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

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ATTENTION SUBSCRIBERS: Please note that the first paragraph of the article sent out on 12 June 2002 should read: "Forty thousand people - mainly children - in Zimbabwe's western Binga district will not receive their food aid after a food distribution programme run by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace was closed by police on Wednesday." A corrected version follows.

JOHANNESBURG, 12 JUNE 2002 (IRIN) - Forty thousand people - mainly children - in Zimbabwe's western Binga district will not receive their food aid after a food distribution programme run by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace was closed by police on Wednesday.

Father Tom McQuillen told IRIN that as trucks were being loaded with food in the morning, war veterans arrived and put a chain and a padlock around the gate of the church grounds and wouldn't let them leave.

The police were called but, McQuillen said: "Their orders are that we are to stop feeding. We received nothing in writing. We were told we could discuss it with the district administrator at a meeting on Monday."

This was not the first time the project, funded by Britain's Catholic Fund for Overseas Development (CAFOD), has been targeted by war veterans. McQuillen said that three Saturdays ago the war veterans blocked all the gates to the church grounds and wouldn't let anyone enter or leave. They finally left when the police intervened but returned before Sunday mass and the police again intervened.

When they threatened to burn the project's vehicles, feeding was suspended.

"Kids were going to the locations looking for food and not understanding why there was none," he said.

McQuillen said that after receiving reports that children were fainting, they decided to start distributing food again.

However, before they could start again on Wednesday, the war veterans returned and prevented the resumption of the programme.

In April 2001 war veterans also tried to close the offices but police stopped them. In February this year one of the project's workers was harassed and threatened, he said.

McQuillen said the project feeds 8,497 pre-school children, 13,795 primary school children and 18,969 families who only have food stocks to last one week. They had planned to expand as the area had no harvests for a second year.

The people of Binga form part of the 6.1 million Zimbabweans that a joint World Food Programme(WFP) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) assessment has identified as being in danger of having no food this year.

"People are not coping, it is very hard to get food even if there is money. The young children don't know why they're not getting food," he said.

The Save the Children Fund, which works alongside McQuillen's organisation in the region, had to suspend its operations for two days earlier this year.

Michael O'Donnell, emergency food security advisor, said that their programme which gives 55,000 people one-month rations per household, had to close temporarily.

"The authorities looked into the question of whether the Save the Children operation was operating along political lines in favour of the opposition [Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)].

"We suspended operations voluntarily while the district and provincial authorities investigated but we were cleared and we have no more problems," he said.

A spokesman for the war veterans was not immediately available to comment.

Meanwhile in Manicaland the MDC said its offices in Chimanimani had been closed.

MDC spokesman Pishai Muchauraya said a driver at the farm of Roy Bennet, a local MDC member, was stopped at a roadblock and his car was impounded by police and security forces. Muchauraya said the driver was allegedly assaulted and later taken to the MDC offices where a security guard was also allegedly beaten.

Muchauraya said police told people in the MDC office that the party was banned from the area.

He said a planned rally in Mutare south had to be cancelled because at least 2,000 ZANU-PF members had arrived to disrupt the rally.

Another MDC spokesman, Dryden Kunaka, said: "They are targeting areas where the MDC is very strong."

In March President Robert Mugabe was re-elected over MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, in a poll which the Commonwealth and European Union believe was not free and fair. The MDC has launched court action for a fresh election.

In Harare the media came under the spotlight as the trial of American journalist Andrew Meldrum began. Meldrum faces charges of publishing false information under the country's new access to information laws.

Meldrum was arrested after his newspaper, the British Guardian, published a story on the alleged beheading of the wife of an MDC supporter by ZANU-PF members. The original publisher of the story, The Daily News, has since said it doubts the story as the woman's grave cannot be found and the paper suspects the man who told the story fabricated it for money.

Meldrum pleaded innocent and Daily News reporter, Lloyd Mudiwa, will appear on the same charges next week.

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FinGaz - Comment

      When governance fails

      6/13/02 2:07:23 AM (GMT +2)

      AN innocent Zimbabwean civilian - a taxi driver going about his
already hard enough daily chores - was shot dead by police this week, a
victim of the siege mentality which is increasingly gripping the government.

      Lloyd Midzi's only crime was not to stop at a police roadblock, itself
triggered by the government's fear of looming mass action by its own
harassed citizens.

      Midzi did not deserve to die, let alone at the hands of those whose
first duty it is to protect life and property of all who live and work in

      Midzi's death mirrors the tragic chaos which Zimbabwe now typifies as
the nation's key institutions and other pillars of governance give way under
the strain of two harsh decades of unsustainable misrule.

      It takes place when the government is raising its tempo on a crackdown
on real and imagined dissenters and political foes, crucially against
journalists, human rights activists and lawyers who are staying the course
in raising the flag of freedom and democracy.

      It takes place when half the population of a country which once
proudly fed itself and poorer neighbours stares mass starvation, thanks to
the haphazard and violent seizure of productive commercial farms under the
guise of addressing land hunger.

      It takes place when an unprecedented foreign currency crisis, itself
spawned by reckless economic policies which have all but killed the export
sector, threaten the entire economy with total collapse, with 70 percent of
the formal labourforce already unemployed.

      Add to the grim toll the fact that 80 percent of Zimbabweans now live
below the poverty line - and not just on the one US dollar a day which much
of the world even derides - and that millions are succumbing to AIDS without
any medicines or resources to buy these.

      The latest tensions testing the long patience of Zimbabweans are a
direct result of all of these things and much more that has gone by, but
crucially the result of the disputed presidential election held in March.

      Instead of acting with utmost urgency and determination to ease the
high tensions and the festering crisis, President Robert Mugabe appears to
have been lulled into a sense of false security given by the breathing space
bought with South African and Nigerian diplomacy.

      Unfortunately, the message within Zimbabwe and out there in the
proverbial outside world and Mugabe's own record are not helping his cause

      He needs to go back to the drawing board - and do so very rapidly -
because Zimbabwe is really burning and God knows what will become of the
country if nothing decisive is done right now.

      That a government claiming to have won popular support from a recent
election should panic so much in the face of the threatened mass action is
truly disturbing, if revealing.

      If the government was not afraid of its own people, there would be no
need to erect the many instant roadblocks that we see these days, one of
which this week tragically became Midzi's death bed.

      Peaceful protests are an acceptable face of democracy worldwide and
must surely be allowed in Zimbabwe unless, as it seems in all but the
statutes, the country is now firmly under a state of emergency or martial

      And yet even if this were the case, the reality is that guns and tanks
will never reverse the inevitable march of history. The human spirit and its
deep yearning for real freedom is stronger than the arms of destruction.

      Undoubtedly, Mugabe has played his cards well in the past in
outflanking his political opponents but this time the sheer scale and range
of problems facing him, most of them self-created, threaten to bury him
politically unless he finds an instant solution.

      There is palpable high tension across Zimbabwe for anyone who cares to
listen and see, and the looming famine and extraordinarily high prices of
the few basic goods that are still available combine to make a potentially
explosive mix.

      God forbid that this powder keg, this time bomb, is allowed to

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      Army, police on high alert

      By Sydney Masamvu Political Editor
      6/13/02 2:43:07 AM (GMT +2)

      THE government has placed a crack army battalion and riot police units
on high alert in Harare and directed them to crush any opposition mass
action meant to force a fresh presidential election, security officials said
this week.

      They said the government's Joint Operation Command (JOC), a think-tank
of top military and security officials, had mapped out a broad security plan
to stamp down on the mass action that is being planned by the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which accuses President Robert Mugabe
of stealing the March vote.

      The plan, devised by JOC in the past two weeks as tensions rise in
Zimbabwe, envisages the deployment of heavy security in all government
offices and heightened day-and-night police patrols in all urban
high-density suburbs in the coming week.

      Depending on the unfolding events, " a curfew in Harare has not been
ruled out", one senior security official told the Financial Gazette.

      This official and others spoken to preferred not to be named.

      Security agencies were also racing to gather and check information on
what the government alleges is the involvement of foreign nations in the
planned mass action, whose timing and duration the MDC has still to

      The government has specifically accused Britain of being involved in
the threatened strike, but London has rejected the charge as absurd.

      JOC consists of ministers of defence, state security and home affairs
and includes heads of the army, police, the secret service, the air force
and prisons.

      According to security sources, a crack army battalion and riot police
have been put on high alert in volatile Harare, the seat of government,
specifically to crush the mass action.

      They said other measures to head off the strike countrywide had been
put in place but Harare, which strongly backs the MDC, had been given the
highest priority.

      The sources said a team of soldiers and police had been trained to
handle the mass action, which the MDC says it will call anytime now to force
Mugabe to re-stage the presidential vote, which was condemned as flawed by
the international community.

      "A watertight strategy is in place to foil the mass action by the MDC,
' another security official said.

      Police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said
yesterday he was not at liberty to discuss strategies which would be used to
put down the mass action but stressed that adequate resources had been

      He could neither deny nor confirm that the army was also involved in
the exercise.

      "The security of the nation is the responsibility of all security
organs," he told the Financial Gazette, declining to elaborate.

      He accused the MDC of paying people to engage in the strike but said
adequate measures had been taken to prevent anarchy.

      The MDC, which is still consulting on its projected action, has
already denied state media reports that it is funding youths to spearhead
the strike.

      The MDC's leadership, which has been touring Zimbabwe to mobilise for
what could turn out to be the country's most costly mass action in economic
terms, this week moved into Manicaland, the last stop of the party's
whirlwind campaign.

      The reported security clampdown follows the gunning down by police of
a Harare taxi driver, Lloyd Midzi, earlier this week in one of the many road
blocks erected in and around cities and towns by the police in the past few

      Police accused Midzi of failing to stop at the roadblock, forcing them
to fire live ammunition to try to stop him.

      The security alert comes as long-festering tensions fuelled by a
political and economic crisis are threatening to burst into the surface in

      The economy has virtually crumbled, weighed down by skewed government
policies which have triggered a biting shortage of foreign currency, plus
the state's runaway spending that is fuelling inflation to record highs of
122.5 percent.

      Unemployment is at nearly 70 percent and poverty at 80 percent at a
time when half the nation is facing starvation because of a drought and
precipitate land reforms which crippled output in the farming sector, the
country's economic mainstay.
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      Inflation surges to 122.5%

      Staff Reporter
      6/13/02 2:48:43 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S annualised inflation surged to a new record high of 122.5
percent in May as the partial lifting of price controls began to take
effect, although economists say the consumer price index (CPI) is set to
worsen in June because of the depreciating exchange rate on the parallel

      Figures released by the Central Statistical Office yesterday showed
that the CPI jumped from 114 percent in April to 122.5 percent last month on
the back of significant increases in the prices of beverages, fruit and
vegetables, rent and rates and bread and cereals.

      Analysts attributed the sharp rise in inflation to the decision by the
government to allow prices of basic commodities, controlled since October
last year, to adjust upwards.

      "But wait and see the figure for June when the effects of the
depreciating exchange rate on the parallel market is taken into account,"
said consultant economist John Robertson.

      The Zimbabwe-US dollar exchange rate on the parallel market, where
Zimbabwean firms now get their foreign currency due to an acute shortage of
hard cash in the country, has declined from 55 to one greenback to more than
620 in the past few weeks.

      This has significantly increased the cost of production for most
companies and these increases will be reflected in the prices of goods and

      Nyasha Chasakara, an analyst with First Mutual Asset Management,
warned that Zimbabwe's inflation, already one of the highest in the world,
would average 100 percent this year unless the government moves to contain
its expenditure and restores confidence in the crumbling economy.

      "The rising inflation will therefore raise wage expectations because
workers will want to match the level of price increases to their wages,"
Chasakara said.

      The cash-strapped Harare authorities have been borrowing more than $1
billion a day from the domestic banking sector to finance pressing food
commitments and repay part of outstanding foreign commitments.

      Finance Minister Simba Makoni has already said that the government
needs about $44 billion (US$800 million) this year for drought relief
following a poor agricultural season in 2001/02.

      As well as the drought, farming on prime food-producing commercial
farms virtually collapsed as government supporters seized the properties
from their white owners as part of President Robert Mugabe's revolutionary
land redistribution scheme.
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      Britain denies claim

      6/13/02 2:49:55 AM (GMT +2)

      THE British Government yesterday again denied allegations in the
Zimbabwe state media that it is involved in covet operations to destabilise
the southern African country.

      A British High Commission spokeswoman said the embassy had written to
Pikirayi Deketeke, the editor of the state-run Herald, in protest against an
article published in the newspaper yesterday alleging British involvement in
what it called attempts to foment public violence and pave the way for
foreign military intervention in Zimbabwe.

      "It is ridiculous to suggest that the British High Commissioner, Mr
Brian Donnelly, will be behind mass protests, commanding the operations from
high-tech mobile communication centres to be deployed throughout the
country," the commission wrote to the Herald.

      The letter follows a similar protest by Britain last week, triggered
by baseless charges in the Herald that the British High Commission in Harare
was linked to what the paper said was a plot by the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change and the Law Society of Zimbabwe to overthrow the

      Long-simmering tensions in Zimbabwe are rising rapidly ahead of a
planned mass action by the MDC to try to force the government to re-run a
March presidential election which was condemned by the opposition and most
of the world as fraudulent.

      The ruling ZANU PF party rejects the MDC charge, saying President
Robert Mugabe won a relatively free election fairly. - Staff Reporter
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      Zambia moves to restrict entry of cheap Zim goods

      Staff Reporter
      6/13/02 2:54:19 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) this week introduced measures to
restrict the entry of cheap products from Zimbabwe and other southern
African countries, according to ZRA tax and revenue commissioner Chriticles

      He told the Financial Gazette yesterday that his organisation had
researched the prices of products in the region and compiled a database that
would be used to ensure that cheaply priced goods did not enter the Zambian

      Zambia has been plagued by cheap imports from member nations of the
Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa free trade area since 2000.

      It has especially had problems with products from Zimbabwe where,
because of significantly devalued exchange rates on the parallel market for
hard cash, Zambians have been able to buy Zimbabwean goods more cheaply than
they cost to produce in Zambia.

      This is a threat to Zambian manufacturers who are unable to compete
with the cheap products.

      Mwansa said: "What the ZRA has done is to go through the region and
get the official prices of products and we are using these official prices
as reference for the products that are declared at the border for assessment
of value."

      He said the measures were separate from efforts by Zambia's Ministry
of Commerce and Industry, which has said it will adopt a statutory
instrument to curb the dumping of cheap Zimbabwean goods on its market.

      The revenue authority had also embarked on a major anti-smuggling
operation, which involves physical inspections and escort of goods in
transit, among other measures to prevent cheap goods from being dumped in

      "This can be seen in simple language as anti-dumping measures, but not
in the WTO (World Trade Organisation) sense," Mwansa said.
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      MDC demands forex receipts from RBZ

      Staff Reporter
      6/13/02 2:57:01 AM (GMT +2)

      THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has written to the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe requesting the country's foreign currency receipts
for last year in an attempt to determine the central bank's utilisation of
Zimbabwe's scarce hard currency resources.

      MDC economic affairs secretary Eddie Cross said this week the request
had been made under the controversial Access to Information and Protection
of Privacy Act, section six, which says a person can make a written request
for information from a public body.

      In his letter to Reserve Bank governor Leonard Tsumba, Cross said the
MDC believed the central bank had access to about US$1.1 billion in the
financial year ended December 31 2001 and would receive about US$980 million
this year in spite of a decline in gold, tobacco and other key exports.

      "In the context of the Zimbabwe economy, these are very large sums of
money and given the low level of official exchange rates, this money is
being made available to the bank at prices well below its real value," Cross

      "With exchange rates in the parallel market now averaging well over
400 to one, or over seven times the official exchange rate for the US
dollar, the question of to what use these resources are being put is one of
national importance.

      "In view of the importance of this information, we wish to receive
from you a complete breakdown for the past financial year of all foreign
exchange receipts by the bank and a schedule of what purpose these resources
are allocated. We would also like to know at what prices these foreign
exchange resources were sold to the beneficiaries."

      The MDC also requested the central bank's economic forecasts for the
current year.

      It was not possible to ascertain this week whether the Reserve Bank
had received the MDC's request, but Cross said he was yet to receive a
response from Tsumba.

      Cross however said a further demand would be sent to the central bank
if there was no response to the first letter.

      Under the Access to Information Act, a public body must respond to a
request for information within 30 days. But it can refuse to grant
information if it feels disclosure may harm its planning, financial or
economic interests or those of Zimbabwe.

      Cross said the MDC had resolved to request information on Zimbabwe's
foreign exchange receipts because of fears of mismanagement of hard cash at
a time the country is facing desperate foreign currency shortages.

      In a report on the foreign currency situation, the MDC's economic
affairs committee says: "Given the current failure to service foreign debt,
slow payment for purchases of electricity from South Africa, the paucity of
drug supplies for the state hospital system and the reported purchase of a
proportion of liquid fuels in local currency, the question must be asked:
what is government doing with the very substantial flow of resources?"
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      NRZ gets wagons from Botswana, Zambia

      Staff Reporter
      6/13/02 2:56:30 AM (GMT +2)

      THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), dogged by acute locomotive
and wagon shortages, this week said it had arranged to use locomotives from
its counterparts in Botswana and Zambia to rapidly move goods into Zimbabwe.

      NRZ public relations manager Gamaliel Rungani said the government-run
rail firm had made the arrangements in March to expedite the movement of
imports and exports in and out of the country, which is battling one of its
worst food crises in decades.

      Goods destined for Zimbabwe are normally left at its borders, where
they are collected and distributed by the NRZ. But under the new deal,
regional rail operators will travel past the borders to deliver goods to
Bulawayo and Thompson Junction near Hwange.

      Rungani said a similar arrangement had been struck with
Beitbridge-Bulawayo Railways, which uses South Africa's Spoor-net
locomotives, to move goods from Beitbridge to Thompson Junction.

      The arrangement, which Rungani said was used when the need arose, was
sought because the NRZ faced shortages of locomotives and wagons, most of
which have been grounded by Zimba-bwe's foreign currency crisis.

      Hard currency shortages have made it difficult for the NRZ to buy
spare parts needed to put its locomotives and wagons back into operation.

      Under the NRZ's deal with regional counterparts, locomotives provided
by Botswana and Zambia will go past Zimbabwe's borders to deliver goods only
if the NRZ has insufficient locomotives.

      NRZ crews will operate the two countries' locomotives past the borders
into Zimbabwe and back.

      "Besides alleviating the shortage of locomotives besetting the
organisation, the arrangement has greatly improved the movement of
import-export and transit traffic," the NRZ spokesman said.

      The shortage of locomotives and wagons, worsened by maize imports from
South Africa, is expected to improve in the next 18 to 24 months following
the NRZ's receipt of a US$100 million ($5.5 billion) offshore loan to
bankroll its recapitalisation pro-gramme.

      Meanwhile the latest edition of the NRZ's journal Railroader says rail
firms in the Southern Africa Development Community are exploring the
feasibility of jointly running scheduled international freight trains.

      Work on this virtually non-stop international train service has
already begun with chief executives of several railway companies in the
region creating rail corridor management committees that will spearhead the

      Trial runs for the service are expected to begin in March next year.

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      Govt gets ultimatum on AIDS drug

      Staff Reporter
      6/13/02 2:56:00 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Women and AIDS Support Network (WASN), a Zimbabwean
non-governmental organisation, yesterday threatened to take the government
to court if it did not begin systematically supplying the anti-AIDS drug
Nevirapine to HIV-positive pregnant women before December 1.

      Nevirapine is an antiretroviral drug that reduces by 50 percent the
mother-to-child transmission of HIV, the virus which causes AIDS.

      Germany-based Boehri-nger Ingelheim, the manufacturer of the drug, is
supplying it free of charge to several developing countries, including

      "Women and AIDS Support Network has launched a petition to demand that
government avails Nevirapine to HIV-positive expectant women at all health
centres throughout the country by 1 December 2002," a WASN spokeswoman said

      "If the government refuses, legal action will follow because we
already have a precedent in South Africa. But we hope we do not have to go
that far. We are working on programmes to conscientise the public."

      South African AIDS activists last year won a court case to force their
government to provide free Nevirapine to HIV-positive pregnant women giving
birth at state hospitals.

      WASN said although the drug was being supplied free of charge in
Zimbabwe, it remained largely unavailable to most HIV-positive pregnant
women and private medical practitioners.

      The organisation said only 35 health centres in Zimbabwe offered
Nevirapine to HIV- positive expectant mothers, yet it is estimated that out
of the 600 000 Zimbabweans who give birth annually, 200 000 of them are
HIV-positive and 30 percent transmit the virus to their babies.

      This means that between 55 000 and 60 000 babies are born infected
every year.

      "Given these figures and the fact that half the year has already
passed with less than 35 centres offering Nevirapine, WASN questions the
government's commitment to the programme," WASN said.

      The NGO said it was concerned that conditions set by the government
for health centres applying for Nevirapine would not be met because most
centres were short-staffed and their standards had deteriorated, especially
in rural areas where half of Zimbabweans live.

      The conditions stipulate that health centres must have adequate AIDS
counsellors, nurses, doctors and medical equipment.

      WASN said: "If the government is to put such measures, most of the
centres will not qualify to participate in the programme, particularly in
rural areas where the bulk of women are based. To us as WASN, this is

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      Independent editors launch forum

      Staff Reporter
      6/13/02 2:53:49 AM (GMT +2)

      EDITORS of Zimbabwe's independent news media yesterday launched a
national editors' forum to promote and defend Press freedom and free speech
in the country, taking a leaf from a similar initiative already in existence
in neighbouring South Africa.

      The Zimbabwe National Editors' Forum (ZINEF) was launched by editors
Geoff Nyarota of the Daily News, Francis Mdlongwa of the Financial Gazette,
Iden Wetherell of the Independent, Bornwell Chakaodza of the Standard and
Parade's Chiza Ngwira.

      Nyarota, named ZINEF's interim head, said: "ZINEF is designed to
provide a mechanism for consultation and policy formulation around issues of
freedom of the Press.

      "ZINEF's objectives will be to protect editors against victimisa-tion
for carrying out their professional duties and to defend and promote media
freedom, to nurture and deepen media freedom as a democratic value in all
communities and at all levels of society."

      He said the forum would press the government to promote transparency
and accountability in public administration and to encourage media diversity
to foster free speech.

      Nyarota said all media editors in Zimbabwe were free to join the forum
but said their applications would be subjected to a review by their peers,
focusing especially on the individual editors' demonstrable adherence to
defending and upholding media freedom.

      The formation of ZINEF comes at a time when the government is cracking
down on journalists for alleged abuses of media privilege.

      Several journalists, editors, lawyers and members of the public have
been arrested in the past few months under the govern-ment's sweeping Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Public Order and
Security Act.

      The government has also established a media commission manned by
ruling ZANU PF loyalists, which is supposed to register media organisations,
accredit journalists and monitor professional standards.

      Nyarota told journalists yesterday: "Enquiries made to the chairman of
the commission suggest that the commission regards all media organisations
already registered under the Companies Act to be duly registered 'for the
time being' by the commission.

      "The Minister of Information and Publicity (Jonathan Moyo) is supposed
to issue regulations for this (registration) under the Act.

      "No such regulations have been made to date and no forms exist for
registration. Nor has any indication been given as to the quantum of the
fees. Until we have seen the prescribed regulations for registration, we
reserve our rights under the law.

      "We are, together with publishers, currently taking legal advice on
what form any challenge to the Act should take."
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      Mugabe under EU spotlight again

      6/13/02 2:52:35 AM (GMT +2)

      THE general affairs council of the 15-nation European Union (EU) will
on Monday to consider a report on Zimbabwe submitted by an EU team which has
just visited southern Africa, it was learnt yesterday.

      The delegation met several southern African leaders in a bid to
pressure them to act on Zimbabwe's lawlessness and descent into chaos.

      The EU has already imposed targeted travel bans into Europe on
President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle, among other sanctions.

      The EU's representative in Harare, Francesca Mosca, told the Financial
Gazette yesterday: "No decision has been made (after the EU's mission to
southern Africa). A report will be submitted to the general affairs council
on Monday, June 17.

      "The report will be examined during the meeting next week and then
there will be a discussion. I don't know what decision will be made."

      Mosca would not disclose what the team discussed during its southern
Africa safari.

      Meanwhile EU parliamentarian Glenys Kinnock this week called for the
stepping up of EU sanctions against Mugabe, who attended a United Nations
(UN) food summit in Rome earlier this week despite the EU travel ban.

      Addressing the 626-member EU Parliament in Strasborg, Kinnock, who is
also a British Labour MP, said: "Mugabe is using these UN meetings to parade
himself in Europe in defiance of our ban while the people in his country
suffer because of his policies.

      "The EU must keep up the pressure and extend the impact of its
sanctions while continuing to deliver aid to the needy in Zimbabwe. We must
not confuse our campaign against Mugabe with the need to maintain
humanitarian assistance."

      She said Mugabe, who under international law can enter Europe or the
United States only to attend UN summits, must not be allowed to enjoy any
shopping trips or tourism while in Rome.

      Conservative MP Geoffrey Van Orden added: "President Mugabe's visit to
the World Food Summit in Rome is an act of astounding hypocrisy. The mass
food shortages and starvation in many parts of Zimbabwe can be attributed in
significant measure to his misgovernment and corrupt land reforms.

      "The fact that he is able to travel to Rome at all is a mockery of
international law and of the EU's travel ban. The international community
must find more effective ways of controlling the actions of Mugabe and his

      The EU has been under pressure to widen its sanctions against Zimbabwe
's ruling elite, which are presently limited to Mugabe and 20 other

      Travel bans have also been imposed on Zimbabwean leaders by the United
States, New Zealand, Canada and Switzerland in protest against lawlessness
and what they say is an illegitimate government that retained power after a
flawed election in March.

      Washington last week said it was considering further action on Mugabe.
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      MDC wants Parliament to oversee food aid

      Staff Reporter
      6/13/02 2:49:22 AM (GMT +2)

      OPPOSITION Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan
Tsvangirai yesterday said the MDC is planning to approach legislators about
creating a bi-partisan parliamentary committee to oversee the distribution
of food aid in Zimbabwe.

      The proposal follows allegations that ruling ZANU PF supporters are
preventing suspected MDC members from getting food handouts in areas hit by

      A Denmark-based non-governmental agency, Physicians for Human Rights,
says it uncovered widespread discrimination against MDC supporters in food
distribution, even in areas receiving aid from international agencies during
a survey last month.

      Similar accusations have been made by Zimbabwean witnesses in several
parts of the country, including Bulawayo.

      Tsvangirai yesterday said: "Our position is very clear on the food
situation. We want it to be co-ordinated by a bi-partisan parliamentary
committee from the two political parties - that is ZANU PF and MDC.

      "We are going to approach Parliament on the issue because that is
where you've got ZANU and MDC having a common ground."

      He said the committee should include representatives from the
government-run Grain Marketing Board and non-governmental organisations.

      "We propose a way of effectively de-politicising the food
distribution, a tripartite distribution arrangement involving the
administration, specifically the Grain Marketing Board, local churches and
participating NGOs," Tsvangirai said.

      "This mechanism will be complemented by a bi-partite arrangement on an
equal parliamentary representative basis involving the two major parties. It
is only such a distribution mechanism that can ensure that the distribution
of grain in the country is fair."

      He said the MDC would not approach President Robert Mugabe's
government on the proposed distribution of food aid because the
administration is illegitimate.

      United Nations agencies estimate that about six million Zimbabweans -
almost half the population - need emergency food aid between now and next
year. Harare authorities say as many as 7.6 million people face starvation.

      Zimbabwe is facing its worst humanitarian crisis caused by a
combination of drought and the government's chaotic land reforms and farm
seizures which have disrupted farming and slashed output from agriculture.
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ABC Australia

Thu, Jun 13 2002 9:45 AM AEST

PM contemplates Zimbabwe sanctions

Prime Minister John Howard says it is time to consider what he calls "smart
sanctions" against Zimbabwe.

In March a committee of three heads of state led by Mr Howard decided to
suspend Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth, after the controversial election
that returned President Robert Mugabe to power.

But Mr Howard has told Sydney radio he is now ready to reconvene the
committee to consider stronger action.

"The behaviour of that government has gone from bad to worse and I think
they are going to face a stronger reaction than many of them have imagined,"
he said.
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      Govt meets less than 1% of foreign commitments

      By Joseph Ngwawi Business News Editor
      6/13/02 12:20:41 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Zimbabwe government, which faces possible expulsion from the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) over non-payment of its foreign debt, paid
only $31 million (US$570 000) to external creditors during the first quarter
of this year, less than one percent of what it had budgeted to spend in the
first three months of 2002.
      Finance Minister Simba Makoni had budgeted in the 2002 national budget
to spend more than $30.1 billion on the repayment of foreign loans and
bonds. This translated to equal payments of more than $2.5 billion a month
or $7.5 billion for each quarter of the year.

      But, according to figures released this week by the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ), the Treasury only paid $31.4 million to the country's
external creditors between January and March or 0.42 percent of the budgeted

      Analysts this week said the defaults on the government's foreign
obligations mirrored the deepening hard cash crisis Zimbabwe is facing.

      "It all shows that the arrears on the country's foreign debt have
increased further during the past few months," said economist Witness

      The arrears on Zimbabwe's external debt are estimated at more than
US$1 billion, with the bulk of the money owed to the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, which are owed US$122.4 million and US$109.7
million respectively.

      The IMF board was expected to meet in Washington yesterday to decide
whether to expel Zimbabwe from the organisation for non-payment of its

      However, despite the government's failure to meet its external
obligations for the first quarter of the year, Zimbabwe's budget deficit
stood at more than 12 percent of annualised gross domestic product (GDP) in
the first three months of 2002, compared to about seven percent of GDP
during the same period in 2001.

      "The deficit could be higher than that if the authorities had been
meeting their foreign obligations," said consultant economist John

      The RBZ said the budget deficit between January and March 2002 was
$28.1 billion compared to only $9.4 billion during the first three months of
last year.

      Zimbabwe's annual GDP is projected at about $928 billion this year
compared to $488 billion in 2001 although the increase is attributed to
rising inflation, which stood at 114 percent in April 2002.

      This translates to GDP of about $232 billion for the first quarter of
2002 and $122 billion for the period between January and March last year,
assuming the output is evenly spread throughout the 12 months.

      According to the central bank's figures, total government revenue
between January and March was $55.7 billion while expenditure amounted to
$83.9 billion, resulting in a budget deficit of $28.1 billion.

      "This was financed from domestic bank sources, (which accounted for)
$25 461.6 million, domestic non-bank sources ($2 614.2 million) and proceeds
from the sale of assets ($10.2 million)," said the RBZ in its latest Monthly

      The bulk of the expenditure was accounted for by the government's
salary bill, which consumed more than $26.5 billion while transfers took up
another $16.4 billion.

      Analysts said the deficit was expected to increase this year due to
the government's pressing expenditure commitments, including food imports
and part of the outstanding foreign debt.

      "We expect the budget deficit for this year to rise due to expenditure
commitments for the government," Chinyama said.

      Makoni had initially forecast the budget deficit for this year at 14.9
percent of GDP.
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FinGaz - National Agenda

                  Roots of Zimbabwe's economic collapse

                  Daniel Ndlela
                  6/13/02 12:16:30 AM (GMT +2)

                  THE unprecedented meltdown of Zimba-bwe's economy can
easily be traced to self-engineered political instability by the present
government. Subsequently the roots of political instability further led to
economic mismanagement and corruption in the economy.

                  When in November 1997 it was announced that war veterans
were to be given unbudgeted payments of magnitude which threatened fiscal
targets, external investors bolted out of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and
the domestic market foresaw an imminent devaluation - the Zimbabwe dollar
crashed by almost a fourth of its value in local currency terms and
continued to slide until the end of that year.

                  The currency crisis had suddenly surfaced against the
background of a relatively optimistic and confident mood that had prevailed
in the economy during the first and second quarters of that year. This
proved to be the start of a real crisis of management of the economy, with
the exchange rate only showing the symptoms of the cancer.

                  It also brought into sharp focus the importance of
redressing underlying fundamental weaknesses in the economy, as well as
fostering confidence in economic management.

                  The response of the authorities to this crisis worsened
the export climate. Currency collapse to Z$38 to the United States dollar,
rising inflation and declining exports set the stage for decline into
negative economic growth (-4.2 percent in 2000, -7.3 percent in 2001, with
the latest official growth estimated to be minus-nine percent in 2002, but
put at -12 percent by independent economists), taking cumulative decline in
gross domestic product (GDP) since 1998 to over 20 percent.

                  Twenty years of overspending through appropriation of
resources by the government (on wrong things) resulted in high deficits,
accumulating debt and underlying inflation pressure. This led to massive
accumulation of interest burden in the budget which reached self-sustaining
levels of 69 cents in revenue dollar in 2000. Inflation reached an all-time
high of 117 percent in January 2002 and is expected to peak at around 140
percent in the second and third quarters of the year.

                  By the end of 1999 the Zimbabwean economy was already in a
severe macroeconomic crisis: GDP had fallen to below two percent, inflation
had averaged 58.5 percent and exports had stagnated, forcing sharp
contraction of imports. Instead of formulating an agenda to tackle this
downward tumble of the economy, the government pursued a political agenda
that had further adverse impacts in the economic sphere.

                  From February 2000, the government of Zimbabwe voluntarily
abrogated the rule of law by allowing farm invasions, political harassment
and murders with the police standing by and taking sides with the ruling
party. The underlying causes of Zimbabwe's economic crisis had started, with
its political roots embedded in two main factors:

                  - economic activity disruptions as a result of
state-sponsored lawlessness; and

                  - brushing aside decisions of the law courts by the
sitting government. This clearly undermined business confidence, affected
current output and decimated investment, causing fuel shortages,
accumulation of arrears in international payments and an increase in the
budget deficit from 15 percent to 24 percent of GDP.

                  Up to the 2002 presidential elections it had become the
norm that the response of the authorities on intervention in the economy
significantly worsens the situation, especially the investment climate and
export environment, for example:

                  - a decline in export receipts from US$3.108 million in
1996 to US$1.965 million in 2001 - a cumulative decline of 37 percent -
which is the main reason for the current extreme shortage of foreign
exchange, setting the stage for declines in negative economic growth numbers
of - 4.2 percent and -7.3 percent GDP growth in 2000 and 2001 respectively;

                  - lunemployment at a record 60 percent;

                  - inflation at an all-time high of 117 percent and still
steadily and steeply going up to hyperinflationary levels;

                  - many businesses closing down, foreign investment having
dried up, donors having frozen aid;

                  - 90 percent of the people are facing starvation with
absolutely no food in the Grain Marketing Board's silos - thus plunging the
country and its people into a deep crisis of food shortages with maize meal,
the main staple, being completely unavailable in the country;

                  - more price controls likely but these having only
marginal impact on inflation figures, which are themselves increasingly
meaningless since the authorities are using the official prices for
non-existent commodities like maize meal and cooking oil to cushion the
inflation rate.

                  Government's response to the economic crisis

                  The government has refused to acknowledge the importance
of the environment under which economic progress takes place, and that any
improvement of macroeconomic management, investment, liberalisation of
markets and trade and widening of the space for the private sector activity
have to be invariably underpinned by good governance and civil peace.

                  However, after the 2000 elections the minister of finance
cautiously mentioned in Parliament that the economy needed peace, stability,
law and order, credibility and confidence and said that the "relevant
authorities in the government are addressing these concerns". By this
statement the minister was admitting that the country's unprecedented
economic crisis is largely a symptom of a more fundamental political crisis.

                  If we take this further, it becomes clear that
technocratic "economic" policy packages have no chance of success unless
political actions are taken to restore a minimally acceptable economic

                  Thus from 1997 the ZANU PF government adopted a total
irresponsible politically driven economic management system that finally
culminated in the 2000 illegal farm invasions and violent disruptions of
economic activities that have proved that such venality leads to
unsustainable and irretrievable economic downfall of the economy.

                  Indeed even if the ZANU PF government managed to pull back
the deficit from 24 percent in 2000 to 12 percent in 2001 by stage-managing
negative interest rate policy from the beginning of 2001 (or whatever -
final figures which were never released for 2001), from 2002, when the food
and land costs have been factored in, the budget deficit should rise back to
24 percent again. This proves that there is no alternative to going back and
restoring political legitimacy and stability.

                  International isolation

                  Zimbabwe is now being ostracised by her major traditional
trading partners. While there are no explicit measures that are being
imposed by regional partners - the Southern Africa Development Community
(SADC), the Common Market for East and Southern Africa and the African
Union - Zimbabwe has been effectively isolated from many international
regional pacts currently enjoyed by other countries in the region, for
example the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) facility, the
implementation of the Cotonou Agreement and recently the New Partnership for
Africa's Development (NEPAD).

                  In the last two years a lot of investment opportunities
were lost as a result of the country being ineligible to the AGOA. On its
part the NEPAD, a development programme initiated by African leaders, is a
comprehensive integrated development plan that addresses key social,
economic and political priorities for the African continent designed to put
Africa on a sustainable growth path. Zimbabwe has been completely excluded
from all of the NEPAD's five programme elements, namely:

                  - Political governance including peace and security and
conflict resolution;

                  - Economic and corporate governance including measurement
of economic governance and peer review mechanism;

                  - Infrastructure including information and communication
technology, water, sanitation, transport and energy;

                  - Agricultural market access including harmonisation of
standards to encourage intra-African trade;

                  - Financial and banking standards including capital flows
and mobilisation of domestic resources and identifying goals, criteria and
mechanisms for debt reduction.

                  Zimbabwe will certainly have an uneasy time in accessing
conditions for participating and let alone negotiating the European
Union-sponsored Economic Partnership Arrangements with its SADC partners on
one hand and the European Commission on the other.

                  But economic turnaround does not come about on its own and
especially the reversal of an economic destruction of the magnitude that has
visited Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe cannot continue to ignore the key requirements
for economic and social recovery all of which are political in nature.

                  Meanwhile for the ordinary person there are no jobs, no
staple food in the shops let alone the wherewithal to purchase the food, no
affordable transport, education and health facilities.

                  In order to reverse this level of economic crisis and
bring back the country to a state of normalcy, it is clear that the ZANU PF
government has to draw back and address the political instability stance
that is at the very root of the current economic crisis.

                  According to Article 9 (2) and (4) of the Cotonou
Agreement which Zimbabwe signed as part of the ACP states the Parties to the
agreement ". reiterate their deep attachment to human dignity and human
rights, which are legitimate aspirations of individuals and peoples, .
undertake to promote and protect all fundamental freedoms and human rights,
be they civil and political, or economic, social and cultural." and that
they "shall actively support the promotion of human rights, processes of
democratisation, consolidation of the rule of law, and good governance."

                  Thus the Cotonou Agreement, which Zimbabwe is a signatory
clearly defines human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law as
the essential elements and recognises that respect for these elements
constitutes an integral part of sustainable development.

                  Confidence-building measures

                  The primary casualty in the Zimbabwean economy was the
destruction of business confidence and especially that of the private
sector. For economic recovery to happen the Zimbabweans cannot continue to
ignore answering the big questions that haunt the nation, namely:

                  - the restoration of the rule of law;

                  - putting land reform onto a sound, development-oriented

                  - putting into place a credible and serious stabilisation
and recovery programme; and

                  - efforts to ensure that export climate is restored.

                  The question is whether the government is prepared to
re-engage and re-establish broken relationships both internally and

                  In order to solve Zimbabwe's economic decline, the nation
has to first resolve its political embedded problem and only then can
Zimbabwe start working on a sustained economic stability growth path.
Ignoring this question is tantamount to act irresponsibly which will plunge
the economy into further collapse.

                  It is obvious to everyone that without a return to
political stability, Zimbabwe cannot hope to address the following economic

                  - the scrapping of price controls on basic goods;

                  - resolution of the foreign currency crisis;

                  - ensuring of the country's food security; and

                  - re-introducing investor confidence in the economy.

                  But dire-hard to its overall political ideology and
attitude of the government, in the past one month alone the wave of illegal
farm invasions, occupation and destruction of farm properties, evictions of
farm owners and farm labourers and their families intensified on a scale of
monstrous and wanton destruction of property values. The results are there
for everyone to see - an unprecedented economic collapse.

                  Daniel Ndlela is an independent economic consultant.
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FinGaz - Public Eye

                  The fight for democracy needs commitment to democracy

                  Masipula Sithole
                  6/13/02 1:55:41 AM (GMT +2)

                  IS it possible that the democracy project can be mounted
by people who, philosophically, do not believe in electoral democracy?

                  The argument is that the ruling party and its leadership
don't believe in democracy and, therefore, cannot mount the democracy
project that the present and future demand.

                  The ruling party's antipathy and contempt for electoral
democracy goes a long way into the history of the party. In the mid-70s a
debate raged within the party whether the "party leads the gun or the gun
leads the party". The philosophy that the "gun leads the party" triumphed in
an unsettled debate.

                  In a radio broadcast from Maputo in 1976 as he rose to the
ZANU PF leadership during the liberation struggle, President Robert Mugabe
summed up his view of electoral democracy when he said: "Our votes must go
together with our guns. After all, any vote we shall have shall have been
the product of the gun. The gun which produces the vote should remain its
security officer - its guarantor. The people's votes and the people's guns
are always inseparable twins."

                  This view camouflages a basic contempt for electoral
democracy in that it is actually saying the gun is the more important of the
"inseparable twins". If the twins have to be separated, the vote is readily
sacrificed for the gun.

                  ZANU PF has demonstrated this ever since it attained power
in 1980; admittedly, power guaranteed it by its control of the gun.
Zimbabweans have, therefore, been held hostage to the gun ever since

                  The ZANU PF regime consolidated itself in the 80s through
the use of the gun that crushed the rival PF ZAPU culminating in the forced
"Unity Accord" of December 22 1987. In each successive election since
independence, the gun has been the "security officer", the "guarantor" of
the votes for Mugabe and ZANU PF who have not at all hesitated to use it.

                  ZANU PF's commitment to the use of the gun has increased
as its popularity decreased, more so since the referendum defeat of February
2000 and in the advent of a formidable opposition party, the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).

                  The June 2000 parliamentary elections, the subsequent
by-elections and ultimately the controversial March 2002 presidential
election demonstrate this commitment to a violent strategy as popular
support shrunk.

                  More revealing is the almost pathological obsession with
violence in the ZANU PF leadership that seems to increase with age. In 2000,
Mugabe boasted having "degrees in violence".

                  Even the enlightened Nathan Shamuyarira took delight in
the party's violent history: "The area of violence is an area where ZANU PF
has a very long, long and successful history."

                  Nobody in the ZANU PF leadership is known for ever
condemning violence as a method of gaining votes; none whatsoever. What is
even more alarming in all this is the psych of the generality of the ZANU PF
party membership. They have this "ZANU ndeyeropa" (ZANU is for bloody)
mentality. They accept the use of political violence willy-nilly as
legitimate. They don't talk about political violence except when considering
to use more of it.

                  "If we lose the elections to the MDC, we are going back to
the trenches". What more antipathy and contempt for electoral democracy than

                  The question is: can such a party and leadership preside
over the democracy project that the present and future demands? Or the
project requires a new type of leadership, a leadership with a different

                  We had thought transformation was possible after the June
parliamentary elections when Mugabe brought what we thought were "Young
Turks", the "technocrats", into his Cabinet. "They would give the party a
new face, a new orientation," we thought.

                  How mistaken we were.

                  It turned out that most of them were actually worse than
the "old guard" they were supposed to replace. In fact, they sought to
outperform the "old guard" in regressive thinking and in antiquated ways of
doing things.

                  Professor Jonathan Moyo's ideas on information and
propaganda were more reactionary than those of Shamuyarira and Chen
Chimutengwende combined. (By the way, where is Chen?).

                  Joseph Made sought to recklessly outperform the pragmatic
Kumbirai Kangai in land reform.

                  The late Border Gezi was miles ahead of Moven Mahachi as
political commissar in mobilising the party for commandist politics when the
world was turning its back on commandist politics. After Gezi, Cde Elliot
Manyika's "Zvinoda Vakashinga" approach is in no way appealing to the
Zimbabwean democratic instincts.

                  The other "technocrats" (you know them) were "innocuous
middle-of-the-roaders" who were lured by the naďve belief that ZANU PF
yachinja maitiro. When he discovered to the contrary, Nkosana Moyo resigned
and ran away into exile for fear of violent death.

                  But all these observations camouflage the fact that,
though frail, the "old guard" are still in control of the party.

                  Mugabe and his two deputies - Simon Muzenda and Joseph
Msika - are in the presidency of both the country and the party. John Nkomo,
Emmerson Mnangagwa and Shamuyarira are party national chairman, secretary
for administration and information and publicity secretary respectively.

                  Can these and the types of "Young Turks" recruited to join
them in 2000 take on the responsibility of mounting a successful democracy
project? It is possible, but highly unlikely.

                  Professor Masipula Sithole is a lecturer of political
science at the University of Zimbabwe and director of the Harare-based Mass
Public Opinion Institute.
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      Zim soldiers in Congo food scam

      Staff Reporter
      6/13/02 2:48:22 AM (GMT +2)

      AN unspecified number of Zimbabwean army officers have been suspended
from duty on charges they masterminded a million-dollar racket in which food
meant for southern African forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
(DRC) was diverted and sold on the black market.

      A Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) spokesman told the Financial Gazette
this week the soldiers, who include senior Zimbabwe National Army officers
responsible for sourcing and transporting food rations to troops in the DRC,
are being tried under a court martial.

      He did not say how many suspects were involved in the racket.

      "In this case, the involved servicemen had the duty to source and
transport the rations on behalf of the SADC allied troops deployed in the
DRC," the ZDF spokesman said without giving any further details.

      "There is a court martial presently going on. Since the matter is
under the courts, we cannot give you further information."

      Sources however said the officers would divert trucks and wagons
containing food rations destined for soldiers operating under the auspices
of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and sell the loot to

      The defence forces spokesman however said Zimbabwe was not prejudiced
by the racket, understood to have been going on since SADC forces moved into
the former Zaire in 1998 to prop up the beleaguered government of slain
Congolese leader Laurent Kabila.

      "Under the SADC allied forces arrangements/agreement, the DRC
government finances the rations demands," he said.

      Zimbabwe has more than 7 000 soldiers stationed in the DRC while other
SADC allies Namibia and Angola have pulled out their troops in line with
ceasefire accords signed by the combatants in Zambia nearly two years ago.
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      Private media challenges compulsory registration

      Staff Reporter
      6/13/02 2:53:08 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S private media organisations yesterday said they were taking
legal advice on the legality of sections of the government's tough
information laws as a June 16 deadline for the registration of publishing
houses looms.

      Heads of the country's private media organisations said they would
comply in protest with provisions of the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act to register by Sunday because they risked having
their operating licences cancelled.

      Under the draconian media laws, masterminded by Information Minister
Jonathan Moyo last year but passed by Parliament early this year, no company
will be allowed to run a newspaper, radio and television station or an
advertising agency after June 16 unless they are registered by a Media and
Information Commission hand-picked by Moyo.

      No one would also be allowed to practice as a journalist from Monday
next week unless he is accredited by the commission chaired by staunch ZANU
PF supporter Tafataona Mahoso, who also heads the journalism school at the
Harare Polytechnic.

      The commission can refuse to accredit any journalist or media house.

      "We are going to register as required but will challenge the Act in
court in an action we are jointly taking with the Zimbabwe Independent and
MISA," said Elias Rusike, the chief executive officer of the Financial

      Sipepa Nkomo, chief executive of the Associated Newspapers Zimbabwe
(ANZ), said: "Our position is that we will go ahead and register but there
are some objectionable sections in the Act that we feel need to be looked

      He said the ANZ, which publishes the Daily News and has been the focus
of a government crackdown on the private media in the past two years, was
taking legal advice over the issue.

      The media houses also said there was confusion over the criteria to be
used during the registration process.

      Trevor Ncube, publisher of the Zimbabwe Independent and Standard
weeklies, said he was repeatedly referred from Moyo's ministry to the media
commission when he tried to find out how the registration would take place.

      "We were eventually told by Mahoso that our registration with the
registrar of companies will do for the time being but we are taking legal
advice with regards the implications of the Act itself," Ncube said

      Mahoso and Moyo could not be reached for comment.

      Meanwhile, the cost of newsprint and printing charges surged by an
average 15 percent in the past week, exerting more pressure on the already
shrinking margins of Zimbabwe's troubled publishing industry.

      According to Mutare Board and Paper Mills, which is the largest
supplier of newsprint to the publishing industry, the price of newsprint
rose by 17.5 percent on June10 and prices will now be reviewed weekly until
further notice due to volatility in the exchange rate.

      Rusike said the constant increases in newsprint costs and printing
charges would force most publishers to reduce the number of copies they
print a day or week in order to remain afloat.

      "The sad part of the whole exercise is that it is the consumer who is
going to suffer because there is no way we are able to pass on the recent
increases in costs.

      "As publishers, the only course of action at the moment is to reduce
our already controlled print run," he said.

      Ncube said the latest hike in the cost of production was likely to
trigger another round of increases in the cover price and advertising rates.

      "We have to ultimately pass on some of these costs to our clients, the
readers and advertisers," Ncube said.
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      NGOs meet over internal refugee crisis

      By Nqobile Nyathi Assistant Editor
      6/13/02 3:01:05 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE's non-governmental organisations (NGOs) meet next week to
consider local solutions to the country's internal refugee crisis after
failing to mobilise international aid but NGO representatives fear the
problem is almost insurmountable.
      In April, the NGOs approached international humanitarian agencies for
assistance in dealing with more than 50 000 people who have been forced to
flee their homes because of political violence that has disturbed the
country since 2000.

      Solutions suggested to international agencies included the
establishment of a "tented" city in Harare, where most of the displaced
people have fled to, and the provision of food and other necessities.

      Although international humanitarian organisa-tions are providing some
assistance for programmes caring for internally displaced people, NGO
representatives this week said they had not been able to mobilise the kind
of support they wanted.

      "The scale of the problem is not yet big enough for them to act," Tim
Neill, one of the organisers, told the Financial Gazette.

      "They act when the numbers of internally displaced people approach

      "We haven't got anywhere near those numbers yet and they really can't
help us out."

      Andrew Nongogo, spokesman for NGO coalition Crisis in Zimbabwe, said
the international agencies had indicated that they wanted to continue
working within United Nations progra-mmes already in place in Zimbabwe.

      "They decided that they were going to continue with their work with
the WFP (World Food Programme) and not try to do anything extra because of
the politics around the issue," he said.

      "They said they already have great difficulty anyway in raising food
and they didn't see the likelihood of being able to generate any more."

      The WFP has since last October been working on a programme that is
targeting more than 500 000 people in six Zimbabwean provinces for food aid,
but has received a slow response from donors to pleas for assistance.

      The UN agency, which together with the Food and Agriculture
Organisation estimates that about six million Zimbabweans - nearly half the
population - need emergency food aid, is likely to expand the number of
targeted beneficiaries.

      But NGO officials said very few, if any, of these beneficiaries were
likely to be internally displaced people who are scattered around Zimbabwe
and are not well known in the communities they have fled to.

      "They are not in their locality and in their new neighbourhood they
are not known," Nongogo pointed out. "To get on that (food distribution)
list is a problem.

      "We are going to sit down next week and try to see what we can do
locally. It will be the NGOs, the churches, trying to find out if there are
other ways we can approach the problem."

      But NGO officials said the task was almost insurmountable because of
various obstacles facing organisations trying to assist internally displaced

      These include grain shortages, the govern-ment's refusal to grant
permits to aid bodies to import food and the state-run Grain Marketing Board
(GMB)'s monopoly over grain distribution, a result of the severe maize and
wheat shortages facing Zimbabwe.

      "We can't get grain from the GMB because we are not millers and
because they are facing shortages themselves," Nongogo said.

      "We can't buy grain from people because that's not allowed. We can try
and get ground mealie-meal from millers, which is what we have been doing,
but this is not a long-term solution. This is a serious problem that is
going to require very innovative solutions."

      Other obstacles include the alleged control of food distribution in
rural areas by ruling ZANU PF activists who are preventing opposition party
supporters and their children from accessing food.

      NGOs said the lack of definitive statistics on internally displaced
people could also hamper the establishment of support systems, which have to
provide shelter, food and counselling for people traumatised by violence and

      In a report on a survey of displaced farm workers, Amani Trust, which
works with victims of political torture, said:

      "Using the data derived from the present study, a very crude estimate
would then be derived in the following way from the above findings: take all
high-risk farms, those with multiple reports of gross human rights
violations; calculate the rates of gross human rights violations at 71
percent of all adults; calculate the rates of gross human rights violations
at 55 percent of all children; calculate the rate of psychological disorder
at 81 percent of all adults.

      "Now this may seem to lead to impossibly high rates, but in the
absence of proper epidemiological investigations, it is vital to have some
estimate of social and medical requirements.

      "It is clearly better in the current humanitarian crisis to err on the
side of generosity than design helping systems that miss problems.

      "It is evident that the overall number of persons affected by the
events of the past two years will be exceedingly high indeed, and there is a
pressing need both for epidemiological investigations into the prevalence of
trauma disorders as well as an urgent need to design adequate helping
systems that do not marginalise any sector of the community."

      Analysts say these problems are likely to be compounded by the large
numbers of farm workers who would have been displaced at the conclusion of
the government's controversial land reform programme in August.

      By then, all commercial farmers who have been issued Section 8 notices
demanding that they cease farming should have left their properties.

      Neill said: "We are first of all trying to find out what exactly is
happening by getting some idea of the scale of the problem. The bottom line
is that there has been displacement affecting thousands of people.

      "What everyone is worried about is what will happen come August when
farmers who have received Section 8 notices have to leave their farms. What'
s going to happen to all these workers?"

      Nongogo added: "This is just the bottom end of the problem. It must be
seen in the context of the larger food situation. We are facing starvation
and we do not even have the capacity to deliver grain."

      Opposition Movement for Democratic Change president Morgan Tsvangirai
this week said Zimbabwe had to import about 150 000 tonnes of maize and
wheat per month to avert starvation, but the country did not have the
infrastructure for this.

      "The task is probably beyond the capacity of regional ports and
railways, which also have to cater for the food needs of other countries in
the region. This is a worrying development to us as starvation in the
country is becoming a certainty," he said.
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CFU expresses concern 
6/13/02 9:11:58 AM (GMT +2)
Farming Reporter
THE Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) has expressed concern over the continued poaching and snaring of wildlife and stock theft with little co-operation from the police.
In its latest Farm Invasions And Security Report the CFU said: “Poaching and theft seem to be on the increase with minimal reaction or co-operation from the police in general.
“Poaching and snaring of animal continues on a daily basis . . .
“The majority of producers predict a 50 percent reduction of animals and in some cases approaching total annihilation.
The safari industry will face collapse shortly if the situation continues. Snaring is indiscriminate with many young and pregnant animals killed, along with rare and scarce species.”
Last month the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF) said there has been an unprecedented level of poaching activities in most conservancies as people take advantage of the chaotic two-year-old land reform.
But the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management quickly dismissed the ZCTF’s assertions and said between 2000 and April this year, only 27 rhino and 92 elephants had died either as a result of poaching, natural mortality, intraspecific fights or to some unknown causes.
Wildlife worth about $100 million has been lost to poaching, illegal movement of wildlife, overhunting, subsistence and commercial poaching in ranches and other game areas.
The CFU said poaching and theft were rife mostly in the Save Conservancy, Chiredzi, Kadoma, Gutu and Nyamandlovu areas.
“In Chiredzi, poaching is ongoing in this area, fast becoming a lucrative business caused by hunger and the unavailability of mealie-meal,” said the CFU.
“At Wasara Ranch two poachers were arrested last week. “An anti-poaching unit is said to be on Eureka Ranch Mwenezi.
Mkumi Ranch reports six goats and eight sheep were stolen in broad daylight.
A Battlefields Ranch security guard apprehended a settler with a donkey cart in possession of warthog meat.
The guard confiscated the meat and impounded the donkey cart until the police’s arrival.”
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