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

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By Roy Bennett - MP Chimanimani

 The time has come for each and every Zimbabwean to stand up
 and be counted.
 All of us are visitors in Gods country and all of us
 historically entered Zimbabwe through different ways and
 means, that the Bushmen who are now extinct were here before
 the Black people and that the Asians in their different sects
 and religions, the Whites in their different sects and
 religions, and the union of all three the colored people now
make up the population of Zimbabwe is fact, and an
 irreversible act of God.
 Each and every one of us have rights as people and all choose
 a path to walk along, every one of us have had some form of
 religious teachings and cultural up bringing to know the
 difference between right and wrong.
Politics drive a nation and form the Government.
 Good Governance and Democracy develop a country and its
 people prosper and poverty is eradicated.
 Bad Governance and Oppression destroy a country and its
 people are committed forever to poverty.
 I have chosen my path to be involved in the politics of our
nation to bring about change for good governance in the
 interest of the Nation and its people I would term myself a
 I am a Christian and believe in the word of God by which I
 try to live my life.
I as have many Zimbabweans through the decades, sacrificed
 personally for my beliefs.
 That I am white does not make me above anyone else or too
 special to risk my life and family and or worldly possessions
 to stand by what is right with the majority of Zimbabweans.
I was humbly elected by the people of Chimanimani to
 represent them in Parliament, I knew full well the
 ramifications involved taking on a repressive ZANU PF regime,
 as did the people who voted me in and we as a district have
 equally been targeted and harassed for our beliefs I am not
 seen as a white commercial farmer but as a fellow Zimbabwean,
 and as long as the people want to use me to represent them
for nationalism change and good governance I will never go
back no amount of intimidation oppression or threats will
 I moved around the country in the white commercial farming
 and business circles speaking to and advising people to
 commit themselves as nationalists and stand by for what is
 right for the nation and people of Zimbabwe, it was necessary
to do this as for 20 years ZANU PF had through intimidation
made whites believe that they should never get involved in
 politics, my message was do you belong, is this your country
 do you owe the country and the people anything if so
contribute in any way you can for a positive change for
 better governance and democracy.
 I am proud to say that the response was overwhelming and
 people committed themselves and took a stand as Zimbabweans,
 there is no doubt that this commitment very definitely played
a very crucial role in assisting the opposition get as far as
it has in Zimbabwe today.
 The current Zimbabwean Government is comprised of 2 political
 parties The Ruling Party and the Opposition,
 The Opposition having been formed by committed nationalists,
 the majority former members of the ruling party.
 The Ruling Party has been in power for 22 years, and history
 tells us that they have not dealt very kindly with any form
 of opposition they successfully destroyed the Zimbabwe
 African Peoples Union through the Gukurahundi era by sucking
 them into a Government of National Unity and destroying them
 as an opposition force. They then had a 2/3rds majority in
 Parliament and proceeded to change the constitution a number
 of times and rule the country as ZANU PF (PVT) LTD.
 It suited ZanuPF (PVT) LTD to use all people of Zimbabwe
across all racial divides to enrich them as long as they did
 not get involved in Politics.
The same people formed the opposition, which encompassed all
 racial groups, and ZANU PF (PVT) LTD was seriously challenged
 and unless they did something drastic their hold on power and
 enrichment was about end.
 There is absolutely no doubt and the facts are there for all
 to see the Land issue and Race issue was evilly used by ZANU
 PF to destroy any support for the opposition and destroy or
 intimidate any body linked to them, this is self evident in
 the referendum results to change the constitution.
 The unfolding and continuous nightmare continues. What is
 happening to white commercial farmers and businesses alike is
happening to millions of black rural and urban Zimbabweans
 who have dared stand up to ZANU PF (PVT) LTD to say whites
 should never get involved in politics but should stand by and
watch evil prevail as long as they are left alone to make
 money has to be a supremacist/expatriate attitude, everything
 that anybody has made from the soil or labor of Zimbabwe is
owed to that country and its people.
If all those that have made huge fortunes from our Nation had
utilized some of those resources and energy to assist the
majority of Zimbabweans out of poverty ZANU PF would never
 have been able to oppress the people as it has.
The facts on land is that anyone who has any contact with the
 rural folk at grass root level would know that to them land
 is a not the major issue, the majority of rural folk have
 land. The real issue is poverty. The majority of rural
 Zimbabweans in congested rural areas are living in abject
 poverty because government has never delivered and they are
 worse off today than they have ever been, the most poverty
 stricken being those resettled in the last 20 years. For no
 other reason other than they have had no support logistics or
 infrastructure, there are a small number of success stories
being those done with the right support logistic and
 A good example of a successful resettlement programme is the
Nyamakati Resettlement Scheme between Karoi and Makuti
 assisted by the German Government the scheme's success is
self evident, virgin bush was reverted into a thriving
 agrarian center economically empowering people.
The reason for this success was that it was done with the
 right support logistics and infrastructure, and because it
 was virgin bush it required committed hard working farmers
 and not political opportunists seeing a thriving successful
 faming enterprise producing for the nation, forcefully
 acquiring it, to turn into a broken down shambles, and for
 this there is proof one only needs to visit the very fertile
 Glendale farming area to see the farms of ministers and Vice
Presidents lying derelict.
 How many congested rural folk have been resettled, where are
 the Chiefs involvement in resettling their people?
 How many Chefs multiply own farms?
 Have resettled people produced anything of what the
properties they have taken over produced?

 Surely agrarian land reform you do not take away productive
land and make it UN productive, my own property is a prime
 example and is a microcosm of Zimbabwe as a whole.
 In May 2000 during the lead up to parliamentary elections my
property was illegally besieged by ZANU PF activists. They
 occupied the property, assaulted and threatened my family and
 employees, stole and abused all my vehicles, irrigation
equipment, killed and butchered 8 head of cattle, broke into
looted and occupied my residence damages amounted to then
forty million Zimbabwe dollars all in the name of land
 invasion, these people were then arrested after the elections
 and we returned to normal farming operations.
 We had ploughed disked and limed ready to plant 50 Ha of
 Coffee and 50 Ha of maize. The land prep and inputs for this
 costing ZWD 936423.00 a coffee nursery ready to plant out at
 a cost of ZWD 360750.00 all this replaced by a fine crop of
 DDF tractors arrived and a total of 48 plots were ploughed.
12 over land that had already been prepared and the rest in
Giant Rhodes grass pastures that had been fertilized for hay
 to harvested for winter-feed. Of the 48 plots ploughed only
24 were planted and of the 24 plots it was difficult to see
 the maize for weeds if a total of 20 tonnes of maize were
 reaped it would have been a generous estimate most being sold
 to my workers on the farm as our 100 tonnes stock of ration
 maize had been impounded by the GMB using armed soldiers to
plunder our storage shed and load GMB trucks to date I have
not received any payment.
 We would have yielded in the region of 400 to 500 tones of
 maize and the coffee would have returned 150 tonnes of coffee
 in 2003 grossing USD 200 000 foreign exchange into our
 reserve bank.
I was prevented using half of the farm where my Giant Rhodes
grass pastures are for 1200 head of cattle ZWD 2 800 000 in
fertilizers were put on the pastures, these lands have been
 barely used by anyone else and I was prevented from mowing
 and bailing hay by armed soldiers, we were also prevented
 using the paddocks on the mountains and that grazing has
 become rank and useless from lying idle, I run a beef herd of
 1200 head, this last week I had the first 12 deaths from
 poverty and we still have the winter to get through, do I
stand and watch the cattle die while half the farm has
 untouched grazing.
 Charleswood Estate was granted Export Processing Zone Status
 and issued an E.P.Z. License, which fall under the EPZ Act.
This was for a state of the arts Coffee Mill and has two
external investors involved, who were guaranteed no state
 interference through the Export Processing Zone Act. There
 are two joint Zimbabwe Investment Center projects on the farm
 both of them with external partners, the one Mawenje lodge a
 12 bed tourist lodge, the other a contracting company with
 considerable investment in contracting machinery both
 invested in Zimbabwe with guarantees from Government both
projects now at a stand idle because of ZANUPF (PVT) LTD.
 On Charleswood Estate we employ 200 permanent employees and
 1200 contract/seasonal workers run 1200 head of cattle, 50 ha
 of maize 210 ha of coffee and 150 ha of pastures an annual
 foreign exchange earnings of 1 500 000 USD when in full
 production and all this to be destroyed for nothing in
 This is what is happening nation wide there are no landless
 being resettled most are state employees ordered onto farms
 to loot and take what they want with guarantees of no
repercussions and ZANUPF have hidden the truth with the
assistance of those farming bodies who have been used by ZANU
 PF (PVT) to achieve their ends.
No Zimbabwean in his right mind would oppose any form of
Agrarian Land reform that empowers people economically
 keeping the land productive or better still making it more
 productive and eradicating poverty.
Can anyone in his or her right mind advocate working with the
 government of the day? ZANUPF (PVT) LTD, and be part and
parcel to the destruction of our nation and the severe
hardships that will follow I challenge anyone to be able to
 say: -
 I did what I could in any little way that I could to stop the
 destruction to our Nation.
 Roy Bennett
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Fear and terror stalk Zimbabwe, for the worst is yet to come

The terror is widespread and escalating. Yet the man who is responsible is still free to travel to international conferences

Fergal Keane

13 July 2002

Africa had a new beginning this week. At least that is what the leaders who gathered in Durban would like us to believe. A new beginning under the grand title of the African Union. I would have been tempted to treat it as something other than a bad joke were it not for the agenda and the invitation list.

A simple question to start with. What is the biggest political crisis in Africa just now? The escalating hunger and violence in Zimbabwe. What wasn't on the agenda at the launch of the African Union? You guessed it. Zimbabwe. But who was an honoured guest at the big expensive launch? Of all people Robert Gabriel Mugabe.

While Comrade Robert was in Durban I was in Zimbabwe posing as a tourist. I don't like creeping around countries pretending to be a tourist. I would much rather do my job of reporting in an open and straightforward manner. But openness is like cyanide to Mr Mugabe's government. He has employed as his Minister of Information one of the greatest enemies of the free press anywhere in the world. Jonathan Moyo is the architect of press laws which can see journalists sent to jail for up to two years; after my last secret visit to Zimbabwe he denounced me as no better than a terrorist and warned that if I came back I might not leave the country for a long time.

I travelled with Marie, a South African who'd been part of the struggle against apartheid in the old days. In a way that she had never experienced in South Africa she felt the full power of racial hostility. We'd pulled up to get petrol, unfortunately not noticing the truckload of Zanu-PF activists just ahead of us in the queue. When the attendant came to serve us, the men and women on the back of the truck erupted in an angry tirade. It was bitterness of a kind I'd never experienced before anywhere in Africa. We quickly drove away to another petrol station across the road. With the car filled we prepared to drive away. But the engine wouldn't start. We tried. And tried again. Nothing but a dry asthmatic wheeze from under the bonnet.

Marie conjured up a driver willing to take us towards Karoi on the main road to Lake Kariba and the Zambian border. We passed once-thriving fields in which the weeds were starting to blossom; the withered stalks of maize plants trembled in the breeze, like strips of rags. In a few fields there were cattle, but Zimbabwe's herds are being slaughtered. The farmers have no intention of leaving them to the war veterans.

Chris Shepard lives at the end of a long dirt road, in a large white house surrounded by flame-trees and poplars and with a huge baobab dominating the garden. His four youngsters, three girls and a boy all under 10, raced around the garden. Chris Shepard and his wife Elle have been given until 10 August to vacate their farm. When they go, the 146 people working on the farm will lose their jobs. More than 100 have already been let go – that thanks to more than five invasions by so-called war veterans intent on stopping agricultural production.

Chris Shepard told me he was determined to stay on. Yet his wife Elle admits that there are moments when the fear about what might happen is heart-stopping. Eleven farmers have already been murdered. The police are either complicit in the terror or refuse to impose the law; more often than not it is a combination of both. I ask you to try to imagine what it is like to live on those farms, to be awake at night when your children have fallen asleep and to listen for every noise in the darkness outside. How it feels when the dogs begin to bark, when a car drives up to the gate and then turns away, the lights playing across the windows at the front of the house. And nobody to call to for help.

Or try to imagine what it is like to be among the poorest of the poor and to wake in the middle of the night to find the war veterans smashing through the door. To be a woman like Christine whom I met at a camp in the bush for displaced persons: that term "displaced" – so civilised, so clean a word for the terror imposed by Robert Mugabe's thugs. She is the mother of a three-month-old baby and with her husband she lives in a tent donated by a local aid agency. There is little food or medical help; children in the rest of the camp have been sick with diarrhoea and chest infections.

Christine was gang-raped by members of Robert Mugabe's militia. She lived with her husband on a farm and she was seized when the militia came shortly after the presidential elections. Seven men took turns to rape the young mother. In the course of the ordeal she fainted. When she woke the rapists had gone but she was unable to find her child. Eventually some neighbours located the baby and brought it to her; bruised and bleeding the young mother held her infant close.

An isolated case? Not at all. If you can't personally listen to the testimonies of the victims, read the reports of human rights groups. The terror is widespread and escalating. Yet the man who is ultimately responsible, Robert Mugabe, is still free to travel to international conferences. Indeed he recently spoke about children's rights at major event organised by the United Nations. He was an honoured guest at the inaugural meeting of the African Union in Durban earlier this week.

There is no political will – in Africa, or Europe or America – to put Zimbabwe at the top of the agenda. The western political establishment sighs and feels it has done its best. The Africans refuse every opportunity to show Mr Mugabe that his kind of government has no place in the reborn continent of which South Africa's President, Thabo Mbeki, repeatedly speaks.

There is wind and waffle but Robert Mugabe, the toughest and shrewdest African leader of his generation, knows he is winning. For now at least. But there will come a point – it comes in the life of every tyranny – when the people will lose their fear. Hungry, desperate and angry, they will no longer bow down in the face of the guns and the secret policemen. It happened in South Africa when the students revolted in 1976 and began the process which would destroy apartheid. How long will it take in Zimbabwe? I really don't know.

I left the country with a feeling that I knew well from the old days in South Africa. Fear for the future. Real fear. For I believe the worst is yet to come.

Standing safely in South Africa, and watching the dusk creep down over the Limpopo River I felt a surge of sadness: sadness for the people I'd met on the other side – the human rights activists in Harare, for Christine and her child, for the labourers driven off the land, Chris Shepard and his family waiting to lose everything. As the Afrikaner writer Andre Brink wrote in 1976, the struggle against oppression was "not a question of imagination but of faith". For Zimbabweans – all of them, black and white – it is such a long journey ahead. Not a question of imagination, but of faith.

The writer is a BBC Special Correspondent

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Gaddafi antics could wreck Nepad credibility
With his bazookas and AK-47s and goats and his air of being the undisputed, but not yet crowned Emperor of All-Africa, Libya's maverick leader Muammar Gaddafi inevitably stole the show at the launch this week of the African Union.

African leaders indulged him, even opening the way for him to serve on the important Implementation Committee of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad).

But Gaddafi is not the real threat to the democratic values and good governance that the AU is supposed to instil in Africa. One can dismiss him as almost a nostalgic caricature of the old Africa, a colourful despot. He is a wolf in wolf's clothing and he is only one.

The real enemies of the new order in Africa are the wolves in sheep's clothing; the despots who attire themselves in the cloak of democracy. And they are many. They are the leaders who manipulate democracy - mostly by rigging elections - to stay in power while presenting the semblance of being democrats.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is a good example. The critical question about the AU summit is whether our leaders equipped themselves to deal with his ilk.

The evidence is mixed. On the one hand, the only country sanctioned at the summit was Madagascar, which was deemed to have violated the 1999 "red card" rule that governments which come to power unconstitutionally should be suspended.

On the other hand, under Nepad, African governments will volunteer to be "peer reviewed" - to have an independent panel of experts scrutinise them to check whether they are observing codes of good political and economic conduct.

Though the Nepad rules allow for unspecified "measures" to be taken against governments which wilfully and persistently flout the codes, President Thabo Mbeki stressed at the summit that the aim would be to "encourage" rather than "exclude" such governments.

And of course governments can choose not to be peer reviewed at all and therefore escape even this remote chance of sanctions. But as Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo noted, they will then suffer because donors and investors will not channel capital their way.

However if donors are to be guided by the Nepad peer reviews in their allocation of aid, the peer reviews must be credible. Appointing Gaddafi to the Implementation Committee will undermine that credibility and overly indulgent reviews will damage it further. One representative of a G8 country has already said that there is no way his legislators will allocate aid on the advice of a committee on which Gaddafi serves.

The danger is that if capital is seen not to be allocated according to Nepad reviews, then African governments will have no incentive to submit to such reviews and Nepad will become irrelevant

There is also a question of what Africa does about countries like Zimbabwe which have already lost all the aid and investment they could hope for. They are unlikely to submit to Nepad peer review. And yet they continue to wreak havoc in their countries and beyond their borders.

The AU gave itself powers to deal with such governments this week. It endorsed rules which will allow it to impose sanctions - including "denial of transport and communication links ... and other measures of a political and economic nature" on any member state "that fails ... to comply with the decisions and policies of the Union."

So the weapons for making this AU a credible vehicle of the new Africa are in place. But it remains true after the summit as it was before, that the leaders of Africa have yet to demonstrate the political will to use them. Picking on an island state is easy. The litmus tests remain the Zimbabwes of this continent, the giants of the old OAU.

Mugabe was almost silent and invisible at the summit, perhaps sensing his era was passing. But he will continue to destroy his country until something explicit is done to stop him.

From The Independent (UK), 11 July

Gaddafi's African roadshow sets off with 400 guards, three jets and a ship

Durban - The Muammar Gaddafi roadshow has left Durban on a tortuous drive
home after the Libyan leader and his heavily-armed entourage upstaged an
African summit called to map out a new path for the continent. The Libyan
President's security detail, several dozen strong, have taken with them a
special jamming device installed in one of his vehicles. So people on his
route are likely to suffer sudden interruptions of their cellphone
conversations as the convoy passes by. Bemused Swaziland residents living on
the South African border said yesterday they thought South Africa was
invading, after being confronted by the Libyan leader's massive security
apparatus. In Durban, there were some near-catastrophic encounters between
South African security officers and the Libyan guards. More than once,
proceedings at the summit had to be halted while the Brother Leader railed
against the West, Africa's new development plan and other obsessions of the
moment. One security officer said: "He works totally above the law. They
came here with the attitude that Gaddafi is the Golden Leader and that they,
as Libyans, are above all of us."

On Saturday, there was a stand-off between South African and Libyan security
forces. "It was almost a war," the South African officer said. "There were
40 of us against almost 400 of them. We were totally outnumbered and
outgunned." South African security officials had already grounded 60
armoured vehicles accompanying Colonel Gaddafi. Their ostensible purpose was
to provide a safe return by road for the Libyan leader through Africa. But
South African government officials feared he would use the vehicles to visit
black townships in an attempt to steal the limelight from the summit host
and chairman of the new African Union, President Thabo Mbeki. On Wednesday,
one of Colonel Gaddafi's planes was grounded in Mozambique after
rocket-propelled grenade launchers were discovered on board. The President
arrived with two Boeing 707s and two more planes, including an Antonov,
among the largest freight planes in the world. An initial search of some
cargo turned up 27 sub-machineguns.

Along with weaponry and a fleet of vehicles, Colonel Gaddafi also brought a
container ship filled with goat carcasses and two 46-seater buses. "Each
vehicle was packed to capacity and we even found $6m (£3.8m) in hard cash in
one car," the security officer said. "They point-blank refused for some of
their baggage to be searched." With tension mounting, the South African
contingent called for back-up, and within minutes, the Deputy Minister of
Foreign Affairs, Aziz Pahad, arrived in an effort to restore calm. Shortly
afterwards, he sent a fax instructing security personnel to release
everything to the Libyans. Although the Libyans were issued with permits for
21 AK-47 assault rifles, when the weapons were checked in at a Durban hotel,
they had multiplied to 48. Protocol allows for four firearms to be carried
by a president's personal detail, although special permits are sometimes
issued. Once a foreign leader is in South Africa, his security is regarded
as the responsibility of the South African President.

There was another near-calamity when heads of state convened for a meeting
and there was a scuffle between security forces and the Libyan bodyguards.
The security officer said: "He [Colonel Gaddafi] jeopardised security here
and now he's going to jeopardise the security of all the civilians all the
way to Mozambique." Although Colonel Gaddafi's travel arrangements are
supposed to be a closely guarded secret, insiders say his convoy will pass
through Swaziland, Mozambique and Kenya on a self-promotional tour that will
continue all the way to Libya. There are indications that Colonel Gaddafi
will fly to each country along the route, leaving a brother to anchor the
roadshow. A source close to Colonel Gaddafi's delegation said one of the 10
armoured cars in his entourage was fitted with a jamming device which
disrupts all electronic and radio signals in the vicinity of the
security-conscious Libyan leader. The device, which is clearly visible on
the roof of one of the vehicles, is reputedly designed to ensure that any
electrical remote-control to detonate a bomb in the vicinity of Colonel
Gaddafi's car would be neutralised until the leader was well out of range.
Libyan officials declined to comment on the jamming device. A South African
police spokesperson refused to discuss "security issues" or whether South
Africa had given permission for the device to be used.
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Mbeki's taboo questions, from Aids to Zim

President Thabo Mbeki crossed the Rubicon on Tuesday when he joined Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and Australian Prime Minister John Howard in suspending Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth for a year for rigging last week's presidential elections. For the first time, Mbeki punished Zimbabwe.

Mbeki seemed to be under considerable pressure to do as he did. After the SA Observer Mission, the ANC and reportedly even Deputy President Jacob Zuma had endorsed the election result, a US official, for instance, warned that "Nepad will be dead on arrival" if Mbeki also endorsed the election.

Other Western governments conveyed their displeasure too. Our government then made it clear Mbeki had not okayed the election.

This move and the decision to suspend Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth have saved Mbeki's brainchild Nepad - the New Partnership for Africa's Development. At its heart is a commitment by African governments to good governance. The donor countries on whose material support Nepad depends said you cannot turn a blind eye, let alone endorse, Mugabe's theft of the elections and still claim to be championing good governance.

They were right, and Mbeki did the right thing, even though he has not - and according to his spokesperson, will not - actually go as far as saying the Zimbabwe election was not legitimate.

It seems the question "Was the Zimbabwe election free and fair?" has now joined that other infamous question; "Does HIV cause Aids?" on the presidency's banned list.

In a sense, Mbeki is dealing with the Zimbabwe question the same way he dealt with the Aids question: he is conducting Zimbabwe policy as though the election was not legitimate without actually saying so. His spokesperson says Mbeki fully supports the Commonwealth suspension of Zimbabwe and the Commonwealth observer group report - dismissing the election - on which the suspension was based.

Mbeki could surely afford to say it out loud, but never mind. He has done the right thing anyway.

What does this say about that great debate on "quiet" versus "megaphone" diplomacy? It seems to say that what we have now - and what we probably needed all along - was a judicious blend of the two.

Mbeki and Obasanjo effected a compromise. The rich Commonwealth countries wanted to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe. Mbeki and Obasanjo diluted this to suspension, which is mainly a symbolic gesture.

In order to do that they had to persuade Mugabe to invite his defeated opponent Morgan Tsvangirai into government in some way. Whether or not Mugabe will do this is moot. But it is likely that Mbeki and Obasanjo had to say to him: "Look, if you don't agree to co-operate, the Commonwealth is going to hit you with serious sanctions."

And on the other hand, they were able to say to Mugabe: if you do co-operate, food aid and so on will follow.

In other words, Mbeki played the good cop in a good-cop-bad-cop routine. (Britain, Australia, etc, being the "bad cops"). For this routine to work, of course, you need a bad cop - someone prepared to wield the stick. Who knows, maybe Mbeki even did it deliberately, without Western pressure.

Either way, it is a good routine and should be used again. It suggests African governments cannot effect Nepad's good governance commitments alone, as they had hoped.

They need the "bad cops" waiting in the wings, sticks raised, to be effective. Whatever it takes to get wayward governments back on the path.

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SA is being ridiculed as Mugabe's apologist

March 14 2002 at 08:46PM
By Peter Fabricius

One can detect the suspicious whiff of President Thabo Mbeki strategising in the pronouncement by the SA Observer Mission that the Zimbabwe presidential election was "legitimate".

Most observers saw a huge systematic effort by Mugabe to rig the election. Our mission chief Sam Motsuenyane saw only the odd "administrative oversight". He was jeered by diplomats and journalists when he delivered his report. South Africa is being ridiculed as an apologist for a despot.

Before the election, our government proudly told us that our mission would have a special and active role to play in ensuring it was free and fair.

The metaphor that came to mind was of firefighters, going around rescuing abducted MDC polling agents, ensuring the opposition could hold rallies. Very little of that seemed to have happened.

Instead the mission seemed to see its brief as putting out the fires of bad publicity for the Zimbabwean government.

Mission spokesperson Mbulelo Musi was asked for comment on the government's refusal to open polling stations for five hours on Monday in defiance of a court order, and then later abruptly shutting the stations in the face of thousands of Harare voters. He waxed lyrical about all the polling stations the mission had been to where no voters were turned away and where all the ballots were properly sealed.

This was the equivalent of firefighters being called out to a fire and then rushing to all the houses in the street that were not burning, to show what a good job they were doing of keeping the neighbourhood safe.

Now that Mugabe has duly extended his lease on State House (which he obviously regards as a title deed), our government is suddenly very active. The US is calling on us to restore democracy, Mbeki is consulting world leaders and offering to help revive Zimbabwe's economy and Deputy President Jacob Zuma has dashed off to Harare, declaring that South Africa now had an "opportunity" to be "innovative" in Zimbabwe.

What is going on here? Has some deal been struck? Did we help Mugabe get back in because we were afraid a Tsvangirai victory would have de-stabilised the country and the region? Was our condition perhaps that Mugabe form a government of national unity with the MDC?

If stability was the aim, are we not just postponing the inevitable convulsion of Mugabe's departure? And if we think we can ease Mugabe out by quiet diplomacy, are we not once again in danger of Mugabe playing us for fools, as he has through every other episode of such diplomacy?

Will Mugabe not just grab the public kudos - as he did this week, splashing Motsuenyane's report all over the state media - and then renege on the undertakings given in private?

Motsuenyane's mealy-mouthing this week contrasted with the straight talk of another African, one Duke Lefhoko, head of the Southern African Development Community's parliamentary forum observer mission to Zimbabwe. Unburdened by any strategy, he just told it like he saw it, criticising the government for frustrating the will of the voters, and giving the election an overall fail mark. His candour was a delight.

Perhaps Lefhoko is a model not only for Motsuenyane but also Mbeki. I suspect that we will do better in Zimbabwe by telling Mugabe what we really think of him and what he should do. Given the poor results of quiet diplomacy so far, he is probably just as likely to respond to public as to private pressure. And if he tells us to go to hell anyway, then we at least walk away with our credibility intact. Which is more than we have now, unless Mbeki moves fast to dissociate himself from the Motsuenyane report.

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Nation of Islam's Farrakhan backs Zimbabwe's land seizure program

HARARE, Zimbabwe, July 13 — Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan had given his backing to a program by President Robert Mugabe's government to seize thousands of white-owned farms, a state-owned newspaper reported Saturday.

Farrakhan, who is on a three day visit to Zimbabwe, told The Herald newspaper he was ''in full support of President Mugabe's policies, especially the land issue, as it was aimed at correcting a historical injustice.''
       Zimbabwe's increasingly unpopular government has targeted about 95 percent of white commercial farms for confiscation, saying it wants to redistribute them to landless blacks. The program has been condemned by Western governments and contributed to widespread food shortages.
       Whites make up less than one percent of Zimbabwe's population. Until Mugabe's recent land seizures, white farmers — most of whom are the descendants of British and South African colonial era settlers — owned about one third of the nation's productive farmland.
       The Herald said Farrakhan had expressed respect for Mugabe's ''stance against Western maneuvers to undermine the sovereignty of Zimbabwe.''
       Farrakhan, who traveled to Zimbabwe from South Africa where he attended the launch of the African Union, a new organization that aims to lift the continent out of poverty through development and good governance, was due to meet Mugabe later Saturday.
       Farrakhan holds controversial opinions on race relations and Jews and has been refused entry to Britain, which fears he may fuel racial tension.
       The U.S. State Department has imposed targeted sanctions against Mugabe and prominent supporters of his regime, who stand accused of rigging March presidential elections and intimidating opposition supporters.
       The U.S. Embassy in Harare was not informed of Farrakhan's visit, said Bruce Wharton, an embassy spokesman.


U.S. black leader backs Zimbabwe land campaign
July 13, 2002 Posted: 1:16 PM EDT (1716 GMT)

HARARE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) -- U.S. radical black leader Louis Farrakhan, on
a three-day visit to Zimbabwe, gave his backing to President Robert Mugabe's
land seizure campaign, state media reported on Saturday.

Farrakhan, who has led a Chicago-based Muslim movement called Nation of
Islam since the 1970s, was due to meet Mugabe on Saturday after arriving in
Harare on Friday.

"Speaking soon after his arrival...Mr. Farrakhan said he was in full support
of President Mugabe's policies, especially the land issue as it was aimed at
correcting a historical injustice," the state-owned Bulawayo Chronicle said
in a report.

The Zimbabwean government is pressing on with its seizures of white-owned
farms despite criticism that the drive is worsening a severe food crisis in
the southern African state.

Nearly 3,000 white farmers have been ordered to vacate their farms by August
10 to make way for landless blacks.

Eleven white farmers have been killed and thousands of farm workers
assaulted and displaced since invasions of white-owned farms by
pro-government militants began more than two years ago.

Mugabe, who is accused by the opposition and many Western powers of cheating
in presidential polls in March, says the land programme is an effort to
correct imbalances in land ownership created by British colonialism.

White farmers say they support land redistribution, but are opposed to the
methods employed by Mugabe, who has ruled the former Rhodesia since
independence in 1980.

Farrakhan, who attended the launch of the new African Union (AU) in the
South African resort of Durban last week, has visited Zimbabwe before.

But the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corp (ZBC) said on Saturday this trip showed
that Mugabe's government was not isolated.

"Western powers, including the United States and former colonial master
Britain, are desperately trying to portray the Zimbabwe government as
isolated," the ZBC said.

The U.S. and the European Union have imposed travel restrictions on Mugabe
and other senior ruling party officials since his controversial re-election
in March.

Mugabe attended the AU summit last week, but Zimbabwe was not on the
official agenda and Mugabe did not give a speech during the launch of the
new pan-African group, which replaced the Organisation for African Unity

Farrakhan, who once called Judaism a "gutter religion" and said Adolf Hitler
was a "wickedly great man," was banned from Britain in 1986 for expressing
racist and anti-Semitic views. The ban was upheld in a British high court in
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Guardian journalist awaits verdict in Harare trial over report on web

Owen Bowcott
Saturday July 13, 2002
The Guardian

The worldwide web would be unable to function if everything on it was subject to the laws of every nation, a Harare court hearing the alleged falsehood case against the Guardian's correspondent in Zimbabwe, Andrew Meldrum, was told yesterday.

Applying Zimbabwe's restrictive media regulations to stories on Guardian Unlimited, the newspaper's electronic website in London, would establish a far-reaching and extraordinary precedent, the defence warned the court.

Jim Holland, an Australian internet consultant, testified that the story complained about - an account, attributed to a local newspaper, that supporters of the ruling Zanu-PF party had beheaded a mother of eight in front of her children - was published on the website in Britain, not Zimbabwe. The point of publication for websites was where the information was uploaded not downloaded, he said.

After hearing the evidence and closing submissions from defence and prosecution, the magistrate, Godfrey Macheyo, said he would write his judgment this weekend and deliver the verdict on Monday morning. The case had been adjourned for three weeks.

Mr Meldrum, 50, a US citizen who has lived in Harare since 1980, faces up to two years in jail or a fine of Z$100,000 (£1,200).

It is the first trial carried out under Zimbabwe's new media laws and is being closely mon itored by representatives from America, the United Kingdom and the European Union.

Earlier Mr Macheyo refused a defence request that the charges be dismissed on the grounds there was no case to answer and no evidence that the article had been published in Zimbabwe.

Beatrice Mtetwa, Mr Meldrum's lawyer, told the court the state had built its case on an unjust law and failed to lay a solid argument. Mr Macheyo declined to give grounds for his refusal but said he would explain his reasoning when he delivered his final judgment.

Lawyers in Britain have raised concerns that Zimbabwe's Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act sets a dangerous precedent because it effectively inflicts Zimbabwe's repressive laws on stories published anywhere on the web.

Thirteen independent journalists have been charged with "abusing journalistic privilege" by publishing falsehoods, the charge which Mr Meldrum faces.

Ms Mtetwa told the court yesterday: "To convict [Andrew Meldrum] would be a great miscarriage of justice."

Despite the fact the defence had already closed its case, Mr Meldrum was called to answer questions but not put under oath.

He told the court that he had verified the story as far as possible and the police would not confirm or deny the story about the beheading when he rang, a common response in stories about political violence.

Two human rights organisations he spoke to said they were investigating the incident and that it was consistent with the pattern of post-electoral violence. The local paper, to which Mr Meldrum attributed his account, has since apologised for the story.

In summing up, the prosecutor, Thabani Mpofu, alleged that Mr Meldrum did not have to intend to publish a falsehood to commit an offence; that the story was false; that Mr Meldrum was the publisher because he authored the story; and that the court had jurisdiction because the story was published on the worldwide web, "media available in Zimbabwe".

For the defence, Ms Mtetwa argued that publication in Zimbabwe had not been proved; that Mr Meldrum was not "the publisher"; that the stories in both the Daily News and the Guardian had not been proved to be false; and, in order to be convicted, the prosecution must show that Mr Meldrum intended to publish a false story.

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Dear Family and Friends,
Outside my kitchen door there is a large and very beautiful Msasa tree and all week a pair of glossy starlings have been flitting in and out of the branches. They are a gorgeous metallic blue colour with startling orange eyes and have the most peculiar call which almost sounds like a question. Nearby is a large avocado pear tree whose branches are positively staggering under the weight of perhaps 400 fruits which are gradually swelling and ripening. A few metres away stands a paw paw tree with 15 great green fruits clinging onto the trunk. All of these simple and common sights have helped to keep me sane over the last seven days which have again been filled with tears of both despair and disgust at the events in Zimbabwe. Mid week an elderly farmer came to see me and found it easy to tell his story of horror to a stranger. The man told me how the people who say they have been allocated his farm had come at the weekend. There were 5 men in a green landrover and they drove right up to the farmer's house. They walked into his garden and demanded their right to move into his small guest cottage. The farmer and his frail wife, their almost blind son and his wife and their two young children were completely helpless and powerless to stop this obscenity. They stood and watched as these five men went into the guest cottage, removed all the furniture and dumped it outside on the lawn. The five men then removed the farmer's lock from the front door of the cottage and put their own padlock on the door of the house. With beds and tables, chairs and bookcases lying on the grass in the farmer's garden, the five men left having claimed another man's home and life. They will return in less than a month to claim the rest of the elderly farmers life.
This story is being repeated on farms all over the country but for me this particular incident has bought such indescribable horror that I have struggled to keep my faith and hope for the future of Zimbabwe alive. The reason is that I know the man who came in the green landrover. I know that he is an educated, middle class man who already has his own farm. I know that he is not a landless peasant but has allowed himself to be consumed by the greed which is sweeping our country. While 6 million people face starvation and utter destitution, anyone who thinks they can make a quick buck in these days of lawlessness is doing so. Morals, principles, values and human decency have gone out of the window in Zimbabwe. Looking out for each other, sharing what little we have and helping the man who stumbles on the street have become things of the past. After two and a half years of political insanity, torture, murder and burning, no one knows who to trust anymore. The moral fibre and fabric of our society is crumbling and we need ugent intervention. Everyone says that the world will not step in and help us until we begin helping ourselves. How can we though? It is illegal to go out without an ID. If more than five friends meet for a chat it is an illegal gathering. It is against the law to criticize the President, Cabinet or security forces. It is an offence to say or write anything that may cause alarm and despondency and if you are a white farmer it is illegal to grow food. How do we help ourselves in Zimbabwe when police will not enforce court rulings and will not attend to the scenes of a multitude of crimes on farms and in rural areas because they are considered "political." We are not sure which way to turn in a country where, 4 months after elections, parliament has not yet reconvened, the President has not yet announced his cabinet and absolutely no one in authority has made any statements indicating how we are going to get out of this most desperate situation we are in. When the elderly farmer who visited me this week was leaving he said he had one more thing to tell me. This man who is moments away from losing everything it has taken him a lifetime to secure, said that he had this week visited my own farm on the outskirts of Marooned. He had heard that 500 people had been dumped there and are literally starving to death. The white farmer had taken them a 50 kilogram bag of maize because he could not bear the thought of children starving to death. He asked me if I blamed him for helping the people who have taken over what was my family farm. I do not. I thank God for this farmer's decency, goodness and godliness. Until next week, with love, cathy.
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10 July 2002

Subject: Project Survival Update

6 weeks have passed since our Project Survival appeal went out globally, and
what a 6 weeks it has been. Firstly, a big thank you for the overwhelming
number of supportive messages and letters that we received in the aftermath
of the appeal, and of course for the contributions to our work.

Full reports on funding dispersal, project areas and regional support that
we provide are on the reports page of our website . I know that many of you
are not able to access the internet, so please feel free to e-mail us by
return and we are able to email most of these reports in text format for
you. It is always nice to know exactly where your funding is going, but bear
with us time wise . time comes dear!

These last weeks have, again, been a defining time in Zimbabwean
agriculture. 85% of Farmers are now not allowed by law to farm their land.
The worlds press cry's out for the region, citing drought. Ironic. As we try
to make sense of this in particular and also the broader picture, the
situation on the ground deteriorates daily. I am sorry that we cannot bear
better news on this front, but that is the crux of it. Deterioration. Full
up to date reports on the situation on the ground are also available for
download on our website

As more and more Farmers are becoming more and more desperate the need for
support structures for them increases exponentially. Many farmers are in
totally impossible positions. Some are in such a desperate state they can
hardly pay their own way, let alone their farm workers.  I would like to
take this opportunity to ask anyone who has not yet found the time to make a
small contribution to do so. Project Survival is regrettably still way short
of target. Secure donations can be made on our website and details of
regional bank accounts can also be found there. Addresses for cheques are on
this email and the website.

On the events side we are putting on a series of events over the summer
period and are planning more for the winter. On the 1st of September is a
5km fun run for women in Hyde Park, London. We already have over 70 girls
committing to run and it is promising to be a great day out. Entries must be
in by the 1st August, so please email us on for an
information pack and entry forms. More detail can be seen at There are plans afoot for ZimFest
2002. Last year was a great success and this year will be twice the size. We
are also putting on a series of Black Tie dinners and other events still in
the planning stage. As ever, please let us know if you need details by post,
email or phone.

Thank you for your continued support

Lao Watson-Smith

Zawt (Zimbabwe Agricultural Welfare Trust)
P.O. Box 168
IP13 8WE
United Kingdom


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processed by servers and never read. If you would like to contact us please
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Registered in the UK as a Charity  No: 1091003
Patron: The Most Reverend Desmond M. Tutu O. M. S. G.
D. D.  F. K. C.
Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town

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Saturday, 13 July, 2002, 15:18 GMT 16:18 UK
Timeline: Zimbabwe
A chronology of key events:

1830s - Ndebele people fleeing Zulu violence and Boer migration in present-day South Africa move north and settle in what becomes known as Matabeleland.

Exploiting the land: Cotton pickers at work
The Shona have already been established for centuries in present-day Zimbabwe.

1830-1890s - European hunters, traders and missionaries explore the region from the south. They include Cecil John Rhodes.

1889 - Rhodes' British South Africa Company (BSA) gains a British mandate to colonise what becomes Southern Rhodesia.

Whites settle

1890 - Pioneer column of white settlers arrives from south at site of future capital Harare.

1893 - Ndebele uprising against BSA rule is crushed.

1922 - BSA administration ends, the white minority opts for self-government.

1930 - Land Apportionment Act restricts black access to land, forcing many into wage labour.

Untamed: Zimbabwe still has big areas untouched by development
1930-1960s - Black opposition to colonial rule grows. Emergence in the 1960s of nationalist groups - the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) and the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU).

1953 - Britain creates the Central African Federation, made up of Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) and Nyasaland (Malawi).

1963 - Federation breaks up when Zambia and Malawi gain independence.

Smith declares UDI

1964 - Ian Smith of the Rhodesian Front (RF) becomes prime minister, tries to persuade Britain to grant independence.

1965 - Smith unilaterally declares independence under white minority rule, sparking international outrage and economic sanctions.

Liberation leader: Joshua Nkomo
1972 - Guerrilla war against white rule intensifies, with rivals ZANU and ZAPU operating out of Zambia and Mozambique.

1978 - Smith yields to pressure for negotiated settlement. Elections for transitional legislature boycotted by Patriotic Front made up of ZANU and ZAPU. New government of Zimbabwe Rhodesia, led by Bishop Abel Muzorewa, fails to gain international recognition. Civil war continues.

1979 - British-brokered all-party talks at Lancaster House in London lead to a peace agreement and new constitution, which guarantees minority rights.


1980 - Veteran pro-independence leader Robert Mugabe and his ZANU win British-supervised independence elections. Mugabe is named prime minister and includes ZAPU leader Joshua Nkomo in his cabinet. Independence on 18 April is internationally recognised.

First president: Reverend Canaan Banana
1982 - Mugabe sacks Nkomo, accusing him of preparing to overthrow the government. North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade deployed to crush rebellion by pro-Nkomo ex-guerrillas in Midlands and Matabeleland provinces. Government forces are accused of killing thousands of civilians over next few years.

1987 - Mugabe, Nkomo merge their parties to form ZANU-PF, ending the violence in southern areas.

1987 - Mugabe changes constitution, becomes executive president.

1991 - The Commonwealth adopts the Harare Declaration at its summit in Zimbabwe, reaffirming its aims of fostering international peace and security, democracy, freedom of the individual and equal rights for all.

1998 - Economic crisis accompanied by riots and strikes.

1999 - Economic crisis persists, Zimbabwe's military involvement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo civil war becomes increasingly unpopular. Formation of opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Land crisis

2000 February - Squatters seize hundreds of white-owned farms in an ongoing and violent campaign to reclaim what they say was stolen by settlers. Mugabe suffers defeat in referendum on draft constitution.

Opposition leader: Morgan Tsvangirai
2000 June - ZANU-PF narrowly fights off an opposition challenge in parliamentary elections but loses its power to change the constitution.

2001 May - Defence Minister Moven Mahachi killed in a car crash - the second minister to die in that way in a month.

2001 July - Finance Minister Simba Makoni publicly acknowledges economic crisis, saying Zimbabwe's foreign reserves have run out and warning the country faces serious food shortages. Most western donors, including the World Bank and the IMF, have cut aid because of Mugabe's land seizure programme.

Reclaiming the land: Squatters seize a white-owned farm
2001 October - Visiting Commonwealth ministers say the government has done little to honour commitments to end the crisis over the seizure of white-owned land.

2002 February - Parliament passes a law limiting media freedom. The European Union imposes sanctions on Zimbabwe and pulls out its election observers after the EU team leader is expelled.

2002 March - Mugabe re-elected in presidential elections condemned as seriously flawed by the opposition and foreign observers.

2002 April - State of disaster declared as worsening food shortages threaten famine. Government blames drought, the UN's World Food Programme says disruption to agriculture is a contributing factor.

2002 June - 45-day countdown for some 2,900 white farmers to leave their land begins, under terms of a land-acquisition law passed in May. Farmers affected are ordered to stop working their land.

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The Standard (Zim) 14 July -
War vets split from Zanu PF party 
By Chengetai Zvauya
WAR veterans, disillusioned with the land seizure exercise which has seen top government officials reap huge benefits, have decided to break away from Zanu PF and form their own political party, the New People's Party (NPP), The Standard has learnt.
According to sources, the NPP is to be made up of the majority of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWA) whose membership currently stands at 50 000. This move will likely deal a major blow to the beleaguered Zanu PF as the ex-freedom fighters are its last remaining loyal and trusted supporters.

War veterans calling themselves the 'Vanguard of the Third Chimurenga' have in the past two years, waged a bloody campaign aimed at crushing growing support for Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition MDC, who almost relegated President Robert Mugabe to the dustbin of political history.
But only three months after the presidential election, controversially won by Mugabe, the former fighters watch helplessly as land is grabbed by top government officials and their cronies.
Only last week, one of their own, Andrew Ndlovu, the secretary for projects, was jailed for three years for corruption after the state successfully argued that he deserved to spend time in jail.
"There is an agreement among the war veterans that we need a new political party. We decided this after realising that some of the politburo members in Zanu PF have forgotten us," said one war veteran leader close to the new party.
The Standard understands that a huge gulf exists in Zanu PF between those who fought in the liberation war and those who did not.
"There are a lot of counter-revolutionaries in the party. Most of them are the mafikizolos who are causing confusion. So, we felt it in the interest of our members to have a party to serve our interests," said the source.
"The reason for the armed struggle has been lost. Look at how we are being harassed and left our of the land redistribution exercise," he added.
Last week war verterians demanded the dismissal of Elliot Manyika as Zanu PF political commissar, whom they said had dubious liberation war credentials.
Contacted for comment, war veterans secretary-general, Andy Mhlanga, denied that some members of his association were defecting from Zanu PF.
"I don't know about that. I am hearing it for the first time, maybe it's being done behind the back of our executive. The true war veterans remain loyal to Zanu PF and President Mugabe because we fought the liberation war together. It is a marriage for life.
"But I know that the Zimbabwe Liberation Platform have been trying to mobilise our members to join them. Maybe it is they who are thinking of forming a party," Mhlanga said. 
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The Standard (Zim) 14 July -
Food stortage here to stay 
By Itai Dzamara
THE highly-fancied, government-sponsored winter maize and wheat farming project will not significantly alleviate the country's catastrophic food shortage, The Standard has established.
Gweru Rural MP Renson Gasela who is also the MDC shadow minister for agriculture, and the former general manager of the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) said the harvests to be realised from winter maize and wheat will not substantially alleviate the food shortage which the Commercial Farmers Union, (CFU) has blamed largely on the chaotic land reform programme, which has prevented most of its members from doing any winter farming. In addition, some who were allocated pieces of land, especially under the Model A2 programme, are yet to move on to their land, meaning that there was no winter crop farming taking place on these farms.

After realising the high level of food shortage likely to result from a combination of the chaotic agrarian reform programme and insufficient rainfall, the government resorted to winter maize and wheat farming into which it invested billions of dollars. The ministry of lands, agriculture and rural development received $7,65 billion from the treasury for the farming of winter maize and wheat.
Gasela says the amount of land said to have been put under the winter maize crop will yield only enough grain for two days. Said Gasela: "We have been told by government that there are 1 800 hectares under the winter maize crop. If that is the truth, the most we will produce will be 10 000 tonnes of grain, which is only enough to feed the nation for two days. This won't come anywhere near alleviating the food shortage."
Efforts to verify with minister of agriculture, Joseph Made, the hectarage under winter maize, were fruitless. Telephones at the ministry's head office went unanswered.
On the wheat crop planted this winter, Gasela said it would have greater yields than maize but would not solve the food shortage outright. "The figures are showing that we are going to produce 150 000 tonnes of wheat from 30 000 hectares of land planted with the crop this winter. This will be enough for the country's consumption needs for four months," said Gasela.
However, the wheat will only be ready for harvest in October, so there will have to be wheat imports for the months of August and September. Already, uncertainty hovers over the levels of wheat stocks at the country's grain reserve, the Grain Marketing Board. Bread shortages hit the nation two weeks ago amidst counter accusations by the GMB and millers, with the former alleged to have abruptly halved grain supplies whilst blaming the millers of hoarding the commodity.
When harvested in December, the wheat reserves could go up to January next year, meaning that the country would have to import wheat to cover the period between January and the next year's harvest. However, the country is currently immersed in an acute foreign currency crisis which will make importation of the food reserves difficult.
The Commercial Farmers Union said that most of their members had not planted the winter crop due to the confusion and uncertainty surrounding the land reform programme. Most farmers received Section 8 orders, which compelled them to cease operations immediately and to vacate their properties by next month. Another factor which could prove detrimental to winter crop supplies is that some of the people allocated pieces of land, especially under the Model 2 programme, are yet to move on to their land.
According to a survey carried out by the United Nations World Food Programme and the Food Agricultural Organisation, about six million Zimbabweans in both rural and urban areas face starvation this year. In the drought-stricken Matabeleland North and Masvingo provinces, there have already been 30 deaths due to starvation.
Government planted winter maize at Chiredzi's Hippo Valley, Triangle and Mkwasine Estates. In addition, some newly resettled farmers planted winter maize with the aid of government. However, fears are that the winter maize may be heavily affected by the very low temperatures prevailing in the Lowveld area as well as attacks by pests. A commercial farmer in the Lowveld, who refused to be named said: "This is an experiment but there are fears that the crop will be attacked by frost and by pests before it reaches full maturity.  
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The Standard (Zim) 14 July -
When the law is an ass 
TheStandard comment
AFTER two elections marred by blatant state terror, the fact that the Movement for Democratic Change was challenging the gruesome government of Robert Mugabe without the benefit of a voters' roll was largely overlooked. For the opposition, it was like fighting with its hands tied behind its back.
Registrar-general Tobaiwa Mudede's refusal to hand the roll over to the MDC in a clearly workable form was, in its own way, as detrimental to the opposition's chances as the unleashing of terror gangs to intimidate the electorate.

And now that crass and unhidden act of electoral sabotage has been exacerbated-by no less a body than the High Court.
The same court that decided that MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai must lodge a $2 million deposit if he is to challenge Mugabe's disputed victory has said that the registrar-general's office is not compelled to provide the opposition with an electronic version of the voters' roll.
Instead it must purchase, at over a million dollars, a printed version.
At first glance, and disregarding the shameless rip off price of something that should be free to all citizens, this is fair enough. But first glances are always subject to crass misconception. Two immediate issues make the ruling contradictory to even a pretence at democracy and freedom.
The first is the fact that it is a simple matter to provide the voters' roll in compact disc form. The second is that, in print form, the roll is all but an unworkable document that could take the MDC months to unravel-which is of course the intention.
Naturally enough, like all government departments, the registrar-general's office could lie and tell a gullible electorate that burning the roll onto CD is technically unfeasible, prohibitively expensive or simply impossible. Still, that would be a lie because it has been done before and there are electronic copies of the old roll in existence in the country. If it was done before, it can be done again.
And what of the work involved in pouring over a printed copy? Even allocating scores of staff to the vital task of verifying the roll could delay Tsvangirai's challenge by months.
Which is just what millions of Zimbabweans will believe was the intention, just as they will assume that the court is in no great hurry to see justice run its course.
Susan Mavangira, the High Court judge who handed down the ruling, added to Zimbabwe's concerns when she doubled the deposit requested of Tsvangirai by Mugabe's own lawyers. They asked that the deposit be increased from $500,000 to $1 million-and the court doubled it again to $2 million. That Mavangira handed down the judgments on behalf of a colleague will only double the worries Zimbabweans have about their courts.
Perhaps the country's courts are unaware that Zimbabwe is a signatory to the Sadc Parliamentary Forum's norms and standards for the conduct of elections. That august forum, which roundly trashed the March poll, says that there should be "free and unimpeded access" to the voters' roll.
Well, Zimbabwean courts obviously feel they're above such liberal nonsense. Instead they've effectively said that the electronic voters' roll should remain in the hands of Mudede, despite constant charges that the man is unrepentantly biased in favour of Mugabe's thuggish Zanu PF party.
But wait, there's more. Perhaps in the rarefied air occupied by High Court judges, a million dollars is neither here nor there, but we're fairly confident that the Sadc forum would feel that it's a great deal of money and hardly constitutes "free and unimpeded access".
What, we wonder, is the point of signing protocols if the country has no intention of abiding by them? Sadly the answer is all too obvious. Just as Zanu PF orders its ridiculous police force to ignore the laws of the land, or rubber stamps through parliament laws that are clearly unconstitutional, the Mugabe regime has no intention of abiding by agreements or treaties that get in the way of its brutal subjugation of the people.
Last week's ruling against the MDC will hamper the opposition's chances of proving that the election was rigged. On that point alone, the High Court will find itself criticised and questioned. After all, an efficient audit of the voters' roll can be conducted only on the electronic version. People will inevitably say that the High Court has found unjustifiable favour with one party over another and that the court's responsibility to be above party politics has been compromised.
Still, it isn't just the courts that should be questioned, so should the registrar-general. We need to know why he is so very reluctant to release a document (and release it freely) that rightly belongs to the people? At this point in time, we can only concur with the remarks made by MDC spokesman Learnmore Jongwe: "We can only assume they have something to hide." 

Trouble brewing as beer runs out 
(overthetop By Brian Latham)
LIFE in at least one troubled central African country is set to take a turn for the worse as beer runs dry in the taps that oil the nation. It is thought that the shortages could lead to massive civil unrest and topple the precarious government of the most equal of all comrades.
While western analysts dismissed the impending shortage as irrelevant, given the scarcity of other foodstuffs, experts in the troubled central African country pointed out that beer is in fact the staple diet of the entire adult male population-and even a good number of the female population.

A noted dietitian lamented that it was indeed true that citizens of the troubled central African nation survived, against all odds, on a diet consisting solely of alcohol. "Beer is certainly their favourite," said the dietitian, one of the troubled central African country's leading health fascists, "but frankly they'll drink anything that makes them fall down and laugh a lot."
Still, sources close to the most equal of all comrades said His Socialist Holiness The Great Untouchable was not troubled by a possible shortage of beer. A teetotaller given to remarking that "beer is the opiate of the people", the most equal of all comrades is reported to have said, "Let them drink Perrier."
The comment caused much excitability and agitation among the beer drinking population, estimated at about 99% of people over the age of 15. "This is just the sort of arrogance we've come to expect from the most equal of all comrades," said one drinker. "It is a scientific fact that all teetotallers are mentally unbalanced, so do not be surprised if he sits back in his palace sipping water while the rest of us die horribly of thirst."
Meanwhile analysts predict that the very social fabric of the troubled central African country could well tear apart as the effects of running on dry begin to take hold. A spokesman for an under-funded and totally obscure road safety organisation predicted carnage on the road when for the first time in history hundreds of thousands of sober drivers take to the streets.
He said there would be mayhem when drivers realised that the roads were not only narrower, but also had far fewer lanes than they'd believed, something that could well lead to mass panic. Either that, he said, or there'll be no traffic at all because we'll all be drinking the petrol.
Traffic aside, citizens of the troubled central African country said that while other shortages, including maize meal, were serious enough, most people had lived through them before, largely as a result of four decades of inept government. What they had not experienced before, and had no desire to experience, was a shortage of beer. "This will be the first time in history that beer has been in short supply," said one hysterical citizen. "If this so-called government was even half responsible, it would immediately divert all maize stocks to the beer factories in order to avoid a massive crisis." Confirming the angry citizen's feelings, a poll conducted in a well-known drinking spot in the troubled central African nation's capital city confirmed that 99% of the people will resort to violent mass action if deprived of beer. "There is nothing else left open to us," they claimed. "If ever sanity is to be restored to this country, we need to take action in the name of the More Drink Coming party and put an end to the tyranny of teetotalitarianism. 



Letters to The Standard :
He doth protest too much

IS President Robert Mugabe's apparent obsession with people's sexual orientation nothing but a smokescreen?

While I'm of the view that it's no one's business whether one is gay or not, I do find the diatribes of your bullying leader something of a 'protest too much'.

At first blush, his archaic and intrusive pronouncements strike many of us here in Canada as, well, quaint.

They seem rather more the views of the unenlightened past than those of a socially-aware present.

However, the old chap does go on an awful lot about this sort of thing, doesn't he?

And as a former psychology professor of mine once observed, those most vociferously proclaiming their heterosexuality are often those who are least secure in it.

Pity we didn't know about Chairman Bob a bit sooner, though. I'm sure Vancouver's annual Gay Pride Parade could have made room for him on the Despot's Float where he could enthusiastically wave a handkerchief at all and sundry while insisting the whole time that he was, of course, adamantly opposed to that sort of thing.

Mike Steele

Amused in the Americas

The mother of all jokes 
RECENT pronouncements by the dishonourable minister of higher education and technology, Dr Samuel Mumbengegwi, that all graduating students will have to undergo the dreaded six-month National Service training programme is quite laughable-the mother of all jokes.
It should be common knowledge that we will resist such mind-boggling and inhuman practices to the last atom of our strength. What kind of patriotism is he trying to build within in us when he himself is not patriotic. How many of the top government officials' children are pursuing their education in Zimbabwe?

This kind of utterance from Mumbengegwi seems to imply that we owe our very existence to him.
But we cannot continue to be downtrodden, left, right and centre. Yesteryear, it was privatisation, the worst crime to ever be committed against Zimbabwean students, and ironically, championed by the very same people who went to school on 'charity'. It now appears like our very existence is also a crime against the state. Does he know that man is endowed with certain inalienable rights, among them life, liberty and pursuit of happiness? Denying us the natural taste of life is what we are saying no to.
He might want to employ a thousand ruses and stratagems to gain favours from his cronies but the results will be bitter. It should dawn on him that every cloud has a silver lining so he is in for a rude awakening.
There are other more crucial problems the government should be seriously addressing so to hell with the National Youth Service programme. We are not automatons. They must go back to the drawing board.

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The Standard (Zim) 14 July -
Political violence hits Masvingo 
By Parker Graham
MASVINGO-A wave of politically-motivated violence is sweeping across Masvingo province as marauding Zanu PF youths and war veterans continue to unleash a reign of terror on hapless teachers they accuse of having supported the opposition MDC during the run up to the March presidential election.
First, Mapanzure Government School was forced to close last week after Zanu PF youths beat up the teachers there, then it was the turn of Chitsa Government Secondary in Gutu and Mutonhori Primary in Zaka as ruling party agents continued their campaign to silence perceived opposition MDC supporters in the rural areas.

Chitsa teachers and groundsmen fled the school two weeks ago after being thoroughly beaten up by suspected Zanu PF youths.
By Friday, some of the teachers had not yet returned to the school and officials of the ministry of education, sport and culture were investigating the reason for the unprovoked attacks on teachers.
Contacted for comment, Masvingo regional education director, Obert Mujuru, expressed dismay at the Mapanzure incident but was unable to confirm the Chitsa incident.
"We don't need politics to get into schools and disturb the law abiding professionals. Teachers should be allowed to execute their professional duties without fear of rampaging youths," said Mujuru.
Police have since arrested eight Zanu PF youths for the orgy of violence which occurred at Mapanzure. Some of the youths appeared in court on Thursday. Masvingo was the province where violence was most prevalent during the run up to the presidential and parliamentary elections with the majority of the perpetrators of violence being members of the ruling Zanu PF and their war veteran supporters.
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The Standard (Zim) 14 July -

Moyo defies superiors 
By Farai Mutsaka
JUNIOR minister of state for information and publicity, Jonathan Moyo, has rebuffed attempts by senior Zanu PF officials to have businessman, James Makamba's Joy TV brought back on air, The Standard has learnt.
Despite heavy lobbying by senior ruling party officials who were asking for the licensing of Joy TV, Moyo last week shrugged off the mounting pressure from his party superiors.

Although party officials told The Standard that they would continue pressurising Moyo, they agreed the junior minister had so far remained unmoved by the lobby.
The lobby, understood to have already been sanctioned by the party's highest decision making organ, the politburo, included vice president, Joseph Msika, among other party members.
Ruling party officials on the forefront of the lobby to bring back the television station confirmed to The Standard last week, that their efforts were hitting a brick wall.
Other senior officials named in the bid to have Joy-TV brought back are Zanu PF deputy secretary for the commissariat, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, Mashonaland Central bigwigs, Elliot Manyika, who is also the party's political commissar and deputy secretary for youth, businessman Saviour Kasukuwere.
"We are not getting anywhere really. We were hoping that Makamba as an indigenous businessman would be given a licence to operate his business but it appears there are some people with other agendas. The minister does appear to be very strong in his resistance," said a ruling party official lobbying for Makamba.
" I don't see the station coming back. If the man (Moyo) can defy the party's supremos, who else do you think will force him to act. I also think there little chances that Makamba will even get the licence but we are supposed because really we didn't think it would be such a serious issue. We didn't anticipate any problems for Makamba to be granted a licence. After all he is even a member of the party," said another party official.
Joy TV, which was leasing air time from ZBC-TV 2 channel, was switched off air in May.
Moyo used the newly enacted Broadcasting Act which does not allow a television station to lease air time to another station.
The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe, which is empowered to licence broadcasting operations, has so far failed to licence a single operation despite a number of enterprises applying for licences.
Under the Broadcasting Services Act, only one broadcaster besides ZBC would be licensed to transmit nationally and there was belief that Moyo wanted to give his New Ziana project that licence.
It has however, emerged that the project might not even kick off owing to lack of funding. Treasury, it is understood, has refused to release funds for the project, which they think is extravagant.
Joy-TV, broadcasting within Harare and surrounding areas, had become a favourite with viewers who saw the station as a relief from the hourly propaganda bombarded by ZBC-TV.
The station also became popular through its programme, Makamba at Night, a one on one programme which brought in various political, business, sports and other personalities on television.
It is believed it was this programme that precipitated the station's brush with Moyo as it gave a number of MDC officials and other government critics a chance to air their viewers and attack government policies.
Despite the lobby getting the nod from the politburo, Moyo has remained steadfast that the calls for Joy-TV to be switched on were uncalled for.
If Moyo refuses to give in to pressure and refuse to grant Makamba licence, the businessman and other local investors stand to lose millions of dollars they had poured into the project.
Makamba could not be reached for comment yesterday but has been referring to questions pertaining to the licensing of his station to Moyo. 
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The Standard (Zim) 14 July -
War vets seek Ndlovu, Paradza pardon 
By Chengetai Zvauya
THE Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Assocation national executive has appealed to President Robert Mugabe to grant presidential pardon to their colleagues, Andrew Ndlovu and Anna Paradza, who were convicted of corruption and sentenced to four years imprisonment by the High Court.
War veterans secretary-general, Andy Mhlanga, told The Standard that his organisation had instructed its lawyers, Aston Musunga and Advocate Charles Selemani to draft a letter to Mugabe asking for his clemency to release Ndlovu and Paradza.

''The executive of the war veterans has given the lawyers instructions to seek a presidential pardon over the issue of our colleagues. I know that Musunga was at the prison yesterday (Thursday) compiling affidavits from Ndlovu and Paradza,'' said Mhlanga.
''We hope that pardon will be granted-we have confidence that our patron will secure the release of our comrades,'' he added.
The Standard understands that the war veterans had initially sought a meeting with Mugabe, but were advised by the President's office to follow the legal channels.
Ndlovu and Paradza were convicted of corruptly receiving gifts from a Chinese national, the late Zhao Fun Yin, as reward for facilitating business between themselves and the Magamba eChimurenga Housing Trust. They were also convicted of stealing $860 000 from the housing scheme.
Mugabe has a history of granting Presidential pardon to Zanu PF supporters. In 1989 he pardoned Fredrick Shava, a former cabinet minister, after he was convicted of corruption by the Sandura Commission and sent to prison.
Last year he granted political amnesty to all the people who had committed criminal offences during the run up to the parliamentary elections.
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The Standard (Zim) 14 July -
Bulawayo Zanu PF in trouble

< By Loughty Dube

BULAWAYO-Serious divisions are threatening to tear apart the Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial leadership ahead of a visit by an audit team from Harare due in the city on Friday to inspect the province's books.

The team, which was initially expected to have visited last week, comes at a time when allegations of fraud to the tune of $35 million have been levelled against provincial chairman, Jabulani Sibanda. The money was part of funds disbursed to the province for President Mugabe's re-election campaign.

The widening rift between the provincial leaders is so serious that some members of the party in the province are now calling for the dissolution of the party's provincial executive committee.

"The executive is not serving anyone at all, there are no meetings and the chairman does as he pleases and that is ruining the party as a whole. There is total confusion in the province and unless the national leadership does something there will be a rebellion in the province," said a party source.

Senior party leaders in Bulawayo are also accusing Sibanda of running the province as his own personal fiefdom by disregarding advice from central committee and politburo members.

"The man (Sibanda) views himself as the supreme being and does not listen to advice from people like Dumiso Dabengwa and Sikhanyiso Ndlovu who are more senior and seasoned party cadres, and have more experience than him in the running of party affairs," said one senior party member in the province.

The party members said since coming into power early last year, the Bulawayo provincial executive has never called a meeting from branch level up to inter-district level.

"The only meeting that Sibanda has called was convened last week on Saturday but he did not even attend the meeting...such behaviour is killing the party," said one official.

The senior party sources said the divisions within the party were so serious that party leaders are setting youths upon those who do not share the same view with them.

"The youths have been taught not to respect leaders and for that reason they are being used to assault senior party members who are not 'yes men' and those who question transparency matters in the party," said another party leader.

The division saga took a twist last week when senior party members were accused fraud.

The party was allocated the $35 million through the ministry of youth development, gender and employment creation and part of the money was to be used to fund the youth camps that housed Zanu PF militia who unleashed a wave of violence on the citizenry before the presidential election.

However, senior party members alleged that the funds were abused since Sibanda was the only signatory to the party account.

The party's national spokesman, Nathan Shamuyarira, professed ignorance over the in-house divisions but confirmed that an audit team will visit Bulawayo to assess the province's account books.

"I am not aware of the divisions rocking Zanu PF in the province, but there is an audit team that will visit the province to check on how campaign funds were used in the run up to the elections," Shamuyarira told The Standard.

The senior party members further alleged that Sibanda was not following the party constitution when conducting business.

"The rot in the party has gone too far and now is the time to stop the rot once and for all, otherwise the party is on the verge of collapse," said another party leader in the province.
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The Standard (Zim) 14 July -
Mucheche's empire crumbles 
By Itai Dzamara
PREVAILING economic difficulties have caught up with the one time creme de la creme of Zimbabwe.
The Standard this week reveals that Ben Mucheche, the president of the Indigenous Business Development Centre (IBDC) and Zimbabwe Rural Transport Operators (ZRTO), once the envy of many an operator for his large fleet of buses, MB Luxury Coaches, is now singing the blues.

Investigations last week revealed that the once 70-strong fleet has dwindled to two wrecks that can hardly make it on the national highway.
To compound the woes of this once mighty businessman, The Standard is informed that scores of employees have deserted MB Luxury Coaches after going for about four months without being paid.
When The Standard spoke to a number of workers, some of whom had worked for the company for 25 years, they said it was the pathetic situation at MB Luxury Coaches that had forced them to leave the company they loved so dearly.
"I have been working as a mechanic for Mucheche for 23 years. We went for four months without being paid so we decided to leave. I believe this is the end of everything and I doubt if we will get any benefits," said a distraught elderly mechanic.
While Mucheche admitted that the sun was indeed setting on his bus company, he denied that some of his workers had gone for several months without pay.
"I don't know about that. If someone leaves a job why would he then go to the newspapers? They left of their own accord," said Mucheche.
Added the businessman: "We are leaving the transport business as you can see; it is no longer viable. We are winding up so we can venture into serious farming."
He refused to confirm the number of buses his company still had on the roads or to comment on allegations of financial incompetence and of underpaying his workers.
"Some of these things are not worth reporting. There are more important things worth reporting on concerning the country, not someone's private life."
The veteran businessman has been at the forefront of support for the government backed indigenisation policy which is supposed to promote the development of black-owned businesses. He is also a supporter of the ruling Zanu PF party and an admirer of President Mugabe, to whom he gave $50 000 on the occasion of his wedding to Grace in 1996.
A visit to the company's premises in Harare's Southerton industrial area revealed the level to which Mucheche's transport empire has collapsed. Only three mechanics were to be seen working on one of the remaining wrecks.
Said one of the mechanics: "Only two buses are still operating, this one we are working on and the one over there which is awaiting our attention. "
At the height of his fame, the Mucheche buses where known throughout Zimbabwe, as they plied most of the country's rural routes, but now that empire has been reduced to a pitiful spectacle comprising just two 76-seater buses-a Scania and an AVM.

Mudzuri compiling corruption dossier 
By Itai Dzamara
HARDLY three months into office, Harare mayor, Elias Mudzuri, says his council has identified ways which previous administrations abused funds and has put in mechanism to stop the rot.
Mudzuri, who was elected to office with an overwhelming majority in the March municipal and mayoral elections, told Standard Business that he had put in place a team which is currently compiling a detailed dossier on how past Zanu PF administrations had systematically fleeced Harare ratepayers of their hard earned cash.

Said Mudzuri: "There are a number of corrupt practices which previous councils engaged in, and which largely contributed to the continuous decline of standards in the city. We are still doing more investigations and hope to publicise our findings in the near future. We have already unearthed some of them and we are looking forward to discovering many more, after which this corruption will be publicised and where necessary prosecutions will recommended."
Looting within the Harare City Council had assumed legendary proportions, resulting in past administrations failing to deliver under the pretext of inadequate funds from ratepayers. In contrast, the Mudzuri administration has had an immediate impact by the extensive resurfacing of the city's roads. Uncollected refuse which had characterised downtown Harare is now a thing of the past under the council's Harare Clean Up Campaign, which was launched last month.
Mudzuri said the road rehabilitation project was being subsidised by funds collected from the carbon tax which was introduced by government last year, adding that council had received $56 million for 2002.
"We approached government for our chunk of the carbon tax and were given $56 million," said the mayor. Asked what had happened to last year's allocation, Mudzuri said this was one of the areas which needed investigation.
He said apart from corruption, Harare City Council was plagued with the problem of incompetent employees who had developed a laissez faire attitude over the years.
"We are also fighting incompetence which had crippled the council. Workers could afford to sit on jobs and noone would take action."
Mudzuri, however, acknowledged that his administration was struggling with the problem of replacing stolen traffic lights because it was difficult to monitor every single traffic light in the city.
"Whilst we are replacing stolen lights, it will be difficult to stop this practice because many people are stealing the lights for swimming pools and other purposes such as for disco machines," said Mudzuri.
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The Standard (Zim) 14 July -
Bankers pass the buck to government 
By Kumbirai Mafunda
BANKERS in Zimbabwe, shrugging off accusations that they are withholding foreign currency, have said the Zanu PF government is squarely to blame for the forex crisis plaguing the country.
Trust Bank chief executive, William Nyemba, said government had thrown out suggestions from the business community into "dustbins" resulting in the current economic mess engulfing the country.

"Much of business' contribution has been ignored for too long by government. We have presented our solutions as the business community but they have been ignored and government has refused to implement them," said Nyemba.
He said bankers' proposals and recommendations presented to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) for the past two years were not taken seriously.
Only two weeks ago, government flatly told the RBZ that there would be no devaluation in the foreseeable future and rapped the banks and bureaux de change for fuelling the black market.
"We have for the past two years been telling them to devalue the currency. They have not done so and they are now trying to find a scapegoat without zeroing on the real problems. Banks and bureaux de change do not manufacture forex. What causes the push in exchange rate is not banks or bureau de changes, but the seller," said Nyemba.
Government has been closing down bureau de changes and arresting dealers who trade on the black market in a bid to restore sanity to the forex crisis in major towns.
Zimbabwe's exports have nose-dived for the last two years in response to government's seizure of white owned commercial farms and the rating of the country as a risk destination for investment.
Jefta Mugweni, the group chief executive officer for Century Holdings Limited, attributed the forex crisis to the deteriorating economy. "It is not the banks, but it is a distortion in the overall economic situation in the country," said Mugweni. As remedy to the mess, Mugweni said there was need to look deeper into the export incentives and to reprice the local currency.
"The only solution to solving the crisis is to promote exports which will generate foreign currency into the official economy complemented with the correct pricing of the Zimbabwe dollar vis-a-vis other currencies. With the correct price the forex inflows would naturally come through official channels," Mugweni said.
Royal Bank chief executive, Jeffrey Mzwimbi, concurred with his colleagues saying what needs to be addressed is the supply of foreign currency.
"It is easy to blame banks because they are in financial mediation. Banks don't create foreign currency. The issue that needs to be addressed is the availability of foreign currency," Mzwimbi said.
In their financial results released in December, nearly all banks rapped government's monetary and fiscal policies and pleaded for the immediate restoration of economic fundamentals.
Nesbert Tinarwo, the chairman of the bureaux de change also denied government's accusations. "Bureaux de change have been soft targets. They are just caught in between. When there is little supply of foreign currency people hold on to the currency and dictate the price. They come to us on a take it or leave it basis," said Tinarwo.
He laid the blame on government officials whom he said brought the foreign currency from their overseas trips. "Those who have the forex have the greater say. High officials who seem to be talking much are the ones who go out on foreign trips where they get foreign currency and they neither go to the banks nor bureaux de change. Instead they go directly to exporters, importers or other sources."
Tinarwo said his members were closing down after failing to raise the minimum deposits required by the RBZ and called on government to address the generation of exports which bring in foreign currency.
"By trying to crush bureaux they are only trying to address the symptoms. The actual problem has to do with the supply side and government must address the fundamental issues."
Like Nyemba, Tinarwo said his organisation's suggestions on devaluation to the ministry of finance and economic planning were not considered. "Devaluation would make the official exchange rate palatable. $55 to the US dollar is not anywhere nearer to what is realistic," he said.
In sharp contrast to the official rate pegged at $55 to one US dollar, the greenback is fetching as much as $600 on the vibrant black market, down from $800 a fortnight ago.  
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The Standard (Zim) 14 July -

 75% of Matabeleland businesses could collapse-MCI 
By Grey Moyo
BULAWAYO-MORE than three quarters of industries in the Matabeleland region are threatened with collapse due to the worsening economic climate and government's continued insensitivity to the their calls for the creation of better operating atmosphere to ensure viability and continuity, an official of the Matabeleland Chamber of Industries has said.
MCI president Ken Jerrard told Standard Business that most industries, especially those producing basic commodities, were being obliged by government to continue operating in a situation which keeps the products reaching the market while the manufacturer grapples with escalating production costs.

"Industry is currently in a bad state. Various industries are being affected in different ways. For example, the bakery is required to to carry on producing bread, a commodity whose price is still controlled. This is unrealistic because it does not take into consideration the fact that the industry has to make enough profits to remain viable and able to service their delivery fleets and the production machinery. This leaves them in a situation where they continue to produce but fail to cover their operational costs, " said Jerrard.
He added that almost all members of the MCI, including construction, manufacturing, quarry and general suppliers, have been badly affected by the absence of foreign currency in the country. He said efforts by industry to assist the government in regaining significant inflows of forex through exports were being thwarted by trade statutes which require exporting companies to surrender 40% of their export earnings to the state.
"The retention of 40% of industry's export earnings at the controlled foreign exchange rates actually contributes to the depletion of the little reserves of forex which the country has. It makes the export business completely unviable and companies involved are slowly withdrawing their products from that market to avoid making continuous operating loses," said Jerrard.
Jerrad said earlier efforts by the bakery industry to seek government approval of a 55% price increase for bread to ensure the survival of the industry have been fruitless.
"The bakery industry has since revised that proposal against current operating costs. They have now requested for a 97,7% price increase for bread if the industry is to remain alive and viable. We do not know if that will be approved but everybody is operating at a very heavy loss right now," said Jerrard.
The construction industry which operates heavy machinery which use imported spare parts has suffered most due to the shortage of foreign currency. The MCI, Jerrard said, is still trying to lobby government to create a better exchange rate to ensure the viability of all industries, including those in the import and export business. He said MCI was still lobbying government through the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) despite the failure of previous efforts.
"We have struggled to meet several ministers since the Trade Fair. We are desperately concerned about the worsening effect this will have on the food crisis. There is also the plight of workers in these industries which we have to consider. But we don't know where this will lead to since the government has dismissed our concerns as exaggeration every time we put them across," he said.
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