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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Business Day

Zimbabwe's old soldiers turn against Mugabe
Rob Rose

           E-Mail article  Print-Friendly

Chief Reporter

ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe's Zanu (PF) party will not be able to
rely on the support of the country's war veterans in its March 31 election,
a group of the country's war veterans said yesterday.

The Zimbabwe Liberators' Platform consists mainly of former fighters who
fought under Mugabe to depose the apartheid-style government of Ian Smith
during the 1980s.

But the organisation is now disillusioned by Mugabe, who has been president
since 1987, and has spoken out against the corruption, mismanagement and
social ruin brought on the country by Zanu (PF).

The war veterans "no longer want to support Mugabe", war veteran Wilfred
Mhanda told a press briefing in Johannesburg yesterday.

"There is no basis for legitimacy. Zimbabwe faces a social and economic
crisis," he said.

Mhanda said that while the war veterans were a source of support for Mugabe
in previous elections, "they won't play a major role this time".

Mugabe's war veterans achieved notoriety when, frustrated by the slow pace
of land reform, they began seizing white-owned farms in the late 1990s.
Mugabe's government, eager to keep their support, condoned the move, even as
it descended into little more than a land grab for many who had not fought
in the liberation war against Smith.

Mhanda said yesterday that Mugabe had "masterminded this process",
manipulating the war veterans to ensure that government leaders got their
hands on the land.

"Zanu (PF) needed a smokescreen. The political chiefs ended up as
beneficiaries while many of the war veterans were (later) evicted from these

He said the land grab was an exercise in "self-enrichment" by Mugabe's
government that ultimately did little to change the lot of war veterans.

Other former war veterans not aligned to the group echoed these sentiments.
"Mugabe has to go. It's getting embarrassing," said one who did not want to
be named for fear of reprisals.

Meanwhile, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) yesterday accused the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation of refusing to flight its adverts in the
lead up to the poll.

"They have only showed a four-minute package of the launch of our manifesto
last week, but then aired a two-hour interview with President Robert
 Mugabe," said MDC information officer Ngqabutho Dube.

Dube said it was becoming "more clear every day that there won't be free and
fair elections, but we are determined to go to the polls because this is the
mandate from the people".

Democratic Alliance leader Tony Leon said yesterday he would address the
European Parliament tomorrow on the prospects of a free and fair poll in
Zimbabwe, and what should be done if it was rigged again.

After Zimbabwe's March 2002 election, 17 of 28 observer missions declared
that the elections were not free and fair - with the Southern African
Development Community parliamentary forum highly vocal in its criticism.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

Moyo given 48 hours to vacate villa
Tue 1 March 2005
  HARARE - The government wants former information minister and propaganda
chief Jonathan Moyo to vacate immediately a state-owned villa or be forcibly
thrown out.

      Ministry of Local Government permanent secretary David Munyoro wrote
to Moyo last Friday evening giving the former propaganda tsar 48 hours to
surrender the keys to the house in Harare's top of the range Gunhill suburb,
where he has lived with his family for the past five years since joining the

      Moyo only survived eviction after filing an urgent application at the
High Court the next day on Saturday pleading with the court to bar his
forced removal because he had nowhere else to relocate his family within the
short notice. The matter has been set down for this morning before Justice
Tedious Karwi.

      Munyoro's letter, written barely 24 hours after President Robert
Mugabe had labelled Moyo "enemy number one" during a top-level ZANU PF
meeting earlier on Thursday, reads in part: "I regret to advise that you are
to vacate the villa with immediate effect. You are aware of the
circumstances surrounding your occupation of villa 14262 Gunhill.

      "Handover of the keys to my ministry should be done by/or before 1600
hrs on Sunday 27 February 2005."

      In papers filed at the High Court, Moyo, who ironically spent most of
his time in the last three years zealously defending the state's illegal
eviction of white farmers, pleads with the court to bar the government from
forcing him out of the Gunhill house
      saying the move would be illegal.

      Moyo wrote in his court papers: "The said eviction of the applicant is
illegal and without a court order and if allowed to proceed will cause great
inconvenience and prejudice and therefore irreparable harm.'

      He said he had rushed to court without serving papers to the Local
Government Ministry in a desperate bid to block the eviction. "I have not
had time to serve this application on the respondent due to the imminence of
the eviction which if effected would cause undue complications and hardships
of an irreparable nature to both my family and me," he wrote.

      Moyo said he was aware that since his dismissal by Mugabe two weeks
ago, benefits that came with his job as information minister also fell away.
He said he phoned Munyoro on February 21 advising him that he would vacate
the government house at the end of next month.

      According to Moyo, the local government secretary told him he was by
law entitled to a three-month notice before vacating the house. He said
Munyoro also told him to formally write to the ministry advising it that he
would be leaving the villa in three months time after which the government
official would confirm the mutually agreed arrangement to Moyo in writing.

      But to his surprise, says Moyo in his court papers, Munyoro only wrote
back to him on February 25 giving him until the next Sunday to leave the
government property or risk being kicked out.

      "I believe that I am still entitled to my basic right to relocate on
reasonable notice which at law stands at three months as verbally confirmed
by Mr Munyoro over the telephone interview on 21st of February 2005.

      "I have no place to which I can relocate my family at such short
notice which notice is also illegal," Moyo tells the court.

      Addressing ZANU PF's inner politburo cabinet earlier last week a
visibly angry Mugabe, according to those who attended the meeting, told the
key committee that Moyo was now the party's top most enemy.

      Mugabe also ordered party political commissar Elliot Manyika to use
whatever "resources and strategy" necessary to ensure Moyo's independent bid
to return to Parliament fails.

      Once one of Mugabe's closest and most powerful confidantes, Moyo fell
out with the Zimbabwean leader when he secretly attempted to block the
appointment of Joyce Mujuru as second vice-president of ZANU PF and
subsequently Zimbabwe.

      Mugabe fired Moyo from the politburo and blocked his election into
ZANU PF's central committee for attempting to scuttle Mujuru's rise, while
senior leaders of the party in Matabeleland North province blocked him from
representing the party in his rural Tsholotsho home constituency.

      Moyo was finally fired from the government after he opted to stand in
Tsholotsho as an independent. - ZimOnline

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

Economists warn of sharp price hikes after election
Tue 1 March 2005
  HARARE - Zimbabweans must brace up for sharp increases in prices of every
commodity once the government lifts an artificial barrier on prices after
the March 31 general election, economists and the opposition said this week.

      They said the government has kept a lead on prices of key commodities
such as fuel and electricity in a desperate bid to curry favour with a
disgruntled electorate ahead of the parliamentary poll.

      But the authorities will inevitably allow fuel companies and the
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) to hike prices and tariffs once
and if they are re-elected later this month which analysts said would touch
off price increases across the board.

      Food shortages expected to worsen in coming months because of
below-par farm production again this season will only help exacerbate the
situation, said Tendai Biti, who is main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party economic affairs shadow minister.

      "Push will come to shove when the food shortages roost around May as a
result of the bad agricultural season. Zimbabweans must brace for tough
times after the election because that is when the real economy will be
allowed to manifest itself," Biti said.

      The opposition official spoke as continued depreciation of the
Zimbabwe dollar on both the official and illegal black-market exerted
renewed upward pressure on prices of fuel and across other downstream
economic sectors.

      The local unit has in the past two months fell by a cumulative 24
percent against a basket of six major trading partner currencies comprising
the United States dollar, British pound, the Euro and Botswana pula among

      The Zimbabwe dollar's loses have hit hard fuel companies who import on
hard currency forcing the oil merchants to increase prices by 8.3 percent
early last week in order to remain viable.

      But the oil firms were late last week forced to roll back the price
hike under pressure from the government which feared the move could trigger
off increases across the economy endangering its chances in this month's

      In correspondence to members hinting it was acting under pressure from
the government, the Petroleum Marketers of Zimbabwe (PMZ) wrote: "Your
actions of increasing the pump prices are, inter alia, contrary to central
bank's (Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe) economic turnaround strategy and will
tarnish the government's image ahead of the forthcoming elections."

      The central bank has championed government efforts to keep prices down
which it says will help bring Zimbabwe's inflation from 133.6 percent in
January to between 20 and 30 percent by year-end, a target economists say is
unachievable given the expected price increases after the election.

      The bank also forced the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA)
earlier this year to hold back a proposed 60 percent increase in power

      Harare-based economic analyst John Robertson said the government's
politically-motivated solutions to economic questions were going to

      Inflation will continue to rise to about 200 percent by mid-year and
300 percent towards year-end because of massive loss of savings and exports.
Prices of goods will also rise steeply and many more of Zimbabwe's already
struggling businesses will find it harder to survive after March 31,
Robertson said.

      "The government is becoming a victim of its bad policies because all
along it has been trying to provide political answers to economic questions
which do not sustain economic growth," said Robertson. He added: "Prices are
going to rise very steeply and it is going to be challenging for businesses
to survive."

      Neither central bank governor Gideon Gono nor acting Finance Minister
Herbert Murerwa could be reached for comment on the matter. But the two have
in the past insisted that Zimbabwe's crisis-sapped economy was turning
around the corner on the road to full recovery.

      Once one of the most vibrant in Africa, Zimbabwe's economy hit rock
bottom after chaotic and often violent government land reforms destabilised
the mainstay agriculture sector, slashing down production by about 60

      President Robert Mugabe's failure to uphold the rule of law, human
rights and democracy saw key donor and development partners ostracising
Zimbabwe, while the international Monetary Fund also cut balance-of-payments
support to compound the country's economic problems. - ZimOnline

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

State broadcaster to flight MDC adverts
Tue 1 March 2005
  HARARE - The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings is now accepting Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party political adverts after blacking out the
opposition party for the last five years.

      MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi told ZimOnline that the state-owned
company, which runs the country's only radio and television station, had
allocated the party 91 minutes to air out its policies on television and

      The move is part of efforts by President Robert Mugabe and his ruling
ZANU PF party to show that they are complying with a Southern African
Development Community (SADC) protocol on free and fair elections.

      "We have 91 minutes of advertising on radio, 91 minutes on television
and we are allowed five adverts a day. We are paying for these adverts,"
Nyathi said.Zimbabwe holds a key parliamentary election on March 31.

      Under the SADC protocol, all political parties must have access to the
public media. An independent commission must also run elections while the
rule of law and human rights must be observed during elections.

      The MDC says Mugabe has half-heartedly implemented the regional
protocol saying a new Zimbabwe Electoral Commission appointed to run the
March ballot lacks independence because its chairman was appointed by the
President. - ZimOnline
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

High Court to rule on jailed MP's bid for freedom
Tue 1 March 2005
  HARARE - The High Court will next week rule on whether jailed opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party legislator Roy Bennett should be
released from prison.

      Justice Bharat Patel, who heard an application by Bennett in which the
legislator is arguing that his continued incarceration was illegal, told the
parliamentarian's lawyers that he was going to rule on the matter early next

      "The judge has reserved judgment but he says he will strive to make a
judgment early next week," said Harare advocate Eric Matinenga, who is
representing Bennett.

      Bennett, the only white rural MP, was jailed for an effective one year
by Parliament last October for misconduct after he violently shoved Justice
Minister Patrick Chinamasa during debate.

      Ruling ZANU PF party members used their superiority in numbers to send
Bennett to jail under the Parliamentary Privileges and Immunities Act which
empowers the House to discipline or even jail its members.

      But the law only allows members to be committed to prison only for the
duration of the Parliament that found them guilty. The current parliament
ends on March 30 to pave way for a new House to be elected the following

      Bennett says his imprisonment should therefore end on March 30 and if
a third of his sentence was knocked for good behavior in terms of the
Prisons Act, he should have been out of jail on February 7. - ZimOnline

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

Zimbabwe threatens to kick out Rwandese refugees
Tue 1 March 2005

      HARARE - Zimbabwe has threatened to kick out Rwandese refugees
resisting a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)-run
voluntary repatriation exercise.

      Social Welfare Minister Paul Mangwana said UNCHR officials have, in
last ditch efforts to convince the 4 500 refugees to return home, taken a
select group of the Rwandese back to their home country so they could see
for themselves that it was now peaceful and safe.

      The group will be returned to Zimbabwe to help convince their fellow
refugees that they could go back home.

      Mangwana said that if the plan failed, then Harare would have no
choice but to "forcibly repatriate" the refugees, most of whom belong to
Rwanda's majority but powerless Hutu tribe.

      He said: "The UNHCR is on a confidence building exercise. They have
taken a couple of refugees to Rwanda to see that it is now safe to return.
These refugees will then come to report to their colleagues what they would
have seen back home. But if this fails, we will have no choice but to
forcibly repatriate them."

      The Rwandese fled to Zimbabwe after the 1994 genocide in their country
that left one million minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus dead.

      They are refusing to return home saying the Tutsi-dominated Rwandese
government was targeting Hutu professionals for harassment accusing them of
having participated or helped in the 1994 mass murders.

      A fact-finding mission including independent human rights
organisations that concluded several months ago that Rwanda was now a safe
country appears to have done little to move the Hutu refugees.

      Under international law, host countries cannot expel asylum seekers
back to their home countries if they face threats to their lives there.
However, last year, Uganda and Tanzania expelled Rwandese refugees. -
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

Heath Streak rushed to South Africa
Tue 1 March 2005
  JOHANNESBURG - Ex-Zimbabwe skipper Heath Streak has been rushed to South
Africa to try and save face for the tourists tomorrow in the last of the
three-match one-day international series the tourists already trail 2-0.

      Streak last Friday marked his return to national duty after a
year-long rebellion by senior white players when he agreed a new contract
with Zimbabwe Cricket.

      All-rounder Andy Blignaut, who also abandoned the rebellion by signing
a new deal last week, is also likely to feature for Zimbabwe in tomorrow's
academic fixture in Port Elizabeth.

      "Streak and Blignaut have been flown to South Africa and they are
likely to be played in Wednesday's one-dayer," a Zimbabwe Cricket official
who did not want to be named told ZimOnline yesterday.

      Zimbabwe chief selector Macsood Ebrahim was not available for comment
yesterday, but he indicated at the weekend that Streak and Blignaut's return
to the national team was imminent if their fitness was satisfactory.

      Blignaut was soon after signing his contract last Tuesday rushed to
Kwekwe where Zimbabwe "A" were facing Bangladesh "A" in a four-day match.

      Efforts to get in touch with Streak proved fruitless yesterday but a
relative who picked the phone at his home said the star all-rounder had left
for "cricket in South Africa".

      Fifteen white players walked out on national duty to protest Streak's
dismissal as team captain after querying a selection policy they viewed as a
racially-biased quota system.

      Zimbabwe were suspended from playing Tests in July last year as they
could not field a competitive side until their tour of Bangladesh in
January. But losing both the Test and one-day international series against
lowly Bangladesh compelled Zimbabwe Cricket to woo back the rebels as
quickly as possible.

      Barney Rogers and Gavin Ewing were however the first rebels to
voluntarily abandon the rebellion in December.

      Meanwhile, Zimbabwe might be relieved South Africa will miss their
inspirational captain Graeme Smith to injury in tomorrow's final one-dayer.

      Smith, who smashed 117 in the 131-run defeat of Zimbabwe in Durban on
Sunday, joins veterans Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini and Jacques Kallis on
the sidelines. However all four are expected to be fit for the first Test
that starts on Friday. - ZimOnline
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Herald

Ministry plans to sell closed mines

Business Reporter
THE Ministry of Mines and Mining Development is planning to dispose of some
of the mines under the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) after
the latter failed to secure funds to resuscitate them, The Herald Business
can reveal.

The State-run mining corporation has been battling to revive 10 of its
closed operations in recent years but has become unstuck due to a
combination of inadequate funding and poor management.

Sources indicated that the decision to sell would now open the doors to
private investors who have been clamouring to take over the closed mines.

"Plans are now underway to dispose some of the mines to private investors
because ZMDC has failed to secure enough funds to revive the closed mines,"
said an official from the ministry who cannot be named.

"The ministry has realised that it was important to dispose of some of the
mines due to the high presence of mineral concentrate in some of them."

While this paper could not obtain the names of mines which have been
earmarked for disposal, the source hinted that only those mines with a
capacity to boost the country's foreign currency reserves would be

"Currently, the ministry is conducting consultations with various
stakeholders and legal procedures will obviously be followed before
implementing the initiative," said the source.

ZMDC was at one time said to be engaged in talks with Iranian and Chinese
firms who had shown interest in resuscitating some of the closed mines.

However, it was not yet clear whether the corporation would dispose the
mines outright to the potential investors or go into partnership, said the

It's now three years since ZMDC mooted the idea of reviving the closed
mines, but nothing concrete has been achieved so far.

Mr Dominic Mubayiwa, the corporation's chief executive, refused to discuss
the issue saying he was busy, while the Minister of Mines and Mining
Development, Ambassador Amos Midzi, could not be reached for comment.

ZMDC was forced to close down several of its mines over the last decade
citing a hostile economic environment including falling prices on the
international market.

Some of the closed mines include Messina Trading Development Corporation,
Mhangura Mine, Lomagundi Smelting Mine and Elvington Gold Mine. Most of
these mines were closed down between 1994 and 2003.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Herald

Tourism authority launches marketing programme in China

Business Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has launched a marketing programme in
China to take advantage of the Approved Destination Status awarded to
Zimbabwe by the Asian country.

A Joint Commission on China bringing together key players in the tourism
industry has been formed to spearhead the programme.

The programme has already seen the authority holding workshops to appraise
hotels on how to prepare Chinese food in anticipation of an increase in
tourist arrivals from that destination.

The human resources director at the authority, Ms Mary-Anne Situma, told
Business Chronicle on Friday that an electronic brochure had been launched
in January to attract more tourists from Asia.

She said the programme, which would also cover other Asian nations, was
meant to exploit the ADS accorded to Zimbabwe by China last year.

"A marketing programme is being pursued in China to sell Zimbabwe," said Ms

She said as the marketing programme begins to bear fruit, there was need for
Zimbabwe to prepare itself to cater for the Asian market.

In this regard, said Ms Situma, a training programme has been launched for
local hoteliers to give them tips on how to cater for the lucrative market.

The programme was launched in Harare last month and moved to Bulawayo last
week. Plans are afoot for a similar workshop in the tourist resort town of
Victoria Falls.

"What we are trying to do is to equip facilities to cater for different
needs of the Chinese. We are not saying we will not serve our traditional
foods but we are adding variety so that people can choose," she said, adding
that while the focus was on Chinese food, other Asian countries would not be
overlooked even though there similarities in cuisine from the Far East.

She said the programme was necessitated by the "Look East" policy which was
promulgated in the face of a decline in tourist arrivals from the
traditional markets such as Germany, the United Kingdom and United States
due to negative publicity in the Western media and some sections of the
so-called local independent Press.

Zimbabwe was accorded the coveted Approved Destination Status by China in
July last year.

Stakeholders in the tourism industry formed a Joint Commission on China in
December 2004 in response to the development.

The "Look East" policy has already started paying dividends with tourist
arrivals from the region going up. According to ZTA statistics, visitors
from Asia increased by nine percent in 2003. - Business Chronicle.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Herald

Inflation hits funeral sector

Herald Reporters
INFLATION has hit the funeral industry as thousands of policyholders will
not be able to get a decent burial following the decision by a leading
funeral concern to cancel policies that attract premiums below $10 000

Doves has since stopped deducting monthly premiums below $10 000, citing
viability problems.

The move looks set to affect thousands of policyholders who joined the
scheme years back and had not had their premiums inflation-adjusted.

The minimum premium one is now required to pay is $160 000 per month.

Some of the affected subscribers have lost their jobs or are old and on
retirement with low pension payments, while others are low-income earners,
making it difficult, if not impossible, for them to review their monthly
premiums upwards.

Those who took out funeral policies over six years ago were paying amounts
ranging between $70 and $300 monthly.

However, it now costs Doves an average of $5 000 to access the premiums from
the banks.

Most of the affected policyholders obtained them several years ago when the
company used to operate as Doves Crocker Morgan before changing hands and
its name and, in some instances, they were covered for periods ranging
between 10 and 15 years.

Full benefit, according to some of the affected policyholders, was around
$10 000 and $15 000.

A statement issued by Doves Funeral Assurance recently said owing to
increases in debit order charges, deductions for premiums below $10 000
would cease with immediate effect.

The funeral directors urged all affected policyholders to contact their
nearest office to arrange alternative modes of payment.

To avoid further erosion of policies, the company urged affected clients to
pay up their existing policies and take out its new breed of policies.

One Doves official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said while the
undertakers had no choice but to conduct funerals for all policyholders as
per the initial agreement, it was wise for clients to review their policies.

"We will bury all those with policies on our books but, as you can see, we
will be at a disadvantage," the official said.

Policyholders who spoke to The Herald, however, did not see it that way.

They accused Doves of making a "killing" out of their money throughout the
years and suddenly making a "U-turn".

Others said they had seen instances when relatives of a policyholder who had
died were made to top up on what the deceased would have contributed over
the years.

"They made money out of us all those years and now they want to tell us
about inflation.

"What does that have to do with us? I should pay what I agreed to pay when I
took out the policy and nothing more.

"Those who are taking out policies now are the ones that should be told
about inflation because when we took out ours, there was no such thing.

"On the other hand, the Governor of the Reserve Bank, Dr Gideon Gono, has
said inflation is on a downward trend and that should reflect on the
ground," said Ms Voila Chikwanha of Harare.

Another policyholder, Ms Catherine Mtisi, said while she was aware that the
$73 she was contributing through a stop order facility was too little, she
believed that Doves should continue with that arrangement until the years
stipulated in the policy document lapse.

"My policy is for 10 years and after that period has passed, they can tell
me to review the policy -- not now," she said.

Hardest hit, however, are those who are no longer in employment through job
loss or retirement who said they were not sure what the latest developments
spelt for their future.

Some people said they had since realised that insuring oneself against the
unknown was a waste of money as one ended up always getting a raw deal.

"I do not care about that (being insured). When I die I will be buried, that
is for sure -- funeral cover or no cover. The money I have now is better
spent on my family because these insurance things do not work.

"There are many people who have been disappointed after realising that what
they thought they would get at the end of the day is not what they
eventually get at all," said one accountant.

Funeral cover has over the years made the burden of funeral costs easier to

Once a person took out a funeral policy they were assured of dressing, a
coffin as well as transport.

In these days of HIV and Aids where death has become common and frequent,
funeral cover used to spell the difference between headaches and peace of
mind for relatives of the deceased.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Business Day

Mboweni tells Harare to get its house in order
Linda Ensor

           E-Mail article  Print-Friendly

Political Correspondent

CAPE TOWN - Zimbabwe has to sort out its political problems if it hoped to
meet the Southern African Development Community's (SADC's) regional economic
integration targets, Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni warned yesterday.

He said that Zimbabwean politics was having too great an effect on the
performance of its economy, which currently had an inflation rate of 381,5%.

Zimbabwe is also facing an acute foreign currency shortage as well as
unemployment of more than 80%.

"Good macroeconomic management also relies on a good political environment,"
he said.

The 13 SADC member countries have agreed to achieve single digit inflation
figures by 2008, 5% by 2012 and 8% by 2018, ahead of the creation of a
monetary union in 2016.

Convergence targets have also been set on budget deficits, the nominal value
of public debt, external reserves and the central bank credit to government.

Milestones towards the achievement of monetary union are a free-trade area
by 2008; a customs union in 2010 and a common market in 2015.

Mboweni said these agreements were legally binding and "remedial measures"
would have to be taken if countries failed to meet their commitments.

A surveillance mechanism would have to be created to monitor performance.
"Quite clearly if we arrive at certain stages and any of the countries have
not achieved the required targets then I am sure some decisions will have to
be taken about how to get back into the target range."

Mboweni told a media conference - following a meeting between SADC central
bank governors, European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet and
executive board members to share experiences about regional economic
integration - that a spirit of "sisterhood and brotherhood" would have to be
developed to achieve the targets.

But he cautioned that "sisterhood and brotherhood" had limits. It might be
necessary to resort to legal action to enforce the agreements, Mboweni said.

He said he hoped SADC countries would declare their commitment to lower
inflation publicly.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


      US hits Mugabe rights record before Zimbabwe polls

      Tue March 1, 2005 8:06 AM GMT+02:00
      By Andrew Quinn

      JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - The United States on Monday accused
Zimbabwe's government of serious human rights abuses and said the country's
electoral process was skewed to ensure President Robert Mugabe's ruling
party remains in power.

      In a report issued just a month before Zimbabwe holds closely-watched
parliamentary polls in March, the U.S. State Department said Mugabe's
government continued to limit basic rights such as free speech over the past
year while encouraging political violence against opposition supporters.

      "President Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party used intimidation and violence
to maintain political power. A systematic, government-sanctioned campaign of
violence targeting supporters and perceived supporters of the opposition
continued during the year," the department said in its annual human rights

      Mugabe frequently rejects Western criticism of his government's human
rights record, saying he is being targeted for retribution by opponents of
his policy of seizing white-owned farms to give to landless blacks.

      The veteran leader, who turned 81 this month and has been Zimbabwe's
only leader since independence from Britain in 1980, says his ZANU-PF party
will win the March 31 parliamentary polls fairly and dismisses the country's
main opposition party as a stooge of western racists.

      The United States -- which in the past has singled Zimbabwe out for
criticism along with countries such as North Korea and Iran -- said
conditions in the southern African country indicated a pattern of political

      "The Constitution provides citizens with the right to change their
government peacefully; however this right was restricted in practice because
the political process continued to be heavily tilted in favour of ZANU-PF,"
the report said.

      "The government manipulated the electoral process to effectively
disenfranchise voters and skew elections in favour of ruling party

      The report did say that the main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) represented a "viable" opposition in parliament and noted that
the party's leader Morgan Tsvangirai had been acquitted of treason charges
last year.

      But it further noted that Tsvangirai -- who hopes to lead his party to
a long-shot victory in March -- still faced trial on in a second treason
case stemming from his political opposition to Mugabe.


      The report listed a number of incidences of political intimidation and
violence over the past year, most of which it attributed to ZANU-PF
supporters who were often not prosecuted.

      It noted reports of three political killings, all of opposition
supporters, and said "army and police units participated in or provided
logistical support to perpetrators of political violence."

      It also detailed a raft of legislation it said are used to quash any
challenges to government power including tough media and security laws which
limit press freedom and the right to free political assembly.

      Independent political analysts have said they see a decrease in
political violence in Zimbabwe this year compared to prior elections in 2000
and 2002 -- both of which were won by Mugabe's party amid charges of
electoral fraud from the opposition and several Western countries.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Mbeki 'would be booed' in Zim
01/03/2005 07:29  - (SA)

Donwald Pressly

Cape Town - President Thabo Mbeki "would be booed" in the streets of
Zimbabwe if he were to join the ordinary people and ask them what they feel
about his silent diplomacy towards that country, says the Roman Catholic
Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube.

Ncube - who is in South Africa for a meeting of a Catholic African forum to
discuss governance matters in the church - said that a "very different
situation" would have resulted in Zimbabwe if the land grab policies of
Mugabe, which saw hundreds of commercial farmers driven off the land, had
occurred during the presidency of Nelson Mandela in South Africa.

"Mandela was straightforward and principled.

"He (Mandela) would not have backed this ... Mugabe's land grab because it
did not empower the people, but he used it just to keep in power.

"This has caused a lot of untold suffering. Three to four million
Zimbabweans have been displaced as a result of this. The people don't know
why Mbeki is supporting Mugabe. They don't understand it.

"There is 400% inflation right now, unemployment of some 80% and two-thirds
of girls have been forced out of school because of this (misrule).

"There is continuing starvation in certain parts in the country and food is
being used as a political tool in certain areas."

Speaking at a function at the Cape Town Club on Monday night, the archbishop
said Mbeki had failed to give appropriate leadership on the vexed matter of
Zimbabwe. "People of Zimbabwe have no respect for Mbeki," said Ncube.

Ncube said that the upcoming parliamentary election on March 31 was already
rigged with about two million votes in the bag for Mugabe. He predicted that
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change would get about 30 to 40 seats
while the Zanu-PF of Mugabe would "win" 90 or so seats.

However, Ncube said: "If there was a free and fair election Zanu-PF would
get 30% or less of the vote," he said.

Ncube said he did not expect that violence would be obvious in the run-up to
the election and intimidation would be more low-key and less easy to report
in the media. Intimidation and violence were likely to take place at
people's homes and not in public.

Asked if the church had done enough to oppose the Mugabe administration, he
said the church was divided by Mugabe "who used a strategy to buy certain
churches and individual ministers and bishops".

In his own church, four of the bishops were critical of the administration
while four were not. A similar situation was the case in the Anglican church
in his country.

Initiatives by the Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, Njongonkulu Ndungane,
to appeal to Mugabe to talk to the opposition in his country had failed.

'Not scared' to talk

He said many priests and ministers had been bribed - in return for their
silence - on human rights atrocities and government misdemeanours by being
offered farms. He, himself, had been offered one but had declined to take

The archbishop said that Mugabe was "not interested" in negotiating with the
opposition or anyone else to resolve the political impasse in the country.

Mbeki too had misguided the Zimbabwean people and the world when he claimed
that Mugabe's government had been engaged in talks with the opposition. He
described this as "a lie".

Ncube told I-Net Bridge after the meeting: "Lately three Zimbabwean bishops
did their level best to get Mugabe to talk to the opposition.

"They did this... they saw all the ambassadors in Zimbabwe and visited
President Mbeki, Joaquim Chissano (former president of Mozambique) and
Bakili Muluzi (the then President of Malawi) and (former Namibian President)
Sam Nujoma and all to no avail.

"They have met with Zanu-PF 45 times and 41 times with the MDC to bring
about dialogue. It was to no avail because Mugabe is not interested in talks
and they want to stay in power by using the army and using lies, rigging and

Ncube said he was "not scared to talk when they (the Zimbabwean government)
are doing so much evil".

Back to the Top
Back to Index