The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

ZANU PF leaders plotted coup against Mugabe, court told

Zim Online

Fri 12 May 2006

      BULAWAYO - Senior ZANU PF leaders loyal to former parliamentary
speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa allegedly met in November 2004 to plot a
parliamentary coup which would have seen Parliament order President Robert
Mugabe to resign, the High Court heard yesterday.

      The allegation was contained in documents - which are minutes of a
meeting of the ZANU PF district co-ordinating committee for Tsholotsho
district - read in court by former information minister Jonathan Moyo during
the hearing of his defamation suit against ruling party chairman John Nkomo
and politburo member, Dumiso Dabengwa.

      Moyo is suing the two senior ZANU PF politicians for Z$2 billion in
damages saying they defamed him when they allegedly told Mugabe that he
(Moyo) funded and led the hatching at a meeting at Dinyane school in
Tsholotsho of the "coup plot" against the President and other top ZANU PF

      Nkomo and Dabengwa deny the defamation charge.

      The former information minister told the court that Nkomo in December
2004 convened a meeting of the Tsholotsho district committee at which false
allegations were made that he (Moyo) was behind the coup plot.

      Moyo told the court: "If you look at the district co-ordinating
committee (meeting) minutes on page three when Ngwenya (ZANU PF official)
was asked by the first defendant (Nkomo) to say what happened at Dinyane
(meeting) he said there was to be a parliamentary coup where President
Mugabe was to be asked by Parliament to step down and be paid his package."

      The disclosure by Moyo is the first time that the details of an
alleged internal rebellion against Mugabe have been divulged in public.

      Moyo was fired from the government and ZANU PF after he chose to
contest the 2005 general election as an independent candidate for Tsholotsho
in open defiance of senior leaders who had blocked him from standing on the
ruling party's ticket saying the constituency was reserved for a woman

      But insiders say Moyo was really the victim of internecine fighting
within ZANU PF over Mugabe's succession. The say the reservation of
Tsholotsho - Moyo's home constituency - for a female candidate was a ploy by
his enemies in the ruling party to frustrate him.

      Moyo and other senior ZANU PF leaders had backed former parliamentary
speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa to be appointed vice-president ahead of Joice
Mujuru, which would have placed him in a strong position to succeed Mugabe
when and if he steps down.

      The plot to prop up Mnangagwa fell through after it was discovered by
Mugabe and other ZANU PF old guard leaders, who threw their weight behind
Mujuru and accused those who had attempted to block her rise of in fact
scheming to topple the party leadership.

      Moyo has also told the court that in addition to labelling him a coup
plotter, Nkomo and Dabengwa had also falsely claimed that he had received
unspecified sums of money sourced from foreign persons or countries hostile
to Zimbabwe.

      The case, which gives a glimpse of the power struggle within ZANU PF
over Mugabe's succession, will see more confidential documents which include
minutes of several ZANU PF committees and confidential party correspondence
being produced in court as evidence. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Doomsday for private schools as Mugabe assents to Bill

Zim Online

Fri 12 May 2006

      HARARE - President Robert Mugabe has signed into law the Education Act
Amendment Bill giving the state powers to fix fees at private schools, in a
development education experts say could see standards falling at the schools
that are the only sources of a reliable education for young Zimbabweans.

      Education Minister Aeneas Chigwedere yesterday told ZimOnline that
Mugabe, who must give his assent to all Bills before they can become
effective law, signed the Bill earlier this week on Monday.

      Chigwedere - who two years ago forced several privately-run schools to
close and threatened to jail the administrators for refusing to lower fees
until he was ordered by the High Court to leave the schools alone -
immediately threatened to use the new law to "deal heavily" with
privately-owned and church-run schools he claimed were overcharging on fees.

      "The Education (Act Amendment) Bill is now law. The President assented
to it on Monday," said Chigwedere. "We are going to deal heavily with all
those schools that are charging exorbitant fees. We are aware that there are
some schools already charging $300 million a term, some $250 million, others
$200 million a term. This is outrageous and unacceptable."

      The more than 500 non-government owned schools that are run by either
private entrepreneurs or church organisations are the best equipped and best
run schools in Zimbabwe as the country's once highly regarded public schools
crumble after years of under-funding and mismanagement.

      Children of senior officials of the government and ruling ZANU PF
party, who are not studying in rich foreign countries, learn at the
non-government owned schools where the children of most relatively well-off
citizens also learn.

      But the government accuses the schools of taking advantage of their
good reputation to extort money from parents by charging exorbitant fees and
levies that it says are mostly used to fund lavish lifestyles for school

      Authorities at the schools deny the charge saying the high fees are
necessary to maintain standards and retain experienced and highly qualified
teachers by paying them higher salaries so they do not leave for better
paying jobs abroad.

      Under the new law, all schools whether state owned or not are required
to first seek approval from the secretary of education before hiking fees.
The law also sets stringent conditions under which school authorities may be
allowed to increase fees or levies.

      For example, under the new law, fee hikes should not exceed "the
percentage increase in the cost of living from the beginning to the end of
the preceding term as indicated by the Consumer Price Index published by the
Central Statistics  Office".

      It was not possible to get comment on the matter from the Association
of Trust Schools that represents privately-owned schools or the Association
of Church Education Secretaries that represents church-owned schools.

      But the two organisations have in the past opposed the new school fees
law saying it did not make sense to arbitrarily set conditions under which
fees could be hiked when cost structures of schools vary depending on
location and type of facilities at each institution. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe stepping up rights abuses, African Commission told

Zim Online

Fri 12 May 2006

      HARARE - Zimbabwean civic society groups have told the ongoing 39th
session of the African Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR) that
human rights violations are worsening in Zimbabwe in total disregard of
previous resolutions by the commission urging Harare to uphold people's

      The civic groups urged the continental human rights watchdog to
redouble pressure on President Robert Mugabe's government which they said
had not only failed to repeal repressive press and security laws but was
considering enacting even tougher legislation which will empower the state
to spy on private internet communication.

      Addressing the commission meeting in Banjul, in Gambia on Thursday,
Wilbert Mandinde, a legal officer with the Zimbabwe Chapter of the Media
Institute of Southern Africa, said: "We wish to advise your commission that
the situation has remained unchanged and your Commission should continue to
put pressure on the government of Zimbabwe to uphold the rule of law and
respect human rights."

      The ACHPR is an arm of the Africa Union (AU) focusing on human rights
on the continent. The commission significantly passed a resolution at its
meeting last November expressing concern about human rights violations in
Zimbabwe. But the commission has failed to nudge AU leaders many of them
close allies of Mugabe to act against the veteran Zimbabwean leader.

      Political violence and human rights abuses have become routine in
Zimbabwe since the emergence of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party in 1999 to become the biggest threat ever to Mugabe and
his ruling ZANU PF's iron-fist rule. Most of the violence has been blamed on
militant supporters of Mugabe and his ruling party. They deny the charge.

      With the MDC clearly weakened after a damaging split over how to
unseat Mugabe and ZANU PF, political analysts had expected violence and
human rights abuses to at least decline.

      Mandinde, who is part of a delegation that also include media
representatives, told the commission that Harare was instead tightening
repressive laws with the proposed new Interception of Communications Bill
giving the government powers to spy on telephone and e-mail messages.

      "(This is) obviously a blatant and outright invasion of privacy and
infringement of the right to receive and impart ideas without interference
with one's correspondence," Mandinde said.

      Zimbabwe, rated by the World Association of Newspapers as one of the
most dangerous places for journalists in the world, already has tough media
laws requiring journalists and their newspapers to obtain registration
certificates from the state Media and Information Commission in order to
practise or publish in the country.

      Journalists caught practising without being registered face up to two
years in jail while newspapers that breach the registration law face closure
and seizure of their property by the state.

      At least a hundred journalists have been arrested over the past three
years for breaching the government's tough media laws while the country's
largest circulating and only non-government owned daily paper, the Daily
News, was shut down in 2003 because it was not registered with the state
commission. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Newspaper firms to pay for vending sites

Zim Online

Fri 12 May 2006

      HARARE - A government-appointed commission running the city of Harare
has ordered all newspaper companies to pay Z$100 000 (about US$0.99) a day
for every site they use to sell their newspapers.

      In a circular to all newspaper companies in the city, Harare City
Council acting finance manager, a Mr Dhliwayo, said all newspaper companies
must pay for sites where their products are sold.

      "In this regard we are making a request for your company to prepare
for the payment of this fee to the City of Harare with effect from the start
of May of 2006.

      "The said charge is in respect of the various sites used by your
newspaper vendors to sell your company's products. The current charge per
day per vendor is $100 000," said Dhliwayo in the circular dated 3 May which
was seen by ZimOnline yesterday.

      He said the fees would be increased by 50 percent every quarter until
the end of the year.

      "In line with inflationary pressures, currently prevailing in the
country, this charge will go up by 50 percent every quarter until end of the
year," said Dhliwayo.

      The commission did not explain what will happen to foreign newspapers,
among them South Africa's Mail and Guardian, Sunday Times and the
London-based The Zimbabwean, which are sold on the streets in Harare.

      The Harare city council is battling a severe cash flow crisis that has
resulted in the deterioration of services in the city. Observers say the
latest move to charge vendor's fees is a desperate ploy by the council to
mobilise financial resources to deal with the crisis.

      Harare is being run by a government-appointed commission, headed by
Sekesai Makwavarara, which has been  accused of extravagance and
mismanagement of council matters. The council is accused of failing to deal
with heaps of uncollected garbage and burst sewer pipes in the city.

      Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) secretary general Foster Dongozi
yesterday condemned the move to introduce vending fees saying the plan was
meant to drive newspapers out of business.

      "It's absolute nonsense. It's an attempt to raise money to fatten the
commissioners' pockets. Where will newspapers get the money when the economy
continues to shrink," said Dongozi.

      Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) national director Rashweat
Mukundu also condemned the plans saying the introduction of fees should only
be done when council provides vending sites and toilets to the vendors.

      "Without the council providing these facilities, there is no
justification for charging that fee. That money should correspond with the
service being provided," said Mukundu. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe, Botswana relations on the mend as train service resumes

Zim Online

Fri 12 May 2006

      GABORONE - The Botswana and Zimbabwe governments are set to
reintroduce a passenger train service between the two countries which was
suspended 15 years ago in a rare sign of warming relations between the two
southern African neighbours.

      A senior official with Botswana Railways, Jane Golubane, confirmed the
plans and said the two countries had ironed out their differences which led
to the suspension of the train service.

      "The only problem remaining is to find a suitable opening date so that
ministers of transport from both Zimbabwe and Botswana can attend. Otherwise
all the other problems have been sorted out," Golubane said.

      The train service, which was popular in the early 1980s, will run
between Zimbabwe's second biggest city of Bulawayo and Francistown in

      The train service was suspended in 1991 after the Gaborone authorities
were incensed  over the issue of illegal Zimbabwean immigrants who used the
service to sneak into Botswana.

      Relations between Zimbabwe and Botswana have been frosty over the past
few years with Harare accusing Botswana of harassing and ill-treating its
national who visit Botswana while the Batswana authorities accuse the
Zimbabweans of fanning crime in their country.

      Thousands of Zimbabweans, reeling under an unprecedented six-year old
economic crisis, cross into Botswana fleeing hunger and starvation in their
country. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Always gloomy, Zimbabwe inflation data now a mystery

Engineering News


      The mystery over Zimbabwe's latest inflation data deepened on Thursday
as officials said they still had no information when the number -- expected
to top 1 000% -- would be released.

      Zimbabwe's Central Statistical Office (CSO) had been due to release
the April inflation figure on Wednesday, with analysts saying it would
likely show a country near collapse due to an economic meltdown critics
blame on President Robert Mugabe's government.

      That release was abruptly cancelled, however, and on Thursday CSO
officials said they could not say what had caused the delay and when the
figures would be issued.

      "Let me just say we will let you know when we are ready," a senior
official said, declining to give details.

      Mugabe's government has admitted inflation, already the highest in the
world at 913.6 percent as of March, is one of the biggest hurdles in its
efforts to reverse an economic slide which is raising fears of popular

      Economists said authorities might be afraid of causing shockwaves by
putting out a new figure showing the situation getting even worse.

      "I think it (the postponement) shows the authorities are panicking,"
said Harare-based economist James Jowa.

      "It could be that the rate has gone up drastically and they are trying
to see how best to handle the situation because if it is too high -- as
indications show on the ground -- then it could cause a shock in terms of
the inflation outlook," he said.

      Zimbabwe's dominant state media made no mention of the delayed data.

      But in an indication that Zimbabweans were already bracing for a steep
jump in the consumer price index, shop assistants at some supermarkets in
the capital Harare were busy adjusting upwards prices of some commodities on
Thursday -- an exercise that has become a familiar ritual this year.

      The CSO has in the past rejected suggestions from both the local and
international financial sector that it has come under pressure to suppress
inflation figures for political expediency.

      An International Monetary Fund (IMF) working paper released earlier
this year accused Zimbabwe of releasing unreliable economic data and said
price controls had resulted in artificially low inflation figures.

      The fund has led international donors in suspending aid to Zimbabwe
over policy differences with Mugabe's government, worsening an economic
crisis manifesting itself in erratic supplies of food, fuel and foreign
currency while labour unions estimate unemployment has soared to 85%.

      Mugabe, who has ruled the former British colony since independence in
1980, denies responsibility for the ailing economy, and in turn charges
sabotage by opponents of his controversial drive to forcibly redistribute
white-owned commercial farms among blacks.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Boyscouts in Harare to take part in WFP global walking fundraiser

      By Tererai Karimakwenda
      11 May 2006
      The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), which is playing a
vital role in feeding Zimbabweans during the current political and economic
crisis, has organized an event that will raise money to feed the world's
poorest children and raise awareness about this issue. "Fight Hunger: Walk
the World" will take place later this month and 350 different locations
around the world will be participating. Greg Barrows of the WFP told us a
group of boy scouts in Harare will be joining in. Barrows described these
walks best when he said: "The idea is they start when the sun rises in
places like New Zealand and as the time zone changes they track across the
world and each country consecutively has a walk." Harare will be part of
this chain and London is participating as well.

      Barrows praised school children for participating in large numbers and
said raising awareness is also an important element of this event. He said:
"It's not just about raising money it's also about raising awareness. I
think the important message here is that this is almost like a movement of
African school children." Barrows informed us that one child dies every five
seconds and 300 million go hungry worldwide. In Zimbabwe the food situation
is critical especially in the rural areas. Aid agencies cannot feed everyone
and some kids only eat at school through programmes run by the WFP and its
partners. "Walk the World" aims to raise £2.5 million for their global
school feeding programmes worldwide.

      Thousands of Londoners are expected to join in the link that will
begin at the Ready Money Fountain in Regents Park. They will then go on a 5
kilometer walk which will take them through some beautiful areas. This will
be followed by live entertainment, dancing and free refreshments for
participants. There will also be a painting exhibition by primary school
children in the area and prizes for the best depiction of children and

      Since awareness is an important part of this WFP campaign, the
following facts about Zimbabwe should be useful. According to The Food
Security Early Warning System the country will have to import 1.4 million
tonnes of maize, 200,000 tonnes of wheat, 40,000 tonnes of sorghum and 6,000
tonnes of rice in order to avoid widespread starvation and death from
hunger-related illnesses. The minimum cost of such imports will be at least
350 million US dollars for the maize alone.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

NCA demonstrators arrested in central Harare

      By Tichaona Sibanda
      11 May 2006

      Close to 50 National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) activists were
picked up by the police in central Harare during a street protest calling
for a new constitution in Zimbabwe.

      Columbus Mavhunga NCA information officer told us from Harare Thursday
that some of the activists were assaulted by police in riot gear near the
Parliament building. He said the demonstrators who numbered close to 200
distributed fliers during their short march in central Harare. It's alleged
some were chanting anti-government songs and dancing as they went along.

      'We are not happy with the current constitution we have in this
country. Also we were commemorating the first anniversary of the worst
tragedy in human nature when over a million people were displaced by the
government last beginning on the 19th of May,' Mavhunga said.

      He said that under a new constitution, destructive operations like
Murambatsvina would become illegal in Zimbabwe.

      The demonstration on Thursday clashed with a presidential motorcade
near the Parliament building. Mavhunga said Mugabe's motorcade appeared from
nowhere when the protestors were already along Nelson Mandela avenue from
Julius Nyerere avenue.

      This forced the heavily armed police details to surround the
demonstrators, most of them young men and women. They were bundled into
police vehicles taken to Harare Central police station where they are
awaiting charges.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Computer lab burnt as students react in fury to police brutality

      By Violet Gonda
      11 May 2006

      Sporadic peaceful protests over crippling tuition fee hikes have
broken out at state universities countrywide. At some schools they have
gathered momentum but at Bindura University the protests have become a
rebellion. On Monday 19 students were arrested after police brutally broke
up peaceful protests by the students.

      Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) President Promise Mkwananzi
said two of the arrested are being denied medical treatment in remand prison
despite suffering serious injuries. He said one of those brutality assaulted
by police and state agents is ZINASU Secretary General Beloved Chiweshe who
has a swollen head and another female student is said to have a broken jaw.

      It's reported that the detained students are being denied proper food,
accesses to their lawyers and medical treatment.

      On Wednesday night students reacted in fury to the police brutality,
when they ran amok at the University and burnt down a computer lab
destroying billions of dollars worth of equipment. During the riot 20 more
students were arrested bringing the total to thirty-nine on Wednesday. By
late Thursday it was reported the number of students detained had risen to

      Mkwananazi alleges that Minister Elliot Manyika instructed the
security forces to use brutal force to clampdown on the students. He said,
"We are also told that the Minister without portfolio, the political
commissar of Zanu PF, Elliot Manyika is giving instructions to the police
and we are asking him where he draws his mandate since he is not the
Minister of Home Affairs, he is not the commissioner of police and he is not
even the Attorney General."

      When asked how such confrontations like burning down a computer lab
could help their cause? Mkwananzi responded, "If a government rebels against
its own people the people rebel back. We are non violent. the government of
the day has become violent, has denied us our right to meet and demonstrate
peacefully. So we've got to resort to the measures which are available and
basically follow those."

      He said the atmosphere at the institution is very tense. Riot police
officers and youth militia are said to have camped there to intimidate the
students. "Youth militia wearing ZANU PF t-shirts are singing and chanting
ZANU PF slogans."

      Meanwhile, the 19 students who were arrested on Monday were remanded
in custody to the 25th of May after they appeared in court on Thursday. They
are currently at remand prison while the 20 who were arrested on Wednesday
night are at Bindura police station.

      The ZINASU president said two human rights lawyers, Alec Muchadehama
and Andrew Makoni were forced to flee to Harare to seek a High Court order
after they were threatened and harassed by state agents. Mkwananazi reports
that the lawyers "fled for dear life" from Bindura to Harare after they were
allegedly threatened by ZANU PF youths stationed at the police station and
the court house.

      Observers fear that if a compromise is not met soon the situation at
Bindura University could easily lead to anarchy and the general destruction
further a field.

      We were not able to get a comment from state officials.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

South African Business Consultant Lauds Chinese Investments in Africa


      By William Eagle
      11 May 2006

For many in Africa, China is a welcome investor. In 2005, trade between
China and Africa reached 35 billion dollars. Much of China's investments are
centered on Africa's oil sector, although Beijing is also an importer of
African raw materials such as timber and minerals. Inexpensive Chinese
products are now common in Africa's crowded market places.  And, as part of
its diplomacy, Beijing has forgiven over a billion dollars in debt to 32
African countries.

Martin Davies is the director for the Centre for Chinese Studies at
Stellenbosch University and the CEO of Emerging Markets Focus, a management
consultancy with offices in Pretoria and Shanghai.

He says Chinese investors include both government-backed companies and
private traders and retailers who do business in Africa through a network of
established family and regional contacts.

Davies told Voice of America reporter William Eagle, "China is a very
aggressive investor in the continent and a provider of low cost engineering
development solutions, and that can't be a bad thing. That's what Africa
requires - infrastructure development. It's a positive thing to see the
Chinese engaging Africa on a constructive commercial basis, where it seems
to be almost less cognizant of risk than many other investors on the
continent are. In that sense, China should be lauded."

Much of China's investment is in the petroleum sector - and with Africa's
largest producers: Nigeria, Angola, Sudan and Equatorial Guinea. The Council
on Foreign Relations quotes Chinese official sources as saying that in the
first 10 months of 2005, China invested 175 million dollars -- mostly on oil
exploration and infrastructure projects. That same year, according to the
Council, Beijing purchased half of Sudan's oil - about 5% of the petroleum
needed by the growing Asian economic power.

In Angola, China's export bank has approved a two billion dollar credit for
rebuilding infrastructure in return for 10 thousand barrels of oil a day -
about 13% of China's crude imports. The deal, according to France's Le Monde
Diplomatique, also means that China's companies will get most of the
contracts, with 30% going to Angolan firms.

Another appeal of China's aid to Africa is that it comes with few strings
attached - other than dropping recognition of Taiwan as the legitimate
government of China. China says it follows a policy of non-interference in
the domestic affairs of its partners - and has come out against sanctions
against Sudan and Zimbabwe.

Sierra Leone's ambassador to Beijing is reported to have told one
international broadcaster, "We like Chinese investment because we have just
one meeting, we discuss what they want to do, and then they just do it..
There are no benchmarks and preconditions, no environmental impact
assessment. If a G8 country had offered to rebuild [a] stadium, we'd still
be having meetings about it."

But critics say China's support has a down side.

Human Rights Watch says China has given Sudan military and financial
support, including ammunition, tanks and fighter aircraft. The journal
Aviation Week and Space Technology says among the sales made to Khartoum
between 1996 and 2003 were 100 million dollars worth of fighter planes,
including 12 supersonic F-7 jets. Human rights activists say Chinese
helicopter gun ships have been used against civilians in Darfur.

The Congressional Research Service says Beijing sold Ethiopia and Eritrea
one billion dollars worth of weapons before their border war began in 1998.
International arms sales monitors say weapons sold to Zimbabwe have included
12 fighter jets and 100 military vehicles worth 200 million dollars and a
radio jamming device to prevent outside stations from being heard within the
country. In Tanzania, the Overseas Development Institute says Beijing has
delivered 13 shipments of weapons to Dar es Salaam labeled as agricultural

A specialist in energy security at the Washington-based Institute for the
Analysis of Global Security says the Chinese are also more likely to use
bribery and bonuses than are Western businesses, which have been under
increasing pressure to use transparent business practices. Some observers
say China's loans to Angola and others do not include guarantees of
transparency and thus allow governments to avoid "good governance" and
anti-corruption measures.

But China specialist Martin Davies of Stellenbosch University says Beijing
is being singled out unfairly:

"I don't think external parties should be blamed for Africa's poor
governance. Many countries fall short when it comes to the political ties
which should be placed on investments in African countries. [For example], I
know China's engagement in Sudan has been criticized heavily. What about
European countries engaging Sudan? There are Indian firms and Malaysian
firms [engaged there]. I think we need to ask how can we form a broader view
start to change this corporate behavior of all companies in these countries,
which may be considered politically undesirable."

Davies says China's pursuit of oil in Africa is simply part of a Chinese
policy of commercial "realpolitik" - a policy recognizing the reality that
the United States has much of the oil market in the Middle East to itself.
He says because China is largely unable to gain access, it turns to other
more marginal producers, such as Africa. He says China is pursuing its
purchase of oil in Africa without violence or a military take-over of the
host country.

Like China, Davies does not favor commercial sanctions against Sudan or
Zimbabwe, although sanctions were credited with ending the apartheid
government and ushering in multi-racial democracy in South Africa more than
10 years ago.

Mr. Davies says sanctions worked in South Africa in part because the country's
leadership and public consciousness were at a different level than those of
many other African countries today:

"South African society and the domestic population were pushing for
political change. Also, South Africans had access to information and a
[high] level of education.. They had political access and [an] aware[ness]
of issues and wanted to see change. Thirdly, the apartheid government had
strong cultural and political ties to European governments. There were
political and cultural linkages to Western Europe.[that reflected] the value
system of the political elite. I do not think the value system is as equally
developed in the elites of many countries on our continent where the
willingness to suppress domestic uprising for political changes is far

Davies also challenges the critical view of cheap Chinese goods driving
African manufacturers out of business. Some critics say the Chinese
advantage comes in part from paying lower wages, sometimes even [using]
slave labor from Chinese prisons.

But Davies says, "There are about 35 thousand textile and garment
manufacturers in China - most of which are private companies competing with
other private companies; that can not be a bad thing. Labor rates in
Bangladesh, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda are lower than those in China. China's
competitiveness is largely not determined by the cost of labor but by
overcapacity in the marketplace. That results in too many goods chasing to
few consumers in China.."

Davies says cheaper products benefits the African consumer, and that African
countries must learn to be more competitive: "We should emulate [what works]
in the Chinese market and ask what are our private and public sectors doing
wrong, which is not attracting investment in the country, or carrying out
the necessary incentives or environment upon which manufacturing and
business can flourish. Obviously we're doing something wrong."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe bid to host 2010 African Cup of Nations

      By Richard Choga

      ZIMBABWE has sent a 2010 African Cup of Nations bid committee to
Cairo, Egypt for presentation but analysts have said there is little hope
that the southern African nation will make it.

      A committee led by businessman and former Zimbabwe Football
Association (Zifa) board member finance Cuthbert Dube left the country for
the presentations scheduled for Monday.

      Other countries which have submitted their bids to host the tournament
include Namibia, Angola, Senegal, Nigeria, Libya, and Mozambique. Gabon and
the Equatorial Guinea weighed in with a joint bid. An evaluation committee
from Caf will then visit all
      the bidding countries in July and August to assess the facilities
presented in their bids and then report back to the Caf executive committee.
The 13-member executive committee will choose the host country orcountries
in May next year.

      Among outstanding issues which should be addressed by the bid document
are that; (a) All the members of National Associations shall obtain entry
visas and any other permits necessary for the full duration of the

      (b) The Statutes and Regulations of Caf, particularly
      the financial provisions shall be observed.
      (c) Any commitment which is formally entered into by the national
Association concerned will also be considered by its government. It will be
the third time Zimbabwe will be trying their lucky to host the event after
attempting in 2000 and 2004.

      Having won the right the right to host the event at the turn of the
millennium, Zimbabwe were denied the chance after Caf felt that Zifa had
secured government guarantee.

      Among the venues Zimbabwe want to use during the 2010 edition are the
National Sports Stadium, Barbourfields in Bulawayo, Sakubva Stadium in
Mutare, and Kwekwe's Mbizo. But there has been growing concern on the bid
which has not been marketed since the 2010 extravaganza has become
competitive because South Africa will be
      hosting the World Cup for the first time ever on the continent the
same year.

      A soccer analyst Malcom Sibanda said: "We are just trying our luck but
the truth of the matter is that many issues are not in our favour. The
economy is not doing well and yet it is one of the basic gateway to getting
greenlight from Caf."

      A top football official who preferred not to be named said the bid was
hopeless. "It is really a desperate effort taking into consideration that
all the stadiums that we had promised to renovate in 2000 are still an
eyesore. I don't see any billboard suggesting that we intend to
      host that event. How do you expect Caf to take us
      seriously?" said the analyst.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Crumbling Zim hospitals leave cancer patients at risk

Mail and Guardian

      Harare, Zimbabwe

      11 May 2006 02:54

            As Zimbabwe's public health services crumble, the only two
state-owned radiotherapy machines are out of action and await repairs,
leaving cancer patients without vital treatment, state media reported on

            Impoverished patients were unable to afford alternative
treatment or travel to neighbouring countries, said The Herald newspaper, a
government mouthpiece.

            Patients treated at the two main state hospitals in Harare and
the second city of Bulawayo faced cancer relapses, the paper said.

            It said health the authorities, bankrupt in the worst economic
crisis since independence in 1980, sought sponsorship from the International
Atomic Energy Agency to repair the equipment and train local maintenance

            Thursday's report was the latest in a list of woes facing public
services already reeling from acute shortages of drugs, equipment and
materials, as well as a shortage of medical professionals and struggling to
cope with the high HIV/AIDS rate.

            Earlier this month, the government announced increases in state
hospital charges of up to 30-fold in an effort to shore up crumbling

            Official inflation is running at 913%, the highest in the world.

            In January, consultant physicians wrote a damning report to
health authorities on conditions at the state Harare Central Hospital
serving poor townships in the capital.

            That hospital had run without an intensive-care unit and
high-dependence unit for three years, the blood bank often had no blood "and
several people have died as a result", the report said.

            Most X-ray equipment was either broken down or obsolete.

            Antiquated elevators constantly broke down and one in the
maternity wing had not worked for several years.

            "Very ill babies have to be carried in the arms up the stairs,"
the report said.

            Elsewhere in the hospital, "there is often no soap or any other
antiseptic liquid to clean hands in wards. There is usually nothing to dry
hands with," the physicians said.

            Police in Zimbabwe, meanwhile, were reported earlier this month
to have run out of breath test analyzers for drink-related offences and
resorted to asking motorists and other suspects to stand on one leg or walk
in a straight line.

            Zimbabwe's economy has been in freefall since the often violent
seizures of more than 5 000 white-owned commercial farms began in 2000,
disrupting agricultural production. The United Nations estimates at least
3-million of the 12,5-million population are in need of emergency food aid
ahead of next month's harvests. -- Sapa-AP

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Garikai houses pose health catastrophe

      May 11, 2006,

      By albert mazhale

      Gwanda (AND) Beneficiaries of Zimbabwe's 'Operation Garikai' houses
are being exposed to a severe health hazard as their houses lack basic
sanitation.This follows an order by the Minister of Local government and
national housing Dr Ignatius Chombo that those entitled to the houses
quickly move into the units or risk losing their properties.This is despite
the fact that the houses do not have toilets and running water.

      This follows an order by the Minister of Local government and national
housing Dr Ignatius Chombo that those entitled to the houses quickly move
into the units or risk losing their properties.This is despite the fact that
the houses do not have toilets and running water.

      Despite promises by the Minister that Government would erect temporary
sanitation such as blair toilets,nothing has since been built.Instead
occupants of the houses use a nearby thick forest to relieve themselves and
source water from an adjacent stream. A health official at a local clinic
who requested anonymity expressed fears on the impending health hazard.She
said the move by Government to push people into the unfinished units could
be suicidal especially at a time when the country has been battling to fight
a cholera outbreak.

      She added that they have received mild dairrhoe cases from some of the
people who have moved into the houses.The health official added that there
is a likelihood of an outbreak of the deadly Dysentry and Malaria as people
are drinking contaminated  water and are being exposed to mosquitos as the
houses have no windows and doors. Operation Garikai,a follow-up programme to
government's ill-fated Operation Murambatsvina was abandoned in December
after the government ran out of funds to finish project.Beneficiaries of the
controversial housing scheme will now have to pay from their pockets for the
finalisation of the programme.

       Gwanda mayor Mr Thandeko Zinti Mnkandla said he was not aware that
people had moved into the houses.Mnkandla said he would investigate and
kick-out those who have occupied the houses.He said despite the health
concerns none of the occupants had received an offer letter from Council
hence their stay is illegal.

      Gwanda (AND)

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Continued Harassment Of Students In Zimbabwe Condemned

      May 11, 2006

      By Andnetwork .com

      Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) notes with grave concern the
continued harassment of students in Zimbabwe and the perpetual undermining
of the right to peaceful assembly and association in Zimbabwe

      On Thursday 4 May 2006, members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP)
stormed a Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) General Council meeting
and arrested 48 student leaders in Harare apparently over a missing portrait
of President Mugabe during the conference at Management Training Bureau. The
Police demanded that the students identify the ZINASU President Washington
Katema. During the interrogation the police fired two times in the air to
force the students to identify Washington Katema among themselves but they
refused. The police officers detained the students overnight. The students
were released without charge on Friday 5 May. On Thursday 4 May, 73 children
ranging from age seven to eighteen, most of whom are students in primary and
high schools of Bulawayo, were arrested when they took part in a march
organised by the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) calling for a reversal to
crippling school fee increases of up to 1000%.

      On 8 May 2006, heavily armed members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police
stormed Bindura University and arrested 18 students who were peacefully
demonstrating against the new fees structure approved for universities. The
arrested students were brutally assaulted resulting in one female student
sustaining a broken jaw. They were then taken to Bindura Central Police
station where they were unlawfully detained. Another student from Bindura
University was picked by the police on campus on Tuesday 9 May and detained,
bringing to 19 the number of students in detention. Among the arrested was
Mr Beloved Chiweshe the ZINASU Secretary General who was also brutally
assaulted all over his body.

      In light of the above ZLHR would like to express its concern over the
criminal, wanton and blatant violation of human rights by the Zimbabwe
Republic Police. ZLHR further condemns the use of torture, inhuman and
degrading treatment as a weapon of control against defenseless human rights
defenders in Zimbabwe and also notes with great concern the failure to
respect the rights of even the minor children of Zimbabwe.  ZLHR further
reminds the government of Zimbabwe of its obligation to respect, protect and
promote the rights of all citizens and safeguard human rights defenders. The
Zimbabwe Constitution, African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights as well
as numerous other international covenants we are party to note without
exception the freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and protection from
inhuman and degrading treatment as fundamental human rights necessary for
the well-being of society living in dignity. As such, Zimbabwe Lawyers for
Human Rights calls upon the government of Zimbabwe to henceforth;

      · cease the arrest, and detention and victimization of human rights
defenders under unscrupulous and frivolous charges

      · to immediately cease the use of violence upon the students and thus
play a role in fostering a culture of non-violence in Zimbabwe

      · to promote and practice, tolerance and divergence in Zimbabwean

      · to acknowledge, appreciate and respect the rights of persons in
Zimbabwe to express themselves in all matters that affect them and their
freedom of assembly in doing so and thus immediately cease impeding these

      - Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights -

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

The art of diversion

Comment from The Financial Mail (SA), 5 May

By Tony Hawkins

The announcement that about 200 white farmers have applied for 99-year
leases under the government's new land tenure policy has been acclaimed as a
climb-down by President Robert Mugabe and a reversal of past policies. This
is simply not the case. The fact that the process is taking place alongside
eviction orders - with just 48 hours' notice - served on 20 white farmers
last week shows that policy has not changed. Far from being a climb-down, it
is a clever attempt to deflect international criticism of the land seizures
and, quite possibly, kibosh efforts by farmers to secure international
support for compensation demands. Those who sign the leases may be signing
away the last hopes of disposed farmers to secure compensation. Justice For
Agriculture (JAG), the organis ationthat represents the majority of evicted
farmers, says farmers would be "insane" to go along with the offer. JAG's
John Worsley Worswick says farmers will not get title deeds and will
therefore be unable to borrow against the land to finance essential inputs.
He notes also that under present law the maximum lease period is only 10

Meanwhile, in an effort to pre-empt the expected outcry when the April
inflation figure, probably over 1 000% , is published, the government
launched yet another economic recovery programme. The US$2,5bn National
Economic Development Priority Programme (NEDPP) focuses on curbing
inflation, stabilising the exchange rate and boosting agricultural
production. Within days of the promise to tackle inflation more vigorously,
the government announced massive wage awards, some as high as 300% , to the
civil service, including the security forces. An average 250% increase will
cost the government Z$80 trillion or 25% of GDP and ensure that inflation
averages upwards of 800% during 2006. Though the economic plan was approved
by the Zimbabwe National Security Council, chaired by Mugabe himself,
economic development minister Rugare Gumbo insisted at the launch that there
was no sinister security agency involvement. Media claims of militarisation
of the economy were "hogwash", he said.

It's an adjective that some economists and analysts are applying to the
latest economic programme - the fifth such turnaround plan in the past seven
years. The plan is long on administrative detail but thin on policy content.
It includes the creation of a plethora of committees and task forces,
staffed by civil servants and private-sector executives who will be
responsible for mobilising foreign exchange, deploying and retaining skills,
and programmes of import substitution, funds for distressed businesses and
the promotion of small- and medium-scale companies. All this has been heard
before and the sole fresh elements are the promise to raise US$2,5bn over an
improbably short period of three months, and the greater involvement of the
private sector. There are no indications of who will provide the $2,5bn ,
nor indeed whether all of it is to be raised offshore. With foreign debt at
almost US$5bn , foreign lenders and investors are unlikely to respond
positively. Efforts to raise a US$1bn credit from SA having reportedly
collapsed, Harare will be forced to look to China, Malaysia, or possibly
India and Iran. Mugabe's reaffirmation last week of his government's plans
to nationalise foreign-owned mining companies will not help either, nor will
the fact that the envisaged $2,5bn credit is nearly double annual export

Though tackling inflation is a stated priority, the injection of $2,5bn
would be hugely inflationary. At current exchange rates this is equivalent
to 70% of GDP in a country that has a negligible, possibly even negative,
national savings rate. In all probability, the bulk of the money will have
to be raised locally, meaning massive central bank credit creation and even
higher inflation. The plan is silent, too, on immediate business concerns,
such as conditions in the money market and exchange rate strategy. The
Bankers Association warned the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) recently that
its tight money policies could cause bank failures. Exchange rate strategy
is shrouded in uncertainty. The interbank (market) rate for the Zimbabwe
dollar has been pegged at Z$99 200/US$ since late January, since when prices
have increased 80% . By effectively devaluing the Zimbabwe dollar by 36% for
gold and tobacco producers, the central bank has acknowledged that the
currency is overvalued and should be adjusted. This could happen when RBZ
governor Gideon Gono presents his midyear monetary statement, but he is
under pressure from exporters to devalue sooner and by at least 40%-50%.

In an effort to talk up the economy, optimistic growth and inflation
forecasts are being made. In his April 18 Independence Day address , Mugabe
predicted GDP growth this year of between 1% and 2% and, though this is
lower than the 3,5% forecast in March by finance minister Herbert Murerwa,
it is far more upbeat than the IMF's projection of a 4,7% decline. The IMF's
inflation forecast of an average 850% for 2006 is more realistic than the
government's year-end target figure of 80% . According to the IMF, when
inflation exceeds 40% , GDP growth turns negative, implying there is no
chance of Zimbabwe achieving positive growth this year or next. The NEDPP is
unlikely to make a difference unless underpinned by an international
bail-out, including debt relief. This will not happen unless there is
political change, without which the stalemate will continue.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

CBZ clashes with British tycoon

From The Daily Mirror, 11 May

Shame Makoshori

Nasty corporate clashes pitting local financial institution, CBZ Bank,
against British tycoon, Nick van Hoogstraten, erupted in October last year,
with the businessman alleging that the bank breached terms of an investment
deal entered into the previous month. CBZ Bank advised van Hoogstraten to
transfer $40 billion into its coffers as collateral for sub-underwriting a
Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) rights issue and told him that while the funds
were in the bank, they would attract a 225 percent interest per annum.
However, the businessman alleged that the bank reneged on the promise and
lowered the interest rate. Van Hoogstraten has in the past few years
invested heavily in Zimbabwe. He recently took up an 8.6 percent stake in
medium rated commercial bank, NMB Bank, 20 percent shareholding in coal
mining company Hwange Colliery Limited and emerged among the largest
shareholders in RTG after the rights issue. The businessman also controls an
influential stake in agro-industrial conglomerate CFI Holdings.

At the vortex of the conflict, The Business Mirror can reveal, was that on
September 7, 2005, CBZ head of investment banking, Amon Chitagu, advised
Messina Investments - Hoogstraten's investment vehicle - that his investment
would yield the 225 percent interest. However, documents at hand reveal that
on October 20, van Hoogstraten complained that the bank unilaterally slashed
the rate to 90 percent. He argued that this was a breach of the initial
agreement and threatened to take legal action. "Your bank like others, is
currently charging those persons unfortunate enough, or foolish enough, to
be in overdraft rates upward of 350 to 400 percent, so do not try such
nonsense with my money. I did not arrive in this country on the back of an
ox wagon. As I stated in our telephone discussion, I require payment of
interest of 225 percent as per our original agreement. It was not open to
you to unilaterally reduce the rate without my knowledge or giving me the
option to remove my deposits. I should not have to deal with matters in this
way but I do not expect to be taken for an idiot," van Hoogstraten demanded
in a fax letter to Chitagu.

He added that on the basis that CBZ was not willing to continue paying the
225 percent it had to transfer all his funds the same day. The money
included an unspecified $12 billion plus the RTG investment together with
another $800 million underwriting fee. He demanded that the money had to be
transferred as follows: $6 billion to his account number 0100206823300,
Standard Chartered Bank, Africa Unity Square in Harare, $25 billion to NMB
Bank Account RTGS, $4 billion to Staneys Limited Account number 210029869
held at NMB Bank's Bulawayo branch. The balance had to be transferred to
Edwards Nominees Account number 0100207166000 that is also at Standard
Chartered Bank Africa Unity Square in the capital. He also demanded another
$10 billion plus interest that he said he had paid directly to RTG that had
reverted to him. Well-placed banking industry sources yesterday said CBZ
argued that van Hoogstraten's investment matured on October 13. On maturity,
and after paying for the rights issue shares, the residual investments were
re-invested at 90 percent per annum.

The bank remained steadfast on its resolve to review downwards the interest
rates. Sources say the bank indicated that it was prepared to end its
association with van Hoogstraten if he exhibited his "bullying" attitude.
CBZ said the schedule of van Hoogstraten's investment had been forwarded to
his Messina Investments and the he had confirmed receipt of the
transactions. "We advised that given the prevailing market conditions,
coupled with our own treasury position, the bank is not in a position to
offer you rates that are above the 90 percent per annum that your investment
is currently earning. In the event that you decide not to maintain your
current investments with us on maturity, the bank is willing to break the
investments, and pay interest of 90 percent per annum up to the date of
termination of the investments," CBZ maintained in its response to van
Hoogstraten's hard hitting demands. Van Hoogstraten replied on October 19
demanding that he did not give any instructions to place funds at 90
percent. He further instructed that if the 225 percent was out of the
question he was prepared to remove all his investments and place them
elsewhere the following day.

While CBZ chief executive officer (CEO) Nyasha Makuvise, could not be
reached to explain the current status of the impasse yesterday, insiders
said CBZ executives were concerned that the tycoon wanted to dictate
decisions at the bank as if he was the CEO. They said officials at CBZ
resolved never to be pushed around by "a foreign investor". However, in an
interview from his London headquarters van Hoogstraten claimed that the bank
gave in to his demands and computed the interests as per the original
agreement. "This is a private matter between me and CBZ and what has that to
do with you?" van Hoogstraten charged. Pressed for comment he said: "Our
contractual agreement was that I was going to be paid 225 percent interest
per annum and that is what I got."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Jenni Williams & Cont Mhlanga on BTH

She has been arrested more times than you can count with both hands and has
become an international icon of courage in the face of repression. Jenni
Williams and the brave women of WOZA continue to defy harsh public order and
security laws. Sometimes with babies strapped to their backs, they take on
the might of Zimbabwe's police force. Lance Guma gets to speak with Jenni on
Behind the Headlines and asks about the latest WOZA school fees protest and
the subsequent arrests and detentions.
Jenni Williams

Next week:

The following week Lance Guma hosts a special interview with Cont Mhlanga
the Director of Amakhosi Theatre. Mhlanga talks about his arrest and
responds to the accusation that he is presiding over political gatherings
under the guise of plays and workshops (without police clearance). Why are
senior police officers threatening him? What is his relationship with the
government? The talented Director explains his politics of the theatre.

Cont Mhlanga

Lance Guma
SW Radio Africa

Behind The Headlines
Thursday 6:05 to 6:20pm (Zimbabwean Time) on Medium Wave 1197Khz or live on
the internet at the same time (British Summer Time) on
Also available on internet archives after broadcasts at

Our Live Internet Broadcast time has returned to 5pm-7pm UK time
Morning Medium Wave broadcasts to Southern Africa on 1197 kHz between 5am
and 7am
24 hours on the internet at

SW Radio Africa is Zimbabwe's only independent radio station broadcasting
from the United Kingdom. The station is staffed by exiled Zimbabwean
journalists who because of harsh media laws cannot broadcast from home.

Back to the Top
Back to Index