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

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Christian Today
WCC Calling for Immediate Halt of Forced Evictions in Zimbabwe
Posted: Wednesday, June 29 , 2005, 7:28 (UK)

WCC Calling for Immediate Halt of Forced Evictions in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe boys scavenge for pieces of wood from the rubble of a small business centre destroyed by police in the city of Chitungwiza, 20 km (12 miles) south of the capital Harare, June 22, 2005. Britain called on June 27 for the United Nations Security Council to debate a housing crackdown in Zimbabwe and what it says are wider human rights abuses, after a visiting senior U.N. official reports back. (Reuters/File/Stringer)

The forced mass evictions recently taking place in Zimbabwe have causes disquiet from church leaders as well as human rights activists and organisations.

The eviction was part of the government's Operation Murambatsvina - Operation Restore Order with the aim to eradicate informal settlements. The operation resulted in 250,000 being left homeless, including women with HIV/AIDS, widows and orphans.

The World Council of Churches (WCC) has affirmed and supports the messages of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) and the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference (ZCBC), which underscores the dire nature of the situation.

In the statement of the ZCC released on 20th June 2005 it says: "The clean-up operation has resulted in untold suffering where families are left in the open air in this cold wintry weather. The misery that this operation has brought upon the affected people is unbearable. We are witnessing the total loss of livelihood for whole families for some people who were operating within the parameters of the by-laws."

The statement followed the ZCBC Pastoral Letter published on 17th June. The letter points out on the way how the operation was carried out: "Any claim to justify this operation in view of a desired orderly end becomes totally groundless in view of the cruel and inhumane means that have been used."

"People have a right to shelter and that has been deliberately destroyed in this operation without much warning. While we all desire orderliness, alternative accommodation and sources of income should have been identified and provided before the demolitions and stoppage of informal trading. We condemn the gross injustice done to the poor."

The WCC calls on the government of Zimbabwe to immediately stop the evictions, which in fact started during the winter, and left hundreds without shelter.

As a local newspaper informed, at least 6 people died, among them 4 children, due to circumstances related to the operation. Some were crushed to death by structures that remained after police partially demolished their homes, while others died after exposure to cold.

The WCC also condemned the government for commencing such an action while the country is suffering from high unemployment, increasing poverty, acute food shortages and high levels of HIV and AIDS.

Also the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has pointed out the issue as it may undermine anti-AIDS efforts in Zimbabwe.

What is more, the government is not allowing churches and civil society groups to assist the evacuees. There is a moral, ethical and theological imperative to assist those who are suffering.

The WCC has now urged the government to stop immediately the operation, and instead to address the real needs of suffering Zimbabweans.

"The government of Zimbabwe and the ZANU-PF need to exercise its newly achieved parliamentary majority in a way that can move the country from division towards healing."

"This means reaching out to the opposition and dismantle the restrictions on fundamental freedoms contained in such laws as the Public Order and Security Act, the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Private Voluntary Organization Act. It should also withdraw the NGO bill from parliamentary consideration in its current form," states WCC in its press release.

Anna Lisa
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Reporters without borders

29 June 2005 / 29 juin 2005

"Help us to prevent Zimbabwe being an example of brutal and iniquitous repression"
Open letter to Nelson Mandela

Paris, 29 June 2005

Dear Mr President,

Reporters Without Borders, a worldwide press freedom organisation, would like to put before you an anguished appeal from independent journalists working in Zimbabwe.

We have taken this step of contacting you since Zimbabwe has recently sunk even further into repression. A new law is to come into effect in the next few days that will provide for prison sentences of up to 20 years for publishing "false information". Zimbabwean law has since 2002 already been one of the most draconian for the press in Africa and the country's legislative arsenal grows from one month to the next and becomes ever more terrifying. President Robert Mugabe has been making enthusiastic use of it, since there is nothing to stop him.

For several years now, his government has rained down on his country's independent press every means of repression at his disposal. Police brutality, secret service harassment, heavy punishments handed down by an easily persuadable justice system and bolstered by draconian laws, have become the daily lot of journalists who do not sing the regime's praises. The Daily News, the quality of which you know and which our organisation awarded the 2003 Reporters Without Borders/Fondation de France press freedom prize, has still not been allowed to reappear, even though the Supreme Court recognised that the ban against it was illegal. These past weeks, journalists who were working for it in 2003 have all in turn been receiving court summonses to answer before the courts for this "unforgivable crime" in the eyes of Robert Mugabe of not being submissive in reporting on reality. They face two years of their lives in prison, in jails that former MP Roy Bennett, released on 28 June after nine months, described as "hell" in which his warders gave him as his sole item of clothing, a uniform covered in human excrement. They will know their fate on 12 October.

But oppression of Zimbabwe's journalists is not limited to those on the Daily News. Almost every day our organisation receives new information about a journalist threatened, harassed, imprisoned, expelled, beaten or pushed into unemployment. You know the reality of imprisonment, the real deprivation of freedom that is hidden behind abstract judicial terms. You know then that beyond these articles of the law, men and women suffer as you suffered for 27 years because of a racist regime whose favourite weapons were, apart from the gun, injustice and spreading fear. Today these same weapons are being used at the borders of your country, between Beitbridge and Kanyemba.

Despite our appeals and those of other international organisations, despite repeated requests from governments that are allies of South Africa, the South African President Thabo Mbeki refuses to condemn Robert Mugabe's treatment of his people. Beyond your personal courage, it was internal and international struggles and international campaigning that allowed you to leave prison on 11 February 1990, after judges had sentenced you to life imprisonment. Today, Reporters Without Borders appeals to you, to your authority on the African continent and the respect that you inspire to help Zimbabwe. We solemnly ask you to do your utmost so that Zimbabwean journalists can at least carry out their work without fear of the brutality of a predatory state. Help us to prevent Zimbabwe being an example of brutal and iniquitous repression.

I trust you will give our case your careful consideration.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Ménard
Secretary General


On 2 June 2005, Zimbabwe's official newspaper published an amendment to Chapter 9.23 of the criminal code, with the approval of President Robert Mugabe. The new law, approved by parliament at the end of 2004, provides for longer terms of imprisonment and higher fines than the anti-freedom laws already in force since 2002, the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA). The law made it illegal for "anyone inside or outside Zimbabwe to publish or communicate to any other person a statement which is wholly or materially false with the intention or realising that there is real risk or a possibility of any of the following:

- Inciting or promoting public disorder or public violence or endangering public safety.
- Adversely affecting the defence or economic interests of Zimbabwe.
- Undermining public confidence in a law enforcement agency, the Prison Service or the Defence Forces of Zimbabwe.
- Interfering with, disrupting or interrupting any essential service."

An offence will still have been committed even if the publication or communication does not result in any of the envisaged scenarios.

A journalist sentenced under Section 31(a) of the new law is liable to imprisonment of up to 20 years or a fine of 2.5 million Zimbabwe dollars (about 210 euros). The date on which the law come into force will be published shortly. The Justice Ministry said that this publication could happen "at any time from now".
Since 2002, Zimbabwe journalists were already under threat of long prison sentences under existing laws. Section 15 of POSA provides for example for a prison sentence of five years and a fine of 100,000 Zimbabwe dollars for publishing "incorrect information". Section 80 of the AIPPA, sets out a prison term of two years and 400,000 Zimbabwe dollars fine for publishing "false information".

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25th June 2005

It may be that I am getting old and so the winter chill gets in to my bones
but the evidence from the garden supports my belief that this is a colder
winter than usual and we are having a really cold snap. For the first time
in the ten odd (very odd!) years we have been here we are having frosts down
by the stream. I can usually grow green beans throughout the year but this
year they have been nipped by the frost. And in the vlei behind the house
the grass is almost white from the morning frosts. So imagine if you can the
appalling plight of those poor -and the accent is on poor - people who have
been rendered homeless, over night, by the mindless brutality of
Murambatvina - translated so cynically by government agents as Operation
Restore Order. It has, in fact created chaos.

In all my long years I can think of nothing more mindlessly cruel than this
countrywide operation. Mindless because it seems to be without real motive
or direction; just a show of strength and the bearing down on the
defenceless who may be in need of "re-education."

I have seen footage of the South African police doing the same thing in
Sofia town and other black spots in the nineteen forties. That any
government can indulge in this sort of social engineering is hard to
understand. That it can be a government that claims to be the champion of
the masses, beggars belief. And of course that is the point precisely. It
has never been and never will be the People's government. It came to power
by a ruthless campaign of suppressing opposition, though it was never the
done thing to say so. While I can never condone the preceding regime for its
own, often inhuman, behaviour, of which I was no doubt a part, cutting
people's lips and ears off for not conforming was not part of its agenda.
I can recall unspeakable atrocities performed in the name of the freedom
struggle. But I can think of nothing on a scale such as this. That is, of
course if one pretends that the Gukurahundi in Matabeleland in the eighties
never happened. Something like 10000 to 20 000 people are said to have been
killed in that little clean up. People keep saying to me that it is truly
amazing that the people seem to be so docile. Well, in fact they are not.
There has been a lot of resistance. But the state machinery is so ruthless,
and so efficient that the majority of the people affected have been almost
stunned into a state of trauma from which it is hard to muster the energy
for mass resistance. Also, most of them are forced to use whatever resources
they have to try and survive, without shelter, food or work. The informal
economy, which in fact was largely keeping the country afloat, has been all
but wiped out, it seems. I have no doubt it willspring up again as there is
no alternative. It will just be more wary and probably less honest.

There is another "fear factor." People who live in inflammable buildings
have a really understandable fear of being burned down. You can easily die
that way. Certainly you loose whatever meagre possessions you have. So if
there is a choice between the bulldozers followed by fire, or more usually
the fire first, then you even resort to knocking your shack down and
escaping with what you can before they get to you.  And if you know that
Gukurahundi (the rain that settles the dust!) killed so many people, you
know it can be done again. And if the new rising star, Didymus Mutasa, is on
public record as saying "We don't need so many people. It would be better to
have six million people who are loyal to the struggle and the party "-or
words to that chilling effect - then you have to be  a brave little nobody
to resist the onslaught.

We sit here in helpless frustration knowing what is going on and able to do
almost nothing. What can be done?

Well, the NGOs and civic bodies are trying hard to draw the attention of the
world to what is happening. The people affected have aptly named the
disaster the Zimbabwean tsunami. And that is what it is. The world must be
made more aware of the scale of the humanitarian catastrophe and the gross
breach of human rights that is taking place. Go to the nearest Zimbabwean
high commissioner or embassy and register your disgust. And lodge a protest
with your own foreign office or state department. And in UK with the Home
Office which is still busily repatriating refugees back here in the
considered view that all is normal!? Talk to you MP or congressman and get
them involved and make them aware. By doing something like this it must
eventually come home to those that can make a difference that this is truly
a catastrophic situation. Where is Bob Geldorph? (Sp) He should be able to
publicise this better than anyone and get people to take notice.

And in South Africa there should be a permanent picket outside the president's
office along the lines adopted by the Black Sash during the apartheid days.

There was a solid coverage of the farm evictions. Now of course the news
coverage is minimal as CNN and the BBC are banned - and of course the
victims areblack and thus not quite so news worthy? The only really graphic
coverage has been from South Africa's private channel's Carte Blanche
programme. Consequently the man in the street has little idea of what is
happening here, and probably cares less. After all, it's just another
African country behaving according to stereotype. But this is not just
another African country. This is or was home to many of you. It still is to
us and to the other ten million or so people who live here. And we care what
happens.   I'm sure you do too.

I swore many years ago I would never become involved again. But this latest
fiasco has tipped the balance. We cannot simply sit and watch. Something
must be done. Let us, if we can, be a bit more like Bishop Ncube in Bulawayo
who is really speaking out. He may be killed or suffer untold horrors for it
but he is clearly beyond fear and is so angry that adrenaline carries him
forward. A truly great man cast in the same mould as Tutu and Huddleston.

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Zim Online

Mugabe defends clean-up drive in talks with UN envoy
Wed 29 June 2005
  HARARE - President Robert Mugabe defended his clean-up campaign in talks
with United Nations' Anna Tibaijuka today, saying he had refrained from
launching the campaign before last March's disputed election for fear it
would have been misconstrued as an attempt to destabilise the opposition's
urban support base.

      Talking to journalists after an hour and a half-long meeting with
Tibaijuka, who is in Zimbabwe to assess the impact of the controversial
clean-up campaign, Mugabe said he fully briefed the UN envoy about the
background of the operation and that she "was quite receptive."

      Mugabe said: "I briefed her about it all in terms of the
background ..that we had wanted to do this before the elections but then we
feared it would be said that we were preparing the way for our own victory
and affecting the position of the MDC (main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change party) adversely.

      "But now after the elections, when the MDC has won (in the urban
areas) we decided to undertake the operation. It has been on our books for a
long time..she was quite receptive."

      Tibaijuka herself separately told journalists that her meeting with
Mugabe was good and constructive but would not elaborate further. "We had
(a) very good constructive discussion, you know the challenge of Habitats
and how we implement it," said Tibaijuka, who is also the head of

      More than 46 000 informal traders have been arrested and close to a
million poor urban families cast into the streets after their shanty homes
were demolished in a campaign Mugabe says is necessary to smash crime havens
and an illegal black market for basic commodities and foreign currency in
short supply in Zimbabwe.

      The campaign is also meant to drive out filth and restore the beauty
of Zimbabwean cities and towns, according to Mugabe.

      But the MDC says the campaign is meant to punish residents for
rejecting Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party in the March 31 poll in which
the government won massively but lost heavily in nearly all the major urban

      The UN, European Union, United States, Commonwealth, Zimbabwean and
international human rights groups have also roundly condemned the operation
for violating the rights of poor people.

      British Premier Tony Blair this week called for the UN Security
Council to discuss the Zimbabwe evictions. But the African Union has
refrained from criticising Mugabe saying the clean-up drive was an internal
matter. Influential South African President Thabo Mbeki has however hinted
that Africa may act after Tibaijuka reports back her findings.

      Meanwhile Tibaijuka began touring areas where homes and industries
were destroyed by government security forces visiting Harare's oldest suburb
of Mbare, where the giant Mupedzanhamo and Siyaso informal industry sites
were razed to the ground by police bulldozers. ZimOnline.
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      Skepticism on Harare's Z$3 Trillion Reconstruction Plan
      By Ndimyake Mwakalyelye
      29 June 2005

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's announcement that Harare has earmarked
Z$3 trillion dollars to build homes for those displaced by the state
clean-up operation has met with widespread skepticism. Economists and
political analysts expressed disbelief that the government could produce
funding on this scale or build thousands of homes over a period of a few
months. Economist Eddie Cross of Bulawayo, a member of the Movement for
Democratic Change opposition party, told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyele of VOA's
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the plan is unrealistic and impractical.

Despite such doubts, and widespread concern over the impact of the operation
which the government now says it is concluding, authorities continued to
defend Operation Murambatsvina and plans they have announced to resettle
thousands in what they call Operation Garikai, or "Settle and Prosper."
Zanu-PF information chief Nathan Shamuyarira expressed confidence that the
UN special envoy will find that the cleanup did not violate human rights. He
added in an interview with reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyele that Harare will
shortly have the Z$3 trillion in hand, stating that the government has
already started building houses in Harare and Bulawayo, the country's
second-largest city.

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UN envoy had "very good" talks with Zimbabwe's Mugabe
Wed Jun 29, 2005 4:23 PM BST

By Stella Mapenzauswa

HARARE, June 29 (Reuters) - A U.N. special envoy said she had "very good"
discussions with President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday as she began a probe
into Zimbabwe's widely condemned urban crackdown that has left at least
300,000 people homeless.

Anna Tibaijuka, executive director of housing agency UN-HABITAT, has been in
Zimbabwe since Sunday on a mission to assess the crackdown which Mugabe's
critics have condemned as a serious human rights violation.

After the meeting she toured Harare's oldest township of Mbare, where
thousands of illegal shops and homes have been flattened in an operation
locals have dubbed "the tsunami."

"We had very good discussions, constructive discussion," she told
journalists after one-and-a-half hours of talks with Mugabe. She offered no
further details.

Western countries and organisations including Britain, the United States,
the Commonwealth and the European Union have criticised the operation, which
has caused the deaths of at least two children crushed in demolished houses.

Mugabe's government has defended the demolitions, known as "Operation
Restore Order", saying they were meant to root out black market trade in
scarce foreign currency and basic food commodities which had thrived in

The veteran leader said he told U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's envoy
his government wanted to implement the clean-up before March 31
parliamentary polls but had feared it would be misconstrued as an attempt to
drive out opposition supporters.

"We had wanted to do this before the elections but then we feared it would
be said that we were preparing the way for our own victory and affecting the
position of the MDC adversely.


Mugabe, whose government is at odds with former colonial power Britain
mainly over its controversial land reforms, took another swipe at British
Prime Minister Tony Blair, suggesting he had tried to influence Tibaijuka's

"She is a United Nations director of Habitat and belongs to the United
Nations and not to stupid Blair," the 81-year-old leader said. Tibaijuka
said she would report only to Annan.

The MDC accuses Mugabe's ZANU-PF party of rigging March elections and has
taken the ruling party to court challenging some of the results, which came
amid the country's worst economic crisis in decades.

Mugabe told reporters he believed the demolitions would bring long-term

"Obviously there is some degree of suffering even when you break down a
slum, but as I told (Tibaijuka), yes there is discomfort now, but discomfort
in order to get comfort later."

Tibaijuka later toured Harare's teeming township of Mbare, among areas worst
hit by the crackdown, ahead of similar visits in other cities.

"We are suffering out in the cold during the nights, please help us get
places to stay," one man shouted in the local Shona language as the envoy's
team walked along rubble-strewn streets.

This week Mugabe's government vowed to step up a new housing programme to
benefit those left homeless, which aid agencies have pegged at over 300,000.
Zimbabwe's main opposition says the figure is now more than 1.5 million.

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      Home Demolitions Continue as UN Envoy Meets Mugabe
      By Tendai Maphosa
      29 June 2005

A U.N. special envoy in Zimbabwe to assess the humanitarian impact of the
government's campaign to demolish unauthorized residential structures has
met with President Robert Mugabe.  The meeting between the president and
envoy Anna Tibaijuka took place a day after the authorities destroyed more
homes, despite claims that the operation is winding down.

About 2,000 more Zimbabwean families slept in the open Tuesday when police
razed their homes at Porta Farm, about 30 kilometers west of Harare.

The lawyer for the residents of the settlement, Alec Muchadehama, witnessed
the demolitions and says the police bulldozed the village even after they
were shown court orders stopping them from doing so.  He said his clients
were told by the police that they were following orders from an authority
higher than the courts.

Eyewitness reports say the police torched the rubble at the settlement and
loaded the homeless on trucks, presumably to be taken to a transit camp.

The demolition of the Porta Farm settlement took place after the government
announced Operation Restore Order, which targeted unlicensed businesses and
unauthorized residential structures is winding down.

The government says it is launching a major reconstruction program as a
follow-up to the campaign, to provide houses for some of those who lost
their homes and businesses.

After her meeting with President Mugabe, U.N. envoy Tibaijuka visited some
areas affected by the clean-up operation.  The United Nations estimates that
more than 200,000 people were made homeless by the crackdown, launched on
May 19.

While some of those evicted have, as directed by the government, returned to
their rural homes, others are sleeping in the open.  Some families are being
housed in church halls and at a transit camp outside Harare.

A reporter who managed to go into the camp on Caledonia Farm painted a bleak
picture of the conditions under which the more than 2,000 families are
living.  She spoke of a shortage of food and insufficient shelter and
described the place as a refugee camp.

The crackdown, which has been widely condemned at home and abroad as a human
rights violation, comes at a time Zimbabwe is experiencing its worst
economic and political crises since independence in 1980, when President
Robert Mugabe came into office.  Unemployment stands at more than 80
percent, and inflation at more than 100 percent.

The authorities say the clampdown is necessary to clean up urban areas, and
root out illegal traders, who hoard basic necessities for sale on the black
market, and illegal dealers in foreign currency.

The government, faced with an unprecedented fuel shortage, increased the
prices of petroleum products by around 300 percent on Tuesday.  Gasoline,
diesel, kerosene, and jet fuel will now cost more than $1 per liter at the
pump.  The authorities have cautioned that the price hike is unlikely to
improve supply because of a serious shortage of foreign currency for

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SW Radio

      School for orphans destroyed in Norton

      By Lance Guma
      29 June 2005

      The tragedy of the police operation in Zimbabwe continues to unfold
before a watching world. On Wednesday bulldozers razed to the ground Hartzen
A, a primary School in Norton, simply because it was in a zone considered
'residential'. It mattered little that the school caters mostly for orphaned
children, poor farm workers who can't afford formal schools and even
children without birth certificates.

      The school, situated in the Knowe suburb of Norton, was knocked down
within minutes of the police arriving, starting with the headmasters office.
Thousands of students have been displaced and it turns out that Hartzen B
Primary School, a sister school to Hartzen A, was destroyed last week. It is
a nightmare for children without birth certificates to get enrolled in
government or council schools and thousands of pupils at the two schools who
had no birth certificates now have to overcome that obstacle first before
getting a place with any new school.

      But where will they even get the school fees to enrol at the formal
schools? The destroyed schools offered concessionary rates of fees and the
entire Norton community relied on them as a community driven alternative.
Newsreel spoke to a 10 year old student who made a heart-breaking appeal to
government to build them another school. She says as students they have no
idea why the school has been destroyed and that they were just told to go
home. The kids watched in silence as their headmaster's office was

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SW Radio

      Para military force burn homes at Porta Farm

      By Violet Gonda
      29 June 2005

      Zimbabwe is increasingly becoming a military/police state. SW radio
Africa received reports today saying Mugabe's para-military police force
burnt down homes at Porta Farm outside Harare.
      Members of the residents association at the farm contacted Mike
Davies, the Chairman of the Combined Harare Residents Association, and said
the demolitions started Tuesday afternoon. The remaining houses were said to
have been destroyed Wednesday.

      Davies said that inhabitants were loaded onto trucks to move them to
holding camps. He added that he has received a report that citizens held at
Caledonia farm are being trucked to Sally Mugabe Heights in the north of
Harare.The attacks are continuing without any respite and despite the
presence of the UN special envoy. Mike Davies said that this goes to show
that the international community does not have the courage to stand up to
the Mugabe regime. An angry Davies said, "When will the world wake up to the
barbarity of this regime and do something? Must there be a body count before
intervention becomes acceptable"?

      There are concerns from various sectors about the lack of action by
influential South Africa - Zimbabwe's neighbour and biggest trading partner.
A diplomatic crisis is looming between the G8 nations and the African Union
over Africa's silence on the mass evictions in Zimbabwe. The African Union
recently played down the crisis is Zimbabwe by saying there are more serious
problems taking place in Africa.

      It is generally accepted that the only salvation for the people of
Zimbabwe will come from the region and Zimbabwe itself. Davies asked: "How
many bodies does President Thabo Mbeki need before he will treat this
country with the attention he gives to Burundi or Congo? Will he take action
when there are 1 000 dead or 10 000? What about when there are 2 million
Zimbabwean refugees in South Africa? Zimbabweans continue to suffer while
Mbeki hides behind some debased African solidarity with a brutal tyrant who
cares nothing about freedom and everything about power."

      British Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Wednesday that neighbouring
African countries had a responsibility to address the crisis in Zimbabwe,
and suggested it could hamper his G8 goal of helping the continent.

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SW Radio

      War Veteran leader slams raids

      By Lance Guma
      29 June 2005

      Out of favour War Veterans Association leader Jabulani Sibanda has
criticized operation Murambatsvina, saying government did not consult its
own people first. He says government cannot help people by going against
them and pushing them into misery. Sibanda claims the biggest number of
people affected by the destruction of houses are war veterans, many of whom
had joined hundreds of housing schemes dotted around the country.

      In a wide ranging interview on Behind the Headlines, the war veteran
leader, who has in the past been accused of torturing opposition activists,
denied widely held views he is being sidelined by Zanu PF. He says there are
certain leaders in the party who have always had a history of marginalizing
war veterans. Although he did not give names Sibanda has a long running
political battle with Zanu PF heavyweights Dumiso Dabengwa and John Nkomo.

      Commenting publicly for the first time on negotiations to combine
forces with the Zimbabwe Liberators Peace Initiative, a rival war veterans
faction, Sibanda said the proposals will be deliberated on by the top
leadership and sent down to the grass roots. Max Mkandla the President of
the ZLP issued a more direct statement however, stating the two groups were
already mobilizing for a massive demonstration by the former fighters in the
coming weeks. He says a meeting last weekend by the top leaderships of both
organizations had already agreed on a framework of action.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Tsvangirai threatens to dissolve MDC top six

Takunda Maodza
issue date :2005-Jun-30

AS rifts within the MDC continue to widen, the opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai on Sunday reportedly threatened to further prise apart what is
left of the tie that binds the party's delicate unity by dissolving the top
six and assume executive powers.
Tsvangirai, who switched trade unionism for politics in the late 1990s, has
been at pains trying to patch up the cracks that have threatened to tear the
party down the middle following numerous incidents of intra-party violence.
Apart from Tsvangirai, other members of the top six comprise his vice Gibson
Sibanda, national chairman Isaac Matongo, secretary general Welshman Ncube,
his deputy Gift Chimanikire and treasurer Fletcher Dulini Ncube.
Factionalism within Zimbabwe's main opposition political party reared its
ugly head earlier this year after a group of rowdy youths went on the
rampage assaulting senior party officials before confiscating their
MDC insiders told this newspaper that, in fit of rage, Tsvangirai threatened
to dissolve the top six after a management committee tasked to investigate
the violence blamed his aides for the chaos.
"All went wrong when the management committee that was tasked to investigate
the cause of the intra-party skirmishes produced a dossier pointing at the
security men, the majority of whom are Tsvangirai's close unit personnel,"
the sources said.
The officials, the source added, called for the expulsion of Tsvangirai's
"It was at this moment that Tsvangirai said he wanted to dissolve the top
six. He added that there was no longer any presidium as he was going to run
the party unilaterally," the source claimed.
Tsvangirai is said to have cited "too many centres of power contending for
the position of the president" within the MDC as having prompted him to
centralise authority.
Senior party members have since described the threat by their leader as an
attempt to protect "his people" from facing disciplinary action.
The sources said Tsvangirai suspected that Ncube, Chimanikire and other
party officials were behind the crafting of the dossier that blamed his
aides for the chaos, which saw 30 youths being axed from the MDC.
At the formation of the MDC in September 1999, Chimanikire was regarded in
the party circles as Tsvangirai close lieutenant, but sources say their
relationship was on the wane owing to intense power struggles.
However, sources close to the two claimed otherwise, saying the standoff was
imaginary and that it was the work of detractors to cause unnecessary
confusion within the MDC, which lost the March 31 parliamentary polls to the
ruling Zanu PF.
"There is chaos at the present moment in the party. How can one assume
executive powers when it is the role of congress to reshuffle the leadership
of the party," lamented another source. "He (Tsvangirai) had the guts to
state that some people have to be removed from positions of influence at the
The date of the opposition party's congress has yet to be set although
speculation has it that it could take place in January 2006.
But does Tsvangirai have the mandate to dissolve his leadership before
congress and are the people willing to amend the constitution to give him
executive powers?
Contacted for comment yesterday, Tsvangirai denied threatening to dissolve
the MDC presidium saying the reports were emanating from "planted people"
bent on fighting his leadership.
"According to the constitution of the MDC, the president has no power to
fire anyone from the party -  that is  the role of congress. They are some
planted people in the party who think they are achieving an objective by
causing confusion and leaking information. Musangano (MDC) is not there to
fight the leadership of the party, but Zanu PF," Tsvangirai said.
Party spokesperson, Paul Themba Nyathi echoed the same sentiments.
"The party is focused on what is happening in the country at the moment
where more than a million people have been left homeless and 300 000
children out of school because of the clean-up exercise. Anyone focusing on
anything else is defeating the purpose why this party was formed," Nyathi
Meanwhile, it was believed that Tsvangirai had left the country on Tuesday
reportedly for South Africa and Nigeria without his usual entourage, which
includes Ncube.
Sources close to Tsvangirai said he had been invited by Nigeria President
Olusegun Obasanjo to appraise him on operation Restore Order/Murambatsvina
while the purpose of his trip to South Africa remained a mystery.
Although, the purposes of the visits were speculated to be highly political,
Nyathi said the MDC leader had gone on personal business.
Said Nyathi: "He (Tsvangirai) is on a private visit, but I have no clue as
to where and with whom, as I am in Gwanda right now."

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Police defy orders, destroy Porta Farm

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Jun-30

FOR the second day running, police in Harare yesterday destroyed illegal
dwellings at Porta Farm in defiance of two High Court orders barring them
from doing so.
Residents who appeared resigned to their fate watched helplessly as
bulldozers razed their lodgings in the on-going clean-up operation.
Trucks, some of them belonging to the Harare City Council, took turns to
ferry the squatters' belongings to Caledonia transit camp.
Most interviewees said they had little option but to pack their bags. Others
expressed concern for being refused to take their dogs and cats along.
Some claimed they were duped that the trucks were meant to take them to
places of their choice, and not Caledonia.
Youths and some single mothers said they depended on fishing from Lake
Chivero or fish mongering along the main Harare-Bulawayo highway.
George Phiri (66) a Malawian, who entered Zimbabwe in 1962, said he applied
for a passport last month anticipating to go back to his roots, but to no
He had been living on the farm since 1994 and looks after his two orphaned
"I am going back to Malawi with my daughters' kids. They are Zimbabwean and
they would want to live in their country, but I have no one to leave them
with," he said.
Mejury Mafa (28) said she did not want to go to Caledonia, but had no
She said her reluctance to move stemmed from the fact that when they were
first brought to Porta Farm in 1991, the government told them they would be
vetted and then taken to another area with provisions for basic amenities.
But 14 years down the line, nothing concrete has happened.
She said the people felt they were being betrayed arguing that last year the
government pledged to resettle them at housing co-operatives such as the
Sally Mugabe Heights.
A Form One pupil at Porta Farm School, Moreblessing Chitumbe (14), said he
was willing to move because  the place was unhygienic.
"I am happy that we are living this place because it was overcrowded. I have
always dreamt of living in a decent place. The only unfortunate thing is
that some pupils here in Grade 7 and Form 4 had registered for examinations
but they do not know where they would end up at," she said.
The residents' lawyer, Alec Muchadehama said: "These  demolitions were
carried out despite two High Court orders that prohibited the destruction.
They were shown the orders by the people but they still disregarded them."
"I don't know what would be done if court orders are not obeyed but there
are two options that can be followed and that is going to court to reverse
the action or sue for contempt of court."
Supreme Court Judge Wilson Sandura, made the initial ruling in 1995 when
council attempted to evict the Porta residents saying the local authority
could only move them if permanent homes with proper infrastructure were
In September last year, Justice Susan Mavangira ordered the then Local
Government Minister Ignatius Chombo not to demolish the residents' shacks
after further attempts at eviction.
Mavangira said in the order: "The respondent and anyone acting on his behalf
or through him be and is hereby interdicted from demolishing applicants'
dwellings or threatening to demolish and evicting or threatening to evict
the applicants from Porta Farm Squatters Camp Area, Porta Farm, Harare."
Harare city spokesperson Leslie Gwindi, said they were "tired" of the court
"Those people must be removed. We have said before that they were settled on
a sewer farm. They should just go. We are tired of these court orders."
Some Porta Farm squatters were taken to the property in 1991 during the
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm) in Harare.
Most of them were from Epworth, Mbare Musika, Mukuvisi and Gunhill, while
others have settled at the camp over the years.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Two AirZim planes grounded

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Jun-30

TWO Air Zimbabwe planes are currently grounded because of a shortage of
spares while another one is overdue for a routine maintenance check, namely
the C-check, senior government officials said yesterday.
Transport and Communication permanent secretary Karikoga Kaseke told a press
briefing at the ministry's head office yesterday that a BE 146 British-made
aircraft was grounded due to lack of spares.
"The capacity utilisation of the BE 146 is not very high, it is very costly
to operate, it needs spare parts which we cannot access because the British
are refusing to sell them to us saying we are under sanctions," said Kaseke.
The second craft that has also been grounded is the Boeing 737, again owing
to a shortage of spares.
However, Kaseke pointed out that the spares shortages for the 737 jet were
because the manufacturer, Boeing, had phased out spares required for the
737-model. Boeing, he added, was in the process of manufacturing modern
 "Boeing issued air worthiness directives that certain parts can no longer
be used on these aircraft (the 737). Until Boeing comes to us with those
parts, we have decided to comply and that aircraft cannot fly," said Kaseke.
The Daily Mirror has it on good authority that the third plane has long been
overdue for a routine maintenance check also known as a C-check, but Air
Zimbabwe has failed to ground the plane that is reported to be still flying
Neither Kaseke nor Transport minister Chris Mushohwe could confirm that the
aircraft in question had surpassed its C-Check date. Both told reporters
that they would investigate the matter.
Meanwhile, Kaseke confirmed that the troubled national airliner had flown
people from Britain on empty stomachs because of an invoicing dispute with
the airliner's food suppliers in the UK.
"They over-invoiced us by 2 000 pounds, and refused to supply the Air
Zimbabwe plane with food at the last minute," said Kaseke.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Bulawayo to ration water

From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo
issue date :2005-Jun-30

THE Bulawayo City Council will tomorrow introduce water rationing to
conserve the precious liquid.
City's town clerk Moffart Ndlovu told this newspaper that the rationing
would be done in terms of the Urban Council's Act as Bulawayo's water
sources were drying up.
Ndlovu said as a result of the ration, houses in the high and low density
suburbs were allowed to use 450 and 600 litres of water a day respectively.
The town clerk said hotels, hospitals and clinics will be allowed to consume
80 percent of average water usage for six months, while commercial
consumers, schools, churches, institutions, sport clubs, and colleges would
be allowed 60 percent for the same period.
"Charges would be imposed for all excess consumption per kilolitre. If a
consumer exceeds the allocation on three consecutive occasions the surcharge
would be doubled," Ndlovu said.
"Consumers are therefore required to monitor their daily consumption of
water by reading water meters daily. This would help deter any unnecessary
loss of water."
He stressed that anyone who contravened the provisions of the ration would
be charged.
The city's two major suppliers - Lower Ncema and Mzingwane Dams - are
virtually empty.
The city's director of engineering services, Peter Sibanda, recently told a
full council meeting that the available water supplies would last for 18
months based on the current daily consumption rate of 144 597 cubic metres.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Rising inflation pushes up medical costs

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Jun-30

HOSPITAL and general practitioners consultation fees are set to go up on
Friday by 50 and 30 percent respectively due to rising inflation, officials
said earlier this week.
Zimbabwe Medical Association (Zima) president, Dr Billy Rigava, told New
Ziana that the increase in general practitioners' consultation fees had been
necessitated by rising inflation, resulting in high maintenance costs of
equipment, stationery, rentals and electricity, among others.
The current recommended Zima general practitioners' rate is $350 000 per
"The increase has been due to the rapid change in the rate of inflation and
high costs of maintaining practices, rentals, electricity, stationery and
cleaning material," he said.
Annual inflation currently stands at 144.4 percent.
Rigava said the new tariffs were still modest as they were far below medical
inflation, which was two to three times above the consumer price index.
"Salaries of medical staff are also being reviewed by between 50 and 150
percent with effect from July 1," he said.
He attributed this to the recent increase in the wages of domestic workers
which now range between $850 000 and $1, 2 million depending on grade.
Rigava commended the government for assisting Zima  members to source fuel,
saying that this had enabled them to carry out their work without hassles.
Meanwhile, the National Association of Medical Aid Societies (Namas) has
also announced that hospital fees will go up by 50 percent this Friday,
while pathology and radiology investigation costs will go up by 80 percent.
The association's chairperson, Florence Kazhanje, attributed the increases
to inflationary pressures and shortage of foreign currency to import drugs
and equipment.
 "Health care costs have risen tremendously for reasons beyond our control.
A significant amount of medicines as well as hospital equipment are
imported," she said, adding that fees would be reviewed quarterly.
The rates for a private suite at the Avenues Clinic will go up to $ 2 494
800 per day, up from $ 1 663 200, while a general ward will cost $ 1 034 250
from $ 689 500.
A general ward per day at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals will cost $ 349
350, up from $ 232 900, while a private suite will be $1 009 350 from $672
900. An executive suite at the same hospital will now cost $1 358 700 from
$905 800.
Kazhanje said the recent hiking of membership fees by various medical aid
societies was justified and was still below medical inflation.
She said when inflation stabilised between January and April, minimal
increases were passed on to members with some societies going for between
five and six months without increasing their fees.
She also attributed the increases to drug prices that had significantly gone
up and to profiteering among pharmacies.
 "Since January last year, drugs have gone up by more than 3000 percent and
are still going up. During the past two months, they went up by between 150
and 200 percent," she said.
"We are seriously concerned about the pharmacy benefit. We do believe that
there is a lot of profiteering going on on the part of medicine suppliers."
She said hospital fees were top on the list of claims followed by radiology
and pathology investigations while drugs and consultation fees ranked
Kazhanje called on the government to licence Namas members to operate
dispensaries so as to ease the costs of drugs.
Commenting on investments by medical aid societies, she said their members
were only allowed to invest 25 percent of the total membership contributions
and the proceeds were used to cushion members from further increases.
However, she said most of these investments were being eroded by inflation,
resulting in societies failing to subsidise costs.
She urged the government to avail foreign currency for procurement of drugs
to prevent suppliers from sourcing it on the illegal market as this resulted
in inflated prices.

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      Cardinal urges Zimbabwe rethink
      The head of the Catholic church in England and Wales has joined calls
for the deportation of failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers to be halted.
      Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor said it was a "gross injustice" to
send them back to the crisis-hit country.

      His statement followed Anglican leader Rowan Williams' branding of the
deportations "immoral" on Tuesday.

      The Home Office said hunger strikes continued in detention centres,
with 57 Zimbabweans refusing food on Tuesday.

      Support groups put the numbers involved closer to 100.

      Pressure has been mounting in recent days for the Home Office call a
halt to the deportations as increasing evidence of human rights abuses in
the troubled African state comes to light.

      Recent moves in Zimbabwe to demolish informal settlements - which the
UN says has left 275,000 people homeless - have drawn objections from the
Foreign Office.

      Politicians from all side have led calls for a rethink, and scores of
Zimbabwean detainees have been holding a no-food hunger strike since last
week in protest at the deportations.

      The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Murphy O'Connor, said the
Zimbabwean government seemed to be conducting a "systematic campaign of
terror" against its own citizens.

      It would be "at odds with Britain's humanitarian traditions" to
continue with the removals, he said.

      Hunger strikes

      "At the very least, a moratorium on returns should be observed while
the international community attempts to get to grips with a
fast-deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe."

      He also said he welcomed indications that the government was reviewing
the question.

      The Home Office said representations in a number of cases were being
heard, but that overall the policy of removing failed asylum seekers back to
Zimbabwe had not changed.

      Decisions would be made on a case by case basis, a spokesman added.

      Newspaper reports claim deportations have been put on hold until after
the G8 summit next week.

      This was dismissed the prime minister's spokesman on Wednesday.

      Mother-to-be released

      "The policy hasn't changed. It is still the government's policy to
consider individual applications on an individual basis," he said.

      Support group the Zimbabwe Association said it had received reports
the hunger strike was holding strong.

      One pregnant woman who was being held in one detention centre had been
released on health grounds, said the group's co-ordinator Sarah Harland.

      She added that a number of bail applications would be made on behalf
of the detainees on Friday.

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Africans have a duty to tackle Mugabe - Blair
          June 29 2005 at 06:44PM

      By Ed Johnson

      London - British Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Wednesday that
neighbouring African countries had a responsibility to address the crisis in
Zimbabwe, and suggested it could hamper his G8 goal of helping the

      Blair said it was harder to argue for a boost in international aid to
Africa with such a prominent example of "abuses of governance and

      President Robert Mugabe's so-called urban renewal campaign has
displaced hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans.

      Mugabe says he is trying to fight crime, maintain health standards and
restore order in Zimbabwe's cities. But the opposition, which has its
strongholds among the urban poor, says the blitz is intended to punish its
supporters, who voted against the government in recent parliamentary

      Blair was asked in the House of Commons whether he would call on South
African President Thabo Mbeki to help the suffering people of Zimbabwe when
he attends the G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland next week.

      Blair said he would, and added, "We will continue to exert all the
pressure we can. But in the end the best pressure will come from those
countries surrounding Zimbabwe."

      "We have to make sure that African countries realise the deep
responsibility there is to sort this out themselves," he added.

      "We are going to the G8 to try to make the case for helping poverty in
Africa," Blair added. "There is no doubt at all that it is harder to make
that case whilst abuses of governance and corruption occur in African

      "Now I do not believe that what is happening in Zimbabwe should
prevent us from still taking action on poverty in Africa. I think that would
be wrong. But it is right also to say that of course we should draw
attention not just to the abuses in Zimbabwe but also the urgent necessity
of changing what is happening in that country for the benefit of its own
citizens." - Sapa-AP

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Controversial draft proposal for senate to be tabled

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 29 Jun 2005 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party has
approved a draft plan proposing constitutional amendments to create a new
senate, but political analysts warn that the election criteria for members
will lead to more internal strife as cadres jostle for positions.

Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa told IRIN he intended tabling the
approved draft proposal in parliament before the end of this week, saying
the senate would "improve the governance and decision-making processes of
government" by ensuring broader representation and exhaustive consultation.

"We went through the proposals and wholly agreed on the need for the upper
house. The next stage is to take it to parliament, where I do not expect any
delays," Chinamasa told IRIN.

According to the draft, the 65 members of the senate will review and
possibly refine legislation from the lower chamber.

The bill proposes establishing boundaries for five senatorial constituencies
in each province.

Zimbabwe has eight administrative provinces based on existing geographic
boundaries, but 10 political provinces, each with its own governor, because
the cities of Bulawayo and Harare are included as metropolitan provinces.

Chinamasa said the bill would also seek to determine the powers of the
senate president.

ZANU PF political commissar Elliot Manyika told IRIN that the governors of
Harare and Bulawayo Metropolitan provinces, who are directly appointed by
the president, would automatically join the senate.

Interest groups would be allowed to recommend suitable candidates to the
Senate president, who would make the final decision on whether or not to

After internal party primary elections to select suitable candidates, a
total of 50 senators are to be elected, leaving the remaining 15
nonpolitical members to be appointed by the state president from special
interest groups, such as members of the council of chiefs, women and
representatives from the agricultural and business sectors. Candidates
younger than 40 years of age will not be eligible for senate positions.

ZANU-PF political commissar Elliot Manyika said the senate was not just for
ZANU PF although the party would lead its re-introduction. "All Zimbabwean
people, regardless of political loyalty would be allowed to vote for Senate
members according to their provinces. But ZANU-PF will still go ahead if
supporters of other parties choose not to vote. We have the candidates and
we have the voters," he remarked.

Political analysts have condemned the new senate as a nonpriority project,
and warned of further factional fighting in the ruling party as candidates
scramble for positions in the new house.

They observed that the party had no choice but to take the route of divisive
primary elections, although President Robert Mugabe's main motive in
creating it was to appease losers in the parliamentary elections held on 31
March in the hope of holding the party together.

"The primary election criteria has always divided ZANU-PF. With all the
previous losers waiting for accommodation in government, the battles will
leave the party much worse than it is at the moment. The appointment process
would be equally disastrous, which leaves the party with no choice but to
fall for the divisive primaries," said Daniel Molokela, a Zimbabwean
political analyst based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Eddie Cross of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said the
creation of the Senate was a waste of time and resources on "self-serving,
nonpriority projects" when there were pressing issue like widespread fuel
and food shortages still requiring government attention.

He noted that the economic costs of the Senate would include increased
spending on a "bloated bureaucracy" of no national value.

"Zimbabweans can expect more misery with the coming of the senate. This
country does not need that much representation, so it will not address the
problems we are facing. We need food and fuel but the ZANU-PF government
seems to be too occupied with itself, accommodating more loyalists in
positions of power and ignoring the people altogether," Cross told IRIN.

Manyika said there was no timeframe for the Senate to come into being, and
it would depend on how long it took to finish the legal steps of setting it

"All I can say is that this is an important national institution. The party
agrees with President Mugabe that it is urgent, so it must come as soon as
the legal processes are finalised," he said.

The first senate, set up at independence in 1980, was disbanded in 1987 when
President Mugabe consolidated his power by abolishing the post of prime
minister and assumed executive presidency. After its victory in the March
2005 parliamentary elections, ZANU-PF said it would reintroduce the upper
house to improve national representation in decision-making.

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  Govt doctors in Zimbabwe strike over pay, fuel
      29 Jun 2005 17:28:25 GMT

      Source: Reuters

HARARE, June 29 (Reuters) - Junior-level state doctors in Zimbabwe have gone
on strike to press demands for higher pay, disrupting operations in the
capital Harare's major health centres, state radio reported on Wednesday.

It said the doctors were also protesting over authorities' failure to
provide hospitals with fuel allocations. Petrol has been in critically short
supply over the past few months, resulting in thousands of vehicles being
grounded nationwide.

"The doctors are also protesting over the failure by the government to
allocate car loans and housing stands," the radio said. Health officials and
the doctors' representatives were not immediately available for comment.

Zimbabwe's health workers have staged a series of strikes over the past few
years to press for hikes in wages they say have failed to keep up with
rising living costs as the country suffers an economic crisis widely blamed
on President Robert Mugabe's government.

The government has in the past been forced to deploy army medical staff to
help out at state hospitals hit by regular health workers' job boycotts.

Most of the institutions are also perpetually understaffed as most doctors
and nurses move to neighbouring countries and further abroad in search of
greener pastures soon after graduation.

Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, rejects charges he
has misruled Zimbabwe, and blames its economic woes largely on sabotage by
his opponents in retaliation for controversial land reforms that has seen
white-owned farmland forcibly redistributed among blacks.

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      UK Deportations encouraged by MDC?

      By Tererai Karimakwenda
      June 29 2005

      BRITISH Prime Minister Mr Tony Blair says his government consulted the
mdc before deciding to deport hundreds of Zimbabweans seeking asylum. Mr
Blair made the latest claims while responding to a question on Zimbabwe
during his monthly Press briefing at his residence on Monday.

      "The problem we have at the moment, and remember we remain in close
contact with the mdc over there, and incidentally the arrangements that we
have for returning people to Zimbabwe, we have discussed through the mdc,
and I am not saying that may not shift if they give us new information, but
it is something we have taken care to get right," he said.

      Responding to a question on why the issue of Zimbabwe was not being
referred to the UN Security Council, Mr Blair said while they felt very
passionate about Zimbabwe there were people who opposed dealing
heavy-handedly with Zimbabwe and pres mug. Asked for comment, mdc
secretary-general Professor Welshman Ncube denied any engagement with Blair
and said he was not aware of any such contacts.

      "I am not aware of anyone from the mdc who has been in contact with
Blair or his government on the deportations or any other matter. The last
time we were in contact with Blair was in London in November last year,'' he
said. The latest sentiments by Mr Blair come about a year after he tacitly
admitted that his government was working closely with the mdc in drawing up
a cocktail of punitive measures against Zimbabwe

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Zimbabwe's fuel drought will not go away

June 29, 2005, 17:30

Zimbabwe has been gripped by a fuel crisis owing to a foreign currency
crunch. Foreign currency inflows during the period Jan - April 2005 amounted
to US$385 million, about 30% down on the same period last year.

Traditional foreign currency earners, gold exports amounted to US$80
million, down by 10% compared to the same period last year. Tobacco,
Homelink funds for Zimbabweans in Diaspora have taken a knock owing to an
unfavorable fixed exchange rate offered by the central bank. What is now
left is a thriving parallel market where the greenback is fetching $23 000
Zimbabwe dollars against a $9 000 offered for those sending money from
abroad and fixed Zim $6 200 rate.

A Harare street lies deadly quiet on what should be a busy working day.
Everyone waits at a garage, hoping to fill up. Along Samora Machel avenue,
the queue is a few kilometers long. "We spent the whole night here. There is
no more business down town and it's all chaos," said one of the members of
the queue. "We don't know if people still have any ideas to help us out of
this dilemma," said Rufaro Mudiwa, who has also been waiting for hours for a
few drops of petrol.

The government says external pressures are to blame. "Zimbabwe is under
international sanctions as we speak. That's why we have these problems
nationally. But the situation is improving more fuel will come," says Bright
Matonga deputy minister of information.

But economists don't share the optimism. "Fuel crisis seems to be
deteriorating. Judging from the fuel queues, the shortages seem to be
critical," said Farayi Dyirakumunda, an economist.

And some believe there's little hope of international financiers bailing
Zimbabwe out. "The indications are not positive. Politics has taken centre
stage and the current set up is not positive for us," said Dyirakumunda.

Despite government promises, Zimbabwe's fuel crisis is likely to persist.
The country is buckling under an acute shortage of foreign currency,
compounded by a rise in international oil prices.

Motorists have been spending many days in petrol queues. A lot of productive
time has been lost and companies are losing out millions of dollars in the
process. An IMF delegation was in the country last week and the government
is now pinning its hopes on a possible balance of payments support.
Economists warn that support will be hard to come by.

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      Zim trouble threatens G8
      Jun 29 2005 04:22:46:390PM

      London - Aid groups smuggled out dramatic video of hundreds of
thousands of impoverished Zimbabweans on the move after their government
torched and bulldozed their shanty homes.

      The footage, aired on news broadcasts around the world last week,
shows how much the world's poorest continent needs help.

      But it also raises questions about whether its governments can be the
kind of partners British Prime Minister Tony Blair envisions as he presses
leaders of the world's richest countries to help lift Africa out of poverty.

      President Robert Mugabe says the shanty demolitions are part of an
urban renewal plan.

      But the Zimbabwean opposition says they target its support base among
the urban poor, and international human rights groups and Zimbabwean church
leaders, lawyers and doctors say they are a cruel attack on the poor and

      "The events in Zimbabwe have shaken the confidence of some people as
they approach the G8," David Triesman, Britain's minister for Africa, said.

      Next week, the leaders of the G8 convene in Britain to discuss Blair's
proposals to double aid to Africa, increase its access to foreign markets
and decrease its debt burden.

      Blair said it was harder to argue for a boost in international aid to
Africa with Zimbabwe as such a prominent example of "abuses of governance
and corruption."

      Irungu Houghton, an Africa specialist for the British aid and
development group Oxfam, questioned whether the focus on Zimbabwe was driven
by those looking for an excuse not to act.

      He said it was unfair to single out one country, particularly one that
"is not in any way reflective of what is happening on the continent."

      "Africa has turned the corner in a number of countries, and it makes
sense to invest in Africa now," Houghton said.

      Blair has argued that an aid package similar in scale and conception
to the Marshall Plan that lifted Europe from the rubble of World War II is
the proper response to profound changes in Africa.

      The world appears to be responding.

      G8 finance ministers agreed earlier this month to cancel $40bn worth
of debt owed by 18 of the world's poorest nations, most of them in Africa.

      European Union leaders have pledged to double their aid to the world's
poorest nations by 2015.

      That momentum could be slowed by the bad news from Zimbabwe.

      "That's why we are passionate about giving advice to Robert Mugabe,"
Christopher Kolade, Nigeria's high commissioner to Britain.

      Kolade, whose country holds the chairmanship of the African Union,
said Africans were pursuing a course of quiet diplomacy on Zimbabwe.

      The West, though, has pushed Africans to take a firmer and more public

      "We have to make sure that African countries realise the deep
responsibility there is to sort this out themselves," Blair said.

      South Africa and other close neighbours who have the greatest
influence on Zimbabwe are loathe to publicly criticise Mugabe because he was
a comrade in the region's common struggle against colonial rule, said Peter
Kagwanja, a specialist on southern Africa for the International Crisis

      Kagwanja, whose think tank tracks conflicts around the world, said it
would be a mistake for the G8 to draw conclusions about all of Africa from

      But it also was wrong for Africans not to be tougher on Zimbabwe, he

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New Zealand Herald

      Government may fund legal challenge over Zimbabwe tour


      By Helen Tunnah

      Tensions between the Government and New Zealand Cricket rose last
night as international cricketing authorities insisted the Black Caps tour
to Zimbabwe must go ahead.

      Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff yesterday asked what NZ Cricket's
position on a tour to Zimbabwe would be if it was left to make a moral
decision without the burden of a severe financial penalty.

      He also pointed out NZ Cricket chief executive Martin Snedden had not
returned a telephone call to discuss the Zimbabwe crisis.

      "They have said that they haven't really taken much time to examine
the ethics of touring, because the dominant issue is the issue of the

      He said if money was the main issue, the Government would discuss with
NZ Cricket what actions could be taken to ease the burden. That could
include financing a legal challenge to the International Cricket Council's
rules in a world court.

      Mr Goff said normally sports bodies would want their sport to be kept
separate from politics and he would agree.

      "There comes a particular point in time where the issue of human
rights is so overwhelming, and the abuse of them so gross, you simply cannot
separate the fact that we would be in Zimbabwe at the same time as hundreds
of thousands of people were being made homeless.

      "If we don't draw the line here, where do we draw the line?

      "Do we wait for the mass deaths of people?"

      He said Mr Snedden was caught between "a rock and a hard place" on the

      Mr Snedden has been in London at the ICC's annual meeting, and has
said he will comment when he gets back.

      The Black Caps are due to tour Zimbabwe for a test series, and a
one-day tri-series also involving India, in August and September.

      If the tour is cancelled for other than security reasons, NZ Cricket
faces a minimum $2.8 million fine, suspension from international cricket and
possibly other costs such as compensation for the loss of television rights.

      ICC chairman Ehsan Mani said in London yesterday that the tour should
go ahead, and nations were bound by the future tours contract. He said the
ICC's responsibility was to cricket, and what was best for the game.

      However, he also said no one, which would include NZ Cricket, had
raised the issue of touring Zimbabwe at the meeting so it had not been

      Mr Goff also took a swipe at South Africa's Government, saying it
would not acknowledge the grossness of human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.
South African cricket said yesterday that it would not heed New Zealand's
call for an international cricketing boycott of Zimbabwe.

      Mr Goff has asked the Governments of Britain and Australia to support
a New Zealand approach to the ICC to stop tours to Zimbabwe at the moment.

      But last night, Green Party co-leader Rod Donald said the Government
could and should announce sporting sanctions against Zimbabwe as a first
step to stopping the tour.

      He said without that, Mr Goff's comments were "bluff and bluster".

      The National Bank, a major sponsor of the Black Caps, says it will
meet NZ Cricket officials "as soon as possible" for talks on the Zimbabwe

      Discussions would be held with Mr Snedden "to find out where things
stand" when he returned, bank spokeswoman Cynthia Brophy said yesterday.

      Ms Brophy refused to confirm if any clients had closed their accounts
in protest at the bank's financial support of the team, as suggested on some
radio stations yesterday.

      What happens now?

      * Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff says the Government could help NZ
Cricket pay for a legal challenge to the International Cricket Council's
rules in a world court.

      * If the challenge succeeds, the Black Caps could pull out of the tour
without being penalised millions of dollars.

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The Scotsman

Malawi president's Zimbabwe farm adds to McConnell woes


JACK McConnell is facing fresh embarrassment over his African mission with
the revelation that Bingu wa Mutharika, the president of Malawi, has a farm
in Zimbabwe that is under the protection of Robert Mugabe.

Mr wa Mutharika, who received the First Minister in Malawi last month and is
due to visit Scotland in the autumn, owns a substantial property near the
town of Kadoma, about 100 miles from Harare, The Scotsman has established.

The estate has survived recent upheavals in Zimbabwe thanks to Mr Mugabe's

The Malawi leader's relationship with Mr Mugabe - whose police are engaged
in a campaign of demolitions that have left more than 300,000 people
homeless in recent days - may raise fresh doubts about the First Minister's
African policy.

Mr McConnell's relationship with the president was thrown into the spotlight
last week by moves in the Malawi parliament to impeach Mr wa Mutharika on
corruption charges - allegations he denies.

Sources in Zimbabwe say Mr wa Mutharika's links with Mr Mugabe stretch back
for many years - he is believed to have acquired the farm as long ago as
1994. While many landowners have seen their farms seized by gangs backed by
Mr Mugabe in recent years, the Malawi leader's property remains untouched.

The Scotsman has learned that last month, officials from Mr Mugabe's
government expelled trade union officials from Bineth Farm after workers
complained that Mr wa Mutharika had not paid their wages for several months.

The incident led the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions to claim that Mr
Mugabe's regime treats Mr wa Mutharika as "a first-class citizen ahead of
other Zimbabweans".

Paul Themba Nyathi, a member of the Zimbabwean parliament who speaks for the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), yesterday cast doubt on Mr
McConnell's Malawi mission.

"We are aware of the close links between the two men, wa Mutharika and
Mugabe. What the Scottish Executive needs to do is insist that if Mr wa
Mutharika has these links then he should speak up with them," Mr Nyathi said
by telephone from Harare yesterday.

Unless Mr wa Mutharika proved he was putting pressure on Mr Mugabe over
abuses in Zimbabwe, Mr McConnell should cancel the president's visit to
Scotland, Mr Nyathi said.

"It's not good enough to pretend it's all just business as usual - the world
has a responsibility to act, and that includes Scotland."

But Mr McConnell's spokesman said the First Minister was unlikely to discuss
Zimbabwe with Mr wa Mutharika. "This isn't an issue that was raised during
the First Minister's visit to Malawi," he said. "It may be something we
raise at future meetings but it is not at the top of our agenda. Our focus
is on helping the people of Malawi."
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      Zimbabwe asylum 'U-turn' row
      Africa remains in the spotlight as the Times claims immigration
officials were told to halt the deportation of Zimbabwean asylum seekers
until after the G8 summit.

      The paper says the move is to avoid embarrassing Tony Blair, although
the Home Office has responded to say there has been no change in policy.

      The Daily Mail says officers were told to cancel seats booked on
flights, and escort officers were stood down.

      It adds critics will question the timing of what appears to be a

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