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

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Zim Independent


How can the AU work when it's full of tyrants?

I WISH to air my concerns about the controversial African Union which will
be launched soon in South Africa. I agree with the newly-elected President
of Madagascar, Ravalomanana when he labelled the OAU as a group of African
dictators when they would not endorse him as the new president after winning
the elections in that country.

This same issue happened to Zimbabwe when they quickly came to the rescue of
the beleagured Mugabe who self-endorsed himself President of Zimbabwe after
loosing to the young dynamic Morgan Tsvangirai. These leaders cannot take
Africa to the new challenges of the new millennium. They fear change and
they do not respect human rights for their own citizens.

Right now, they are dining with the world's most toxic leaders and I mean
Robert Mugabe, Daniel arap Moi and Muammar Gaddaffi of Libya.

What can Libya teach us about democracy when, in fact, there has never been
elections in that country? The country has never experienced opposition
politics since they are suppressed by the present regime. Moi is still
warbling on whether to retire or extend his authoritarian hand. Mugabe even
rigged elections in the eyes of his own son, Chatunga He portrays himself as
a revolutionary, but as I know, a revolutionary does not kill his own
people, make them starve and suffer like what we are seeing in Zimbabwe.
It's embarrassing for South Africa to host him.

I foresee the African Union being used by Gaddaffi as a platform to end the
Libyan sanctions and to fight the West in the sense of imperialists.

Africa now needs new blood, non- racist technocrats who can take us to the
challenges of the globalised world. Leaders who think of their people first
rather than the present who think of killing, buying Mercedes-Benz cars,
stealing from public coffers, and are scared of fingering members within
their club who rig elections. If the African Union kick-starts with the
likes of Gaddaffi and Mugabe, forget about it, it's bound to fail.

Duran Rapozo,

Political and human

rights analyst

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Zim Independent


Lost in a world of his own illusions

ZIMBABWE is stagnating, its people yearning for help. But instead of
solutions we are confronted by slogans and snake oil masquerading as policy.

When the head of state publicly describes his own policy-makers as saboteurs
and declares the policy of his Finance minister "dead", the last glimmer of
hope for a rational fiscal regime - and with it economic recovery - is

President Mugabe's statement, in his address to parliament on Tuesday, that
devaluation of the dollar will not be tolerated is of course unlikely to be
his last word on the matter. The sheer force of economic logic will oblige
him to reconsider - probably sooner rather than later. But judging by the
chorus of support from Zanu PF MPs for Mugabe's hard-line stance, the
ostriches are currently in charge of policy.

And it is an entirely delusional policy. As Tony Hawkins points out in our
Page 5 story today, devaluation, far from being dead, is alive and well.

With most of the economy governed by the parallel rate - including
government business - devaluation is a daily reality. Those who pretend that
US$1 is still worth only $55 are living in their own private world of party
dogma that bears no relation to facts on the ground. State-owned banks and
parastatals would be the first to spell this out for the president if he

Those who believe in the official exchange rate would also be entitled to
believe that GDP grew by more than 80% between 1999 and 2001, making it the
fastest expanding economy in the world, The Economist points out. If nobody
is prepared to indulge in that fiction why continue to cling to the pretence
that there has been no devaluation?

But the president's stance on devaluation is only part of a wider problem of
official self-deception. Believing that Zimbabwe's economic problems stem
from drought and "British machinations" is at the core of the problem.

"No one can fairly blame us for the situation of want" that afflicts the
rest of the region, Mugabe claimed. But all the organisations currently
contributing to relief efforts have placed the blame squarely where it
belongs - on Mugabe's disastrous land seizures which he pretends are an
"unparalleled success story", even as production plummets and hundreds of
thousands face starvation.

Mugabe refuses to believe that his own damaging policies are at the root of
the national crisis. The sustained assault on property rights, disdain for
the rule of law, rejection of sound advice from his own ministers and
representative organisations like the CZI and ZNCC, and abuse of
international aid have all combined to sink the economy.

It is significant that the European Union, in announcing fresh sanctions on
Monday, drew heavily on the malign public pronouncements of Mugabe's own

Populist attempts to remedy the situation are doomed to failure. A
government that refuses to respect its own laws and courts - demonising
judges according to race or ruling - will deter trade and investment. It is
an illusion to think investors in the Far East don't speak to investors
elsewhere in the world before making decisions about where to put their
money. And the $260 million given to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority will be
wasted without a return to the rule of law.

Attempts to coerce banks into giving loans to farmers in the chaotic
conditions currently prevailing on the land are again indicative of the
cocoon in which Mugabe's ministers operate. There is unlikely to be any
money forthcoming until stability returns to the agricultural sector.

Meanwhile, the tens of thousands dispossessed from commercial farms have
contributed to a pattern of internal displacement that started with
political violence in 2000. The plight of orphans, Aids victims and
households headed by children has been made immeasurably worse by Mugabe's
arbitrary land seizures. The real face of his "unparalleled success story"
can be seen in homeless rural refugees, food shortages and downstream
company closures.

What emerges most clearly from Mugabe's address to parliament on Tuesday is
a party and government completely divorced from the catastrophic economic
realities detonating around them. Mugabe and his inner circle are clearly
determined to ignore all sound advice coming from within their own ranks and
beyond, and are instead resolved to go on compounding past mistakes with
policies that not only don't work but are fatally damaging.

That only Mugabe's supporters - most of them women bused in for the
occasion - were allowed to mount a presence outside the chamber at Tuesday's
opening ceremony reveals a regime entirely cut off from the nation which no
longer believes its lies and certainly wants none of its snake-oil remedies.
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Zim Independent

'Africa is moving on, but Zimbabwe is not'
Dumisani Muleya

THERE has of late been a great deal of cacophonous criticism of the New
Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) in Zimbabwe by civic groups and
individuals aligned to government.
President Robert Mugabe last week joined in the anti-Nepad crusade while
visiting his communist ally, Cuban President Fidel Castro who seized power
from Fulgencio Batista's repressive regime in 1959.
Mugabe said African countries should reject Nepad if it came with
conditions - such as democracy, good governance and human rights - attached
to it.
Analysts said although nothing was surprising about Mugabe's statement given
his current paranoia about "British machinations", the remarks revealed his
determination to resist current global economic and political trends.
Mugabe is seen as still caught in an ideological timewarp in which he is
battling to maintain his rule and impose a warmed up Stalinist orthodoxy
long since discarded elsewhere - except perhaps in Cuba.
In remarks similar to those expressed by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi
during the launch of the African Union in Durban earlier this month, Mugabe
told African ambassadors in Havana in manifest "Fidelista" terms Africa
should spurn conditional aid under Nepad.
"It's up to us to remain vigilant in any process of cooperation with them
(the West) and reject any tendencies to subject us to their whims," he said.
"The main principle is that we as a united Africa can forge unity with
developed countries and get them to fund a process of transformation."
The G8 recently adopted Nepad in Canada on condition African leaders stopped
breaking democratic rules.
Analysts said there was nothing colonial about Nepad conditions drawn up by
African leaders themselves. Nepad's peer review mechanism, which is a
self-monitoring system to ensure adherence to democratic practices, demands
Africa should comply with internationally accepted standards.
Nepad leaders believe the peer review mechanism would lead to the adoption
of policies and practices that would lead to political stability and
economic growth. An independent panel of eminent persons would be
established to manage the check-over system.
Gaddafi - whose country has never held elections since he ousted King
Mohammed Idris in a 1969 coup - was at the forefront of a campaign to derail
Nepad in Durban.
A seasoned populist and demagogue, Gaddafi tried to whip up nationalist
indignation among African leaders by waving the anti-colonial and
anti-imperialist cards.
"We accept assistance but we refuse conditions," Gaddafi said. "We are not
children who need someone to teach us. We have learnt our lessons. We have
our own culture and they must respect it."
Analysts had predicted this. "Resistance is guaranteed," warned Francis
Kornegay of the Centre for African International Relations at the University
of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. "The new order struggling to
be born represents nothing less than a clear and present danger to the
African status quo of authoritarian governance."
By contrast Mbeki, who came out with his guns blazing against Nepad critics,
warned African leaders against futile populist grandstanding, insisting
Africa has to change.
"Our experience of numerous decades makes the clear statement that we have
to think and work in a new way," he said.
"We have to overcome the debilitating effect of inertia, which makes us act
in the old ways to which we are accustomed, to do things as we have always
done them because this is the way we have always done them."
But Mugabe remains in denial. Last week he repeated his discrepant mantra
that he brought democracy, human rights and good governance to Zimbabwe.
"Now they (West) are coming to us as teachers of democracy when during
colonialism and imperialism they would not allow us to exercise our rights,"
he said. "It's up to us to remain vigilant."
Apparently Castro also believes the same although he was quick to jettison
his democratic pledges soon after coming to power as he imposed "guerilla
social engineering".
There was nothing new about Mugabe's remarks in Havana. Addressing his
party's central committee meeting on April 5 after his March disputed
re-election, he attacked the West with similar language and intensity.
"What Zimbabwe is facing is an integral part of a global imperial agenda of
recolonisation heralded by the 'crisis of governance' thesis of the World
Bank and the wide array of political conditionalities which accompanied aid
regimes in the early and mid-nineties," he said.
"It was a recipe for eroding our sovereign rights as states in order to make
way for new global imperialism packaged in human rights and democracy
Opening parliament this week, Mugabe indulged in his customary claims about
"British machinations" and alleged neo-colonial manoeuvres.
Before Mugabe publicly stated his position on Nepad last week, his followers
had already set the tone. Information minister Jonathan Moyo, who often
reflects Mugabe's mind, had claimed Nepad was a new form of imperialism.
The government-controlled press had also attacked Nepad and its promoters.
"If they (Nepad leaders) willfully fall prey to the neo-colonial agenda of
Tony Blair and George Bush, they will go down in history as a gullible bunch
of politicians who hastened the recolonisation of Africa," the state-run
Sunday News said in an editorial on June 23.
"Can a serious African politician stand up today and tell us that Western
powers are now willing to share the profits of globalisation with this
continent? We should know we have a political tragedy on our hands when some
African governments begin warming to racist oppressors who killed our people
and denied us independence just yesterday."
The vitriol was directed at Mbeki and his counterparts.
"How can we expect imperial plunderers, powerful capitalists and racist
Western powers to bring us prosperity?" the Sunday News asked.
However, British High Commissioner to Zimbabwe Brian Donnelly, in his
contribution to the Britain & Zimbabwe magazine last month, said it was
encouraging some African leaders were no longer prisoners of the past.
"There are many African leaders who have recognised that the world is moving
and adapting to new realities," he said. "They want to seize the opportunity
to build a better future for their people."
Donnelly said rejecting Nepad would keep Zimbabwe handcuffed to the past.
"Unfortunately, Zimbabwe has not yet embraced the idealism and optimism of
Nepad," he said. "In Zimbabwe, it has been argued that Nepad is a
duplicitous successor to tied aid, a neo-colonialist tool, or a way of
blackmailing African leaders into pursuing a Western agenda. But this is the
exact opposite of the way Nepad was conceived, and the way it is being
managed and developed by African leaders. Africa is moving on, but Zimbabwe
is not."
Instead of Zimbabwe aligning itself to prevailing international patterns
firmly anchored in the realities of the global economy, Donnelly said: "We
see language and attitudes focused on a distorted image of the past."
German Foreign minister Joschka Fisher said in May that remaining in denial
was unprogressive.
"The founders of Nepad looked realistically at Africa's problems and
identified the central reform projects," he said. "They focus on fighting
corruption and bad governance, enhancing democracy, the rule of law and
human rights, eradication of poverty, conflict resolution, transparent
financial markets, and more effective promotion of the private sector. This
new thinking, new dynamism will help Africa take its due place in the
international community."
Robert Rotberg, who directs Harvard University's programme's on Intrastate
Conflict and heads the World Peace Foundation, believes African leaders
should make a fundamental paradigm shift in both politics and economic
"The attitudes of Africa's leaders must change," he said. The continent's
leaders, Rotberg said, should monitor each other.
"This is a tall order. Neither Presidents Mbeki nor (Nigeria's Olusegun)
Obasanjo have employed peer pressure to halt the growing trend toward
dictatorship in today's Africa," he said.
"Neither leader has publicly condemned electoral theft in Zimbabwe or
attempts to breach the constitutions of Malawi, Namibia, or Zambia. Neither
they nor many of their contemporaries have criticised denials of media
freedom in neighbouring countries, corruption, misappropriation or
squandering of foreign assistance funds, or said much about the leadership
causes of the famine now engulfing 13 million people in southern Africa."
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Zim Independent

Eric Bloch column

Prices rise, but inflation rate drops!

LAST week, the Central Statistical Office (CSO) released the June 2002
inflation rate. The year-on-year inflation for June was reported to be
114,5% as compared to 122,5% a month earlier. Since then, the populace has
been speculating as to how the rate of inflation could possibly have
declined by eight percentage points when prices are rising continuously.
Numerous journalists have been equally perplexed and have inundated
Zimbabwe's economists to obtain answers to the apparent conundrum.

Many consumers have expressed great scepticism as to the validity of the
reported inflation rates, suggesting deliberate manipulation and distortion
in order to dupe them into believing that the economy is not as sick as it
actually is. That perception is unjustified. Although government undoubtedly
and very frequently will misrepresent realities or will ascribe any negative
economic circumstances to causes beyond its control, or to malevolent acts
of its perceived opponents, it is unfounded to allege that the CSO is a
party thereto. Subject to certain circumstances hereafter referred to, the
inflation rates are reported as accurately as is reasonably possible.

The widespread disbelief that manifested itself last week focused
recollection upon a very excellent press statement from the director of
Census and Statistics, published in this newspaper on February 23, 2001,
when a similar situation prevailed. In the light of the present extensive
uncertainty as to how the inflation rate could conceivably have declined
last month, it is merited to quote from that informative statement, which
stated that "it is perfectly normal for inflation to fall even when prices
are increasing. It is important to emphasise that inflation is not the level
of, but the rate of change in prices over a time period. In the case of
year-on-year inflation the time period is 12 months."

The statement continues: "The first question that analysts have to ask
before judging the reasonableness of the reported year-on-year rate of
inflation is: 'Have the prices in the month increased more or less in
percentage terms than they did during the same month the year before?'...
The year-on-year rate of inflation is calculated by dividing the CPI for the
current month by the CPI for the same month the previous year. The ratio is
then expressed as a percentage and the difference between it thus expressed
as a percentage and 100 is the rate of inflation."

Thus, the rate of inflation is calculated according to the formula: 100 x
(consumer price index for relevant month this year, divided by consumer
price index for equivalent month last year) minus 100. If the CPI increased
faster in the relevant month this year than it did in the equivalent month
last year, then inflation would have increased. On the other hand, if it
increased faster in the equivalent month last year than it has in the same
month this year, then inflation has decreased.

To illustrate by way of an example: If an item cost $1 two years ago, and
then 12 months ago the price was increased by $1 to $2, the inflation rate
was 100%. Then, if the price was, this month, again increased by $1 to $3,
it would be an increase of $1 on $2 or 50%. So, even though the price
increase is the same amount in each instance, in percentage terms the
increase was twice as great a year ago. The press statement summarised this
by stating: "There will be a rise in inflation whenever the month-on-month
rate of inflation in the current month (measuring increases in prices in the
month) is greater than the month-on-month rate of inflation 12 months
earlier. It is therefore important to note that a fall in inflation does not
necessarily mean a fall in prices in the current month. The fallacy is
equivalent to assuming that a reduction in the acceleration of a motor car
necessarily implies a reduction in its speed.

"Just as much as the acceleration of a moving car can be reduced while it is
still increasing its speed, so does inflation fall when prices are still
rising. Thus, for example, a motorist can start from zero kilometres per
hour and increase the speed of his car to 120 kilometres per hour in the
first minute. If in the second minute he increases its speed from 120 to 150
kilometres he would have reduced its acceleration by 75% in the second
minute compared to the first minute. This reduction in acceleration would
have been achieved while still increasing speed."

Yet further clarification of another key factor in computing the CPI from
which the inflation rate is computed, is provided: "The basket, or weights
used for combining individual item price indices to form group indices, and
group indices to form the all items index, have an influence on the index
and hence the rate of inflation. In particular, as the economy shrinks in
absolute or relative per capita income terms, the weight of the food group
is expected to increase. The increased weight would make the changes in the
prices of food items to have a more pronounced effect on average prices and
hence the all items index and the rate of inflation."

This changing weighting of the basket is even more relevant today than when
the statement was issued some 16 months ago, and indirectly is one of the
reasons why real inflation is undeniably greater than the announced rate.
With effect from January 2001, there was a change in the consumer basket and
weights utilised by CSO to determine the CPI, and therefrom the inflation
rates, concurrently with an updating of the CPI base year from 1990 to 1995.
Those changes were based upon the 1995/96 Income, Consumption and
Expenditure Survey.

However, the impacts of the hyperinflationary environment upon most of the
populace have been such that unavoidably there has been a marked change in
spending patterns. For most, the best they can hope to achieve at the
present time is to fund their accommodation needs, together with requisite
utilities, the purchase of food, educational needs, health care, and
transport to and from their places of employment.

They lack the resources necessary for the purchase of clothing and textiles,
furniture and household goods, beverages and tobacco products, and to engage
in recreation and entertainment. Many do not even have enough income to meet
basic needs. Therefore, the weighting of the component groups of the
spending basket cannot possibly be an accurate reflection of actual
circumstance. It is very probable that if the basket was restructured to
accord with present day circumstances, the CPI would be considerably higher,
as would be the rate of inflation.

Over the 12 months of 2001, the CSO conducted a new Income, Consumption and
Expenditure Survey, with a view to updating and adjusting the basket upon
which CPI is based. Regrettably, although its findings will enable some
minimisation of the extent of disparity between the basket and the factual
circumstance, it will not wholly eliminate that disparity, because the
intensifying poverty of ever greater numbers of Zimbabweans, is forcing them
to prioritise their spending more and more to fewer and fewer items and,
therefore, the weightings are changing significantly each month.

As a result, it is not possible for reported inflation rates to be wholly
accurate. The inaccuracy is compounded by the fact that most basic,
essential commodities are in short supply, resulting in an active black
market purveying most of the limited availability of those commodities, at
greatly inflated prices. But the CSO must necessarily use the prices
prescribed by Zimbabwe's draconian and foolhardy price control legislation
(which is a very direct contributor to many of the shortages, as producers
cannot afford to produce at a loss!). The CSO has no ready access to the
volatile, unlawful prices prevailing in the black market, and yet it is
those prices which should more realistically determine the rate of

A further factor of the marginal drop in inflation in June is that CSO
collects data in the first half of the month, whereas in June several
significant price increases occurred in the second half of that month,
including a 35% increase in commuter bus fares, substantial increases in the
prices of various beverages and foodstuffs, and of other commodities and
services. Those increases will reflect in the July inflation rate, as will
many other increases which become effective early in July.
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Zim Independent

Banks rebuff Made
Vincent Kahiya
BANKS will not release funds to newly-resettled farmers until government can
produce collateral against loans or first-class guarantees that money loaned
will be repaid.

Bank executives this week shot down claims by Agriculture minister Joseph
Made that financial institutions had agreed to fund this season's crop,
planting of which commences in October.

Bankers said they wanted the government to explain the issue of collateral
first before committing themselves. Leases were not an acceptable form of
security, they said.

The banking sector has been asked to raise at least $76 billion to finance
this season's crop, which should be produced mainly by newly-resettled
farmers. The money is needed for tillage and the purchase of agricultural
inputs including fertiliser and seeds.

Made, who together with members of the Cabinet Action Committee on Land
Reform and Resettlement met with bankers this week, said leases would be
used as collateral.

"The government will increase the issuing of lease agreements so that the
new farmers move in in time for the cropping season," Made was quoted as
saying in the state media. "They will also use the leases as collateral.

We told the bankers that we are speeding up the processing of leases."

Government has been issuing newly-resettled farmers with 99-year leases.

But an economist with a commercial bank said financial institutions would
not entertain lease agreements as collateral.

"If a new farmer leasing a property fails to repay a loan what can the bank
do?" he asked.

"The bank cannot auction the farm because it is state land and the new
farmer does not have any assets to talk about. Banks do not own any money.
They use investors' money and therefore cannot risk this investment without
any reasonable security," said the economist.

"Banks want to know the nature of guarantees the government can come up with
in such a situation," he said.

A banker said with less than three months to go before the onset of the
rains, it was not practicable for the banks to issue loans to thousands of
farmers under the A2 scheme.

He said the government had not even completed the paperwork required to
enable farmers to apply for loans.

"The only workable plan is for banks to lend money to government for
on-lending to the farmers," said the banker. "Commercial banks do not have
the capacity to administer thousands of loans for all these new farmers in
the little time left before the rains."

Zimbabwe's rainy season usually starts in earnest in November.

Apart from the issue of collateral, bankers this week said they also wanted
to see a proper audit of the resettlement programme to ascertain realistic
production levels, especially in the A2 resettlement sector. The audit
should give a clearer picture of how many farmers had actually taken up
their new pieces of land and were preparing to plant a crop this season.

The government's crop forecasts in the last two years have been way off the
mark as reset-tled farmers produced a much smaller crop than officials had

Made said the banking sector this week tentatively agreed to match an $8,5
billion government fund for the purchase of inputs such as fertiliser, seed
maize, sorghum and millet as well as tillage.

The fund is only 11% of what the new farmers need to finance this season's
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Zim Independent

$1 in 1990 now worth two cents
Godfrey Marawanyika
INFLATION has eroded the value of the Zimbabwe dollar to a paltry two cents
in just over a decade, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has

The union's collective bargaining position in the current wage negotiations
is based on this sharp fall of the dollar. ZCTU chief economist Godfrey
Kanyenze said even the purchasing power of the dollar had declined.

"The value of the dollar in 1990 has been eroded to just two cents as of May
2002, implying what two cents could buy in 1990 is what $1 buys at May 2002
prices," said Kanyenze. "This raises important policy questions regarding
the effectiveness of raising minimum wages without stabilising the economy
by, among other things, reining-in on inflation."

Employer representatives and the labour body have been meeting for the past
two months in the collective bargaining process, which has seen some workers
being awarded between 60% and 70% salary increments.

Basic salaries for many workers have been eroded by the high cost of living
which has been exacerbated by the rising inflation rate currently at 114,5%.
The shortages of basic commodities, which can now only be sourced on the
black market, has worsened the situation.

Kanyeze said wage negotiations should be based on posting workers earnings
above the poverty datum line to achieve a more equitable wage structure.
"The gap between the highest and lowest paid remains obscene in the
economy," he said.

According to the United Nations Development Programme, Zimbabwe is an
unequal society where 20% of the population account for 60% of its income
and close to 30% of the incomes go to the middle 40%, while only 10% goes to
the poorest 40%.

The report said the average incomes of the richest 20% were 12 times those
of the poor and four times those of the middle-income group. Kanyenze said
the tendency over the years had been for negotiations to focus only on

"Under condition of high inflation, all that may be realised from collective
bargaining can easily be eroded. As such it is necessary to include non-wage
issues in negotiations," he said. "It is necessary to look at the working
hours with a view to reducing them in line with international trends.

Other non-pay allowances can also be negotiated depending on the sector."

Since the collective bargaining process began two months ago, different
sectors of the economy have agreed on varied salary adjustments because of
numerous external factors that impact on them.
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Zim Independent

$1 000 note coming
Godfrey Marawanyika
THE Reserve Bank will introduce a $1 000 note early next year as the current
$500 note - the highest denomination - has seen its value heavily eroded in
less than 12 months, the Zimbabwe Independent has been told.

The central bank designed the new note at the same time as the $500 bill
last year but was reluctant to launch it. The $500 note came into
circulation last August.

The new note would maintain the country's usual natural features on one

The $500 note was introduced after the then highest denomination of $100 had
been eroded by rising inflation.

The introduction of the new note comes against a backdrop of high
money-supply growth that is currently at 113%, just below inflation.

Last year the central bank opened a new minting plant in Bulawayo where the
printing of the $500 note is taking place.
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Zim Independent

Zanu PF militia enlisted for census
Blessing Zulu
GRADUATES from the notorious Border Gezi Training Institute have been
recruited as census enumerators by the Central Statistical Office amid
allegations that the ruling Zanu PF party has hijacked the exercise.

Militias based at the camp were used as part of Zanu PF's brutal campaign in
the run-up to the presidential election in March.

There are fears that the census results will be doctored so as to distort
figures in areas such as Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe (UMP) and Chitungwiza where
President Mugabe won on the back of thousands of suspected ghost voters in
the March 9/11 poll.

"The census is being supervised by politicians picked from various districts
instead of qualified and experienced statisticians and officers at the
department's head office and provincial offices," said a CSO source.

Washington Mapeta, the census manager said he was not aware of the claims.

"I am not aware of any members from the Border Gezi Training Institute who
have been recruited," said Mapeta.

"We are a professional body and the people we recruit are also professionals
and we specify the qualifications we want."

The CSO is flying two officers to Bulawayo to pay field workers deployed
throughout the region.

The source said the delays in issuing people with T-shirts and identity
cards had resulted in problems for those involved in the field preparation
amid allegations that there was corruption in the tender system.

"I cannot be accused of corruption because I am not part of the tender
committee. I only specify what we want and it's up to the Government Tender
Board to decide," said Mapeta.

On possible cover-ups of numbers, he said: "If the authorities in a
particular area can prove that the figures are not correct and convince us
we can do a recount with them, but this is highly unlikely."

Morale among enumerators is reportedly low as they are being paid very
little for the exercise. CSO officials deployed in the urban areas are not
paid and those in the rural areas are getting only $150 as a field

Field mappers are being paid $300 a month. The small allowances to the
mappers is said to have delayed the production of census maps which were
supposed to have been finished by December 2001

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Zim Independent

MDC plans another bid for voters roll
Dumisani Muleya
THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) will make another court
bid to get a copy of the national voters roll used in the March 9/11
presidential election in compact disc format.

MDC secretary-general Welsh-man Ncube yesterday said his party is battling
to overcome hurdles in its court challenge against President Robert Mugabe's
disputed re-election.

"Our lawyers are still finalising papers on how we can make another attempt
to get the electronic version of the voters roll," Ncube said. "We have two
options, either to make another application to the High Court under the
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act or appeal to the Supreme

High Court judge Anne-Marie Gowora, in a judgement delivered by Justice
Susan Mavangira on her behalf on July 10, ruled the MDC was not entitled to
the voters roll in electronic form.

Ncube said the MDC - whose leader Morgan Tsvangirai rejected Mugabe's
victory as "daylight robbery" - would make another effort to get the compact
disc version because the print form was cumbersome and difficult to audit.

"The High Court said we are entitled to the voters roll but not in an
electronic version," he said. "It said we are entitled to a print version
upon payment of a prescribed fee, which is about $1,2 million. We can only
get a printed version which is useless because it could take us 10 years to
go through and audit it."

Ncube said if not removed, the voters roll obstacle would undermine
Tsvangirai's challenge against Mugabe. "It is part of our case that Mugabe
created fictitious voters numbering up to about half a million and, for us
to prove this, we need a copy of the voters roll in electronic version to
analyse and show the irregularities," he said.

The MDC has said Zanu PF used a supplementary voters roll which contained
about 400 000 illegally registered voters to rig the poll. Mugabe beat
Tsvangirai by the same margin.

Observers said the failure of the registrar-general's office to release the
discs amounted to a calculated bureaucratic impediment to the opposition's
democratic rights. The MDC said there were systematic hindrances in its way.
On March 8 - a day before the poll - Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku
reserved judgement on Tsvangirai's application on a range of electoral
issues which could have changed the outcome if a ruling had been made on the
key matters before the court.

Chidyausiku ruled after the poll that Tsvangirai had no locus standi but
experienced judge of appeal Wilson Sandura, in a dissenting judgement, said
the opposition leader actually had a court standing. The MDC has since the
June 2000 parliamentary poll instigated nine court challenges relating to
the voters roll.
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Zim Independent

ZFTU accused of extortion
Blessing Zulu
THE Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU), a Zanu PF creation fronted
by self-styled war veteran Joseph Chinotimba, is extorting millions of
dollars from beleaguered commercial farmers, the Zimbabwe Independent has

Hardest hit are those farmers who are part of the $450-million Biri Dam
project in Banket who have come under intense pressure from the ZFTU.

ZFTU officials are reportedly making large claims on farmers - ostensibly as
retrenchment packages for farm labourers who have been affected by the
chaotic land reform programme.

"Some farmers are being ordered to pay as much as $30 million to their
labourers as retrenchment packages," said one farmer. "How are farmers -
some of whom were not able to harvest their crop - able to raise such
unrealistic amounts?" queried the farmer.

ZFTU president Alfred Makwarimba confirmed to the Independent that his
organisation was involved in "solving labour" disputes on the farms.

"We are aware that some farmers who have been given Section 5 and 8 orders
want to leave the country without paying retrenchment packages to their
labourers," said Makwarimba. "We want to make sure that they pay and we have
been successful in many cases, notably Centenary, Raffingora and Rushinga.

"Some farmers are just being stubborn and they are refusing to co-operate
arguing that they need to be paid their compensation first. The government
we know already has money ready and they should go and collect it.

Those who are genuinely poor can pay half the amount and pay the rest

ZFTU interference with operations on the farms has also cost the nation
millions of dollars as farm workers were forced to down tools resulting in
some farmers failing to harvest their crops.

Jenni Williams, spokesperson for Justice for Agriculture, said the ZFTU does
not have a mandate to negotiate on behalf of the farm labourers.

"The ZFTU does not employ those people and does not have the right to
represent them," said Williams. "We are well aware that they are taking 25%
to 30% of the amount they are extorting and we call upon the police to
arrest them."

Last year the ZFTU went around factories demanding the rehiring of suspended
workers and protection money from employers.

Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena said the police had not received any
reports of extortion. "We have not received any reports of extortion and we
urge all those farmers facing problems to report to the police," he said.
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Zim Independent

Parastatals owe a total US$350m
Stanley James
CORRUPTION and mismanagement have resulted in Zimbabwe's parastatals
accounting for more than US$350 million of the country's US$9,5 billion
debt, the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZCDD)'s latest report

The report, released this week, showed that as of June the country's US$9,5
billion debt comprised US$4,5 billion foreign, US$900 million in arrears,
and a domestic debt of $280 billion.

"Despite various interventions by government over 1996/1997, the country's
major seven public enterprises excluding the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority (Zesa) suffered operating losses of over $3 billion, half of this
being accounted for by Noczim which registered an overall loss of $174
million, 105% off its target of $32 million," the report says.

"As a result of the 1997/98 financial crisis which saw the Zimbabwe dollar
slide more than 30 percentage points against the US dollar (on the official
market), Zesa's loan portfolio trebled from $4 billion to $12 billion,
showing a 50% increase as a result of currency depreciation alone. The
public debt soared from $60 billion to over $550 billion within six years in

ZCDD economist John Manyanya said rampant corruption and mismanagement had
resulted in the state-owned companies continuing to incur massive losses.

"Despite the costly restructuring, there is still rampant corruption and
mismanagement in public enterprises. The various reforms of public
enterprises have failed to infuse professional norms of corporate governance
premised on principles of transparency and organisational or management
effectiveness," he said.

He said the public sector had become the seedbed of corruption. In the
energy sector mismanagement and corruption largely contributed to severe
fuel shortages and huge tariff increases that stoked inflation and eroded
wages over 1999/2001.

Manyanya said government's reluctance to come up with a transparent system
of accountability continued to pose a threat to the cashflow positions of

"At the moment all of the parastatals are operating at huge losses yet there
are no mechanisms in place to root out financial irregularities. Under such
circumstances, the parastatals will keep incurring losses, posing a threat
to the nation," he said.

"Justifiably, deficits caused by subsidies to the public enterprises were
seen fuelling macro-economic instability, high inflation, high interest
rates, indebtedness and declines in investment."
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Zim Independent

ZCTU invites govt for talks on PDL
Godfrey Marawanyika
THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has approached government for
the resumption of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF), which also
includes employers as the third partner.

Talks stalled last year at the eleventh hour after the three parties failed
to sign the Kadoma Declaration which stressed, among other things, the need
for good governance.

Business is represented by the Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz).
The agreement was not signed because of a lack of commitment on the part of

ZCTU president Lovemore Mato-mbo yesterday confirmed they had invited the
government to resume talks and that an invitation had been sent to the
Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, July Moyo.

"We wrote to government earlier this month seeking the resumption of the
Tripartite Negotiating Forum so that we look at the issue of taxation and
the Poverty Datum Line, (PDL) in line with the galloping inflation rate,"
said Matombo. Currently, the PDL is $25 000 for a family of six.

"Government has responded saying what is needed was a holistic approach
founded on the need for a social contract."

None of the agreements reached by the TNF parties have so far been adhered
to due to lack of political will and constant changing of government's
negotiating team. The Kadoma Declaration could have paved the way for the
adoption of a social contract that has been on the cards for the past two
years. Business sector sources this week said preparatory meetings for the
resumption of the talks were underway.

Ahead of the negotiations, the employers team has also suffered a setback as
the current president, Kenzias Chibota, will be stepping down next week and
is expected to be replaced by someone with closer links to the ruling party.

Matombo was sceptical whether government would respect any agreement.
"Government representatives on the TNF have no capacity to take decisions,
rendering the whole process futile," he said.
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Zim Independent

Address economic crisis, ZNCC tells govt
Dumisani Muleya
THE Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) has urged government to
adopt serious policy measures to arrest the deteriorating economic

In a forthright report submitted to government last week, ZNCC said
authorities should now confront the economic crisis head-on. It said
economic reforms were urgently required.

"The country should draw up an economic stabilisation programme so as to
address the weak macroeconomic fundamentals," the ZNCC said. "The 2002
budget failed to address these, and hence the challenge rests with the
policy-makers in the post-presidential election environment."

The ZNCC said a major paradigm shift was needed to arrest and reverse
economic decline.

"In fact, the country has to map out clearly the economic paradigm which it
is going to pursue," it said. "This will be an important confidence-building
measure. In this regard, a major economic conference involving key domestic
and international stakeholders, would be an important platform to draw up
such an economic strategy."

Authorities should decide, the chamber said, which institutions would
implement key policies. It said a mechanism to ensure implementing agencies
were not held hostage to politics was needed.

"It has to be made clear which institution is going to drive the
implementation of economic reforms," the ZNCC said. "Zimbabwe is famous for
producing very concise economic policy documents whose action plans never
see the light of day. We recommend that institutions that are responsible
for policy implementation have got to be action-oriented, otherwise without
action no real positive change takes place on the ground."

The industrial body told autho-rities immediate measures were required to
deal with the exchange rate, inflation, interest rates, money supply growth,
restoration of business and investor confidence, property rights, fiscal
discipline, national debt, price controls, food shortages, land reform,
privatisation and exports.

On the exchange rate, the ZNCC said an adjustment in line with inflation
differentials was necessary. It also proposed a dual exchange rate - one for
official transactions and the other commercial - accompanied by devaluation
of the local currency, which it said is overvalued by more than 180%.

Proposing ways of reducing the 114,5% inflation rate, the ZNCC, said: "To
reduce inflation, the stimulation of productive activities should play a key
role through improving the business operating environment.

"This would make products available on the shelves and remove inflationary
pressures. Money supply growth should also be curtai-led in order to reduce
its impact in inflation. This implies that government should reduce its
borrowing, particularly from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, and tighten money

The chamber recommended a re-view of the current interest rate policy.

"There is need to take a holistic approach by introducing a total package of
measures to deal with the negative real interest rates that are not
conducive for the long-term development of the country," it said.

The ZNCC said monetary policy should be tightened to contain money supply
growth and prevent an inflationary surge.

"Money supply growth was 100% in March 2002," the chamber noted.

"Money supply growth should be reduced to 70% by December 2002, 60% by March
2003 and levels below 50% by June 2003." It said this could be achieved
through curtailing government access to the RBZ's overdraft facility.
Property rights and the rule of law, the ZNCC said, should be restored while
land reform should be organised and transparent.

"We recommend that the whole price control initiative be revisited with the
aim of getting rid of the controls to enable businesses to become viable,"
it said.

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Zim Independent


Aggrieved families need 'protection of privacy'

THE death of Learnmore Jongwe's wife Rutendo has drawn in a number of
opportunists of all descriptions posturing as marriage counsellors and human
rights advocates.

Whatever Jongwe's crime might be, why is he being tried in the media? Why
was the Herald seeking to drag in the Commonwealth and the European Union
even before Jongwe had appeared in court?

It was to be expected of course that Zanu PF and its media machine would try
to make political capital out of a tragic domestic issue. But it is the
callous disregard for the aggrieved families that is entirely unacceptable.
Is Rutendo's family supposed to be consoled, for instance, by Jonathan
Moyo's claims that Jongwe is the personification of the MDC's violent

None of this shedding of crocodile tears detracts from Zanu PF's culture of
violence which it has bred in every facet of our lives over recent years. We
are therefore shocked that organisations such as the Musasa Project can so
easily be lured onto the Zanu PF bandwagon of political vilification without
waiting for the courts to decide Jongwe's fate.
Zanu PF has unleashed its militias in rural and high-density suburbs who
have tortured and raped poor women without Musasa Project raising a finger
in their defence. How many victims of political, psychological and economic
violence, all the products of Zanu PF misrule, have they counselled since
February 2000? How many poor farmworkers have they helped since the mayhem
on the farms started? And why have they not been vocal about all the
violence perpetrated by Zanu PF throughout the country in the name of land
reform and Mugabe's rigged re-election in March?

Amy Tsanga's remarks are to be expected, even where they disclose details of
professional counselling. But Musasa Project and other women's groups have
shown incredibly poor judgement in allowing themselves to be used by Zanu
PF's propaganda department.

We hope that the Jongwe and Muusha families will be respected and allowed
time to reflect on their tragedies without undue political intrusion. That's
what "protection of privacy" should be about.

ZBC had to go out of its way to try and justify Mugabe's trip to Cuba by
calling on permanent secretary for information and publicity George Charamba
for facts and figures. Well, Zimbabwe was promised 70 doctors, including 20
specialists. Zimbabwe was also promised some anti-retroviral drugs to fight
HIV, said Charamba.

"If these are not demonstrable, quantifiable, tangible, concrete . results,"
said Charamba before he ran out of adjectives, "then one wonders what is."

What Charamba was not asked was what has happened to our own doctors and
specialists who are churned out by our universities at great public expense.
Surely there must be something very wrong with a political system that
forces its citizens to seek economic refuge all over the world when its own
health system is collapsing.

In any case, isn't it shocking that no business is too small for our
embattled president to attend so long as it involves boarding a plane.
"Allies" are fast getting in short supply the world over. Or was this just
another chance to find out how Fidel Castro has survived in power since the
1959 revolution!

We have commented before on how the Herald's court reports, once
authoritative and reliable, have now fallen victim to the propaganda needs
of the regime.

That was apparent last week when Peter Matambanadzo reported on Andrew
Meldrum's acquittal. Deprived of the verdict the state had been hoping for,
the Herald reporter resorted to invention.

"A bitter Meldrum, beads of tears in his eyes, told reporters outside the
magistrate's court that he had been ordered to leave the country," we were
informed. "With his head tilted and his dejection glaring, he accused the
government of muzzling the free press."
Meldrum "steered away" from mentioning the false story he reproduced without
verifying, Matambanadzo claimed.

This was itself a bit of a false story. Nobody apart from Matambanadzo saw
the "beads of tears" in Meldrum's eyes - largely because there weren't any.
And most of the correspondents present remarked on the absence of any
bitterness in his statement.
Meldrum didn't comment on the story in question because the magistrate had
already done so at length. He said Meldrum had "acted reasonably like any
other journalist" in trying to verify the story. But the police had been

But none of this prevented IM Mpofu from doing one of his Form II cartoons
showing Meldrum blubbing as he hung onto Beatrice Mtetwa's skirt, saying he
wasn't going (the pun "Handiende" was admittedly quite funny) because he
wanted to "write about how dangerous it is to live in this country".

We don't need Handy Andy to tell us that. The Committee for the Protection
of Journalists has placed Zimbabwe among the 10 most dangerous places for
journalists to work. That includes several lawless ex-Soviet republics,
Colombia, the West Bank, Afghanistan, Burma, and Iran. The terrible ordeal
suffered by Joe Winter when state agents threatened the safety of his wife
and baby the night before they left the country last year is a matter of
public record.

Mpofu should understand that working as a government public relations
officer is a relatively comfortable job compared to real journalism.

We were interested to see an SABC news clip on Sunday night, ahead of EU
deliberations on further sanctions against Zimbabwe on Monday. Their camera
focused on the Supreme Court building.

Was this a hint of where the net may next be cast, we wonder? Does SABC know
something we don't? In the same clip, Olivia Muchena was shown addressing a
demo by Zanu PF supporters outside the British High Commission. But her
anti-British sentiment can't be too pronounced. She was in Britain on a
private visit only recently. The last for a while, we gather.

Stan Mudenge was boasting last month of how President Mugabe had
successfully dodged the sanctions ban on travel to the EU and US. The
examples of the UN and Rome visits were given. These are however governed by
international treaties.

Mudenge should instead be asked to comment on the president's recent transit
stop in Madrid en route to Cuba. Is it true that Mugabe and his entourage
were denied visas to leave Madrid airport and check into a hotel as they
awaited their connection to Havana? And while Grace was able to travel to a
UN meeting in Geneva last week, we gather her husband had to cool his heels
again at Madrid airport on Saturday while awaiting his flight back to

Perhaps the Foreign minister may like to comment. Or Willard Chiwewe whose
maladroit response to the latest EU sanctions in Tuesday's Herald showed why
permanent secretaries are viewed as nothing more than Zanu PF functionaries.

It is being widely remarked in Harare how the imposition of the daily party
dogma has led some otherwise sensible ministers to say the most ridiculous
things in order to conform with the president's firebrand response to
international pressure.

Last week poor old John Nkomo was obliged to state that Guardian
correspondent Andy Meldrum was a security risk. This was in order to justify
an arbitrary order to deport the veteran correspondent.

Then, on the prospect of intensified sanctions, Nkomo told the World Today
that political violence was not increasing in Zimbabwe.

"As a sovereign state we must be allowed to govern ourselves," he said.
"There are human rights in Zimbabwe - we are going through a period of
transition from when there were no human rights for black people in

He added: "We do not need to go shopping in Europe. Zimbabwe has many shops
and people can go shopping in Zimbabwe. What is Europe anyway? There are
other parts of the world."

How sad to see ministers reduced to this. It's as if they have all had a
frontal lobotomy with Jonathan Moyo as the surgeon.

Patrick Chinamasa is of course the most obvious victim of invasive brain
surgery but there are others such as Joseph Made who apparently didn't need
very much doing.
In this connection, we liked the report on Mugabe visiting the Centre for
Genetic Engineering in Cuba. Clearly the old chip has been giving him
trouble and needed replacing. The hair dye was probably leaking into it.
Only Cuba and China still offer this kind of repair-job we hear.

We feel a little sorry for state lawyers who are instructed to repeat in
court the state's case about foreign correspondents being a security risk.
When pressed to show what they have at an "in camera" hearing where security
won't be compromised, they have to decline the offer because they don't
actually have any instructions as to what they are supposed to produce. Nor
does anybody else of course.

Things don't seem to be going so well for news agencies either in the new
era. On a visit last week Agence France Presse's director Denis Hiault was
given a 5pm appointment with Information minister Jonathan Moyo. That gave
him three hours to relax, shower and change after his arrival. But then a
call came through: the minister wanted him to be there at three.

This meant a quick change at the office and straight to Munhumutapa
Building. There the visiting director was surprised to see television
cameras. Ushered into the minister's office he was presented with the recent
report of the Media Ethics Committee which should help if he suffers from
insomnia on the flight home. In return he handed over a glossy collection of
AFP pictures taken last year, The World in Photographs.

But despite the smiles and handshakes captured by ZTV and the Herald, the
minister's message was less welcoming we hear. No more foreigners will be
let in to work for AFP when the present incumbents' permits are up later
this year. This almost certainly means Harare will be downgraded as a
regional bureau. Meanwhile, we hope the minister didn't look too closely at
the AFP pix. A few may have had difficulty passing Zimbabwe's Censorship Act
we are told.

Indeed, possession of such material could be an offence!

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe this week came up with a strong rebuttal to
government's head-in-the-sand claims about the black-market trade in foreign
currency. There have been fatuous threats by the government that it might be
forced to close down all foreign currency accounts and bureaux de change to
ease shortages. According to the RBZ, this amounts to dealing only with the
symptoms of an underlying "fundamental problem".

"Simply put," said the RBZ in response to questions by the Herald, "the real
issue is Zimbabwe's inability to export more and earn more foreign
exchange . A sustainable solution is to put in place measures that ensure
exporter viability and the generation of more foreign currency .Growing
exports can only be guaranteed by creating a stable macro-economic
environment characterised by low inflation."

This is exactly what everybody has been telling the government. If anybody
has sabotaged the economy and made life unbearable for the public, it is
government whose political imperatives seem to dictate that the productive
formal sector of the economy must be superseded by the informal sector. As
long as politicians and economists pull in different directions Zimbabwe
will remain stuck in the morass for a long time to come. Trips to Havana, no
matter how many our leaders make per year, won't generate enough foreign
currency for the country. And as long as foreign currency is in short supply
people will continue to beat the system to get it.

In the Monday Business Herald there was another familiar accusation against
retailers selling cooking oil and salt in big containers which consumers
could not afford. The business reporter claimed these commodities had
"become scarce" because consumers can afford only "smaller quantities". By
some strange twist of logic, the reporter then claimed the manufacturers and
retailers are "trying to sabotage the government by creating artificial

This shows the so-called business reporter has no inkling about the purpose
of business. Companies are in business to make money and they can only make
money by charging prices that recover production costs. This they can't do
if government imposes its own prices that defy business sense.

That much must be evident to even the most dense observer.

Is Abednico Ncube a closet member of the MDC? We ask because he played a key
role this week in persuading the EU to step up sanctions against Zimbabwe.

In a recent speech he made it clear food aid would not be available to
opposition supporters.

"We do not want people who vote for colonialists and then come to us when
they want food," Ncube was quoted as saying. "You cannot vote for the MDC
and expect Zanu PF to help you."

That statement prompted British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to claim the
Mugabe regime was "willing, literally, to let people starve unless they vote
for a corrupt and bankrupt regime, to keep it in power".

Well done Abednico. We need more people like you. We have always maintained
that whenever Zanu PF seizes a propaganda advantage, just as it has over the
Jongwe affair, some fool will come along and score an own goal.
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Zim Independent

Zimbabwe/Zambia trade talks stall
Godfrey Marawanyika
LAST week's proposed meeting between Zimbabwe and Zambia to review the trade
impasse between the two countries fell through after officials from Harare
arrived 12 hours late, only to find the Zambian delegation gone.

The meeting was a follow-up to Zambia's ban earlier this month on all
Zimbabwean imports.

Despite the Zimbabwean delegation arriving late, an informal meeting was
later held between Zimbabwe's permanent secretary in the Ministry of
Industry and International Trade, Stewart Comberbach, and Comesa assistant
secretary-general Sindiso Ngwenya.

Some members of the Zimbabwean delegation only arrived on Tuesday evening
leading to the cancellation of the meeting. The meeting was scheduled for
Monday morning.

Sources said during the informal meeting it was agreed that Comesa rules had
not been followed as the Zambians had ignored the provisions of the regional
grouping's safeguard measures against product dumping.

Sources said Ngwenya made numerous recommendations including the
introduction of countervailing duties for subsidised imports.

"The Secretariat also proposed that for the dispute to be resolved Comesa
safeguard measures be applied, which include countervailing duties for
subsidised imports and influx of imports that the domestic industry cannot
compete with in cases where dumping has been established and when there are
balance of payments difficulties," said the sources.

"Ngwenya also proposed that the enforcement of the CD1 system being
implemented by Zimbabwe be supported and expedited."

Some of the companies from Zimbabwe which attended the meeting included
Cairns Foods, Turnall Fibre Cement and BAT, among others, whilst the Zambian
delegation included the Zambia Farmers Union and Zambia Association of

Last month Zambia banned imports of Zimbabwean cooking oil, wheat products,
asbestos and eggs.

The Zambian Secretary for Commerce and Industry Mbikusita Lewanika has
meanwhile said the ban on Zimbabwean products stood.

Launching the Agricultural Trade Forum (ATF) on Thursday last week, Lewanika
said historically Zambia had been too accommodating in trade at the expense
of its own economy.

"The ban on 14 Zimbabwean products remains unblocked to compel mutual trade
between the two countries," he said. "The ban is a temporary move to reduce
institutionalised smuggling."

Lewanika said at a meeting in Zimbabwe on Wednesday last week his
counterparts were unhappy with the unilateral decision effected by the
Zambian government but that the delegation from Zambia justified the need to
reduce dumping.

Lewanika said the meeting reached a consensus in which Zimbabwe agreed to
address the problem to ensure sustainable trade.
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Zim Independent

Zanu PF in bid to woo rural voters
Blessing Zulu
ZANU PF has embarked on a campaign to woo the rural electorate ahead of the
September 28/29 rural district council elections, the Zimbabwe Independent
has established.

Zanu PF councillors are distributing taxpayers' money meant for social
welfare to garner support from rural voters. Those who are 60 years old and
above are being given money for their daily upkeep. The programme began just
before the presidential poll earlier this year.

The councillors are also distributing funds in the food-for-work programme.

In Makoni West, the Independent witnessed a meeting where old people were
given $1 500 each by a Zanu PF councillor. The councillor and her team were
travelling in a Makoni District Council vehicle. The councillor was
accompanied by an armed member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and a
municipal policeman.

During the meeting, those present were first made to recite Zanu PF slogans
before getting the money. The Zanu PF councillor also extolled the virtues
of the ruling party.

"The party is very much concerned about your welfare and we should never
allow the enemy to penetrate our ranks," said the councillor.

The funds though have been drastically reduced. Just before the presidential
election in March, the elderly were given the same amount of money for each
of their dependants as the stakes were much higher then.

"You are now too many and as such we have seen it fit to give you $1 500 to
cover the whole family but Zanu PF will take care of all your needs. This is
the party that you nominated and you know what we can do," the councillor

"We are also going to ensure that all the rural areas are electrified so
that your lives will improve."

Payouts for the food-for-work programme have also been reduced from $1 000
per week to $1 500 for three weeks.

Paul Themba Nyathi, the MDC's local government spokesman, said he was aware
of the latest developments.

"Zanu PF is simply carrying on from where it left off after the presidential
election," said Nyathi.

The rural areas are being sealed off by war veterans and Zanu PF youths who
are vetting all strangers. Any suspected MDC supporters are turned back,
Nyathi said.

"We are aware that Zanu PF has cut off all rural areas and the MDC is not
allowed to campaign," he said. "They are afraid people from the cities will
influence those in the rural areas and they want to prevent this from

"The next thing that they will do is to monitor all letters sent to the
rural areas and this kind of despotism can only be compared to the Stalinist
states. Zimbabwe has now been turned into a police state," said Nyathi.

The food aid being donated by the international community has also been
politicised, he said.

"There is clear evidence that MDC members countrywide are being excluded
from feeding programmes," he said. "There is further evidence that Zanu PF
is seeking to control feeding programmes countrywide so as to bolster its

The MDC called for the de-politicisation of food aid and welcomed the
decision by multilateral donors to caution Mugabe.

"Whilst we are gratified that the director of the World Food Programme
warned Mugabe at the African Union meeting in South Africa that the WFP
would show zero tolerance if food was used as a political weapon, we remain
concerned that Mugabe's assurance that this would not happen was too readily
accepted," said Nyathi.
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Zim Independent

Libya under pressure to stop Zim fuel supplies
Barnabas Thondhlana
GOVERNMENT is negotiating an extension of the US$360 million Libyan oil deal
amid reports that the European Union is exerting pressure on Libyan leader
Muammar Gaddafi to stop supporting President Robert Mugabe's repressive

Government sources last week said a delegation, comprising Jewel Bank CEO
Gideon Gono and Mines and Energy minister Edward Chindori-Chininga, had been
to Libya to negotiate the new deal, expected to be in place in September for
12 months.

Libya supplies 70% of Zimbabwe's fuel needs with the outstanding 30% coming
by overland deliveries from South Africa and the International Petroleum
Group of Kuwait.

It is understood the new deal will see the Libyans investing in
infrastructure developments and participating in export barter deals.

Already, fuel outages are being experienced in the country, with reports
that outlying areas have run out of petrol and diesel. In Harare, a number
of service stations were without fuel last week.

Petroleum Marketers Association of Zimbabwe (PMAZ) spokesman Masimba
Kambarami however said the fuel situation was stable.

"We might have sporadic shortages here and there, but as far as the PMAZ is
concerned, the stock levels are stable and there is no cause for alarm,"
Kambarami said.

Fuel industry sources said the new deal would see Zimbabwe meeting part
repayment of the US$360 million package in local currency over 90 days, with
the foreign component being paid 30 days later.

"The new suppliers' and financing agreements are being worked on now and as
soon as the jigsaw puzzle falls in place, the deal will become effective,"
said an industry source. "Although the deal is supposed to become effective
in September, the period can be reduced if everything is to the parties'

The deal could see the Libyans building hotels and filling stations in the
country. Outstanding from the current agreement is the finalisation of the
Libyans' interest in the Rainbow Tourism Group, which is currently 1,4% but
is due to rise to 14%. The Libyans are understood to be in the process of
registering a local company to oversee their shareholding in the hotel

John Corrie, the honorary president of the 92-nation
Africa/Caribbean/Pacific - European Union (EU) Joint Parliamentary Assembly,
last week said the EU parliament would approach Gaddafi through developed
countries which buy fuel from Libya to exert pressure on him.

The EU parliament recently passed a resolution to urge "Libya and other
states to end material support that reinforces President Mugabe's

"We are asking all developed countries which buy fuel from Libya to pressure
it to stop trading with Zimbabwe, otherwise it will risk their orders,"
Corrie said.

With the maverick Libyan leader seeking to become a member of the New
Partnership for Africa's Development, Libya is likely to find itself more
susceptible to international diplomacy aimed at finding a solution to the
Zimbabwe crisis.
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Zim Independent

CBZ in US$95m maize deal
Vincent Kahiya
THE Jewel Bank (CBZ) has on be-half of the Grain Marketing Board (GMB)
secured 500 000 tonnes of white maize worth about US$95 million from South
America as part of private sector participation in food importation, the
Zimbabwe Independent has established.

Industry sources said the recently concluded deal is the largest single
grain purchase by the country since the current crisis set in and should
help ease the current maize meal shortage.

Major donors have been pushing the government to allow private-sector
participation in food imports to augment the GMB which was last year granted
a monopoly to trade in maize and wheat.

It has also been established that on Monday the GMB went to tender for the
importation of 50 000 tonnes of wheat. This is despite pronouncements by
Agriculture minister Joseph Made that there was enough wheat in the country
and bread shortages were due to hoarding. The bids should be adjudicated in
the coming week.

The Independent has it on good authority that the Jewel Bank - which will
directly pay the supplier - negotiated the deal on behalf of the GMB whose
maize importation activities have been constrained by poor logistics and
lack of foreign currency.

The sources said the government, through the GMB, will repay the loan to the
Jewel Bank, which has also been instrumental in securing lines of credit for

Since the beginning of the year the GMB has managed to import about 500 000
tonnes of maize, mainly from South Africa, Brazil, China and Kenya.

This has, however, failed to meet the requisite monthly consumption of 120
000 tonnes. A recent United Nations report said Zimbabwe needs to import 2,2
million tonnes of maize to avert disaster.

This week, the Jewel Bank's investor and public relations executive Sunsleey
Chamunorwa was not able to shed light on the huge deal citing client/bank
confidentiality. "As we have stated before, we cannot, due to client/bank
confidentiality, disclose to the media all the transactions that we do on
behalf of the country or our clients," he said.

Industry sources this week said the first shipments of the maize through the
port of Beira would be in August. The GMB has already invited road
transporters to participate in the movement of the grain to augment the rail
system that is slower and less efficient.

Meanwhile, imports from Kenya are threatened as the East African country
earlier this month curtailed exports of maize to insure the country against
future shortages.

It is understood Zimbabwe has ordered 80 000 tonnes of maize from Kenya, of
which 30 000 has already been delivered while a ship carrying 25 000 tonnes
docked at Beira this week. Another 25 000 tonnes has not been delivered and
it is not clear whether this would be delivered following the halt in
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ZIMBABWE: Producer price rise not enough - farmers

JOHANNESBURG, 26 July (IRIN) - The Zimbabwe government's announced increase this week in the producer price of maize and wheat is too low and does not cover escalating production costs, farmers' representatives told IRIN.

The price of maize had been raised to Zim $28,000 per mt (US $509 at the official rate), from Zim $15,000 (US $272) and wheat from Zim $25,000 (US $454) to Zim $40,000 (US $727) per mt.  The government-controlled Grain Marketing Board (GMB) would still sell the maize at the subsidised price of Zim $9,600 (US $174) per mt and wheat at Zim $29,600 (US $538) per mt.

The minister of lands, agriculture and rural resettlement, Joseph Made, told the media this was to encourage more farmers to produce maize as a commercial crop and to ensure adequate supplies. It also showed the government's commitment to the land reform programme, he said.

"We find it [the increase] unrealistic in the environment of hyper-inflation that we have at the moment," said Doug Taylor-Freeme, vice president of commodities for the Commercial Farmers Union.

A more accurate producer price would be about Zim $60,000 per mt (US $1,090) as it cost about Zim $43,000 per mt (US $781) to produce the maize, he said.

"We believe the prices should be set on an export/import parity basis. At the moment Zimbabwe imports from countries in the region, like South Africa, and we pay a higher price to South African farmers to import but we should be paying this to local farmers."

Vanessa McKay of the Zimbabwe Grain Producers Association said the new price was not likely to be an incentive as costs had increased 122 percent.

"We've just gone through a difficult agricultural season and large scale farmers need to recover from the losses they made during the dry period. They have to be able to buy adequate inputs for next season. [The increase] is not nearly enough to put farmers in a strong position for next season," she said.

McKay said the current poor prices had already created a thriving parallel "bucket" market run by small scale farmers.
In defiance of laws banning anyone other than the GMB selling grain, they were selling buckets of maize in markets for up to Zim $83,000 per mt (US $1,509).

The government's grain policy, which also prohibits private imports and fixes the selling price, has been cited as one of the contributors to the country's chronic grain shortage.

McKay warned that by the end of July the country would have a total "stock out" of maize. Wheat is already rationed. The World Food Programme has warned that up to six million people will not have enough food this year because of the complex food crisis.

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Zimbabwe police arrest opposition MP

AFP - Police in Zimbabwe have arrested an opposition legislator in the
centre of the country after shots fired from a convoy of vehicles in which
he was travelling injured four people, a newspaper said.

Austin Mupandawana, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) MP for Kadoma,
was arrested in politically-charged violence in the city ahead of mayoral
elections due this weekend, the state-run Herald newspaper reported.

"The suspected MDC members had in the process allegedly fired three shots
injuring the victims," police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena was quoted as

Mupandawana's arrest came after police earlier Thursday summoned MDC
president Morgan Tsvangirai to make a statement on allegations that he had
threatened to overthrow President Robert Mugabe.

Tsvangirai is already facing charges, which he denies, of plotting to
assassinate Mugabe. He is alleged to have made the latest threats during a
rally held in May.
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