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

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Zim Online

Mugabe steps up militarisation of state institutions
Mon 9 May 2005

      HARARE - President Robert Mugabe has ordered the redeployment of more
than 2 000 soldiers from the army to the civil service as he continues
militarising state institutions, ZimOnline has established.

      Graduates of the government's controversial national youth service
training will also join the soldiers in the civil service, sources said.

      Some of the soldiers and the youth militias have since the end of last
month been receiving induction training in government policy and functions
at various centres across the country.

      Most of the soldiers and youth militias will be deployed in four new
ministries created by Mugabe when he named a new Cabinet after the March
election. But many will also take up jobs in existing ministries and
government departments, sources said.

      A Ministry of Labour official, who did not want to be named for fear
of victimisation, said: "The courses are basically meant to re-orient them
and help them make the transition from soldiers to public service workers.

      "There are about 2 000 people undergoing training and the majority of
these are soldiers while the remainder is made up of national youth service
graduates. There is a mixture of high ranking and middle ranking soldiers."

      Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi refused to take questions on the
matter when contacted last night, while phones went unanswered at the
Zimbabwe Defence Forces' public relations and press liaison office.

      Secretary of the Public Service Commission (PSC) that employs all
government workers outside the uniformed forces, Constance Chigwamba, would
also not be drawn to discuss the matter. Chigwamba would only say: "We
always hold induction courses for new employees," when asked whether her
commission was running induction courses for soldiers to prepare them for
the jobs in the civil service.

      Mugabe, in power for the past 25 years, has resorted to appointing
trusted military officers to key government positions as his hold on power
has increasingly come under challenge in the last five years from the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change party and from within his own
ruling ZANU PF party.

      But this is the first time that the government is making a wholesale
recruitment of soldiers, including junior ranking troops, into the civil

      When the opposition and Southern African Development Community leaders
pressured for an independent commission to run elections in Zimbabwe, Mugabe
responded earlier this year by appointing former top army officer George
Chiweshe as head of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

      The MDC has accused Chiweshe of bias in the March 31 election after
his ZEC produced conflicting figures and statistics of people who voted in
the poll massively won by ZANU PF.

      Chiweshe, who is a lawyer and was appointed to the High Court after
the government purged independent judges, previously headed the Delimitation
Commission that redrew voting constituencies in Zimbabwe before the last
election. Chiweshe excised three constituencies from opposition supporting
areas and awarded them to rural areas where ZANU PF enjoys more support.

      A former army colonel Samuel Muvuti was appointed two years ago to
head the government's Grain Marketing Board tasked with ensuring food
security in the country.

      Former military intelligence officer Sobhuza Gula-Ndebele was
appointed Attorney General earlier this year while former army brigadier
Kennedy Zimondi is chief elections officer of the Electoral Supervisory
Commission that monitors fairness during elections. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

New farmers appeal for food aid
Mon 9 May 2005
  HARARE - Some black families resettled on land seized by the government
from white farmers five years ago are appealing for food aid or they will

      In yet another example of how President Robert Mugabe's chaotic and
often violent land reforms are hurting the people they were supposed to
benefit, the families in Odzi district in the eastern Manicaland province
last week petitioned Social Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche to ask
non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to give them food.

      The families said they had approached Goche because NGOs were shunning
them preferring to assist displaced groups such as former workers at the
white farms who lost their jobs when the farms were taken and other food
insecure groups.

      A petition submitted to Goche's office by the resettled families last
week reads in part: "Your ministry should instruct NGOs to give priority to
new (resettled) farmers in their relief programmes. Most farmers have not
harvested enough crops due to the persistent drought and need food
assistance. Unfortunately most NGOs have a bias towards former farm workers
ahead of new farmers."

      One of the resettled farmers, Lovemore Mutema, told ZimOnline last
week: "Many of us here have no food and are starving. The NGOs tell us that
we have been empowered by the government, so we do not qualify for their

      Goche could not be reached for comment but an official at the Social
Welfare Ministry said the ministry could not tell NGOs to divert food to the
starving families on former white farms because the government has allowed
donor groups to help feed specific groups only such as orphans, the elderly,
displaced people.

      "These NGOs are currently (allowed to feed) vulnerable and displaced
people because they are banned from engaging in general food relief .while
it is general knowledge that new (resettled) farmers are starving, we cannot
force the NGOs to include the new farmers on their programmes at the
moment," said the official, who did not want to be named.

      Mugabe last year banned relief agencies from distributing food aid
across the country telling them to take their food elsewhere because
Zimbabwe had enough to feed itself.

      The World Food Programme and a few other groups still running relief
operations in Zimbabwe are strictly limited to providing help to vulnerable
groups and not to the general populace.

      The Zimbabwean leader belatedly admitted the country was facing
serious food shortages just before the March general election but he vowed
he would not be going around with a begging bowl because his
hard-cash-strapped government had enough resources to ensure no one starved.

      But food agencies warn that malnutrition-related illnesses are
increasingly occurring across the country as about four million or a quarter
of the country's 12 million people fail to find adequate food.

      Zimbabwe has virtually survived on food handouts from international
food relief agencies in the last five years after Mugabe seized large
commercial farms from whites for redistribution to landless blacks.

      The resettled black farmers resettled on the farms have failed to
maintain production because they were dumped on farms without farming inputs
or backup skills training support. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Annan to meet Mugabe over crisis
Mon 9 May 2005
  JOHANNERSBURG - United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan is expected to
meet Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe at the end of the month to discuss
the southern African nation's deepening political and economic crisis.

      Annan has reportedly been in touch with Mugabe and might be travelling
to Harare in the next three weeks for talks with the Zimbabwean leader over
a looming humanitarian crisis in his country.

      If the UN chief, who keeps a tight schedule fails to travel, he will
send an envoy to meet Mugabe, according to senior Harare officials.

      Mugabe who until two months ago denied his country faced serious food
shortages has vowed not to bring out the begging bowl saying his
foreign-currency starved regime is able to import grain to ensure no one
starves in Zimbabwe.

      Harare, which is battling its worst ever hard cash crisis will need to
import 1.2 million tonnes of the staple maize and several tens of thousands
of other key cereals to keep the country going until the next harvest
expected in March/April 2006.

      Food relief experts have warned of a humanitarian disaster and
possibly full scale famine if Harare does not appeal for emergency aid and
also fails to raise cash to import enough grain.

      Non-governmental organisations and health experts say
malnutrition-related illnesses are on the increase with more than 20 deaths
due to such illnesses recorded in Zimbabwe's second largest city of Bulawayo
in the first quarter of this year.

      Once a net food exporter, Zimbabwe has survived on food handouts from
donor groups in the last five years after Mugabe's chaotic land reforms
destabilised the agricultural sector causing a 60 percent drop in food
production. - ZimOnline

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The Times - letters

            May 10, 2005

            Good governance and Zimbabwe
            From Baroness Park of Monmouth

            Sir, The 461-page report of the Commission for Africa records in
exhaustive detail both what is required in terms of good governance if
Africa is to be enabled to fulfil its potential, and the massive financial
support expected, indeed demanded, from the G8 countries, the World Bank and
the IMF.
            Yet this detailed survey contains just three brief mentions of
Zimbabwe. It is as if the country, with its 13 million people, did not

            Zimbabwe has just been re-elected to the UN Human Rights
Commission in Geneva (report, April 29). The African Union pushed this
through. Canada, Australia and the US protested. Britain did not.

            The commission is in principle a good initiative but
implementing its proposals will call for well-informed political assessments
on the ground. Was this the moment for extensive cuts in experienced Foreign
Office personnel and the closing of posts, some in Africa?

            Yours faithfully,
            PARK of MONMOUTH,
            House of Lords.
            May 4.
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Grim winter ahead, warns WFP

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

JOHANNESBURG, 9 May 2005 (IRIN) - The World Food Programme (WFP) has warned
that vulnerable populations in Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland,
Zambia and Zimbabwe face a "grim winter".

WFP spokesman Mike Huggins told IRIN that of the US $216 million appeal for
its Protracted Relief and Recovery Operations (PRRO), aimed at supporting
people affected by drought and floods in previous years, the agency had so
far received just $57 million.

Huggins noted that "our current level of funding does not bode well for the
expected increase in need across the region". Several countries, already
struggling to recover from previous poor harvests, face another deficit this
year, due to prolonged dry spells at critical stages in the crop cycle.

"While the joint Food and Agriculture Organisation/WFP Crop and Food Supply
Assessment Missions and Vulnerability Assessment Committee exercises [to
assess the shortfall and resulting food aid needs] are underway, the 2004/05
agricultural harvest is expected to be comparable to, and in some locations
worse than, the drought year of 2002," WFP said in its latest situation

Following poor harvests in 2002, combined with the devastating impact of
HIV/AIDS, economic crises and tenuous national grain reserves, some 14
million people across Southern Africa were in need of food aid to survive.

Given the outlook for this year, WFP cautioned that its ability to respond
to the looming humanitarian crisis in the region could be severely

"WFP is drastically underfunded and we are facing a dire outlook for many
countries in this region. Donors and the international community will have
to refocus their attention on the Southern African region if we are to help
all the many millions who will need assistance," Huggins noted.

In Angola, where WFP's support for the return and resettlement of refugees
and internally displaced persons (IDPs) was "crucial to the peace process",
the agency's programmes were also "severely underfunded".

The WFP situation report noted that "there has been a precipitous drop in
contributions from donors since January 2004".

"Even with reduced beneficiary numbers, substantial reductions in
food-for-work/assets activities, and a much smaller school-feeding programme
than had initially been planned, the operation still needs about $24
million, or 36,000 mt of additional food, in order to reach completion at
the end of 2005," the agency pointed out.

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Apostolic Faith churches act to prevent spread of HIV/AIDS

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

JOHANNESBURG, 9 May 2005 (IRIN) - The leadership of Zimbabwe's Apostolic
Faith (AF) movement, one of the most conservative churches in the country,
have embraced a new creed - that of AIDS prevention.

AIDS activists have long complained that despite climbing HIV infection
rates, church leaders have been reluctant to effect behaviour change among
their members. Now AIDS NGOs have been invited to work with the movement to
develop an anti-AIDS strategy for its three million followers.

Over the years, the AF has courted controversy because of its religious
beliefs, including polygamy, wife inheritance and the forced marriage of
young girls to elders. The use of contraceptives has also been considered as
contrary to the teachings of the Bible.

Although the sect was started in Zimbabwe, it is well established in
Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique and Namibia. Easily identifiable by their
long, white gowns, clean-shaven heads for men and white head-scarves for
women, the sects are a now common feature across Southern Africa.

In a bold move, church leaders recently appealed to the AIDS Policy Advocacy
Project (APAP) for assistance in developing an HIV/AIDS mitigation policy,
which could see the overhaul of deeply entrenched traditional practices. The
APAP is supported by the Futures Group, an international AIDS NGO that
targets faith-based organisations.

"We now know that upholding such traditions as polygamy, wife inheritance
and forced marriages for our daughters is killing us. We want to change
these attitudes, and adopt policies that will save the young and old members
of all Apostolic Faiths, by letting them know which ones of our practices
are exposing us to HIV/AIDS," an Apostolic Faith elder, Bishop Revai
Chitanda, told IRIN.

Chitanda said increased awareness of the disease among church elders would
empower them to inform their congregations of safer sex practices.

"What we want, in the long run, is to spread the anti-AIDS message to all
Apostolic Faith outposts in Southern Africa. We are a huge, ever-growing
congregation, but we have for long been associated with retrogressive
traditions. We now want to be the ones to deliver our people from the
vicious cycle of HIV/AIDS - we have already lost too many and we can't stand
to lose more," said Chitanda.

Godfrey Tinarwo, a senior HIV/AIDS advocacy specialist with the Futures
Group, told IRIN that the NGO was keen to assist all churches in formulating
HIV/AIDS policies. He said although many churches were eager to put HIV/AIDS
policies in place, they were ill-equipped to implement them.

"We will continue to work with all faith-based organisations, including the
Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association, in forming networks
through which they can form and share HIV/AIDS prevention, care and
mitigation policies," Tinarwo explained.

While finding assistance to formulate an AIDS policy had proven easier than
expected, Chitanda said the challenge lay in convincing congregations of the
benefits of the new policy.

"It is not going to be easy - there are many people who still strongly
believe that the beliefs we have been practising are unquestionably correct
and God-given. Putting the message of change across is one thing; having it
accepted is a different matter altogether," Chitanda commented.

Futures Group International also runs similar programmes in Zimbabwe's
Anglican, Roman Catholic, Lutheran and Zionist congregations.

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Soccer diplomacy to help ease political rift

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

HARARE, 9 May 2005 (IRIN) - On a hot Sunday afternoon in a suburb of the
Zimbabwean capital, Harare, two unlikely football teams run out onto a dusty

Like Sunday soccer everywhere, the players are mostly middle-aged,
pot-bellied and, to be honest, pretty useless. But they are cheered on each
week by an enthusiastic crowd that can number more than 2,000.

This is not your average boozers' league. The matches pit officials and
supporters from the ruling ZANU-PF against the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) - with each team decked out in their party colours -
a development unimaginable in the immediate aftermath of the controversial
31 March legislative election.

The matches represent a real attempt to bridge a political divide that has
polarised the country since the first violence-scarred elections in 2000. At
stake at the end of 90 minutes is not political power or a constituency
seat - just team pride and Zim $500,000 (about US $25) in prize money.

The football games are the brainchild of two men: Job Sikhala, the burly
MDC's Member of Parliament for St Marys - who doubles as coach and
substitute for the opposition - and Last Chiyangwa, a popular musician who
supports the ruling party.

"We believe that the people of Zimbabwe need to go through a process of
healing - these challenge soccer matches are a way of promoting peace and
stability in the area. As residents and leaders in the community, we cannot
sit back and watch people beating each other up," Sikhala told IRIN, as he
prepared to make a tactical change by going on himself.

"We should create a culture whereby we respect the political opinions of
others and still be able to live in harmony together," he added.

Chiyangwa, in between bellowing instructions from the ZANU-PF team bench,
concurred. "A large number of supporters watching this match are wearing
political regalia of their choice, but that harmony does not exist in some
parts of the country, and we hope what is happening here can spread
throughout the country."

The comedy of errors on the football pitch certainly had the crowd laughing
in unison, and after each match both camps share mugs of traditional beer
bought with the prize money.

Webster Zambara, a conflict resolution expert, said the challenge match
series not only brought former enemies together on a field of play, but was
a process that went beyond the politicians.

"This move is not just being done by political leaders, but with the
participation of ordinary members of the two political parties," Zambara

The new spirit of rapprochement appears to be receiving tentative support
from some sections of the government, which has a comfortable parliamentary
majority after the 31 March poll.

Tichaona Jokonya, the new information minister, seems to have deliberately
set a different tone from his belligerent predecessor, Jonathan Moyo.

After his appointment in April, he called a meeting with all editors,
including those from the privately owned media, who in the past had been
branded as members of the opposition.

The career diplomat hosted a cocktail party for journalists, to commemorate
World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, where he called for critical and balanced

"You should not say I am doing a wonderful job when I am not. You can
disagree and argue with me as much as you want, but as long as you are
factual. My office will be open for individuals or groups of journalists who
may have concerns on some aspects of media laws."

Zimbabwe's Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) has
been a key bone of contention between the independent press and the
government, with the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe, a coalition of the
country's major media bodies, calling for its repeal ahead of World Press
Freedom Day.

Since its introduction in 2002, four newspapers have been shut down and
scores of journalists have reportedly been arrested and harassed, although
there has never been a successful prosecution under AIPPA.

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      Drought Hits Zimbabwe Wheat Production
      By Tendai Maphosa
      09 May 2005

Zimbabwe, along with other southern African countries, is facing a drought
induced shortage of maize, the staple food of the region. The country is
also facing a further slump in wheat production. But the drought is only one
of the reasons for the drop in wheat production.

Unlike maize which is grown in the rainy season, in Zimbabwe wheat is an
irrigated winter crop. But with the wheat planting period already under way,
forecasts for this year's crop do not look good.

A spokesman for of an agricultural organization who spoke to VOA on
condition of anonymity said because of the drought some dams do not have
enough water for irrigation. He added that the problem has been worsened by
the shortage of seed and fertilizers.

As a result, he said, less than half of the land normally used to grow
irrigated winter wheat is going to be planted this year.

An article in the state controlled newspaper The Sunday Mail says some
farmers have yet to prepare their land for planting due to shortages of fuel
shortage and tractors for plowing. The paper also blamed the government bank
tasked with disbursing money to farmers to support agriculture.

Zimbabwe needs about 400,000 tons of wheat a year, but has never produced
that much. The agricultural spokesperson said wheat production peaked in
1998 when the country produced 350,000 tons.

In 2003, less than 150,000 tons of wheat were produced. This resulted in
severe bread shortages. The official also said when there is a shortage of
maize, the demand for bread increases.

Zimbabwe, once known as the breadbasket of the southern African region, has
in the past five years experienced food shortages mainly because of
successive droughts. Last year, the government stopped donor agencies that
were distributing food in the country from doing so, claiming it had a
bumper maize harvest.

International aid agencies have also blamed the food crisis in Zimbabwe on
President Robert Mugabe's sometimes violent land reform program launched in
2000. The exercise saw white farmers losing their farms ostensibly for the
resettlement of landless blacks.

The president has admitted that some of his top officials took advantage of
the program and helped themselves to multiple farms. He complained that some
of them are not producing to capacity.

A lack of capital for agricultural equipment and materials on the part of
black farmers has led to a drastic fall in production.

But Mr. Mugabe has said Zimbabwe has the money to import maize and is not
going to ask for food aid.
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Fuel Shortages: Black Market Dealers Scuttle Government Efforts

The Herald (Harare)

May 7, 2005
Posted to the web May 9, 2005

Alphina Ncube

FUEL shortages that have resurfaced in the country, especially in Harare,
are continuing as black market dealers are scuttling efforts being made by
the Government to normalise the situation.

A survey by The Herald in the central business district (CBD) of the capital
revealed that hoarding of the available fuel - petrol in particular - by
some businesspeople and individuals has become rampant.

Some of the chief culprits engaged in this illicit trade are commuter
omnibus operators, particularly those plying the City-Avondale route with
old Peugeot 404s vehicles which have virtually abandoned carrying
fare-paying passengers for the highly lucrative fuel black market.

Most of the old vehicles are now spending more time in the queues than on
the road. Several of them were seen parked at the front of queues where fuel
was being delivered.

This was the case at a Caltex filling station along Albion Road in the CBD
where at least 11 of these vehicles were served first although it was
evident that the fuel that was being poured in the cars' tanks was destined
for the black market.

The motorists immediately drain out the fuel into containers, and then
promptly rejoin the queues.

An attendant at the filling station admitted that the garage had fallen foul
of the black marketeers.

"This garage is a victim of black marketers. At one time we were arrested
for allegedly backdoor dealings with the black marketers.

"It is sad because the police are not making any efforts to arrest these
people," the attendant said.

Most of those engaged in the practice were selling the fuel in five-litre
containers at night to avoid detection with the most prominent being the car
park just opposite the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) head office
along Leopold Takawira Street.

A five-litre container of petrol was going for anything above $100 000,
which is way above the gazetted retail price of $18 000.

The black marketeers were targeting foreign nationals who would not hesitate
to pay the large sums being charged.

Although deliveries were being made to some service stations, these were in
limited quantities resulting in stockouts moments after the arrival of fresh

Most service stations visited were deserted as they had run out of both
petrol and diesel.

At one of the service stations visited by The Herald, an attendant, Mr Itai
Kapunha, said they had last received supplies on Wednesday and were not sure
when the next delivery would be made.

"As of now, we do not know when we will get our next order of fuel but we
hope that we will be supplied soon," he said.

At another garage visited by The Herald along Kwame Nkrumah Avenue, an
attendant said they were surprised to receive supplies on Monday after a
good two months without any deliveries being made to that particular garage.

The attendant also professed ignorance on when the next deliveries would be

"It's very unfortunate because our garage is marginalised as compared to
Wedzera Service Station, which is given first preference," he said

A motorist waiting for fuel at the service station could not hide his
dissatisfaction with the erratic supply of fuel.

"The fuel situation is not improving at all, as the supply is still erratic.
Usually we get fuel towards the weekend, and if I miss this opportunity,
then I will have to wait for next week."

However, business was normal at Wedzera Service Station where regular
supplies are made, as it is one of the fuel companies that are in
partnership with Noczim.

"We get deliveries as soon as our tank is finished. Currently we have
diesel, and we are expecting petrol tomorrow," said Mr Maxwell Kwangwa, a
fuel attendant at the service station along Nelson Mandela Avenue.

Apart from inconveniencing the travelling public, especially commuters from
the high-density suburbs, the shortages of fuel have also hit the business
sector, with funeral parlours being among the most affected.

Doves Funeral Holdings chairman Dr Obadiah Moyo admitted that all was not
well in the industry due to the shortages and recommended that the sector be
given preference as it provided a critical service.

"We are experiencing severe shortages. I believe that this industry should
be given priority, not only Doves, but all the funeral parlours.

"I am appealing to the Ministry (of Energy and Power Development) to do
something. It's a nightmare to conduct our business without sufficient fuel
supplies. Some families are ferrying their deceased for burial using their
own transport and this has a bearing on our business," he said.

Dr Moyo said they were going as far as Mutare to get supplies as a way of
getting around the problem.

Contacted for comment, the Secretary for Energy and Power Development, Mr
Justin Mupamhanga, said that the country was still on the recovery road.

He said efforts were being made to improve the situation as it could not be
resolved overnight.

The interim secretary of the Petroleum Industry Fuel Procurement Committee,
Mr Roderick Kusano, said the situation was being attended to with efforts
being made to improve supplies and deliveries.

"The fuel situation has been sorted out. However, it will take some time for
it to be delivered to many service stations.

"We hope that by Tuesday the situation would have improved, though there are
still some logistical problems still to be sorted out," said Mr Kusano.
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Business Report

Zimbabwe cracks down on hoarding supermarkets
May 9, 2005

Harare - Zimbabwean police arrested at least 400 vendors and fined 28
supermarkets in a crackdown on shops and individuals who were hoarding goods
in anticipation of a price hike, a daily said Monday.

"Twenty-eight supermarkets were last week fined a total 31 million dollars
(R32 000) for stashing basic commodities," the state-run Herald newspaper

"At least 400 vendors were also arrested for overcharging basic commodities
and other essential household goods as the government moved in to stamp its
authority on unilateral price hikes and hoarding."

Basic commodities such as milk, cooking oil and the staple corn meal have
disappeared from Zimbabwe's shop shelves in recent weeks, spawning a
thriving black market where the scarce goods are available for as much as
three times the official price.

The bustling black market prompted the police to launch an operation
code-named Chipfukuto - the local Shona language for weevil - "to stamp out
the illegal sale of basic commodities on the parallel market, overcharging
and hoarding."

"Our licensing department is in full force to ensure that consumers are not
ripped off by unscrupulous businesspeople and unlicensed people selling
goods outside supermarkets," The Herald quoted police spokesman Inspector
Whisper Bhondayi as saying.

The country's trade ministry last month announced plans to introduce tougher
penalties for those flouting state imposed price controls on basic
commodities, launched in a bid to snuff out a flourishing black market.

Zimbabwe's economy has been on a downturn in the last five years
characterised by runaway inflation and perennial shortages of basic

The government introduced price controls to fight a flourishing black market
for staples such as corn meal, cooking oil and bread three years ago and had
instituted a fine of one million Zimbabwean dollars (about R1 000) for

The situation has been blamed partly on controversial land reforms that have
compromised food production and the country's isolation from its traditional
trading partners in Europe following the 2002 presidential election which
Western observers charged were rigged. - AFP
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Sunday Times (SA)

Alleged mercenaries may be released tomorrow

Monday May 09, 2005 15:11 - (SA)

It is still not known if the 62 South African alleged mercenaries in
Zimbabwe will be released from prison as arranged,     tomorrow, their
lawyer said today.

"We have not heard anything from them (the relevant authorities)," said
lawyer Alwyn Griebenow. "We wrote a formal letter through the South African
embassy asking if the would be released, but we have received no reply."

He said the letter was written about 10 days ago. Griebenow said he would be
in Zimbabwe tomorrow morning to deal with the matter.

The men have spent more than 12 months in Chikurubi prison in the capital

They are still awaiting the outcome of an appeal lodged by Zimbabwe's
attorney-general, Sobuza Gula-Ndebele, against a
reduction of their sentences which would have seen the men released  in
early March.

Zimbabwean court officials confirmed on March 2 that the men were scheduled
for immediate release after a successful appeal to the high court for a
reduction of their sentences.

A week later, with all the paperwork completed, their lawyer and  families
waited in vain for their return which was delayed when Gula-Ndebele filed an
application to appeal against the high court's decision.

He had said that the suspension of a sentence for the early release of a
prisoner only applied to Zimbabwean citizens.

Griebenow said the appeal would only be of value to two pilots who had
received 16-month sentences for their role in the alleged plot to topple the
government of Equatorial Guinea.

"If judgment is given in their favour they won't have to wait until
September 1 to be released," he said.

Two of the men - Francisco Marcus and Melane Moyodue - due for release
tomorrow are ill with tuberculosis believed to have been picked up in

Accusations of mistreatment of the prisoners have surfaced during their
imprisonment, with Griebenow saying their living
conditions were "horrible".

Their prison food had little nutritional value, they slept on the floor, and
sometimes weeks went by without running water, he

The group was arrested at Harare International Airport when they apparently
landed to refuel and pick up military equipment.

Zimbabwean authorities said they were on their way to join 15 other
suspected mercenaries - including eight South Africans -
arrested in Equatorial Guinea around the same time.

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

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Human Rights Group Criticizes Zimbabwe
      By VOA News
      09 May 2005

A human rights group says defenders of such rights in Zimbabwe continue to
suffer constant abuse by the government.

Amnesty International says rights activists are subjected to threats,
constant surveillance by state security agents, arbitrary arrests, physical
violence and torture.

The London-based group says it is particularly concerned about the constant
harassment of the group Women of Zimbabwe Arise. Amnesty International says
WOZA activists have been repeatedly arrested since February, 2003 while
engaging in peaceful protests of the country's worsening economic situation.
In some cases, babies and young children have been jailed with their

The human rights group is calling on President Robert Mugabe's government,
which was reelected in March, to repeal repressive laws, including those
that curb free speech.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and Amnesty
International press release.
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Cotton Price Wrangle Rages On

The Herald (Harare)

May 9, 2005
Posted to the web May 9, 2005

Golden Sibanda

ZIMBABWE'S cotton industry is headed for an inevitable collapse if farmers
are not given a viable producer price as well as sufficient assistance in
terms of resources to remain in business, cotton growers have said.

Representatives of cotton farmers told Herald Business that farmers were
frustrated by the fact that almost two months into the selling season there
has not been much progress with regard to prospects for an improved and
viable producer price.

Currently, merchants are buying the crop at $2 000 per kilogramme against a
price of $6 000 per kilogramme which the farmers are demanding.

When the selling season commenced two months ago, the cotton producer stood
at $800 per kilogramme, which the farmers said was not viable. It was then
they decided to engage the Government for a support price that would make
them realise, at least, 30 percent profit and enable them to return to the
fields next year.

The chairman of the Zimbabwe Cotton Growers' Association, Mr Andrew
Kanengoni, said they had implored the Government to assist in any way
possible, including awarding the farmers a viable support price as was the
case with tobacco, in order for the cotton industry to survive.

Otherwise, he said, there would not be any cotton industry to talk about in
the not so distant future.

"There is some hope that something will come up from Government in the form
of a support price for the crop.

"What is left is for Government to make a decision if it really appreciates
our concern.

"There is definitely need to support the farmers for them to continue
producing cotton considering that the $2000 per kilogramme being offered by
merchants is just about half the production cost for a kilogramme of
cotton," said Mr Kanengoni.

He said it costs between $3 800 and $4 500 to produce a kilogramme of
cotton, which means a farmer would not break even on a producer price of
less than $4 500 per kilogramme.

"Definitely, the cotton industry is bound to collapse very soon if farmers
are not supported to continue producing the crop.

"Because of the problems of a non-viable producer price that rocked the
industry last year a lot of farmers dropped out of cotton production as
testified by the reduction in the output," he said.

Mr Kanengoni said they were expecting between 140 000 and 150 000 tonnes of
cotton this season, down from last year's output of about 333 000 tonnes, as
a significant number of farmers had opted out of production of the "white

Without support from Government and other stakeholders, said Mr Kanengoni,
more farmers would drop out of cotton farming and add to the already high
unemployment levels.

Cotton farmers said they were imploring Government to assist with a support
price as they appreciated merchants' inability to offer a viable price, by
themselves, owing to depressed cotton prices on the international market.

Cotton is presently fetching about US 58 cents on the international market,
which translates to about $1 200 per kilogramme in local dollar terms.

When the selling season commenced merchants were reportedly buying at $800
per kilogramme, which was hiked to $1200 and only recently adjusted upwards
to $2 000 per kilogramme when international prices surged slightly.

A discouraging producer price every season, for the past three years, has
seen the country failing to match its 600 000-tonne ginning capacity.

"If we get the support, financial, technical and all the other necessary
inputs, we would have no problems achieving that figure, something that
would see the country earning about US$300 million, annually," said Mr

He added that such a development would go a long way in enhancing the
country's foreign currency generating capacity.

Although the issue of a non-viable producer price had a significant impact
on the reduction in this year's output other factors like lack of technical
and material support and drought affected the yield.

Last year, farmers and merchants were deadlocked following a bitter wrangle
over the producer price. The impasse was only broken after Government
persuaded farmers to accept a price of $1 800 per kilogramme. They were also
promised a $100 per kilogramme support by the central bank.

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Day-Old Chicks in Short Supply

The Herald (Harare)

May 9, 2005
Posted to the web May 9, 2005


A SHARP rise in the demand for poultry products has resulted in the shortage
of day-old chicks on the market.

Chick breeders said the situation had been further compounded by the
scarcity of such inputs as breeding stock and stock feed, among other

The shortage has negatively affected poultry farmers who have to go for
weeks before getting their orders.

A source at one of the leading breeders said the current stock was fully
booked and those who were making bookings now would only get their orders
around mid-May.

Most of the poultry farmers have resorted to placing their orders well in
advance so as to avert the long gap in supply.

"We now have to wait for longer to get supplies for day-old chicks. The
situation has been particularly bad in the last few weeks," said Mr Taka
Munetsi, a small-scale poultry keeper in Warren Park.

Zimbabwe Poultry Association chairperson Mr Peter Drummond, confirmed the
sudden surge in demand for poultry products, saying producers had been
caught unaware.

"There is a decline in beef products in the country resulting in a sudden
increase in demand for poultry products and other protein-giving foods such
as fish and pork," he said.

The association estimates that demand for poultry products has risen by
about 20 percent.

Mr Drummond also attributed the shortage of day-old chicks on the increased
number of people venturing into poultry owing to the harsh economic
environment currently prevailing in the country.

The poultry industry, Mr Drummond said, was faced with many challenges like
the shortage of foreign currency.

"There is an acute shortage of foreign currency for all aspects of poultry
inputs, such as breeding stock which has to be imported to augment and
improve output. This has affected the supply of vaccines, drugs and stock

"We also need to buy equipment for slaughter, feeding and incubation.
Small-scale producers of poultry products need to be assisted with stock
feed to boost their capacity," he said.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, he said, should avail more foreign currency
for inputs so as to boost production and meet the country's domestic needs
and the export market.

As a result, Mr Drummond said, two of the country's leading poultry
producers, Irvine's and Crest Breeders, had put in place measures to boost

He noted, however, that the impact would not be felt immediately as it takes
time before grandparent stock breeds the parent stock, which will then
produce day-old chicks.

Mr Drummond said the other solution would be to use broilers as breeders,
but that would not be a viable option.
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The Herald

Monthly consumer budget up 10,5 percent, says CCZ

By Paul Nyakazeya
THE monthly budget for a family of six for the month of April rose to $2 347
063, up from the March figure of $2 123 121, an increase of 10,5 percent,
says the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ).

Notable increases were recorded in both food and non-food items. During the
month under review white sugar, flour and cooking oil, which were said to be
in short supply, were readily available on the black market.

The prices of these commodities increased by 60,6 percent, 40,4 percent and
52,8 percent on the official market respectively.

Some retail outlets did not reverse "unsanctioned increases" which coincided
with the announcement of the country's sixth parliamentary election results.

The Government had ordered manufacturers and retailers who had arbitrarily
raised the prices of basic commodities to revert to previous levels since
the "new prices" had not been approved.

In an interview with Herald Business on Friday, CCZ public relations manager
Mr Tonderai Mukeredzi said his organisation was concerned about the easy
availability of some basic commodities on the black market and hoped
appropriate action would be taken against anyone found selling basic
commodities at exorbitant prices.

"In April, the low-income urban earner required $2 347 063, 00 up from the
March figure of $2,123 121, 00, indicating an increase of 10,5 percent.
Major movers were white sugar, now mainly obtainable on the black market at
a price of $12 000 for a 2kg packet, and flour fetching $18 000 for 2kg.
Similarly, cooking oil went up by 52,8 percent while washing soap went up
22,7 percent," said Mr Mukeredzi.

A 2kg packet of rice increased by 6,6 percent, vegetables (33,3 percent),
washing soap (22,7 percent), rent (11,1 percent.), heat and maintenance (5,8
percent), health and education (6,2, percent) transport (12,5 percent) and
soap bars (11,5 percent.)

The March basket saw margarine increasing by 0,2 percent, tea leaves 3,5
percent, sugar 1,6 percent, fresh milk 2,5 percent, cooking oil 7,1 percent,
rice 1,2 percent, vegetables 1,7 percent, washing powder 2,2 percent, beef
0,1 percent, rent 20 percent, housing maintenance 6,2 percent and
electricity 3,2 percent.

"The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe is concerned by the re-emergence of the
black market and urges Government to take stern measures against those
perpetrating the practice, which is threatening to derail the country's
economic gains and exposing consumers to untold suffering.

"The consumer watchdog, however, applauds recent efforts by the police to
stamp out the black market. We strongly appeal to the law enforcement agents
to continue bringing to book those hoarding goods and condoning the black

"It is our hope that a lasting solution is being pursued by all concerned
parties to ensure that consumers' rights to basic needs are met," added Mr

The Government through the Ministry of Industry and International Trade,
last month warned consumers to avoid engaging in practices that were likely
to fuel inflation and the rebirth of the black market.
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The Herald

Horticulture production set to grow as sector looks Far East

Business Reporter
THE production of horticultural products in Zimbabwe is expected to grow
this year, as the sector has established new markets in the Far East.

The sector had gone into recession over the past five years and confidence
was beginning to sag among the new farmers who are into the production of
horticultural crops.

Zimbabwe has witnessed a drop in the production of horticulture produce in
the past few years with its traditional markets being snapped up by other
leading producers such as Kenya, Sri Lanka and Latin America.

The drop in growth was attributed to the successive droughts, which gripped
the country in 2001/2002 season.

The emergence of Asian markets has created hope with farmers regaining the
lost confidence in the sector as they are now guaranteed a market.

Until recently, Zimbabwe found a ready market for its horticultural
produce - vegetables, fruits and flowers - in the European Union (EU).

However, the EU has of late been shutting out Zimbabwe horticultural produce
from its markets by heavily subsidising its own farmers and putting in place
stringent requirements for imported produce, prompting the Government to
shift its focus on Asian markets which are proving to be viable.

But this was not to underestimate the importance of the European markets for
Zimbabwe horticultural exporters as just under half the country's
agricultural exports are sold in the EU.

For example, Zimbabwe's pea exports to the EU grew by 53 percent between
1993 and 1997, which was 12 percent of the EU's leguminous vegetable imports
like peas and beans, before it dropped to less than 3,4 percent in 2000.
Accordging to the United Nations Development Programme Human Development
Report, Zimbabwe made 10 times as much money from exports than from
international assistance, with horticulture constituting a significant

However, with the anticipated rise in production, the country should become
more focused on processed horticultural products, which are capable of
generating more foreign exchange.

Unprocessed horticultural produce are frequently vulnerable to swings in the
world market prices which tend to dampen foreign exchange inflows.

Diversifying horticultural exports and switching to higher-value goods is
considered by many development experts, including multilateral lending
agencies such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, as an
economic priority.

The majority of the people of Zimbabwe earn their livelihoods from
agriculture, horticulture included.

It is on this basis that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe was predicting a 28
percent rise in horticultural exports this year driven by value addition and
adequate funding.

The bank also identifies increased participation of smallholder farmers in
flower production as an additional supporting factor.

Horticulture involves the growing of garden crops-fruit, vegetables, flowers
and nuts. Traditional Zimbabwean horticulture crops include chillies, green
beans, mangetouts, cut flowers, citrus fruits and cashew nuts.

Horticulture is a vital export-earning sector in the entire Southern African
region, notably Malawi, South Africa and Zambia.

Zambia, for instance, exported over 5 000 tonnes of horticultural products
in the 1997-98 season recording earnings of US$48 million. By the 1999-2000
season the figures had risen to 8 400 tonnes and US$62,6 million
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New Zimbabwe

Mugabe's hollow Africanism

Chido Makunike argued that Zimbabweans have been "wallowing in stagnation or
regression under Mugabe, while some people cheer him on for his
impoverishing, hypocritical rhetorical heroism." Innocent Chofamba Sithole
writes in support
By Innocent Chofamba Sithole
Last updated: 05/09/2005 14:27:30
MY problem with Mugabe's brand of Pan-Africanism is that it is locked in the
descriptive mode and thus represents no forward-movement since it harps on
about what such earlier and eminent Pan Africanists and students of
neo-colonialism as Kwame Nkrumah and Julius Nyerere observed and eloquently
described at the very dawn of African independence in the 1960s
In that sense, the Pan Africanism being championed by Mugabe brings upon
itself the criticism of lethargy and ineptitude. Its emphasis on the
sentimental or emotional bequeaths us no intellectual tools with which to
confront our present and future challenges and forge a grand strategy for
our political and economic emancipation as black people.

Granted, slavery and colonization remain the most cataclysmic episodes in
the history of African civilization. And from that experience flow the
generic western excesses that we, along with the rest of the peoples of the
Third World, have had to contend with to this day. But, having established
these episodes and their collective impact on our past, present and future,
I believe the next challenge for Pan-Africanists is certainly beyond the
mere description of 'what is', for that is already clearly known. But
Mugabe's brand of Pan Africanism has feasted on narratives of slavery and
colonialism precisely to evoke the inevitable sentimental responses
connected to these dark chapters in our collective black history as a way of
deriving political capital for a purely hegemonic domestic political

Whereas the earlier Pan Africanists at the helm of the newly independent
African states were analyzing a novel reality in the form of the
paternalistic ties that bound the former colony to the metropolitan capital,
their successors who have zealously focused on the same have not necessarily
done so in order to produce any new theoretical conceptions of
neocolonialism. Rather, they have done so in order to obfuscate the critical
realities obtaining on the domestic front and at which even the
first-generation African leaders also failed to acquit themselves

For instance, suspected CIA connivance notwithstanding, the military coup
that brought down the erstwhile visionary Nkrumah was greeted with popular
support on the streets of Accra. This development is emblematic of the
political crises that have plagued Africa since independence and which
derive from the yawning democratic deficit that African rulers have allowed
to fester at the expense of their people. This stifled internal liberation
has been maintained decades into post-independence and has come to
intersect, at the global level, with the rise of the discourse of universal
human rights. Naturally, this has been championed mainly by western liberal
democracies and, for that reason, has been thoroughly resisted by African
elites who have suspected this new discourse to be the west's new agency for
regime change.

Thabo Mbeki has argued as much in his party's online newsletter in defence
of SADC's support for Zimbabwe's readmission into the Commonwealth at the
Abuja 2003 summit. But the striking paradox here is that while African
rulers have unequivocally resisted any talk of universal human rights on the
basis of their threat to 'national sovereignty', African people themselves
have broadly seen the universal human rights dispensation as holding out
hope for their emancipation from restrictive domestic political systems.
They have voiced their concern over nefarious security laws that bar free
movement and association, the muzzling of free speech through tight media
laws and so on. The rulers have tried to justify their suppression of their
people's political rights arguing that what is more pertinent in Africa is
the promotion of second generation rights such as the right to health,
housing, education, etc. And yet what people have been insisting on since
independence has been the right to express themselves precisely over issues
of access to health, housing, education and so on! It appears, therefore,
that the suppression of political rights is not because they are naturally
antithetical to the delivery of second-generation rights; rather, it is
functional only in the context of a sitting regime's political survival
prospects for it effectively undermines the organization of any meaningful
political opposition to it.

Homing in on Mugabe's Pan Africanism more specifically, he would love to
point to land reform as his practical response to the challenges of
neo-colonialism and his economic empowerment of the long-suffering majority,
but that is a ruse that hardly fools anyone. The primary purpose of Zanu
PF's 'Third Chimurenga' fell outside of any emancipatory agenda, whether
economic or political. One needs to recall here how the real spontaneous
land demonstrations around 1997/1998 in communal areas like Svosve and
Nyamandlovu were met with the full wrath of Mugabe's security apparatus.
Anti-riot police armed to the teeth were sent in to forcibly remove the
hapless but daring villagers from the farms. Of course, the constitutional
referendum of February 2000 was to serve as a timely reminder of the
deep-seated need for land redistribution and Mugabe's party conveniently
remembered the salvoes fired by the Svosve people and at once deployed an
army of both real and bogus war vets to 'spontaneously' occupy farms!

To further expose this ruse for what it was, an ironical corollary to the
land invasions was the internal monopolisation of political space by the
state and its virtual suspension of civil liberties in the manner of the
colonial government. Ian Smith's Law and Order (Maintenance) Act was dusted
up by then-Home Affairs Minister Dumiso Dabengwa and expeditiously passed as
the now infamous POSA.

The government, through the agency of mainly Patrick Chinamasa and Jonathan
Moyo, embarked on a concerted move to break the back of the judiciary,
ejecting several long-serving judges in the process and replacing them with
those sufficiently imbued with the spirit of the 'Third Chimurenga'. Moyo's
diabolic media revolution has since become the stuff of legend. The
President has also branded his own compatriots in the towns and cities as
'traitors' simply because they vote for the opposition, which, truth be
told, is a legitimate participant in an electoral process that is provided
for by the country's constitution. His political introspection has never led
him to speculate on why he has fallen foul of the most educated and skilled
component of his country's population. This great Pan Africanist's
conclusion is that there must be something wrong with them and whatever
their concerns are, they are sooner subversive and neo-colonialistic than

Finally, let's look at Mugabe's Pan Africanism and how it has handled its
obligations to Africans of other nationalities within Zimbabwe. The basis
for this assessment is that Pan-Africanism embraces all identities beyond
those particularistic national identities as defined in the narrow sense of
ethnicities that are indigenous to the borders of the sovereign state. The
reason for this is because the sovereign state itself is not an indigenous
form of political community but merely the product of the very colonialism
that Pan Africanism is a response to. But how has Mugabe treated the
hundreds of thousands of Malawian, Mozambican and other African families
that have for generations resided in Zimbabwe and for generations
contributed to the economic development of the country through their supply
of cheap labour to the commercial agricultural sector?

The Farm Community Trust of Zimbabwe holds startling statistics on
farm-worker communities - totaling well over 10 percent of our national
population - that were internally displaced by the land resettlement
programme. Following the efforts of such NGOs as FCTZ itself and some UN
agencies among others who highlighted the plight of these people, the
government only reluctantly started paying occasional attention to them.
This proves that these foreign farm-workers, who are in reality now
naturalized Zimbabweans, have been treated as a mere footnote in the entire
land redistribution scheme.

Mugabe himself has previously branded them as 'totemless' as if to renounce
the Zimbabwean state's obligations to anyone who does not primarily
originate from the country founded by the chief colonialist Cecil John

Mugabe's Pan Africanism conveniently forgets that the same 'accident' of
colonisation that has led to the Manyika and the Karanga, the Zezuru and the
Ndebele being citizens of one country at one point brought every present day
Zambian, Malawian and Zimbabwean into the embrace of one sovereign entity,
the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland!

Mugabe's Pan Africanism therefore begs for very strict qualifications.
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