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

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Daily News - Leader Page

      Tangwena must be turning in his grave

      5/15/02 9:01:52 AM (GMT +2)

About three decades ago, the white minority government of Ian Smith used two
racist pieces of legislation from the early years of colonialism, the Land
Tenure Act and the Land Apportionment Act, to ride roughshod over selected
indigenous communities, declaring certain areas in the Midlands and
Manicaland "white".

Hundreds of families found themselves, almost overnight, being made to
destroy their humble dwellings in readiness for resettlement in remote
jungles a lot less hospitable than the areas from which they had been
forcibly removed.

Scant regard was given to what would happen to the affected families'
general welfare. Nobody bothered about putting up basic structures so they
could have a roof over their heads when they got to their new homes. Nobody
thought about schools for their children, clinics for their sick or postal
or telephone services. All the white government was anxious to do was to get
them off the land it had set its eyes upon and to hell with those people's

Among those affected were the people of Chief Gobo, a sub-chief of Chief
Chirumanzu, who were forcibly moved to Silobela. Their land was adjacent to
a large cattle ranch called Central Estates whose owner wanted to expand the
ranch and so, together with all his people, Gobo had to be moved elsewhere.

However, even though Gobo himself did not put up a fight against eviction
from his ancestral home, there was a hue and cry from the the ranks of the
nationalists against the move for its obvious callousness, insensitivity and
racist nature.

By far the most celebrated case among the victims of those insensitive
relocations was that of Chief Rekayi Tangwena, whose
courageous stand in defiance of attempts to remove him and his people from
Kaerezi Ranch in the Nyanga area hit international headlines and catapulted
him to something of a cult figure. The general consensus was that the
heartlessness of the government was uncondonable, no matter how economically
sound the move was.

Tangwena reasoned, quite correctly, that the government had no right to
remove him from the land of his ancestors and dump him somewhere else for no
other reason than to settle whites whose commercial interests were
considered more important than the welfare of his people and the sentimental
value they attached to that land. He won a lot of sympathy, not just from
African nationalist leaders, but from most of the civilised world as well,
including the British government.

Today, 30-odd years down the line, Tangwena must be turning in his grave to
see the same uncaring treatment he was made to
endure at the hands of a white minority government being visited upon the
people of his country by what is supposed to be a compassionate majority

It must be so much more painful for Tangwena to see that the man who is
ultimately responsible for the cruel and inhuman
treatment the thousands of displaced farm workers are being subjected to is
none other than the man he literally took to Mozambique where he was
eventually given the party leadership from which his present power derives.

For all of 20 years the government had all the time and resources at its
disposal to acquire farms and resettle people with the minimum of
inconvenience, but chose to do nothing. Suddenly, farms are being acquired
by the hundreds, often violently and at short notice, with not a thought
being given to the welfare of workers who are invariably chased off the
farms with nowhere to go.

Pictures of displaced farm workers camped on roadsides at the mercy of the
elements ought to have moved to pity even a government with a heart of
stone. But ours hasn't been. And now, to add insult to injury, the
government is taking back to where they came from those of them who had
found somewhere else to stay, being cared for by non-governmental
organisations. Again, they have been chased away. Since they are
Zimbabweans, where are they to go?

What crime have they committed to deserve such cruel treatment cruelty far
worse than Gobo and Tangwena were ever subjected to by a white minority

Where is our conscience as a nation? For how long shall we fold our arms and
watch them suffer? The time for the government to act and end the farm
workers' suffering is now.

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Daily News - Leader Page

      What is the way forward?

      5/15/02 9:07:24 AM (GMT +2)

THE two major political parties made no secret of their intentions in the
event they lost the presidential election.
The MDC told us in no uncertain terms that it would not accept a Zanu PF

We asked why? hey replied that Zanu PF was so unpopular that they would have
to have rigged to win the poll, even on an uneven playing field.

In losing, they did exactly what they had promised they would do: Reject the
Zanu PF victory and called for a rerun.

Zanu PF too told us, even in more graphic terms, what they would do if the
MDC won the presidential election: "We will go back to the trenches," they
threatened. "Why?" we asked. "Because an MDC victory means being a colony of
the British again," we were told. "Zimbabwe will never be a British colony
again!" declared a resolute President Mugabe.

Mugabe won. There was, therefore, no need to "go back to the trenches". As
for a rerun of the election, Mugabe has emphatically said: "Not in a
thousand years!" and reminded the MDC that the "next presidential election
is in 2008", six years away.

But what would have happened had Morgan Tsvangirai won? I have no reason to
doubt their word. Moreover, "Zanu ndeye ropa (Zanu PF was born out of

Zanu PF would have kept its promise too and staged a "preventive coup". All
indications point to that. The unprecedented declaration by the Zimbabwe
Defence Forces Commander at a Press conference that the army would not
salute any President without liberation war credentials; the training and
deployment of youth militia; troop movement in urban areas on the eve of
election results all this points to military readiness to overturn an
opposition victory.

Those who will point to Zanu PF's acceptance of defeat in the 2000
constitutional referendum are simply bluffing because Zanu PF never accepted
that defeat. Instead, they unleashed the reign of terror that has been with
us for the past three years.

Therefore, a Tsvangirai "defeat" prevented an impending civil war. In that
sense, the defeat was "divine intervention" so that we can contemplate and
soberly reflect on the likely post-March presidential election scenarios in

What, therefore, are the likely scenarios? Everybody knows that the
Commonwealth, through Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo and South Africa
's President Thabo Mbeki, initiated the "talks" between Zanu PF and the MDC.
Left to Mugabe and Tsvangirai, the "talks" were unlikely.

But will they hold, given the divergent and polarized positions on the issue
of an election rerun? I posit the following:
n A narrowing of the polarised positions on the question of a rerun could be
achieved by bringing forward the presidential election to occur concurrently
with the parliamentary election in 2005. This would mean a constitutional
amendment to that effect, a face-saving device for both parties. This would
require that the conveners of these "talks" be firm on both antagonists as
Lord Carrington did with both sides during the Lancaster House conference; n
In the interim, measures would be put in place to level the playing field
for a free and fair election.

A new constitution with a provision for an Electoral Act administered by an
Independent Electoral Commission, could preoccupy both parties during this
three-year transitional period; n The de-politicisation of the army, police,
the Central Intelligence Organisation, civil service, and dismantling of war
veterans and youth militia structures would take place during the same
period under some international (Southern African Development
Community/Commonwealth/ United Nations) supervision; n Zimbabweans,
particularly those in the rural areas, have been traumatized for the past
three years. Many families have been displaced.

A modicum of normalcy in the general psyche of the people has to return if
they are to participate in free and fair elections. Some period of healing
is necessary. Moreover, Zanu PF and the MDC need time to normalise their
abnormal relations. This cannot be done overnight. Three years is about
enough time to properly do what has to be done.

n Meanwhile, what about the deteriorating economy? Can we survive three more
years? Yes.

We have survived the last many years. But, sanctions could be lifted and
economic aid released incrementally by the international community as the
monitors of the transition to democracy positively notice progress in the
above matters and so recommend; and n I don't want to discuss the much
talked about "government of national unity". This is probably what Mbeki and
Obasanjo are peddling.

This would be, in my view, to legitimise the illegitimate. Only after a free
and fair presidential election would such a government of national unity be
possible, if it became necessary.

The above, to me, is the responsible way forward. The alternative is civil
strife that could easily and readily lead to civil war.

The MDC has demonstrated resilience and has moved from strength to strength
since its inception in 1999. Even if the presidential election was not
rigged, a result of 1,6 million to 1,2 million should tell Zanu PF something
frightening has happened, particularly when so much terror and violence was

Moreover, the 1,2 million (plus more) are in the urban areas and State House
too is in an urban area! Recently, Tsvangirai made this perceptive
observation to me: "Mas," he said, "it is the resilience of the people, not
the resilience of the MDC, that Mugabe has to worry about. His problem is
the people of Zimbabwe, the whole country, not the MDC."

This should be enough incentive for us all to start thinking and acting

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Daily News

      Cattle breeder bows out

      5/15/02 8:57:08 AM (GMT +2)

By Chris Gande

KOMANI Farm, Zimbabwe's oldest privately owned Tuli cattle breeding farm in
Esigodini near Bulawayo, has become the latest victim of government's
chaotic land resettlement programme.

Owner of the farm, Paul Godwin, last week auctioned off his 200 cattle
following the designation of the farm for compulsory acquisition by the

The thriving operation, which started almost 40 years ago, has been brought
to its knees by the haphazard land re-distribution which has seen farmers
throughout the country being illegally evicted off their properties.

Goodwin, who started building up his herd in 1965, began his operations in
Matopos District before moving to Esigodini in 1980 where he farmed until
March this year when he was forced off his property.

He remained one of the few farmers committed to the concept behind the
cross-breeding of the Tuli cattle and indigenous communal stock to create a
new breed suited to conditions in the area.

Goodwin's herd, which comprised breeds such as the Tuli and Afrikander
varieties, had become a breeding nucleus in the Matabeleland province.

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Daily News

      Facilitators meet Mugabe in bid to break impasse

      5/15/02 8:44:30 AM (GMT +2)

By Sandra Nyaira , Political Editor

THE two facilitators of the talks between Zanu PF and the MDC yesterday met
President Mugabe in a bid to persuade his party to resume the dialogue
before the MDC case against his election victory is heard.

The MDC has filed a petition against Mugabe's victory in the 9-11 March
presidential election, widely condemned as illegitimate. Zanu PF shelved the
talks this week until the outcome of that court case.

Yesterday, after meeting Mugabe at his Munhumutapa Building office, the
Nigerian envoy, Adebayo Adedeji, said the talks could resume, but would not
be specific on the time frame.

It was assumed he meant he and the South African envoy, Kgalema Motlanthe,
tried to persuade Zanu PF to resume the talks before the MDC case is

The two men stressed the need to continue with the dialogue that began at
the behest of Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria.

Adedeji said the talks could resume but did not give details. "We will
achieve our objective," he said without expanding.

Motlanthe said further consultations would take place with both parties
before the resumption of the talks. Sources close to the talks yesterday
said the two envoys were for the greater part of the day involved in
consultations with Zanu PF.

Patrick Chinamasa, the head of the Zanu PF negotiating team, said yesterday
his party had not pulled out of the talks but had simply asked that the
talks be shelved until after Morgan Tsvangirai's election petition has been

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Daily News

      Commercial growers still dominate tobacco industry

      5/15/02 8:33:31 AM (GMT +2)

By Raymond Mgadzah

GOVERNMENT efforts to encourage small holder farmers to grow tobacco have so
far failed to dislodge the dominance of the sector by commercial farmers and
multi-national companies, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has said in its
latest Weekly Economic Highlights.

The RBZ said that on average, 95 percent of the country's total tobacco
output was produced by commercial farmers while multi-nationals accounted
for about 87 percent of total tobacco exports.

Small-scale farmers grew only five percent of total output and they
accounted for only four percent of tobacco exports.

This year about 170 million kilograms of tobacco, worth US$340 million
($18,7 billion) if an average price of US$2 ($110) per kg is assumed, are
expected to be delivered to the auction floors in the 2002 tobacco marketing
season which started yesterday.

This compares against 202,3 million kg sold during 2001. The slow progress
of small-scale farmers in the tobacco sector is likely to cause concern to
the government as it continues its agrarian reform programme with aims to
reduce the dominance of white commercial farmers and foreign companies in
the agricultural industry.

The RBZ said: "The production and marketing of tobacco has remained skewed
in favour of the established commercial sector and multi-national

The RBZ said that during the past five years tobacco exports have averaged
US$568 million per annum, underlining tobacco's significant contribution to
the economy's output, foreign exchange generation and employment.

Out of the crop of between 165 and 170 million kg of flu-cured tobacco
expected to be produced this year, small-scale contributed about 30 million

In an interview at a Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) reception
to mark the opening of the selling tobacco selling season yesterday, Farmers
' Development Trust (FDT), which represents smallholder farmers said the
number of small-scale tobacco growers was increasing.

FDT extension services manager, Jabulani Marumahoko said registered
small-scale growers had increased to 10 000 this year compared to last year'
s 6 000.

He said more small-scale farmers were growing tobacco because of the
introduction of the government inputs credit scheme and training of more
farmers by the FDT.

Addressing officials from the tobacco industry during the TIMB reception,
Ngoni Masoka, permanent secretary for the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and
Rural Resettlement, who was representing Joseph Made, the minister, admitted
the small-scale farmers were still dominated by large-scale commercial
farmers although he claimed the land reform programme had been successful.

Masoka said: "The Fast-track Land Resettlement Programme has been very
successful. My ministry will continue to play its role and ensure that all
farms previously producing will continue to produce under new ownership.

In order for this vision to be realised, there is need to focus on the
provision of more technical and financial assistance so as to improve the
volume of tobacco quality from the indigenous sector."

Tobacco accounts for five percent of gross domestic product, 30 percent of
annual foreign exchange earnings and 37 percent of agricultural employment
while down stream tobacco-related services such as processing and marketing
made further significant contributions to the economy.

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Daily News

      Year-on-year inflation rate hits 114 percent

      5/15/02 9:12:03 AM (GMT +2)

Senior Business Reporter

THE year-on-year inflation rate for April rose to 114 percent, from its
March rate of 113,3 percent.

Despite the slight increase recorded by the Central Statistical Office's
Consumer Price Index, economists said that without a change in government
policy, including a jettisoning of a "lunatic" low interest rates monetary
regime, the inflation outlook for the economy remained bleak.

Professor Tony Hawkins, an economist at the University of Zimbabwe said the
actual inflation rate was much higher than the official figure because
consumers were now sourcing many commodities whose prices have been
controlled on the parallel market at high market rates.

Hawkins said recent price increases were likely to lead to a leap in
inflation for May to about 120 percent.
He said despite the apparent slowdown in the inflation rate during the past
few months, it is likely to end the year at
between 150 percent and 180 percent.

Hawkins said: "We are going to see a jump to about 120 percent in May and
inflation will go up as the year progresses. We have the parallel market
taking off again, there is asset price inflation, we have huge food prices
which are going to come through as the year goes on and eventually we are
going to get another fuel price increase."

The chief economist at Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited, Witness Chinyama,
said the lull in the rise in inflation was due to technical factors and the
impact of price controls.

He said: "But the outlook is gloomy because we are seeing the continual
soaring of the parallel market rate. Money supply growth continues and money
is being created without any increase in output so that we now have too much
money chasing too few goods.

"Inflationary expectations are entrenched in the economy and workers are
demanding wages based on inflation rather than increases in productivity."

The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe's senior manager, Victor Chisi, said a
continued rise in inflation to levels of between 150 percent and 180 was set
to hit battling consumers hard.

He said: "If inflation rises to those levels consumer goods prices will
become unaffordable. The government needs to put a policy in place to ensure
that inflation doesn't continue to rise above the levels that we have been
living within."

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Daily News

      Domestic debt soars to $250bn

      5/15/02 9:11:23 AM (GMT +2)

By Raymond Mgadzah Senior Business Reporter

ZIMBABWE'S domestic debt has risen to $250,7 billion as the cash-strapped
government's insatiable appetite for funds shows no sign of abetting.

The latest figures from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)'s Weekly Economic
Highlights show that during April 2002 the government's domestic debt rose
from $240,2 billion to $250,7 billion.

The surge in domestic borrowing is likely to further dampen hopes that the
government, which is expected to publish an economic policy statement
shortly, might consider upping interest rates in order to burst asset price
bubbles, including soaring property prices and a rising stock market.

The government is expected to keep interest rates low in order to curb the
amount of interest that it is having to pay on its rising debt.

Analysts expect the government's debt burden to rise, fuelled by funds
required to back its controversial land reform programme.

First Mutual Asset Management, which has described the level of domestic
debt as "frightening", has warned that the government's debt position may
get worse.

In its latest weekly economic report First Mutual said: "The government
requires over $40 billion for its ambitious land reform exercise, which will
have to be borrowed from the domestic market. This means that interest rates
will remain low."
The latest RBZ figures show that the government has an outstanding sum of
$834,1 million from funds borrowed from an RBZ overdraft facility.

Earlier this year the government managed to repay all its advances from the
facility raising hopes that prudence was gaining the upper hand.

The government has pursued a loose monetary policy since early 2001. This
has kept interest rates artificially low in order to protect the government
from a rise in the interest bill on its domestic debt.

The cost of borrowing fell to 10-year lows in 2001 and the Minister of Finan
ce and Economic Development, Dr Simba Makoni, has reaffirmed a commitment to
the low rates policy.

Makoni said low interest rates support the productive sector by providing
loans at affordable prices. However, others argued that despite low interest
rates business confidence was low and there was little productive investment
Investors were taking advantage of cheap money to borrow in order to fund

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Daily News

      Amani Trust calls for election rerun

      5/15/02 8:47:15 AM (GMT +2)

By Columbus Mavhunga

THE Amani Trust has called for a rererun of the March presidential poll as
it was held in a climate that did not meet the minimum standard for the
holding of free and fair elections.

The trust, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) which helps survivors of
organised violence, said the pre-election and post-election period was
characterised by State-organised violence on members of the opposition and
it seemed to be on the increase.

"The findings of Amani Trust add further evidence to the conclusions of
other observer groups that the election was substantially flawed," said the

"Amani has continued to monitor the human rights situation in the
post-election period, issuing frequent reports on the human rights
violations that continue to occur.

It is evident that there is no improvement in the human rights climate of
Zimbabwe, and indeed the evidence indicates a further deterioration."

In its latest report, Amani said the people responsible for human rights
violations are the youth brigades, Zanu PF supporters, the police, the
Central Intelligence Organisation, and the army.

"Organised violence and torture has persisted after the presidential
election, and, to date, is being recorded at levels higher than in the
pre-election period," said Amani.

"There is a campaign of retribution being carried out against MDC
supporters, and it is significant that this violence was threatened prior to
the election.

The Amani Trust has recorded many statements from victims of the
pre-election violence in which their perpetrators stated quite openly that
those who voted for the MDC could expect retribution for their actions.

"The nature of this violence, as well as the partisan distribution of food
relief, makes the current violence akin to Opolitical cleansing'.

"The Amani Trust thus supports the conclusions of other observer groups that
the presidential election was seriously defective, and the climate then
cannot be seen as meeting minimum standards for the holding of elections.

When the outcome of both elections is taken together - the 2000 general
election and the presidential election - the legitimacy of the Zanu PF
government is seriously in doubt, and, until such time as proper legal
determinations on the elections through the Zimbabwean courts is complete,
the Zanu PF government and the executive can only be considered to be
defacto, not de jure."

The Amani Trust said it observed the electoral arrangements and the conduct
of the presidential election, and it noted a large number of irregularities
and impediments to fair conduct of the election.

The NGO made the following stipulations for the minimum conditions for a
free and fair elections to be met: "The international community should carry
out independent, impartial investigations into human rights violations and
should work with Zimbabwean civil society in such

"Government, regional and international action is needed to reform the
Zimbabwe Republic Police in order to promote the accountability and
effectiveness of the police and to ensure that it conducts itself in a
non-partisan manner;

"Government, regional and international action is needed to promote the
Zimbabwe judiciary's independence and effectiveness; "The Zimbabwean
government should review legislation to repeal or amend those laws that are
unconstitutional or violate human rights; "The Zimbabwe government should
ratify the Convention Against Torture with alacrity."

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Daily News

      Mtukudzi denies endorsing Mugabe's disputed victory

      5/15/02 8:41:04 AM (GMT +2)

By Guthrie Munyuki

OLIVER Mtukudzi has denied ever giving the South Africa Times, UK newspaper,
a story carried by The Standard in which he is reported to have endorsed
President Mugabe's disputed re-election in March.

In the story, Mtukudzi reportedly said he had great admiration for Mugabe as
"an intelligent, distinguished leader".

He is said to have "chided the opposition MDC for clamouring for a rerun of
the presidential election". The alleged comments have triggered an outcry
among Mtukudzi's legions of urban fans.

MDC supporters have not taken the reported utterances lightly either.
Mtukudzi, responding from Canada where he is currently on tour, professed
ignorance of the story's contents.

He said: "I do not recall the interview and am disappointed that a
Zimbabwean newspaper could speak so negatively about me without the courtesy
of interviewing me directly. A right of reply in the article would have
avoided this."

Mtukudzi said he had no recollection of being interviewed by the newspaper
either in person or by telephone.

He said: "The only article I gave prior to the London show was with a
freelance London journalist called Douglas Rogers who wrote a substantial
article released in The Daily Telegraph on Wednesday 17 April.

"A copy of this is coming your way from Douglas Rogers." Mtukudzi said if it
were possible, The Daily News could publish that article word for word as it
reflects "my opinions accurately and I stand by my opinions as stated in
that article".

He said he had not defended a violent land reform programme and did not
support violence in any shape or form - in the family, workplace, community
or nation.

Mtukudzi said he believed in free and fair elections. "I did not say the
recent elections were free and fair. Politicians -I am not one - have a duty
to serve their people and represent their will peacefully.

Violations of human rights are a disgrace to those responsible for them." As
for his alleged criticism of the MDC for fighting for positions and its call
for a poll rerun, he said: "This statement sounds like a set-up to me.

As stated, Zimbabweans want honest leadership and to participate in politics
peacefully." Mtukudzi said he stood for peace. "Any party that is for peace,
I support.

I am not a card-carrying member of any party. I am with the people and
expect political parties and government to serve me, not harm me. My music
is for all people, not political parties."

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Daily News

      Crisis hits tobacco sales

      5/15/02 8:38:33 AM (GMT +2)

By Takaitei Bote

THE first day of the flue-cured tobacco auctions yesterday was hit by a
crisis over prices which led to the closure of two floors.

At the one floor that remained open, sales were characterised by a high
rejection rate as farmers protested against the low prices in Zimbabwean
dollar terms.

Auctioneers yesterday said prices in United States dollar terms were
realistic as they were in line with international trends but were low in
Zimbabwean dollar terms because the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) had
introduced regulations that prohibit marketing of the crop at parallel
exchange market rates.

The Zimbabwe Tobacco Auction Centre (Zitac) had not sold a single bale when
it closed in the morning. At the Tobacco Sales Floors (TSF), farmers forced
auctioneers to close at around 10.00am when some farmers had realised prices
of between US85cents a kg (Z$46,75/kg) and US$2,90/kg (Z$159,50/kg).

This compares with an average of more than US$3,10c/kg (Z$170,50/kg)
achieved when floors closed last year. The Burley Marketing Zimbabwe auction
floor opened for the day, but many farmers tore up the tickets in protest
against the poor prices.

The crisis was triggered by poor Zimbabwean dollar prices and a demand by
small-scale tobacco farmers that the dollar be devalued.

The Zimbabwe dollar has been fixed at the unchanged level of $55 to the US$1
for the past three years. Tobacco farmers were angry that the prices on
offer on the first day had not moved from those of three years ago.

The farmers walked out of the auction floors saying they could not remain
viable if they sold their tobacco at the official rate.

They vowed they would not sell their crop unless the government devalued the
dollar or the buyers increased the US dollar price to US$6/kg (Z$330/kg).

There was drama at Zitac, where mainly small-scale farmers chanted songs
from the liberation war and ordered auctioneers to close the floors when
sales began at 8.30am.

They said they were disappointed with the poor prices being offered.
Lambert Makoni, from Headlands, said: "We demanded the closure of the Zitac
floors because we are not happy with the price of about US$1,20 (Z$66) a kg.

With such a low price, I will only be able to realise about $500 for a bale
whereas I spent more than $4 000 to produce a bale.
"The government should either devalue the dollar earnings or it should make
sure that the US dollar prices are about US$6 (Z$330) a kg for us to remain

The Zitac managing director, Atwell Selemani, said the floor had only pushed
through 36 bales for sale, which were all later cancelled when the auction
floor was closed.

Selemani said: "The prices in US dollar terms are fair, but the farmers are
comparing them with last year's prices. They say prices this year are less
than the closing price of about US$3,10 (Z$170,50) a kg last year.

Their argument is logical because input prices have gone up." At TSF the
floors closed around 10am when less than 1 000 bales had been sold for
prices ranging between US85c/kg and US$2,90 a kg.

TSF's public relations officer, Denise Watt, said: "The prices in US dollar
terms are realistic and are in line with what the international buyers are
offering in Malawi, Zambia and elsewhere in the world."

The RBZ this year introduced measures to stop market distortions which had
seen about 40 percent of the tobacco crop sold at the official exchange rate
last year, while 60 percent was paid for at the parallel market rates.

This year all the crop is to be sold at the official exchange rate as
stipulated by the central bank and that has disadvantaged the farmers.

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The Age

Council may lure Zimbabwean farmers to fill vacant jobs
MELBOURNE, May 15 AAP|Published: Wednesday May 15, 5:45 PM

A council in northern Victoria wants to recruit fleeing Zimbabwean farmers
to help fill skilled jobs in local agriculture and horticulture.

Swan Hill Rural City Council is to host a visit by a migration agent
specialising in Zimbabwean farmers, in the hope of matching some of her
clients with vacant positions.

Garry (Garry) Tepper, the council's economic development manager, said the
area's agriculture and horticulture industries were growing by 10 per cent a
year, but faced a shortage of management staff.

"These guys have got skills in managing large farms and have been heavily
involved in exporting," he told AAP.

Mr Tepper said he had no concerns about their ability to adapt to Australia.

"These guys have been very well equipped to manage large amounts of staff,"
he said.

"From what I understand they are very motivated to get out of Zimbabwe and
they want to start their lives again and they and probably starting with
nothing more than what they bring to this country.

"I think they would be very keen to fit into local ways."

Mr Tepper said the council had brought the region's labour problems to the
attention of the Victorian government's skilled migration unit.

The unit had put it in touch with the migration agent.

To obtain a visa a farmer would have to be sponsored by an employer for at
least two years.

Ten white farmers have died in Zimbabwe since February 2000 in militant
invasions of hundreds of farms in support of a state drive to forcibly
acquire white-owned land for redistribution to landless


Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe says it is immoral for 4,500 white
farmers to occupy 70 per cent of the country's best farmland.

He vowed in March to press ahead with his land reform program after he was
re-elected in a vote rejected by many observer missions as fraudulent.

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Business Report

Not all the property in Zimbabwe is a giveaway

Max Gebhart
May 15 2002 at 07:52AM
Despite all the negative sentiment about the chaos in Zimbabwe, the
international franchise division of Pam Golding Franchise Services reported
a 244 percent increase in sales to R193 million last year, mostly in

This division has offices in Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana and Mauritius.

It is logical to suspect that sellers were plentiful and included those who
had decided Zimbabwe was a lost cause and wanted to leave the country. But
where did the buyers come from?

Andrew Golding, the chief executive of Pam Golding Properties, admits his
staff had "been quite surprised".

Apparently some buyers were farmers evicted from farms who had to move into
Harare. There was also speculative buying by ex-pat Zimbabweans and

These speculative buyers believed the Zimbabwean economy would turn around
at some point. Purchasing property now positioned them to take advantage of
the upturn and profit from higher property values.

"Another important factor is that when a currency is in crisis and the stock
market is volatile, people put their money into property, which is regarded
as a safe haven," said Golding. It just shows business opportunities are
available even in the most unlikely places.

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Daily News

      Gold fever grips rural Midlands

      5/15/02 8:40:28 AM (GMT +2)

From Angela Makamure in Gweru

IT might not be as grandiose as the historical Klondike Gold Rush, but
hundreds of informal traders, commercial sex workers and drug peddlers have
swamped Shurugwi, Zvishavane and Mberengwa just to capitalise on gold

Gold panning is increasingly becoming a major source of livelihood for many
people in the Midlands Province. Settlements have mushroomed along valleys
in Shurugwi, resulting in a business boom.

Some panners and traders have come from such distant places as Plumtree,
Lupane, Gokwe, Mutare, Masvingo, Mozambique and Zambia to seek their

Cornelia Mudzingwa, an informal trader, from Matenda area of Zvishavane who
frequents these areas, especially those near Runde River where gold panning
is rife, said selling her goods had transformed her business.

Now she cannot think of a better and more rewarding line of business.
"Business is quite vibrant here. I am making a lot of money from selling
foodstuffs and other essentials such as soap, maize-meal, sugar, cooking oil
and oranges," Mudzingwa said.

"We maximise on the gold panners because every minute of their time is
working time. They do not have time to deposit their money in the banks
because of their lifestyle. They live in the bush. This means they can only
buy from us even though our prices are exorbitant."

Mudzingwa buys foodstuffs and other goods from Zvishavane almost on a daily
basis and then sells them to panners with claims along the reefs.

"Every day I get something like $10 000 and that is really something to
smile about," she said.

She started selling basic commodities to gold panners four years ago and
each day business has witnessed a boom because the area is attracting more
people by the day because of its gold deposits.

Mudzingwa said she sold a 2kg sugar packet for $300 and the price of a 750ml
bottle of cooking ranges from $400 - $450.
A 20kg packet of maize meal is being sold for $1 300 while a bar of washing
soap is going for $250 and bread is $120 a loaf.

Such prices could be the reason why it is not surprising that most of the
basic commodities which are hard to come by on supermarket shelves in urban
centres are found in abundance particularly in these gold panning areas.

About six boxes full of sugar were unloaded at one of the points in the
Matenda area in the presence of this reporter. Traders believe that rural
people such as the gold panners are a captive market with no choice but to
buy from them, despite the exorbitant prices.

Commercial sex workers have also moved into these gold panning areas, where
clients are easy to come by and have money to burn.

Chipo Mudonga, a commercial sex worker, who said she was from Chiredzi, has
joined in the "Great trek" to Shurugwi. She said the gold panning belt had
become a very rewarding catchment area for her and her colleagues.

She usually goes to Chachacha growth point in Shurugwi district, where
several other women and young girls entertain clients, the "loaded gold
panners" - for the night.

They frequent popular night spots in the town and the gold panners are
considered very generous customers unlike other men.
"They are generous and this is why I moved from Chiredzi to this place. The
makorokoza (clients) are their own banks, so it is quite convenient for us,"
Mudonga said.

"After work, we know they will come for us this side. They pay us cash."
Commercial sex workers say business is usually brisk over weekends because
most of the gold buyers, prefer coming on weekends to do business when they
have enough time to move around.

"On a good day I get at least $4 000 a night for my services. I prefer
short-time clients because I make more money that way than spending a whole
night with one client who only gives me $1000 or even less."

Most commercial sex workers started flocking to gold panning settlements in
1998 when house owners at the growth point rented out their houses for as
little as $150 a night for a couple. Night club owners are also benefiting
from these gold panners.

But drug peddlers have also found a new market. They believe gold panners
get strength to work, even through the night, from drugs.

Despite several dangers associated with gold panning, Collen Mandizvidza,
one of the gold panners at Runde River, said he would not abandon panning
for anything else.

He said: "I have worked in small mines for over six years now. I have been
to Muterekwi river, but I have decided to look for other claims. This is why
I came to exploit this rich area.

"I cannot work for someone and get paid at the end of the month when I can
make money within minutes.
"We have to work hard to get a gramme of gold which is worth $2 000, at
times we get four points a day which is worth $400. It is not by choice that
we are doing this, but the current economic difficulties are forcing us to
work like this."
Most of the gold panners have abandoned their homes.

They have taken their families to makeshift settlements, and most children
have dropped out of school inorder to help their parents at the small mines
which they have renamed "DRC". They compare these small mines to diamond
mines in Democratic Republic of Congo.

Some panners perish when they are trapped inside the shafts. The police seem
reluctant to do anything to stop gold panning. A police officer in Gweru,
who refused to be named, said they last conducted raids on the panners in
2000 and they had not gone back.

Gold panning became rampant in the early 1990s in Zvishavane and Shurugwi,
following a severe drought which forced people to look for other alternative
ways to survive. In Zvishavane the number of panners is estimated to have
increased from 20 000 to 25 000.

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Daily News

      Bulawayo City Council rules out water rationing

      5/15/02 8:58:15 AM (GMT +2)

From Our Correspondent

BULAWAYO'S acting Director of Engineering Services, Peter Sibanda, says the
city's five water supply dams have enough water to last until the next rainy
season so there will be no rationing.

He said the dams were 74 percent full. Bulawayo and the Matabeleland region
have in the past faced severe water shortages resulting in water rationing
in the city.

The only solution to the region's perennial water shortage has been
identified as the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project, which has yet to be
implemented since it was proposed years ago.

The government has been accused of not being serious about the project and
of only using it as an election gimmick. Sibanda said the satisfactory dam
levels should not encourage residents to be wasteful with water.

He said: "We are not saying that people should use water lavishly. It's
always good practice to conserve water because you also save money."

But some city residents are not conserving water and are taking advantage of
the theft of water meters, investigations have revealed.

The city council is replacing stolen meters with pieces of pipes and the
consumers are being charged estimated rates. According to council minutes
the city is losing thousands of dollars in revenue.

Some high density suburbs are hard hit by the theft of water meters which
are sold to building contractors. Although there was low rainfall in the
past season there was a lot of inflow into the dams in the 2000 season when
some of the dams spilled.

The city last had water rationing in 1999 when residents were slapped with
severe penalties for using water beyond the required minimum.

Almost all residents in Bulawayo have small vegetable gardens on their yards
which use a lot of water. People rely on the gardens to provide relish for
their families.

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Zimbabwe sanctions fruitless, UK admits

Nicholas Watt, political correspondent
Wednesday May 15, 2002
The Guardian

International sanctions against Robert Mugabe's regime have failed to
improve human rights in Zimbabwe, a "deeply frustrated" Foreign Office
minister was forced to admit yesterday.
Baroness Amos, the minister for Africa, said that discussions will be held
in the coming weeks with Zimbabwe's neighbouring states to see whether
further steps need to be taken to encourage President Mugabe to respect the
rule of law.

Speaking in the wake of a breakdown in talks between Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF
regime and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Lady Amos said
there was "no evidence" of an improvement in human rights despite the
imposition of EU sanctions and Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth.

The measures were imposed after Mr Mugabe's disputed election victory in
March, which prompted widespread criticism from Africa and across the world.

Lady Amos said that EU sanctions had imposed "some inconvenience" on Zanu-PF
leaders. But in an appearance before the House of Commons foreign affairs
select committee, she added: "Where we have a government that appears to
care very little for what is happening to its own citizens and is not really
prepared to take on board the concerns of the international community ...
there is a limit to what the international community - not just the British
Government - can achieve.

"Will suspension make a difference? It's too soon to tell. It's certainly
not clear now what impact suspension has had."

Commonwealth ministers on a special action group are due to discuss Zimbabwe
at a meeting in Botswana on Thursday. EU foreign ministers will assess the
impact of their sanctions at a June 17 summit in Luxembourg.

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Beit Bridge Booms On Border Traffic

Business Day (Johannesburg)
May 14, 2002
Posted to the web May 14, 2002
Jonathan Katzenellenbogen

Zimbabweans use ordinary wire cutters to hack their way through the fence
ABOUT 50 Zimbabweans wait huddled tightly in a queue at the Messina police
station to give their details to an officer prior to being deported.
The Zimbabweans, many of whom are wearing flip-flops, shorts and torn
T-shirts, had been picked up by the defence force that morning. All are male
and one cannot be older than 15.
At the side of the queue are a few bags, but most are without luggage. Most
seem in a state of despair and fear, and decline to answer questions.
One says he has not eaten for three days. A policeman at the station says
about 1500 are deported through the Beit Bridge border post 12km away every
month. He says they often tell him they will come right back.
The number of Zimbabweans illegally entering the country depends largely on
whether the Limpopo River bed is dry or not, says a senior police officer.
This year it has been the driest for some time.
Contract workers repairing the border fence a short distance away from the
Beit Bridge border post say the Zimbabweans use ordinary wire cutters to get
through the fence, and they often use sticks to prop up sections.
People who live in the Messina area say the number of illegal Zimbabweans in
the area has increased with the political problems north of the Limpopo, but
home affairs officials at the border post will not give details.
Beit Bridge is SA's busiest land border post, and Zimbabwe's problems lie
behind many of the movements. Streams of elderly women cross to buy cooking
oil and mealie meal.
"We are suffering in Zimbabwe," says a woman as she picks up a large plastic
"Chinese" bag to put on her head. "Zimbabwe money is useless," she complains
in angry frustration.
Some of the walkers carry bags full of curios to sell in Johannesburg to
make the money to buy cooking oil and mealie meal.
Zimbabwean truck drivers are also taking back cooking oil, mealie meal and
soap "the three of them", as one driver says.
However, the truck drivers say that they can carry only small quantities of
the "the three" back to Zimbabwe as they could face penalties for importing
without a licence.
One taxi driver from the Zimbabwean town of Beit Bridge says he is
benefiting from the problems in his country.
He and his conductor make three trips a day to SA, filling a Toyota minibus
with up to 15 passengers. For the journey back the trailer behind the taxi
is packed full with Chinese bags. Those who cannot afford the R35 fare
across the border have to walk.
"You are lucky you live in SA," says a taxi driver from Malawi, who speaks
of the shortages in Zimbabwe and his own country. He buys soap in SA, which
he says sells for half the price in SA as it does in Malawi.
Those who work at the border post say streams of trucks carrying maize in
food relief for Zimbabwe have passed through the border recently.
A few weekends ago the queue of maize trucks was so long that those coming
from Messina to work at the post were delayed by more than an hour.
The officer in charge of police at Beit Bridge, a nine-year veteran of the
post, Capt Erlank Nevill, says most of the crime is related to vehicle theft
and the use of fraudulent documentation.
Nevill refuses to go into the details of crime trends or detection
techniques. However, he admits that profiling is used by the police at the
border, but refuses to say anything more.
"The criminals read newspapers and I don't want them to know what we look
for," he says. Nevill says he recently learned a great deal on a course
organised by the US Border Patrol in New Mexico, but again refuses to go
into details.
It is the freight forwarders, private agents at the post who assist truck
drivers get through customs, who are prepared to talk and complain. Most of
the complaints are about customs delays. A year ago the freight forwarders
say truck drivers entering SA waited half a day at the post.
Now they wait at least a day. But by the end of the day there are only one
or two trucks in the parking lot waiting to be cleared.
Allegations about customs officials abound, but no hard evidence is given.
The border post building is about to be revamped, but more is needed as the
queue of trucks on the SA side of the border grows along with the spaza
shops, hawkers selling cooking oil and electronic goods and an expanding
"bush canteen" on the verge of the post.
The lack of proper office space means some freight forwarders operate out of
converted containers. No one government agency is responsible for the border
Although the police, customs, and the home affairs department meet regularly
to discuss matters, some officials admit in private that it would be better
if one agency was in control.
The post is well on the way to becoming a town, but there are few signs that
this is recognised by officialdom. Borders create their own growth from
illegals and legals.

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Zanu-PF Pulls Plug On Reconciliation With the Opposition

Business Day (Johannesburg)
May 14, 2002
Posted to the web May 14, 2002
Dumisani Muleya

RECONCILIATION talks between Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu (PF) party and the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) collapsed yesterday,
plunging the country back into further political uncertainty.
MDC head of delegation to the talks Welshman Ncube confirmed the
negotiations for a political settlement had broken down irretrievably.
"As far as we are concerned the talks are dead and buried," he said.
"As far as the MDC is concerned, Zanu (PF) has pulled out of the talks and
has repudiated its promise to presidents Thabo Mbeki and Olusegan Obasanjo
by closing all doors on a negotiated solution to the political crisis
government legitimacy facing Zimbabwe," he said.
"President Robert Mugabe is illegitimate, and there is only one way to
restore legitimacy, through an election rerun," Ncube said.
Mugabe has ruled out a rerun. The MDC last week threatened to stage
sustained mass action and protests against him.
SA and Nigerian facilitators Kgalema Motlanthe and Adebayo Adedeji evidently
spent the whole day locked in meetings with Zanu (PF) officials in a bid to
save the talks, but without success.
Officials sources said Motlanthe and Adedeji met Zanu (PF) secretary
Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is Mugabe's closest lieutenant, but in the end
nothing materialised.
"They were really frustrated, and they are feeling betrayed by Zanu (PF)," a
source said.
"They have miserably failed to guide the talks, and will go back home with
red faces."
Zanu (PF) delegation leader Patrick Chinamasa insisted yesterday that the
talks could not resume largely because of MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai's
court challenge of Mugabe's re-election.
"We communicated with (the facilitators). We cannot proceed when one of the
key issues on the agenda is before the courts," he said.
"The MDC decided to go to the courts instead of giving dialogue a chance."
Chinamasa wrote last week to the facilitators, and unilaterally announced
the talks were suspended until the outcome of the court case.
Zanu (PF) also said it was difficult to proceed because the MDC was
"planting false stories" of violence in the media and soliciting British
intervention in its favour.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's lucrative tobacco selling season opens today with a
drop in total production, caused by a drought and political disruptions,
which hit the country this year, industry officials said yesterday.
Officials estimate that between 165-million and 172-million kilograms of the
leaf will be traded over the next six months on the auction floors.

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From ZWNEWS, 15 May

Family X – suffer the children

On 28th February 2002 Mr X had his hut burnt down by his Zanu PF neighbour - who is also a cousin. He lost all his kitchen utensils – this hut was recently built and all his savings were put into the building. The hedge of branches was also deliberately burnt allowing cattle into the field and they destroyed the entire crop, which would probably have been about four bags of maize. On 27th March 2002, this same X was captured by the militia and severely tortured in their camp nearby. He is now a refugee and living with his three destitute children elsewhere. His children are not in school as there is no money for fees. Mr X reports deep concern about the effects of the violence on his children, who are now finding life very tough. After MDC lost the election, the local ZANU officials made coffins with the names of MDC officials on them – one had his name on, and this has deeply upset his children. The children of local Zanu PF officials have imitated their parents and threaten X’s children with death. The children are also now resentful of their parents for their MDC affiliation – saying that if it was not for that, they would not have been deprived of their home and safety. The parents are isolated for political reasons and it impacts directly on the children, who are isolated by association.

There is a second X family across the road, headed by X’s brother. This brother has been persecuted time and again because of his affiliation to MDC. On visiting this second homestead, two small children were found without supervision. They are aged 7 and 8 years. Both should currently be in school, but were sitting unkempt and without energy on a rock. They have been out of school since January 2002. They were trying to break open marula pips with rocks, to get the tiny nuts inside, and this is how they spend their days. This, and other wild fruit is their major food source. Their father has been on the run since January and does not dare to come home, and the mother spends her days away trying to raise money by buying and reselling sugar cane. The children were present at the homestead in August last year when their father was severely beaten by war veterans in front of them. They were apparently deeply traumatised by witnessing this. They also witnessed the burning of their uncle’s hut . These children are not currently benefiting from any feeding scheme, although they should be eligible for the scheme starting at Mururezi School. However, they are not under 5 and not attending school either.

The X family live in Mberengwa East – a constituency that experienced one of the highest levels of violence in both the June 2000 parliamentary and March 2002 presidential elections. The experience of the X family is contained in a report on selective feeding in the Mberengwa area by the Amani Trust – a respected human rights organisation that deals with victims of torture. The report details political discrimination in food aid programmes, the continuing torture of villagers by Zanu PF militias, and the continual battle by international agencies to get food to those in need against obstruction by government officials. In some cases, people have even been denied access to water.

REFER : ARTICLE No 5 of Batch 2 May 16 2002
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From The Daily News, 14 May

Zanu PF youths occupy MDC rally venue

Worried by the support the opposition party is attracting at its meetings, Zanu PF youths in Chipinge South have occupied Chibuwe Grounds, the venue for an MDC rally to be addressed by the party’s leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, tomorrow. Pishai Muchauraya, the MDC’s spokesman in Manicaland, said the action was calculated to intimidate MDC members and discourage them from attending the rally. This is not the first time that Zanu PF supporters have tried to bar the opposition party from holding a political rally. In January, Zanu PF militants occupied White City Stadium in Bulawayo overnight and beat up MDC supporters who came in to attend a rally the following morning. The police used tear-gas to disperse MDC supporters who were waiting outside the stadium to get in, while no action was taken against the Zanu PF supporters responsible for the violence. One of the MDC members who was severely assaulted later died in hospital. Last Sunday, Tsvangirai addressed 25 000 supporters at a rally in Hwange.

Lucia Matibenga, the MDC’s national chairwoman, Nelson Chamisa, the national youth chairperson, and Lovemore Madhuku, the National Constitutional Assembly chairman, are also expected to address the Chipinge rally. Muchauraya said yesterday: "Police gave us the clearance to hold the rally in those grounds, so I do not understand what the confusion is regarding Zanu PF youths’ action. Since Saturday, they have been toyi-toying in the grounds. Our supporters in that area have informed us they have been intimidated not to come to the grounds. Our preparations have been frustrated as we cannot get access to the grounds. All the same, I can assure our supporters that the rally will go ahead, no matter what happens." He warned that if the Zanu PF youths continued to with their harassment in Chipinge, where hundreds of the opposition party members have fled, the MDC might consider retaliating. The Mutare police refused to comment. Charles Pemhenai, Zanu PF’s spokesman in the province, denied his party had sanctioned the move by youths into the venue. "We are not a Mafia organisation," Pemhenai said. "Why should the MDC tarnish the name of our party by reporting falsehoods? They are lying. There is no such thing. If they have any problems, they should report to the police."

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From VOA News, 14 May

Zimbabwe police force workers to return to farms they fled

Zimbabwe police have rounded up scores of former commercial farm workers, and forcibly returned them to the farm they fled two weeks ago. The workers had been forced to leave their jobs and homes by supporters of President Robert Mugabe. The former farm workers and their families were living at two camps near Harare, set up by private non-governmental groups. The camps were a temporary home for some of the tens of thousands of farm workers and families who have lost jobs since Mr. Mugabe launched the invasions and seizures of white-owned land more than two years ago. Rev. Tim Neil, director of Zimbabwe Community Development, which runs the two camps, said police on Sunday rounded up scores of the displaced workers and their families, and took them to the farm, which they had fled just two weeks ago, about 45 kilometers away. He said many of those taken in the police raid were children.

The Reverend Neil said he was shocked by the police action. And he said he has filed an urgent application to Zimbabwe's High Court in an attempt to force the government to allow the refugees to return to the camps. At least one of the former farm workers who was taken away did manage to return. He said police did not tell the people now occupying the land why the former workers had been returned. He said the situation was frightening, because the people now occupying the farm were angry. He said one had an automatic weapon, and others were armed with whips and sticks. He said the former workers were forced to sing ruling Zanu PF party songs. Then, he said, they ran into the bush where they spent the night. Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said police took the refugees from the camps for security reasons. He gave no other details.

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