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Zimbabwe currency crashes; inflation as high as 9,000%


POSTED: 1701 GMT (0101 HKT), June 21, 2007

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- The value of the Zimbabwean dollar suffered its
worst crash in memory, dealers said Thursday, sparking a run on dollars and
forcing stores to close early to put new prices on their meager stock.

Black market exchange rates -- fueled by the central bank buying at the
illegal rates to pay the mounting debts of crumbling state fuel and power
utilities -- rose to upward of 300,000 Zimbabwe dollars to one U.S. dollar
in large offshore deals, said one trader.

The official exchange rate is 15,000-1.

"It's gone crazy," said the trader, who spoke on condition of anonymity
because his dealings are illegal. "People are holding out for the highest
bidder and mentioning as much as 400,000-1 which could be tomorrow's price.
It's changing by the hour."

The going rate doubled since Monday, he said

In local deals, the U.S. currency fetched at least 140,000-1 in cash and
around 200,000-1 in electronic bank transfers. Shortages of Zimbabwe bank
notes created the premium on bank transfers, said the illegal dealer.

Zimbabwe has the world's highest rate of inflation, estimated officially at
around 4,500 percent but calculated by independent finance houses at closer
to 9,000 percent.

A hardware store in northern Harare closed its doors Monday through Tuesday
to re-price all its goods. Supermarkets and other shops are planning to
shorten opening hours to make price changes, enabling them to buy
replacement stock at higher prices.

A journalist for Zimbabwe's official Herald newspaper reported that she had
returned home from a week in South Africa to discover that during her
absence the price of beef had increased 2.5 times, a bottle of cooking oil
had doubled and bus fares had gone up between three and fivefold.

"The price movements in the past week are nothing short of total madness,"
wrote Victoria Ruzvidzo in Thursday's edition of the newspaper, a government

Store managers say the range of goods on sale has diminished drastically -- 
imported products are expensive and local factories are too crippled by
inflation to produce goods. Meanwhile, the few workers who can afford the
fuel to get to work are demanding higher wages.

"If it goes on like this, we'll have nothing to sell, we'll have no staff
and we'll have to close down completely," said one store manager who asked
not to be identified out of fear of being targeted for being "a prophet of
doom" by often-violent ruling party militants.

The illegal black market money dealer said talks held in South Africa this
week between the Zimbabwe government and the country's political opposition
also led to business uncertainty.

The official media on Thursday accused the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change of negotiating "in bad faith" to end the nation's
political deadlock.

The Herald quoted government sources saying current visits to Europe by
opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara were meant to
scuttle the regional initiative led by South African President to bring the
two sides to the table.

It described the opposition leaders' trip to meet with European leaders and
canvass for support from incoming British Prime Minister Gordon Brown as

President Robert Mugabe has repeatedly accused Britain and the United States
of backing a campaign by his opponents to oust him with funding and

South African President Thabo Mbeki was to report to an African Union summit
the end of next week on the state of the negotiations, his Deputy Foreign
Minister Aziz Pahad said Thursday.

Zimbabwe's official media also alleged Thursday it received "a secret
document" on a plot by Western countries to undermine the economy
masterminded by Zimbabweans and foreigners known as the Fishmongers Group.

Western economic measures including a freeze on balance of payments loans
and curbs on investment and aid.

Once longtime ruler Mugabe left office, Western countries planned to step in
with a $3 billion rescue package to rebuild the nation, the state daily
Chronicle reported in the second city of Bulawayo.

Western officials have confirmed the existence of budget proposals for food
support, public services reform and the rebuilding of agriculture and
general infrastructure over five years in a new political landscape led by
reformist Zimbabwean politicians.

But according to the fiercely pro-Mugabe official media, the so-called
Fishmongers Group was "working overtime to destroy the economy, mutilate the
Zimbabwe dollar, foment civil unrest and then dangle a rescue package to win
the support of gullible politicians."

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Zimbabwe inflation 'to hit 1.5m%'

Andrew Meldrum in Johannesburg
Thursday June 21, 2007
Guardian Unlimited

Zimbabwe's inflation will rocket to 1.5m% before the end of the year, the US
ambassador to Harare predicted today, forecasting massive disruption and
instability that will drive President Robert Mugabe from office.
In a telephone interview with the Guardian, Christopher Dell said prices
were going up twice a day, sapping popular confidence in a government that
is now "committing regime change on itself".

"I believe inflation will hit 1.5m% by the end of 2007, if not before," Mr
Dell said. "I know that sounds stratospheric but, looking at the way things
are going, I believe it is a modest forecast."

Zimbabwe's official inflation is 4,500% but independent economists and
retailers say it is actually above 11,000% and picking up speed. The black
market rate for the pound soared from Z$160,000 last week to Z$400,000 this
week. The US dollar rate has topped Z$250,000, while the official rate is
fixed at just Z$250. Mr Mugabe stubbornly insists that the Zimbabwe currency
must not be devalued.
"Prices are going up twice a day, in some cases doubling several times a
week," said Mr Dell, who is approaching the end of his posting to Zimbabwe.
"It destabilises everything. People have completely lost faith in the
currency and that means they have lost faith in the government that issues

"By carrying out disastrous economic policies, the Mugabe government is
committing regime change upon itself," he said. "Things have reached a
critical point. I believe the excitement will come in a matter of months, if
not weeks. The Mugabe government is reaching end game, it is running out of

For Zimbabweans living in the turmoil of economic meltdown, hyperinflation
is spreading poverty, as even basic goods become unaffordable. Supermarkets'
trollies lie idle as few can afford to buy more than a handful of goods.
Government regulations will only permit withdrawals from banks of Z$1.5m per
day, which is not enough to buy a week's worth of groceries.

At golf courses, golfers pay for their drinks before they set off on their
round, because the price will have gone up by the time they have finished
the 18th hole. One individual was recently told by a pension company that it
would no longer send him statements as his fund was worth less than the
price of a stamp.

"I can barely cope with inflation in the thousands, but millions? We will
die," said Iddah Mandaza, a Harare factory worker. Mr Mandaza said some
workers are now saving on transport costs by "going to their jobs on Monday
and sleeping at the workplace until Friday. They all share their meals.
That's what they do to get by."

Many Zimbabweans are resorting to barter. "I traded some soap for two
buckets of maize meal [Zimbabwe's staple food]. It was far much better than
trying to buy it in the shops," said worker Richard Mukondo. "People in the
rural areas are even worse off. You can see they are hungry and their
clothes are in tatters. They trade in whatever they can produce: tomatoes,
onions, chickens and eggs."

Tony Hawkins, professor of economics at the University of Zimbabwe, said
that no one holds cash in the country any more. "People spend it as soon as
they get it. Goods hold their value, not money. The government has run out
of solutions. At this rate perhaps inflation could hit 1m%, but one gets a
sense that things will crack before then."

At the other end of the technological scale, enterprising Zimbabweans abroad
have set up internet trading schemes, such as, in which
Zimbabweans overseas pay for goods with foreign currency and then vouchers
for fuel, food and medicines are sent to recipients in Zimbabwe via email or
on their cell phones.

This business has thrived because more than three million Zimbabweans - a
quarter of the country's 12 million people - now live abroad. Half of
Zimbabwe's families depend on remittances from overseas to pay basic monthly
bills, according to a recent survey by the University of Zimbabwe.

Mr Dell, 51, who has had a tumultuous three years as ambassador to Zimbabwe,
said that Mr Mugabe faces further trouble from his army, which used to be
considered solidly loyal to the president. Last week six men, including an
army private and a retired senior officer, were charged in court for
plotting against the president. He said the allegations of the coup plot
show divisions within Mr Mugabe's ruling party, the Zimbabwe African
National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF).

"I don't believe it was a real coup plot. I think it shows one side of
Zanu-PF plotting against the other. The bitter factional infighting is now
dragging in the military. That cannot be good news for Mugabe," said Mr
Dell. South African president Thabo Mbeki's efforts to mediate between
Zanu-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are "the
last great hope for a peaceful resolution to Zimbabwe's crisis", Mr Dell

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Zimbabwe sets up taskforce to monitor prices

Yahoo News

HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe has set up a task force to monitor prices of basic
goods and probe shortages fuelling the country's runanawy inflation, a
cabinet minister said Thursday.

"The task force is being set up to monitor the prices (of goods) and their
disappearance from the formal market," Industry and International Trade
Minister Obert Mpofu told AFP.
"It was approved by cabinet on Tuesday. We have realised that firms are
hiking their prices almost everyday."

"The task force was set up in line with the signing of the incomes and
stabilisation protocol."

President Robert Mugabe last month signed the National Incomes and Pricing
Commission Act as part of a clutch of measures aimed to rein back galloping
price rises which is believed to have reached 4,500 percent.

Mpofu said the task force will compel manufacturers to display selling
prices for controlled goods.

The creation of the task force came amid a spate of price increases over the
past three weeks with a litre of petrol going up from 60,000 Zimbabwean
dollars (240 US dollars at the official rate but 41 US cents at the black
market) to 180,000 dollars and bus fares from the city centre to the suburbs
jumping more than 200 percent.

Analysts however warned that the appointment of the task force to control
prices will spawn a burgeoning parallel market of the monitored products.

"These populist policies do not work," independent economist Victor Zirebgwa

"The parallel market of the products they want to monitor will simply crop
up. I am yet to see a regulated commodity that is efficiently supplied."

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries Callisto Jokonya said: "Controls will
not give you results."

The southern African country is in the midst of an economic recession
characterised by high inflation, massive unemployment and chronic shortages
of foreign currency and basic goods like fuel and the staple cornmeal,
largely blamed on Mugabe's government.

Mugabe however blames the woes on targeted sanctions imposed on himself and
members of his inner circle by Western powers.

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'Mugabe made us into refugees' - Murambatsvina victims talk about living in Zimbabwe today

Sokwanele Civic Action Support Group (Sokwanele)

Date: 21 Jun 2007

Yesterday was World Refugee Day. Many Zimbabweans have been left homeless
and struggling to survive as a result of the government's senseless
'Operation Murambatvina' - a policy of 'clearing out the trash', which
manifested itself in the destruction of homes, trading stalls and the theft
of property. What kind of leaders, are these, who destroy peoples' homes at
the height of a harsh winter leaving women and children at the mercy of the
elements? What kind of mind conceives such an evil and heartless thought? We
asked a supporter to write us a piece that included real-life stories of
Murambatsvina refugees in Zimbabwe. Names have been changed in this article.

It is winter again, a time when the majority of Zimbabweans are reflecting
on the beginning of the most barbaric and catastrophic act, by a
totalitarian regime, in 2005. The satanic act, which was engaged without
proper consideration of the repercussions, continues to wreak havoc on the
lives of millions of poor Zimbabweans. Since 2005, winter has been
characterized with bitter memories of the loss of homes, house hold
property, flea markets, offices, the pain from beatings and torture and
unfortunate deaths of some loved ones, during another act of madness by
Mugabe, the second after Gukuruhundi.

Mugabe, Chihuri and Chombo defended "Op M" (Operation Murambatsvina) as a
clean up exercise meant to wean the unwanted garbage, which later turned out
to be humans in the form of city dwellers, perceived to the sympathetic to
the opposition MDC.

Tempers were beginning to boil two months after another rigged 2005
parliamentary election which pitted the ruling Zanu PF party against the
MDC, giving the ruling party the required two thirds, to amend the
constitution. To counter a possible uprising, Mugabe acting upon
intelligence from the JOC (Joint Operation Command) embarked on the
operation which not only caused massive sufferings but invited condemnations
from the UN and the world over.

Society was disintegrated, those with rural homes leaving towns for good.
The remaining folks were with either forcibly moved to unknown places or
detention centers where they were quarantined. Sources of income were
destroyed and rentals shot to alarming rates, making the cost of living in
cities very high. The drama is still unfolding.

Sally Phiri (35), a mother of three and a widow, had her flea markets along
what was formerly Union Avenue and Rezende Street, closed, losing all her
wares in the process (the Police and City Police claimed vendors goods for

"I lost everything, they took goods worth $30 million by then, I remember a
police officer complaining that we should suffer because we voted for MDC"
Sally Phiri said.

Back home, Sally's brick walled cabin was destroyed in Mbare, leaving her
with nowhere to go. As a 'Phiri', Sally's origin is Malawi - a country she
has never even visited before. At the Malawi High Commission, she was asked
to denounce Zimbabwean citizenship before attaining Malawian status since
she is above 21 years of age. The dilemma Sally found herself in has reduced
her to a beggar, and she now lives in the open air in the same yard of her
former lodgings.

Sally's new home has beds, wardrobe, cardboard boxes and plastic functioning
as walls, exposing her and her three children to cold and rain.

Sally Phiri is not the only one in this predicament. Currently in most
high-density areas of Harare, families are still sleeping in the open,
especially in back yards. Those with houses had their extensions destroyed
leaving as much as twelve people in the same family sleeping in two or three
roomed houses. Thus the social moral fibre has been eroded since boys and
girls are forced to sleep in one room.

"All I need is a place where I can access a toilet and clean water. I will
never forgive Mugabe and his people for doing this to me" said Sally.

In Kuwadzana Stembile Moyo (38) a divorcee and mother of four now lives in
an old and disused car at a former home industry site where the only toilet
was closed. The place has no clean water and the few families now living
there fetch their water from a well, where litter such as "used condoms" are

"I cannot afford to pay rent anymore so I was chased from by lodgings. I am
a vendor at a beerhall as well as a lady of the night, but I am still
finding it tough because customers are shying away because of the HIV/AIDS
scourge" said Moyo.

Both Phiri and Moyo expressed bitterness at the criteria used by the
Zimbabwean government to allocate "Operation Garikayi" stands and homes.
Coincidentally they both registered to benefit from "GariKai" at the same
time but were shocked to hear that only civil servants from the Zimbabwe
Republic Police, Zimbabwe National Army, Air Force and Zanu PF activists and
other government departments benefited instead.

Those allocated stands at Snake Park, Hopely Farm and Calidonia Farm, have
however not been allowed to finish building, not even their toilets. The
places do not have running water except at Caledonia farm, where an NGO
donated a borehole, which also feeds the entire Tafara area. The plastic
walls demarcating the houses have been blamed for fueling prostitution as
privacy no longer exists.

School girls have also been reported to be engaging in prostitution as well
because their families were displaced by Op M and forced to relocate to
areas far from their schools. Parents are failing to give them bus fares,
leaving them vulnerable.

In the run up to the Budiriro by-election in 2006, unconfirmed reports from
MDC indicate that, most people who registered to benefit from Op Garikayi
had their names obliterated from the voters roll. MDC argued that without a
general nation wide election, there was no way the government could have
known who might have relocated from Budiriro. In essence the Mugabe regime
started their preparation for the 2008 election long back.

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Mbeki to report to African leaders on Zimbabwe talks progress

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: June 21, 2007

PRETORIA, South Africa: South African President Thabo Mbeki will report to
African leaders at the end of next week on the state of negotiations to
solve Zimbabwe's political crisis.

Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad said Thursday that Mbeki would brief the
Southern African Development Community on the progress with his Zimbabwe
mediation efforts, most likely on the sidelines of the African Union summit
in Ghana July 1-3.

Southern African states named Mbeki as mediator earlier this year at the
height of an international furor over the Zimbabwe government's brutal
clampdown on opposition leaders. Mbeki advocates quiet diplomacy rather than
public criticism.

Two Zimbabwe government ministers met earlier this week with leaders of the
Movement for Democratic Change in Pretoria, but there has been no word about
the outcome.

The talks have been cloaked in such secrecy that Pahad denied all knowledge
of them, even though they were reported in Zimbabwe's official media.

"As the Department of Foreign Affairs, we are not aware of any meeting that
has taken place," he told a regular press conference.
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said Wednesday that the focus of the
negotiations with the government was on presidential elections scheduled
next March.

"We are bit anxious what needs to be done to create the conditions for free
and fair elections," Tsvangirai said in Brussels during a a tour of European
capitals. "We may actually be running out (of time) for it."

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Zimbabwe government, opposition agree on agenda for talks: report

Monsters and critics

Jun 21, 2007, 8:39 GMT

Johannesburg - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party and
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have agreed on the
agenda for talks aimed at ending the country's political crisis, the Star
newspaper reported Thursday.

After two days of talks behind closed doors in South Africa party officials
have agreed to discuss issues persistently raised by both parties, the Star,
which has well-placed sources within the MDC, said.

These included such opposition beefs as the need for a new constitution, the
reopening of closed independent newspapers, the establishment of new,
independent electoral bodies and the restoration of the rule of law.

In return, the MDC agreed to discuss some of Zanu-PF's favourite themes,
such as Mugabe's claims that the country's economic crisis is the result of
Western sanctions and of unfulfilled promises on land reform.

The octogenarian Zimbabwean leader, who is seeking re-election in 2008, has
repeatedly claimed that Britain reneged on an agreement to fund land reform
in its former colony - a charge Britain denies.

South African President Thabo Mbeki has been tasked by the Southern African
Development Community to mediate in the Zimbabwean crisis in the run-up to
next year's presidential and parliamentary elections.

Mbeki is due to report back on his progress by the end of the month.

This week's talks in Pretoria were the first direct official talks between
Zanu-PF and the MDC.

Further talks are planned in the coming weeks, with the BBC quoting MDC
officials as talking of another round as soon as Friday.

© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur

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Agenda for Talks Set But is There Political Will?

SW Radio Africa (London)

21 June 2007
Posted to the web 21 June 2007

Violet Gonda

After reports of much disagreement the opposition and the ruling party have
finally agreed on the agenda for talks. But observers say the sticking point
will be whether or not there is political will. Agreeing on the agenda does
not mean progress in terms of the final outcome.

It is understood that the only reason ZANU PF is in these talks is out of
fear of losing SADC support if they are not seen to be co-operating with the
regional initiative. ZANU PF had already spurned the talks twice and was
reportedly warned by Mbeki that he will not tolerate any more delaying

Journalist Basildon Peta who has been following events closely in South
Africa said because of the clear reluctance of the ruling party to be part
of this dialogue, some South African officials are only "cautiously
optimistic" about the outcome. He said: "Yes they have agreed on the agenda,
now it comes to the substance and if you look at the positions of the two
parties, their differences are like the distance between the North and South
Poles so it is going to be difficult to get agreements in the end."

The talks have now been adjourned to early July and South African President
Thabo Mbeki is expected to report to his Tanzanian counterpart Jakaya
Kikwete next week. Kikwete is the Chairperson of the SADC troika on Defence,
Politics and Security. Mbeki is expected to reconvene the dialogue in early
July where the substantive issues will be discussed.

Peta said sources close to the talks say topics the opposition has managed
to get on the agenda include the controversial issue of a new constitution,
how to ensure free and fair elections next year, the amendment of repressive
legislations, the re-opening of closed newspapers and the restoration of the
rule of law.

"And on the ZANU PF side they managed to put on the agenda issues close to
their heart. Land reform and the role of external players in Zimbabwe and
regime change allegations," the journalist added.

Sources say the meeting was nearly derailed by the rants of the ZANU PF
officials, especially from the Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa who at
times became militant.

Peta says this is why many rule out any prospects of this dialogue achieving
anything tangible. He said: "ZANU PF has become a moribund entity, an
anachronistic institution. I just don't see anyone to knock any sense into
Chinamasa and Goche's heads to accept the reality that they ought to accept,
if there is going to be any significant change in Zimbabwe in terms of
ensuring free and fair elections."

But while the political parties are talking about talks, observers say there
is a real risk that the talks will be eclipsed by the economic collapse.
Analysts say runaway inflation may result in an early exit for Robert

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Rumblings within

Jun 21st 2007 | JOHANNESBURG

From The Economist print edition

More dissent in the ruling party and in the army does not mean the end is

THE political temperature in Zimbabwe may be rising again. Last week seven
men, including serving and retired soldiers, appeared in court, accused of
plotting a coup to overthrow President Robert Mugabe. This week, under South
African stewardship, a delegation from Zimbabwe's ruling party met both
factions of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in Pretoria,
South Africa's capital. In March leaders of the 14-country Southern African
Development Community had asked Thabo Mbeki, South Africa's president, to
facilitate such discussions to prepare for elections in Zimbabwe next year.
Does this mean Mr Mugabe is on his last legs?

Not yet. But Mr Mugabe may be rattled by discord within the armed forces,
albeit apparently at quite a low level. The alleged plotters say they were
only trying to create a new political party. But discontent in the military
rank and file, badly hurt by the economic meltdown, is rising.

Though the top brass is a lot better off, the armed forces may at other
levels be splitting along the same fault-line that runs through Mr Mugabe's
ruling Zanu-PF party. Some Zimbabweans say that Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former
speaker of Parliament and long-time security minister, and Solomon Mujuru,
the vice-president's husband and a former army head, may be linked to the
alleged plot, though this may just be speculation. Mr Mnangagwa strongly
denies involvement.

The opposition has laid out a road map towards the elections due next year.
It wants to scrap laws curtailing freedom of the press and of assembly. It
also wants new electoral rules, reform of the constitution and an end to
state-sponsored violence and intimidation. And it wants the 3m or so
Zimbabweans who have left the country to be allowed to vote. For its part,
the ruling Zanu-PF wants sanctions lifted and Britain to help with land
reform. This week the two sides apparently agreed to an agenda for

Yet, at the same time, Mr Mugabe's government is pushing controversial laws
through parliament. One allows for phone calls and e-mails to be monitored.
Next month the ruling party is expected to table constitutional amendments
that would tighten its grip on power. For instance, Parliament, rather than
the Zimbabwean people in a direct vote, would pick a new president, were the
incumbent to step down between elections. Another proposed change would
boost parliamentary representation in rural areas, where Zanu-PF has its
base, and give fewer seats to the towns, where the MDC predominates.

Meanwhile, inflation is hovering around 4,500%, and eight Zimbabweans in ten
do not have formal jobs. Some aid agencies say the government may fall
within six months or so, as the economy collapses, but they have been saying
so for some time. Though the formal economy is in dire straits, Zimbabweans
have learnt to cope in other ways, mainly by relying on the black market and
getting help from friends and family abroad. The UN's World Food Programme
says that by next year 4.1m Zimbabweans may need food handouts, otherwise
they may starve.

"African economies, like old soldiers, do not die," says Arthur Mutambara,
the leader of a breakaway faction of the MDC whose passport has just been
confiscated. At least the grimness of the economy gives Zimbabwe's
neighbours some levers: they can dangle promises of economic help to nudge
negotiations along. But a small elite connected to Mr Mugabe and Zanu-PF has
vested interests in the current system, where price controls and an
artificial exchange rate offer juicy possibilities for making fortunes. It
is not at all clear that they would risk a settlement that might see them
booted out of power.

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Still looking for a saviour

Thursday June 21, 2007
The Guardian

This week it was revealed that talks were taking place in Pretoria between
Zimbabwe's government and the two wings of its main opposition party, the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). They have been under way for some
time, but in keeping with South Africa's policy of quiet diplomacy, few
details have emerged, other than the names of the participants. If and when
progress is reached, it will be announced by South Africa's president Thabo
Mbeki, who was appointed as a mediator by the Southern African Development

Article continues



This is a welcome development - at face value. International aid agencies
warned recently that with inflation running at over 3,700%, Zimbabwe's
economy could collapse within six months. Up to a third of the country's 12
million people could be on food aid by the end of the year because of
drought. Already up to 3 million Zimbabweans have crossed the border into
South Africa. Wait any longer and South Africa could have a major
humanitarian crisis on its doorstep.
There is, however, good reason for scepticism that a breakthrough will be
achieved. The ANC has always been reluctant to hold a fellow freedom fighter
like Robert Mugabe up to the standards it sets for the rest of the continent
and it has consistently endorsed as free and fair elections that were
condemned by the rest of the world. If the two sides in the Pretoria were
talking exclusively about the conditions in which new elections would be
held next year, (that they should have foreign observers, that Zimbabweans
who have fled the country should be allowed to vote), there would be every
reason to believe that Mr Mugabe would carry on, as he always has done.

The standard by which these talks should be judged is a transfer of power
now to a coalition government formed by Zanu-PF and both wings of the MDC,
leading to constitutional change and elections held in the full glare of
international scrutiny. Even that standard contains major potential
pitfalls, such is the potential for playing on the splits within the MDC by
buying off individual members.

If Britain's megaphone diplomacy manifestly failed, Mr Mbeki's more muted
version can only work if he is prepared to bring real pressure to bear on Mr
Mugabe. The government in Pretoria argues that if it were to cut off the
electricity it supplies to Zimbabwe, or close the border, it would only be
meting out more punishment to the victims of Mr Mugabe's regime. Better, the
argument goes, to seek a constituency within Zanu-PF strong enough to tell
Mr Mugabe to go. If that happens, not only would Mr Mbeki be vindicated, but
South Africa could truly show its leadership in Africa.

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Fire guts Zim's sole newsprint producer

Mail and Guardian

Harare, Zimbabwe

21 June 2007 05:35

      A fire that broke out this week at Zimbabwe's only newsprint
producer has crippled production, the official Herald daily said on

      Newsprint for the handful of newspapers still operating in
Zimbabwe comes from the eastern border city of Mutare, which lies close to a
number of timber plantations.

      But in a dire blow for the struggling newspaper industry,
firefighters had to be called in to Mutare Board and Paper Mills on Tuesday
night to douse the flames of the freak fire, the report said.

      "An alert worker on duty noticed the fire and tried to put it
out, but failed. He then raised the fire alarm, said police spokesperson
Brian Makomeke.

       There was no water in the fire hydrant to put out the blaze,
worsening the damage, the report said.

      At least one machine has been severely damaged and pulp products
destroyed. No foul play is suspected.

      Residents of Mutare said there were no copies of the Herald on
sale early on Thursday morning. The price of the paper was raised again last
week to Z$25 000, the same as a loaf of bread.

      The newspaper industry is struggling to keep pace with
Zimbabwe's skyrocketing inflation, believed to have topped 4 530% in May.
The authorities have yet to release official figures.

       Operations at Mutare Board and Paper Mills were expected to
return to normal in seven days, the Herald said. -- Sapa-dpa

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Zimbabwe imports 60,000T wheat to ease shortage


Thu 21 Jun 2007, 5:51 GMT

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe has imported 60,000 tonnes of wheat worth $25
million to ease bread shortages after millers in the crisis-hit southern
African country ran out of the grain, the official Herald newspaper reported
on Thursday.

Wheat is Zimbabwe's second staple grain, after maize, but the country -- a
regional breadbasket before President Robert Mugabe's drive to seize land
from whites to resettle landless blacks -- has failed to meet its annual
consumption requirements of between 400,000 and 450,000 tonnes.

Earlier this year, Mugabe's government revealed Zimbabwe would miss its
target of 400,000 tonnes as most of the newly resettled farmers did not have
sufficient inputs such as seed, fuel and fertiliser.

The Herald said the central bank had given the state-owned Grain Marketing
Board (GMB) $25 million to import wheat from Argentina after stocks ran out.

"The imports would ensure uninterrupted wheat supply for the next three
months," the newspaper said, adding that deliveries had started arriving in
the country this week.

Due to the shortage, the GMB had cut weekly wheat supplies to millers from
6,000 tonnes to 3,000 tonnes, the newspaper reported.

Zimbabwe also faces a huge maize deficit and plans to import at least
500,000 tonnes of the staple grain.

Multilateral agencies, the U.N Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and
the World Food Programme (WFP) have said more than a third of Zimbabweans
will need food aid by early 2008, following another poor harvest this year.

Critics say Mugabe's land seizure drive has caused food shortages, but the
veteran leader denies this charge and blames droughts and western sanctions
for the dip in agricultural production.

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Financially-crippled GMB is luring farmers with empty bags for free in order to have grain

The Zimbabwean

 By Mercy Mujuru
IN a desperate bid to entice farmers into delivering their grain to Grain
Marketing Board (GMB) currently running empty silos the government has
offered to issue empty maize bags on credit to farmers.

Addressing journalists in Harare this afternoon, agriculture deputy
minister, David Chapfika said GMB will soon be issuing empty maize bags to
farmers on credit and will recover the money on delivery of grain to the

Said Chapfika, "The GMB has been instructed to issue the available grain
bags on credit in manageable tranches to bona-fide farmers and these will be
recovered on delivery of grain.

"Those farmers who are able to provide their own bags will be refunded for
the cost of such bags.I am also pleased to advise that individuals
transporting maize for own domestic consumption will be allowed a maximum of
three 50kg bags,".

He pleaded with farmers to deliver their grain "in bulk" to their nearest
GMB depots.

He also said government was going to open new GMB grain collection centres
countrywide before July 1.

"Deliveries of up to 10 tonnes will be paid for in cash or by cheque on
delivery at a price of $4,2 million per tonne. Adequate resources have been
mobilised to ensure all maize deliveries are timeously paid for", he said.

He warned farmers and other traders against side-marketing, saying the
statutory instrument classifying maize and wheat as controlled commodities
was still in force.

"These commodities can only be marketed through the GMB and any dealing
outside of the official channel is illegal.

"Farmers are, therefore, required to abide by these requirements of the law
by marketing all their surplus grain through the GMB", he warned.

His warning came amid reports that most grain producers were resorting to
side-marketing in a bid to break even as GMB returns were "too low".

Once known as the bread-basket of Southern Africa Development Community,
Zimbabwe is battling severe grain shortage, due to poor agricultural seasons
culminating from the government orchestrated land reform programme which
drove more than 3 000 experienced white commercial farmers out of the
country since 2000- CAJ News.

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Doomsday Predictions May be Premature

Institute for War & Peace Reporting

New report suggests runaway inflation will drive Zimbabwe out of business by
year end, but experts say this ignores the underlying resilience of
grassroots economic activity.

By Florence Ushe in Harare (AR No. 118, 21-June-07)

International aid agencies based in Zimbabwe are predicting that the country's
economy will implode within the next six months, potentially leading to
major social unrest.

But economists interviewed by IWPR disagree, saying total meltdown is not
imminent, and crediting Zimbabwe's informal sector with keeping disaster at
bay when under normal circumstances everything should have ground to a halt
a long time ago.

The Heads of Agencies Contact Group, which represents close to 40 aid groups
and other non-government organisations, including the United Nations, the
Red Cross and Oxfam, have warned that the country's economy will completely
cease to function by December this year.

The Heads of Agencies report, issued last week and compiled by private
consultants to raise awareness among international organisations, donors and
their staff in Zimbabwe, said aid groups should brace themselves for a
scenario where shops and businesses closed, the Zimbabwean currency became
utterly worthless; unrest broke out among a destitute population; and a
state of emergency was declared by the government.

The key trigger for disintegration, according to the report's authors, is an
acceleration in the already headlong gallop of retail price rises - the
world's highest rate of inflation.

In May, inflation stood at 4,500 per cent compared with the same month in

Year-on-year inflation has been in the thousands for some time, but what
worries the consultants who wrote the report is the speeding up of price
rises from month to month. By the end of May, prices were 100 per cent
higher than they had been at the end of April, so that as the report put it,
wages and money held in the bank halved in value in the space of four weeks.

This monthly jump has accelerated the trend for shops to constantly change
price-tags on the goods they are selling. As well as doubling prices over
the course of May, the report said retailers were doubling them again in
anticipation of the need to restock at much higher prices.

Indications that money was quickly becoming worthless were that price
quotations were now being quoted as valid for a day - even an hour - instead
of seven to 14 days; wages were being paid weekly instead of monthly, and
sometimes in kind rather than in cash; and the rate of business closures was
higher than in previous months.

If this trend continued, "doubling the current [month-on-month] inflation
for each of the seven remaining months of 2007 gives 512,000 per cent
[year-on-year inflation], thus the economic collapse is expected before the
end of 2007", the report's authors said.

The Zimbabwean dollar is already depreciating fast in real terms, and the
government policy of pegging the official exchange rate at 250 to the dollar
has only created a burgeoning black market in scarce foreign currency. But
if inflation continues to rise at present rates, the report says the
national currency will go out of use altogether, to be replaced by a mix of
barter and payment in foreign currency.

When that point comes, the forecast is gloomy - "shops and services
substantially cease to function", unemployment becomes near universal, and
there is "concomitantly increased crime and possible civil disturbances",
according to the report.

Many people think the economy has pretty much fallen apart already. Most
members of this once relatively prosperous nation are close to destitution.
Power and water utilities are slowing to a halt, with long daily cuts
experienced across the country. Telecommunications are poor and the already
faltering education system has deteriorated further.

The health sector, according to the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for
Human Rights, has already ground to a halt following a recent strike by
staff at the country's major health institutions. Public hospitals have
closed their doors to the public and have been emptying their wards.

Yet some local economists argue that while the economy is "deeply stressed",
it is unlikely to collapse in the next six months - because it is being
saved by the relatively vibrant "informal sector". This term means small
businesses, traders, and craftsmen and women, and service providers who
operate outside the reach of the taxman and whose activities are not
captured in national statistics.

Economists polled by IWPR said Zimbabwe has defied all conventional economic
and political theories, so that predicting the imminent demise of its
economy is risky.

Under normal circumstances, no country that was not actually at war would
have survived such high inflation rates and parallel exchange rates 100 or
more times the official rate.

"My understanding is that [the economy] hasn't collapsed because of the
people who are the bottom of the pyramid; that is, the informal sector,"
said Crispen Mawadza, whose company finances small- to medium-sized

Zimbabweans were naturally endowed with entrepreneurial skills, he said. Had
this not been the case, many more children would have had to drop out of
school, and industries would have gone under.

Economist David Mupamhadzi concurred with this view, saying it was
misleading to posit economic meltdown on inflation indicators alone. Before
this happened, other key economic variables would need to have deteriorated
to unmanageable levels, including unemployment and social indicators such as
the functioning of healthcare.

"It will not happen in Zimbabwe - not in six months," predicted Mupamhadzi.
"It is a fact that our economy is overheated and most of the key indicators
are in the negative - the economy is in dire stress.

"However, if you look at Zimbabwe's economy, what is carrying it is the
informal sector. The informal sector is driving Zimbabwe's economy as it
tends to cushion people [from their hardships]. If the economy was totally
formal, it would have totally collapsed a long time ago."

He concluded, "Zimbabwe's economy has defied all conventional logic."

Another local economist, John Robertson, said it was not easy to define
exactly when a country could be said to have collapsed.

"Total collapse does not actually happen. People are making comparisons of
countries like they are talking about companies. A country never ceases to
exist. A collapse happens when the current system of governance breaks down

"What I can say about Zimbabwe is that there is a state of collapse of
certain systems like traffic lights, water, telephones, power and health.
There can be total collapse when people lose confidence in the use of their
own currency - when workers say they want to be paid in foreign currency and
shops demand foreign exchange for purchases."

Another prerequisite for this would, he said, be that the large public
sector - civil servants and the military - said would have to say they could
no longer subsist on payments in Zimbabwean dollars. This would trigger a
loss of confidence and the breakdown of financial systems like banks.

Another factor, not mentioned by these economists, is the safety net
provided by the substantial remittances that Zimbabweans receive from
relatives abroad.

Comprehensive data are difficult to come by, but a study by the Global
Poverty Research Group last year showed that of 300 households surveyed in
Harare and Bulawayo, half had received cash, goods or food from abroad,
almost all within the last year.

This represented "an extraordinarily high density of receipt", the report
said, concluding that it reflected the reality that migratory flows had
become "key coping strategies" in recent years.

The two main locations for relatives were Britain and South Africa, with
Botswana and other countries some way behind.

Florence Ushe is the pseudonym used by a journalist in Zimbabwe.

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Adding Insult to Injury

Click to read a very intersting document...
A Preliminary Report on Human Rights Violations on Commercial Farms, 2000 to 2005.

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Zim police claim to have been barred from SA

Mail and Guardian

Harare, Zimbabwe

21 June 2007 11:58

      Police investigating a string of petrol-bomb attacks in
politically tense Zimbabwe claim they have been barred from pursuing their
probe in South Africa, reports said on Thursday.

      Zimbabwe authorities claim members of the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) carried out the attacks on supermarkets and
police stations in the weeks following the high-profile arrest of party
leader Morgan Tsvangirai on March 11.

      While a group of MDC activists has been held in police custody
on terrorism charges connected with the bombings since March, investigations
so far appear to have yielded little.

      More than a dozen are still in custody, and several are reported
to have been badly assaulted.

      The MDC denies it had anything to do with the bombings, which
left a number of police officers nursing serious burns.

      The party says the attacks were the work of President Robert
Mugabe's much-feared Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and were
designed to prove to outside observers that the MDC was a violent party, as
Mugabe claims.

      The Zimbabwe authorities claim that the men had undergone
terrorist training at bases in South Africa.

      Testifying at the High Court in Harare on Wednesday, prosecutor
Tawanda Zvekare said a police team from Zimbabwe had already been to South
Africa twice to pursue investigations, according to the official Herald

      But now the authorities there have told the police they must
follow proper channels before entering the country, Zvekare said.

      "Initially the police relied on strong ties that existed between
Zimbabwe and South Africa police to an extent that police details went to
that country without invoking formal procedures that are required when
conducting extra-territorial investigation," he said.

      But recently the investigators, who were in the company of state
witnesses, were turned back at Beitbridge border post, he claimed.

      "When they arrived at Beitbridge they were informed by their
counterparts that if ever they set their foot in South Africa they would be
arrested immediately under that country's terrorism law," he said.

      South Africa and Zimbabwe are normally very close allies.

      The Zimbabwe authorities rely heavily upon South African
President Thabo Mbeki's refusal to criticise the Mugabe government,
preferring to pursue a policy of quiet diplomacy.

      In fact, Mbeki is leading efforts to bring Zimbabwe's opposition
and Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party to the negotiating table ahead of next
year's polls.

      But in recent days, suspicion of the South Africans has crept
into Zimbabwean state media, which closely reflects the government line.

      Earlier this week, the Herald accused South African veterinary
authorities of racism after 100 cattle belonging to Zimbabwean villagers
were shot in what may have been an attempt to stop the spread of
foot-and-mouth disease. -- Sapa-dpa

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My vote is my right- I will exercise it , come March 2008!

The Daily Catalyst

20 JUNE 2007

"The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government;
this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall
be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot or by
equivalent free voting procedures."

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 21 (1948)

On Monday 18, 2007, the Registrar-General's office pronounced that the
registration for both the parliamentary and the presidential elections had
been officially opened to members of the public. The people from this time
onwards are therefore entitled to start registering to participate in both
the presidential and the parliamentary elections in 2008.

This is in line with the provisions of the African Charter on Human and
Peoples' Rights [Banjul] (ACHPR) adopted June 27, 1981, article 13 states
the following in relation to issues of elections and democratic

1. Every citizen shall have the right to participate freely in the
government of his country, either directly or through freely chosen
representatives in accordance with the provisions of the law.

2. Every citizen shall have the right of equal access to the public service
of his country.

3. Every individual shall have the right of access to public property and
services in strict equality of all persons before the law.

It is in line with such legal framework that we call upon the people of
Zimbabwe to register their names at any nearest Registrar-General's offices
and register their names so that they can become eligible to vote in the
2008 presidential elections. Every person of 18 years and above, is entitled
to cast a vote. The people of Zimbabwe are entitled to cast their ballots
for any candidate of their choice in their bid to decide their own destiny.

In the same spirit and in line with the dictates of ACHPR, we call upon the
government of Zimbabwe to open up democratic space and give Zimbabweans in
the Diaspora an opportunity to exercise their suffrage right. Currently, the
legal framework within which elections are conducted in Zimbabwe does not
allow free and fair elections.

Crisis Coalition urges Zimbabweans to go and inspect the voters roll and
update their information so that they are not denied their right to vote in
next year's general elections. We also call upon the government of Zimbabwe
to allow professional , non-partisan non-governmental organizations to
conduct voter education is part of a basket of measures to deepen democracy
in Zimbabwe.

The government must dismantle the infrastructure of violence which is still
intact and poses a threat to the credibility of next year's harmonized
elections. There is need to reform abusive institutions such as the police
and the military so that they execute their mandate in a professional and
non-partisan manner. The Border Gezi youth militia must be disbanded if next
year's elections are to be conducted in a free and fair manner , without
intimidation of the opposition.

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Police censor script and ban new play about AIDs

By Tererai Karimakwenda
June 22, 2007

Just days after banning Amakhosi Theatre's play The Good President, police
have ordered the producers of a play about AIDs to cancel the opening
scheduled for Friday. Titled "Everyday Soldier", the play was directed by
Cont Mhlanga, whose case over The Good President was heard in the High Court
last Friday. He was denied permission to continue its run and his lawyers
plan to return to the High Court focusing on police objections to the

The play about AIDs came to police attention when they found the fliers
distributed by the writer Raisdon Baya and producer Joshua Nyabingi. This
time the police asked the writer to bring a letter asking for permission to
run the play starting Friday. When Baya complied, they also asked for a copy
of the script. He brought them one, and they proceeded to underline many
lines in red, demanding that they be taken out of the script because they
contravened the Public order and Security Act. One of the lines said simply:
"Strange things happen in this country." Mhlanga disgreed with the
censorship, saying the police cannot censor facts.

With 2 plays that he directed now banned in the same month, Mhlanga
expressed concern about the future of theatre in Zimbabwe. He asked: "Where
have you ever heard of the police censoring scripts. Pretty soon playwrights
will be jobless."

Mhlanga explained that theatre is a reflection of what is going on in any
society, and for this reason it cannot be censored. He said some of lines
that the police objected were inspired by events that actually took place in
Zimbabwe. In the new play one of the characters asks: "What type of head of
state celebrates violence?" The police objected to that, saying it
undermines the authority of the president. There is also a scene where the
police use brute force to disperse a crowd. Mhlanga said these things happen
in Zimbabwe, and art imitates life.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Price Madness Has Gone Overboard

The Herald (Harare)  Published by the government of Zimbabwe

21 June 2007
Posted to the web 21 June 2007

Victoria Ruzvidzo

SHEER madness! I have often been attacked for criticising the massive price
hikes that seem to be in fashion in Zimbabwe in recent months, but I am sure
even the most ardent of my critics agree with me that price movements in the
past week are nothing short of total madness.

I was away for a week, attending the World Economic Forum on Africa summit
in Cape Town, South Africa, and when I came back my high spirits were
dampened when I was confronted by price jumps that made me wonder whether I
was having a bad dream or what.

Never mind that we have already been subjected to price spikes, particularly
since November last year. The latest round of increases, in my view, seems
to be the sharpest. It could also be a reflection of the growing mismatch
between our salaries and the prices of goods and services.

When is all this going to end? What does it take for parties to agree on
pricing strategies that do not seem to punish consumers?

These are some of the questions that people seem to be asking. Others have
even gone to the extent of sending hate mail to some of us, blaming us for
the seeming failure of the social contract to arrest the situation.

I, for one, have been supportive of the social covenant as key in ending the
pricing chaos and other challenges that are currently besetting our economy.

"Like most Zimbabweans I woke up this morning without any food in my house.

"But seeing as though I now live in South Africa I was actually able to go
to the shop and buy some eggs, bacon and bread and made myself a fantastic

"Over breakfast I read your column from some time back about the social
contract and your lauding it as the panacea to all our country's ills.

"But seeing as though all the stakeholders have not signed all the protocols
(something which seems to be missing from your column) I don't see how it
can cure all the ills . . . " wrote Mr Alex Johnson from South Africa.

Of course, there is no love lost between me and him. Besides people are
entitled to their own opinion but he is one guy who has made it his business
to see no good and hear no good coming out of this country.

But in this instance I can understand him. Many are asking questions as to
why the effects of the signing of the three protocols a few weeks ago are
still to manifest in the economy.

At some point I thought they were being unfair to the process, which needed
time to sink into all systems. But then again I realised that time for one,
two, testing . . . we do not have.

I may not have a fuller appreciation of the matrix behind the pricing
structures and modalities used by industry but I do not have to have a
doctorate in economics to know that what we have seen in this country in
terms of willy-nilly price increases is not justifiable.

I know on this one I could engage in quite some argument with my good
brother Mr Callisto Jokonya and his colleagues at the Confederation of
Zimbabwe Industries but I am sure they also now realise that we cannot
progress much as a country if things continue at this pace.

Everyone, right from the supplier of raw materials, the manufacturer, the
wholesaler and the retailer need to sober up and realise that the short-term
gains of massive price jumps cannot be sustained.

At the end of the day, the consumer may end up, as is already the case in
some cases, not buying some of the goods because they are priced well beyond

This obviously affects the profitability of any business ultimately.

If in a week, a kilogramme of beef blade can rise from $90 000 to $230 000
while a two-litre bottle of cooking oil is now going for about $400 000 from
an average $200 000 and commuter omnibuses charge between $30 000 and $50
000 from $10 00 a few days ago, then it all ceases to make sense.

Such are the characteristics of a highly inflationary environment, some may
argue but how far can this go. Inflation causing inflation.

A ray of hope swept across the country early this month when Government,
business and labour signed the Incomes and Pricing Stabilisation Protocol,
the Restoration of Production Viability Protocol and the Protocol on
Management of Foreign Currency.

Although many mistook it to mean an immediate freeze in prices and wages,
among other deliverables, we all hoped that the signatures were a display of
maturity by the three parties and the realisation that time had come for a
give-and-take, win-win and prosper-thy-neighbour attitude, viewed as the key
foundation for economic regeneration.

But many are beginning to question the sincerity of some of the partners. We
can only hope they are reading wrongly into the whole issue.

We still hope everyone signed with good intentions and that developments
over the past weak are only a reminder of the extent to which things can go
if the three social partners delay the implementation of the agreements.

A key principle guiding the Incomes and Pricing Stabilisation Protocol is
quoted on point 2.5 of the protocol sating "Subordinanting sectoral
interests to national interests".

This is well supported by 2.1 and 2.2 which state "Cultivating a culture of
tolerance and restraint" and "Sharing a common vision regarding the future
development of the country".

One of the major objectives of this protocol is "To ensure that any agreed
formula of restraining price movements takes into account legitimate cost
increases in a transparent and accountable manner".

All this reads very well and the three partners sound very sincere but can
someone please tell us what has gone wrong, only a few days after signing
the protocol?

Mind you, business as represented by CZI, the Employers Confederation of
Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, labour, as
represented by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, the Zimbabwe
Federation of Trade Unions and the Apex Council, and Government, represented
by the Minister of Economic Development, Mr Sylvester Nguni, all signed this
particular protocol.

Watching the processes that went on before signing, they all seemed well
informed and appraised of the contents of the protocol and what it meant.

I heard them pledge to "Put Zimbabwe First".

So what has gone wrong? We beg for an answer.

Hopes are also pinned on the appointment of the well-intended National
Incomes and Prices Commission, largely expected to come up with pricing and
incomes formulae. We continue to hope for a Zimbabwe in which going about
normal business such as hiking into town and buying grocery will not be as
agonising but a pleasure to undertake!

In God I trust!

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Charges Against Tortured Journalist Gift Phiri Dropped

SW Radio Africa (London)

21 June 2007
Posted to the web 21 June 2007

Lance Guma

A magistrate's court on Wednesday dropped charges against Gift Phiri a
journalist working for London based newspaper The Zimbabwean. The state had
charged that Phiri abused journalistic privilege by writing false stories.
He was arrested on the 1st April this year and severely tortured by police
whilst in custody. The courts however removed him from remand following the
dismissal of the charges by magistrate Gloria Takundwa. Legal experts say
prosecutors shot themselves in the foot by using a non-existent section of
the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA). The
magistrate reminded prosecutors that the section they were trying to use had
been repealed in June 2003.

The stories which irked authorities included 'Go now- Generals tell Mugabe
as Zanu PF loses support' and 'ZRP denies torture charge' in which the
police were accused of torturing labour leaders Wellington Chibhebhe and
others. Speaking from London publisher Wilf Mbanga said they remained
quietly confident throughout the case that Phiri would be cleared of the
charges. He said the paper takes its hat off to Phiri for the courage he has
shown in reporting in Zimbabwe amidst the state sponsored thuggery directed
at perceived opponents. The common thread with most cases similar to Phiri's
is that the state never secures a conviction and innocent people are made to
suffer in custody only to be released later, Mbanga added.

Meanwhile on Wednesday the state tried to prolong the incarceration of
several MDC activists held in remand prison over terrorism charges by
claiming a team of police officers investigating 'banditry training' in
South Africa had been denied entry into that country. Prosecutor Tawanda
Zvekare told the High Court that the police officers had been to South
Africa twice before but were blocked from entering this time around. When
they arrived in Beitbridge they were informed they would be arrested
immediately under that country's terrorism law. They were also advised to
request assistance through proper diplomatic channels and that these could
take at least three months.

NB: Don't miss Behind the Headlines this week as Lance Guma speaks to the
publisher of The Zimbabwean newspaper Wilf Mbanga. The programme captures
the papers' struggles against a despotic regime hell-bent on shutting them

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Chingoka limited to 5-day UK Visa

By Tichaona Sibanda
21 June 2007

Peter Chingoka, the chairman of Zimbabwe Cricket has only been granted a
5-day visa to attend the International Cricket Council executive meeting
scheduled for next week in London, Newsreel learned on Thursday.

Usually the world travelled Chingoka would get a six month visa on any visit
to the UK but it seems all that has changed as the British government
tightens its screws on anyone with close links to the regime. The
announcement of his visit has irked many Zimbabwean exiles in the UK who are
already planning protests during his stay. Free-Zim Youth co-ordinator Alois
Mbawara said they have already started mobilising their members to visit the
Lords cricket ground next week 'tell Chingoka in his face that they have
destroyed cricket'.

'This is an opportunity given to us to express our disgust at the way they
have killed cricket and destroyed the livelihoods of a number our promising
players,' Mbawara said.

According to Cricinfo, the British Embassy in Harare had recommended to its
government that Chingoka be refused admission to the UK on account of his
associations with the government of Robert Mugabe. The ban was however
blocked by Richard Caborn, the sports minister, who feared that such move
could jeopardise the bid to have David Morgan, the England Cricket Board
chairman elected as ICC president in 2008.

'The Foreign Office compromised and have only given Chingoka a visa for five
days. He cannot start his journey until Monday, June 25 and must be out of
the country by Saturday, June 30. This will enable him to attend the
directors' meeting on Wednesday and Thursday, and the ICC annual meeting
which follows, but that's all,' Cricinfo said.

A spokesman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said that they
'did not comment on individual visa cases'. Kate Hoey, Caborn's predecessor
as sports minister and the chairperson of the All-Party Parliamentary Group
on Zimbabwe, said she was 'disappointed' with Caborn's intervention. She
added; 'Zimbabwe's cricket officials are at the heart of the dictatorship's
web of corruption and political oppression. It is sad that the sports
ministry has used Morgan's chances, which are really no chance at all, of
becoming ICC president to ask the FCO to go against their better judgment
and grant a visa. This sort of unprincipled manoeuvring looks very bad when
we are asking other countries to stand firm in isolating those at the heart
of Mugabe's regime'.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Muzorewa Plots Political Comeback

New Zimbabwe (London)

21 June 2007
Posted to the web 21 June 2007

Lebo Nkatazo

ZIMBABWE's retired United Methodist Church bishop Abel Muzorewa is
contemplating a political comeback ahead of the 2008 presidential,
parliamentary and municipal polls, claiming people want him to be the
country's head of state.

In a statement Thursday, Muzorewa said many people, both white and black
were asking him to come and "lead the country."

Muzorewa, 82, said: "People are coming to my house in small and large groups
and as individuals. Some stop me in the streets. Both black and white people
are saying to me, 'come back and lead the country, we are now burning bricks
with straw!'

"When they describe in detail their suffering you can see that indeed they
are bleeding, economically and socially. It is painful to listen to them

The retired bishop would not say whether he would run in the next elections.

He said Zanu PF and the opposition MDC -- the only participants in ongoing
talks brokered by President Thabo Mbeki -- should be guided by the national
interest and not self-interest.

He added: "I am also appealing to all people of all denominations who
believe in God and the power of prayer to pray for the fruitful and
successful outcome of the talks and the salvation of Zimbabwe, economically,
socially and politically."

Muzorewa was prime minister of the short-lived coalition government in what
was called Zimbabwe Rhodesia, holding office for only a few months in 1979.

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Zim golfers and inflation

From, 21 June

How does a Zimbabwean golfer avoid hyperinflation? By paying for their
halfway and 19th hole beers before teeing off. This is the advice from the
CEO of the Harare-based Imara Asset Management, John Legat, after the beer a
four-ball ordered before teeing off at one of Harare's championship golf
courses had risen in price by the time they reached the turn. The bad news
was that by post-match drinks, the prices had risen again. Legat says: "Such
is life under hyperinflation that reached 12 000 percent for May, according
to accounting firm PWC and somewhere around 16 000 percent in the
supermarkets. "Most Zimbabweans have a sense of humour that keeps everyone
relatively sane, but, even then, day-to-day living and working is becoming
increasingly difficult, if not impossible." At the same time, Zimbabwe has
been in the focus of international investor interest following big stock
market gains - which has largely become a measure of future inflation. The
Harare exchange recently recorded its biggest ever index gain in a single
day - 54 percent - and rose 236 percent in the first two weeks of June
alone. Legat describes Zimbabwe's economy as one in which companies build up
six to 12 months of stock or inputs and move out of cash.

Stock piles are so high that further stockpiling becomes pointless. At least
one company, Innscor, pays monthly dividends, putting the onus on
shareholders to find a home for the skyrocketing currency. Locals in
Zimbabwe are also look to spend their money as fast as they can, though
physical constraints are setting in. The pay of most formal sector employees
is transferred electronically into bank, building society or post office
accounts. Individuals can withdraw Z$1.5-million. The largest note is Z$100
000 or less than one US dollar and the printing presses run overtime to keep
pace with hyperinflation. Legat warns: "Unless the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) issues a much higher denomination note urgently or a new currency with
fewer noughts, we can easily envisage the banks, building societies and post
office not having enough physical cash to provide to deposit-holders." As
the RBZ no longer publishes updated monetary statistics, the Zimbabwe Stock
Exchange (ZSE) has become a proxy for assessing future inflation. By March
the ZSE was up 13 000 percent year on year. Two months later, Zimbabwe hit
12 000 percent inflation. By early June, the ZSE index was up by 80 000
percent year-on-year. Legat says: "On that simple basis, we should not be
surprised to see PWC inflation figures head toward 80 000 percent by
September/October - probably best to remain at the bar rather than play the
18 holes."

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Politics kills

The Zimbabwean



THE political situation in Zimbabwe has led to the cancellation of the
country's first international golf championship in years, the Dale Hayes
Super Golf Challenge, after South African golfers pulled out citing security

The country last hosted an international golf championship, the Zimbabwe
Open, in 2000. But the championship, which attracted the world's best
golfers like Nick Price, was put on the backburner by the Zimbabwe
Professional Golfers Association due to a serious foreign currency crisis
gripping the country. The professionals are paid prize money in hard

The latest setback for Zimbabwe's embattled sports fraternity came this
week, when the Dale Hayes event, scheduled for 8 June to 12 June at Elephant
Hills, Victoria Falls, was cancelled.

The resort town had been scheduled to host probably its first international
golfing event but the country is the midst of a crisis characterised by
galloping inflation, blackouts and fuel shortages.

Roger Baylis, the president of the Zimbabwe Junior Golfers Association,
confirmed that the Dale Hayes Super Golf Challenge had been called off.

"Most South African golfers are afraid to come here," Baylis said.

Shirley Njolomole, director of Sunset Tours who were selling the 'golf and
holiday' package, confirmed that the Challenge had been cancelled because of
"the poor numbers".

"The numbers were just not coming. We sold the idea to the golf clubs and
associations in the country and South Africa but the numbers were just too
low to go ahead with the golf tournament. Dale Hayes was also supposed to be
coming," Njolomole said.

A golf association executive said that the championship has been cancelled
because the South Africa golfers were not happy with the political situation
in the country and feared for their security. Another executive said the
"country was burning" and not even a sack of money could bring the South
African golfers here.

Hayes - who presents Super Golf, a golf magazine programme on SuperSport
which began in August 2004 - was set to grace the tournament. The former
European Tour golfer is also involved with The Compleat Golfer magazine and
co-ordinates golf days and events and conducts fun golf clinics for
corporate golf days.

He is a director of Matkovich & Hayes Golf Course Architects and a member of
the golf commentary team for the Golf Channel (USA) - international feed of
the European Tour and SuperSport. Dale is an Honorary Member of South
African Professional Golfers Association.

With such a high profile and legion of South African golfers said to be
coming, the spotlight was set to be on Zimbabwe this week. Now, sadly it is

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