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

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      Clean-up spreads

      Felix Njini
      6/2/2005 8:06:00 AM (GMT +2)

      Clashes loom on farms with ZANU PF supporters
      THE government , which has left a trail of destruction in its scorched
earth approach to cleaning up urban settlements, is threatening to take the
campaign to what it now terms illegally occupied farmland, a move that could
spark violent clashes with hordes of ruling party supporters.

      State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa confirmed yesterday that the
clean-up campaign, which resulted in the arrest of at least 22 000 people
and rendered thousands homeless, was spreading to the farms where thousands
of ZANU PF supporters illegally allocated themselves vast tracts of land at
the height of the government's land reform.
      Sources in the ruling party's supreme decision-making body, the
Politburo, said the police had been issued with orders to sharpen its
armoury in readiness for pockets of resistance that might be encountered
once the force descends on illegally resettled peasants who have buttressed
ZANU PF in recent elections.
      They said the government, which has been accused of visiting
retribution on vendors and denizens in opposition-controlled towns and
cities, was hoping to clear the anomalies revealed by numerous land audits.
      Ruling party supporters on the farms claim credit for spearheading the
violent land seizures of 2000, blamed for accelerating Zimbabwe's economic
ruin. The chaotic land reform is largely blamed for bringing down the
country's erstwhile vibrant agricultural sector, causing perennial food
      Human rights activists and the main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) have warned that the government's provocative action might fuel
public anger on a scale unseen since independence.
      Mutasa said settlers with no authentic offer letters would meet the
same fate as urbanites who had built illegal settlements in towns and cities
around the country.
      Mutasa, who claimed that the government has gathered enough evidence
on the status of each and every farm, said: "This is called operation clean
up and it is not restricted to towns alone. Those who illegally occupied
farms should go and at any sign of resistance, the law will descend heavily
on them."
      The crackdown, dubbed "Operation Restore Order" has rendered more than
a million people destitute as heavily armed police continue to raze shacks
and other illegal residential structures to the ground. Paramilitary police
units have been destroying makeshift houses and stalls used by street
traders in an informal sector that has blossomed as much as the formal
economy has shrunk.
      Mutasa said the clean-up campaign would continue indefinitely. "There
is no time frame. This is a programme to clean up, what time we will move
into the farms, the people there will see for themselves," Mutasa said.
      "People should know whether they are legally settled and even
government help should be targeted at the legally settled. Those without
offer letters are the ones the law is going to deal with."
      Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena refused to shed light on the
planned farmland blitz.
      "We are restricting ourselves to the towns for now. I am not aware of
any intentions to move into farms, that falls under another ministry,"
Bvudzijena said.

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      AirZim risks suspension

      Staff Reporter
      6/2/2005 8:08:08 AM (GMT +2)

      THE revival of Air Zimbabwe (AirZim) has again, come face to face with
the harsh realities confronting the economy after the troubled national
airline failed to pay US$1.5 million in commitment fees to the International
Air Transport Association (IATA).

      The government, fearing the airline could suffer an embarrassing
suspension from the IATA Clearing House, summoned the secretary in the
Ministry of Transport and Communications, Karikoga Kaseke, who was on his
way to Kigali to deal with the situation.
      Sources said AirZim had been given up to Tuesday this week to make
good on its commitment or risk suspension from IATA, which would make it
impossible for the airline to book its passengers on other airlines plying
routes that it does not service.
      In February last year, AirZim was thrown out of the IATA Clearing
House after failing to pay US$1.3 million because of the foreign currency
crisis. President Robert Mugabe described the suspension, lifted on February
10 2004, as "not necessary", saying AirZim should have sourced the foreign
currency from other sources.
      It is, however, feared that the national airline's planes could be
confiscated should it continue to fly after the deadline without paying the
outstanding fees.
      Kaseke, who was seconded to the ministry from the Civil Aviation
Authority of Zimbabwe, confirmed the development when contacted for comment
yesterday, but said his ministry had dealt with the issue.
      "The problem is being sorted, but it is not as bad as people would
want to put it. We have now managed to secure the money and the payment is
going through now. We want to thank the Reserve Bank for the timely
      "We, at times, put the Reserve Bank under unnecessary pressure because
the AirZim board only informed us of the problem on Monday and yet they knew
that the payment was long overdue," said Kaseke.
      The IATA Clearing House is an internationally recognized entity
through which airlines settle their bills owed to each other. IATA payments
are levied on travelers and should be remitted to the organisation as and
when they are due.
      AirZim has struggled to shrug off the inefficiency associated with
state-owned enterprises. Of late, the airline has suffered costly flight
delays blamed on the shortage of fuel and inept management.
      Recently, AirZim made its maiden trip to Dubai, which took off with 49
passengers on board, instead of the 120 passengers needed to break even
before cruising back more than 6000 kilometres with a lone passenger.

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      Mutasa set for higher office

      Staff Reporter
      6/2/2005 8:10:00 AM (GMT +2)

      STATE Security Minister Didymus Mutasa has emerged the most powerful
Cabinet minister, thanks to added responsibilities that have put him within
a shouting distance of succeeding President Robert Mugabe who has hinted at
retiring in 2008.

      Bookmakers had ruled the country's first black Speaker of Parliament
out of both the intriguing succession race and Cabinet after the veteran
ZANU PF secretary for administration got entangled in a web of political
skirmishes that could have shot down his rising star.
      His recent elevation from the obscure Anti-Corruption Ministry to the
state security ministry also in charge of strategic grain imports and food
distribution has added fresh dynamics to the succession puzzle within the
ruling ZANU PF.
      A close confidante of President Mugabe, the state security minister
was last month given the extra portfolio of Land and Resettlement with Flora
Buka, who has been at the helm of the ministry, coming in to assist Mutasa.
      "While Mutasa is unlikely to become the country's second leader after
independence, certainly he would be among Zimbabwe's two vice-presidents,"
said a ZANU PF insider.
      The source hinted that ruling party national chairman and Parliament
Speaker John Nkomo might become the co-Vice-President, taking over from
Joseph Msika, who is also expected to retire in 2008.
      Joice Mujuru, the current co-Vice-President, is tipped for the highest
office, which becomes vacant at the expiry of President Mugabe's sixth term.
      The odds were staked against Mutasa after the former Anti-Corruption
Minister, who has openly admitted to harbouring vice-presidential ambitions,
was embroiled in a political mess when he allegedly slapped a police officer
based in Rusape.
      A top war veteran, James Kaunye, was left for dead after a group of
ZANU PF supporters allegedly beat him up for expressing his desire to stand
against Mutasa in the ruling party's Makoni North primaries held in January
this year.
      In May last year, Mutasa was involved in a fracas in Parliament
involving former Chimanimani legislator, Roy Bennett and Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa. He admitted in an
interview with the Voice of America that he "kicked him (Bennett) very
hard", after the former Chimanimani Member of Parliament, who is now
languishing in prison, charged at Chinamasa.

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      NGOs to help blitz victims

      Staff Reporter
      6/2/2005 8:10:31 AM (GMT +2)

      NON-governmental Organisations (NGOs), angry over the government's
blitz on informal settlements and flea markets, are readying themselves to
intervene in the face of the unfolding humanitarian crisis.

      Executives in the NGO sector, jittery over the draconian NGO Act the
government intends using to monitor civic organisations, said yesterday they
had been shocked by the number of people stranded in the streets following
the three-week blitz on informal settlements and flea markets.
      They said contingency measures to feed and possibly shelter the
estimated 20 000 people affected by the crackdown were being worked out by
the various NGOs operating in the country.
      "We are working on the needs so that we have a consolidated response
to the unfolding crisis," said Fambai Ndirande, an information officer at
the National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO). "The
idea is to ease the suffering of the people," Ndirande added.
      The government has in the past three weeks demolished flea markets and
illegal structures that accommodated lodgers in the high-density suburbs.
Hundreds of residents evicted from Mbare are now sleeping at Mbare Musika
bus terminus, while others from White Cliff Farm along the Harare-Bulawayo
highway have been sleeping along the road following the destruction of their
sub-standard structures by armed riot police and the army.
      "NANGO hereby calls upon the government to stop the operations
immediately until appropriate alternative mechanisms are in place. NANGO is
also calling upon all NGOs to respond to the crisis by offering practical
solutions and humanitarian assistance to those affected", the association
said in a separate statement to The Financial Gazette.
      ZimRights, a local human rights body, also added its voice in
condemnation of the government's actions. "The move, which has been
conducted under the guise of cleaning up the city, is unwarranted and
tantamount to condemning citizens to perpetual and abject poverty. ZimRights
therefore calls for the immediate end of police raids and that all the
confiscated goods be returned to their rightful owners."
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      MDC threatens to spoil party

      Njabulo Ncube
      6/2/2005 8:11:36 AM (GMT +2)

      THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which has an
attenuated parliamentary presence, has threatened to fight proposed
constitutional amendments the ruling ZANU PF will soon spirit through the

      The MDC national council which met over the weekend resolved that its
41 legislators put up a fierce resistance to the constitutional amendments
which will, among other provisions, see the reintroduction of a 65-member
      Although ZANU PF, which secured the two-thirds majority in Parliament
courtesy of a constitutional provision which allows the President to appoint
20 voting non-constituency members of parliament, looks set to have its way,
the opposition party is hoping to clog parliamentary business and, at the
very least, delay proceedings.
      MDC insiders this week said the party did not consider the
introduction of a Senate a priority in light of the myriad economic and
political problems bedevilling the country, which have escalated since the
March 31 general election in which ZANU PF mustered 78 seats.
      The national council of the MDC, battling damaging factionalism which
resulted in the summary dismal of 14 youths from the Harare province after
alleged harassment of senior party officials two weeks ago, met at Harvest
House, the party's headquarters, over the weekend and discussed the proposed
      Both ZANU PF and the MDC had agreed to some constitutional changes
during their abortive engagement last year, but the opposition accuses the
ruling party of abandoning a consensual constitutional road map towards
critical issues such as electoral reforms, opting for the legislative route
      ZANU PF, whose central committee endorsed the reintroduction of the
Senate - dissolved in 1987 to pave way for a leaner and more efficient
law-making process - is also looking at introducing amendments to the land
and electoral legal frameworks.
      The amendments are billed to dominate proceedings when the Sixth
Parliamentary session resumes later this month.
      MDC spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi confirmed in a statement released
this week that the party's national council discussed the proposed ZANU PF
amendments to the constitution, saying the party had resolved to continue to
press for "a constitutional reform process that was transparent, inclusive
and people-driven."
      "The council decried the efforts by ZANU PF to press for piecemeal
amendments to the present constitution that do little to address the present
economic and political crisis," said Nyathi.
      Party insiders said the 41 legislators would frantically try to lobby
"the few democratic parliamentarians in ZANU PF" not to support the
rubber-stamping of some amendments that are "self-serving such as the
creation of a Senate to reward loyalists" that allegedly failed to make it
to parliament after losing to the MDC, especially in urban areas during the
last election.

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      Nkosana Moyo opens up on Zim crisis

      6/2/2005 8:14:58 AM (GMT +2)

      FORMER industry and international trade minister Nkosana Moyo
surprised all when he deserted his post in May 2001 after serving in
President Robert Mugabe's Cabinet for only 10 months.

      Moyo, who resigned by facsimile from South Africa, refused to talk
about his dramatic departure but agreed to share his thoughts about the
government that he ditched and the state of the economy. Our correspondent,
BLESSING RUZENGWE, caught up with Moyo in the UK and the former minister,
now with the United Kingdom-based (CDC) Capital Partners as head of the
Africa desk, shares his thoughts. CDC, formerly the Commonwealth Development
Corporation, is the UK government's instrument for investing in the private
sector in developing economies.

      QUESTION: How would you describe the current state of the Zimbabwean
      ANSWER: Well, I was last in Zimbabwe in September last year, so
clearly I am not on the spot to precisely answer that question but to the
extent that one hears what's going on, I think one can say Zimbabwe is going
through very tough economic circumstances for a couple of reasons. I think
the land resettlement issue, combined with a bad rainy season, is one
contributing factor and then the relationships that Zimbabwe currently has
or does not have with the international community including the Bretton
Woods institutions (IMF and World Bank group), would be another factor why
Zimbabwe is going through a very tough economic situation.
      Q. For how long will the economy continue to decline as it has done in
recent years, with some economists warning the Zimbabwe economy is tottering
on the brink of collapse, before really bottoming out?
      A. If I go back to the past five years at the very least, I think if
you ask people at any one of the stages along that path they would always be
telling you that Zimbabwe is about to collapse. I think part of the puzzle
is as to why, in spite of people predicting an economic collapse, Zimbabwe
has continued one way or the other to totter on the edge but without
      Q. Why?
      A. There could be a number of reasons and I think one of them is
simply that there are a lot of Zimbabweans working outside the country who
have to support their families and I imagine it is these Zimbabweans who are
sending sufficient resources to support their relatives who are keeping
      the economy afloat. I can't really explain it in any other way and
clearly the other possible explanation is that, like most African economies,
we tend to speak on the basis of the formal economy. The problem is that
there is nobody who has been able to quantify the informal economy and I
think what has happened over the years is that this informal part of the
Zimbabwe economy has tended to take over part of the formal economy of
Zimbabwe and people continue to live because they're able to resort to a lot
of economic activity in the informal sector.
      Q. Surely that cannot be the basis for any economy?
      A. No! No! I am not implying that. I am simply explaining how it has
not collapsed and why it's not collapsing. Anyway I am not implying that
      the way to bring about prosperity, not at all.
      Q.. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor issued his post-election
monetary policy statement and among some of the issues that he touched on
was the return of some former commercial farmers who lost their land and he
has indicated that corruption should be dealt with in what I can call a
brutal way. Do you see his measures bringing any results for Zimbabwe?
      A. Well, again to be honest with you, I am not on the spot. My view
would be that until the Zimbabwean government addresses all the pieces that
go towards making the economic turnaround, it is not sufficient to simply
focus on aspects of the economy in a piecemeal way. You need to take a
holistic approach to it and again one of those pieces is that in the world
in which we live today, where countries are not islands, the dimension of
international relationships and the support that comes from that particular
dimension is an issue that needs to be addressed. Clearly, to the extent
that there is corruption, that has to be addressed; I would argue that it
has to be addressed. The budget deficit would need to be addressed. So there
are many different aspects to running an economy in a
      balanced way. If you squeeze one bit without addressing the other all
you do is displace the pressure from one particular element to all of these
others which are not being addressed and that does not provide you with a
      Q. Which one of these factors is being squeezed and which one is
benefiting or losing from this squeeze?
      A. I have just indicated for instance, that Zimbabwe is not an island.
      Q. So in what way and how efficient is Zimbabwe linking into resource
flows which come out of relationships with the international community? It's
a question I would ask again without knowing the facts and figures on the
      A. I would argue, I would suggest to you that even this country
(United Kingdom) there was a time when it
      had to bring itself under IMF (International Monetary Fund) discipline
not so long ago, I think it's within the last 20-30 years at the very least.
This country (UK), found itself having to put itself under the structures of
the IMF in order to get its economy sorted out. So, to the extent that this
is true for this country, what more for an economy as small as Zimbabwe in
terms of just getting the relationships and resource flows to support the
formation of a proper foundation for the economy, which is absolutely
      Q. From your experience as minister of industry and international
trade, do you think Zimbabwe was adequately integrated into the
international economy?
      A. As you know very well, we had already entered the phase of the land
redistribution and the answer you know is no!
      Q. I want to bring you back to the issue of solving the economic
problems in a systematic manner that you talked of earlier on. Do you think
the government is taking a systematic approach to solving the country's
      Q. You keep coming back to the same issue. I would not be arrogant as
to try to be prescriptive in terms of what should be done because I am not
on the spot. You know one of the things I think one needs to respect is that
unless you are inside, knowing the exact details of what's going on, then
you are not exactly in a position to say what should be done. But what I can
say though, which is so obvious to you and me, is that Zimbabweans are going
through a very tough time. The economy is not performing well, Zimbabwe's
relations with the international community are not good, they are not what
they should be and that Zimbabwe cannot succeed in isolation - completely
disconnected from the rest of the world.
      Q. You are not in the system, fine, but have you seen any results
coming out of the recent initiatives to heal the economy of the deeply
entrenched malaise?
      A. You just told me that inflation has just gone up, you told me that
the (RBZ) governor is
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      advocating for more stringent treatment of corruption to the extent
that he perceives it. So the word you used in describing the governor's
statement on corruption suggests that there is a problem and that there is a
movement backwards (interjection the governor has threatened to name and
shame corrupt officials).
      A. So why is he being forced into a situation where he feels it is
necessary to be more brutal? It is almost like in surgery. If you are
treating something and you start saying "I now need to amputate" it means
whatever the condition you are dealing with has gone beyond the way you
would normally deal with it any other way.
      Q. Let us go back to the issue of white commercial farmers. The
governor has said some of them should be encouraged to come back and be
given security both of tenure and their future role in the economy. Do you
think this is a reversal of government policy of taking land from white
commercial farmers and giving it to black Zimbabweans?
      A. I would prefer to comment slightly differently. If you go back to
the war. The Zimbabwean war of liberation was fought on the basis of wanting
to correct wrongs, to correct wrongs not to reverse, not to simply implement
reverse discrimination and I think in fact there were very explicit
statements, which we made about that fact at independence.Zimbabweans would
collate to create a new Zimbabwe and the initial years of independence and
reconciliation and so on and so on were evidence of that approach. So my
interpretation of what the governor is saying is that the land issue has to
be addressed. The farmers themselves would tell you that, when I was
Minister I talked to a lot of them and they would concede that there was
absolutely no way Zimbabwe could have gone anywhere without the land issue
being addressed. Whether you are talking to the donors they would say that,
everybody would admit that. So I think one way of interpreting the governor's
statement is that to the extent that those white farmers are Zimbabweans the
solution of the problem should not exclude them but that they should be
brought into the fold in the implementation of the solution. I would endorse
what the governor is saying that Zimbabweans, Zimbabweans collectively-
black white yellow whatever- need to come together collectively to resolve
their issues and put in place a platform, which allows all Zimbabweans to
say this is our country and these are our challenges and we are going to
find solution for them and move forward.
      Q. Why do we have scenario in Zimbabwe where Cabinet seems to be
apathetic and the reserve bank is at the forefront of attempts to revive the
      A. Being an outsider I cannot answer that question. I just have no
idea in terms of how the relationships are working out.
      Q. You were once minister of industry and I presume you know Zimbabwe's
manufacturing industry well. Industrial capacity utilisation has sagged to
unprecedented levels and we have high levels of unemployment, with estimates
putting it as high as 80 percent. How do you see economic revival coming
back to Zimbabwe?
      A. International competitiveness. When you look at fixing an economy
you have to do it in the context of what's happening around you. An economy
      a piece in a jigsaw puzzle, which is a global economy. We buy goods,
we sell goods to the rest of the world and that interface translate also
into the currency and how it's positioned. At the end of the day the
boundary of goods coming into the country and goods getting out of the
country determines how much we are integrate into the rest of the economy
and how competitive you are and how competitive you are will fuel, if you
like, economic growth in your own country and that economic growth will
allow you to generate jobs .you are unable to sell goods and services to the
international community or big market if your capacity to generate growth
and therefore jobs in your own country is constrained. So a lot of what you
are asking is to do with Zimbabwe's positioning in a global context. It's a
relative issue.
      Q. What is your view of the country's controversial "Look East"
policy, which aims at strengthening economic relationships with countries
such as China and Malaysia among
      A. That, again, is a fallacy. It's not a complete way of looking at
the world. China is linked to the rest of the world, Malaysia is linked to
the rest of the world so Zimbabwe should not isolate itself from the rest of
the world but needs to understand that those countries are, in turn, linked
to the west. They trade with the west. At the moment, when you look at
China, China exports a lot and China's exports depend on the robustness of
the United States economy. In turn, that allows China to
      buy the raw materials out of Africa so, for instance, if the United
States/China trade linkage breaks down, China's ability to buy resources
from Africa must breakdown as well.
      Q. Considering that Zimbabwe is now virtually a flea market economy,
how long will it take to turn it around? Rather what will it take to turn
around the economy?
      A. My view is that if Zimbabweans set themselves on really addressing
the issues. firstly reconciling Zimbabwe internally because I believe that
until Zimbabweans internally are at peace with each other internally then
the job is undoable. But I think Zimbabwe is a lucky country, it's actually
a reasonable small country. It has got skilled human resources capacity,
natural resources which are the envy of a lot of other countries so if the
pieces were to be put together properly I actually recognise that Zimbabwe
would come out of its situation quite quickly.
      Q. How quickly?
      A. Realistically within a timeline, time frame of about 5 years
Zimbabwe would be out of what it is in now.
      Q. But what would need to happen before that happens? You talk of
internal reconciliation who should take the initiative?
      A. The government. Taking an initiative of creating a national agenda
is a government responsibility.
      Q. You were once an advocate of a government of national unity between
      Q. Oh yes I still believe that for countries to be competitive, to be
successful in economic development and their position vis-à-vis other
countries, they should not be divided internally. You know there is a cliché
that a house divided in itself will fall or cannot stand. This is not a
Zimbabwean issue alone but the rest of the third world countries. I just don't
believe that they have got the robustness of institutions to withstand the
current trends of opposition politics. Take an example South Africa. Why is
South Africa appearing to be succeeding so far? Because South Africa has
adopted the rainbow nation philosophy.
      Zimbabwe's success in the early years was not an accident it was
because Zimbabwe did exactly that. Zimbabwe went out its way to create
circumstances where Zimbabweans of different persuasions were made to feel
they belonged. What I am saying is that you need to create the pride
      of a nation in every citizen no matter how they differ in detail, what
church they go to, what pigmentation they have and what party they belong
to. At the end of the
      day, if they are made to feel that they belong and that they will
contribute- they will differ with you as they should- but at the end of the
day they need to be able to come back to you and say you know what, I am
Zimbabwean as well. My allegiance to the country should not be confused with
me holding different views. If I am in opposition don't take me as being
disloyal to the country. The credibility of being Zimbabwean should not be
based on whether you oppose or do not oppose the government.
      Q. Do you still run businesses in Zimbabwe?
      A. If, one day, I can mobilise my international network to bring
resources to Zimbabwe that would be a major contribution. So I don't have to
be necessarily in government but I would like to be able at some stage in
the future.
      Q. What's stopping you now?
      A. At the moment it's very difficult. International relationships, I
manage people's money other people's money so those other people have to
agree for their money to go to Zimbabwe and that is very difficult at the
moment. And as you know now a lot of the world says you have to have your
      relationships with the World Bank group to almost like give a green
light for others, whether they're donors or whoever, to then come in and do
something because it gives them a context. If that relationship was sorted
out we would be ready to put money it into Zimbabwe, there is no doubt about
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      Govt in belated reality trip over food.Number of aid beneficiaries

      Njabulo Ncube
      6/2/2005 8:14:16 AM (GMT +2)

      THE government, which has in the past year been elusive about the
country's increasingly precarious food security situation, has admitted more
people, other than the initially projected 1.5 million, would require food

      A senior government official revealed last week that over 2.8 million
people would require food aid at a time when the Famine Early Warning System
Network (FEWSNET) released a report indicating that most Zimbabwean rural
households had already exhausted their harvest.
      Aid agencies, which have always contested government statistics on the
food situation, put the figure of people in need of aid at about five
      The revelation, which would also mean that government would need to
revise its budget for food imports of about US$420 million, came a few days
ahead of this week's visit by World Food Programme (WFP) head and UN
secretary general Koffi Annan's special humanitarian envoy, James Morris.
      Government, which last year barred a WFP food security assessment,
saying the country had enough grain and would not need any aid has, in
recent weeks, made a volte face and appealed for assistance.
      Sydney Mhishi, a director in the Ministry of Labour and Social
Welfare, told the state media last week the figure could surpass 2,8 million
as more people were flocking to government offices to register for food
handouts every day. "The number of people needing assistance is expected to
rise from last year's figure due to the fact that this year has been another
abnormal one in terms of rainfall," said Mhishi.
      Zimbabwe, which is experiencing a serious food deficit estimated to be
around 1.2 million tonnes of grain, needs to import grain to boost depleted
silos at the state-run monopoly the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), which
insiders said has only received 150 000 tonnes of grain from South Africa
since January. Total GMB stocks were at a precarious level at the end of
      The government, which is grappling with a serious foreign currency
crunch among a host of other economic problems, needs about US$420 million
to fund the purchase of the 1.2 million tonnes urgently required to feed a
nation staring a winter of discontent owing to serious food shortages.
However, FEWSNET has raised serious questions over the country's ability to
mobilise the requisite foreign currency.
      "Given the current shortages, importing adequate food for the nation
in the current consumption year is going to be an enormous task for
Zimbabwe. At the same time, the need for food imports has to compete with
other national priorities such as fuel, electricity, medicines and
education, all of which require foreign currency," FEWSNET said.
      With the stark realisation that Harare does not have the financial
wherewithal to undertake a massive food relief campaign to stave off a
humanitarian crisis, especially across a countryside reeling from a
devastating drought, human rights groups, local food agencies and the
opposition fear the country could start recording deaths if no intervention
is forthcoming in the next few weeks.
      Officials within the non-governmental sector who spoke to The
Financial Gazette said they were keeping their fingers crossed that
President Robert Mugabe would finally swallow his pride and allow
international donor agencies into the country to feed the hungry population
and that the international community, upon receiving Zimbabwe's request for
intervention, would be able to "move with speed to fund a massive relief
      President Mugabe, whose government last year barred a WFP assessment,
this week met Morris to discuss challenges paused by the humanitarian
situation unfolding in Zimbabwe. The government has, in recent weeks, tried
to qualify its controversial position on food aid, with spokesman George
Charamba saying the government had refused "food aid with political
      Morris this week completed a tour of drought-ravaged southern Africa
which took him to South Africa, Botswana and Malawi at the behest of Annan
who is understood to be devastated by reports of serious food shortages and
the effects of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the region.
      During his tour, Morris, who endured a barrage of official insults the
last time he undertook a similar tour to Zimbabwe in 2002, stressed his
desire to steer clear of politics.
      However, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) accused the ruling
ZANU PF of politicising food by denying the opposition supporters subsidised
maize from the GMB.
      "The only solution is for the regime to invite international donors,"
said Renson Gasela, the MDC's shadow minister of agriculture and land
affairs. "This government treats the food situation as a security issue. Our
salvation now lies with donors because GMB silos are empty or they don't
have enough grain to feed the whole nation," said Gasela.
      Analysts who spoke to The Financial Gazette on the eve of the meeting
between President Mugabe and Morris, said only the intervention of
international food donors could avert a serious humanitarian crisis of
alarming proportions in Zimbabwe.
      They said with indications that Zimbabwe needed foreign currency to
import fuel and electricity to prevent tottering industries from closing,
Harare's foreign currency reserves were inadequate to launch a three-pronged
rescue strategy.
      "All eyes are on what transpires between the WFP boss and President
Mugabe. Any further refusal of international intervention spells disaster
for the nation," said a food expert within the country's fearful
non-governmental sector, speaking anonymously.
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      Clean-up a travesty of justice? The rich get away with illegal
structures as the poor are left to brave the cold

      Hama Saburi
      6/2/2005 8:13:20 AM (GMT +2)

      BUSINESS tycoon Sam Levy's lavish Borrowdale office block built in the
late 1990s without council approval still stands today but the same cannot
be said of illegal structures in Harare's densely-populated residential
areas - razed to the ground in the past two weeks.

      Levy, who in October 2000 escaped with a $200 fine for importing 50
motorcycles inscribed "Police" without authority, had the knack for putting
up illegal structures at his plush Sam Levy Village under the nose of
partisan municipal authorities.
      Council officials, who moved in to destroy hundreds of thousands of
illegal structures two weeks ago in an operation that has quickly spread to
other towns and cities, had issued all kinds of threats against the
multi-billionaire only to have a change of heart in the end.
      Roger Boka - the late business magnate whose United Merchant Bank
collapsed in 1998 under the weight of a liquidity crisis - had also
benefited from the excessive and highly suspicious inertia on the part of
the city fathers now astonishingly displaying unrelenting vigour in bringing
down illegal structures belonging to poor citizens.
      Boka, a fierce proponent of black economic empowerment, was treated
with kid gloves after he constructed cotton auction floors despite a council
prohibition order. The floors, which were yet to be completed at the time of
Boka's death in February 1999, remain a white elephant epitomising the
authorities' double standards.
      This could be an obvious case of who you are and whom you know.
Analysts this week said the travesty of justice shown by the authorities in
enforcing municipal by-laws, raised more questions than answers. Are the
authorities genuinely enforcing the by-laws or they have now embarked on a
war of attrition against urbanites for overwhelmingly voting for the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the March 31 elections?
      Why is the long arm of the law hesitant in dealing with the rich and
famous whose illegal structures were regularised yet they were obvious
candidates for demolition?
      Yet others find it difficult to believe the same city fathers, who had
indirectly given the nod to the illegal settlements by turning a blind eye
on informal traders for so many years, could today make such a dramatic
U-turn in broad daylight.
      At least 20 000 people have been arrested and goods worth billions of
dollars confiscated or destroyed in a major crackdown against informal
traders and homeless people that began in Harare and has now widened to
cover other cities and towns.
      This has created a human catastrophe that many people fear could be
the hot bed for a popular uprising against the ZANU PF government, which
lost its grip on urban centres in 2000.
      The government has come out in defence of the campaign, saying it is
meant to rid cities of filth and crime, particularly the thriving illegal
black market that has worked against central bank-driven economic revival
      While the government has promised to find alternative accommodation
for those displaced in the exercise, unconfirmed reports suggest the
clean-up campaign, endorsed by President Robert Mugabe at an extraordinary
session of the ruling ZANU PF's policy-making organ - the central
committee - was laced with ulterior motives.
      Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, accused the Zimbabwean leader of
unleashing the police to punish voters for backing the main opposition
party. The MDC, which has disputed ZANU PF's victory in the March elections,
claims President Mugabe wanted to provoke spontaneous and violent reactions
by residents so he could find a pretext to declare a state of emergency and
rule by decree.
      "Over half of the economy activity in Zimbabwe is now conducted in the
informal sector, which consists of nearly three million individual
enterprises and supports the great majority of the people. With barely eight
percent of adult Zimbabweans in formal sector employment, the wholesale
destruction of these small family businesses is a betrayal of the principles
of the liberation struggle. The use of armed police to carry out this
exercise and to intimidate those affected reveals the true character of this
regime," read a statement issued by the MDC after its national council
      In a terse response to the MDC, Herald columnist Nathaniel Manheru,
who many believe espouses the government position, said something that could
be revealing of the government's viewpoint.
      ". . . Ask yourself what connects the murky backside of Rezende Street
and wilting Harvest House (the headquarters of the MDC) and self confident
and secure Zimbabwe House? The one was, until last week, a setting for
seemingly innocent vendors and touts dashing for deals and shouting after
numerous bargains gone awry. That was the innocent face of it all. The other
was a pot on the boil, a setting for arcane political schemes underwritten
by blood," wrote Manheru.
      The clean-up campaign might also be aimed at reducing the enormous
strain on public infrastructure, which had started to give in to the
population explosion in urban centres that had resulted in numerous burst
water pipes and the malfunctioning of the sewerage works, among other
      The condemnation by the MDC and civil society organisations comes as
human rights lawyers and the opposition legislators prepare to mount a class
action seeking compensation from the state.
      ZANU PF sympathiser and social commentator Jonathan Kadzura said those
affected by the crackdown should seek opportunities in rural areas where the
government has repaired infrastructure damaged during the war of liberation
as well as introducing electricity.
      The economic activity in the rural areas and farmlands, he argued,
will have a huge capacity to drive urban economic activity
      "It is always difficult to change old habits. It might prove a little
stormy to convince the unemployed urbanites to go back to the rural areas
and take advantage of the new dispensation on land and particularly in light
of the fact that this new policy is what our detractors are fighting. It
might also be in the short-term to persuade our young entrepreneurs to
consider setting up micro-industries in these up and coming urbanising
centres, but in the long term, it is true that these areas are the future
hubs of our economy," said Kadzura.
      Kadzura said municipal by-laws needed to be enforced, while the
haphazard construction of illegal structures had put an enormous strain on
existing infrastructure such as the sewerage, water and health systems.
      He said: "Health in city centres has been compromised by the
construction and quiet sanctioning of these dwellings. Security of property
and humans has also been exposed to the illegal exploits inherent with
disorder, overcrowding and idleness, all of which militate against capital."
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The Destruction of the Informal Sector.

In the past week the government of Zimbabwe has taken steps to destroy much
of what has become known throughout Africa as the informal sector. This
consists of about 3 million small-scale business enterprises - none of whom
are registered or pay direct taxes but which play a major part in the
nations economy.

There are 800 000 small scale peasant farmers and their families, but it is
in the cities where this kind of economic activity has thrived as the formal
sector has crashed. The activities take on many forms - cross border traders
who take orders from urban business and then find the foreign exchange and
go to South Africa or Botswana to source the products required. I estimated
once that about 5000 traders crossed the borders every day doing anything up
to 20 per cent of all imports.

Vegetable and fruit sellers are found almost everywhere - a vendor selling
just a few tomatoes every day can make as much as a worker in industry.
Small scale industry goes on where ever there is a vacant lot and takes on
all sorts of tasks and produce products such as wire netting, door frames,
windows, furniture. The motor industry and public transport is another area
of informal sector business - hundreds of small vans operate in urban areas
and provide a very efficient form of local transport, which is used by
millions every day.

In the housing sector the role of the informal economy is just as
ubiquitous - with a back log in housing running to over 1 million units on
official lists and only 1,4 million housing units actually on the ground,
over 40 per cent of the urban population is thought to be technically
homeless - they live in crowded tenements and as lodgers - often living as a
whole family in a single room. Desperate for any sort of privacy and family
life many take to constructing shacks in other peoples yards or on vacant
ground in peri urban and township areas.

This means that some where about 2,5 million people live in makeshift urban

accommodation without adequate sanitation or clean water. They include
hundreds of thousands of children. Many brought to the towns because the
education and health services are so much better than they are in the rural
areas, or their parents have died from Aids or a related illness and they
are living with the extended family.

So we have a massive structure of informal sector activities - almost
eclipsing the formal sector that was so dominant in 1980. I estimate that
informal business may generate as much as half our GDP, handle as much as 40
per cent of all foreign exchange and 20 per cent of our exports and imports.
They support 3,4 million urban people and 4 million rural people. They
provide transport for the great majority and meet the basic housing
requirements of at least 8 million people. They pay taxes through the
indirect systems of taxation that exist (VAT and others) and provide a huge
market for the formal sector as well as income support for the majority.

Despite the complete failure of the Zanu regime to maintain the formal
sector - with GDP declining nearly 50 per cent in 7 years, exports down by
half and employment by over 40 per cent - the State has now decided to
decimate the one thing that is working - the informal sector.

If I had not seen it myself I could not have believed that so stupid and
heartless a thing could be carried out. On Thursday last week I watched
armed police destroy the markets in Beitbridge - the border town with South
Africa. I saw them burn food, steal groceries and smash furniture.
Afterwards one street kid said to me as I walked past - "this is cyclone
Gono!" referring to the governor of the Reserve Bank who seemed to have
triggered this exercise in an effort to gain control of informal money
markets. Others just sat stunned - not quite appreciating that the State had
just robbed them of virtually everything they owned.

We saw evidence of the cyclone all the way to Harare and then over the
weekend we saw the Capital City go up in flames. The markets at Magaba,
Mbare all destroyed and billions of dollars worth of goods taken or
destroyed. My daughter witnessed a team on the street cutting a vendors hot
dog stand loose and then loading it onto a truck - she remonstrated with
them and they threatened to arrest her. Some Z$2 billion in cash stolen from
vendors by the Police.

All over the City homes were destroyed, goods stolen or destroyed and people
threatened with loaded weapons and live ammunition. They were also
threatened with tear gas supplied by Israel that stuns its victims. Officers
in charge of this mindless destruction said that they had orders to shoot
anyone resisting. In one area I visited the majority of the squatters had
voted Zanu PF in the recent election, believing that in doing so they were
protecting themselves from eviction because the land they occupied was not
theirs - they sat stunned by events surrounded by burnt out wrecks of their
homes and crying children who had spent the night out in the cold.

The question is why are they doing this - punishment is one reason given by
police to those they were hurting, punishment for voting MDC in the cities.
But I think there is another reason and this is that Mugabe - now in the
final stages of his rule, has decided - like Stalin in the 30's and Pol Pot
in the 60's and the Afrikaner administration in South Africa, that it is
time to move some people out of the cities and back to the rural areas. This
is a mass eviction of unwanted urban poor being forced to go "back to their
rural homes" and "grow food!"

In the cities they are a threat - restless, independent and proving a
powerful support base for opposition politics. In the rural areas they can
be controlled and perhaps forced to grow food where none is being grown at
present. Will they get away with it - probably, just like Stalin and Pol Pot
and the apartheid regime. But only for a while, eventually the tide will
turn and when it does, those who were the oppressors will themselves become

the victims of their own evil acts.

To back up this thesis that strange new Ministry called the Ministry of
Rural Housing and Social Amenities with Munangagawa in charge has been given
a massive budget from nowhere to operate with. This suggests that they
really are trying to force a relocation of population. In the past 5 years,
rural populations have been declining - the math's suggest by as much as 10
per cent per annum. This coupled with the impact of Aids has meant that
these areas can no longer even feed themselves. Mugabe is trying to reverse
this situation.

When you go to bed tonight - just think of those tens of thousands of poor,
hungry, destitute people and their children who will sleep in the open in
near zero temperatures, without hope or a future. Mugabe is goading the
population to revolt - then he can declare a state of emergency and remove
what is left of our civil liberties and rights.

Eddie Cross

Bulawayo, 1st June 2005

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Sent: Thursday, June 02, 2005 5:24 PM
Subject: Silence

I kept quiet when they murdered 20 000 people in Matabeleland. I am not an
I kept quiet when they tried to kill Morgan Tsvangirai in 1987. I am not a
trade unionist.
I kept quiet when they called homosexuals worse than pigs and dogs. I am not
I kept quiet when they beat the students. I am not a student.
I kept quite when they chased homeless people off the streets. I am not
I kept quiet when they killed farmer workers. I am not a farm worker.
I kept quiet when they chased away the commercial farmers. I am not a
I kept quiet when they chased away the teachers. I am not a teacher.
I kept quiet when they murdered Tichaona Chiminya, Talent Mabika and
hundreds of MDC supporters. I am not an activist
I kept quiet when they tortured Ray Choto and Mark Chavunduka. I am not a
I kept quiet when they tortured Job Sikhala and other MDC members of
parliament. I am not a politician.
I kept quiet when they arrested and beat the women of WOZA. I am not a
I kept quiet when they chased away thousands of vendors. I am not a vendor.

I kept quiet

I am ashamed that I kept quiet
I am ashamed that I kept quiet
I am ashamed that I kept quiet

I am nothing.
I have no voice.
Who will speak for me?
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Fly fishing on the Zambezi for Africa's tigerfish

The fish exploded like a rocket from the peaceful river. A jewel-like setting of backlit water and glowing fly line framed its leaping arc. The quarry on the other end of my line was none too happy after discovering that its dinner was biting back. Had we not been in a boat and mobile, the fish likely would have broken off.

As it was, 10 minutes, three jumps and two long runs later, a hard-fought battle wound down. I stood admiring a fish of great beauty and heart - an 8-pound tigerfish pulled from the Zambezi River in southern Africa.

For the past several years my day job as a Bozeman-based wildlife photographer has taken me to the Okavango Delta in Botswana, Africa, to photograph lions and leopards.

There's something about animals with big teeth that has always appealed to me. I absolutely love Montana, but the winters get a little long around March, so I spend most Aprils traveling and photographing in Africa.

When the opportunity presented itself this April to fish for tigerfish, one of Africa's most famous game fish, I was the one doing the jumping. Few self-respecting fly fishermen turn down the opportunity to add a new fish to their "life list," especially one so formidable as this miniature version of Jaws.

The Ichingo River Lodge ( was my base of operations. The lodge is located on Impalila Island at the very end of Namibia's Caprivi Strip; the only place on earth where four countries touch - Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zambia. Ichingo is located on the banks of the Chobe River, a couple miles upstream from where it joins the Zambezi River. Kasane, Botswana, lies farther upstream and across the river a mile or so while Victoria Falls, one of the world's truly great natural wonders, roars 40 miles downriver.

Owner/managers Ralph and Dawn Oxenham were my hosts. Ralph grew up fishing the area waters while living in Livingstone, Zambia, near Victoria Falls. A decade ago he quit his job selling agricultural chemicals and built Ichingo - a classic little safari-style tent camp and lodge at river's edge. Fishermen from around the world, including many Americans, come to Ichingo for the tigerfishing. Accommodations and food are topnotch and knowledgeable guides with modern outboard-powered boats give guests ready access to many miles of great waters on both the Chobe and Zambezi rivers.

So why tigerfish? It's that big teeth thing.

One has only to look into the mouth of a tigerfish to understand its name. The species is abundant and readily caught throughout most of the Zambezi River drainage system in southern Africa. And while any tiger is fun to catch, especially on a fly rod, double-digit fish up to 20 pounds are not that uncommon while record-book tigers exceed 30 pounds. Another species of tigerfish that inhabits the deep waters of the neighboring Congo River basin, the Goliath tigerfish, is known to grow in excess of 100 pounds. The formidable teeth on this predator are enough to give anyone pause about the wisdom of wade fishing. Fortunately, tigerfish show none of the nasty habits of their more famous cousin, the pirhanna, and they pretty much stick to a diet of smaller fish.

That's not to say anglers should do much wade fishing. An abundant population of Nile crocodiles also inhabits the river. Spotting 10 foot or longer crocs sunning themselves on exposed river banks adds an interesting element to the fishing experience, to say the least.

I was fishing with an 8-weight fly rod equipped with a shooting head on a sinking line and an 8-inch length of 30-pound wire trace as my leader. You can fish with the wire-braided leaders commonly used for big northern pike, but more often than not a large tiger will rip his way through it before coming to the boat.

Besides tiger fishing we experienced incredible game viewing while fishing from the relative safety of our boats. Being on the water for the most part provides a nice buffer between you and nearby elephants, cape buffaloes, lions, giraffes, zebras, impalas and many other species of game that come to the river to bathe and drink.

This isn't necessarily the case with hippos. Crocs get most of the bad press but hippos probably kill more people in Africa every year. Hippos are a concern not to be taken lightly even from the relative safety of a large fiberglass boat. However, they're an even greater danger to natives who ply the river's waters in their traditional wooden dugout canoes, called mekoros.

Nearby Kasane, which most tourists and visitors can easily fly into from Johannesburg, South Africa, via Air Botswana, is the gateway town to Chobe National Park. Chobe is home to much of the wildlife that comes to mind when Africa is mentioned, especially elephants. Tens of thousands of elephants inhabit the vast reaches in and outside of this massive park. Botswana is a sparsely populated country that also contains two of Africa's other great wilderness regions - the Okavango Delta and Kalahari Desert. With a relatively stable economy built upon tourism, diamonds and agriculture the country has very little conflict and is a favorite among international travelers.

April is high water season on the Chobe and Zambezi rivers. Both rivers are usually bank full with rainwater flowing down from headwaters located upstream in Angola. Despite rivers being near flood stage, water clarity and fishing can still be quite good at this time of the year. However, fishing for tigers in the Dark Continent is at its very best during Africa's dry winter months of July, August and September.

Denver Bryan can be reached at, or view his photos at

Copyright © The Billings Gazette, a division of Lee Enterprises.
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Radio Netherlands

Crisis, what crisis?

Time for an international broadcasting reality check

Commentary by Andy Sennitt, 2 June 2005

Free Media Pioneer 2005 award SW Radio Africa, which has been broadcasting independent programmes into Zimbabwe for several years, has been forced to suspend its transmissions on shortwave. In a press release, the station explained that it had run out of money due to the high cost of using extra shortwave transmitters to counteract jamming by the Zimbabwe government.

This news came hot on the heels of the cancellation of a conference, which I was planning to attend, where the training of broadcasters in developing countries was one of the central themes. Apparently, too few international broadcasters had decided to send representatives.

At the same time, I couldn't help noticing that President Bush had just transferred an extra 7.7 million US dollars - enough to fund SW Radio Africa for several years - into the already substantial budget allocated to US government broadcasts to the Middle East.

Wrong priorities
What these things tell me is that the international broadcasting industry may have some of its priorities wrong. Funding, it seems, is plentiful when western countries use it to send their messages into the developing world. But there's a lot less enthusiasm when it comes to helping broadcasters in developing countries to speak to their own people, and to their neighbours. Much of international broadcasting, it seems, is still in the mentality of the colonial era.

There are, of course, a number of well-established training institutions that specialise in helping prepare broadcasters from developing countries to go home and use their new skills for the benefit of their own people. One such establishment is less than 100 yards from where I'm sitting. But training cannot overcome the media restrictions imposed by people like Robert Mugabe, and that's why the international broadcasts from outside the country are so important. It beggars belief that, despite the publicity given to the Zimbabwe government's jamming, none of the major western countries or donor organisations appears to have thought it sufficiently urgent to give extra funding to SW Radio Africa. They claim to loathe Mugabe's policies, but play right into his hands by making them appear successful.

Politics vs technical expediency
For the time being, SW Radio Africa has become de facto MW Radio Africa, and can only reach the southern part of Zimbabwe from the mediumwave transmitter in Lesotho that it continues to use - though this service too may soon be silenced unless new funding is forthcoming.

Inside the VOA Botswana transmitter building There is, in neighbouring Botswana, a high power mediumwave transmitter used by the Voice of America that has already caused a lot of tension between Botswana and Zimbabwe. It would be perfectly feasible for SW Radio Africa to cover a vast chunk of the country via this transmitter were the Broadcasting Board of Governors to make it available for, say, a couple of hours a day.

I don't see that happening, partly because the BBG likes to have total control of the programming that goes out on its facilities, and partly because it would undoubtedly increase the tension between Botswana and Zimbabwe.

This, in a nutshell, is the problem in so many parts of the world. Political reality often prevents the best technical solutions being implemented. But that's not the only problem. It's also one of attitude. Too many of the western broadcasters see their mission as telling their target audiences what they ought to think, instead of providing the means for them to develop and share their own ideas. A lot of it is well meaning, but the people who live in Zimbabwe feel much more at ease listening to familiar voices of their compatriots than being addressed by Europeans or Americans. This is a factor which Mugabe himself often uses in speeches.

One way to make progress
One thing that the western broadcasters could do is to employ some of the people they have trained to produce broadcasts beamed to their homeland. Currently the norm is to provide training courses, then send the students back home where they may not have the facilities to do all the things they have been taught, and may be subjected to harassment and even physical violence when they do. Again, political factors come into the equation, such as getting work permits. There might also be problems with trade unions that would see this as a threat to their own members.

I don't underestimate the logistical difficulties of integrating more native broadcasters into the existing infrastructure, but it seems to me that it's time for a fresh approach to the whole concept of international broadcasting. At the moment, there are too many negative developments, and the industry is in something of a crisis. The problem is, people are so busy concentrating on their own local difficulties that they're not looking at the bigger picture.

 Stations like SW Radio Africa show that it is possible for properly trained broadcasters to circumvent draconian broadcast laws in their home countries. What's needed is stable funding and logistical support. Not to provide it would be a derogation of responsibility on the part of the western nations, and a huge encouragement to all those in authority in the developing countries who only cling on to power through their control of the media.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the personal views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Radio Netherlands.

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Toronto free press

Bob Geldof's excellent solution
by Klaus Rohrich
Thursday, June 2, 2005

Hey dudes let's do a doobie and, like solve Africa's problems. It's like
really easy, man! All we got to do is have a concert like in Scotland or
someplace and like, WOW! The pols'r gonna get it right.

I just imagine the functioning of the fetid brain that dreamed up "Live 8",
the concert touted to be the be-all and end-all of Africa's problems. Geldof
and the musical brain trust comprised of such luminaries as Sir Elton John,
famous for his flamboyant costumes and Madonna, also famous for her
flamboyant costumes plan to put on a concert in Scotland at the same time as
the meeting of the heads of the G-8 nations to draw attention to the plight
of Africa and to get the G-8 to fix the African problem once and for all.

"What started 20 years ago is coming to a political point in a few weeks.
There's more than a chance that the boys and girls with guitars will finally
get to turn the world on its axis. What we do in the next five weeks is
seriously, properly, historically, politically important," Geldof quoted
himself on his web site.

Listening to Geldof is almost embarrassing in that his simple-minded
approach to solving the Dark Continent's (oops, sorry, Bob. You call it the
'luminous continent') problems is reminiscent of the Little Rascals putting
on a revue to save the radio station. While there's lots of feel good juice
inherent in a concept as groovy as Bob's plan to save Africa, the reality is
that only Africa can save itself.

It appears that Geldof is yet another one of those self-loathing guilty,
wealthy western liberals who thinks that Europeans are responsible for all
the world's evils and believes that only actions by the West will ultimately
solve that continent's problems. The whole idea of predicating the solution
of Africa's problems to western nations sending bales of cash is an insult
to the people of Africa and, dare I say it, a form of insidious racism,
assuming that Africans are incapable of solving their own problems. This
patronizing attitude has long been the staple of Western liberals, whose
core belief is that native peoples are similar to helpless children and as
such need the resources of the industrialized West to solve their problems.

If this were 1950 I might be more open to the idea of providing
extraordinary assistance to the people of Africa in their effort to forge a
continental accord. But given the fact that Africans have been out of the
clutches of the evil Europeans for over three decades, it's time they fished
or cut bait.

Geldof's simple solution does not take into account the fact that the
Africans are their own worst enemies. Choose any of six or seven nations
currently on their relentless slide into disaster and at the root you will
find tribal animosities and ignorance to be the two main contributors to
those nations' decline. The fact that the World Health organization (WHO) is
nearly powerless to slow the spread of AIDS in Africa isn't attributable to
a lack of resources. It's strictly about ignorance. Africans do not want to
practice "safe sex" through the use of condoms, as it somehow diminishes a
man's sense of virility.

Rwanda tells us all we need to know about tribal hatreds and how they need
to change well before there can be any hope of anything else ever changing
in Africa. A close friend of mine grew up in Africa and I remember a
particularly poignant story of how building a railroad trestle across a
gorge, a worker fell from the top of the trestle some 60 feet, resulting in
near fatal injuries. My friend remarked about how shocked he was to see the
300+ workers all stop and laugh heartily at the unfortunate and nearly fatal
accident that befell their fellow worker. After the medics rescued the poor
soul and rushed him to the nearest medical facilities, the rest calmly
returned to work. Now there's a real cultural difference that people like
Geldof apparently can't seem to wrap their heads around. It's yet another
case of seeing a world crafted in Africa through lenses made in Europe.

It's beyond arrogant to expect the West to take responsibility for monsters
like Idi Amin, Haille Mengistu, Julius Nyerere and yes, Robert Mugabe, who
through the graces of our own corrupt former Prime Minister, Jean Chretien,
remains at the helm of Zimbabwe. These are people that eventually the
'luminescent continent' will have to answer for.

In the meantime Geldof and his entourage would be much more effective if
they allowed a ray of reality through their rose-colored lenses.

Klaus Rohrich is columnist with Canada Free Press. He can be reached at:
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Zim Online

Brigadier seizes tobacco farm
Fri 3 June 2005

      MANICALAND - Zimbabwe army Brigadier General Kasirai Tazira has seized
prominent tobacco grower Hammy Hamilton's farm in yet another sign of
continuing lawlessness on farms long after the government announced that its
farm seizure programme was over.

      Tazira, who is commander of the army's 3 Brigade, based near Mutare
city in Manicaland province, invaded Hamilton's 612-hectare Geran farm last
week. The farm is located in Manicaland.

      As well as forcibly taking over equipment at the farm worth about Z$10
billion, Tazira is reportedly also demanding that Hamilton surrenders to him
his ready cured tobacco worth about $1.5 billion.

      "I don't know what to do. My family has since moved out (of the farm)
and they are now staying with some other people," a dejected Hamilton told

      Hamilton said he had in desperation appealed to Vice-President Joyce
Mujuru, influential Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono and
Manicaland provincial governor Tinaye Chigudu and Lands Minister Flora
Bhuka. But they had all failed to move the Brigadier General from his farm.

      "As I speak to you right now, my farm has been taken and I brought
this matter to the attention of Vice-President Mujuru, RBZ governor Gideon
Gono, Manicaland governor, and Lands Minister Florence Bhuka but to no
avail," said Hamilton.

      ZimOnline was unable to get comment on the matter from Mujuru, Gono,
Chigudu or Bhuka.

      Hamilton, who was among a few white farmers to have survived the
government's chaotic and often violent seizure of farmland from whites in
the last four years, had until last week lived and farmed in Zimbabwe for
the last 45 years.

      He was a prominent member of the farming community serving on the
board of the government's Zimbabwe National Water Authority and on the
boards of several farmers' associations.

      The evicted farmer said trouble started when a group of youths, who
appeared drunk and high on some substance, invaded the farm a week ago
laying siege on the farm house. Hamilton was away from the farm at the time
having gone to Harare to buy wrapping paper for his market-ready tobacco.

      His daughter and son-in-law who were at the farm had to remain
barricaded in the house for five days, while the threatening youths camped
outside frequently shouting abuse at the absent farmer and banging plough
discs hung on trees around the house, in an obvious attempt to intimidate
the trapped couple to surrender and leave.

      Only when Hamilton returned from Harare did the farmer and his family
decide to leave the farm.

      "How can any farmer take serious heed of the RBZ governor's call for
experienced commercial farmers to return under such a situation?" asked

      He was referring to calls by Gono to expelled white farmers to return
and help revive Zimbabwe's key agricultural sector, which dramatically
collapsed as marauding ruling ZANU PF supporters tacitly encouraged by the
government, invaded farms looting property and equipment, destroying
livestock and equipment.

      At least 10 white farmers were murdered during the farm invasions
while hundreds of black farm workers were severely assaulted or injured.

      The government followed through the farm invasions by seizing land
from white farmers and parcelling it out to black peasant farmers. The
government said the land redistribution programme was aimed at correcting an
unfair and immoral land tenure system under which a few white farmers owned
about 75 percent of the best farm land while blacks were cramped on poor
arid soils.

      But the government did not support the new black farmers with
implements and financing which resulted in agricultural production falling
by about 60 percent leading to persistent food shortages. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Mugabe temporarily halts evictions
Fri 3 June 2005
  HARARE -- President Robert Mugabe has temporarily called off a police
blitz on informal traders and shanty dwellers to allow for a review of a
highly unpopular operation that has seen 22 000 people arrested and left
hundreds of thousands more homeless.
      Sources told ZimOnline that Mugabe yesterday summoned senior police
commanders and Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo, who oversees towns
and asked them to stop the evictions and review the campaign roundly
condemned by church and human rights groups as barbaric and inhumane.

      The Zimbabwean leader, who has defended the police blitz as necessary
to clean-up cities of filth and crime, is said to want the campaign to
continue but is concerned with the adverse publicity it has attracted and
wants a change of tactics.

      "The President summoned Chombo and senior police officials involved in
the operation today (Wednesday), he told them he wants the operation to
continue but that there should be a new way of doing things, a new
 strategy," said a senior police officer, who did not want to be named for
fear of victimisation.

      The officer said Mugabe - who is reportedly under pressure from some
of his senior lieutenants in ZANU PF to stop the operation because it fuels
anti-government sentiments - also asked for an update on measures to
relocate homeless people and informal traders evicted in Harare and other
urban centres.

      "As a result, nearly all police officers working on the campaign have
been ordered to stop operations for now. The campaign will slow down
although it will not necessarily come to a complete stop," the police
officer said.

      Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba could not be reached for comment on
the matter yesterday. But a police officer told ZimOnline that the clean-up
operation was being stopped only to give the police a breather before it is

      He said: "We are taking a breather but the operation will be back,
maybe as early as before the weekend."

      Chombo would not confirm whether or not he was summoned by Mugabe over
the operation. He instead defended the police exercise and said the
government was now looking at providing for those affected by the campaign.

      "The situation was getting out of hand. For example, Mbare has a
carrying capacity of 10 000 but we had a million people living there. We are
now working on ensuring that those affected find somewhere else to stay or
operate from," Chombo said.

      The temporary stoppage of evictions comes as world human rights
watchdog, Amnesty International, added its voice against the operation and
called on the Harare authorities to end the campaign and that they should
ensure safe water and food for evicted families.

      In a statement released yesterday, Amnesty accused Harare of
flagrantly disregarding human rights, due process and the rule of law by
sending armed soldiers and police bulldozing and burning down makeshift
dwellings for homeless people and destroying market stalls for informal

      "The forced closure of informal businesses, the only livelihood option
left for many in Zimbabwe's shattered economy, has pushed thousands into an
increasingly vulnerable position.

      "This is particularly disturbing in light of the high levels of
poverty and food shortages already present in Zimbabwe," Amnesty Africa
programme director Kolawole Olaniyan said in the statement.

      The Amnesty official added that Mugabe and his government should
compensate all citizens forcibly evicted from their makeshift homes and pay
for goods and property destroyed during the police blitz.

      Local church and human rights groups have also condemned the campaign
saying the police were using excessive force against defenceless citizens
whose only crime was to try and eke out an honest living through informal

      The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights has said it is preparing to file
an application against the operation at the courts on behalf of evicted

      Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who has urged Zimbabweans to
mobilise against the operation, on Tuesday told journalists in Harare that
his Movement for Democratic Change party was left with no option but to
organise popular resistance against the government exercise. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Harare pledges not to tamper with food aid
Fri 3 June 2005
  HARARE - World Food Programme (WFP) director James Morris won a key
concession during talks with President Robert Mugabe this week when the
Zimbabwean leader agreed not to interfere or politicise food aid distributed
by the relief organisation.

      A source privy to discussions between Morris and Mugabe earlier on
Wednesday told ZimOnline that Mugabe pledged to "personally ensure" that WFP
requirements that food is given to all deserving people regardless of their
political belief would be met.

      The source, who works with one of WFP's local partners, said: "Morris
asked for Mugabe to assure him that WFP food would not be tampered with and
that it would not be used for political purposes.

      "The President made these assurances. From the beginning, Morris was
going to ask for these assurances because Zimbabwe is one of the countries
that have a track record of mishandling donor food for political mileage."

      Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party,
church leaders and human rights groups accuse Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF
party of routinely denying food to starving MDC supporters as punishment for
backing the opposition party. Mugabe and ZANU PF deny the charge.

      Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba could not be reached yesterday to
ascertain what guarantees on food aid distribution the President gave to

      A spokeswoman for the WFP in Zimbabwe, Makena Walker, said: "The WFP
has standing rules on how its food is distributed. But I am not sure whether
these were discussed. I would refer you to Mike Huggins, who is Morris's

      Huggins was not available on his mobile number. The WFP, which often
provides food to hungry people in countries and regions torn apart by
political strife, does not allow the politicisation of its food aid.

      The talks between Morris and Mugabe opened the way for the world food
aid agency to begin relief operations in Zimbabwe after the Zimbabwean
leader had six months ago told the WFP and other international food
organisations that their help was not needed because the country had enough
to feed itself.

      Two months ago after his ZANU PF party's controversial victory in a
parliamentary election, Mugabe also boasted that he would not be going
around with a begging bowl because his cash-strapped government had enough
resources to ensure every hungry Zimbabwean was fed.

      But deepening shortages of the staple maize and foreign currency
required to import food appear to have forced Mugabe into an embarrassing
U-turn to accept help. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

State witness refuses to divulge information
Fri 3 June 2005
  HARARE - A key state witness, in the trial of former finance minister
Chris Kuruneri yesterday refused to divulge to the court what was done with
the R5.2 million which had been deposited by Kuruneri.

      Oliver Sigauke, a state witness in the trial refused to disclose what
was done with the funds citing "national interests".

      "We used the funds to finance some state obligations that were wanted
to meet the national interest. I would need authorisation for me to do so
(disclose how money was used). I cannot disclose anything because of
national interest," said Sigauke.

      The case was briefly adjourned after the State objected to further
questioning of Sigauke by defence lawyer Jonathan Samkange.

      Samkange also withdrew an application to examine the Commercial Bank
of Zimbabwe Suspense and Ledger Accounts for 2002-2004 which showed the
inward and outward movement of foreign currency. The defence lawyer did not
give reasons for the withdrawal.

      Kuruneri was arrested in April last year for allegedly externalising
huge amounts of foreign currency which which the state says he used to buy
properties in South Africa. He denies the charge.

      The former minister has already been convicted of breaching the
Citizenship Act after he was found in possession of a Canadian passport in
violation of the country's laws which bar dual citizenship. - ZimOnline

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Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Burns
Sokwanele : 2 June 2005

Mbare burning, 31 May 2005The police are cutting a swathe of destruction across the towns and cities of Zimbabwe, as the so called "Operation Murambatsvina" ("Operation Drive Out Trash") continues to gather momentum. On Wednesday morning (June 1) towns as far apart as Victoria Falls and Mutare were still reeling under the effects of a virtual blitzkrieg orchestrated and directed from ZANU PF central command.

In Harare our reporter was touring the streets of the city's oldest and most populous low density suburb, Mbare, at 1.00 o'clock in the morning. He could hardly believe his eyes at the trail of destruction and burning and the general desolation of the scene. It resembled, he said, an area hit by a bomb. In every direction through the filthy streets of Mbare could be seen burning household-goods, furniture and rubble. A few distraught residents still milled around, apparently stunned by the speed and ferocity of the attack, although the intimidating presence of scores of heavily armed police kept their number to a minimum.

Similar scenes have been reported over the last few days in Mutare, Victoria Falls and several other centres. The campaign has all the markings of a well-planned and coordinated blitzkrieg, although the residents received no warning and were taken completely unawares by it. At Victoria Falls the police burnt a 10 km long line of curio stalls that have been there for as long as anyone can remember, and in the town so many dwellings were torched that thousands of residents found themselves without any shelter for the night. In Bulawayo, one of the last centres to feel the fury of the ZANU PF attack, a vicious police crackdown got underway on Tuesday and continued into Wednesday morning. It is understood that many of the traders whose stalls and produce were destroyed were operating with licences in structures approved by the local authority.

It is known that more than 18,000 people have been arrested and tens of thousands of families across the nation have been left homeless.

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Anchorage Daily News

DALE McFEATTERS: Zimbabwe's deepening misery

Scripps Howard News Service

Published: June 2nd, 2005
Last Modified: June 2nd, 2005 at 11:28 AM

(SH) - Just when things seemingly can't get any worse in Zimbabwe, they do.
And, sadly, the misery is entirely inflicted by its own government.

The economy is moribund, the currency worthless and half the nation is in
danger of starvation. That would be bad enough, but in an escalating
crackdown that began last month, police and security forces have been
burning and bulldozing the pitifully humble homes and businesses in the
sprawling shanty towns that surround Zimbabwe's major cities.

The main opposition party estimates that 1 million to 1.5 million are
homeless, with their livelihoods destroyed.

The government insists that the demolitions are both urban renewal and a
crackdown on black markets in the basic necessities of life - corn meal,
cooking oil, sugar and gasoline. This reasoning is nonsense. The government
doesn't have the money to build anything, let alone whole new communities,
and the black market is about the only form of commerce left.

The real reason is to expel an angry, restive urban population and disperse
it in the countryside where it will pose no threat to the regime of Robert

Giving credence to that was Security Minister Didymus Mutasa who said in a
radio interview quoted by AP, "These were people who were leaving their
rural homes and they should return there."

These shantytowns are long-standing fixtures of African life. If there are
recent arrivals, they left the countryside because they were starving there
and couldn't go back if they wanted because there's no gasoline.

When Mugabe, first as prime minister, later as president, took over from a
white minority government in 1980 Zimbabwe was, despite years of guerrilla
warfare and U.N. sanctions, prosperous, largely self-sufficient and a major
exporter of food and minerals. Now it is an international charity case,
negotiating with the U.N. for food handouts.

Maybe the regime's mad destruction of all that belongs to people who have
little is the death throe of a doomed regime. Its end can't come too soon.

Contact Dale McFeatters at

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Police "tsunami" engulfs Zimbabwe's urban poor
Thu Jun 2, 2005 2:47 PM BST

By Andrew Quinn

HARARE (Reuters) - Officials call the campaign "Operation Restore Order,"
but residents of Zimbabwe shantytowns have another name for the blitz that
has left thousands homeless and destroyed livelihoods for countless more:
"The Tsunami".

In a clearing in one Mbare' one of the most crowded shantytowns, stunned
families stand watch over their possessions as bulldozers rumble through the
wreckage of a once-thriving neighbourhood.

Piles of rubble line the streets, where houses and shops have been ripped
apart in a campaign by President Robert Mugabe's government to clean up
urban slums it says are a haven for black-market traders and other

"Everything was destroyed without notice," said Ernest

Rutsvaro, standing in front of a half-demolished concrete building which was
once a vegetable market.

"This is the true meaning of tsunami ... what happened is the true meaning
of tsunami and what is happening right now is the true meaning of tsunami."

The crackdown comes as poor Zimbabweans struggle with an economic crisis
analysts blame in part on Mugabe's policy of seizing white-owned farms to
give to landless blacks -- a move which gutted commercial agriculture and
led to sharp drops in foreign investment.

Fuel shortages cripple transportation, while foreign exchange and some other
key commodities are also in short supply, increasing frustration for
ordinary Zimbabweans who are also coping with a drought that aid agencies
say could leave one third of the country needing food aid.

The United States on Wednesday warned that the new crackdown could lead to a
violent backlash -- although there has so far been little sign of open
defiance in Zimbabwe's shattered slums.

Police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said the
campaign -- which has seen some 22,000 arrests -- would continue and that
after a bout of violence last week people were cooperating, often going as
far as to rip down their own houses.

"We haven't had any negative reports or any acts of resistance," Bvudzijena
told Reuters on Thursday.

"It would be foolhardy for any one to incite people into acts of resistance
... this is for the benefit of Zimbabwe, and it is for the benefit of
everyone, including the ones who are affected."


Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has accused the
government of using the campaign to target its largely urban support base
following disputed elections in March which it says were stolen by Mugabe's
ruling ZANU-PF party.

The government denies the charge, and says it is merely trying to restore
"sanity" to urban areas.

Residents said whatever the rationale, the devastation in Mbare and other
urban townships hit by the clean-up campaign rivals that of a natural
disaster -- albeit one organised by government.

Where police went in and torched illegal structures, burned and twisted
wreckage remains.

Rows of unapproved houses have been ripped out like teeth. Large covered
market places have been cleared and stand empty, while mountains of scrap
metal and wood await clearing, picked over by desperate men eager to salvage
pipes, car parts or other items of possible value.

At a bus terminal, people lash household furniture to the tops of busses,
joining a growing exodus of families who prefer to return to the countryside
rather than risk another encounter with police demolition crews.

Some of the tens of thousands made homeless by the campaign are spending
nights in the open even though winter is setting in.

"We are suffering, we have nowhere to go. Our houses were destroyed," said
Victoria Muchenje.

"Our children are not going to school, we are sleeping outside everywhere
... if you walk, everywhere you see people sleeping in the road."

Others, who have either no money or nowhere to go, sit guard over their
possessions and ponder the future, turning Mbare's open spaces into giant
storerooms of housewares salvaged before the police tsunami hit.

© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.

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Cape Argus

      2 million homeless in Mugabe 'clean-up', civic groups fear

      June 2, 2005

      By Basildon Peta

      Nearly 2 million people in Zimbabwe's urban areas may have been left
homeless in President Robert Mugabe's crackdown in opposition urban
strongholds, civic groups estimate.

      And 22 000 informal traders have been arrested. Although civic groups
admitted it was difficult to calculate an exact figure of the numbers of
those displaced, they agreed an estimate of nearly 2 million would not be
far of the mark.

      Main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who has been touring
devastated townships around Harare and meeting displaced people, said up to
1.5 million had been displaced in Harare alone.

      He appealed to the international community yesterday to intervene and
help stop what he called Mugabe's tyrannical clean-up.

      "Overnight, Zimbabwe has been turned into a massive internal refugee
centre, with between 1 million and 1.5 million people displaced in Harare
alone," Tsvangirai said, adding that the figure was much higher if
displacements in other cities was included.

      "Property worth millions of dollars has gone up in flames. Families
are out in the open without jobs, without shelter."

      National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairman Lovemore Madhuku
agreed with Tsvangirai's estimates, saying the displacements were
particularly devastating in Harare.

      Madhuku said his group estimated that at least 500 000 familes had
been affected by the crackdown in Harare alone.

      Mugabe's government has not built low-cost housing for low-paid
Zimbabweans since the early 1980s, and backyard shacks and informal
settlements had become the main means of housing for people flocking to the
towns and cities in search of economic survival.

      Critics say Mugabe is pursuing a relentless campaign to crush all
dissent and pre-empt any uprising the worsening economic conditions since
the March parliamentary elections may spawn in opposition urban strongholds.

      The crackdown is also seen as punishment against urban voters, who
have repeatedly rejected Mugabe's candidates in mayoral and parliamentary
elections. - Foreign Service.
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'Zim doesn't need food aid'
02/06/2005 19:10  - (SA)

Harare - Zimbabwe said on Thursday it didn't ask for and doesn't need the
food aid the United Nations (UN) has promised, insisting it could provide
for its own people amid a mounting humanitarian crisis rooted in politics.

Social welfare minister Nicholas Goche said the country, once the region's
breadbasket, had bought 1.2 metric tons of maize from South Africa.

He said that was enough to alleviate shortages caused by drought.

Goche said Zimbabwe was not making any request for international aid, but
welcomes any that comes.

Head of the UN World Food Programme, James Morris, met with President Robert
Mugabe to discuss what he described as "an enormous humanitarian crisis".

Morris said between three and four million Zimbabweans would need food aid
in the next year with the peak time of need coming between December and

Mugabe gave the go ahead for food aid

Morris, speaking to reporters in South Africa, said Mugabe had made a
"strong commitment" to allow non-governmental organisations to distribute
food aid.

Mugabe's government has been accused of using its control of aid to punish
opponents by denying them food.

More than one million people in the capital alone could be left homeless by
the crackdown the government calls a clean-up campaign.

The government claims current shortages of many staples, including cornmeal,
sugar and gasoline, are the result of speculation and hoarding by black
market traders.

The state-owned Herald newspaper quoted police spokesperson Wayne Bvuzijena
on Wednesday as saying police had arrested more than 22 000 people since the
crackdown began.

"We have so far arrested a total of 22 735 people and recovered 33.5kg of
gold from 47 illegal gold panners and 26 000 litres of fuel," said

Mugabe lashes out against relief agencies

Before recent elections, Mugabe forecast a bumper harvest of 2.5 million
metric tons of maize and told relief agencies to direct their efforts
elsewhere and not "choke" Zimbabweans with unneeded aid.

But Goche's top public servant, Sydney Mhishi, predicted last week even by
rushed and preliminary government estimates at least 2.8 million people
would need food aid in the coming year.

The state radio broadcast on Thursday also carried a denial by police
spokesperson Oliver Mandipaka that officers involved in the arrest of street
traders and the demolition of thousands of shacks had been responsible for
widespread looting.

Reports that police stole food and electric goods were attempts to smear the
reputation of the police, said Mandipaka.

Amnesty International (AI) on Wednesday called on the government to halt the
forced mass evictions it said have left whole communities homeless and
destroyed thousands of livelihoods.

Housing minister Ignatius Chombo announced on Thursday 250 000 new housing
plots would be made available to the urban poor, including 150 000 in
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