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

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Business Day

09 March 2005
'Compliance' with poll rules a transparent sham
Dumisani Muleya

THREE weeks before Zimbabwe's crucial general elections, there is fierce
debate about whether or not they will be free and fair. President Thabo
Mbeki and his deputy, Jacob Zuma, have already made their position clear:
there is no reason to think anyone would thwart a free and fair poll.

Their statements seem calculated to lay the ground for yet another regional
whitewash - the third in five years - of what, by all indications, is likely
to be a hotly disputed poll result.

Everybody who follows events in Zimbabwe will know that the measures its
government touts as reforms are a smokescreen, and woefully inadequate to
protect the integrity of the election.

Either Mbeki and Zuma sincerely believe that the half-measures taken by
President Robert Mugabe suffice, or they are trying to prepare everyone for
another airbrushing. It is also possible they are honestly ignorant of
conditions in Zimbabwe.

Their position will not help in resolving Zimbabwe's political and economic
crisis, which they have been battling to deal with for the past five years.
If anything, it will make the situation worse.

By any objective measure, Zimbabwe has not been able to comply adequately
with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) principles governing
democratic elections in the region.

As George Orwell said, we have sunk to a depth at which restatement of the
obvious is the first duty of all intelligent men. In a time of universal
deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

The SADC's electoral guidelines are as clear as Zimbabwe's failure to comply
with them.

Member states should allow full participation of citizens in the political
process; freedom of association; political tolerance; regular elections;
equal access by political parties to the state media; equal opportunity to
exercise the right to vote and be voted for; and voter education. The
guidelines also urge impartiality of electoral institutions and independence
of the judiciary, as well as the need to accept the results.

SADC member states are required to establish "impartial, all-inclusive,
competent, and accountable national electoral bodies staffed by qualified
personnel". Countries also have to respect freedom of movement, assembly and
expression, and "take all necessary measures and precautions to prevent the
perpetration of fraud, rigging, or any other illegal practices throughout
the whole electoral process".

Mbeki says Zimbabwe has set up an independent electoral commission, opened
up the public media and dealt with violence and intimidation. While this is
true, it is equally true to say the electoral commission is stuffed with
progovernment supporters.

Its chairman was appointed by Mugabe, and has close ties with the ruling
Zanu (PF). All the key election processes were in place before his

Media curbs and closures remain, voter education is still a state monopoly,
observers are restricted, and intimidation remains Zanu (PF)'s stock in
trade. At least 10 opposition candidates have been arrested while
campaigning or putting up posters.

Although there is now an electoral court, its judges were appointed by a
chief justice who is seen as a government ally.

The other so-called reforms include the changing of the number of voting
days from two to one; the introduction of transparent ballot boxes; and
counting of votes at polling stations. While these are important, they do
not address the root causes of the problem: a hostile political climate and
a chaotic voters' roll which includes tens of thousands of "ghost" voters.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change's rallies continue to be
disrupted by the police, while Zanu (PF) is given free rein. Antigovernment
protests are as good as banned under repressive laws.

Of all the SADC conditions, the only one that Zimbabwe meets is that of
regular elections.

Concealing circumstances, distorting facts and ignoring the evidence of
noncompliance, as Mugabe and his supporters are trying to do, will only
expose the charade that Zimbabwe's election will be.

- Muleya is Harare correspondent.

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Access to state media allegedly skewed

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

JOHANNESBURG, 9 Mar 2005 (IRIN) - In the run-up to Zimbabwe's legislative
elections, access to public media remains skewed in favour of the ruling
ZANU-PF, according to media watchdogs.

Media freedom lobby group Reporters sans Frontieres (Paris) alleged in a
statement, "... the coverage that Zimbabwe's state media are giving the main
opposition party during the campaign for parliamentary elections on 31 March
is clearly unfair".

"With the election campaign already officially under way, the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) - the main opposition party, with 50 representatives
in parliament - is extremely handicapped by the lack of coverage it is
getting from the state media, when not being actively disparaged," the press
freedom organisation noted.

The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ), an independent Harare-based
watchdog, reported that in the official press during the week of 14 to 20
February, 19 of 28 articles about the election campaigns defended the ruling
ZANU-PF party, while the other nine disparaged the MDC. During the week of
21 to 27 February, 58 of 66 articles covering the election campaigns were
devoted to ZANU-PF.

Nhlanhla Ngwenya, a monitoring coordinator of the MMPZ, told IRIN that
"access to state [public] media remains limited for opposition parties,
although they [state media] are trying to show they are giving space to the

"Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings [state media company] initially claimed they
would not cover the MDC, as it had not confirmed whether it would
participate in the elections. Then their excuse was that we were not yet in
an election period [so state media was not obliged to provide airtime to the
MDC]. But according to legislation, our election period begins 30 days prior
to the actual polling day - this means the election period began on 26
February," Ngwenya said.

State broadcasters have since said they would cover all the political
parties fairly and in a balanced manner, and have "managed to give the MDC
space to broadcast its manifesto - 12 minutes on national television - and
have given them equal time on [public] radio stations; the independent
candidates been given five minutes to broadcast their manifestos".

However, Ngwenya said, "while giving them [opposition parties] space to air
their promises to the electorate, they are taking advantage of the fact that
regulations [governing election broadcasts] are silent on news coverage of

"They have just continued giving more airtime to the ruling party than any
other contesting party - almost every week, average coverage of ZANU-PF in
state media is about 80 percent. The rest share the remaining 20 percent [of
political party coverage]. The little airtime accorded to MDC - around 12
percent on a weekly basis - is mostly devoted to portraying the party in a
negative light," Ngwenya pointed out.

Smaller parties such as ZANU (Ndonga), when covered at all, have also
suffered negative coverage.

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Zim snub leaves SA in 'difficult situation'
          March 09 2005 at 12:21PM

      By Boyd Webb

      Zimbabwe's refusal to invite a Southern African Development Community
(SADC) parliamentary forum to observe the country's March election has left
South Africa in a "difficult situation".

      "I don't know how to respond and have not even spoken to my bosses
about it. Obviously a difficult situation," a visibly uncomfortable Ayanda
Ntsaluba, director-general of the department of foreign affairs, said in
Cape Town on Wednesday.

      The SADC parliamentary forum was the only African observer mission not
to declare the March 2002 Zimbabwean presidential elections free and fair.

      Ntsaluba said he was aware and so were others, that the parliamentary
forum had not been complimentary about the outcome of the previous election.
He could see why Zimbabwe's latest decision would be greeted with

      Zimbabwe had invited an official SADC delegation and
government-appointed delegations as observers from 12 SADC countries, and
five Asian and three Latin America countries.

      Ntsaluba explained it was possible to for a SADC delegation to be
invited without the parliamentary forum, "but what makes this difficult is
the backdrop", he told reporters.

      With parliamentary elections due on March 31, Zimbabwe police said on
Tuesday there were fewer cases of political violence than in the previous

      The campaign season was "overwhelmingly peaceful so far, although
there are isolated incidents that have been reported ranging from common
assault to malicious damage to property", said police chief Augustine

      Chihuri said that the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic
Front had seen the largest number of its members arrested - 67 - and charged
with political crimes since campaigning started last month.

      Ruling party supporters were mostly charged for beating up opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters, disrupting their meetings
and pulling down posters.

      About 42 MDC members had been arrested and charged with the same
crimes, Chihuri said, dismissing claims that the police were biased against
the opposition. - Sapa

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East Bay Newspapers

A powerful and despairing look at AIDS
NEWPORT - In Zimbabwe an astonishing 30 percent of the adult population is
HIV positive. Over 3,000 people die weekly from AIDS. There are over 800,000
orphans in Zimbabwe and the number is expected to grow to 1.4 million in the
next five years.

The Mother of Peace Orphanage in Mutoko, Zimbabwe, was founded in 1994 in
response to this crisis. In the11 years of its existence it has grown into a
community of 11 homes, each housing 10 to 15 children and two to three
caregivers. The majority of the children are 5 or younger, many are
themselves HIV positive. At present there are approximately 176 children of
all ages being cared for at the community.

In addition to their own farming and self-reliance programs, the orphanage
is completely dependant on outside donations for much needed support to help
finance the homes, schools and an on-site health clinic. Books and
medication are in constant need.

"Here I am ... I matter" is an exhibition of photographs of the Mother of
Peace Orphanage by Katheryn Demicco, a resident of Savannah, Ga., and
Barrington. The exhibit will be on display now through April 3 at the Salve
Regina University Gallery.

Demicco, a former nurse turned photographer, has become a tireless advocate
and fund-raiser for the good work Mother of Peace has undertaken and has
waged a personal campaign to bring an awareness of the African Aids pandemic
to the United States. To this end she has photographed the workers and
children of the orphanage, following in the tradition of American
documentary photographers such as Dorthea Lange and Walker Evans.

To say these images are difficult is an understatement. Demicco gives us
large black and white digital prints pinned directly to the wall with no
frames, the photographs insisting on their own presence as objects to carry
their message. We see photographs of children and caregivers quietly
confronting the camera or just as quietly going about their business.

We see children lying asleep on a floor in a classroom, asleep on a blanket
in the yard, asleep under netting embraced by the image of The Holy Mother.
Children stand just as quietly in chapel or beside an open grave. The pale
of death can't be avoided here, a roadside sign offers discount coffins,
rows of graves are presented without context and a woman (a mother or
caregiver?) quietly holds a child's coffin.

Then there are the portraits. Close-up shots of painfully beautiful children
and young adults fixing their gaze on the camera. Some of these children are
obviously ill, some just as obviously dying, all are quiet. A thin and
bruised child takes on a whole new meaning in this world. We have no idea
who is healthy or not, and we are appalled at ourselves for even asking the

Still, Demicco's photographs respect the humanity and dignity of her
subjects. She is committed to her work and cause, and her love and concern
for the people of Zimbabwe is apparent throughout this exhibit.

But looking at the Mother of Peace website I'm struck by the contrast
between her work and photographs of the children taken by visitors to the
orphanage. Smiling, laughing children beam at the camera. These are amateur
photographs, none of the messiness of art here; these pictures are full of
the noise of children and sunshine. Yes, there are pictures of the graveyard
here, too, but our eyes are drawn to the smiles of the soccer team; the sea
of grins of a wedding party. A little hope can go a long way.

There will be an artist's lecture on March 9 at 11 a.m. at the Pell Center
for International Relations and Public Policy, corner of Bellevue and
Ruggles avenues. Demicco will then host the exhibit's opening reception at
the Gallery from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

For more information, visit the Mother of Peace website at For more information on
the show, visit or call the gallery at 341-2254.

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      Food worries rise as rains lag in Southern Africa

      Wed March 9, 2005 3:23 PM GMT+02:00
      By Peter Apps

      JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Southern Africa could face worse food
shortages than last year if rains fail in the next couple of weeks, with a
late season drought already threatening maize harvests, aid workers and
farmers say.

      Zambia -- until recently a major source of grain for the United
Nations World Food Programme -- has banned exports until the extent of
shortages can be assessed, while the situation in other countries also looks

      "It is certainly worse than last year although it is too early to
start making full forecasts," WFP spokesman Mike Huggins said. "We're now
into the final stages of the growing season but and unless the rainfall
improves then parts of the region will face widespread food shortages."

      In 2002, the effects of drought, poverty and the AIDS pandemic left 16
million people hungry across the region, but aid workers say agencies and
governments are now better prepared, helped by a huge expected surplus in
South Africa.

      "Even if we had a similar situation to 2002 we are now in better
shape," Oxfam food security co-ordinator Ann Witteveen told Reuters. "South
Africa's huge grain stock will help keep prices low."

      Crop shortages had eased in recent years, with the WFP estimating some
3.5 million people currently needing aid.

      Farmers and aid workers say the next week to 10 days will be crucial
if a dry weather-weakened crops across a drought band affecting Botswana,
northern Zimbabwe and Mozambique and southern Zambia and Malawi is to stand
any chance of recovery.

      Selling property and livestock has helped many southern Africans stave
off starvation during recent shortages, but aid workers worry many may all
but have exhausted their "coping strategies" in a region heavily affected by

      On Tuesday, the head of Zambia's commercial farming union said parts
of the country could face a 30 percent or greater fall in production without
imminent rain -- although aid workers say it is early to say how bad things
will get.


      "The March rains could change the situation and allow the farmers to
pull through," said John Service, Zambia co-ordinator for food aid programme
C-SAFE. "It's too early to say."

      In neighbouring Malawi, aid workers say late rains would help even at
best the situation looks worse than last year. Botswana farmers say they
face the worst year on record, and drought has also hit Southern Mozambique.

      Aid workers are reluctant to talk about the situation in President
Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe, but many say poor rains and a lack of seed and
fertiliser has led to widespread crop failure and a dramatic fall from last
year's crop.

      Aid agencies have cut back their operations in Zimbabwe, but some
South African traders say shortages may force the government to call for
international help once parliamentary elections in March are out of the way.

      The shortages may be rare good news for South African farmers and
traders, facing good summer rains -- and who had been struggling to compete
with the now-banned Zambian exports.

      "It might create an opportunity for us," said one trader. South
African maize prices have slumped from over 1000 rand a tonne in November to
under 500 a tonne now.

      But finding money for food aid could be more difficult. The WFP says
cash from donor countries has all but dried up in the aftermath of the Asian
tsunami, with the agency only having $50 million of the $216 it says it will
need in 2005.

      "The majority of this money is needed now," said WFP's Huggins. "We've
had to cut back rations or the number of people receiving rations in some

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For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Last week Witness Mangwende died. Someone wrote to me and reminded me that
he and I were at University together. He was not one of Zanu PF's most
outstanding characters. Perhaps he was the worst Minister of Agriculture
this country has ever had - before the present incumbent of course, who is
in a league all by himself.

But it was a useful reminder that the clock ticks and that one-day the bell
will toll for all of us without exception. Tyrants do not last forever, in
fact when you look back in history they seem to have been around for just a
short time while they lived and terrorized their countries and regions. We
will be no different.

The big question in peoples minds here - is this the moment of truth for

The MDC is not short of critics both here at home and outside, but I
personally think they have handled the past year with consummate skill and
enterprise. The decision to suspend participation in elections in August was
a strategic decision and it achieved what was intended. Zanu fell apart as
they fought each other for what they imagined were "safe seats". The region
and the international community were forced to examine in detail the
conditions for elections in Zimbabwe and this gave a new clarity to the
situation and more understanding. The SADC electoral protocols were one

While the suspension lasted we lost a number of seats we had won in the
previous 4 years as Zanu PF candidates were ushered in without opposition,
but this just exacerbated the competition for power in Zanu itself. The 5
months gap in political campaigning was not wasted by the MDC - the Party
rebuilt its structures in areas where the government had tried to destroy
them, it cleaned up its accounts and wiped out its debts and it started
preparing for re-entry to the political campaign arena.

So when Mugabe finally announced a date for the elections - March the 31st
2005, he was stunned to be faced, within 48 hours, with a resurgent MDC. 120
MDC candidates in the field, many of who had already been campaigning for
months, a Party manifesto ready and even a campaign programme on the table
and now rolled out for implementation. Secretly we were even pleased that
the election was in March, even though we protested and demanded a delay! It
just goes to show - do not ever take what a politician says in public as
what he or she really intends!

I think even our most vociferous critics must now be asking if they were
right? The MDC campaign has so far swamped that of Zanu PF. Zanu rallies are
meager affairs compared to the 20 rallies a day being held by MDC teams
across the country. The country is ablaze with red posters of MDC candidates
from Kariba to Beitbridge.

When Zanu planned this whole thing they thought that a weakened MDC would
not be able to field more than 80 candidates. They felt confident that with
up to 40 Zanu candidates unopposed plus the 30 appointed seats, Zanu would
already be nearly there for a two-thirds majority. They also prepared up to
2 million false ballot papers in readiness for a massive ballot stuffing
exercise facilitated by a new electoral Act that allows ballots without the
stamp of the polling station to be admitted to the count and by the fact
that nearly all polling stations would be staffed by the military and secret
service agents who can be relied upon to do "whatever is required" to ensure

In fact back in August 2004, Zanu was actually debating just how many seats
they would allow the MDC to take! They thought that 15 to 20 seats would be
sufficient to maintain the façade of democracy in Zimbabwe while giving them
a free hand to alter the constitution so as to allow a hand picked successor
to the man at the top. They should never have forgotten that a week is a
long time in politics.

So now Zanu faces the ultimate nightmare for tyrants - an electoral test
which may or may not be under his control.

They certainly are running scared - the Daily News, expected back on the
streets in February, has still not seen the judgment handed down even
thought it was finalized some months ago. After coverage of one MDC rally
and 10 minutes of time on national TV for the MDC Secretary general and the
Chairperson of the MDC Women's Assembly, the State radio and TV stations
have reverted to a stony silence on all MDC activities except for shrill
propaganda and even that has lost its edge since Moyo was sent into exile in
Tsholotsho. The State controlled newspapers will not even accept MDC paid

Internationally things are even worse for Zanu PF. The MDC "Protocol Watch"
relentlessly lists and publishes for all to see, the continuing violations
of democratic principles by the State in every sphere. The US has renewed
sanctions and has harshly criticised the whole process, the EU has toughened
its stance and major new initiatives for Africa launched by the leaders of
the G8 have become conditional on Africa taking appropriate action to curb
the excesses of some of its leaders - Mugabe as the number one culprit. No
matter where Zanu turns, the spotlights bring out every wrinkle and gray
hair, every flaw.

Even Mbeki is slowly turning against his former stance of being
unquestionably pro Zanu. Reluctant but realistic, he is beginning to realize
that he may have to change his stance. I watched his interview last week
when he said he expected the Zimbabwe elections to be in accordance with the
SADC protocols and be declared free and fair. He was immediately faced with
a barrage of criticism at home and abroad but what he actually said could be
interpreted very differently. I watched him closely, it was firstly, a one
on one interview with SABC - therefore it was a planned action. Secondly,
what he actually said was that he expected all SADC countries to adhere to
the protocols and that Zimbabwe was no exception. It could have been a pubic
warning to Mugabe that he was not to over step the mark, as he had done in
2002 when the Zimbabwe elections had embarrassed the leadership of Africa
and forced them to suspend us from the Commonwealth.

Just today, SADC has stated that their observers will have "real power" in
the electoral process. Does this mean they actually are going to try and
stop the rigging? Because if they do and are successful, then Zanu is

The world has said that our future is in our own hands and that Zimbabweans
have to do what is necessary to remove Mugabe from power and effect change.
Well we are doing just that in the form of a massive nation wide programme
of poll supervision and control. Reinforced by an effective regional effort
in the form of poll observers this could make the difference. I have no
doubt about how the people are going to vote, the question is will their
vote be subverted for the third time in front of the watching world by a
desperate regime operating behind a curtain raised by its neighbors?

Well we have just 22 days to go - you can help by sending us some money or
volunteering to help in your constituency. This is our chance to rescue our
country and our future from those who have shown they are only concerned for
themselves and their own comforts.  For all of us the bell tolls, for some a
rallying cry, for others a warning that the end is nigh.

Eddie Cross

Bulawayo, 9th March 2005.

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Daily News Online Edition

      Cosatu begins demos at Zimbabwean embassy

      Date: 9-Mar, 2005

      PRETORIA - The South African labour movement, calling for the
postponement of the March 31 elections, has begun its threatened series of
actions against the Zimbabwean government by picketing the Zimbabwean
embassy here.

      A group of 100 members of the Congress of South African Trade Unions
(Cosatu) staged the protest, which will culminate in the blockade of
Beitbridge border post next week and an all-night vigil as Zimbabweans go to
vote on March 31.

      The Zimbabwean ambassador to South Africa, Simon Khaya Moyo, scoffed
at the demonstration outside his offices calling it a damp squib.

      "I hesitate to give an iota of dignity to these misguided
malcontents," Moyo was quoted by Sapa as saying. He added that Cosatu was
acting like an un-elected government and did not want to answer to anybody.

      The deputy president of Cosatu, Joe Nkosi, said the upcoming
Zimbabwean elections should be postponed. "The elections in Zimbabwe will
not be free and fair under the current legislation," said Nkosi , who took
part in picketing.

      Asked to give the Zimbabwean government a mark out of 10 for its
progress towards achieving democratic elections, Nkosi gave it a zero.

      "They do not even qualify for a mark. There is duplication of names on
the voters' roll. The political climate is not right for free and fair
elections," Nkosi said.

      He said Cosatu wants the Zimbabwean people to be liberated from
oppression just as their South African counterparts are.

      "The playing field before the elections still favours Zanu-PF, as
workers and political parties are unable to assemble in groups of more than
four," Nkosi said.

      Patrick Craven, a spokesperson for Cosatu, said reports coming out of
Harare - and mainly from the Zimbabwean Congress of Trade Union' - suggested
that the government was not conforming with the SADC electoral guidelines.,
SABC reported.

      The demonstrators also demanded that a fact-finding mission be allowed
to go to the country to investigate whether free and fair elections could
take place. Two previous attempts to visit Zimbabwe have led to Cosatu
officials being turned back at the airport, angering the union into its
present action.
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Daily News Online Edition

      MDC doomed to be crushed , everybody happy

      Date: 9-Mar, 2005

      Letter to The Editor

      IT is understandable that the MDC eventually decided to reverse its
decision not to contest an election which conventional wisdom says they
cannot win. The pressure was perhaps too great to withstand.

      This way, the MDC maintains its profile and some (20 or so?) MDC MPs
get to keep their seats in parliament. Coffers depleted by protracted court
cases can be replenished by the donations for campaign funds.

      ZANU-PF is spared an election victory that would otherwise have been
deeply embarrassing - with unprecedented voter apathy due to the majority of
eligible voters considering the outcome a forgone conclusion, combined with
a "stay away" by many ZANU-PF supporters in protest at the imposition of

      Now all of ZAN-PF can be called upon to unite - like siblings
suspending a family feud when a snake enters the house.

      President Thabo Mbeki and SADC get to be spared the quandary of
defending the results of a one-horse race (by and large) when faced by the
international community.

      The EU, US administration and others get to be spared the quandary of
how not to recognise an election declared "free and fair" by regional
African governments, when there was no effective opposition party contesting
to prove or claim otherwise. The truth is that the EU and US will not
recognise this election's results - it does not even meet SADC's own
guidelines, let alone international norms.

      So, now everyone is happy. After much soul-searching, the MDC has
taken the expedient, populist route. Time will tell if this party has not
just doomed itself to becoming a token, minority opposition party for the
next 10 years.

      Effective leadership requires standing your ground when this is the
unpopular but correct (in your estimation) thing to do.

      B. Mhlanga.


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Daily News Online Edition

      Beira Corridor hit by frequent derailments

      Date: 9-Mar, 2005

      MAPUTO - Shoddy repair work on a section of the Beira Corridor railway
line, which is an alternative lifeline for landlocked Zimbabwe, is now
proving costly to the Zimbabwean government as traffic is hit by constant

      Workers on the Mozambican side of the railway line have expressed
concern that the affected area, in Nhamatanda District of the central
Mozambican province of Sofala, has suffered many derailments, including
three in the last 45 days.

      In the latest incident, a goods train belonging to the Beira Railway
Company, comprising an engine and 15 wagons, was derailed between Beira and
Machipanda two weeks ago.

      The chief maintenance officer with Mozambique Railways, Arodlesh
Kumar, said no-one was injured and no goods were stolen from the train
because the accident occurred in a sparsely populated area.

      Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean government, which intends to shift to the
Beira Corridor as an alternative to the South African route to the sea
through Beitbridge border post, has expressed concern over the shoddy work
in maintaining the railway line.

      The government is facing mounting pressure from the Congress of South
African Trade Unions (Cosatu), which has vowed to blockade Zimbabwe next
week in retaliation to the double deportation of its fact-finding mission by

      Plans are currently at an advanced stage to upgrade the Beira Corridor
as a viable alternative to Beitbridge, which links the country via the port
of Durban. However, it is the security and durability of the road and rail
network which has become a cause for concern to the Zimbabwean government.

      On the one hand, the Mozambican government has warned Zimbabwean
truckers plying the route against damaging the road. It has raised road
tariffs for the heavy duty trucks, resulting in a number of them opting for
the South African route, which is longer but cheaper and safe.

      Trains and trucks which usually ply the Beira Corridor are often
attacked by robbers who loot anything on board. These problems are rare on
the Beitbridge route, which is a favourite with most road haulage companies.

      Handling facilities at Beira are also said to be of an inferior
quality to those in Durban, where larger ships can easily dock.

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Daily News Online Edition

      MDC blasts SA chiefs for call to vote Zanu PF

      Date: 9-Mar, 2005

      HARARE - Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), has described as unfortunate recent utterances by a delegation
of South African traditional leaders that Zimbabweans should vote for Zanu

      In a statement yesterday, MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said the
chiefs were "obviously fed by Zanu PF propaganda during their short stay in
Zimbabwe, and did not have an opportunity to make an objective analysis of
developments on the ground."

      He said Zanu PF was best known by Zimbabweans for its culture of
violence and intolerance, and was certainly not the party that an objective
observer with the interests of the people at heart could persuade
progressive Zimbabweans to vote for.

      "The chiefs need to be made aware that while Mugabe and Zanu PF may
have publicly pretended to shun violence, Zanu PF officials at grassroots
level are leading attacks on suspected MDC supporters," said Nyathi.

      He vowed that his party would, against all odds, win the March 31 poll
and that the traditional leaders needed to be reminded that despite what
anyone may do or say, Zimbabweans had resolved to vote out the ruling Zanu
PF regime.

      The chiefs arrived back in Johannesburg from Zimbabwe over the weekend
after an invitation from Zimbabwe's local government minister, Ignatius
Chombo, to witness the success of the controversial land reform programme.

      The six-man delegation led by Mpiyezintombi Nzimela, the chairman of
the National House of Traditional Leaders, told the South African media that
they had travelled around the country visiting settlements and had also
spoken to President Robert Mugabe.

      The visit was marred by the death of one of the members of the
delegation, Malungisa Gobe, in a car accident in which two other chiefs and
a Zimbabwean were injured.

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Daily News Online Edition

      Displaced farmers give Zambia a record tobacco harvest

      Date: 9-Mar, 2005

      LUSAKA - Runaway white commercial farmers from Zimbabwe who have
settled in Zambia have managed to record an all-time high bumper harvest of
tobacco in Zambia.

      According to the Tobacco Association of Zambia's executive director,
Jewette Masinja, Zambia is set to harvest more than 52 million kilogrammes
of the golden leaf, as compared to last year's national harvest of 14,3
million kilogrammes.

      In an interview with Daily News Online yesterday, Masinja said Zambia
was set to earn US$83 million from the sale of the crop, up from US$26
million which it earned last year.

      This, he said, had been achieved after the country allowed distressed
tobacco commercial farmers from Zimbabwe to work on large tracts of land
which had been lying idle for years.

      "Fresh investments by the Zimbabwean farmers and the introduction of
good agricultural practices by Zambian farmers who learnt it from their
Zimbabwean counterparts has led to the rise in tobacco production over the
past few years," he said.

      Zambia's tobacco production has for the past three years been
gradually rising, with this year's crop reaching an all-time high. Last year's
production figure of 14,3 million kilogrammes was a 321 percent jump from
the previous year, according to official data from the Zambian government.

      According to Masinja, nearly half of this year's crop will be full
flavour Virginia tobacco, while the other half will be burley. Nearly all of
it will be exported to Europe.

      Distressed Zimbabwean farmers, running away from land grabs by the
government, have significantly improved the agricultural production
capabilities of a number of countries within the Southern African
Development Community SADC and beyond.

      White farmers have settled well in Malawi, Mozambique and even
Nigeria, where they have managed to prove their expertise in agricultural

      Ironically, Zimbabwe has suffered a decline in the production of
tobacco, maize and other crops over the same period.

      This has been blamed on beneficiaries of the land reform programme
failing to live up to expectations, either because they do not have the
necessary funds and inputs or they are mere speculative holders of land with
no intention of ever using it for farming. Last week President Robert Mugabe
had a go at these "cellphone farmers".
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Daily News Online Edition

      ZANU PF must end paranoia against all media

      Date: 9-Mar, 2005

      WHAT Zanu PF has suffered from since independence is a paranoia
against any media which criticises its policies. This paranoia jelled
perfectly with Jonathan Moyo's own delusions of grandeur, to give birth to
their joint testament to a persecution mania to end all paranoia - the
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).

      The government's reaction to Wilf Mbanga's latest media venture, The
Zimbabwean, is typical of this psychological malady, which manifests itself
in hysterical outbursts against any attempt to find fault with Zanu PF, the
government or President Robert Mugabe.

      Mbanga once worked for the government, in case some people believe he
has always been this rabid, diehard critic of Mugabe's policies. He and
Geoff Nyarota were the moving spirit behind the formation of Associated
Newspapers of Zimbabwe (Pvt) Limited, the publishers of The Daily News and,
for a very short period in 2003, The Daily News on Sunday.

      Nyarota, for those short on memory or history, worked for the
government too. At one time he was the media attache of the first President
of the Republic, Canaan Banana.

      These two journalists, loyal to their country and driven only by that
loyalty, fell out with the government because they dared to criticise it.
Other Zimbabweans, not necessarily journalists either, have fallen out with
the ruling elite for the same reason.

      Critics have spoken of the intolerance of criticism that bedevils Zanu
PF. They have spoken of how the party has a one-track mind, an obsessive
faith in the correctness of its own policies. It may not be accepted as
gospel truth today, but this is what has brought this country to its present
crisis: the incapacity of Zanu PF to embrace any other doctrine except its
own, apparently crafted by candlelight in the jungles of Mozambique during
the struggle.

      Wilf Mbanga is operating outside the country, although as far as
anybody knows, he is not prohibited from re-entering the country of his
birth. But, like Nyarota, the government could cook up all kinds of offences
under which to hold him.

      These men have not committed murder or embezzled government funds.
They are not spies nor have they sold official government secrets to foreign
governments. But a government so steeped in the belief that everyone who
criticises their policies is a traitor can find any pretext on which to hang
them, literally.

      Why anybody in their right senses would swear that such a government
embraces the democratic dispensation promised to the people of Zimbabwe by
Zanu PF on 18 April 1980 is beyond belief.

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Hope dies at a bridge too far
          March 09 2005 at 07:16PM

      By Bruce Venter, Angela Quintal and Sapa

      Family members and friends of the 62 suspected mercenaries held in
Zimbabwe waited anxiously at the Beit Bridge border post on Tuesday. But as
the day faded, so did their hopes for the men's release.

      In a surprise move on Tuesday afternoon, Zimbabwe's attorney-general
filed an appeal against the early release of their loved ones.

      Waiting at the bridge, Justin Teubes had been delighted that he would
be seeing his grandfather, flight engineer Ken Pain.

      "I didn't go to school because I am going to see my granddad for the
first time in a year," the 10-year-old said on Tuesday. "I am so excited."

      But this morning there were tears as Justin's parents and grandmother,
Marge Pain, told him the reunion wouldn't take place.

      "We are obviously very disappointed but what can we do," asked Marge
Pain on Wednesday morning.

      The Zimbabwean High Court last week reduced the sentences of the
suspected mercenaries by four months, meaning that they could be released

      But SABC radio news reported last night that Attorney-General Sobuza
Gula-Ndebele reportedly asked the Supreme Court to overturn the High Court's

      Gula-Ndebele said the suspension of a sentence for early release of a
prisoner only applied to Zimbabwean citizens.

      That legal provision was "superfluous" for foreigners, because they
weren't controlled by Zimbabwe.

      The men had been expected to return to South Africa either on Monday
or Tuesday.

      On Wednesday morning an extremely frustrated Alwyn Griebenow, the
legal representative for the men, was wondering what to do next.

      "The state's application will only be heard on Friday so they
definitely won't be released this week," said Griebenow, who had also been
waiting at the border post since early on Tuesday.

      Ayanda Ntsaluba, the department of foreign affairs director-general,
said on Wednesday that Zimbabwe should decide as speedily as possible
whether to release the men early.

      "We were told that they were returning home - that would be okay with
South Africa but the (Zimbabwean) attorney-general is countering that,"
Ntsaluba said.

      Speaking at a breakfast meeting in Cape Town, he said the situation
had to be resolved as quickly possible so as to prevent as much pain and
confusion for the families as possible.

      He said there was not much Pretoria could do about Gula-Ndebele's
decision to appeal the early release as South Africa's position was guided
by its approach that the way its citizens were handled in Zimbabwe should be
line with "due legal process".

      It was not a "comfortable situation" for families who had expected to
see their loved one to find the situation had changed in this way, he said.
South Africa's only wish, whatever the outcome, was there should be
certainty, Ntsaluba said.

      Ronnie Mamoepa, spokesperson for the department of foreign affairs
said on Wednesday that South Africa's high commissioner to Harare, Jerry
Ndou, had not been officially advised of the situation.

      "The foreign ministry has noted the intended appeal by the Zimbabwean
attorney-general to appeal the decision to reduce the sentences of the
alleged mercenaries held in Zimbabwe," he said.

      "Should the matter proceed to court, our embassy will maintain a
watching brief over the legal process and outcome thereof."

      The families' year-long nightmare began last March when the South
Africans were arrested in Harare for allegedly plotting a coup in the West
African state of Equatorial Guinea. The men denied the charges, claiming
they were on their way to the Democratic Republic of Congo to guard mines.

      They were convicted of breaching Zimbabwe's aviation, immigration,
firearms and security laws. Seventy men were arrested.

      Two were acquitted, two freed for medical reasons, and one died in

      Of the remaining 65, 62 would have been free to come home. Two pilots
and alleged coup leader Simon Mann would have to remain in Zimbabwe to serve
the remainder of their longer sentences, according to Griebenow.

      The pilots got 16-month sentences, and Mann was sentenced to four
years' imprisonment.

          .. This article was originally published on page 1 of The Star on
March 09, 2005

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WOZA Communications - 3 documents News Release post
protest. Release pre protest. Person Testimony Sinini

News Release - Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) 8 March
(Please see the March Edition of WOZA Moya for further
background - on

Post International Women's Day Protests Harare and
(See News release 8 March 2005 before protest at the
end of this doc)

"Endai Muno Vhota - Hapana Bonde". Go and Vote but NO
to sex'

In Harare today, Five hundred WOZA women march
peacefully chanting "Endai Muno Vhota - Hapana Bonde".
Go and Vote but no to sex' loosely translated from
Shona. The women were part of peaceful protest
lobbying women to vote to free their 'sisters' from
suffering. They distributed the WOZA newsletter - WOZA
MOYA and carried placards and banners. None of the
women were arrested or intimidated by police.

In Bulawayo, a similar march with the same message was
planned with approximately the same number of
participants. However police were present throughout
town especially in the spots WOZA normally march to.
Police patrols came upon women carrying placards at
the starting point and immediately arrested them and
further women were picked up as they arrived at the
venue some 30 minutes before the starting time.

Three Police Defenders were observed with women inside
and information to hand indicates that 15 women were
arrested and taken to Ross Camp, Bulawayo Headquarters
and 9 others were taken to Mzilikazi but these were
released within a short period. Those held at Ross
camp were searched but were released early evening
after illegal searches in their homes. The women said
Police searched their homes to look for WOZA material.
Police officers indicated that they were not
interested in Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
material. The MDC is an opposition party and police
said MDC are allowed to campaign freely. WOZA material
found in their homes was to be confiscated.

One of the women, Sinini Mhlanga, said her bedroom was
searched by male police officers. She and the others,
who included 2 grandmothers the same age as Robert
Mugabe, over 80 were interrogated and intimidated by
plain-clothes officers. They were placed in a police
cell but were finally released because they failed to
find a charge. Sinini and the others were sitting
outside a church on the pavement.

The 8 March is International Women's Day and WOZA
sought to observe it for the third year running but it
is apparent the Mugabe regime fears peaceful women
speaking the truth. This is the third year running
WOZA women of Bulawayo have faced arrest on this their
special day. On Valentines Day this year 53 women were
arrested with some spending 3 days in custody before
being released on admission of guilt fines.
Information reaching WOZA early on 8 March via
children of WOZA women in the police force was that
the Police were on high alert to catch WOZA women at
it. Apparently after the successful Valentines Day
procession went ahead for 45 minutes without an
arrest, Riot Police officers whose vehicle was under
repair were given a 3-hour punishment. The same Riot
Police had also failed to arrest the WOZA women when
they demonstrated at the Government offices in January
calling for the Minister of Education to resign.
Evidence of this 'High Alert' was seen on the streets
of Bulawayo from as early as 9 am. The testimony of
Sinini Mhlanga indicates that a Police defender
stopped at the sight of a woman holding a banner! What
a state of high alert for peaceful mothers, sisters,
and grandmothers telling the nation to go out and vote
but to abstain from sex during this crucial time.

The WOZA theme for the day was: Women will vote to
free their sisters from suffering, whilst the UN theme
for International Women's Day this year is "Gender
Equality Beyond 2005: Building a More Secure Future

8 March 2005

News release - 8 March 2005 Women of Zimbabwe Arise -

ONE hundred and eighty member of Women of Zimbabwe
Arise - (WOZA) met at a secret location from the 4 to
6 March 2005, to reflect on the role of women
in Zimbabwean society. Members were mainly drawn from
Bulawayo and Harare,
but representatives came from as far a field as Nkayi
and Kariba. The main
resolution was to proceed with peaceful protest on 8
March 2005.

As a result of reflecting on the political and
economic environment, women
decided to go forward and vote to overcome the
suffering faced on a daily
basis by women. They resolved to "Vote on 31 March to
free their sister from

Women described the hardships they face in graphic
terms: One said her eyes now remain red from perpetual
crying day in and day out and she has pinned her hopes
that her tears can be wiped away by casting her ballot
where there is "love".

Another women explained that her cat now sits upon her
stove. Perhaps the cat remembers that food was once
cooked there on a daily basis.

Informal traders dominate the WOZA membership and one
woman testified about the challenges in trying to sell
enough to put food on the table. She lamented that she
is frequently arrested and her goods confiscated to
tables of the police officers houses. She said "they
feed their children whilst I am killing mine with

Against this background of starvation and deprivation,
WOZA will continue to
campaign tirelessly in the month of March to get women
to go out and vote for the candidate of their choice
with whom together they can create more freedom and
democracy in Zimbabwe.

Recognizing the grave importance of this election, the
women of WOZA call on
their sister to observe the cultural practice of
sexual abstinence within the crucial dates of 28th
March to 2nd April. This cultural practice is called
"ukuzila amacansi" in Ndebele "Hapana Bonde" in Shona.

Mother WOZA, the leadership body of WOZA endorsed this
resolution by saying,
"Sisters do not boycott casting your ballot but
boycott sexual practice for the sake of a better
tomorrow. To their husbands, we say, we know you
understand our culture, many a day your children go
without food - we must sacrifice together. Woza Moya,
Huya Mweya, Come Holy Spirit and help heal our land!"

Members of WOZA take to the street peacefully in
Bulawayo and Harare to urge
women and men to Vote and to lobby for the separation
of men and women - a
sexual boycott, come month end. The women of WOZA
practice a unique brand of civil disobedience called
"Tough Love" denoting their love for their country
and families above all else.

8 March 2005
for more information, please contact
Byo based: +263 11213885 +263 91300456 +263 91362668
+263 23514 895
Harare based: +263 91377800

Sinini Mhlanga - (35yrs) Mother of two

It was approximately 1230pm; five of us were sitting
in the shade outside St Patrick's Church. Suddenly a
police vehicle stopped beside us. They ordered us to
open the placards we were carrying, they read the
message. One placard read  - Our pots are empty,
please vote wisely. Another - Please abstain from Sex,
ukuzila amacansi. We were told to get in the Defender
and were taken to Ross Camp police station, whereupon
we were thoroughly searched by male police officers.

They interrogated us demanding the names of the
leadership, when we refused they told us that we are
being used by France (The Country?). They threatened
to detain us for three days. They demanded to know how
much we were paid since France is giving WOZA a lot of
money. I think they made this up because they like to
say MDC support Blair so maybe they though France
suits WOZA?

After about fifteen minutes ten more WOZA women joined
us, then the arresting officer phoned his boss and
excitedly told him that finally he had managed to
arrest WOZA, only to be disappointed when the boss
said that he was only keen to interrogate the leaders.

We were then separated into two defenders and driven
to our homes and they conducted an illegal search.
They said they were not interested in MDC material as
they could campaign but were interested in WOZA
material. They of course found our WOZA scarves, which
they took. They took us back Ross Camp where they read
the fliers (Woza Moya March edition) we carrying. They
demanded to know the political party we are aligned
to, or whether we are a political party ourselves - we
told them we are a women's organisation. They then
said there was nothing wrong with our fliers, we must
reveal the source, and we were not naïve to fall for

At one time when they were interrogating us, they took
us into the cells and kept Nolwandle, the youngest,
back for questioning. We were worried about this but
when they brought us back, they told us that we should
discipline her are she is very cheeky.
Eventually we were released one by one, because they
had failed to charge us, even though one female
officer was advocating that we should be detained
without a charge.

Sinini Mhlanga
WOZA Member
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

MDC youths harassing us: Zanu PF candidates

From Pamenus Tuso in Bulawayo
issue date :2005-Mar-09

FIVE Zanu PF parliamentary candidates in Bulawayo have accused the MDC of
using dirty tactics to derail their campaigns.
One of the candidates was also not amused by the fact that some youths blew
whistles in the middle of the night, disturbing the peace in the
Minister of Small to Medium Scale Enterprises Sithembiso Nyoni (Bulawayo
South), national secretary for education Sikhanyiso Ndlovu (Mpopoma South),
national youth secretary Absolom Sikhosana (Nkulumane), Sihle Thebe
(Makokoba) and Molly Mpofu (Magwegwe-Lobengula) accused the opposition party
of pulling down their posters and harassing their supporters.
The MDC won all the seven seats in Bulawayo in the 2000 parliamentary
elections, and Zanu PF this year vowed to reclaim the constituencies in the
March 31 parliamentary elections.
"The MDC is removing my posters and by doing so it is making my campaign
difficult," alleged Nyoni who will square up with incumbent MDC legislator
David Coltart and independent candidate Charles Mpofu.
Former cabinet minister Ndlovu also claimed that the MDC had engaged the
youths to pull down his campaign materials.
Ndlovu said: "I have already informed police about the barbaric behaviour of
the MDC youth.  They are tearing our posters. Their youth also masquerade as
ours before causing mayhem in the constituency."
Ndlovu is challenging MP Milton Gwetu of the MDC.Sikhosana, who is facing
MDC vice president Gibson Sibanda in Nkulumane constituency, said although
some of his posters had been removed, it was unfair to blame the MDC.
"My posters have been removed, but I cannot point fingers to anybody because
I do not have any evidence to implicate anyone. These days it is very
dangerous to implicate people without evidence because one might be sued,"
said Sikhosana, before referring further questions to the police.
Makokoba Zanu PF candidate, Thebe - facing MP Thokozani Khupe of the MDC -
accused the opposition of using "young boys" to destroy her posters.
"MDC has resorted to abusing young boys in their bid to win.  These young
boys - some of them of school going age - come in large numbers and destroy
our posters before running away," alleged Thebe.
She also accused the MDC of being a nuisance by blowing whistles during the
Mpofu, who is eyeing Magwegwe-Lobengula constituency currently held by MDC's
Fletcher Dulini Ncube claimed:
"These people had their campaigning posters on for two weeks and my
supporters did nothing to them.  But ours are only three days old and they
have been destroyed."
Mpofu said she had since reported the matter to Magwegwe Police Station.
But the MDC Bulawayo spokesperson Victor Moyo denied the accusations by Zanu
PF parliamentary hopefuls, instead claiming that the ruling party was
perpetrating a violent campaign in the province.
"These guys know that they are losing.  People like Mpofu are tearing our
posters in Magwegwe. In the MDC we have disciplined youth," Moyo said.
Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said he had not
received reports of posters being ripped off in Bulawayo.
"I have not been briefed of such incidents from Bulawayo.  Maybe the report
is still on its way to my office," said Bvudzijena.
This campaign  has generally been calm compared to the previous one.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Pre-election period calmer: Chihuri

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Mar-09

MORE Zanu PF supporters than those from the MDC have been arrested for
politically motivated crimes since February this year, Police Commissioner
Augustine Chihuri said yesterday.
Addressing a news conference in Harare ahead of the March 31 parliamentary
elections, Chihuri said the police had arrested 67 ruling party supporters
from the 23 cases reported, while
 the main opposition MDC had 42 of its members nabbed from 17 reports
received so far.
 "Zanu PF had 67 of its members arrested since February from 23 cases and
they are minor crimes, mostly common assault. 31 of those arrested are from
Norton and the remaining, which is just over half the number of arrests are
from the rest of the country. This shows that there is intermittent and
sporadic cases of violence," he said.
The commissioner stressed that contrary to widely held perceptions in the
West that the MDC was under siege from security agents, the party had fewer
of its members arrested in similar situations than before.
The statistics showed that 26 MDC
and three Zanu PF supporters had since been convicted for politically
related offences.
Chihuri said the situation in the country was calmer now than in the run-up
to the 2000 parliamentary elections, which were marred by widespread
 He said: "With only 42 cases and less than three weeks to go (before the
general elections), there is nothing to write home about."
Chihuri also defended the controversial Public Order and Security Act
(POSA), saying the 2000 elections violent campaigns had necessitated the
promulgation of the law.
Said the commissioner: "We must
 not forget the background that necessitated this piece of legislation, a
background which was characterised by disruption of other political parties'
meetings, double bookings of rally venues and the violent campaign process
of the 2000 elections."
 Chihuri also commended Zanu PF and the MDC for being vocal and coming out
strong against political violence. He
said the police would not hesitate to
arrest anyone found on the wrong side of the law, irrespective of political
allegiance or status.
"As a police organisation we will apply the law as it is, against anyone who
infringes it. There are no laws that are designed for any political party,
neither is anyone forced to commit any offence," Chihuri said.
He also said that from next week, the police would launch press updates on
the prevailing political situation in Zimbabwe.
"From today onwards and until a reasonable time after the elections, I have
directed that press briefings be held every Tuesday and Friday," he said.
Chihuri said the Police Elections Committee chairperson, Senior Assistant
Commissioner Mary Masango, would address the press briefings.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Bennett case: judgment reserved

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Mar-09

THE Electoral Court yesterday reserved judgment in the case in which jailed
Chimanimani MDC legislator Roy Bennett is contesting his disqualification
from contesting in the March 31 general elections.
The matter was heard in Justice Tendai Uchena's chambers in accordance with
the Electoral Act.
"The judge heard the arguments and said judgment will be made available
early next week," Bennett's lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa of Harare firm Kantor
and Immerman said.
In his petition lodged with the elections court on February 21 and quoting
the Electoral Act, Bennett argued that incarceration was not cited as one of
the reasons disqualifying would-be candidates.
Chamanimani constituency electoral officer and the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) are cited first and second respondents.
Ruling Zanu PF candidate Samuel Undenge and the MP's wife, Heather, who
subsequently replaced Bennett as MDC candidate, are third and fourth.
Bennett has also filed an urgent chamber application in the High Court
seeking his immediate release when Zimbabwe's Fifth Parliament dissolves on
March 30, a day to the polls.
Like yesterday's outcome, the High court also reserved judgment in this
So far, two cases have been filed with the Electoral Court including Renson
Gasela, the MDC shadow agriculture minister and MP for Gweru Rural.
The former Grain Marketing Board (GMB) general manager is seeking the
disqualification of Zanu PF candidate and main rival Josphat Madubeko on
grounds he is a headman.
In his court papers, Gasela said by electing to stand for the public post,
Madubeko was violating the Traditional Leaders Act barring traditional
leaders from seeking political office while still holding their posts.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Court records contradict President

Masimba Rushwaya Business Editor
issue date :2005-Mar-09

In a dramatic turn of events, court records concerning the controversial SMM
Holdings saga reveal a different picture to that publicly portrayed by
President Robert Mugabe, where he claims that the parent company of asbestos
producer, African Associated Mines (AAM) under-invoiced its asbestos sales,
with the deliberate intention of foreign currency externalisation.
In a hard hitting statement in Chinhoyi last week, President Mugabe took a
swipe "at corrupt businessmen like Mutumwa Mawere who was so corrupt that he
bought the entire Shabanie Mashava Mines (SMM) through fraudulent means."
A local daily further quoted him as saying Mawere established another
company in South Africa that bought asbestos from SMM at low prices before
later reselling it at much higher prices without remitting foreign currency
to Zimbabwe.
However, information at hand reveal that Zimbabwe actually benefited more
than South Africa in terms of the sale of asbestos.
In Southern Asbestos Sales (SAS's) reconciliation of SMM's account, data
obtained reveals that the latter was paid a total of US$14 million from
March to June 2004.
In addition,  a total of US$9 million and R57 million was also paid out on
behalf of SMM to related companies.
In actual fact, SAS is still owed by SMM a total of US$2.7 million.
SAS was the marketer of Zimbabwean asbestos and is based in South Africa.
In case number 2257 of 2005 before the South African High Court
(Witwatersrand Local Division) where SMM is the applicant and is seeking the
closure of SAS, the director and chairman of SAS, Parmanathan Mariemuthu
claims that the affidavit deposed to by the former CEO of SMM, Charles
Chipato for the winding up of SAS should be declared null and void.
"At the outset, I deny that the respondent is indebted to the applicant or
that the applicant has locus standi to claim payment of moneys allegedly
due. In truth, it (application for winding up) is one of a series of
applications by the Zimbabwean government to victimise and ostracise the
respondents founding member, Mr Mutumwa Dziva Mawere. In what follows
hereunder, I shall demonstrate that the purpose of the application is not to
seek the execution of a debt lawfully and bona fide due. On the contrary, it
is motivated by an ulterior purpose culminated by recent events in
 Zimbabwe," claimed Mariemuthu.
Mariemuthu added that Mawere was the founder of a number of companies
registered and incorporated in South Africa with the aim of assisting the
applicant in the supply of raw materials, services as well as the marketing
distribution and sale of asbestos produced by AAM.
"In this regard the respondent served as the applicant's marketer and
distributor of asbestos by distributing and selling asbestos acquired from
AAM to companies worldwide. Petter Trading served as a supplier of raw
materials, goods and other services to AAM. Coma Transport served as a
dedicated transport and logistics provider to the applicant."
Mariemuthu added that given that the Zimbabwean economy had been "faltering
and on the brink of collapse", multinational institutions such as the Credit
Guarantee Insurance Corporation refused to insure exports destined to
Zimbabwe and, given the volatile Zimbabwean currency, purchasers of asbestos
were unwilling to liase directly with a Zimbabwean company and/or mine.
"These attempts (to strip Mawere of his assets) constitute by and large
political and legislative interference that in South Africa and in other
democratic countries constitute infringements of the worst type...As far as
I am aware, no other company has been placed under such a reconstruction
order. The applicant in any event was neither insolvent nor unable to pay
its debt."
On May 22 ,2004, attempts were made to extradite Mawere on charges of
alleged externalisation of foreign currency worth Z$300 billion.
However in the applicant's application, there is no mention of this.
The Zimbabwean government's extradition application was dismissed by a South
African court due to lack of evidence, but Mawere was then "specified by a
ministerial order, the effect of which was to freeze and ultimately acquire
all of Mawere's business interests in Zimbabwe. "
The South African based director said in this context the application was a
"tit for tat response to the applications launched by Mawere and the
respondent to regain control of what was unconstitutionally taken away. The
application is therefore an abuse prompted by an ulterior motive and should
for this reason alone be dismissed with an appropriate punitive costs
 He alleged that the applicant was "blowing hot and cold" depending on which
set of circumstances suits it.
"In the application aforementioned under case number 26770/2004 it no doubt
suited the applicant to argue that the agreement concluded between the
parties was void ab initio. In this application, however, reliance is no
longer placed on the lack of validity of the agreement, as to have done so
would endanger the very claim relied upon by the applicant. Instead, no
reference is made at all of the contestations raised by the applicant under
application number 26770/2004.
SMM, currently, under the control of an administrator, alleges that the
respondent's indebtedness arises from a written buying agreement entered
between the two and is in respect of purchases made in terms of the buying
However SMM has failed to provide documentary evidence to prove this:
"Moreover, the applicant does not allege when the debts replied upon became
due, owing and payable; when demand was made, if any; how such debts were
made up; the amounts, transactions and other details necessary to support
its contentions that such cumulative amounts are owing and payable."
Mariemuthu further questions the validity of SMM's application, which was
filed on February 2 2004, when the company's administrator, Afaras
Gwaradzimba fired Chipato as CEO, on January 28 2005.
"Chipato, in any event had no personal knowledge of the alleged indebtedness
by the respondent to the applicant. He was only appointed as CEO of the
applicant during or about June/July
2004 when Hillary Munyati, the applicant's previous CEO resigned...This,
combined with the fact that the affidavit attached as that to be deposed to
by Gwaradzimba is unsigned, creates doubt as to whether in fact either of
them have been properly deposed to. In these circumstances, no reliance can
be placed on the affidavit of Chipato."
In the court case SMM is represented by Brink Cohen Le Roux Attorneys and
SAS by Dockrat Incorporated Attorneys.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Election watch

issue date :2005-Mar-09

Zanu PF Manicaland ZANU PF held three (3) campaign meetings on March 4 and 5
in Chipinge North and South constituencies.
In Chipinge North, the meetings were held at Emerald Primary School and Gaza
Community Hall.  The two meetings were addressed by, among others, Morris
Sakabuya, the ruling party's candidate for Chipinge North, and Timothy
In his address, Sakabuya promised the people of Chirinda three hectares each
if voted into Parliament.  The other speakers urged the people to vote for
Sakabuya and took turns to explain the party's manifesto as well as
chronicle the party's achievements since independence.
In Chipinge South the campaign meeting was held at Mwacheta Primary School.
Zanu PF candidate for the constituency Enock Porusingazi told the gathering
that Chipinge did not have meaningful projects because the electorate had
all along been voting for the opposition. He promised to avail maize to the
area by yesterday in order to avert hunger and urged the people to vote for
him and the party.

Zanu PF held six campaign meetings in Nkulumane, Bulawayo North East and
Makokoba. A central committee meeting was also held at the Matabeleland
Zambezi Water Project offices. The campaign meetings were addressed by Vice
President Joseph Msika, national chairman John Nkomo, Politburo member
Dumiso Dabengwa and Sihle Thebe, the ruling party's candidate for Makokoba.
In their addresses, the speakers emphasised the need for Zanu PF campaign
teams to focus on MDC shortcomings during the last five years.
The people were urged to be mindful of their obligations to the party to at
least have a respectable showing during the forthcoming elections.
The ruling party heavies said that Zanu PF would still win the impending
general elections regardless of the decision by its supporters in Bulawayo
not to vote.
They emphasised the urgent need to bury factionalism and rally behind
Absolom Sikhosana and Joshua Malinga, the party's candidates in Nkulumane
and Bulawayo North East Constituencies.  Nkomo urged the electorate in
Makokoba to vote for Thebe in line with the 1999 Victoria Falls Zanu PF
declaration to empower women.

Mashonaland West
The Zanu PF Mashonaland West acting provincial chairman and political
commissar, John Mafa and Phillip Muguti addressed three meetings in Kariba
constituency at Nyamakate Business Centre, Mahombekombe Township, and
Nyamhunga Council sub-offices.
At Nyamakate, Mafa and Muguti expressed satisfaction that party structures
were in place and functional.  They urged the supporters to vote for the
Zanu PF candidate for Kariba constituency, Shumbayaonda Chandengenda.  Mafa
promised the people that they would get maize from the Kariba Grain
Marketing Board depot.
At Mahombekombe, the two were disappointed that party structures were not in
place at a time a crucial election was on the horizon.
They urged the party supporters to put their act together as a matter of
urgency and vote resoundingly for the party's candidate.
At Nyamhunga sub-offices, Mafa invited the attendants to air their
grievances, to which the following were raised: shortage of mealie-meal, not
being allocated stands by council; exorbitant rents/rates; non-availability
of commercial banks; unemployment; need for fishing permits; and
unavailability of party regalia.
Mafa promised that the issues would be addressed.


The opposition party held two campaign rallies at Shawasha Grounds in Mbare
and Zengeza 2 Shopping Centre in Chitungwiza on March 6. The Mbare rally was
addressed by Chitungwiza Mayor Misheck Shoko and candidates Paurina Mpariwa,
(Mufakose), Job Sikhala, (St Mary's), and Gift Chimanikire (Mbare).
Mpariwa dwelt on the details of the party's manifesto while Shoko addressed
council matters. Shoko claimed the Zanu PF government was an obstacle to the
smooth running of local authorities in the country. He said he was a war
veteran with a desire to fulfil the goals of the liberation struggle, unlike
some of his colleagues who were being used by Zanu PF.
Sikhala blasted outgoing MP for Mbare East Dunmore Makuwaza for failing to
develop the constituency and labelled him a gold digger seeking to profiteer
from the electorate.
Chimanikire promised to rehabilitate flats and ease overcrowding by
relocating some tenants to other housing developments that he would initiate
if he won the election. He said he would rehabilitate infrastructure like
halls, stadiums and public toilets that had been neglected for a long time.
Chimanikire also said that he could evict those unlawfully occupying council
flats and return the flats to their rightful owners who had been evicted for
supporting the MDC.  He further articulated the party's manifesto.
Shoko, Sikhala and the party's candidate for Zengeza Goodrich Chimbaira
addressed the Zengeza rally. Shoko blamed his council's problems on Local
Government, Public Works and National Housing minister Ignatius Chombo's
refusal to approve the council budget. He said rents being paid for council
accommodation were too low and charged that some MDC councillors were
working in cahoots with Zanu PF to remove him from office.
 Chimbaira told the meeting that Sikhala had already won the St Mary's seat,
saying that the Zanu PF candidate Patrick Nyaruwata had no campaign funds.
He alleged that the Police Riot Squad was conducting door-to-door campaigns
on behalf of Zanu PF, which did not have enough youths for the exercise.  In
his address, Sikhala said that he would win against the "imposed" Nyaruwata.
He alleged independent candidate for St Mary's Tendekai Maswata and the CIO
were distributing fliers meant to tarnish his image and popularity.  Sikhala
said that Jonathan Moyo had left Zanu PF after realising that it lacked
direction and was full of uneducated people.

Mashonaland Central
The MDC held rallies at Bradley, Madziwa and Chiwaridzo Business Centres on
March 5.  The meetings were addressed by the party's deputy
secretary-general, Gift Chimanikire, Phillip Mabika (national youth
executive), Godfrey Chimombe parliamentary candidate for Shamva and Brian
Mufuka, the party's candidate for Rushinga.  The speakers lambasted Zanu PF
for alleged corruption, mismanagement of the economy and rising unemployment

Matabeleland North
The MDC had campaign rallies at St Paul's Business Centre in Lupane
constituency and at the Colliery Stadium in Hwange on March 5 and 6
    At both rallies, MDC vice president Gibson Sibanda, national organising
secretary Esaph Mdlongwa and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, the party's
candidate for Glen Norah, reiterated that corruption and selling out were
vices inherent in Zanu PF.
They blamed President Mugabe for starvation, unemployment and corruption in
society.  They also articulated the MDC's manifesto, paying particular
attention to the resuscitation of the national economy, the public health
services and job creation.Misihairabwi-Mushonga sarcastically thanked Joseph
Chinotimba and Jonathan Moyo for bringing development to Glen Norah and
Tsholotsho.  She further said Jonathan Moyo had always been working closely
with the MDC with the aim of destroying Zanu PF from within.
At Hwange Colliery Stadium, the party's secretary-general Welshman Ncube
castigated Vice President Mujuru for giving "unfulfilled promises" of better
salaries to Hwange Colliery workers.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Chitungwiza to get $30bn, upgrade sewer system

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Mar-09

CHITUNGWIZA City Council is to receive about $30 billion from the local
government ministry to upgrade its sewer system to avert the outbreak of
waterborne diseases, the dormitory town's executive mayor, Misheck Shoko has
Responding to assertions by Zengeza legislator, Christopher Chigumba last
week that the council had failed to solve perennial problem of sewage
bursts, Shoko said his council had applied to the ministry for $35 billion,
but were informed that they would get $29,5 billion.
Shoko conceded that the problem had gone out of hand and was a health
 "There is a health threat from the unclean environment owing to frequent
sewage bursts especially in St Mary's and at Chaminuka School. However, to
solve this problem, it requires billions of dollars," Shoko said.
He added that the council could not upgrade the sewer system from the
resources because it was generating little revenue from rates and service
charges since the government shot down its proposal to hike the tariffs by
300 percent last year.
The local government ministry last year instructed city and town councils
not to hike their tariffs by more than 70 percent.
As a result most of them are facing critical challenges in service delivery,
as they cannot match revenue with expenditure.
Chigumba last week blasted the MDC led council, accusing it of complacency
and lack of care for the residents.
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Lawyer of alleged mercenaries shocked at latest twist

March 09, 2005, 08:45

Alwyn Griebenow, the lawyer for the 62 suspected mercenaries, has reacted
with shock to the new turn of events regarding the release of the men.

Zimbabwe's attorney-general has filed an application to appeal against the
release of the men being held in Harare. Last week, Zimbabwe's High Court
reduced the jail sentences passed on the men, meaning they had completed
their terms. However, the attoney-general's office now wants the Supreme
Court to overturn the High Court's decision. This means the men will remain
in prison in Zimbabwe.

Griebenow, says Zimbabwean authorities are playing for time and he is not
sure whether the visit of Equatorial Guinea's attorney-general to Zimbabwe
is anything to go by. Griebenow, says the men will have to serve their full
sentences if Zimbabwe's Supreme Court overturns the decision of the
country's High Court.

Sobuza Gule-Ndebele, the Zimbabwe attorney-general told the SABC that the
suspension of a sentence for early release of a prisoner only applied to
Zimbabwean citizens.
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Development corridor stillborn

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

JOHANNESBURG, 9 Mar 2005 (IRIN) - A planned inter-country trade expansion
corridor between South Africa and Zimbabwe has failed to take off due to a
lack of investor confidence in Zimbabwe.

In 2000 the two countries signed an agreement on the Trans-Limpopo Spatial
Development Initiative (TSLDI), with the objective of establishing a
commercial corridor between South Africa's Limpopo province and Victoria
Falls in Zimbabwe. Among its major components, the initiative would pave the
way for increased agri-businesses, eco-tourism and infrastructure
development programmes.

The TLSDI included opportunities for cross-border private sector joint
ventures to exploit untapped mineral resources, such as the methane gas beds
in Zimbabwe's Matabeleland North province and the revival of the country's
only diamond mine near Beitbridge. Twinning arrangements between South
African municipalities in Limpopo province and those in the Matabeleland
provinces of Zimbabwe were also on the cards.

Developments along the corridor were planned to take place within 50 km of
either side of the Bulawayo-Polokwane railway line.

Zimbabwean business executives who spoke to IRIN said the project had
effectively collapsed, as potential South African and international partners
were unwilling to go into joint ventures with Zimbabweans because of the
economic problems and political instability in the country. Investors
considered it a high-risk investment destination and, apart from
co-operation and exchange visits between twinned towns, there had been no

"The deal is dead. There are no foreign partners, and they all cite the
unstable political and investment climate; there is also a general suspicion
that the whole thing was a government talk show. The other problem is that
businesses on both sides generally doubt the sincerity of the Zimbabwean
government, and its ability to protect their interests, once established,"
said Salatiel Muleya, an executive member of the Beitbridge Business
Association (BBA), on the border between the two countries.

Because of existing business links with the business community in South
Africa's Limpopo province, the BBA was identified as a key facilitator of
investment in the corridor. Muleya said Zimbabwe's economic meltdown,
coupled with the turmoil in the banking sector last year, were impediments
to foreign investment.

Zimbabwean municipalities that were part of the project included Gwanda in
Matabeleland South, and Bulawayo and Victoria Falls in Matabeleland North.
Gwanda mayor Thandeko Mnkandla told IRIN there had been occasional but
unproductive meetings between the partners.

"The project started off with great enthusiasm on both sides, but the change
of mayors and council representation in all the participating Zimbabwean
towns led to a death of political will. Government still shows great
reluctance in taking up its role as chief facilitator of the project; our
partners have developed cold feet. The problem is that all towns elected
opposition councillors and mayors, so the project died a natural death.
[National] government would have supported it if its [local] representatives
had remained in charge," he alleged.

When the TLDSI agreement was signed in 2000, Victoria Falls, Bulawayo and
Gwanda were all run by ZANU-PF mayors and councillors. Since then, the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change has won in all these towns,
effectively turning the Zimbabwean side of the corridor into an opposition

The Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (MZWP) also collapsed. The food and
water security component envisaged the building of a 450 km water pipeline
from the Zambezi River to the city of Bulawayo.

According to the TLSDI programme outline, several large-scale irrigation
schemes were to be established on either side of the pipeline, as well as
proposed mining ventures and lumber projects in the state-owned forests of
Matabeleland North.

In 2003, South African investors pulled out of the Lupane methane gas-mining
venture, citing lack of commitment on the Zimbabwean side.

The governor of Matabeleland North, Obert Mpofu, confirmed that no
development had taken place since the signing of the TLDSI agreement. He
blamed this on a lack of resources, and refuted allegations that government
had abandoned the corridor for political reasons.

Mpofu said the Zimbabwean government had since opted to finish the projects
on its own, because there were no willing foreign investors. He said
negotiations were under way with Far Eastern investors, who might be willing
to become project partners.

"Some of them will be coming to do the projects on a 'build, operate and
transfer' basis. I cannot say who they are at the moment, but government is
still considering fulfilling those obligations - there is plenty of
political will to move our side of the project. As for Zimbabwe being an
unsafe destination [for foreign investors], I do not understand how that can
be true, because we still have businesses operating here," Mpofu told IRIN.

However, a number of tour operators in South Africa said they were still
waiting for the Zimbabwean economy to stabilise.

"We were all pleased with the project, but political instability and
economic turmoil makes Zimbabwe a very risky investment destination.
Everyone has adopted a wait-and-see attitude - but we are all jittery about
having the Zimbabwe government as a partner. In investment we expect
multiplying and not diminishing returns, as would be the case if I relocate
or expand into Zimbabwe," said Joan Fitzgerald, a tour operator in Makhado,
in South Africa's Limpopo province.

Officials at the Zimbabwean Ministry of Industry and International Trade
said government was only a facilitator in what was essentially a private
sector initiative.

"Government cannot be a facilitator and an investor at the same time, so it
is up to business associations on both sides of the Limpopo [river] to
revive the project if they think it is collapsing," said an official who
wished to remain anonymous.
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South African Trade Union Group Wants Zimbabwe Polls Postponed By  William
      09 March 2005

In Pretoria today, a top official of the Congress of South African Trade
Unions said Zimbabwe's elections should be postponed. COSATU's deputy
president, Joe Nkosi, is quoted as saying the vote will not be free and fair
under current election laws. Mr. Nkosi made the remark during a protest
outside the Zimbabwe High Commission. According to the South Africa Press
Agency, he also said, "COSATU wants the Zimbabwean people to be liberated
from oppression just as their South African counterparts are."

The trade union group plans to continue its protests against the government
of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe until the March 31st elections. The
demonstrations will reportedly end with a vigil on Beit Bridge, which
connects the two countries.

COSATU spokesman Patrick Craven told English to Africa reporter William
Eagle that his group and its union allies in Zimbabwe do not believe there
is enough time to put into place measures that would ensure fair elections.
Among those measures are updating voters rolls, putting into place
independent elections authorities, and providing enough time for observers
to have a proper investigation into all the conditions surrounding the
polls. He also says laws such as the Public Order and Security Act do not
allow for the freedom of movement, assembly, or criticism needed during
parliamentary campaigns.

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Sunday Times (SA)

Zim ambassador 'pities' Cosatu

Wednesday March 09, 2005 15:13 - (SA)

The Zimbabwean ambassador to South Africa was scathing about a protest by
the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) outside his embassy in Pretoria on
Wednesday, saying he pitied the protesters.

"I hesitate to give an iota of dignity to these misguided malcontents,"
Simon Khaya Moyo said after a group of about 100 Cosatu members picketed
outside the embassy.

They were protesting against human rights abuses in the neighbouring
country, and asking that a fact-finding mission be sent to investigate the
running of elections on March 31.

Moyo denied that worker rights were being undermined in Zimbabwe.

"What basic rights of workers are being undermined?" he asked.

He called the protest a "damp squib", and said Cosatu was acting like an
un-elected government, and did not want to answer to anybody.

"They seem to have forgotten that their mandate is to look after the
interests of the workers of South Africa."

At the protest, Cosatu deputy president Joe Nkosi said the Zimbabwean
parliamentary election should be postponed, as it would not be free and fair
"under the current legislation."

Asked to give the Zimbabwean government a mark out of ten for its progress
towards achieving democratic elections, Nkosi gave it a zero.

"They do not even qualify for a mark. There is duplication of names on the
voters roll. The political climate is not right for free and fair
elections," Nkosi said.

He said Cosatu wanted the Zimbabwean people to be liberated from oppression
just as South Africans had been.

"The playing field before the elections still favours the (ruling) Zanu-PF,
as workers and political parties are unable to assemble in groups of more
than four," Nkosi said.

Cosatu planned to continue picketing the embassy in the run up to the March
31 election, spokesman Patrick Craven said earlier in the day.

The protests would culminate in a vigil at Beit Bridge on the South
African-Zimbabwe border on the night before Zimbabweans went to the polls.

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Council Undercharging Water

The Herald (Harare)

March 9, 2005
Posted to the web March 9, 2005


Water problems besieging Harare City Council and surrounding towns could be
self-inflicted as it has emerged the city is undercharging the commodity.

The first 10 cubic metres (50 drums of water) cost $280, which, according to
town clerk Mr Nomutsa Chideya, is cheaper than the price of a sweet, which
costs $300.

The tariff applies to high-density suburbs, which have the bulk of the
city's population. Water costs $450 per cubic metre in low-density suburbs.

It costs $1 775 to treat and supply one cubic metre of water.

"We are practically donating water to residents," Mr Chideya said.

In its 2005 budget estimates whose announcement was postponed indefinitely,
the first 10 cubic metres would be charged at $800 per cubic metre
increasing to $1 200 with effect from July for the same quantity of water.

Quantities exceeding the first 10 cubic metres would be charged at $1 600
beginning April and at $2 400 in July.

Domestic users consuming more than 300 cubic metres would be charged at $4
500 with effect from April and $6 750 from July.

The cost of water remains much lower than the treatment and supply costs
pegged at $1 775 per cubic metre.

Mr Chideya said revenue from water sales was inadequate to fund the
maintenance of treatment plants as well as buy water treatment chemicals.

The Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Cde
Ignatius Chombo, last week disclosed his ministry was paying suppliers of
water treatment chemicals because the city had no money.

Harare has faced water problems for a very long time because of mechanical
and electrical problems at the Morton Jaffray and Prince Edward water
treatment plants.

At times the problems have been attributed to shortages in water purifying
chemicals and an ailing distribution network. It costs at least $8 billion
to provide water to residents every month.

Mr Chideya said council spends not less than $400 million daily to produce
water while its monthly electricity bill to power utility Zesa is $1,9
billion. The water treatment plants use electricity in the purification

Mr Chideya said some residents who complain that Harare water was expensive
buy bottled water for over $5 000 for a 300ml bottle.

The pricing structure is expected to change with the assumption of Harare
water management by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa).

In its proposed takeover document, Zinwa proposed to charge Harare City
Council $3 000 per cubic metre. Harare will add a surcharge to cover
distribution charges.

Yesterday, the city reported most of its reservoirs were still very low
because pumping was being affected by mechanical and electrical problems at
Morton Jaffray.

Director of works Mr Psychology Chiwanga said the faulty transformer was
being attended to with the assistance of engineers from Zesa.
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Bennet Criticises Criteria Used to Disqualify Him

The Herald (Harare)

March 9, 2005
Posted to the web March 9, 2005


JAILED Chimanimani MP Roy Bennett yesterday criticised the criteria used to
disqualify him from contesting in the parliamentary election as improper.

Arguing in his appeal against the decision by the Nomination Court to reject
his nomination papers last month, Bennett said the disqualification was
improper according to the laid down election rules.

Bennett was jailed for an effective one year for contempt of Parliament
after he assaulted the Leader of the House and Justice Minister, Cde Patrick

He is seeking to represent the opposition MDC in the forthcoming
parliamentary elections in Chimanimani. Advocate Adrian de Bourbon, who
appeared for Bennett before the Electoral Court yesterday, argued that the
nomination process was flawed. He said his client was eligible to contest in
the election and met the requirements as set by the law.

Bennett, argued Adv de Bourbon, had his nomination papers rejected because
he is serving a prison term for contempt of Parliament, which is not a
criminal offence.

"It is not the case that a person found to be in contempt of Parliament is
convicted. It is merely a finding of the legislative body," he said. Adv de
Bourbon said a person could be disqualified for election if he had been
convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced by a court to imprisonment for
a term of six months or more.

He argued that the Supreme Court, in one of the decided cases, held that
Parliament is not a "court of law" in the accepted sense of the word,
therefore the criteria used to disqualify Bennett did not apply in his case.

"Therefore, the appellant was not disqualified from standing as a candidate
in the election and his nomination was accordingly wrongly rejected," he

At the time the nominations were held, he said, there was no constituency
elections officers as they were improperly appointed.

He urged the court to suspend the election of an MP for Chimanimani pending
the proper appointment of a constituency elections officer and a proper
nomination court.

He further asked the court to make an order that a poll in the constituency
takes place not less three weeks and not more than 45 days after the
nomination court.

"The nomination court itself should take place not less 14 days nor more
than 21 days after the date of this order," he said.

Appearing for the constituency elections officer Ms J Munamati, and the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Mr George Chikumbirike of Chikumbirike and
Associates urged the court to dismiss the appeal by Bennett for lack of

Mr Chikumbirike said the relief sought by Bennett was incompetent in this
case arguing that it was based on a misunderstanding of the relevant
provisions of the law governing the conduct of elections.

He said the nomination process was not flawed as alleged as the majority of
the cases clearly showed compliance with the statutory provisions.

"The relief sought must, therefore, be dismissed in its entirety," said Mr

He said it was untenable for Bennett to argue that the findings of a
legislative body on a matter relating to a criminal act was not a
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