict that making thousands of people homeless and
income-less in the midst of economic decline, hunger and overall national
malaise would win it no friends or admirers.

In the weak attempts of regime propagandists to defend the violent
demolitions of many homes, one of the excuses has been "similar actions have
been carried out in other countries in Africa and beyond".

Those propagandists have so little ammunition to do their job that wrong
actions of other governments are now being used to justify those of the
Mugabe regime. It is no longer the best actions of other governments by
which this regime wants to be compared and judged, but the worst.

If Kenya, Nigeria, or Mexico have displaced and made homeless thousands of
their citizens in as brutal and unplanned a manner as the Mugabe regime has
done, surely that is hardly a defence of those actions.

The regime has whined about the "unfairness" of so much world focus on its

latest anti-people military action.

"Why is the world focusing on and criticising us so harshly when there are
worse disasters elsewhere?" they complain. Part of it is the fascination at
the amazing antics of a regime that works so hard to shoot itself in the

True, there are many other repressive regimes in the world, but none seem to
work as hard to attract unfavourable attention as this one.

Zimbabwe is amazing to many people because it is an example of a country
that is very rapidly moving backwards in almost every respect, and under the
enthusiastic supervision of its ruling regime!

Compare this to China for instance, a country also under the heel of a
repressive government. But that repressive government has at least a shrewd
economic sense, making that country's economy one of the world's most
dynamic. If we are going to be ruled by a repressive, backward regime, why
couldn't we have at least the consolation that it does one or two things
right? Instead we are not only oppressed, but are oppressed by a bungling
regime that can't seem to get anything right!

It is interesting to reflect on just how much of a lost opportunity this
bungled "clean-up" operation has been. With just a little more thought, and
less of the emotional sadism of wanting to cause maximum misery to the
greatest number of people, it could have easily been done in a way that
would have won the regime many accolades.

A well- planned campaign to build houses and trading structures for the
informal sector would have won widespread support from the public and showed
the regime in a rare favourable light. Instead it has been forced by the
widespread outrage to hastily scramble to appear as if they had a plan in
the beginning.

This rush to destroy before having any plan to deal with the consequences of
the destruction has now become a hallmark of the Mugabe regime. This is
exactly what happened with the land-reform effort that was fuelled more by
blind anti-white hate and political expediency than by a plan to improve the
welfare of the black majority. As a result, agriculture overall is still in
decline years after the "revolution".

Why should we expect that a regime that so recently and so thoroughly messed
up agriculture would do any better with "cleaning up" the towns and making
conditions any better for the informal sector?

Speaking of which, if there is still a chronic lack of various critical
farming inputs every year, where are the trillions of dollars in resources
to undertake the promised massive housing effort going to come from? There
is no money for basic factors of production like fuel and fertiliser, but we
are expected to believe that there will be plenty of money available for
cement, bricks as well as the fuel to ferry them for a reconstruction
project for hundreds of thousands of citizens suddenly made refugees in
their own land? Give me a break!

And even if all the trillions being talked about were real money and were
really available, shouldn't that money instead go to reviving our moribund
agriculture before anything else? At a time of stretched resources and
economic crisis, which is more important, pretty cities or increased
productivity on the land and in the factories?

In a more enlightened country one would see the president and his ministers
ameliorating the misery of the citizens by making public tours of the areas
of devastation. It would be a way of showing sympathy and solidarity with
the people sleeping out in the open.

But in Zimbabwe, the rulers fear that would make them appear soft. In the
midst of this devastation, the supreme ruler is not with the people, but is
off to the Middle East, lecturing the world on some esoteric point of
international diplomacy while his country falls apart!

As sad as the last weeks in particular have been, there have been some
occasions for comic relief.

One of them was new Information deputy minister Bright Matonga challenging
arch Mugabe critic, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, to come to Zimbabwe.

"Come and see for yourself how well things are working here," effectively
pleaded Matonga.

Matonga, finding it difficult to reconcile his proven love for the British
with the politically-correct mantra of demonising them, is so stumped by the
Herculean task of trying to make a rogue regime look good that all he can
think of is appealing to his British in-law - his tezvara - to come and

Bright, that idea is dim: you are supposed to be demonising the British, not
betraying your strong links to them!

*Chido Makunike is a Harare-based writer.
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Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

Trade sanctions on Zim a myth

YET again, undoubtedly motivated solely in order to deflect blame from the
real causes of the Zimbabwean economic morass, the political hierarchy is
alleging that Zimbabwe is the victim of unjust, malicious and
economically-crippling trade sanctions.

They repeatedly contend that the European Union and the United States have
imposed stringent sanctions which preclude trade and financial interaction
with Zimbabwe. They state that not only are there no justifications for such
sanctions, but also that those sanctions are a primary cause (if not the
only cause) for the myriad of economic ills that beset Zimbabwe. And they
amplify upon such contentions by citing, as corroborative examples
evidencing the existence of such sanctions, that most, if not all, lines of
credit have been withdrawn from Zimbabwe, that balance of payments support
is not forthcoming (and hence the immense scarcity of critically required
foreign currencies), and that the USA does not accredit Zimbabwe with AGOA
status, which accords manufacturers of textiles and clothing elsewhere in
Africa with favoured, duty-free access to USA markets.

The claims that Zimbabwe is cruelly, and without foundation, burdened with
such sanctions were frequently a theme of the former Minister of Fiction,
Fable and Myth, now vehemently opposed to the same government that was the
recipient of his vociferous castigation until 1995, and of his total
enthusiastic support until the end of 2004. And he ensured that the diverse
media then controlled by him regularly restated the claims that Zimbabwe was
iniquitously oppressed by trade sanctions, completely undeservedly.

He, and his media, recurrently argued that the supposed trade sanctions were
a deliberate strategy of Zimbabwe's alleged enemies to destroy the
Zimbabwean economy in order to bring about the collapse of the government.

Since his departure from the governmental benches in parliament, and from
his ministerial post, the media which he had vigorously controlled and
manipulated has continued to publish frequent attributions of Zimbabwe's
economic distress to the trade sanctions which they, and government, have so
frequently used in the past to divert the attention of the populace from the
real causes of that economic distress.

But recently it has been not only the state media that has continued to
promote the theory that Zimbabwe's economic woes are due to trade sanctions.
Many of the political "elite", including the president and several of his
ministers, have once again resolved to promote that theory in many of their
speeches, including at recent congresses of some economic sectors.

However, the fact is that no country currently applies legislated trade
sanctions against Zimbabwe. The only sanctions that exist are the targeted
sanctions of the European Union and USA, directed specifically and
exclusively at less than 200 leading members of the Zimbabwean government,
its ruling party, and certain public servants in high office.

The Presidium, cabinet ministers and deputy ministers, politburo members and
various permanent secretaries have been targeted, to the extent that they
are barred from travel (other than for purposes of gatherings of the United
Nations and associated organisations) to any countries in the European
Union, USA and certain (but not all) Commonwealth countries. These persons
are also barred from operating bank accounts and holding investments in any
of the countries applying the targetted sanctions.

However, none of those countries have applied trade sanctions against
Zimbabwe or any of its people, other than the few specifically stated
targets. In fact, most of the countries are actively trading with Zimbabwe,
supplying products and services to Zimbabwe, and importing goods and
commodities from Zimbabwe. Moreover, although the extent thereof has
diminished, many of them continue to provide humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe,
supporting non-governmental organisations engaged in health-care, education
and support for the destitute.

The argument that withdrawal of lines of credit prove the existence of trade
sanctions is spurious in the extreme. Virtually no financier, no banker, and
no supplier, anywhere in the world, including those in Zimbabwe, is willing
to extend credit to those who are proven defaulters in the settlement of
debt, or to those who have little or no prospect of timeous settlement of
debt and repayment of credit facilities availed to them. To do so is
contrary to the fundamental principles of prudent business practice, and
that is the sole reason for any lines of credit having been withdrawn.
Moreover, despite such withdrawals, there are still some suppliers who are
providing credit terms to their Zimbabwean customers.

The same circumstances pertain to the provision of balance of payments
support. The principal provider of such support, internationally, is the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) and various other international banking
entities, most of whom take their lead from the IMF.

Zimbabwe has a very considerable and grossly overdue indebtedness to the
IMF, and that entity is precluded, in terms of its constitution, from making
advances of any nature to countries whose arrears in debt repayment are such
as to exceed prescribed default levels. In fact, so great is Zimbabwe's
default, that its membership of the IMF is suspended, and there have been
serious considerations that Zimbabwe's membership should be terminated.

Hopefully the IMF will continue to show patience with Zimbabwe, in
anticipation of transformation, and not take such a drastic action. However,
the non-provision of balance of payments support by the IMF is driven by its
constitution, and not by any act of imposition of trade sanctions. In turn,
bodies such as the World Bank, European Investment Bank, donor states and
others, cannot provide balance of payments support, not because any of them
are seeking to impose trade sanctions, but because their ruling structures,
and the fundamental principles of fiscal prudency and of good and sound
corporate governance, so dictate.
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Zim Independent

Gono in danger of Operation Overload
ZIMBABWE council of chiefs president Chief Fortune Charumbira said last week
it was important for the ruling Zanu PF and the opposition MDC to work
together for the development of the country.

"Let's not continue scolding each other," he said. "Let's solve our
household problems."

We hope in his heart of hearts he knows who has been responsible for the
deadlock in the talks between the two parties. Certainly not the MDC. How do
you achieve unity of purpose with a national president who prefers partisan
triumph over the national interest, a ruling party that claims a false
two-thirds majority as a trick to unilaterally amend the constitution and a
leader who insists an opposition party with more than a third of the popular
vote is a Tony Blair outfit?

Charumbira should be aware that the national interest is being mortgaged
simply to keep Zanu PF in power. Zimbabweans are paying heavily for Zanu PF's
love of power for its own sake. While it is obvious even to the most
blinkered Zanu PF supporter that the party has absolutely no clue about how
to move the country forward, the personal prejudices and pettiness of those
in power make it well nigh impossible for Zanu PF leaders to contemplate an
accommodation with a legitimate opposition which still enjoys the goodwill
of the international community.

Charumbira should make that message clear to his bosses.


he chief should benefit from a close reading of the Sunday Mirror's
Scrutator column of last week on Zimbabwe's economy. We don't believe the
structural adjustment programme of the early 1990s is the major cause of our
current problems. First and foremost, when the programme was adopted we were
fed the lie that it was a home-grown solution.

Secondly, no greater harm could have been inflicted on the economy than what
has happened in the past five years when government opted to destroy the
agricultural sector while at the same time claiming it to be the mainstay of
the economy. Blaming Esap is as helpful to the current crisis as a man
chasing his own shadow - it gives the illusion of doing something when the
result is certain failure. It's as futile as blaming Cecil John Rhodes for
Operation Murambatsvina.

But we agree entirely with the Scrutator's point that the political
leadership must first "acknowledge the mess we are in, honestly analyse its
causes" before working out a realistic policy of recovery.

Unfortunately we have a political leadership that believes its own lies
about "external forces". It will not accept the self-evident truth that it
has become part of the malaise. The task ahead will be arduous. As the
Scrutator has painfully noted, the skills base has dissipated, the private
sector is alienated while "society at large is becoming immersed in .
cynicism at the growing social and economic crisis".

The long and short of it is that we have a governing class blinded by hubris
to the fact that it has forfeited the goodwill of its citizens and of the
international community. It believes only in its own impotent wisdom.


e were interested to read in The Voice a story complaining that songs
composed to celebrate Zimbabwe's Silver Jubilee had been prematurely
"snatched from air". The songs composed to "augment" this historic occasion
had "vanished from the airwaves even though the country is still in
celebration mood", bemoaned the writer.

In the wake of the tsunami and the fuel crisis, can anyone be said to be in
"celebration mood" we wonder? The writer said the "artistes" concerned were
"crying fowl" (sic) that their "efforts have gone uncrowned". Can the editor
of The Voice tell us which fowl is crying foul at the moment? The one atop
the building housing the paper's offices?

Soon the cat was out of the bag. National Productions boss Justice Dhliwayo
let it be known that "some of the songs are still in the hands of Mukoma
Charamba". This was a reference to Information secretary George Charamba. So
the guy won't allow us to celebrate "our first ever Silver Jubilee" because
of his feud with Dhliwayo? What a "fowl" up!


he paper also reported that the Umdala Wethu Silver Jubilee Gala in
Beitbridge was spoilt by the inclusion of PaxAfro among performers. This was
because the group was founded and wholly funded by Professor Jonathan Moyo
"who recently turned rebel", the writer pointed out.

"Professor Moyo has insulted the gains of the struggle by turning against
the ruling party that delivered the people of Zimbabwe from colonial
bondage," was the final verdict of "a member of the public".

So Moyo is now an enemy of the people again? It would however be interesting
to hear what the victims of the Mugabe tsunami have to say about past and
current bondage!


obody can accuse Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono of lacking energy.
Addressing delegates to the Zimbabwe Institution of Engineers last week he
announced that the RBZ had launched 12 operations to complement government's
clean-up onslaught.

These will include Operation Restore Confidence and Goodwill that is aimed
at attracting investors and tourists; Operation Buy Zimbabwe will promote
import substitution; Operation Restore Fuel and Electricity Supplies will
put in place sustainable strategies for securing energy supplies while
Operation Support Exporters will enhance production for the export market.
At the same time Operation Attract Investment will be focused on expanding
the productive capacity of mining, manufacturing, tourism and agriculture.

Operation Fight Inflation and Unemployment is designed to create a stable
business environment while Operation Support Kumusha is aimed at boosting
the Homelink scheme.

Operation Support SMEs will assist the informal sector while Operation
Irrigate Zimbabwe will promote food security, as will Operation Food
Security itself. Then there is Operation Kubatana/Ukubambana (Unity of
Purpose) and Operation Kutaura Chokwadi (Accurate Information).

All this is very impressive. But is there not a danger here of Operation
Overload? How realistic are all these initiatives and do they not first
require certain essentials to be put in place?

For instance Operation Restore Confidence and Goodwill will have to see a
complete restoration of the rule of law before investors or tourists return.
Roy Bennett was explaining to a South African TV audience on Carte Blanche
on Sunday night that he had won six court orders to protect his Charleswood
Estate from the ravages of the army, police and CIO but they were all
completely ignored.


ast Saturday Ignatious Chombo told the Herald the government would ignore a
High Court order to halt construction of model homes at Whitecliff Farm.

In both cases property owners were exercising their right to seek judicial
redress; in both cases the state did what it liked, in Bennett's case
inflicting random cruelty upon his livestock and forcing him off his

Foreign owners of properties protected by bilateral investment agreements
have seen their investments expropriated. Potential tourists have heard the
president, his ministers and state newspapers attacking their countries in
virulent and racist terms. They have read about the police arresting people
for criticising the president. They have seen video footage of blackboots
demolishing structures and assaulting township dwellers.

This is not a country they would want to visit or invest in.

What prospect is there for Operation Irrigation when previous irrigation
equipment has been vandalised or stolen? It is said aluminium irrigation
piping found its way into Mbare's informal sector as coffin handles!

Operation Restore Fuel and Energy Supplies will depend upon the availability
of forex. The IMF has made it clear there will be no balance-of-payments
support until there is a national consensus on economic recovery. That
depends in turn upon a political agreement.

What steps have Zanu PF taken to secure such an agreement? What steps are
they taking to restore the rule of law? Where is Joseph Mwale?

Gono's energy and commitment to reform must be commended. But should he be
engaged in the giant delusional exercise the government is conducting called
Operation Cover-Up, especially when he knows as well as we do that the main
obstacle to the attainment of his goals remains blocking the road?


he Sunday Mail persists in deluding its readers about the role of the
Commonwealth Observer Mission in 2002. It repeats the lie that the head of
the mission General Abdulsalami Abubakar was not responsible for authoring
the final report on the presidential poll but had it "forced down his throat
by the British-controlled secretariat".

The Commonwealth put out a strong statement after this charge was first made
repudiating it as a crude lie. But Zimbabwe's state media, it would appear,
hasn't woken up to the reality that Africans themselves are now a more
formidable nemesis for this regime than Blair or Bush.

How else do we explain the "surprise" and "shock" that greeted news of the
arrival of African Union Commissioner Bahame Tom Nyanduga on a fact-finding
mission for AU chair Alpha Konare last Thursday? The Sunday Mail could not
conceal official indignation about the visit - that Africa's key agency was
investigating the waywardness of its most fist-waving Africanist member
which claims to be the authentic voice of the continent's millions.

Nyanduga's visit was "unprocedural", we were told.

Wasn't this the same term applied when the African Commission on Human and
Peoples' Rights last year adopted a damning report on Zimbabwe which the
authorities in Harare ignored because, they argued, it had been sent to the
wrong ministry?

The Sunday Mail was so shocked by Nyanduga's visit that it wasn't sure what
to call him. He started off as Bahare Tom Nyanduga. Then became Bahame Tom
Nyanduga. And then ended up as Commissioner Nyandunga!


ince his release last week Roy Bennett has helped the outside world to
appreciate the shocking conditions in Zimbabwe's jails.

He described in detail the slow and terrible death of the prisoner sleeping
next to him. Worst, he said, were the screams of the people being beaten.

Was he vengeful?

"When you see the hate and vitriol coming out of Patrick Chinamasa when he
is talking about race you have to pray for him," was Bennett's response.

Will he give up?

"There has been too many people buried, too much history of hardship to
allow an evil mafia dictatorship to suppress us."

People cannot be expected to just sit down and take it, he said. But he
reserved his most trenchant remarks for the South African government that
aids and abets the tyranny north of its border.

What is so evident about all this is that it is Chinamasa's and the
government's reputation that has suffered from the spiteful imprisonment of
Bennett. He has emerged the decent and dignified man he always was. And
after seeing Carte Blanche's documentary on Heather Bennett's support among
the people of Chimanimani, nobody in their right mind would believe Samuel
Undenge won that seat freely and fairly despite his facile crowing in the
state media last week.

By the way, could Reuters editors please say when "Mr Mugabe's government
denie(d) charges that inmates suffer abuse in its prisons".

Reuters ritually inserts denials of this sort in its copy in the interests
of "balance". But when was the last time you heard a minister making such a
preposterous denial?


e had a significant concession from the president recently. Explaining the
evictions under Operation Murambatsvina, he was quoted by the BBC as saying
they were delayed ahead of the March election for fear it would be said
"that we were preparing the way for our own victory and affecting the MDC

"But now after elections when the MDC has won we decided to undertake the

Thanks for that Mr President. And an obvious point: If you had revealed that
you were going to dispossess hundreds of thousands of people, you would have
got even fewer votes than you did? Right?

Muckraker is advised that a number of notices have gone out to proprietors
of restaurants in residential areas instructing them to close down. We are
watching Chinese establishments with more than passing interest to see if
they are affected in any way.


hief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku appears impressed with things Chinese.
Receiving a Chinese ministerial delegation he said good political relations
with China had not been translated to the judiciary.

"The reality of the matter is that political relations between Zimbabwe and
China are very strong and are getting stronger by the day and yet, and quite
regrettably, the judicial relationship between the two countries is
non-existent," he said. Chidyausiku said Zimbabwe had a lot to learn from
the Chinese.

Apart from "modernising" their judiciary to make it more "accessible to the
people", it is difficult to know what he had in mind. The Chinese judiciary
is thoroughly partisan and judges are promoted on the basis of their
compliance with government instructions.

In a country with an independent judiciary, judges do not feel compelled to
follow the latest political fad of the government. They instead uphold the
law and the rights of their citizens. Zimbabwe's "Look East" policy may
appeal to many ruling-party supporters but it is not a policy that the
majority of people necessarily support, especially
when it undermines their livelihoods.
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Zim Independent


Mugabe is wrong, they are right

SIGNIFICANT isn't it that President Mugabe was not afforded an opportunity
to rubbish the West at the African Union Summit in the Libyan coastal town
of Sirte this week.

He has used previous such events to grandstand as Africa's authentic
statesman. That claim is looking increasingly threadbare as Africa seeks to
take a distinctly different direction.

African heads present in Libya were careful not to pour scorn on Tony Blair
or George Bush but appeared keen to foster co-operation with the rich
nations and promote trade. Even Mugabe's once strong ally Muammar Gaddafi
this week did not hide his appreciation of Blair's efforts on the African
continent. And he made some pointed remarks about beggars in the AU's midst!

The continent, unfortunately for President Mugabe and those handling
international relations for Zimbabwe, is moving forward with a serious quest
to eradicate poverty through more equitable trade and debt cancellation.

Mugabe returned from Libya without the moral support he had hoped for from
his African brothers to prop up his failed state. Gone are the days when he
would touch down at the airport to announce agreements that would bring fuel
and food flowing into the country. He came back without either.

The sad state of the country which faced Mugabe on his return should educe
in him introspection on the task to hand and why things have degenerated to
the current abysmal depths.

He knows what needs to be done.

At the G8 meeting in Scotland this week leaders from rich countries agreed
to a huge debt relief package for 14 African countries. AU leaders in their
resolution this week implored the rich nations to ensure debt cancellation
would be "applied by all creditors (multinational, bilateral and
commercial), including the African Development Bank" and that "all African
countries must benefit from this measure".

But they knew in their hearts there was no prospect of that. Zimbabwe is not
on the list of countries to benefit from debt cancellation. Contrary to his
public statements, Mugabe would be very happy for Zimbabwe to be a
beneficiary of the West's "benevolence". The country's foreign debt is
currently sitting at US$4,5 billion of which US$295 million is owed to the
International Monetary Fund.

Mugabe's conduct is the measure used by developed nations to determine
whether Zimbabwe should be given assistance or not. And he has with
Operation Murambatsvina once again blotted his copybook.

There were significant statements on Wednesday from two world leaders about
Mugabe. Danish premier Anders Fogh Rasmussen at a joint press conference
with Bush said: "We should not be afraid to stop aid to dictators like
Zimbabwe's Mugabe. I urge the G8 to make no compromise in the demand for
good governance."

Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose observers endorsed the March poll,
used identical language. "We should not be afraid to stop aid to dictators
like Zimbabwe's Mugabe," he said in a speech at the G8.

The statements of disapproval of Mugabe's rule are getting louder by the day
and unfortunately the whole country, especially its most vulnerable, has
suffered as a result. The country is in dire need of foreign currency
injection through balance-of-payments support or bilateral grants. The
obstacle to such support being extended, according to donors, is their
disapproval of President Mugabe's damaging rule.

But he claims that he is right and they are wrong. They want to take away
Zimbabwe from him, he pretends. He would rather keep
his Zimbabwe in its current state of desolation in the name of sovereignty!

He is wrong because he should act in the interests of Zimbabwe to rid the
country of poverty, disease and despair.

In Sirte on the sidelines of the Summit, Mugabe disputed that there was
demolition of properties in Zimbabwe. "It's a clean-up operation and that's
what all countries do," he said. He claimed no one had been displaced by the

"Where are they (the displaced people)? We don't know about those. It's just
nonsense." The blinkers are firmly in place. But may we introduce the
president to Caledonia Farm and to the area adjacent to Gwinyai Primary
School in Mbare where the displaced are living in the open. If Mugabe is not
well-informed of the Zimbabwean story then he should get out and see things
for himself.

A government that is keen to extract its people from poverty has to be
responsive, representative and serve the interests of the nation. That is
the precondition for development.

Ethiopian President Meles Zenawi emphasised this in media reports this week.

"I think it is time for Africans to stop blaming everyone except themselves
for the dire situation we find ourselves in," he told news agencies. "We
need to own up to our own shortcomings in the past and come up with
alternative strategies and implement them."

This is the time for Zimbabweans to take a critical look at our ability to
deliver. Rich countries have learnt one thing about giving money to
unaccountable leaders: you don't build societies by throwing money at them.

Asked by a reporter in the early days of Mikhail Gorbachev's rule what the
West could do for Russia, one disgruntled pensioner was clear: "Don't give
them any money," she said of the Soviet nomenklatura. "They'll only steal
it, waste it or lose it."

Is that the reputation we want?
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Zim Independent

Forex/fuel crisis bites building contractors
Eric Chiriga
WHILE government is busy destroying homes in the name of cleaning up urban
areas, building contractors and materials manufacturers are operating at
below capacity due to lack of fuel and foreign currency.

"During the year foreign currency shortages worsened, creating serious
problems in sourcing imported raw glass, glue and critical spares," PG
Industries (Zimbabwe) Ltd (PG) said.

The company said manufacturing output fell to below 50% of capacity due to
unscheduled shut downs of both Zimboard and Plate Glass Manufacturing.

PG said it was planning to reduce investment in manufacturing and to dispose
of properties.

PG is involved in the manufacture and distribution of building materials.

"With evidently no immediate solution to the prevailing critical shortage of
diesel and petrol in the country, the Zimbabwe Building Contractors
Association (ZBCA) is seriously concerned about the devastating impact this
is having on operations," Concordia Rukodzi, the chief executive officer of
the ZBCA, said.

Rukodzi said without fuel, which is very essential for the operation of
plant and machinery, the work of contractors had virtually ground to a halt.

She said because most contractors had been hard-hit by the fuel crisis,
management and supervision of building projects had also been severely

"In many instances contractors have been forced to suspend building
operations and park their vehicles and other equipment due to lack of diesel
and petrol," Rukodzi said.

She however said the construction industry should benefit immensely from the
massive housing projects being proposed by government, depending on the
availability of fuel.

Charles Gomba, operations manager at United Builders Merchants (UBM), a
division of Radar Holdings, said they were unable to import building
materials due to foreign currency shortages.

"We are experiencing a shortage of building materials that are not locally
manufactured, for instance taps and copper tubing," Gomba said.

He said Clay Products, one of their suppliers, was also failing to deliver
clay pipes due to foreign currency shortage.

Gomba said the shortage of standard wooden doors was due to the destruction
of forests during and in the wake of government-inspired land invasions.

"During the land invasions a lot of forestry, particularly pine trees, was

and it takes about 25 five years for the trees to be fully grown."

He said the fuel crisis had also dealt a big blow to their distribution

The government recently embarked on a clean-up campaign named "Operation
Murambatsvina" resulting in the destruction of homes and other shelter in
urban areas. The operation left thousands of people homeless.

It has since launched "Operation Garikai" under which it has undertaken to
construct more than 20 000 houses.

However, human rights groups have condemned the operation saying government
was responsible for the emergence of the so-called illegal structures.
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Zim Independent

Zim needs US$200m monthly for imports
Roadwin Chirara
ZIMBABWE requires over US$200 million a month to cater for essential imports
such as fuel, power, medicines and requirements.

This was revealed by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe deputy governor Nicholas Ncube
at the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce annual congress held in Kariba
last week

"Zimbabwe requires over US$200 million a month for normal import
requirements," Ncube said.

He said measures had been put in place to encourage inflows of much-required
foreign currency.

The country's foreign currency is availed through an auction system
introduced last year which has completely failed to meet the needs of
industry and commerce.

The amount on offer was increased to US$68 million monthly in May last
year - still a far cry from what the country requires.

At the foreign currency auction held on Monday, the local currency hit $10
000 against the US dollar, with the average rate on close of trade standing
at $10 150 per US dollar.

The official diaspora rate is currently pegged at $9 000 against the
greenback after it was devalued by central bank governor, Gideon Gono in his
monetary policy review last month.

At the Monday auction, the RBZ availed US$12,5 million against total bids of
US$168,3 million.

Total bids received stood at 6 020 with over 5 871 being rejected, which is
about 90% of the bids.

The highest bid submitted on Monday was of $10 178 against the US dollar,

with the lowest bid of the day being of $10 055.

The central bank has only been able to avail US$100 million through its
foreign currency auction system.
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Zim Independent

RBZ reins in black market
Godfrey Marawanyika
IN a bid to discourage parallel market trade, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) has flooded the market with $1 000 notes and $5 000 bearer cheques
instead of the higher $20 000 and $10 000 denominations.

The $1 000 and $5 000 bearer cheques can be accessed via automated teller
machines and in banking halls.

Officials said the decision to dish out the lower notes was also taken to
contain money supply growth (M3) which has increased from 219,4% in November
last year to 222,6% in December.

The increase was against a backdrop of deceleration in M3 growth for most of
last year from a peak of 490,9% recorded in January.

Over the past two months, the market has been experiencing daily average
shortages of $920,7 billion.

The sources said government and the RBZ were worried about dealings in
foreign currency on the black market. They also said the RBZ wanted people
to use other forms of money like cheques and making payments using ATM swipe

"There is a major problem of parallel market dealings which forced the bank
to release huge quantities of $1 000 notes on the market. This should
greatly reduce foreign currency dealings as people would now carry huge bags
which are a security threat," the source said.

"There were also concerns from the government about liquidity on the money

The source however ruled out the possibility of the country running out of
paper to print bearer cheques which are found in $20 000, $10 000 and $5 000

The paper used to print the $1 000 note is imported from Germany.

The RBZ has also imposed limits of $20 million on cash withdrawals per
person from any bank.

Before the client accesses his/her money the bank needs authorisation from
the Reserve Bank.

A $1 000 note cannot buy a slice of bread.

The central bank did not respond to questions sent to them last week.

In May, the central bank devalued the Zimbabwe dollar by adjusting the
diaspora exchange rate at the foreign currency auction from US$1: $6 200 to
$9 000 - a massive 45% devaluation.

The adjustment was targeted at containing the rampant parallel market and
giving exporters incentives to stimulate foreign exchange generation.

Despite the adjustment, the measure has failed to close the yawning gap
between the official and parallel market rates.

The local currency has crashed to US$1:$25 000 on the black market while the
South African rand is trading at around R1:$3 200 compared to the official
rate of R1:$1 000.
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Zim Independent

SAA slashes flights to Victoria Falls
Godfrey Marawanyika
IN a move likely to further hurt Zimbabwe's economic recovery efforts and
the tourism sector, South African Airways (SAA) has halved its direct
flights to the prime resort town of Victoria Falls due to the low volume of

Prior to the move, SAA flew directly to Victoria Falls at least 14 times a
week, but it will now only have seven flights.

Officials at SAA, one of Africa's largest airlines, said the South African
flagship had launched new direct flights from Johannesburg to Livingstone
just across the Zambezi.

At its peak in 1997, tourism contributed 6,5% to the gross domestic product,
but since the 2000 farm invasions the sector's operations have hit

SAA manager for Zimbabwe Getrude Banda this week confirmed the latest move.

"We will be starting three direct flights to Livingstone with effect from
Saturday. We will now have seven flights to Victoria Falls instead of 14,"
she said. "But we will keep our options open on the Victoria Falls route."

Banda said they had not seen a major improvement in terms of traffic from

"This is a game of numbers. There has been a 15% decline of passenger
uplifts from Zimbabwe since 2003."

Operators in the aviation industry have over the past five years grappled
with shortages of foreign currency and low traffic volumes. The sector has
also been dogged by uncertainty over the availability of Jet A1 fuel in the

A number of airlines have been forced to either re-fuel in South Africa or
in Zambia while many have dropped their flights to Zimbabwe altogether.

Some of the major international airlines that have stopped flying into
Zimbabwe are Austrian, Swissair, Lufthansa, Balkan, Qantas and KLM.

Meanwhile, Banda confirmed there were negotiations going on for a possible
business partnership between Air Zimbabwe and SAA.

"We did sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Air Zim-babwe earlier

this year but other discussions are taking place," she said.

"I cannot say anything more on that. Talk to Air Zimbabwe for further

Air Zimbabwe general manager Tendai Mahachi could not be reached for comment
as he was said to be out of the country.

The overtures to SAA by Air Zimbabwe will also include the possibilities of
sharing facilities and codes.
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Zim Independent

AirZim faces competition on busy Dubai route
Roadwin Chirara
COMPETITION is heating up for national carrier Air Zimbabwe on its recently
introduced Dubai route as Air Malawi has muscled in with direct flights to
the Middle East from Harare.

The Malawian carrier on June 17 launched three flights a week to Dubai
compared to the current two offered by Air Zimbabwe.

The Dubai route, which has proved lucrative for other airlines, has yet to
generate revenue for the national airline. On its maiden flight, Air
Zimbabwe managed to carry only 49 passengers, far below the required
break-even load of 60 on its long haul plane.

It only managed to carry one passenger on its return flight from the Emirate
city on its 260-seater Boeing 767.

In addition to Dubai, which was introduced as part of the airline's "Look
East" policy, Air Zimbabwe has been flying to Singapore and China.

The airline is yet to launch its service to Bangkok, Thailand, which had
been scheduled for May 20. Airline staff say the company management had
reviewed the route after the poor performance of the other flights to Asia.

Air Zimbabwe like all parastatals has been battling to operate viably with
the company surviving on funds allocated for its operations through the
national fiscus.

The company's chief executive officer, Tendai Mahachi, recently denied the
airline had benefited from funds under the Productive Sector Facility.

The airline had been reported as the largest beneficiary under the facility
with $1,1 trillion dollars having been availed by the central bank as part
of its turnaround strategy.

Fortunes for the national carrier further dipped when its Boeing 737 made an
emergency landing in Johannesburg after encountering technical problems
injuring six people on board.

Air Zimbabwe is currently in partnership with Air Malawi on the Lubumbashi
route. But it will now be competing on a route where a number of African
airlines are well established, observers say.
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