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

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Zim Online

Army put on alert ahead of job stayaway
Mon 6 June 2005

      HARARE - Zimbabwe has put security forces on high alert ahead of a
mass job stayaway planned for later this week by the country's main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, the labour movement
and civic organisations.

      The MDC, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) civic alliance will this week order workers
countrywide not to report for work on Thursday and Friday to protest against
an ongoing police blitz against informal traders and homeless people.

      More than 20 000 people have been arrested for selling goods without
licences, while up to a million people have been left without shelter after
their makeshift homes were destroyed by the police in a highly unpopular
campaign which the government says is necessary to restore the beauty of
cities and towns.

      The stayaway, sure to cripple further Zimbabwe's crisis-sapped
economy, is also being held to protest worsening economic hardships in the

      NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku, helping organise the protest, said the
organisations will issue a statement today formally spelling out the reasons
for the mass action.

      "It is true there will be a stayaway organised by a broad alliance
including the MDC, ZCTU, NCA and other civic groups but a statement will be
issued detailing dates when the stayaway will take place and the reasons
behind it," Madhuku told ZimOnline last night.

      But sources in the army and police said the security forces were put
on high alert with plain clothes policemen already deployed beginning
yesterday in Harare and Bulawayo and other major cities to monitor the

      All officers off duty have been recalled to beef up manpower in the
event the job stayaway turns violent.

      "All officers off duty have been recalled to beef up security ...
plain clothes police will be deployed on Sunday to monitor the situation,
while uniformed officers will be in their depots (awaiting deployment),"
said a senior police officer, who did not want to be named for fear of

      "You know it very well that our country has got external forces, the
likes of Britain and America who are using the MDC (to destabilize
Zimbabwe) - our police force and the entire security system is always on
high alert," Mohadi said.

      "You know it very well that our country has got some external forces
at play - the likes of Britain and America using the MDC, our police or the
entire security system is always on high alert," Mohadi said.

      President Robert Mugabe and his government blame Zimbabwe's biting
economic crisis on Washington and London who they say are punishing Harare
for seizing land from whites and giving it to blacks.

      Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena at the weekend issued a stern
warning against unnamed political parties and civic organisations that he
claimed were attempting to manipulate for political mileage public anger
against the police blitz on homeless people and informal traders.

      Bvudzijena said the police had drafted extra manpower to suppress any

      The atmosphere in Zimbabwe cities has remained tense and potentially
explosive since the government began its campaign against informal traders
and homeless people three weeks ago.

      Armoured cars and heavily armed soldiers had to be summoned to
suppress public anger in some Harare suburbs where residents fought running
battles with the police.

      The forced removal of poor families from towns, condemned by the
United Nations, Amnesty International and several other local and
international groups as insensitive and a violation of human rights, is only
one of several possible causes for public anger and unrest in strife-torn

      Zimbabwe has remained generally restive since a disputed parliamentary
election won by President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party last

      Acute shortages of food, fuel and electricity, which many Zimbabweans
blame on government mismanagement, have also helped fuel anger towards
Mugabe and ZANU PF. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Church accuses government of dehumanising the poor
Mon 6 June 2005
  MUTARE - Zimbabwean church leaders have accused the government of
dehumanising poor people and demolishing their spirits to the same rubble as
their shanty homes razed down in an ongoing police blitz against informal
traders and homeless families.
      The leaders of the Anglican, Catholic and Evangelical churches in
Manicaland province - where tens of thousand of poor families have been
evicted - said President Robert Mugabe and his government had created a
humanitarian crisis through the forced removals of poor people from cities
and towns.

      In a joint pastoral letter released at the weekend the leaders said:
"A man-made humanitarian crisis has been created. People urgently need
shelter, food, clothing, medicines and transport.

      "Physically these people suffer greatly - deep within, a psychological
scar has been created. Their essential nature as spiritual beings has been
grossly denied and their humanity reduced to the rubble that surrounds

      No comment could be obtained from Mugabe's office or from Social
Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche on the church leaders' letter.

      Police have for the last two weeks bulldozed and burnt down makeshift
homes and informal trading stalls in Harare, Mutare and other cities across
the country in a campaign Mugabe has defended as vital to restore the beauty
of Zimbabwe's rotting cities and towns.

      The highly unpopular police blitz has netted in more than 20 000
people, mostly for selling goods without licence to do so, while up to a
million people have been left without shelter after their shanty homes were

      The government which says the campaign will also see crime reduced in
urban areas and the black market smashed has not provided proper alternative
shelter for the homeless people or jobs for informal traders.

      Most of the families are staying in the open while in Harare, some
have been dumped by the government at Caledonia farm on the eastern border
of the capital. The government says all people who had been living in shanty
homes should go back to their rural homes where they originally came from.

      It has not said what will become of those with jobs in towns and need
to stay there.

      Also the informal market that the government blames for fuelling the
illegal black-market has become as big an employer as the formal sector.
Zimbabwe, in its sixth year of economic recession, has an unemployment rate
of about 70 percent.

      United Nations envoy on the right to adequate housing ,Miloon Kothari,
at the weekend condemned Harare's campaign against homeless people saying it
was a clear violation of human rights.

      In statement issued from Geneva, Kothari said: "The vast majority are
homeless in the streets . . . this kind of a mass eviction drive is a
classic case where the intention appears to be that Harare become a city for
the rich, for the middle class, for those that are well-off ... and the poor
are to be pushed away."

      World human rights watchdog, Amnesty International, has also condemned
the campaign as a flagrant disregard of human rights.

      The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change has said the
campaign is meant to punish its supporters in cities and towns for rejecting
Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party in a general election controversially
won by the government two months ago. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

Mugabe to pave way for own exit
Mon 6 June 2005
  HARARE - President Robert Mugabe wants constitutional changes in the next
parliament which opens on Thursday to pave way for his exit in three years
time, according to secret ZANU PF documents leaked to the press.
      According to the documents, Mugabe whose ZANU PF party secured a
two-thirds majority in a disputed election last March, wants to establish a
senate as a way of coxing party officials to back his succession plans.

      The documents say Mugabe plans to retire in 2008 to be succeeded by
Vice-President Joyce Mujuru.

      The ZANU PF succession issue threatened to tear apart the ruling party
late last year after two rival factions sought to position themselves to
take over from Mugabe.

      Former information minister Jonathan Moyo, who backed Emmerson
Mnangagwa in the succession war against Joyce Mujuru was subsequently
dismissed from the government together with several other senior ZANU PF

      According to the document, State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa and
Speaker of Parliament John Nkomo will be appointed the two vice-presidents.

      The 65-member senate will be abolished after five years.

      The documents also reveal that ZANU PF will seek to postpone the
presidential election scheduled for 2008 to 2010 to give Mujuru time to
consolidate her support. Parliament will elect an interim president in 2008.

      Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
and civic groups in the country last month criticised the government's plans
to set constitutional changes through parliament where ZANU PF enjoys a

      The MDC wants Mugabe to consult civil society on proposed
constitutional changes. - ZimOnline

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Opponents plan protest over Zimbabwe crackdown
Sun Jun 5, 2005 4:33 PM BST

By Andrew Quinn

HARARE (Reuters) - Critics of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Sunday
called for a two-day "stay-away" protest later this week after a police
crackdown demolished thousands of illegal homes, shops and markets across
the country.

Lovemore Madhuku of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), a pressure
group, said workers should stay away from their jobs on Thursday and Friday
to express frustration with Mugabe's leadership.

"This is to send a message to the government that it is causing human
suffering and misery to the population through mismanaging the economy,"
Madhuku told Reuters.

"Instead of addressing the key issues, they are just consolidating their

Police have warned they will stop any overt demonstrations against the
clean-up campaign, which a U.N. official on Friday estimated has made
200,000 people homeless since it was launched two weeks ago.

The NCA and labour federation Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions have had
patchy success in previous calls for strikes and demonstrations against
Mugabe's government, which critics charge with plunging the country into
political and economic crisis.

Officials say the drive, dubbed "Operation Restore Order", is intended to
clean up informal urban settlements and root out black market traders and
other miscreants.

Police have used bulldozers and crowbars to smash apart shacks, houses and
market stalls, sending occupants scrambling to salvage what possessions they

Some township residents say they have no choice but to sleep in the open
despite nighttime winter temperatures now dropping to single digits Celsius
(low 40s Fahrenheit).


The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which accuses
Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party of stealing its victory in March parliamentary
elections, has described the operation as a vendetta against its mostly
urban support base, a charge officials deny.

A U.N. human rights official on Friday urged Zimbabwe to halt the campaign,
which he said had made 200,000 people homeless and could ultimately affect
as many as 3 million people, or a quarter of the southern African country's

Miloon Kothari, U.N. special rapporteur on the right to adequate housing,
said the crackdown was a "grave crisis" and violated international human
rights agreements which Zimbabwe has ratified.

The operation comes as Zimbabwe grapples with its worst economic crisis
since independence from Britain in 1980, seen in desperate shortages of fuel
and other commodities and unemployment of as much as 70 percent.

Critics blame the problems on Mugabe's mismanagement of the economy, while
the veteran leader says Zimbabwe is being sabotaged by domestic and foreign
opponents of his land reform programme which seized white-owned farms to
give to landless blacks.

© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.
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Zim to buy 500 Belarus tractors
05/06/2005 14:02  - (SA)

Harare - Zimbabwe is to import 500 tractors from the Eastern European nation
of Belarus to boost agricultural production in the southern African nation,
state television reported on Saturday.

Davison Mugabe, president of the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU),
told the state broadcaster that under the deal Zimbabwe would start
receiving tractors next month.

"In this deal we are importing tractors from Belarus - the plant is in
Minsk - it's a world-famous plant that produces robust tractors," Mugabe
said at a demonstration of the machines on Saturday in Harare.

He did not say how much the deal was worth.

Five years ago, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's government launched a
controversial land reform programme that saw former white-owned land seized
for redistribution to new black farmers.

Critics say the programme has caused a sharp decline in agricultural
production. New farmers have lacked expertise and faced shortages of
capital, equipment and other inputs.

Davison Mugabe told the broadcaster that he was in discussions with the
government and financial institutions over ways to help individual farmers
buy the new tractors. - Sapa-dpa

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Zim clamps down on foreigners
05/06/2005 14:05  - (SA)

Harare - Zimbabwean police have arrested 61 foreigners in a crackdown on
illegal immigrants and criminals and an accompanying unpopular urban
clean-up campaign, which has left thousands destitute and homeless, police
said on Sunday.

"Police in Harare have arrested 61 illegal immigrants in Harare and other
settlements on the outskirts as part of the ongoing operation against
criminal activities," police superintendent Oliver Mandipaka told AFP.

"The foreigners, comprising men and women, were arrested last week and are
being held at Harare Central police station for further screening."

"The police are working with immigration officials to vet and deport those
who do not have valid permits and those involved in other serious crimes
will be taken to court."

The suspected illegal immigrants include Zambians, Burundians, Congolese,
Mozambicans, Malawians and Nigerians.

Foreign nationals in Zimbabwe have been implicated in various crimes,
including human trafficking and trading in foreign currency on the black

Bands of armed police have gone on the rampage in the last two weeks in
major towns across Zimbabwe, demolishing and torching backyard shacks and
makeshift shop stalls in a campaign they say is to rid the cities of

The clean-up has drawn widespread condemnation with the main opposition
calling for action and international intervention to end the "tyrannical

Edited by Tisha Steyn
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Zimbabwe faces bread shortage
          June 05 2005 at 01:41PM

      Harare - Food-deficient Zimbabwe could soon face bread shortages as
wheat imports have started running out due to foreign exchange problems, a
state-owned newspaper said on Sunday.

      "The country could face bread shortages as flour supplies continue to
dwindle," the state-owned Sunday Mail said.

      "National Bakers' Association chairman and Lobels Bakers chief
executive Mr Burombo Mudumo said the supply situation was presently below
normal for big bakeries who were now using their strategic reserves," the
newspaper said.

      The parastatal National Foods, which imports the bulk of Zimbabwe's
wheat supplies, said it had been unable to successfully bid for foreign
exchange under a mandatory government auction system due to a cash crunch
and could not pay foreign suppliers.


      "The major problem is in the supply of wheat flour as National Foods,
which supplied a third to the bakeries, has reduced supply quantities by
over 70 percent citing foreign currency shortages," Mudumo said.

      National Foods spokesperson Linda Longwe-Musesengwa said the company
needed four million dollars (about R30-million) to source 13 000 metric tons
under an agreement with foreign suppliers.

      "Wheat sourced under the collateral management agreement can only be
utilised once foreign currency has been sourced through the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe's auction system," Longwe-Musesengwa said.

      "But over the last couple of months the company has had very little
success on the auction," she said.

      Last week, UN World Food Programme chief James Morris met President
Robert Mugabe in Harare who said he welcomed food assistance "with a
humanitarian commitment".

      Exactly a year ago, Mugabe told a British television channel that he
did not want food "foisted" on Zimbabwe and claimed that the country
produced enough to meet its needs.

      An estimated four million Zimbabweans out of a population of 11,6
million could face starvation by early next year unless they get help,
Morris said after meeting Mugabe.

      The Zimbabwean government blames drought for the food shortages but
critics say Mugabe's policies are to blame, especially the seizures of
thousands of white-owned farms which were redistributed to landless blacks,
most of whom had no farming experience.

      Zimbabwe's economy has been on a downturn in recent years
characterised by foreign currency shortages, triple digit inflation and high

      The country is also facing shortages of basic commodities such as the
national staple cornmeal, cooking oil and sugar.

      Various government intiatives to raise foreign currency including a
scheme to persuade millions of Zimbabweans living and working overseas to
send money home, have yielded little success. - Sapa-AFP
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The Observer

Keep fighting for human rights

Is Amnesty International forsaking its time-honoured role as champion of the

Nick Cohen
Sunday June 5, 2005
The Observer

'Sir,' wrote Mr HW Scott of Hemel Hempstead to the editor of the Daily
Telegraph last week, 'Bob Geldof hopes to raise an army of a million
protesters against world poverty. Instead of sending them to Scotland to
lobby the G8, he would do better if he divided his troops into groups of,
say, 50,000, and sent them to protest repeatedly in front of the London
embassies of the countries everyone knows to be the worst offenders in
failing to reduce poverty in their own countries.'
An argument can be true even if it is made in the Telegraph, and no one can
deny that the regimes which preside over the African disaster will get off
lightly in the protests against the G8 summit. If the Make Poverty History
manifesto were implemented, the Common Agricultural Policy would be
scrapped; the World Bank and International Monetary Fund would no longer be
able to force weak countries to open their markets before they were ready
for free trade; debt which can never be repaid would be cancelled and the
rich world would provide more aid for health services and education.

It's an admirable programme, but the reader can be forgiven for believing
that Africa has no dictators and its affairs are directed by rich, white
men. Corruption doesn't feature in the manifesto and human rights are
mentioned in passing just once, and then only in a swipe at world trade
rules rather than actual tyrants and torturers.

Workers for Make Poverty History became exasperated when I raised the point
and with good reason. Europe and Africa were barely mentioned in the
election campaign. The outside world which dominates today's debates
surfaced in Michael Howard's shameful and sly attacks on Tony Blair's
alleged leniency towards asylum seekers, and that was it.

Election day was exactly one month ago but it feels like half a lifetime
away. Make Poverty History has made Africa news and I wouldn't be writing
this piece if it wasn't for its efforts. It has won the support of the Prime
Minister and the Chancellor. It will persuade hundreds of thousands of
people to march on the streets of Edinburgh, many of whom had never given
the wretched of the earth a second's thought until Geldof reached for his
megaphone again. After all this, niggardly critics demand that its staff
must tackle oppression and corruption as well as trade, aid and debt.

Well, no, they say, we don't. The concerts, the marches and the television
dramas are being organised for the G8 summit. By definition, they're about
what the rich can do for the poor. Contrary to what you read, we don't
believe in helping countries which can't show that resources freed by debt
relief will be well used. Steve Tibbett of Action Aid, a member of Geldof's
coalition of charities, added that the very act of targeting aid at the
poorest strengthens the hands of those who are most likely to fight for
basic political freedoms: teachers, doctors and the citizens' groups which
monitor how the money is spent.

I could understand the frustrated note in his voice. Here are development
charities trying to confront apocalyptic outbreaks of hunger and disease.
Isn't that enough? Why should whining berks who've never lifted a finger for
anyone but themselves demand they take on every other crime and injustice
when there are plenty of articulate campaigners banging the drum for human
rights? And it's true that human rights have been well supported and
defended in the past, but the drumbeat has been muffled of late.

'If you look globally today and want to talk about human rights, for the
vast majority of the world's population they don't mean very much. To talk
about freedom of expression to a man who can't read the newspaper, to talk
about the right to work to someone who has no job; human rights means
nothing to them unless it brings some change on these particular issues.'

This clunking and faintly sinister statement did not come from a colonial
administrator explaining that liberty was all well and good for freeborn
Englishmen but the half-savage natives needed order. Nor was it a communist
apparatchik saying that there was no need for bourgeois freedoms in the
proletarian paradise of the Soviet Union. Nor was it Edward Heath or Henry
Kissinger announcing that the Chinese liked autocracy or Abu Musab Zarqawi
and Osama bin Laden denouncing democracy as a Greek heresy.

Rather, it fell from the lips of Irene Khan, the new secretary general of
Amnesty International, an organisation which used to believe that human
rights meant everything.

If you think about it, Amnesty has an extraordinary status. I can't name
another institution whose word is accepted without challenge. When anyone
else from the Prime Minister to the Archbishop of Canterbury utters an
opinion, journalists scrutinise them and round up opponents to put the
contrary view. Amnesty is accepted as a purveyor of uncontestable truth. Its
reputation is based on attention to detail in tens of thousands of
investigations into the treatment of prisoners of conscience over the
decades and a rigorous concentration on the task in hand.

Since it was founded in 1961 after an article in this newspaper about the
arrest of two students by the old fascist dictatorship in Portugal, Amnesty
has campaigned relentlessly and patiently for political prisoners and
refugees and fought for fair trials and against torture. Opposition to the
death penalty was added to the list in the 1970s, and from then onwards its
remit has been unchanged.

To Khan, the human-rights agenda is passe and maybe an example of cultural
imperialism. 'Amnesty has a middle-class, Western, complacent, white image
in many parts of the world,' she told the Financial Times magazine. The
stereotype would be rectified by expanding the remit and campaigning against
poverty. 'More children die of lack of food or water than [are] killed by
torture and the death penalty,' explained a supporter.

This is true, but beside the point. Amnesty is crowding in to a crowded
field. All the charities in the Make Poverty History alliance campaign
manfully for access to clean water and decent food; what they're not doing
is standing up for human rights. Amnesty says it will continue to do so. I
hope it will; the organisation isn't in crisis yet, but ever since Khan took
over, I've had an uneasy feeling that it is losing universal principles and
treating the abuse of rights by the United States as worse than similar or
more grotesque abuses by others. That feeling transformed into a certainty
last week when Amnesty described Guantanamo Bay as the 'gulag of our times'.

By all means, Amnesty and everyone else should loudly deplore America's
failure to treat prisoners of war in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.
But when they've finished, they should check the figures. If they exclude
the millions who died of starvation, disease and exhaustion, they will find
that 776,098 prisoners were murdered in summary executions in the gulag
between 1930 and 1953. At Guantanamo Bay, no one has died of starvation,
disease or exhaustion and no prisoners have been executed. Not one. If
Amnesty's American obsession prevents it from seeing the worst crimes of the
20th century for what they are, how will it sound the alarm about the worst
of the 21st?

A barely reported exchange last week showed why the arguments against Khan
matter. Journalists in Johannesburg tackled James Morris, head of the United
Nations World Food Programme, who had promised hundreds of thousands of
tonnes of emergency supplies to Zimbabwe. Try as they might, they couldn't
get him to condemn Mugabe. According to Morris, Zimbabwe was on the edge of
famine because of drought and Aids, not because of the dictatorship's
destruction of agriculture and suppression of dissent. The mistake the UN
made with Saddam's Iraq was to be repeated. Food would go to the regime
rather than the needy and the regime would be able to use it to reward
friends and punish enemies.

In April, Zimbabwe was re-elected to the UN Human Rights Commission for the
third year running by satirically minded African states, so Morris may have
to play the diplomat. To anyone who doesn't, it is obvious that he and Khan
are wrong. Zimbabwe is on the edge of starvation because it doesn't have
freedom of expression, among other human rights. The great lesson of the
20th century was that tyrannical regimes - the British Empire, Mao's China,
Stalin's Russia, Mengistu's Ethiopia - presided over enormous famines.
Democracies didn't.

In other words, the choice between human and economic rights isn't
either/or. It's both or neither.
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Global Politician

Zimbabwe: One Step Too Stupid
Bev Clark - 6/5/2005
This morning I looked at my right front tire and just like it, I felt rather
deflated. Not wanting to chance the trip to work I decided to get down to
our friendly under the tree tire and air entrepreneurs. They've been around
for years and in times of need they've always come through for me.
Unfortunately this morning the patch of free land that they occupy near
Rhodesville Shopping Centre was empty. These guys have been chased away,
just like so many others, in one of Mugabe's latest acts of bizarre
misgovernance. So I crossed the road to try my luck at the formal,
supposedly respectable, garage only to be told that they had no air. So the
really useful informal entrepreneur who earns a few bucks pumping up car
tires by hand gets chased away by Mugabe's police, while the formal garage
fails to provide basic services.

Then last Friday, just near my offices, riot police in all their posturing
and swaggering arrogance swooped down on hapless vegetable sellers
confiscating their vegetables and sending them away. They sell a variety of
vegetables from a concrete structure that has a sign in front of it
declaring that it is a certified "peoples market" by order of the Harare
City Council. Let's not forget that we are sinking under 70% unemployment,
which means that the largest productive sector in Zimbabwe is actually the
informal trading one. This sector deserves the utmost respect and
appreciation. In a country devastated by wildly incompetent elite
politicians, informal traders have shown admirable resilience and ingenuity.
If it weren't so tragic, it would be laughable to linger longer on these fat
cat politicians shitting themselves because they might not be harnessing
every single cent of foreign currency in the country.

The Mugabe regime can't possibly get more stupid, can it?

Well, yes it can.

Anna, my domestic worker, tells me that the regime is thinking about
evicting thousands of Zimbabweans living in high density areas, known as
townships, unless they are actually living in a legal structure. Apparently
the "boys kias" (wooden shacks) will be razed. The police have said that
those occupying them should return to the rural areas because there is no
space for them in the city. Never mind that back in the day Mugabe made all
sorts of promises like Housing For All By The Year 2000.

And there's more. Zimbabweans who are lucky enough to be in formal
employment are finding it harder and harder to get to work each day because
either there is no fuel, or because the police have impounded commuter
buses. People wake up as early as 4am in a bid to walk to work, or they
queue endlessly waiting for a taxi. Meanwhile the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) has said that they will embark on a "Buy Zimbabwe" campaign in order
to resuscitate local industry. But hey - hasn't the Government just imported
a fleet of Chinese "zhing zhong" buses. And isn't the Government, at this
very moment, seizing vendors' vegetables, basket ware and flowers?

For as long as I can remember, Africa Unity Square in the center of Harare,
has been home to several flower and curio sellers. They are an integral part
of our landscape, but no more! The few tourists that visit the five star
Meikles Hotel which faces Africa Unity Square will just have to buy their
Zimbabwean momentos elsewhere. In case you've forgotten, this is Africa Mr
Mugabe. It isn't Oslo and it isn't Beijing. Vendors are a part of our

I could go on and on about the various shortages, as so many others have
done lately, but I won't. Instead I think it's interesting to reflect on the
biggest shortage of all: leadership. This shortage exists in civil society,
in the plethora of NGOs in Zimbabwe and in the political opposition - the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). No one is coming forward to provide
leadership, direction and vision. And most importantly action. Instead,
everyone just shrugs his or her shoulders or one tiny step better, issues
eloquent press statements condemning the regime's brutality.

And a fat lot of good that's going to do.
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New Zimbabwe


      Is the MDC a sinking titanic?

      Last updated: 06/06/2005 01:59:25
      THESE are indeed trying and testing times for Zimbabwe's official
opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change. (MDC). Never have the
dark clouds of doubts and uncertainty covered the future prospects of the
party as it is now. Never have the deep waves of gloom and doom engulfed its
ranks and files as they have at this moment and time.

      As I write all indications are to such effect that the MDC seems to be
suffering from a serious bout of a crisis of confidence and purpose.

      Indeed if truth must be told, the MDC is going through probably its
roughest patch since it was formed in 1999. The party appears so stranded as
if overwhelmed by the challenges besetting it. One would be forgiven for
assuming that the MDC is now suffering from some form of paralysis of
analysis, hence the apparent levels of inertia when it comes to its position
vis-ŕ-vis the way forward for Zimbabwe.

      The people of Zimbabwe are saying they have suffered long enough. They
are saying they cannot endure anymore the pain and suffering that Zanu-PF
has unleashed upon them over the past few years. Many are saying that the
time has come to cast the die and take a last stand against the Robert
Mugabe led regime. Some are even demanding that the regime be confronted
head on, in a no-holds barred collision process!

      But who can blame the voices of despair emanating from the many broken
hearts of Zimbabwe? Indeed who can dare rebuke the voices of anger and cries
for an end of relentless torture, hunger and pain that have been the daily
bread of many millions of Zimbabweans in recent years?

      It is now common knowledge that Zimbabwe is presently undergoing its
worst socio-economic crisis in its entire modern history. The levels of
poverty have heightened to unparalleled levels of late. Some recent
estimates insist that more than 65% of Zimbabweans now live below the
international poverty datum line. Other estimates now peg the unemployment
rates at 80%. Then there are the HIV-AIDS infection estimates that have
confirmed that the nation has one of the highest infection rates in the
entire planet.

      It is no wonder that by reason of the foregoing, many Zimbabweans now
prefer to live anywhere but in their home country. Studies have shown that
the nation is no longer merely suffering from a 'brain drain' syndrome. Many
are leaving the country irregardless of their professional skills and
qualifications. The recent introduction and acceptance of the 'Diaspora'
concept bears undeniable testimony to that reality.

      As I write, it is estimated that there are now at least four million
Zimbabweans living abroad. This is an astounding figure when once considers
that the fact that the official estimates of the national population are
pegged at less than twelve million. That in simple arithmetic terms means
that one in every four Zimbabweans now live in exile.

      But perhaps even more critical is the mere fact that had it not been
for the introduction of more stringent visa systems, the overflow of
Zimbabweans could have been much higher! It does not need a rocket scientist
to appreciate the fact that given an option of choice, a lot more
Zimbabweans would prefer to leave the crisis riddled country with immediate

      Further to that, the regime has now compounded the dire situation by
unleashing more terror and misery among its own poor urban majorities. The
recent launch of the police and military crackdowns have depleted whatever
little hopes and expectations still remained among the nation's majorities
for a better tomorrow.

      The inaptly named twins of evil (Operation Restore Hope and
Marambatsvina) should have been better off with such names as El Nino,
Tsunami, Cyclone et cetera. This is so when one considers the highly
destructive nature of their impact on the lives of many ordinary

      The fact that Mugabe is busy having fun while basking in the sun has
now been further confirmed by the revelations that he has ordered the
Parliament to reopen sooner than expected so as to ensure that it enacts the
new Senate law expeditiously.

      The net effect of that is that we might see the remaining MDC MPs
sheepishly reporting for duty in Parliament. They will of course bark loud
against the new Senate law but Mugabe will remain undaunted. He surely knows
that their bark that in fact sounds like a puppy whimper is worse than their
bite. Indeed, the MDC MPs can best be described as toothless bulldogs.

      The reality we all have to face is that it will be business as usual
for Mugabe's parliament. The senate law will soon be enacted and a new
travellers coach will be added on the gravy train to accommodate more of
Mugabe's cronies. Life will go on as if there is no opposition in parliament
or elsewhere in Zimbabwe for that matter!

      All that the MDC leadership continue do is to issue more press
statements and host more press conferences. All they have to say is that the
people of Zimbabwe will rise on their own against such a brutal regime! All
they have to do is to file more urgent court applications to an already
discredited justice system!

      Surely it appears as if the MDC has run out of ideas. Mugabe would be
forgiven for now for toasting to the party's political demise. Raymond
Majongwe could be absolved for calling the MDC leaders a bunch of cowards
and opportunists! Someone else could be pardoned for thinking of the MDC as
a sinking titanic. This is because to all practical purposes and intents, it
seems the MDC has now become a rudderless ship and surely, it might sink at
any time from now!
      Daniel Molokele is a lawyer and a former student leader. He is
currently based in Johannesburg, South Africa. His column appears here every

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From The Sunday Independent (SA), 5 June

SA to push for agreement to protect assets in Zimbabwe

South Africa is set to push once more for the signing of an investment
protection agreement with Zimbabwe as President Robert Mugabe starts
implementing threats to abolish private ownership of land. Zimbabwe this
week announced the early opening of parliament to railroad through
constitutional changes that, among others, would simplify the
nationalisation of land. Mandisi Mpahlwa, the trade and industry minister,
said that a provisional date was set for the signing of the Bilateral
Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) between South Africa
and Zimbabwe, which would give surety to private land and business owners in
Zimbabwe. South Africa has maintained over three years that the only hold-up
with signing had been the inability to find a mutually suitable date with
Zimbabwe. This week Mpahlwa said he would prefer not to comment yet on
whether the signing of the agreement was more urgent in the wake of the
latest threats. The provisional date of June 15 for the signing of the
agreement was however not confirmed yet, Jerry Ndou, South Africa's
ambassador in Harare, said through the foreign affairs department. The
agreement deals with investment promotion and reciprocal protection of
investment between the two countries. It would, among other things, protect
the land rights of South African farmers who own land in Zimbabwe. Some of
the estimated 200 South African-owned farms in Zimbabwe have already been
seized in the land grab since 2000. Zimbabwe has BIPPA agreements with about
17 countries, but has breached a number of those with European countries by
expropriating the land and business ventures of its nationals. The
government has come in for severe criticism by opposition parties for not
finalising the BIPPA. In February, the Democratic Alliance accused the
government of lacking "the necessary political will to protect the interests
of its nationals".
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Mereki shut down

Farirai Machivenyika
issue date :2005-Jun-06

ONE of Harare's popular braai places, KwaMereki, in Warren Park D, became
the latest casualty of the current clean-up operation when police shut it
down yesterday.
The place was a favourite outing for people from all walks of life,
including high-ranking government officials, company executives, as well as
members of the diplomatic corps.  KwaMereki was a hive of activity during
weekends where all the latest models of expensive cars, from M-Class
Mercedes Benz to 7-Series BMWs, could be seen.
During the week, people drove from the city centre to have lunch at the
place while it represented a weekend retreat far from the hustle and bustle
of the CBD over weekends.
It was a source of livelihood to more than 300 people, who roasted meat for
patrons, prepared traditional dishes or washed cars.
At one time musician Andy Brown performed at the "joint" for free.
Several revellers and soccer fans that had come for lunch and drinks before
the Zimbabwe-Gabon match at the National Sports Stadium were shocked to find
the place deserted.
"The police just came in the morning when we were preparing for the day and
told us to pack our things and leave. This was my only source of income, I
was paying fees, rent and other necessities from money I got from roasting
meat and selling sadza. I don't know where to start from now," said Kiri
Mamoyo, who had a stall at the premises.
A 42-year-old widow, who identified herself as Mai Mtetwa, said she was
supporting her five children from the popular place.
"My husband passed away recently and all my children are unemployed. I am
the sole breadwinner and I don't know what they want us to do. Do they want
us to get into prostitution when there is HIV and Aids?" she asked.
A supervisor at Gochi Gochi butchery, Ralph Tarusenga, said the closure
would affect business as they relied on revellers for most of their sales.
"We relied on revellers for business. I was actually expecting a busy day
because of the soccer match today and had made huge orders. It's going to be
difficult for us as business people," he said.
Not everyone was saddened by the closure of one of the city's finest braai
spots. John Madhuku felt the closure was long overdue, saying: "It's fine
with me. A lot of prostitution was going on here. People were urinating
everywhere in full view of our mothers and sisters. A lot of used condoms
were also being found in the nearby bush."
Another resident, Cosmas Shiridzinomwa, concurred with Madhuku and added
that most of the patrons were coming from affluent places and promoting
immorality in the area.
"These rich people were coming here to promote prostitution, yet they don't
want the same in their areas. So I support the move to close it down," he
On a number of occasions, there were fights and shooting incidents as men
brought their "small houses" for an afternoon of pleasure - only to meet
their spouses there.
The place was once closed in the late 1990s after there was concern that
there were no proper facilities to roast meat and prepare food, but was
re-opened after

 proper stalls and roofing were constructed.
Harare City Council spokesperson, Leslie Gwindi, defended the closure and
reiterated that all illegal structures would be destroyed.
"As we said at the beginning, all the illegal structures, like what we have
done in other areas, would be destroyed and there is no way that is it will
be re-opened," Gwindi said.
Meanwhile, police also began destroying all illegal outbuildings in the
suburb as operations Murambatsvina and Restore Order continue.
Several illegal settlements, including Tongogara Park at White Cliff Farm,
Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo and Chimoio Housing schemes, have been destroyed.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Rehabilitate the informal sector : Nyoni

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Jun-06

SMALL and Medium Scale Enterprises Development Minister Sithembiso Nyoni has
admitted that the ongoing clean-up exercise has paralysed the once robust
informal sector, constituting over 60 percent of overall economic activity
and employing more than 70 percent of the total labour force. "Small and
medium scale enterprises have been greatly affected [by the clean-up
campaign], mainly the informal sector. Most of them were properly registered
and properly operational. But, the mandate of my ministry is not to plan
where informal traders should do their business. The mandate of my ministry
is to rehabilitate the informal sector," Nyoni said last week.
The lamentation contradicts remarks made last week by Leslie Gwindi, the
City of Harare's spokesperson, when he claimed on national television that
informal traders have no role to play in the economy.
Yet, about 70 percent of the economy had been informalised by the inexorable
meltdown that hit the economy from 1997 to date.
In 2003 alone - the presumed trough of this rapid slump - the unemployment
and inflation rates shot close to 80 and 1 000 percent, respectively.
Socio-economist, Wozani Moyo, claimed that though the informal sector is
relatively absent in official gross domestic product (GDP) figures, the
sector, however, plays a crucial shock-absorber role in the economy in times
of recession.
Moyo further contended that the country was able to weather this economic
and social maelstrom because the informal sector intervened, absorbed the
economic shocks and eased the pressures that were mounting on a shrinking
formal sector.
Said Moyo: "Retrenches and the unemployed traditionally fall back on petty
commodity production and broking to withstand the debilitating effects of
economic doldrums. Besides, in every economy there are always strong formal
and informal sector interlinkages. For example, informal companies are
normally subcontracted to provide cleaning and catering services. If you
carried out a survey you would be shocked to discover that informal
commodity brokers provide the stationery, hygienic, distribution and other
service requirements of most of the big established and highly revered
He added: "Sadly, all those linkages have been destroyed. But, the problem
is: what are all those thousands of miserable people going to do now that
their sole and clean means of earning an income to survive has been
destroyed?  Is the shrinking formal economy capable of absorbing such
Above all, more than half of the 410 local exhibitors who took part in the
2005 Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) were SMEs, 75 percent of which
are licensed informal players.
But Operation Murambatsvina/Restore Order, which kicked off in Harare two
weeks ago and spread with cyclonic force to other cities, has completely
exterminated a sector on which the economy has been balancing to absorb the
shock of shrinkage.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Basic commodity shortages spill into second half-year

Givemore Nyanhi
issue date :2005-Jun-06

RETAIL outlets stretched into their third successive month of persistently
intermittent basic commodity shortages as the economy moved into the second
half of 2005.

Maize meal, sugar, cooking oil and bread remained scarce in most leading
retail outlets visited last Friday, a scenario that began in April, almost
immediately after the country's general elections.
Since then, the availability of products such as sugar and cooking oil has
erratic, often drying up for days and then
only re-emerging at some shops on rare occasions.
On those rare occasions, usually witnessed at OK Zimbabwe at the corner of
First Street and Nelson Mandela Avenue, when sugar is available, the long
queues suddenly spring up as customers jostle for sugar.
It was the same last week at one Food Chain Group (FCG) supermarket along
Nelson Mandela Street, when a rare shipment of sugar was sold to the queuing
There was a queue of about 50 people that remained constant in the early
morning as the supermarket was rationing the packets of sugar to just one 2
kilogramme packet of white sugar selling at $8 500 each.
"There is not much sugar left and the sugar will soon run out," one shelf
FCG worker said.
But there was still no mealie meal and milk in the FCG shop.

At TM, also along Nelson Mandela Street, the mid morning queue for bread
continued as city customers waited patiently inside the shop to purchase
fresh baked bread.
The controlled price of bread was recently reviewed to $4500 from $3500.
But like other shops, sugar, mealie meal, dairy milk and cooking oil were
not available at TM Supermarkets.
There were also indications that beer supply was shrinking in most
supermarkets, with only a single brand of bottled beer available and the
rest being canned beer.
At OK Zimbabwe there was no bottled beer at all with only opaque beer,
otherwise known as Scuds, in supply.
At FCG, there were indications that the supply of opaque beer was more
visible than that of bottled beer.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Zinwa needs $250bn for Harare water

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Jun-06

THE Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) needs $250 billion as working
capital and for rehabilitating Harare City Council's bulk water supply
system, the Minister Water Resources and Infrastructural Development,
Munacho Mutezo, has said.
The money - to be availed by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe - would be used to
repair burst pipes and installing a chlorinator at Warren Control Station,
repackaging delivery valves at Morton Jaffray and Prince Edward.
"One of the major factors that has contributed to persistent water problems
for the Harare City council was under-capitalisation. This problem made it
difficult for the council to repair burst pipes and to rehabilitate old
infrastructure," Mutezo said during a media tour of Morton Jaffray this
He added that since the government directed the take over of water supply,
there has been a great improvement in service delivery including chemical
stocks and repairing of damaged burst pipes.
- Mirror Reporter
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Nationalising land a complex issue

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Jun-06

a two-thirds Parliamentary majority, the only thing white commercial farmers
can do is contest the amount of compensation awarded by the government.
Parliament is expected to debate the constitutional changes when it resumes
sitting at the end of this month.
When the government first went public with its intentions of nationalising
land last year, the then minister of land reform John Nkomo said the move
was necessitated by the need to avoid land abuse and ensure maximum
Our sister paper, the Sunday Mirror quoted him saying: "A lease imposes land
obligations which have to be observed by the farmers. There are
responsibilities that must be adhered to in land use and conservation. We
have to avoid unwarranted cutting down of trees and the selling of land to
third parties, among other problems."
At that time, the South African-based Landless People's Movement leader,
Mangaliso Kubheka, said nationalisation of land ran contrary to the ideals
of land reform that entailed empowering ordinary citizens.
He said: "The people should get the title deeds. Nationalisation, in my
personal view, further oppresses the people but if it turns out to be
successful, then I think other countries will follow suit."
The legislation directing land tenure reform in Zimbabwe over the past
fifteen years has seen the government pitting itself in direct opposition to
interest groups like white farmers and their supporters from the Western
international community.
In 1990, Section 16 (property rights) of the Constitution was amended and
the Land Acquisition Act (1992) paved the way for a new legal approach to
tenure reform that freed the government from the
willing-buyer-willing-seller set up.
The Act was largely a compromise between the Lancaster House rules and a
progressive approach to the issue.
The Act also made it possible for compensation disputes to be settled in the
Administrative Court.
Even then, only 60 000 out of a targeted 162 000 families had been resettled
by 1995 and the remaining 4 000 or so farmers still owned around 10.9
million hectares of farmland.
The slow pace of redistribution forced people to engage head-on tactics in a
bid to grab the attention of stakeholders, with the most well known of these
being the occupation of Igava Farm by Svosve villagers in 1998.
Constitutional Amendment Number 16 of 2000 placed the onus of compensation
on the British, a requirement infamously shot-down by the Labour government.
At present, the government has the authority to acquire anything above 11
million hectares of land which will leave some 200 000 hectares in private
Attempts at nationalisation have on the whole failed to demonstrate
viability.  The 1967 Arusha Declaration, seeking to institute
nationalisation in Tanzania, ended in failure after a combination of
military disputes with Idi Amin's Uganda, drought, the effects of the
oil-related global economic recessions of the 1970s and 1980s.
Tanzania resorted to importing an average of 250 000 metric tonnes of grain
from 1974 to the early 1980s. From 1975, Mozambique fiddled with similar
land policies but these ended in ignominy in the late 1980s after the
adoption of liberal economic prescriptions in the form of Structural
Adjustment Programmes.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Hotel guilty of charging foreigners in local currency

Court reporter
issue date :2005-Jun-06

HARARE'S Executive Hotel last Friday became the first tourism and leisure
firm to be charged for contravening exchange control regulations after
failing to collect US$6 979 (S43 270 000) from foreign visitors.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono is his monetary policy
statement last month, said police would soon pounce on tourism entities
either holding on to hard currency or receiving payment in local currency
from foreign visitors.
Executive Hotel represented by Daniela Lucia Teweide pleaded guilty to
violating the Exchange Control Act and was remanded to today for sentence by
magistrate Marehwanazvo Gofa.
The State case was that the hotel from January to April this year received
foreign visitors from various countries and collected payment in local
currency, in direct violation of the Exchange Control Act, which stipulates
that foreigners pay for services in hard currency.
Meanwhile, a man in Marondera also appeared in court for externalisation of
foreign currency equivalent to $98 million.
Francois Jacobus Borman (38), a manager at Wheatland Farm, pleaded guilty to
the charge and was remanded on free bail to June 7 this year.
The accused secured a contract to transport food with Goal Zimbabwe - a Non
Governmental Organisation (NGO) - to various places in the Rusape area.
He used Borman Electric Transport to ferry the food.
On February 5 last year, the State alleged the accused after transporting
the food was paid US$5 964.
Accused instructed Goal Zimbabwe to deposit the money into his offshore
account with Standard Chartered Bank in Jersey Ireland.
On February 17 last year Borman was paid US$6 757 02 and the money was
deposited in same account.
Ten days latter the accused was also paid US$ 6 861 and the money was
deposited in the same account.
In doing so Borman prejudiced the State of $98 403 217 million. [sic]
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      Africa aid agency funds dry up despite promises

      Sun June 5, 2005 2:29 PM GMT+02:00
      By Peter Apps

      JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Despite a new drive in the west to focus
attention on Africa, aid agencies say funds are dwindling as money is
diverted elsewhere or channelled directly through governments.

      The Group of Eight rich nations are expected to call for more help for
Africa at a summit next month.

      But on the ground, aid workers say they are having to cut programmes,
either because money has been diverted to victims of the Asian tsunami or
because official help is being increasingly channelled through governments
as debt relief or direct aid.

      "We've certainly seen some cuts in funding in the last year," said
Dave Snyder, spokesman for U.S.-based agency Catholic Relief Services.
"We've had to cut back some programmes."

      Schemes cut included school feeding programmes in Malawi and
Madagascar aimed at persuading parents to send children to school rather
than keeping them at home to work or sending young girls off to get married,
he said.

      While aid agencies welcome debt relief and direct aid, they say local
civil society organisations and international NGOs must also get a share to
make sure the money reaches the people who need it.

      "The biggest fear is corruption," said David Sanderson, southern and
west Africa co-ordinator for Care International UK.

      "If you only give money to government, you end up not holding
government to account. There needs to be a mixture. But there's also a fear
people are getting bored with Africa."

      Aid workers say while attracting funds for high-profile disasters such
as the tsunami or Sudan's Darfur region is still relatively easy, attracting
funds for longer-term problems such as the AIDS pandemic or chronic food
shortages is much harder.


      Overall figures on aid flows are hard to assess, since money comes
from so many different sources.

      But on Wednesday, United Nations World Food Programme chief James
Morris told reporters the WFP had only 20 percent of the funding needed for
Southern Africa this year.

      "We will have to cut either the amount of rations we need or cut the
amount of people we help," WFP regional director Mike Sackett told Reuters.
"We said at the time of the tsunami we were very fearful of the effect on
funding, and I'm personally very sure it has had an impact."

      Other UN agencies were also affected, Sackett said, with the UN Food
and Agriculture Organisation -- which runs a series of programmes aimed at
pulling southern African farmers out of a spiral of agricultural decline -- 
likely to close its regional office in Johannesburg within weeks if new
funds were not found.

      With some seven million people across the region facing serious
shortages after rains failed in February and March across much of Zambia,
Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, the funding shortfall could hardly have
come at a worse time.

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Well I suppose nothing should surprise us after all but I have to say this
past 2 weeks has been something else.

I stood in D's office and watched the clouds of smoke over Mbare
as the destruction went on and had to pinch myself to remind myself that
this was the peoples government and not some foreign invasion which certainly was
what it looked like. Then the new Chinese jets flew over and and made the
illusion that we were under attack by some foreign force complete.

Then driving back the once thriving People's market on the Enterprise Road
with all its soapstone carvings and welded artifacts was being loaded by a front
end loader onto a truck the carvings smashed. This was a legal market
established by the City Fathers many many years ago. Why? this is the question on
everybody's lips. And who ordered it all? And why so vicious?  Pat Walsh's letter about
Hatcliffe is a document that everybody should read.

Our local tomato and Avo supplier is now operating behind closed doors. A cannot get his apples to his biggest market, the vendors in Mbare, because there are no vendors in Mbare.

On my way back from Kent on Monday the Tongogara settlement was smoking.
This was a Zanu PF militant takeover of a farm which was squatted on in 2001.
The little store called the 4th Chimurenga Store was no more and so the regime
 is destroying its own. 

I have to say that I did not understand the land grab as it made no sense but this is just
madness and who knows why this is going on.
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