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Mbeki in talks breakthrough

Zim Independent

Dumisani Muleya

SOUTH African President Thabo Mbeki has made a major breakthrough in
his bid to wring a solution to the Zimbabwe crisis via a negotiated
settlement between the ruling Zanu PF and the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).

Against political odds, Mbeki on Monday managed to persuade the two
parties to agree on a consolidated agenda for the critical talks which were
difficult to get off the ground due to widely divergent positions.

The two rival parties started the talks on Sunday worlds apart in
terms of what they wanted to gain. However, 24 hours later, Mbeki's team had
managed to bind them to a common agenda, setting the stage for serious

Zanu PF was represented at the negotiations by Justice minister
Patrick Chinamasa and his Labour counterpart, Nicholas Goche, while the MDC
had Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti, supported by two other officials. South
African Local Government minister Sydney Mufamadi chaired the talks.

After a consolidated agenda was crafted, Mbeki demanded that the two
parties should make further submissions on the issues they would like to pay
special attention to by Wednesday next week.

The 2003/2004 draft constitution produced by Zanu PF and the MDC will
form the basis of talks, it was heard, while the proposed Constitutional
Amendment Bill (Number 18) will also be tabled for discussion.

The final consolidated agenda for the direct talks between Zanu PF and
the MDC includes the constitution, electoral laws, security legislation,
communication laws, and the political climate.

Under the first item on the agenda - the constitution - the process of
constitution-making will be discussed. Other issues such as the electoral
system, devolution of power, constitutional appointments and citizenship
would also feature.

The electoral system and legislation debate would focus on the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Delimitation Commission and voter
registration. There would also be debate on the voters' roll and how best to
resolve all these contentious issues.

On the security legislation, the Public Order & Security Act would be
a major issue, while on the communication laws the Broadcasting Services Act
and external radio stations would be discussed. In its submissions to Mbeki,
Zanu PF complained about the Voice of the People which it says is
Dutch-funded, SWRA, described as British-sponsored, and the State
Department-financed Voice of America's Studio 7.

The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act was removed
from the final draft agenda, apparently because it was voted for by both
parties in parliament and also on the understanding constitutional reform
would enshrine press freedom anyway. The controversial law was on the draft
agenda which was revised. The MDC denies having voted for Aippa.

Zanu PF refused to accept "repressive legislation" as an agenda item,
preferring to call it "security legislation". Both parties however managed
to get into the final agenda their main issues: for Zanu PF land reform and
sanctions and for the MDC the constitution and electoral laws.

The final item of the consolidated agenda - the political climate -
deals with demilitarisation of state institutions, hostile rhetoric by
political parties, the use of militias, abuse of state aid, and traditional
chiefs, sanctions and land reform.

The economy is not part of the talks agenda because it is being dealt
with by the team led by Sadc executive secretary Tomaz Salamao. The team was
recently in Zimbabwe to assess the state of the economy and put together an
emergency economic rescue package largely dependent on progress in political

Mbeki's mediation team was forced to use maximum influence to secure
the agenda because Zanu PF and the MDC were said to have been as far apart
as the North and South Poles when they started the talks. Zanu PF was
demanding in its position paper that the MDC must first recognise the
significance of the anti-colonial struggle; accept President Robert Mugabe's
disputed legitimacy; attend national events; support land reform; respect
the country's sovereignty and independence from Britain; campaign for the
lifting of sanctions; and urge Western powers to stop interfering in
Zimbabwe's domestic affairs.

By contrast the MDC wanted a new constitution and electoral law
reform; impartial and transparent management of elections; all citizens
above 18 allowed to vote; free campaigning; quick resolution of electoral
disputes; elimination of political repression and violence; an end to the
abuse of state resources by the ruling party for electoral purposes; and a
stop to the manipulation of the state apparatus - including police,
intelligence and army - by Zanu PF.

However, Mbeki's team pushed the delegates to formulate a consolidated
agenda from their respective position papers, finding a quick breakthrough
on one of the most difficult stages of negotiations.

In 2002, the talks between Zanu PF and the MDC failed to even start in
earnest. The 2003/2004 informal talks between Chinamasa and Ncube succeeded
in coming up with a draft constitution derived from the rejected
government-sponsored draft of 1999/2000 and the National Constitutional
Assembly document. This has become the basis for current negotiations.

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'Succession battle source of coup'

Zim Independent

THE alleged coup against President Robert Mugabe's government - in
which Rural Housing minister Emmerson Mnangagwa is implicated - is part of
the cut-throat power struggle in the ruling party, it has emerged.

Official sources said the purported coup plot reflects the fierce
infighting within government and Zanu PF currently reeling from deep
divisions. Sources said events which occurred during this past weekend
reinforced fears the internal strife in Zanu PF has reached dangerous

It is understood that government wanted to arrest Mnangagwa over the
alleged coup during the weekend while Mugabe was away in Libya and later
Egypt. Vice-President Joice Mujuru was the acting president during the
weekend. Mnangagwa and Mujuru are bitter rivals in Zanu PF.

Sources said Vice-President Joseph Msika intervened and demanded that
government should not arraign Mnangagwa until Mugabe had returned.

Sources said Mnangagwa - who last week described the coup allegations
as "stupid" - was very anxious as word spread that he could be arrested. It
is understood Mnangagwa reacted by seeking through the President's Office to
see Mugabe soon after his arrival on Sunday. It is not clear if he succeeded
in meeting Mugabe.

However, lawyers say Mnangagwa is not going to be called to court as a
witness, further throwing doubt on the matter.

The coup is now seen as a contrived diversionary tactic - both from
internal Zanu PF politics and the economic crisis - as well as a strategy to
manage the succession issue. To underline this, sources said the state
security structures - the army, intelligence and police - were briefed about
the issue after the arrest of six alleged plotters and their accomplices in
the army at the end of May, but were not put on alert. There were no changes
in terms of the "security situation" in the country.

"We were told about the issue but no changes in levels of alertness in
the security services were made," a state security officer said.

Besides, government has largely ignored the plot, save for Information
minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu's remarks that the "intelligence is on top of the
situation". Mugabe has even travelled out of the country twice since the
alleged coup plot was unearthed.

Observers say the plot bears the hallmarks of familiar state security
operations designed to manage politics. There have been several coup plot
claims in Zimbabwe since 1982 involving political luminaries like Dumiso
Dabengwa, Lookout Masuku, Ndabaningi Sithole, and MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, but in none of these cases was anyone convicted.

Ironically, Mnangagwa was State Security minister when Dabengwa and
Masuku were falsely accused.

Sources said state security services and top politicians were trying
to deal with Mugabe's conflict-ridden succession by undermining the two
rival Zanu PF faction leaders, retired army commander Solomon Mujuru and

It is said those behind the coup have calculated that the Mujuru camp
has been significantly weakened by Mugabe's remarks in February that it was
trying to oust him and was no longer seen as a decisive factor in the power
struggle. Mugabe blasted the Mujuru group and practically snuffed out its
succession prospects in just one interview. - Staff Writer.

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'Coup plotters' seek bail

Zim Independent

Constantine Chimakure

THE state is today expected to oppose a bail application in the High
Court by six alleged coup plotters arguing there was substantial evidence
that they intended to overthrow President Robert Mugabe's government.

In an affidavit lodged with the High Court, police Superintendent
Simon Mundondwa said the overwhelming evidence would be an incentive for
Albert Matapo, Emmanuel Marara, Pattison Mupfure, Nyasha Zivuku, Oncemore
Mudzurahova and Shingirai Webster Mutemachani to skip bail once granted.

Justice Tedius Karwi will hear the application in open court.

Mundondwa said the court should turn down the application on the
grounds that the accused were facing a very serious charge on which if
convicted would be sentenced to death or life imprisonment.

He said the accused would interfere with witnesses or abscond to avoid
prosecution, other suspects were at large and investigations were

"I do pray that the accused be denied bail so that the ends of justice
could be realised without prejudice," Mandondwa submitted.

In the affidavit, Mundondwa claimed that from June 2006 to May 29 this
year Matapo, Marare, Mupfure, Zuvuku, Mudzurahona and Mutemachani and others
at large, conspired to organise and coordinate activities of a "group of
persons for the purpose of and with the intention to overthrowing the
government of Zimbabwe through a military coup".

The six, Mandondwa averred, recruited and approached serving members
of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces at various military institutions, among them
Thornhill, Manyame and Field Air Force Bases, 3 Brigade and One Commando
Barracks to stage the planned coup.

"(The suspects) organised, planned and financed activities to carry
out or caused to be carried out reconnaissance by infiltrating and entering
several military establishments such as 1 Commando, Manyame Airforce base
and other strategic military institutions, which institutions they planned
to seize at 1940hrs on 15 June 2007 - the day of the proposed coup detat,"
Mandondwa alleged.

He claimed that the coup plotters intended to make announcements of a
new government through distribution of fliers by a helicopter.

The plotters were arrested on May 29 and since then have been in

The six stand accused of plotting to topple Mugabe and install Rural
and Social Amenities Minister Emmerson Mnangangwa as president.

Matapo was allegedly going to be the prime minister.

Meanwhile, three people who claimed to have been illegally detained
and tortured by the police in connection with the foiled coup on Wednesday
have issued a letter of demand to Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi seeking
compensation to the tune of $22,5 billion.

According to the letter sent by lawyers Warara & Associates, Edmora
Gapare is claiming $5 billion for assault and torture and a further $14
billion for illegal detention and deprivation of liberty for 14 days after
his arrest on June 7 in Ruwa.

Zvinemi Museye - who claims to be Matapo's wife - is demanding $1,5
billion for assault and torture and a further $1,5 billion for illegal

Rangarirai Mazivofa wants to be compensated to the tune of $4,5
billion for torture, assault and illegal detention.

The three were arrested and later released without being charged. The
government was given 60 days to pay the damages.

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European parliament exposes Nkomo

Zim Independent

Itai Mushekwe

THE European parliament has exposed as untrue Speaker of Parliament
John Nkomo's assertion that Zimbabwe had pulled out of the African,
Caribbean and Pacific (ACP)-European Union (EU) Joint Parliamentary Assembly
because the German Embassy in Harare had denied Zanu PF MPs visas.

Nkomo cancelled the Zimbabwe delegation's trip to the forum arguing
that ruling party lawmakers Forbes Magadu and Godfrey Chipare who sit in the
ACP-EU assembly had been denied visas.

This comes as Portugal's Foreign minister Luis Amado on Monday said
President Mugabe would not be welcome in Lisbon to attend the Europe-Africa
Summit scheduled for November.

"Personally I have no interest in Mugabe coming to Lisbon," said
Amado. "It is a question of principle for the EU, in the same way that for
the African Union the presence of the presidents of all the member states is
a question of principle."

Michael Gahler, a Member of the European Parliament on Wednesday in a
statement to fellow ACP-EU/JPA colleagues said Germany had not denied the
Zimbabwean delegation visas, as they had not made any formal applications
for the visas. Gahler dismissed Nkomo's statement as an "attempt at
manipulation" by the Zimbabwean regime.

"Germany has not denied to any Zimbabwe delegation the opportunity to
participate in ACP- and ACP-EU meetings in Wiesbaden," said Gahler.

"No formal visa applications have ever been submitted. It is therefore
not true to claim that they were refused. The usual informal preliminary
contacts did take place.

"Obviously, this is yet another attempt at manipulation by the
Zimbabwean regime." Yesterday, South Africa's deputy Foreign minister Aziz
Pahad criticised attempts to bar Mugabe from the Lisbon Summit.

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What Zim will need after Bob is gone

Zim Independent

By Donwald Pressly

DONOR countries, including Britain, have drawn up a list of Zimbabwe's
needs, including about US$3 billion over five years to stabilise the country's
economy and cope with what is described in a secret report as "the day when"
President Mugabe leaves office.

A key point the International Monetary Fund (IMF) makes to the donor
community - dubbed the Fishmongers Group - is that "a big bang approach" to
liberalising the exchange rate will send the Zimbabwean dollar "into a
free-fall for some time".

Liberalisation would have to be managed carefully, the IMF says.
Foreign assistance of US$650 million would be required in the first year to
support an economic reform programme that is part of a five-year, $3 billion
package, the international donors have been told.

This package would include: $150 million in food support in the first
two years, including $125 million in the first year; $500 million agrarian
reform over five years; $325 million for health services and education; $550
million for infrastructure; $1,7 billion for various emergency aid
programmes; and $13 billion for balance-of-payments support and budgetary
support.A report by the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (Idasa),
released by deputy executive director Ivor Jenkins, notes that a national
economic and land reform programme would be necessary to lift Zimbabwe out
of its economic crisis. This programme must be accompanied by the gradual
lifting of sanctions and the generous injection of international relief aid
and development assistance, says the Idasa report.

Rapid disbursements of development assistance, in the form of
balance-of-payments and budget support, are also necessary. The IMF's donor
community report emerges as Zanu PF last weekend held talks in Pretoria with
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Sadc leaders in March appointed President Thabo Mbeki the facilitator
of talks between Zimbabwe's main political parties.

Meanwhile, the UK Department for International Development (DFID)
recently briefed a meeting of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office
and officials from governments active in donor co-ordination in Harare,
including Sweden, the European Commission, Australia, the US, the
Netherlands, Canada, Norway, New Zealand and Germany.

In response to a DFID paper entitled Zimbabwe - Economic Recovery,
focusing on macroeconomic stabilisation in the country, participants said it
was clear the country would need "hundreds of millions of US dollars per

They noted that IMF studies showed that countries could move from
hyperinflation - now believed to be more than 4 000% in Zimbabwe - to 450%
within a year, provided these countries received significant support.The
group of donor countries is reported to be "increasingly focused" on
improving its readiness to play an effective and co-ordinated part in
Zimbabwe's recovery process.

The report says the devastated farming community is likely to require
donor-funded compensation for evicted farmers, while the distribution of
agricultural inputs and produce "must be market-driven and involve the
private sector".

The report notes that the UK government will be expected to play a
major role in the development of the communal farming sector, in terms of
funding "and other support".

The report mirrors a comment by World Bank chief economist John Page
at the World Economic Forum in Cape Town last week. Page said that while it
"will be difficult" to reach the necessary social consensus to implement
wide-ranging economic reforms in Zimbabwe under the current political
circumstances, there were many factors to ensure that when an economic
turnaround began, it would be "rapid".

The Fishmongers' report notes that much of the prognosis for
agriculture - which has had a decline in production of more than 40% between
2000 and 2006 - is tied up with broader political questions around when
Zimbabwe "will transition" to a rational, technocratic government. The
report notes that a constitutionally guaranteed, saleable form of land
tenure must be set up. "This does not need to equate to freehold title," it
says. "Land could remain in black hands, with a multiracial farming
community obtaining access by means of long leases."

The Idasa report suggests Mugabe wishes to stand down about a year
after being re-elected next year. Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono and
Rural Housing minister Emmerson Mnangagwa seem to be favoured as possible

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Former scribes buy Masvingo paper

Zim Independent

Constantine Chimakure

ZIMBABWE Union of Journalists (ZUJ) president Mathew Takaona and
former Standard deputy editor David Masunda have bought a controlling stake
in a Masvingo weekly newspaper, The Mirror.

Sources this week said Takaona and Masunda recently bought the shares
from the newspaper's founder, Alderman Doug Hill - a former mayor of the
country's oldest town.

Hill confirmed to the Zimbabwe Independent this week that he entered
into a shareholding agreement with Takaona and Masunda, but insisted the
deal was yet to be clinched.

"We have come to some agreement, but I have not allotted them shares
as yet," Hill said.

Pressed to reveal the finer details of the agreement, the businessman
said: "I don't want this matter to be publicised. He (Takaona) asked me to
keep this undercover at the moment."

Hill was the owner of another provincial weekly, the Masvingo Star,
which he sold to the government's Community Newspaper Group in 1989. The
Mirror was launched in May 1992.

Sources said Takaona was now in charge of editorial issues with the
newspaper's editor Kennedy Murwira reporting directly to him.

But Hill denied this saying: "I am still running the newspaper. I
started this newspaper many years ago with other shareholders."

Takaona, sources said, last Friday attended The Mirror's launch of a
weekly insert on Masvingo's 2010 World Soccer Cup tourism campaign dubbed
Takeoff in his official capacity as a shareholder.

The ZUJ boss was reportedly the brains behind the insert being
published as a joint venture between the newspaper, Hospitality Association
of Zimbabwe, Masvingo Publicity Association, and Masvingo 2010 World Soccer
Cup sub-committee.

The insert highlights tourism attractions in the province of about 1,3
million people ahead of the soccer extravaganza to be hosted by South

Efforts to get comments from Takaona or Masunda were fruitless this
week as they were said to be out of the country. Both are expected back in
the country today.

Takaona, who had an inglorious exit as acting news editor of the
government run Sunday Mail in March 2004 is expected to quit ZUJ since he
has become an employer.

The ZUJ constitution bars newspaper shareholders and editors from
holding offices in the union.

Takaona was fired from the Sunday Mail following a meeting he held in
January 2004 with workers from the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ)
after the government closed The Daily News and The Daily News on Sunday.

ANZ were the publishers of the two titles.

Masunda is current chairperson of the Voice of the People (VOP) radio's
board of trustees.

Takaona is also a board member of VOP.

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MDC unity bid collapses

Zim Independent

Dumisani Muleya/ Constantine Chimakure

COALITION talks between the two opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) factions have collapsed after fresh disagreements emerged on
ways of securing an electoral pact, especially how to select parliamentary
election candidates for each group.

This has left the two camps facing the prospect of contesting next
year's crucial joint presidential and parliamentary elections as a divided
front battling against each other.

Both factions agree that fighting the elections as opponents would
almost certainly hand Zanu PF a victory by default. Sources say another
opposition formation might emerge ahead of the elections, something that
could further undercut the MDC factions.

Sources said the MDC talks - led by Morgan Tsvangirai faction
secretary-general Tendai Biti and the Arthur Mutambara camp
secretary-general Welshman Ncube - collapsed on May 19 when the last meeting
was held. The sticking point was the revision of the Coalition Agreement
which had become the basis of negotiations. The selection of parliamentary
candidates for each faction was also a divisive issue.

Initially the two groups had agreed that Morgan Tsvangirai would be
the candidate for the presidential poll and if they win Mutambara would
become his deputy in a coalition government, while they would equitably
share government posts. They had also agreed not to field candidates against
each other where they currently have sitting MPs. The Tsvangirai group has
21 MPs, while the Mutambara group has 20. When the split occurred the
Mutambara faction had 21 MPs and the Tsvangirai camp had 17, but four - Gift
Chimanikire, Lovemore Moyo, Blessing Chebundo and Joel Gabuzza - later
defected to the Tsvangirai side.

In addition to Lower House MPs, the Mutambara faction also has seven
senators. The Tsvangirai group boycotted the senate poll in 2005, leading to
the damaging split in the party.

Sources said before May 19 it appears the MDC factions were agreed on
almost everything. They had agreed on the presidential election candidate
and how to select candidates for all constituencies. While Tsvangirai would
have been confirmed candidate without opposition, the two factions would not
contest against each other where they have sitting MPs. Where they do not
have MPs, they would divide the constituencies using the result of the 2005
general election into three categories - winnable, possible and unwinnable -
and then share them equally. This was meant to ensure that no faction gained
an advantage over the other to maintain the spirit of coalition.

However, during the last meeting the Tsvangirai faction sought a
revision of some of the initial agreements. The camp wanted Thokozani
Khuphe, Tsvangirai's deputy, to also become a second Vice-President with
Mutambara. The Mutambara camp rejected this saying the Tsvangirai group was
trying to maintain its structure in the coalition while neutralising them in
the new arrangement.

Furthermore, the Tsvangirai group suggested a new formula of having
primary elections between the factions to select parliamentary election
candidates. This would be based on a method in which both factions selected
50 voters from the structure each to determine the candidate through a
secret ballot. The Mutambara faction said this would create deadlocks
because those voters were most likely to vote for their faction candidate
and this would become divisive. Apart from that, it was argued that the
method would destroy the spirit of the coalition if one faction won in
almost all constituencies.

The new disagreements led to the collapse of the talks, although both
factions agreed that negotiations could be resumed as and when the situation
changed. The Tsvangirai faction is currently consulting its structures on
the issue of having a coalition and would proceed on the basis of the
outcome of the exercise, sources said.

The other issue which led to the breakdown of the talks between the
MDC negotiating teams, which have at least four officials on each side, was
the initial agreements secured for the formation of the Movement for
Democratic Change Coalition (MDCC). The two factions could not agree on the
revision of the original accord last month.

In addition, the other problem was that the MDC factions have failed
to respect their own code of conduct for "peaceful co-existence", leading to
mutual suspicion and lack of trust. The code of conduct barred the use of
"hate speech, derogatory, defamatory, false, insulting, inflammatory and
threats" against each other. The factions had also agreed to refrain from
tribal remarks which had become characteristic of their rhetoric, but the
two groups remain rigidly tribal in structure and orientation despite their
threadbare efforts to camouflage that.

"Each formation shall practise and exhibit zero-tolerance to all forms
of violence, intimidation and harassment and shall instruct its members and
supporters not to use violence or threats of violence," the code of conduct
says. The factions had also agreed not to campaign against each using
illegal or unorthodox means. However, the camps have not adhered to the code
as there have been intermittent verbal or physical clashes between them.
This has made it very difficult to secure a coalition.

Mutambara faction spokesperson Gabriel Chaibva said the factions'
talks were yet to yield anything as the Tsvangirai camp was dragging its
feet. What has been disappointing is that the others (Tsvangirai faction)
continue to bring up trivial issues.

"The one-candidate philosophy was flatly rejected by the Tsvangirai
camp," Chaibva added.

Tsvangirai camp spokesman Nelson Chamisa declined to comment,
referring all questions to Biti.

Political analyst Eldred Masunungure said while unity between the two
factions was desirable, it was, however, improbable given that the camps
have personality and ideological differences.

"The difference gap between the factions is very wide from
personalities to ideology. It is good for people to yearn for unity, but the
reality on the ground militates against reunification of the two factions at
this stage."

National Constitutional Assembly head Lovemore Madhuku was of the
opinion that there was no need for reunification or an electoral pact.

"What would be the motivation for the unity? There is nothing pushing
them to unite. The grassroots are already used to having the two political
parties," he said.

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Zanu PF sets conditions for dialogue

Zim Independent

Dumisani Muleya

THE ruling Zanu PF position paper on the inter-party talks with the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) submitted to mediator
President Thabo Mbeki has a long list of pre-conditions to dialogue.

The 23-page document, titled Sadc-Initiated Dialogue: Government of
Zimbabwe/Zanu PF Position Paper, dated June 1, contains a string of issues
which the ruling party says the MDC - described as a "puppet party" - must
first address to build trust and confidence in the talks.

The paper covers historical events dating back to 1896 during the
second major anti-colonial uprising in newly established Rhodesia to the
present-day situation. Zanu PF outlines nine pre-conditions to negotiations
which it says should be part of the initial steps in the talks.

"As an initial step in this dialogue and in order to restore trust and
mutual confidence between Zanu PF and MDC, the MDC has to demonstrate
commitment to the shared values and ethos of the liberation struggle," the
document says.

Zanu PF then goes on to demand that the MDC must:

* Accept the legitimacy and significance of the liberation struggle;

* Declare its acceptance of the president and government's legitimacy
and act accordingly in both language and actions;

* Drastically re-orientate its attitudes towards national events;

* Stop forthwith its promotion of violence;

* Publicly and unequivocally commit itself to the irreversibility of
land reform;

* Respect the country's sovereignty and independence, respect all
national laws;

* Publicly and unequivocally call for the lifting of sanctions and

* Stop calling for outside interference in Zimbabwe's domestic

"The quest for a genuine, viable, workable, permanent, sustainable and
nationally acceptable solution to the Zimbabwe situation," Zanu PF says,
"must of necessity address root cause/s of the problem and not symptoms as
the MDC and its Western allies purport to do."

Zanu PF says as far as it is concerned the problem in Zimbabwe is

"The root of the Zimbabwean situation is the land question, the tail
end of decolonisation. Land and its repossession was at the heart of the
armed struggle," the Zanu PF paper states.

"The two liberation movements, Zanu PF and PF Zapu, which liberated
this country from colonialism agreed to lay down their arms on the promises
and undertakings given by the US and British government to make sufficient
funds available .for land taken for redistribution to the landless black
majority. The British government must be called upon to honour that

Zanu PF urges the MDC and its allies to call upon the British
government to provide funds for land reform.

"The opposition MDC, white settler farmers, Western-sponsored NGOs,
and media houses who lobbied the British government not to honour its
Lancaster House obligations and to impose declared and undeclared
comprehensive sanctions against Zimbabwe," the ruling party says, "must act
in unison and call upon the British government and its allies to honour the
Lancaster House compensation obligations, lift all forms of sanctions and
stop forthwith the campaign to effect regime change in Zimbabwe."

The Zanu PF documents list further demands. "Western interference in
Zimbabwe's domestic affairs through sponsorship of opposition forces must
stop forthwith," it notes.

"In equal measure, the opposition forces operating in Zimbabwe must
publicly and unequivocally commit themselves to the irreversibility of land

Zanu PF starts its report by citing resolutions of the Sadc
extraordinary meeting in Tanzania in March, especially on the 2002
presidential poll that regional leaders said was "free and fair", land,
sanctions, diplomatic relations and mediation.

It then goes on to talk about colonialism, the Lancaster House talks
and the role of the US and Britain, land acquisition after 1990, British
Prime Minister Tony Blair's alleged refusal to honour Lancaster House
obligations, the Land Donors' Conference of 1998, constitutional reform in
1999/2000 and the rejection of the draft constitution in the national
referendum, NGOs, Speaker of Parliament John Nkomo's visit to London in
2002, land invasions, Constitutional Amendment (Number 16) on compulsory
acquisition of land, the reaction of Western countries to farm seizures and
the role of the international and local private media in reporting events
after 2000.

"The Western world went on a demonisation campaign in which, through
CNN, BBC, Sky News, events taking place in Zimbabwe were misreported,
distorted, misrepresented and exaggerated," Zanu PF says. "Alleged human
rights violations were made the pretext for opposing the land reform
programme. In other words the land redistribution programme was to be
opposed and vilified not directly but through fabricated human rights

The ruling party further complains about the bombed Voice of the
People, which it says is Dutch-funded, SWRA, described as British-sponsored,
and Studio 7, seen as American-financed. Zanu PF says government was as a
result forced to come up with Posa and Aippa to safeguard national security.

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Uphold freedom of expression ACHPR tells Mugabe

Zim Independent

Lucia Makamure

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has failed to provide details of the steps
that his government is taking to ensure that his administration upholds its
obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and other
international instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression in Africa, Advocate
Pansy Tlakula, in March wrote an urgent appeal letter to Mugabe asking him
to ensure that his government upholds the rule of law and desists from
arresting journalists.

Sources at the Pretoria office of the Special Rapporteur this week
told the Zimbabwe Independent that they have not received a response from
Mugabe's office.

"President Mugabe has not responded to the urgent appeal letter sent
to him in March by Advocate Tlakula," said the sources.

Rashweat Mukundu, the Director of Media Institute of Southern Africa
(Misa) Zimbabwe Chapter, said government's delay in responding to the letter
shows its lack of respect for the African Commission on Human and Peoples'
Rights (ACHPR).

"Government's delay in responding to the Special Rapporteur's urgent
appeal letter shows its lack of respect not only for Zimbabweans but all
other human rights bodies," said Mukundu.

She added: "Government should take the letter seriously and address
the concerns which were raised in it."

Tlakula in the letter appealed to Mugabe to provide details of the
steps that his government was taking to ensure that the rights of
journalists Tsvangirai Makwazhi, Tendai Musiya, Ndamu Sandu, Godwin Mangudya
and Mike Saburi are respected in compliance with the provisions contained in
international and regional human rights instruments.

"In this regard I would like to bring to your attention complaints of
harassment, intimidation, unlawful detention and assault of media
practitioners and journalists that have been submitted to me against
government agents in Zimbabwe. In particular, I would like to bring to your
attention the arrests of Tsvangirai Mukwazhi, Tendai Musiya, Ndamu Sandu, a
journalist of the Zimbabwe Standard, Godwin Mangudya, a journalist of the
The Daily News, and Mike Saburi, a freelance cameraperson," said Tlakula in
the letter.

Tlakula called upon the government to uphold provisions of Article 9
of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, to which Zimbabwe is a
state party, and which guarantees every individual's right to receive
information and express and disseminate their opinions within the law.

President Mugabe was in the letter also reminded to uphold Article 6
of the African Charter which provides that every individual shall have the
right to liberty and to the security of his person and that no one may be
deprived of his freedom except for reasons and conditions previously laid
down by law.

Tlakula is supposed to submit a report on the violations of freedom of
expression in Zimbabwe which should include the contents of her appeal
letter and the response from Mugabe to the next Ordinary Session of the
African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights in November.

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Economic collapse will foment political change - Dell

Zim Independent

Loughty Dube

OUTGOING US ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell says Zimbabwe is
closer to political change than at any other time in the past 10 years.
Dell, who concludes his term as US envoy to Zimbabwe next month to take up a
posting in Kabul as deputy chief of mission, addressed a media roundtable on
Monday during a farewell tour in Bulawayo.

"We are closer to seeing change in Zimbabwe today generated from
within than at any time since Independence. The first phase of Zimbabwe's
post-Independence history.defined by the liberation struggle and
anti-colonialism, (and) sadly increasingly in the last few years the phase
characterised by ethnic hatred and racism is coming to an end as the economy
collapses around us," said Dell.

In a wide-ranging discussion Dell said he was not leaving Zimbabwe a
disappointed man or feeling lost as he had performed his duties effectively
during his tour of duty. He said his government supported programmes that
inculcated democracy in Zimbabwean society.

He said the country's inflation rate could plunge to 1 500 000% by
year-end and said the economic downturn "if the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
continued to print money" could produce a situation which will force
political change.

Dell said independent estimates from the private sector indicate that
Zimbabwe's actual inflation rate was nearly 20 000%, noting that the rate
has doubled every month since February. "If this trend continues, the rate
of inflation will reach 1,5 million percent by the end of the year," said
the US envoy.

"The real crisis in Zimbabwe today is generated by the fact that a
handful of people have arrogated unto themselves the right to speak on
behalf of everybody and have excluded anybody who does not think or talk or
act like them from that discussion about their own future," said Dell. "I
think this period is coming to an end."

"The acceleration of the economic collapse signifies an end-game for
President Mugabe. The country's inflation has doubled every month. In
February independent analysts revealed that inflation was at 3 000% while in
March it doubled to 6 000%. In April it was at 12 000% and currently it's at
20 000%. By year-end the inflation rate will be at 1,5 million percent,"
Dell said.

He said worldwide, quoting research from international bodies such as
the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, there is no government
that has survived presiding over inflation that had hit over seven digit

Turning to targeted sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe, Dell said there was
nothing illegal about the sanctions as often stated by the government and
state media.

Dell defended the targeted sanctions and said the US government had a
right to use its vote on the boards of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
and other financial institutions as it deemed fit.

"The sanctions we imposed on President Mugabe and his ruling elite are
not illegal. The US government has 17% voting rights in the IMF and we can
use them in any way we deem fit. If the US government decides to use its
vote to deny a government like that of Zimbabwe lines of credit, so be it,"
Dell said.

Asked how he would describe President Mugabe's rule, Dell said it was

"Mugabe did not see his expiry date. He stayed too long and overstayed
his welcome. He is a man who played a large historical role from
Independence through the first quarter of a century: it's a legacy someone
should have been proud of but he has overstayed," Dell said.

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NMB scandal: probe uncovers more holes

Zim Independent

Shakeman Mugari

THE NMB Bank fraud scandal this week deepened with information that a
forensic audit done by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has uncovered more
holes in the bank's books than initially reported.

The forensic audit shows that a further US$1,5 million was siphoned
from the bank between January 2006 and March 2007.

The latest findings bring the total prejudice to US$6,3 million.
Initial investigations had put the figure at US$4,7 million.

The audit also found that the money was siphoned from NMB Bank through
210 fraudulent transactions. Initial checks had established that 65
transactions were used to siphon the funds.

The money was transferred into an offshore company called Cardinal
Finance (Pvt) which holds an account with AKB Bank of Switzerland.

Sources said investigations were continuing but indications were that
the figure could increase as the central bank traces the other transactions
that the chief suspect, Shame Mandara, who was an assistant manager in NMB's
treasury department, could have made.

The investigators believe that Mandara could have been working with
officials from other commercial banks.

"We confirm that our investigations have established some additional
United States dollar payments totalling US$1 474 242,72 which were made by
NMB Bank Ltd to Cardinal Finance LLC account number 16701690347," reads the
report seen by businessdigest.

The report shows that the fraudulent transactions were made between
January 10 2006 and March 2 this year.

"Preliminary investigations have also established that fraudulent
documents were used as source documents by the NMB Bank Ltd treasury staff,"
the report said.

"The reason for the remittance stated in each of the payments is 'RBZ
loan 251'.

"Investigations are continuing to determine the source of the Zimbabwe
dollars used to pay for the amounts and to establish if Exchange Control
approval was obtained by NMB Bank Ltd."

It also emerged last night that more than 10 commercial banks also
made transactions that are somehow related to a company called Haus (Pvt)
Ltd which is now at the centre of the investigations.

Haus, investigators say, was the conduit company that was used to
siphon the money.

Haus holds account number 0140074412101 with Stanbic Bank.

According to the documents, foreign currency would be transferred into
Cardinal Finance's account. Haus would then pay the equivalent of local
currency to NMB.

Some local companies would then get foreign currency from Cardinal
Finance which they would exchange with Zimbabwe dollars paid to Haus through
other banks. The United States dollars would be wired directly from Cardinal
Finance's account in Switzerland into the accounts of the local companies.

The amount transferred between local companies was $8,1 trillion.

The central bank is talking to nine local commercial banks and one
building society whose clients participated in the transactions.

The audit shows that the beneficiary companies held accounts with
Kingdom, Barclays, Stanchart, Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group, MBCA, Premier
Bank, CBZ, ZB and Stanbic Bank.

Clients from CABS, the biggest building society in the country, also

Investigators believe that although the banks might not necessarily
have been aware of the fraudulent activities their explanation is crucial in
efforts to get to the bottom of the matter.

"Given that the transfers translate to foreign currency receipts by
Zimbabwean companies, the question that immediately comes to mind is whether
the banks through which the funds were received dealt with the same in terms
of the standing Exchange Control surrender requirements," the report read.

"Specifically, there is need to check that the receiving banks
properly accounted for the money and surrendered the relevant portion to the
Reserve Bank on time."

The report shows that 58 local companies and 10 individuals made
transactions which the RBZ believes were linked to the scam. The list of
beneficiaries also included churches, wholesale shops and private schools.

For instance, on March 14 this year the Diocese of Mutare remitted
US$7 328 into Cardinal's account.

"Transaction number 21 relates to the only remittance made by a local
entity (Diocese of Mutare) to Cardinal Finance for US$7 328 on the 14th of
March 2007. It should be prudent to establish what services were rendered by
Cardinal Finance to the Diocese of Mutare," the report said.

RBZ governor Gideon Gono could not be reached this week but he told
businessdigest three weeks ago that he was not willing to comment on ongoing

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NMB appeals to RBZ

Zim Independent

Shakeman Mugari

NMB Bank has appealed to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to reverse the
decision to cancel its foreign currency dealership licence.

The RBZ last month cancelled NMB Bank's licence after investigations
found that the bank was defrauded of US$4,7 million by an assistant manager
in its treasury department.

Further investigations have since revealed that a further US$1,5
million was also siphoned from the bank bringing the total amount in the
fraud to US$6,2 million.

Sources said the appeal was logged last week after it emerged that
more banks could have been part of the scandal. A forensic audit shows that
nine commercial banks were used to facilitate the fraudulent transactions.

The audit shows that the beneficiary companies held accounts with
Kingdom, Barclays, Stanchart, Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group, MBCA, Premier
Bank, CBZ, ZB and Stanbic Bank.

A few clients from Cabs, the biggest building society in the country,
also benefited. The RBZ says although the banks might not have been aware of
the fraudulent activities of their clients, their explanations will help the

NMB Bank is arguing that they are not the only bank involved in the

"They believe that it would be unfair to cancel their dealership
licence when new evidence shows that other banks were used in the
transactions," said a source close to the issue.

NMB Bank wants the RBZ to carry out thorough investigations into the
whole foreign currency system in order to establish how the other banks were
involved. "NMB Bank feels it would be unfair for the central bank to deal
with their licence in isolation because there are also other banks whose
clients made transactions that are related to the case."

The RBZ is likely to make a decision on the appeal in the next two
weeks but sources said the new evidence has put RBZ governor Gideon Gono in
a dilemma.

"He will either have to reconsider the cancellation or apply the same
punitive measures to other banks that were involved," the sources said.

"The problem is that if he chooses to go the hard way, he will have to
cancel dealership licences for nine commercial banks. The whole system would
collapse if he does that."

Gono's problems are worsened by the fact that police are still
dragging their feet on the issue. No arrests have been made since the
scandal was unearthed in April this year. The RBZ team of investigators
submitted its findings to the police together with the names of the
directors of companies that are at the centre of the fraud.

The RBZ has also submitted statements from NMB's management to the
police. In their statement officials from NMB denied any involvement saying
the transactions were approved in error. The evidence was submitted to the
police early last month.

"The case has not moved. Right now the investigators and Gono himself
are shocked that no arrests have been made. The investigators are livid that
their efforts are being undermined," said the source.

l Meanwhile businessdigest can reveal that the RBZ has for the past
two months been using a special financial tracking system it recently
acquired from South Africa to trace the funds that were siphoned from NMB
Bank over the past 18 months.

The system called Anti Money Laundering and Foreign Currency Tracking
system will be launched early July as the central bank moves to plug the
holes in the country's foreign currency system.

Zimbabwe is the first country in the region to use the system which is
expected to be installed in all banks by mid July. The software was designed
by Sandbox, a South African based company. It is being marketed in the
region by a company called Perago.

The system tracks down the source of funding, bank used and the
receiving bank. It also tracks the name and address of the beneficiary.

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Zim in bid to lure international airlines

Zim Independent

Shame Makoshori

ZIMBABWE is planning to launch a campaign aimed at persuading
international airlines that have pulled out of Harare to resume their
services in anticipation of growth in demand for air transport during the
2010 World Cup to be held in neighbouring South Africa, businessdigest can

Major airlines pulled out of Zimbabwe in 2000 due to reduced demand
for their services after government's controversial land reforms that
affected the country's image and its potential as a tourist destination. The
airlines also complained of high landing, handling and navigation costs.

The announcement will come as Zimbabwe claimed it will put in place
programmes to attract at least 30% of about three million tourists that are
expected in Southern Africa during the World Cup.

Austrian Airlines, Quantas, Germany's Lufthansa, Swissair, KLM of the
Netherlands, Balkan Airlines, Air France and Portugal's TAP were some of the
major airlines that abandoned the route.

They argued that they were no longer generating enough revenue to
continue servicing the route.

Most international flights have now diverted to Johannesburg.

But according to the World Soccer Cup Strategy for Zimbabwe, a
document that was prepared by the Sport, Tourism, Image and Communications
Taskforce, several organisations have been assigned to open discussions with
some of these airlines this year to resume flights into Zimbabwe by the end
of the year.

"Our roads and railways should also be in a condition that is
acceptable in order to attract visitors," the document reads.

Aviation experts this week warned it would be difficult for Zimbabwe
to regain the confidence of the major airlines considering the deteriorating
economic environment driving the continued fall in demand.

Tourist arrivals from Europe, the traditional source for Zimbabwe,
declined by 14% from 112 608 in 2005 to 96 849 in 2006, according to the
latest Zimbabwe Tourism Authority annual report.

The document says the Civil Avian Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ), Air
Zimbabwe, National Handling Services and the Ministry of Transport and
Communications will in the next six months also look into the possibility of
code sharing deals between the national airline and foreign carriers.

There are also plans to introduce incentives for international
airlines that fly into Zimbabwe.

Analysts say it will be very difficulty to convince the foreign
airlines because of Zimbabwe's bad image, poor infrastructure and a
freefalling economy.

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Zim to beg SA

Zim Independent

Shame Makoshori

ZIMBABWE will this year plead with South Africa to encourage its
companies to outsource Zimbabwean skills and services during preparations
for the 2010 World Cup in a bid to thwart the massive skills flight that is
threatening to hit the country.

Qualified Zimbabwe have already started crossing into South Africa to
participate in the construction boom in that country as it prepares for the
World cup.

Civil engineers, electricians, builders, accountants, architectures
and other professionals have joined the race to join the more paying South
African industries fleeing Zimbabwe's escalating economic crisis.

A team of professionals engaged by government to conduct a thorough
research on the potential economic benefits of Zimbabwe from the 2010 Word
Cup said in a report presented to cabinet last month that to stop the brain
drain, Zimbabwe should talk to South Africa government to "facilitate
systemic and legal provision of these services."

The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority has been given until the end of the
year to develop and implement a human resources plan.

"There is need for Zimbabwe to have an agreement with South Africa in
order to facilitate systemic and legal provision of these services to the
mutual benefit of both countries," the report, prepared by the Sport,
Tourism, Image and Communications Taskforce says.

"With a lot of infrastructure developments currently taking place in
South Africa in preparing for the event, there is also an opportunity for
Zimbabwe to supply some of the materials, technology and skills needed for
these infrastructural developments. Zimbabwean businesses can outsource
their skills and services to South Africa during the preparations and the
actual event.

Many South African companies have been advertising for manpower in
Zimbabwe and many more professionals are expected to leave the country to
take up more lucrative job offers in that country.

Apart from the manufacturing related jobs, several Zimbabweans have
taken up top positions in banking, insurance, agricultural media and other
sectors of the South Africa economy.

Recent reports indicate that there has been shortages of science
teachers in South Africa and the government in that country has indicated
that it is targeting Zimbabwe to recruit teachers.

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30 million kg tobacco auctioned

Zim Independent

Paul Nyakazeya

AT least 30 million kg of flue-cured tobacco valued at US$67,9 million
($16,9 billion at the interbank rate) has gone under the hammer at the
country's three auction during the first 37 days of trade.

Figures obtained from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB)
yesterday revealed that the deliveries were 59,54% more than the 18,8
million kg which went under the hammer during the same period last year.

In monetary terms last year's sales for the same period were 373,6%
less at $3,5 billion in Zimbabwe dollar terms due to hyperinflation.
Inflation which reached 4 530% at the end of May, was 1 193,5% during the
same period last year.

In US dollars terms the value of tobacco sold is 91,7% more than
US$35,1 million sold during the same period last year.

A total of 328 183 bails have so far been sold, 49,64% more than 219
311 bales which were sold during the corresponding period last year, the
TIMB said.

Of Zimbabwe's three auction floors, Burley Marketing Zimbabwe (BMZ)
has sold 3,9 million kg worth US$8,7 million ($2,1 billion). Tobacco Sales
Floor (TSF) sold 4,2 million kg valued at US$9,8 million ($2,4 trillion).
Zimbabwe Industry Tobacco Auction Centre (ZITAC) accounted for 3,5 million
kg worth US$8,2 million ($2 billion).

Contract tobacco farmers accounted for 18,2 million kg valued at
US$40,7 million ($10,1 billion).

A total of 80 million kgs are expected to go under the hummer during
the current tobacco selling season.

The current season has also witnessed an increase in the selling price
that has averaged US$2,25 compared to US$1,87 which prevailed during the
corresponding period last year.

Government has disbursed a support price amounting to $1,8 trillion
compared to $1,2 billion during the same period last year.

The support price is currently pegged at $40 000 for every kg of
tobacco that fetch US$1,50. Tobacco that fetches prices below US$1,50 will
attract a support price calculated on a downward pro-rata basis to the $40
000 while prices above US$1,50 will attract an upward pro-rata to the $40

Government also put in place a 20% Foreign Currency Retention facility
for tobacco farmers. This facility allows tobacco farmers to retain 20% of
their earnings in foreign currency.

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CZI blasts govt policies

Zim Independent

Shame Makoshori

THE Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) this week lashed out at
government's economic policies which have "triggered a wave of despondency"
among companies.

CZI denied government's allegations that companies were profiteering
saying businesses were being forced to increase their prices because of high
interest rates and exchange rate movements.

"We must remember that capital is very timid," the CZI said in its
2006 manufacturing sector survey 2007.

The survey shows that the manufacturing sector declined by 7% in 2006.
It said the sector grew by 3,2% in 2005.

"In this environment, the interest rates are highly volatile and
negative," the CZI Survey said. "Exchange rates are unpredictable and
treated with stigma. Prices are being driven on non-economic fundamentals
and suppliers are viewed with suspicion and a high degree of mistrust.
Investors are forced to take a very short view of their investment
profiles," the survey said.

The survey report said as a result of the volatile economic
environment, the rate of investment in the manufacturing sector was "well
below that required to keep pace with the wear and tear and obsolescence of
the existing capital stock." About 54,2% of companies that participated in
the survey said they had made investments for expansion purposes with 45,8%
citing capital replacements as the reasons for their expansion.

New investment was low.

On international trade, the survey said Zambia remained the main
destination for Zimbabwe's manufactured products. The industrial body
expressed serious concerns on the surrender requirements for export proceeds
saying they were not viable.

"The surrender requirement at a low market rate of 30% of the export
proceeds at Z$250 to the US$ remained a major business disincentive. About
2, 1% of the respondents stopped exporting in 2006."

"Consequently, there was a significant decline in foreign currency
inflows noted by exporting companies."

Zimbabwe has been facing serious challenges in the procurement of
fuel, medicine, food and critical industrial inputs due to the foreign
currency shortages. Corruption, as viewed by 68% of the companies that were
interviewed remained highly negative to business.

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Govt frets over bad-boy image as 2010 beckons

Zim Independent

Shame Makoshori

THE government says it is worried that the Zimbabwe's collapsing
infrastructure and its bad-boy image will scuttle its chances of benefiting
from the tourism boom expected in the region during the 2010 World Cup in
South Africa, businessdigest can reveal.

Zimbabwe has estimated that it will generate at least US$50 million
through tourism related activities.

According to an ambitious business plan written by the Sport, Tourism,
Image and Communications Taskforce titled World Soccer Cup 2010 Strategy for
Zimbabwe, the country plans to attract at least a 30% market share of
visitors during the month-long tournament and reduce the unemployment rate
by about 5%.

But the 2010 Strategy, expected to be launched next week, clearly
shows that the government is worried that these targets might not be reached
because of the country's bad image, the economic crisis and poor
infrastructure in the tourism industry.

The government is also worried by the poor administration of football
in Zimbabwe.

The document said "travel warnings and lack of investor confidence"
was one of the major threats to government's plans for 2010.

Chronic power cuts, limited knowledge of foreign languages and
declining product and service standards in the sector are also mentioned as
some of the major threats to the project.

"There is urgent need to put in place appropriate strategies to
exploit this opportunity," the document says.

"Air transportation system needs to be addressed to provide adequate
access from the 2010 source countries and the host nation/cities before,
during and after the event. Facilitation of the smooth movement of visitors
at our ports of entry, as well as availability of fuel is critical," says
the document.

Although the 23-page business plan says most of these hurdles will be
cleared by the end of 2008, analysts this week said with inflation reaching
alarming levels, activities like the construction of stadia and the
improvement of accessibility to the country's major destinations could be
difficult to accomplish.

Some government officials are however adamant that despite all these
problems tourists will be forced to come to Zimbabwe because of lack of
capacity in the region.

Addressing a press briefing last month, the minister of Education,
Sports and Culture, Aeneas Chigwedere, who is also part of the 2010
taskforce, said the tourists had no choice but to come to Zimbabwe.

"Tourists have two options. Either to come for the 2010 World Cup or
they do not come at all. South Africa, Swaziland and Botswana can only
accommodate a limited number of tourists. Namibia is far away, while
Mozambique only has hotels in Maputo," he said.

"Those who are suggesting that tourists will shun us for political
reasons when there is no option for accommodation are not informed,"
Chigwedere told journalists in Harare.

South Africa has also confirmed that it does not have the capacity to
accommodate all the tourists during the World Cup.

But another hurdle, according to the World Cup Strategy, is that
Zimbabwe is one of the most expensive destinations in the region and this
could drive potential business to other countries.

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Empowerment Bill set to meet WTO resistance

Zim Independent

Paul Nyakazeya

THE proposed empowerment bill which compels government to procure 75%
of its goods and services from locally owned companies could meet resistance
from multilateral trade organisations like the World Trade Organisation
(WTO) because of its non-tariff barrier.

Zimbabwe is a signatory of an agreement by WTO on government
procurements that was signed in 1994.

The agreement sets out an "agreed framework of rights and obligations
among its parties with respect to their national laws, regulations,
procedures and practices in the area of government procurement."

The cornerstone of the rules in the agreement is non-discrimination.

The Attorney General's office is next month expected to complete the
drafting of the bill whose salient clauses were heavily borrowed from The
Revised Policy Framework for Indigenisation of the Economy document written
by the Indigenisation and Empowerment ministry last year.

The Bill could be brought to parliament next month and government
expects it to become law by September.

The Bill will compel companies to sell 50% of their shareholding to
locally owned firms or risk losing their licence and registration.

This means government's tender process will be changed to comply with
the Act.

"Government itself should arrange to secure or procure at least 75% of
its goods and services from indigenous companies," says a document the AG is
using to draft the bill.

Government will be required to deal with indigenous banks and
accounting firms only to show its commitment to the empowerment process.

Foreign owned banks that want to do business with government will have
to sell 50% shareholding to the local investors.

"How is government going to reconcile this protocol which we signed,
with the impending Bill?" a lawyer said this week.

"There is however a precedent of the existence of similar laws in
other countries. I've come across the Buy American Act (1933) which however
sets out waivers on local procurement under specific circumstances. Maybe
our own bill will also set out similar waivers," the lawyer said.

Trade analysts said the fact that Zimbabwe was still a signatory to
the WTO means that it will face punitive measures if it violated the
violates the provisions of the agreement.

The Bill will also compel private companies and parastatals to get
their banking and accounting services from locally-owned financial
institutions. Government will also be compelled to set aside 50%
shareholding in the parastatals it plans to privatise or commercialise for
local investors.

It also says government should make it mandatory for all companies
merging or unbundling to set aside 50% for local investors.

Companies seeking to list on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange will have to
comply with the law or they will not be allowed on the bourse.

Analysts said contents of the proposed Bill promoted anti-trade.

"Compare this with the experience of the Export Processing Zones Act,
which sets out quotas for how much a licensee may trade locally and
externally. Has the EPZ quota system been successful? How does the bill
affect companies which rely on foreign currency for their operations? Does
government have the capacity to monitor this provision," asked the lawyer.

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Investment to Byo down 30% this year

Zim Independent

Pindai Dube

INVESTMENT inflows to Bulawayo dropped 30% since January this year due
to volatile economic conditions, a government investment body has said.

A Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA) survey shows that the city has
lost vast investment opportunities due to water shortages and shrinking

The report said that the textile industry - which used to account for
a huge proportion of companies in the second largest city has been the worst
affected by the investment dip.

"Bulawayo has lost vast investment opportunities. Investment has sunk
to below 30% since January this year," ZIA said.

"Most of the companies are operating at an average capacity
utilisation of below 40% while others had gone under voluntary liquidation
with some placed under judicial management."

ZIA chairperson, Mara Hativagone said the drop in investment was
worrying. She said government should implement proper policies to attract
foreign direct investment.

"There is a need to come up with a new strategy to improve investment
inflows into the country's major cities," said Hativagone who is also the
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) president.

Experts and independent economic analysts however say foreign
investment to the country will continue on a downward spiral because of the
deteriorating macro-economic situation.

The drop in investment is not unique to Bulawayo alone. The whole
economy has been hit by a massive capital flight since 2000 when the
government embarked on the controversial land reform programme.

The threats to investors capital have also mounted over the past seven
years due to fuel and foreign currency shortages and government's
retrogresive policy on investment.

Meanwhile, a World Bank report titled Doing Business 2007 found that
Zimbabwe was one of the most difficult countries to do business in. The
report released early this year ranked Zimbabwe number 153 out of 175
countries included in the survey.

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Bulls on the rampage

Zim Independent

Paul Nyakazeya

THE Zimbabwe Stock Exchange's (ZSE) industrial index has surged 260,2%
since the beginning of this month as the bulls continue to run riot on the

The industrial index closed at
45 396 556,69 million points on Wednesday from 12 600 948,39 million
points recorded on June 1. The market is being driven by inflation. The
mining index rose by 254% to 24 080 049,79 million points from 6 788 525,014
million points during the same period.

The mining index surged 47 369,34 (0, 20%) points to close at 24 080
049,79 points owing to increases by all resource counters.

The industrial and resource indices had opened the year at 583 760,42
points and 354 464,10 points respectively. Daily turnover since June 1 has
been averaging above $6 billion, latest figures from the market showed on

An investor who bought 500 Hippo Valley shares on June 1 at $28 000
valued at $14 million could have pocket $50 million if he sold the same
shares on Wednesday, making a profit of $36 million inside 20 days.

Although the share price for Pretoria Portland Cement is out of reach
for many individual investors, someone could pocket $950 million from 100
shares sold during the period under review. The same shares were going for
$320 million on June 1 at $3,2 million a share.

The share closed at $9,5 million on Wednesday.

Genesis bank group economist Brains Muchemwa said the stock market
still had a good life to run in 2007, although it might prove very difficult
to match regional performance in real terms.

"Excessive liquidity in the economy will continue to see more cash
available to place orders on the stock market," Muchemwa said.

"The liquid conditions on the money market are being propelled by
tobacco and grain purchases as well as other related fiscal expenditure," he

Muchemwa said the stock market was expected to slow down next week due
to corporate tax payments due on June 25.

"This will drain the money market and probably keep it short for a
week or two," Muchemwa said.

He added: "Only six months ago, the whole market looked curiously into
the future, imagining how the market would manage with the glut of CPI
maturities. Now the CPI maturities are a non-event when evaluated to other
inflows coming into the markets."

"It just shows the extent to which monetary bases in the economy have
grown in the past six months to render what looked like huge mountains of
cash to just small pebbles on the river bed," said Muchemwa.

Kingdom Bank economist, Witness Chinyama, said the medium to long-term
outlook of the equities market depended on the movement of real interest
rates which were a function of the behaviour of nominal interest rates and

"Currently interest-bearing assets are yielding negative returns due
to the existence of low nominal rates and high inflation, a situation that
favours non-interest bearing assets such as equities and property. Given
that property investments require huge capital outlays, they are too
expensive for the ordinary investor who has no choice but to go for the
share market," said Chinyama.


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Only common sense, honesty is needed

Zim Independent

IF Western powers can do all the damage to Zimbabwe that President
Mugabe and his government claim, then surely they are very clever people,
able to do so much from so far away. Mugabe is here, on the spot, and yet he
has been unable to do anything about it, which he so often admits.

He says the West wants to recolonise Zimbabwe. What a laugh! Common
sense will tell any half-literate person that if a country like this one was
handed over as "the jewel of Africa", it is now hardly likely that any
country in the West would want it in the condition it has been reduced to.

As for sanctions on Zimbabwe, it must be emphasised that they are only
on travel for members of government and others responsible for the mess. The
government harps on about sanctions which do not exist, in order to hoodwink
people. The present sanctions, in fact, benefit Zimbabwe as they save
foreign currency which would otherwise be spent by these people on overseas

As for degrees held by our president and government officials, what
good have any of them done for the country? The only proof we have of any of
them is the degree in violence. The most important assets necessary to run a
country, or anything else for that matter, are know-how, common sense and
honesty. Our present government has shown none of these attributes.

The children of our ministers being educated elsewhere will probably
not benefit this country as they will see the actions of their parents and
accept such as being the norm. Unless, of course, some aspects of the way of
life they have seen elsewhere, have washed off on them. I am thinking of
such things as clean towns and cities, unpotholed roads, honesty and
consideration for others.

P de Simone,


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Bill crafted to extend Mugabe tenure: Zesn

Zim Independent

Orirando Manwere

THE Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No18) Bill has been crafted to
ensure President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu PF party stay in power
until 2010 and also gives him and a partisan parliament exclusive powers to
manipulate the electoral system and decide on critical national issues
without involving the majority, an electoral monitoring body has said.

A detailed analysis produced this week by the Zimbabwe Election
Support Network (Zesn)'s lawyers says clause 2(2) of the Bill allows Mugabe
to remain in office until parliament is dissolved in 2010.

The clause states that "the amendments made by sub-section (1) apply
to the president in office on the date of commencement of this Act,
notwithstanding anything contained in Section 29 before its amendment by
this Act".

However, according to Zesn, the amendments made by subsection (1) of
clause 28 provide that an election to the office of president must take
place at the same time as a general election of members of parliament.

"So the effect of (2) is that President Mugabe (who will be the
president in office when the Bill comes into force as an Act) need not
subject himself to re-election until the next general election is held in

"This applies notwith-standing the current Section 29 of the
Constitution, which states that the presidential term is limited to six
years. His term, in other words, is extended to the next general election.
So President Mugabe will not have to face the voters until 2010, unless he
chooses to dissolve parliament before then in 2008.

"The true import of clause 2(2) needs to be clearly understood," reads
the Zesn statement.

On the proposals to allow parliament to elect a new president in the
event of the incumbent's death, resignation or removal, Zesn says this was
undemocratic because an executive president must be elected by a popular

According to the new section 28 (3) (b), if the president dies,
resigns or is removed from office, the Senate and the House of Assembly must
sit together within 90 days and elect a new president. A president so
elected will hold office for the life of the current parliament

"The Bill does not specify any particular majority by which a new
president must be elected, so one must assume that a simple majority of the
Senators and MPs present and voting will suffice.

"This change has been foreshadowed by discussions in the press. It is
widely believed that President Mugabe wants to contest the next presidential
election and then, if he wins, steps down in favour of a chosen successor
who will be duly elected by a grateful party using its majority in

"This proposed change is undemo-cratic, because if it is accepted that
an executive president must be elected by popular vote, which the
Constitution does in Section 28(2), then his or her successor should be
similarly elected," says Zesn.

Zesn says the fact that elections are expensive cannot justify a
provision that would allow an executive president to hold office without a
popular mandate.

It says the only exception might be if the president died or resigned
shortly before his or her term of office was due to expire within six
months. In that event a successor could be chosen by parliament, but even
then it would be better to allow one of the vice-presidents to act until the
next presidential election.

On the proposed expansion of parliament Zesn says the increase is

"Parliament is an expensive institution, and increasing its membership
will increase the expense. The only discernible reason for the increase is
to extend the government's power of patronage. This is unjustifiable,
particularly in the current economic environment.

"Ten members of the Senate will be provincial governors, 18 will be
chiefs and six will be appointed by the president. Since the president
appoints provincial governors and chiefs, he will have 34 appointees in the
Senate; at present he has only 16.

"Under the Bill, the House will have 210 members of whom 200 will be
elected on a constituency basis and 10 will be appointed by the president.

"So far as presidential appointees are concerned, what the House of
Assembly has lost the Senate will gain. The total number of presidential
appointees in parliament will be reduced from 46 to 44.

Zesn argues that both Houses of Parliament, except for the Chiefs,
must be elected.

It says chiefs should be outside politics and can remain as an
advisory council such as the case in Lesotho and other countries to ensure
that they are non-partisan and embrace all citizens without favour or bias
due to political affiliation.

On the Delimitation Commission and its functions, Zesn says the
proposed commission is partisan as it is appointed by and reports to the
president. It says an independent electoral body should play that role.

Clause 10 of the Bill will replace Section 60 of the Constitution.
According to the Bill's memorandum, the replacement is "consequential to the
provision for the increase in the number of elected House of Assembly seats
to make the delimitation commission responsible for determining the
boundaries of the senatorial constituencies."

Zesn notes that the memorandum is not entirely frank as it makes at
least one amendment, which is unrelated to the increase in the number of

Under the present Section 60(4) the commission may allow the number of
voters in each constituency to vary by up to 20%. Under the Bill the
permissible variation is increased to 25% which is a significant increase.

Zesn also notes is that while the delimitation commission must take
into account such factors as community of interest between voters, physical
features and so on when fixing the boundaries of House of Assembly
constituencies, it will be allowed to disregard all such factors when
delimiting senatorial constituencies according to the new Section 60(5) of
the Bill.

The president, who needs merely to consult the Chief Justice or the
chairman before appointing them, appoints all the members of the commission.
With such a potentially biased commission, any relaxation of rules regarding
delimitation must be viewed with suspicion, says Zesn.

The increased number of seats in the House of Assembly will
necessitate the creation of 80 new constituencies. The delimitation
commission will also delimit five senatorial constituencies in each province
consisting of groups of contiguous house of assembly constituencies.

"Before the 2005 parliamentary elections, a number of constituency
boundaries were redrawn to give the ruling party an electoral advantage,"
said Zesn. "Certain constituencies dominated by Zanu PF like Gokwe were
split to create individual constituencies without any justification of
demographic changes.

"On the other hand, some urban constituencies, which are the
stronghold of the MDC, were redrawn to incorporate abutting rural areas
where Zanu PF had support."

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Nothing poetic about Zim crisis

Zim Independent

HEAVILY armed police last Wednesday stormed the Bulawayo Arts Theatre
and stopped the premiere of the controversial play The Good President,
written and directed by seasoned playwright Cont Mhlanga of Amakhosi Theatre
and produced by Daves Guzha of Rooftop Productions. The police alleged that
the play was political and the organisers needed to seek permission under
the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) to stage it. Below is Mhlanga's

By Cont Mhlanga

AFTER sitting in the High Court chambers for about an hour over the
matter, Justice Francis Bere gave the two lawyers 10 minutes to go out and
discuss the matter before bringing to him what they could not agree on.

After some 15 minutes or so the lawyers called the two parties in and
informed us of their common position: to remove the matter from the roll and
discuss the issues and come to an agreement with the police over the banning
of the play in an out-of-court settlement.

What was being cited by the police now were the lines of the script
that they said were not only contravening sections of Posa but also sections
of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act by "undermining the
authority of the President" (whatever that means in art). For them it was
not just about stopping a play from taking place at a theatre but also about
questioning the script.

What does the out-of-court settlement with the police mean to me as a

It means that I have to take my script of The Good President to the
police officer commanding Bulawayo district and allow him to edit and censor
it for me before he can lift the ban and allow the play to run in Bulawayo.

The big question for me is: do I want to do that?

Even if I want to, just picture this scenario: the first scene begins
with the officer commanding riot police chasing after street protesters who
have run into the theatre and joined the audience. The riot police with
their usual bad language demand permission letters under Posa and disperse
the crowd at the theatre.

This is what police officers did at Bulawayo Theatre last Wednesday,
Thursday and Friday.

They will ask me to delete this scene for sure to protect the police
force image.

The second scene takes place at the police station where the police
officers have caught one of the protesters who happens to be an elected
leader of the opposition and are beating the daylights out of his head. This
is what happened in Harare in March.

Again, he will ask me to remove this scene or change it to say that
they offered him water at the station while they questioned him.

The third scene is about the president celebrating and defending state
violence on TV. This happened in March and that is what inspired me to write
the play The Good President.

The officer commanding will say this undermines the authority of the
president (whatever that means in art) and must be deleted.

The fourth scene is about historical facts that a grandmother gives to
her grandson on how and why his father and other villagers were shot by
soldiers and tells him the president was the commander-in-chief of that army
and the killings were tribal and politically motivated.

The officer commanding will ask me to delete this scene or even
suggest that I give other causes of death as this undermines the authority
of the president so that they may not prosecute me under the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act.

Given the above situations, it is clear that this is a negotiation
that I cannot win. The police ban will have to stay banishing The Good
President into the drawer.

I have two more options to consider since I want the play to be staged
as it has been written: to ignore the ban and present the play at other
venues and through DVDs and a published script.

However, if I take this route the officer commanding will move a step
higher: arrest and get me prosecuted (if he can get his hands on me) for
undermining the authority of the president.

The final option would be to water down the script and make the script
fictitious, taking place in some fictitious country out of this world.

The big question once more is: do I want to do that?

In my belief and conviction, The Good President is protest theatre and
I want it to remain like that. I don't want to turn it into some flowery
poetic theatre.

In my opinion, there is nothing flowery and poetic about the current
situation the country is facing. There is nothing flowery and poetic about a
corrupt political leadership that celebrates state violence.

There is nothing flowery and poetic about millions of people in the
country who cannot afford to put a single decent meal on the table for their
families on a daily bases. There is nothing poetic and flowery about an
economy whose inflation is at 5 000%.

There is nothing poetic and flowery about living in a country whose
governing leaders are under travel sanctions. There is nothing flowery and
poetic about living in a country where you send your child to school to find
the head of a school with half the staff having left to work in another

The situation in the country is desperate for the majority of the
population and it demands some urgent action by all concerned.

In my culture sector, in performing arts, the current situation in the
country demands not poetic theatre, not romantic theatre, but protest

It is for this reason that I find myself in a dilemma if I have to go
and negotiate with the police for the lifting of the ban on the play. I
however have learnt one clear lesson: that there is no room to practise the
art of protest theatre in our democratic Zimbabwe.

Before I can make a decision on what to do, the producer and myself
will this week sit with the legal representative, Kucaca Phulu, and visit
all the scenes and legally inform myself about what lines and content of my
script possibly contravene sections of Posa and the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act. Only after the exercise will I be in a
position to make an informed decision on what to do next.

The play must play in Bulawayo and I will make sure the biggest
changes in the script will be commas and full-stops.

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Coup plot bogus

Zim Independent

By Pedzisai Ruhanya

EVENTS relating to an alleged military take-over of the government
need a thorough interrogation in order to explain the continued
deterioration of the political and economic crisis that Zimbabwe has been
grappling with for the past seven years.

While the ingredients for a military take-over are there for everyone
to witness, the question is whether indeed such a plot was foiled or whether
there are other explanations such as the possibility of a coup, the raging
succession war in Zanu PF or the party's usual diversionary tactics when
faced with critical national issues such as the continued freefall of the

It is important to understand that the military by nature, composition
and design is authoritarian, in most cases extremely undemocratic. Such
qualities help soldiers to serve their constitutional mandate which includes
defence against foreign enemies. The role of the military is to destroy
threats, not to apprehend them for processing through a system that presumes
them innocent until proven guilty.

In most cases elsewhere, the military have cited economic decay, the
prevalence of anarchy or lawlessness, corruption, nepotism and the
possibility of a collapsed state as some of the reasons for taking over the
government from the civilians. The soldiers argue that they are a
mechanised, technical lot with abundant capacity to redress the situation.

One is therefore tempted to argue that a military coup could have been
foiled given that the most critical elements for a military takeover are
currently prevailing in Zimbabwe. This is so because for the past seven
years, Zimbabwe has been experiencing negative economic growth, a shrinking
industrial base and consequently lack of production for the critical export
sector which is very important for securing foreign currency needed to
import necessities such as electricity and fuel.

As a result of the freefall of the economy, people's wages continue to
be eroded to the extent that civil servants including the military are now
receiving pocket-money wages that they are being paid every fortnight. These
people do not have disposable incomes to pay for basic necessities such as
schools and hospital fees as well as groceries for their families.

The military also cites corrupt tendencies by the incumbent government
as one of the reasons for army takeovers.

Zimbabwe's history under the administration of President Robert Mugabe
is littered with numerous cases of corruption ranging from the Willogate
Scandal, the War Victims Compensation Fund, the DRC war and the diamond
looting associated with the adventure, the Pay-For-Your-House Scheme, the
fast-track land reform programme and the piling of farms on Zanu PF leaders,
the Zupco saga, the Ziscosteel plunder, the Noczim fuel fiasco and more
recently the Operation Garikai scheme where senior public officials
benefited from a project that was meant for the poor after their houses were
destroyed during Operation Murambatsvina.

Associated with these cases is the issue of nepotism where relatives
of government and Zanu PF officials benefit from the looting of national
resources. Such cases invite the military to take over purportedly to rescue
the nation from decay.

Cases of lawlessness that form the cornerstone of Zanu PF's role are
also important in explaining the causes of military coups. Usually the army
comes in order to restore law and order after the failure of civilians to
maintain law and order in the country.

The invasion of courts by war veterans, the attack against lawyers,
journalists and ordinary citizens without any recourse to justice have
become endemic in Zimbabwe's political psyche under Zanu PF. Attendant to
this is the glaring selective application of justice where there is one law
for Zanu PF supporters and sympathisers and another law for the rest of the
population. Such unjust and inequitable application of the law also forms
the bedrock of army involvement in civil matters.

Having noted the existence of an environment conducive for the army to
be tempted into violating the constitutional order of the country, it is my
contention that attempts to overthrow the government of Mugabe are close to
remote or somewhere nearer.

It is therefore plausible to argue that the attempted coup plot was
pre-emptive. This seems so given that the establishment through its secret
services such as the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives is
aware that the situation on the ground can create such a scenario. It could
have been the strategy of the government through the CIO to warn those
harbouring such unconstitutional ideas that Big Brother was watching them.

One of the reasons a military coup is next to impossible in Zimbabwe
is the geo-political location of Zimbabwe. The Southern African Development
Community - bar the former Zaire, now the DRC, and the failed coup in
Lesotho - does not have a history of military coups.

This factor is important to make the military aware of the
difficulties it faces in the event of such an unlawful misconduct. Most
important, the countries that Zimbabwe share borders with are administered
by civilian governments and some of them such as Zambia, Botswana and South
Africa are fairly democratic.

Also crucial is the composition of the military in Zimbabwe where both
high and middle-ranking officers are former liberation war fighters with an
umbilical cord with Zanu PF. To infiltrate such an establishment needs a lot
of courage and planning.

More so the big people in the army are part of the patronage system of
Zanu PF. They have amassed a lot of wealth through the allocation of farms
and luxury vehicles to the extent that they have become part of the problem
and cannot overthrow themselves from power.

The other hindrance is the ubiquitous nature of the CIO among the
country's repressive state apparatus including the army to the extent that
any such ideas can be nipped in the bud.

In most cases, such as what happed in Chile when Augusto Pinochet in
1973 overthrew the Socialist government of Allende, there was the heavy
involvement of foreign forces or governments, just as what happened when
Mobutu Sese Seko took over in the Congo.

In the current Zimbabwe scenario, there are no indications that a
foreign power is involved, which further gives credence that the so-called
coup was a child's play at best and imaginary and hallucinatory at worst.
This leaves us with at least two possible explanations for the alleged coup.

The alleged involvement of Housing minister Emmerson Mnangagwa gives a
political dimension to the whole saga. Mnangagwa, like retired general
Solomon Mujuru, leads a Zanu PF faction that wants to succeed Mugabe.

The mentioning of Mnangagwa in the court papers and the failure by the
security agents to arrest him for such a serious crime gives an impression
that the alleged coup plot is bogus. It seems that the whole issue is part
of the infighting in the ruling party between the two feuding factions.

One of the remote explanations which cannot be ruled out given Zanu PF's
desperation is the idea of trying to create a state under siege that
requires huge funding for the security forces for them to be able to
maintain law and order.

In my view, behind this plan could be the ruling party's intention to
deploy the military in the country for its election campaign as it did in
2002. Zanu PF has realised that without the assistance of the military and
other repressive state apparatus such as the CIO, their chances of winning
the 2008 poll are next to nothing.

* Pedzisai Ruhanya is a human rights researcher.

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Mugabe's legacy

Zim Independent


IF ever President Mugabe thought he could reverse the current headlong
decline of Zimbabwe's economy, events since the beginning of the month have
all but confirmed that he has completely lost control. In charge of the
levers of this economy now are exogenous factors which have overwhelmed the
octogenarian leader and his Zanu PF government.

There was a time two years ago when policy measures by Mugabe's
handyman Gideon Gono were designed to contain the slide through measures to
limit money supply and with it inflation. The measures, albeit temporary in
nature, gave the semblance of a government trying to improve the country's
economic fortunes. This is all gone now and the deafening silence from the
central bank and the Finance ministry this week on the rapid slide of the
dollar is emblematic of a management that is bereft of solutions.

Government has deferred the official announcement of inflation
figures, due last week. The official figures no longer matter now because
evidence of the decay is abounding. The Zimbabwe dollar was this week
trading at $250 000 to the greenback and has propelled the price of fuel in
sync with its decline. The price of a whole range of goods has more than
doubled since the beginning of the month while transport operators are
raising fares almost daily.

There is no evidence in sight of any serious attempt by the
authorities to stem the tide. The people can no longer accept the usual
facile explanations that the country is under sanctions or silly stories
about saboteurs. Zimbabweans know where the problem originates. They have
pointed to poor government policy as the cause of this malaise.

Our rulers should have seen this coming as they were given early
warning of the tornado now wreaking havoc across the land. In January when
inflation was 1 539%, economists warned that it was heading for the 6 000%
mark by year-end. This projection was greeted with the usual disdain by
government which continued to talk of single digit-inflation by year end.
The 6 000% projection is a huge understatement as last month year-on-year
inflation was conservatively estimated at 4 500% and is heading north at
lightning speeds which should take it past 20 000% by year-end.

In light of this, the Cabinet this week set up a ministerial taskforce
to monitor and stabilise prices under the auspices of the dubious National
Incomes and Prices Commission.

There were the usual threats this week that the taskforce would deal
ruthlessly with companies that profiteer. The taskforce has also been given
the job to deal with black market activities in foreign currency and fuel.
This is where our government has always gotten it wrong. This economy will
never be put right through threats and controls. This has failed before and
will fail again this time. The rampant black market trading in foreign
currency has always been supply- and demand-driven. This economy requires
aid from outside, in particular balance-of-payments support, and it will not
come as long as there is no political settlement.

It is as elementary as that. Police raids at forex trading centres
only result in dealers relocating to other centres. The raids do not address
the issue of foreign currency availability to industry which has continued
to source the commodity on the black market. How will the ministerial
taskforce stabilise the dollar without making foreign currency available in
the first place? This is a government planning in order to fail. In the
past, crackdowns have resulted in basket goods disappearing from shop
shelves. Manufacturers will switch off machinery and send workers home. They
will not be moved by government's threats to take over businesses.

By the day, it's becoming clear that Mugabe's biggest nemesis - the
failed economy - is prevailing over him. Evidence of failure is now
impossible to conceal. In major urban centres, electricity is cut for more
than half the day in a loadshedding exercise prompted by inadequate
generation. The same residents have to endure days and in cases weeks
without potable water because the purification plant is too antiquated to
meet demand. Sewerage flows in deadly rivulets in the townships. Then there
is the hunger in the countryside spawned by a failed maize crop and poor
farming policies.

There is no solution in sight to improve this situation before the
polls scheduled for March. How will Mugabe explain this to the electorate
next year? When he was re-elected in 2002 the price of bread was $60. Now it's
$30 000. If we factor in the three zeros excised from the currency last
year, the real price of bread is $30 000 000. That is Mugabe's legacy today.

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Candid Comment

Zim Independent

by Teldah Mawarire

THIS week, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) invited a group of
German, Austrian and Italian journalists on a whirlwind tour of Zimbabwe. It
was also reported this week that the ZTA is searching for international
artists to serve as Zimbabwe's tourism ambassadors in their various
countries. All in a bid to market Zimbabwe.

The ZTA website says the authority is, among other things, mandated to
promote the country as a leading tourist destination in regional and
overseas markets.

In the current environment all of ZTA's energy will continue going to
waste as long as it fails to realise that due to bad politics and overall
economic mismanagement Zimbabwe will remain a hard sell.

Government blames the international media's "negative reportage" for
its bad-boy image. It is twaddle of the highest order that this impression
is a creation of international media machinations. What stands true is that
the media, especially those in distant lands, have never come to Zimbabwe
and grabbed farms, enticed high ranking officials to be corrupt, crafted the
malevolent Posa, Aippa or its latest cousin, the Interception of
Communications Bill. They have not emasculated the judiciary and stuffed its
benches with Zanu PF sympathisers, neither have they come and closed five
newspapers. Nor did they beat up Morgan Tsvangirai.

It is a stark reality that inflation is well over the official 4 500%
mark. This is the highest in the world! The only tourist that would want to
come here at the moment is one who wants to sight-see this inflation
hobgoblin and an economy on its knees, coupled with a government that is
clueless on how to get us out of this quagmire.

Who in their right mind wants to come and marvel, photograph and go
and tell fellow countrymen that they had a restful holiday meeting and
chatting with a populace that has been reduced to beggars? Pathetic.
Sightseeing poverty is depressing and is certainly not most people's idea of
a holiday. Pot-holed roads, dry Zinwa taps and dark cities switched off by
Zesa are the norm here and these cannot be advertised as part of packages to
attract tourists. Neither are images of battered opposition leaders.

All the ills that have chased away investors, donors and the same
tourists that ZTA is now trying to court are the direct result of the
actions of the government of the day. The problems in the international
media about the endless woes that have besieged Zimbabwe are not imaginary
creations but are bona fide facts on the ground.

The exchange rate is another sore tooth. A five-star hotel
three-course meal in Germany's capital, Berlin, costs around US$80. Back in
Harare, a tourist must fork out around $1,5 million for a similar meal. At
the current official exchange rate of US$1:250, this translates to US$6 000!
It makes no economic sense whatsoever for a tourist to "come to Victoria
Falls, come to Zimbabwe". They might as well go to Zambia, see the same
Falls, pay their hotel bill, eat countless meals and even get change to buy
a memento or two to take home on the same amount. It doesn't make sense to
come to Zimbabwe.

A family whose culture is violence is the black sheep of the
neighbourhood. When we grew up (and even now) our mothers would implore us
to keep our distance from such families. As long as government's culture of
bashing, abducting and killing opposition members, arresting Woza women for
singing and seizing citizens' passports persists, no one from the region,
other continents or even the moon will want to pay us a visit, least they
suffer the same fate.

The soccer 2010 World Cup hosted by South Africa beckons and so does a
harmonised presidential and parliamentary 2008 election that we can only
hope will not resemble the one we witnessed in 2002. Anything reminiscent of
that violent election will certainly be a disaster for the tourism industry
and will not translate into any benefits spilling over the Limpopo from our

The ZTA can shed tears or scream till they are blue in the face for
tourists to come but the truth of the matter is ZTA must first lobby its
master - government - to put its house in order before any visitors start
knocking at our doors.

Anyone who makes an attempt at attracting tourists or investors is to
be commended. We badly need those currencies that bear the Queen or Andrew
Jackson's portraits. But the ZTA must be told point blank, plane loads of
hired journalists to advertise the country or artists paid to sing Zimbabwe's
praises will not yield a sudden influx of tourists. It is just a waste of
taxpayers monies.

Tobaiwa Mudede says he has no money to print passports or put the
voters' roll in order. There is no forex to stock drugs in hospitals.
Children spend days playing as teachers and lecturers perennially strike.
Police now survive on bribes and soldiers are simply hungry. The judiciary
has to beg for sustenance, yet Karikoga Kaseke and his ZTA circus think an
unsolicited junket for journalists will gloss the country's image. The mind

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African leaders pushing bricks in the sand

Zim Independent

Editor's memo

by Vincent Kahiya

AFRICAN leaders always make it their business to think big. Whenever
they gather, they give themselves monumental tasks just to appear to be
freeing themselves from the bonds of colonialism. This fascination with
building institutions to fight the ghosts of imperialism is an intriguing
undertaking that has oftentimes reduced the rulers to comical characters
fond of toying with replicas and not the real thing.

In the townships, children push bricks in the sand and pretend to be
driving an F1 car. The same can be said of continental projects to which
vast resources have been committed, only to come up with caricatures of the
real thing.

President Mugabe left a country gripped by a "coup" last week to
attend two consultative meetings in Libya and Egypt on the modalities of
setting up an African Union government. The AU website says "the ultimate
goal of the African Union is full political and economic integration leading
to the United States of Africa".

The meetings attended by Mugabe, we were told, are in preparation for
next week's AU summit in Accra, Ghana, whose major pre-occupation should be
the "Grand Debate on the Union Government". What a crowd!

These are leaders whose countries are riddled with inflation, famine,
wars and gross underdevelopment. They will next week pack their bags and
travel to Ghana to discuss the formation of an African Union government. I'm

The idea of an African government is without doubt heavily borrowed
from the European Union where the continental bloc has set up a unitary
system that has seen the establishment of a free trade zone. Europe also has
a parliament, a common currency and a human rights commission. African
leaders have been talking about all these and have to some extent taken
steps to set up their own versions.

It is this fascination with such unitary systems that saw the African
countries changing the Organisation of African Unity to the African Union.

The concept of an African continental government today is a waste of
time because African leaders have become notorious for their disregard of
regional and continental protocols they have appended their signatures to.
The ACPHR stands out as one body which at its inception was well meant but
whose task has now been made difficult by governments which disregard its
recommendations with impunity. African governments in their wisdom set up
the commission in 1986 to ensure that human rights issues on the continent
were dealt with from an African standpoint.

They had earlier signed the African Charter on Human and Peoples'
Rights in 1981 and promised to live by its dictates. Very few do. Our own
government is culpable here. It has violated the very basic precepts of the
charter with impunity. Our press and security laws are in direct violation
of the charter. Our government has allowed torture of victims by police and
other security arms of the state. These activities have been condoned and
celebrated by the highest office in the land.

Another African project, the New Partnership for Africa's Development
(Nepad) has been in abeyance because there are governments on the continent
that have thumbed their noses at the initiative. They do not want to subject
themselves to the programme's peer review mechanism. In short they do not
want to be part of the partnership because it will subject their corrupt and
debauched practices to scrutiny. But they want to be part of a continental
government in which they can conceal their misrule under the veil of African

African leaders' quest to form a continental government should be
premised on shared values and principles such as human rights, rule of law,
and minimum standards in the holding of elections. There is no common
understanding of democracy on this vast continent where systems of
governance are as varied as its flora and fauna. Africa's democracies range
from South Africa's modern and progressive constitution to outright
demagoguery in West and North African states where elections are banned and
opposition politics is illegal. In between there is an absolute monarch in
Swaziland, war mongers in the central interior and a comical but dangerous
dictator in the Gambia. Other than incarcerating and murdering journalists
and opponents, he also claims to cure Aids.

The challenge for African leaders is for them to first run their small
territories properly before wanting to form a continental government. In
fact there are African leaders who are banned from visiting certain regions
in their own countries. What value can these men add to an AU government?

Imagine South Africa's Thabo Mbeki, Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, Gambia's
Yahya Jammeh and Libya's Muammar Gaddafi poring over documents on media
freedom and best practice in the holding of elections. After a lengthy
closed-door session, presidents Mugabe and Jammeh are asked to share their
governments' position with the other two leaders.

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Sliding into a totalitarian state

Zim Independent


EVIDENCE that Zimbabwe is becoming a totalitarian state could be
clearly seen in a Herald report that government would soon be monitoring the
Internet and phones to "sift" for information it deems subversive.

This follows Senate approval of the Interception of Communications
Bill, a snooper's charter.

As government currently deems just about everything to be subversive
it will have no difficulty obtaining the "warrants" it requires to spy on
citizens. This of course presupposes that the state has not already been
listening in to phone calls and reading e-mails. Most sensible people in
Zimbabwe today assume when they make a call that a third party with big ears
is sharing the information. That's why the Supreme Court in 2003 ruled
against state intrusion in private communications in the first place. The
Bill seeks to circumvent that ruling.

But there is a new dimension to the legislation, the Herald tells us.
It is now an offence to tell lies on the phone.

"The Bill was crafted after realisation that some organised criminals
and other rogue elements were deliberately communicating lies in a manner
that posed a serious threat to public decency and state security," the paper

"The advent of the cellphone and the Internet in particular has been
abused by many people to communicate information that is subversive or that
has caused national alarm and despondency."

So there you have it. Causing alarm and despondency over the phone or
Internet is an offence under the law. So what will happen to all those
"rogue elements" in the ZBC newsroom who tell lies on a daily basis
communicated to them by phone or e-mail by Big Ears himself? And can you
imagine the number of prosecutions likely to arise from individuals not
being absolutely honest on the phone about their whereabouts on a Friday

But it does at least tell us about how insecure this regime feels.

Then there is the matter of electoral reform. Ministers have been
hanging tough saying they are marching to a different drummer from Thabo
Mbeki and the 18th Amendment will therefore proceed regardless.

But they don't seem to understand that the whole point about electoral
reform is that it must derive from a national consensus. Mbeki has spoken
about outcomes that are accepted by all participants. And this approach is
fundamental to Sadc's Mauritius protocol.

The Mozambican prime minister made it clear last year when debating
electoral laws in parliament that it was essential for Renamo to agree with
government's plans so nobody could say they were cheated at the end of the

Zimbabwe's ruling party still thinks it can plough ahead on its own
without first securing agreement with other political players. And it is on
this rock that Mbeki's diplomacy is likely to founder.

Following our story three weeks ago on public funds being wasted on
public relations supplements in Baffour Ankomah's New African magazine,
somebody in the know has supplied some useful details.

Ankomah and his family went on a whirlwind tour of Zimbabwe's holiday
resorts between May 19 and June 2, we are informed. They travelled on Air
Zimbabwe. So not only do the long-suffering Zimbabwean public have to
subscribe to a hugely expensive campaign to polish Mugabe's image, they are
also required to pay for the editor and his family to take a free holiday.

How does Ankomah explain to his readers that his publication has
become a bought vehicle of Zimbabwe's profligate leadership? Does he tell
them it's all in the interests of Pan-African solidarity? And do they
believe him?

Indigenisation and Empowerment minister Paul Mangwana says that
foreign investors will need to cede 51% of their shares to "appropriate"
business people under the provisions of the new Empowerment Bill.

If that weren't enough to scare off investors, here's the next catch.
Mangwana said if the investor fails to identify "an appropriate partner",
the government would provide the investor with a "database" of business
people from which it could select a "partner".

Do they really need a "database"? Can't we guess who the potential
"partners" are before we've even looked? It's cronyism writ large. The list
has already been drawn up. Remember the beneficiaries of tractors?

Does Mangwana not realise the damaging implications of his Bill?
Nobody will be investing here any time soon because they will not want to
share their capital with business predators linked to the ruling party.

This is another entirely locally inflicted wound. Just as developing
countries in the rest of the world are opening up their economies to
investment on attractive terms Zimbabwe is doing the opposite.

We were surprised to read that a Harare doctor, Paul Chimedza
(president of the Zimbabwe Medical Association) is mulling whether to
challenge Shuvai Muhova for her Gutu South seat. He will be guided by the
Zanu PF provincial leadership, he said.

What an extraordinary situation: A doctor pledged to the care of the
sick and suffering plans to stand for a party that has systematically
wrecked the nation's health infrastructure, driven thousands of medical
practitioners into exile, and inflicted grievous injuries on people who
disagree with Zanu PF. This is a case of another doctor leaving the
profession to join David Parirenyatwa, Sydney Sekeramayi and Edwin Muguti in
the Zanu PF government. This sort of brain drain is unacceptable in a
country with a doctor to patient ratio of 1:12 000.

Why have Chimedza's colleagues not tackled him on some ethical points,
like why he thinks we need more of the same?

More generally, why aren't Mugabe's opportunist ad-mirers asked why
they think the president is able to achieve with another term what he has
manifestly failed to achieve during his current term? That obvious question
should be put to every single Zanu PF candidate as inflation climbs towards
five figures.

Does he have a clue? Does Vice-President Joice Mujuru or
Vice-President Joseph Msika have any idea how to get us out of the hole they
have dug for us? All Zanu PF politicians can do is spout mantras about
Britain and sovereignty while the country goes to hell in a hang-basket. One
reason they attack Britain and Australia so often is that those countries
have successful economies!

The first thing any government should do is curb inflation and ensure
macro-economic fundamentals are attended to. That is not happening right
now. And Gideon Gono can't help because he is paralysed by political

This is what we mean by misrule: individuals unable or unwilling to
fulfil elementary tasks while the country sinks and their cronies benefit
from the chaos engulfing us.

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Govt determined upon economic destruction

Zim Independent

Eric Bloch column

AFTER almost 10 years of massive economic mismanagement, exacerbated
by a never-ending recourse by government to grossly counterproductive and
immensely destructive economic policies, one must inevitably conclude that
government is not merely economically inept, incapable of addressing
national economic needs and oblivious to realities, but that it is actually
dogmatically determined upon the total destruction of the Zimbabwean

It is almost inconceivable that any government could not only make
such a great number of foolhardy economic policies, but could be so
obdurately deaf to the advice and representations of leaders from all
sectors of the economy as to the devastatingly adverse consequences of those
policies. It defies credibility that any government can be so devastatingly,
myopically blind to the disasters it is afflicting upon the economy, and to
the pronounced miseries it subjects the populace to.

Any and all people inevitably make errors, without exception, but if
the Zimbabwean government is only guilty of error, and not of deliberate
destructive intent, it must be vying for an all-time record for both the
number of errors, and for the magnitude of the disastrous repercussions

Instead, as government persistently continues with policies, measures,
actions and disregard for advice, all impacting negatively upon the economy,
day after day, month after month and year after year, one has no alternative
but to conclude that it has ulterior motives for the destruction it has
caused, and continues to cause. In all probability the principal motive is
self-enrichment, for there are always some who can benefit from an
economically-troubled environment.

In such an environment black market and like activities thrive,
enterprises collapse and their assets can be acquired for minimal amounts
and government introduces subsidies and other assistances, most of which are
received by the favoured few (for example, the recent distribution of
agricultural equipment, the bulk of which was given to politicians, chiefs
and others well-connected).

An indisputable fact is that, almost without exception, those in
government, and those closely associated to them, are possessed of up-market
houses (many being possessed of several), a variety of executive motor
vehicles, one or more farms, diverse investments, and substantial financial
resources (with some of them having much of those resources outside

In contradistinction, an overwhelming majority of the population
struggles to survive at below the poverty datum line PDL, housed with up to
15 people in two small rooms (while others sleep under bridges, in culverts,
sanitary lanes and on street curbs). Most are grievously undernourished,
emaciated with malnutrition, unable to access healthcare, and having to
withdraw their children from schools.

The contrast between the "haves" and the "have-nots" is extremely
pronounced, and the extent that the "haves" comprise the politically active,
or politically favoured, is astoundingly great.

Government's endless recourse to policies economically implosive has
included the vastly unaffordable distribution of "compensatory" largesse to
war veterans, actual and pseudo, a land reform programme so appallingly
implemented that agricultural production is less than a third of that of
seven years ago, state expenditures incredibly greater than revenues, with
resultant intense recourse to unaffordable borrowings and unsustainably
great, inflationary, printing of money, and the almost total alienation of
the international community.

Its failures to honour its debts, compounded by endless criticisms and
abuses of that community, and its disregard for fundamental principles of
respect for human and property rights, has created a vast divide between it
and the world at large.

Those failures constitute Zimbabwe as a poor credit risk and,
therefore, understandably, few will advance Zimbabwe the lines of credit
that it desperately needs. Incapable of acknowledging its own fault or
error, the Zimbabwe government speciously attributes the withholding of
those lines of credit to alleged "illegal sanctions", thereby compounding
that divide.

A consequence of all these catastrophic government policies has been
progressively to lessen the desirability of the Zimbabwean environment for
investment, whether foreign or domestic. Investors seek to invest where they
consider that their capital will be secure, and where they can anticipate a
fair return on that capital. They wish to invest where the success, or
failure, of the investment is primarily due to their own endeavours, and not
impacted upon by dictatorial actions of government.

When an economy is in decline, it is an unattractive investment
destination, and when governmental policies are suggestive of nothing other
than further decline and little or no prospect to recovery, then it is even
less attractive.

That lack of attraction is intensified when government espouses the
concepts of a command economy, instead of allowing market fundamentals to
drive the economy, and when government is the greatest single cause of
never-ending soaring inflation (now at levels exceeding 4 600% per annum,
being greater than anywhere else in the world).

However, government's absolute inability to learn from, or
acknowledge, error continues unabated.

Despite the near total failure to achieve agricultural empowerment for
the Zimbabwean people, through the abysmal and unjust manner of embarking
upon much-needed land reform, government is now determinedly intent upon
doing the same to other economic sectors. For several years it has declared
an intention to promulgate indigenous economic empowerment legislation, and
this is now imminent.

Instead of constructively addressing how to stimulate and facilitate
indigenous development of economic ventures, thereby enhancing the economy
as a whole, government is determined upon naught other than a transfer of
wealth and economic control, founded upon racial considerations only. That
this will probably cause a collapse of mining, industry, commerce, and other
economic sectors commensurate with that experienced by agriculture is
contemptuously dismissed as naught but self-centred endeavours of the
private sector to frustrate governmental intents.

The reality is that none are willing to invest (be they domestic or
foreign) if they are going to be dispossessed of much of that investment.
That unwillingness is compounded when they can only anticipate that
recompense, for the investment of which they are divested, will not reflect
fair value, and that even that inadequate recompense will only be
forthcoming from the investment's future earnings, if any.

In other words, in practice, he who is mandatorily forced to disinvest
must, to all intents and purposes, pay himself, the payment emanating from
profits as would otherwise have been his.

An intending investor wishes to know that not only will the investment
be secure, and likely to give satisfactory return, but also that he has the
choice of his co-investors, being ones with compatible investment criteria,
philosophies and operational policies, able to make commensurate
contributions and inputs to the success of the investment.

But government is not prepared to accept this. Any non-indigenous
investors must be willing to be subordinate to the indigenous ones, the
latter having at least 51% of the investment.

Moreover, indications are that in some sectors, such as the mining of
strategic minerals, the controlling partner will be government or a
parastatal. With the dismal performances of government and parastatals to
date in almost all economic endeavours, this does not bode well for the
future, and is yet another investment deterrent.

Although not unreservedly perfect, South Africa's Black Economic
Empowerment legislation is markedly more constructive than the legislation
intended by the Zimbabwean government, but clearly emulating it, albeit with
some necessary modification, would not address the ulterior motives behind
the intent. Instead, further economic destruction is assured.

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Zim Independent Letters

Zesa fleecing its customers
I AM disturbed by the way Zesa is stealing money from loyal and
unsuspecting consumers. They are trying to raise money through very
unorthodox means.

They are deliberately delaying sending bills to their clients so that
they then raise unnecessary charges through what they are calling "extra
deposits" and "reconnection fees". Please just let all consumers be warned
and pay their bills before month-end to avoid being subjected to ridiculous

What makes the matter worse is that even if you try to enquire over
the phone they do not answer the phone.

My bill was four times higher than the previous bill while I was
subjected to 20 hours without electricity daily.

Lets all unite against this Zesa monster.


Glenview 3, Harare.


      Will Zim ever know peace?

      AS an ex non-racist white Rhodesian it saddens me to see the
country go to such ruin. What puzzles me, and perhaps you can ask readers is
why did the population revolt against the Ian Smith government and they don't
against the current government?

       I'm not for once saying the Smith government was right because
it failed the people too, but surely things are much worse so why are the
people silent?

      It broke my heart to leave Zimbabwe aged 18 but I was made to
feel like it wasn't my home even though I and my parents were born there.

      My heart goes out to the people and I so wish things had been
different. As humans we often miss the beauty and value under our very nose
until it is too late.

      The people of Zimbabwe have got a very beautiful country with so
much potential. My only hope before I die is that the country is restored to
a place of beauty where all cultures can co-exist peacefully. Will that ever


      Tsvangirai needs Mutambara
       ANTI-SENATE leader Morgan Tsvangirai cannot win presidential
elections without a strong back-up team like that of Arthur Mutambara and
Welshman Ncube.

      Results of rural council elections indicate that the majority of
people in Matabeleland south, north and Midlands province have confidence in
Mutambara, Gibson Sibanda and Ncube while Tsvangirai has made inroads in
Mashonaland Central, Manicaland and Masvingo.

       The two MDC leaders should swallow their pride and recognise
each other in the fight for social justice.

      The spirit of Joshua Nkomo is in Ncube and whoever believes they
can do wonders without him can proceed at his or her own peril.

      As an MDC supporter, I shall continue to rally behind Mutambara
whose loyalty to Zimbabwe is not debatable.

      The only credible person on Tsvangirai's side is Tendai Biti.
Hence they should embrace Mutambara and Ncube.

      Kurauone Chihwayi,


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