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

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Zimbabwe releases men linked to coup plot
Sun May 15, 2005 04:24 PM BST

BEITBRIDGE BORDER POST, South Africa (Reuters) - Zimbabwe has freed 62 men
linked to a plot to overthrow the government of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea
that also implicated the son of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
The group was released late on Saturday after serving sentences for weapons
and immigration offences. The men, who were arrested after their plane was
impounded in Harare in March 2004, were not directly charged with the coup

All 62 were travelling on South African passports when they were detained,
although many were originally from Namibia and Angola.

Three crossed the border into South Africa earlier on Sunday, but the
group's lawyer said the rest were held for questioning by immigration

The South African Broadcasting Corporation reported that all were eventually
allowed to cross after proving they had valid South African passports. Two
were taken to hospital, but it was not clear why.

"Prison conditions were very bad but I have no regrets about what I did,"
said one of the men, Bruce Du Preez, looking tired and dishevelled. He did
not elaborate.

The men could face an uncertain future in South Africa, which has strict
laws against mercenary activity.

Their sentences expired last week but their release was delayed because of
security issues surrounding their deportation.

Thatcher's son Mark pleaded guilty in South Africa earlier this year to
violating anti-mercenary laws under a deal with prosecutors to avoid jail.
But he denied financing a coup plot.

The leader of the group arrested in Zimbabwe, Briton Simon Mann, was jailed
for four years on weapons charges. Two South African pilots are serving out
the last two months of their sentences.

When arrested the men said they had been heading to the Democratic Republic
of Congo to provide mine security services and denied involvement in any

Equatorial Guinea sentenced 11 foreigners in November to between 14 and 34
years on charges of trying to overthrow the country's president. Prosecutors
linked the charges to the Zimbabwe case.

© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.

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'Mercenary' too ill to travel
15/05/2005 16:14  - (SA)

Johannesburg - Only 61 of the 62 alleged SA mercenaries released from prison
in Zimbabwe are back in South Africa, AFP reports.

The men arrived back in the country on Sunday.

The agency said one man, Malani Moyo, was kept behind in Zimbabwe "for
unknown reasons".

South Africa's ambassador to Zimbabwe, Jerry Ndou, told Sapa that Moyo may
have been left behind due to ill health.

"All the men who finished their one-year sentence were released. The one
left behind may be the one who was just too sick to travel.

"He couldn't even sit. It might be that they are looking at alternative ways
of transporting him back home," said Ndou.

The men arrived at the Beit Bridge Border post on Sunday morning by truck
after travelling from Harare for about nine hours.

They were released from the Chikurubi maximum security prison on Saturday
night, where they spent a year after being convicted of plotting to unseat
the government of the oil-rich Equatorial Guinea in March last year.

They were kept at Chikurubi for a few more days after their sentences
expired on Tuesday.

Ken Pain's wife, Marge, said she never thought there would be an end to the

"The family is obviously very happy to have him back. My husband is very
tired right now and so am I.

He has been travelling for nine hours and I have had to wait here since last
night," said Pain.

She said there would be no welcome home party for the man just yet.

"He needs to rest, so I think we will leave this for a couple of days and
maybe do it a bit later," she said.

Pain was among a large group of family members who had been waiting at the
border post since on Saturday night.

The men, who were travelling under "heavy police escort" only reached the
border shortly after 10:00 on Sunday.

One of the men was taken to a nearby clinic upon his arrival, and SABC radio
news reported that a second man was also taken to hospital.

Attempts on Sunday afternoon to contact a department of home affairs
representative were unsuccessful.
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Zim Online

Harare holds on to one suspected mercenary
Mon 16 May 2005

      HARARE - Authorities in Harare are holding on to one of the 62
suspected South African mercenaries who they insist is a Zimbabwean citizen.

      The other 61 alleged "dogs of war" were released from the notorious
Chikurubi maximum prison near Harare late on Saturday night almost four days
after they were supposed to have been freed from jail

      Zimbabwean authorities had given a variety of reasons why they could
not let go the men including the need to ensure the South Africans, rated a
high security risk by Harare, would be securely and safely deported out of
the country once they were freed from jail.

      The alleged mercenaries' Zimbabwe lawyer, Jonathan Samkange, told
ZimOnline yesterday that one of the men, whom he only identified as Moyo,
was still being held by the Harare authorities.

      SIXTY-ONE South African mercenaries were finally released on Saturday
night but the authorities in Harare held on to one, insisting he is a

      Samkange said: "The rest of the guys were formally released from the
prison premises where they had been held up except for one of the guys, a
Moyo . . . they refused to give me an explanation but what is surprising is
that he insists that he is a South African and his family is in that country
but the Zimbabweans are saying he is theirs.

      "I do not know why they want him (Moyo) but he says he is a South
African. Even the embassy (of South Africa in Harare) says he is a South

      Neither Chief Immigration Officer Elasto Mugwadi, who had personally
supervised the deportation of the mercenaries, nor Zimbabwe Prison Service
Commissioner, Paradzai Zimondi could be reached for comment on the matter

      But the South African Press Association (SAPA) yesterday quoted
Pretoria's envoy in Harare, Jerry Ndou, as having said that Moyo was still
being held in Zimbabwe probably because he was "too sick to travel" with
rest of his colleagues.

      The alleged mercenaries, all travelling on South African passports,
were arrested at the Harare International Airport last year allegedly on
their way to topple the government of Equatorial Guinea.

      Zimbabwean authorities said the men had touched down at the airport to
refuel and illegally pick up weapons from state arms maker, the Zimbabwe
Defence Industries. The men were found guilty of breaching Zimbabwe's
immigration and aviation laws and were sentenced to one in jail each.

      The suspected mercenaries' leader, Briton, Simon Mann, was sentenced
to seven years, which was later reduced to four years and under Zimbabwe's
Prisons Act, Mann will be released towards the end of next year.

      Meanwhile, a spokesperson of South Africa's Scorpions police yesterday
told the Press that the police were going to investigate the men under that
country's anti-mercenary laws but said "there were no immediate plans to
arrest anybody." - ZimOnline

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Mugabe plans changes to the constitution    Basildon Peta
          May 15 2005 at 11:37AM

      Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party is set to amend the constitution to
nationalise all land, automatically nullifying court petitions by thousands
of white farmers hoping to reclaim their confiscated property.

      Many of the farmers have refused to surrender their title deeds,
arguing they are still the rightful owners of the farms from which they have
been forcibly evicted by ruling party militants since 2000. Some of them
have won court battles, but most of their applications are still pending in
the administrative court.

      Welshman Ncube, a professor in constitutional law and chairperson of
the Zimbabwean parliament's legal committee, said this week that Zanu-PF
members had signalled to him that as soon as parliament opens next month,
they will introduce three constitutional amendments urgently wanted by
President Robert Mugabe.

      These amendments will declare all land to be state owned; abolish the
Electoral Supervisory Commission, leaving the recently established Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission as the sole body tasked with running elections; and
introduce a 40-member upper house, the senate, whose members would be chosen
on the basis of the results of last month's disputed elections for
parliament, which would remain as the lower house.

      Ncube, who is also secretary-general of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), said: "Mugabe has indicated that the senate issue
is particularly urgent and he wants to see the body fully established within
three months of parliament's opening next month."

      He said that Zanu-PF proposed to establish four senate seats for each
of the 10 provinces, allocated on the basis of the outcome of the March 31
elections. This would give the MDC just 12 seats in the senate and Zanu-PF
the rest.

      Mugabe has already assured some of his supporters who were defeated in
the elections that he would find seats for them in the senate. This should
help him heal cracks in the party.

      Mugabe will have no trouble passing his proposed changes as he has the
two-thirds majority in parliament needed to amend the constitution. Zanu-PF
insiders confirmed that the three amendments mentioned by Ncube had been
agreed on by the Zanu-PF politburo as the most urgent ones.

      They said another amendment to hold the parliamentary and presidential
elections at the same time would be introduced later. The effect is likely
to extend Mugabe's current term from 2008 when the next presidential
elections are due, to 2010 when the next parliamentary elections are due.

      If the constitutional amendment sails through as expected, it would be
the final nail in the coffin of the white farmers.

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Zim govt sets new food prices
15/05/2005 18:35  - (SA)

Harare - Plagued by shortages of basic goods, the Zimbabwe government has
fixed new prices on many commodities in a bid to bring the goods back to
supermarket shelves, the state-controlled Sunday Mail reported here.

New prices have been set for cooking oil, sugar, milk, soft drinks, maize
seed and cement, the paper said.

"It is also expected their availability on the formal market will improve
following the conclusion of the new prices," the Sunday Mail said.

But in several cases the price hikes are minimal, and do not match most of
the hikes sought by manufacturers and traders.

Many traders had last month increased their prices by much more than what
has been granted, resulting in some of them being arrested and fined for
overcharging and stashing away goods in anticipation of the price rises

Supermarket shelves in Zimbabwe have been empty of many essential goods
following parliamentary elections at the end of March, which were won by
President Robert Mugabe's ruling party.

The goods have been readily available on the informal market - but at prices
up to three times those set by the authorities.

Retailers are not allowed to increase prices on goods like sugar and cooking
oil without approval from the government.

The government-approved increases which range between 5 and 58 percent are
set to exert more pressure on the three-digit rate of inflation which the
southern African country has been grappling with in recent years.

The new price for sugar is Zim$4 000 (US65c) per kilogram, up from Zim$3

Supermarkets are now allowed to charge Zim$2 500 (US40c) for a small bottle
of soft drink, up from Zim$2 000.

Inspectors are to be deployed throughout Zimbabwe to enforce the new prices,
Christian Katsande, an official from the industry ministry, told the paper.

The Sunday Mail said new prices for bread and flour will be announced soon.

The most recent hikes, although controlled and still less than what
producers had sought, come just days ahead of the announcement of the
central bank's much awaited "post-elections and drought mitigating monetary
policy" set for Thursday.

Central bank governor Gideon Gono had set his eyes on bringing down
inflation which is at just over 129 percent to around 20 percent by year

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

Critics partly blame the crisis on controversial land reforms that have
compromised food production and the country's isolation from its traditional
trading partners in Europe following the 2002 presidential elections which
western observers charged were rigged. - AFP/dpa
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Zim govt starts food relief
15/05/2005 20:38  - (SA)

Harare - The Zimbabwean government has started moving food relief to hungry
Zimbabweans amid reports of widespread shortages, it was reported on Sunday.

About 3nbsp;100 tons of maize were being transported per day to
drought-stricken areas, Samuel Muvuti, the head of the Grain Marketing Board
(GMB), told the state-run Sunday Mail newspaper.

Fifty trucks were being sent to centres in Mutare, Masvingo and Gwanda while
a train was being used to ferry grain to Bulawayo and Gwanda, he was quoted
a saying.

Zimbabwe needs 1.8 million tons of maize per year, but this year's crop will
not meet the country's requirements. Last month the government said it was
preparing to import 1.2 million tons of grain.

President Robert Mugabe's government blames this year's crop failure on
drought, but the opposition and government critics blame a controversial
land reform programme launched five years ago, which has seen thousands of
white-owned farms transferred to new black farmers.

Aid agencies say up to 6 million Zimbabweans - around half the population -
could need food aid in the coming months, but this has not been confirmed by
the government.
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Zim food crisis a boon for some
15/05/2005 17:31  - (SA)

Harare - For Harare hawker Kimpton Chimwasa, the shortages that have left
many of Zimbabwe's supermarket shelves bare in recent weeks are a boon.

Chimwasa, 43, is one of thousands of vendors behind a burgeoning black
market - the last port of call for desperate Zimbabweans looking for scarce
commodities such as sugar, cornmeal, and cooking oil that have disappeared
from stores.

"It may sound cruel saying this when things are so tough for many, but this
is the best chance for some of us to earn a bit of money to fend for our
families," Chimwasa says standing behind a stack of cornmeal bags at a
Harare market.

The vendors hoard scarce goods when supermarkets get rare deliveries and
resell the goods for as much as three times the official prices at open-air
stalls and along pavements referred to as "emergency markets".

In a car park adjacent to the headquarters of the country's oil procurer,
the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe, business is brisk for touts who run
after passing cars selling petrol (gasoline) and diesel.

When fuel stations are dry the touts make a killing selling a litre of
petrol which costs 3 600 Zimbabwean dollars (58 US cents) for as much as
Zim$12 000 dollars (US$1.94).

"We can no longer call this a black market," says a passerby chuckling at a
group of touts scrambling to get the attention of a potential buyer.

"This is more like the official market because the police know about this
and they are not doing anything about it."

However, police last week arrested 400 vendors and fined 28 supermarkets in
Harare in a crackdown - code-named Operation Chipfukuto - to snuff out the
black market.

The vendors were arrested for selling scarce commodities such as maize meal
and cooking oil and sugar at inflated prices, with a 2kg packet of sugar
which normally costs Zim$7 500 (US$1.20) being sold for Zim$20 000 (US$3.22)
on the black market.

The supermarkets were fined for hoarding and overcharging their goods.

The ministry of industry and international trade said last month it would
introduce tougher penalties for those flouting price controls on basic
commodities, in a bid to snuff out a flourishing black market.

Zimbabwe's economy has been in a downturn for the last five years
characterised by runaway inflation and perennial shortages of foreign
currency and basic commodities.

The situation has been blamed partly on controversial land reforms that have
compromised food production and the country's isolation from its traditional
trading partners in Europe, which followed the 2002 presidential election
that western observers charged was rigged.

The government introduced price controls to fight a flourishing black market
for staples three years ago and instituted a fine of Zim$1m (US$161) for

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Islamic Republic News Agency

Zimbabwe's speaker censures Western human rights, democracy

Tehran, May 15, IRNA
Zimbabwe's Speaker of Parliament John Nkomo said Sunday that the Western
countries' claims regarding human rights and democracy are nothing but
excuses to achieve their own goals.

The West has forgotten justice and does not understand the needs of people
in other countries, he said in his meeting with the Iranian ambassador to
Harare Hamid Moayyer.

He also termed as historical the recent visit by Iran's President Mohammad
Khatami to Zimbabwe and called for further expansion of mutual cooperation.

For his part, the Iranian ambassador termed as appropriate the mutual

Moayyer also underlined the significance of President Khatami's visit to
Zimbabwe and the memoranda of understanding signed by the two countries in
various areas of cooperation.

The Zimbabwean parliament speaker handed the Iranian envoy a letter of
invitation for his Iranian counterpart Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel to pay an
official visit to Harare.


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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Greenbombers to be rewarded

Paidamoyo Chipunza
issue date :2005-May-15

THE much-maligned National Youth Service (NYS) graduates will all get jobs
under a new programme which seeks to find jobs for all youths who underwent
NYS training.
In an interview with The Daily Mirror on Friday, the Permanent Secretary in
the Ministry of Youth and Employment Creation, Thompson Tsodzo said the
youths should report to their provincial offices for recruitment into
different departments of the ministry.
Tsodzo admitted that despite arrangements by the government to facilitate
opportunities for training in different sectors, most of the youths had
failed to get jobs.
"We are calling back our youths whom we trained through the National Youth
Service and vocational training to report as soon as possible to their
provincial offices. Most of these youths are not employed," he said.
Tsodzo said some of the youths had managed to sail through teaching and
nursing training programmes at various government institutions, while others
had been assisting the government in "maintaining law and order in the

However, some of the youths clashed with members of the public as they
sought to "enforce" law and order.
"We did not consider educational qualifications when these youths were
enrolled for national youth training service, hence the problems in getting
employment," Tsodzo added.
He said the government had so far trained approximately 25 000 youths under
the NYS programme.
Tsodzo added that his ministry was also in the process of expanding into
communities - both rural and urban - where various projects would be
initiated to address unemployment problems.
These projects included vegetable gardening and poultry, which the
government would fund to ensure that all youths were equipped with  skills.
"The government is going to make available a grant for those projects," said
Current statistics peg Zimbabwe's unemployment rate at 70 percent. Most
university graduates and school leavers usually fail to find jobs and end up
engaging in criminal activities.
NYS has generally been regarded by members of the public as a Zanu PF baby.
The opposition MDC has also criticised the programme and called for its
abandonment, calling the graduates "militias".
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Kuruneri trial starts today

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-May-15

THE high-profile trial of former Minister of Finance and Economic
Development Christopher Kuruneri starts at the High Court today, slightly
over a year after his arrest on charges of externalising foreign currency.
The former legislator for Mazowe, who also faces charges of flouting the
country's citizenship laws, was arrested on April 24 2004 and made his first
court appearance two days later.
Kuruneri allegedly holds a Canadian passport and it is illegal under
Zimbabwean laws to hold dual citizenship.
He became the second minister to be arrested since 2000 following the arrest
of former agriculture minister Kumbirai Kangai on corruption charges at the
Grain Marketing Board (GMB). Kangai was later found not guilty of the
Kuruneri was nabbed on the heels of a media expose on a mansion he was
building in Cape Town at a reported cost of 30 million rands although he put
the cost at a conservative 7 million rands.
The former Mazowe West MP denies the charges of externalisation arguing he
was building the mansion from funds he earned abroad as a consultant and had
no obligation to repatriate.
When he first appeared in court on April 26 last year, Magistrate Judith
Tsamba dismissed an application made by his lawyers to have him placed on
remand in a government hospital because of chronic back problems.
On May 11 2004, Justice Ben Hlatswayo denied him bail saying he would evade
trial and Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza also dismissed his appeal to the Supreme
Court on June 17 on grounds that he could abscond if freed
In June the magistrate's court rejected a fresh application by Kuruneri to
have charges against him dropped. His quest for freedom has also seen him
ditching his lawyer David Drury for George Chikumbirike of Chikumbirike and
High Court judge Chinembiri Bhunu then threw out his bail application on
November 8 saying he could not be trusted due to his acquisition of a
foreign passport even though he had taken an oath of allegiance and loyalty
to Zimbabwe.
This year, Kuruneri has also made a number of futile attempts to have his
freedom. On February 18, Justice Charles Hungwe dismissed his application
for bail.
Kuruneri, who  was born in Mbare 55 years ago was educated at Goromonzi High
School, the then Salisbury Polytechnic and later at the University of
The Supreme Court also dismissed his appeal that had been premised on the
grounds that he should be released from prison unconditionally in terms of
the constitution of Zimbabwe as "reasonable" time had lapsed without having
been brought for trial.
The court, however, found that the lower court had misdirected itself by
dwelling on the passport issue in denying him bail, although that was not
the issue at hand.
This saw Kuruneri going back to the court, but his application suffered the
same fate as all the others.
When his trial opens, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Dr Gono is expected
to testify.
The Director of Public Prosecutions, Joseph Musakwa, would not disclose the
names of other witnesses the State would call.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

San get permission to kill elephants in park

Pamenus Tuso in Bulawayo
issue date :2005-May-15

THE government has granted permission the San clan in Tsholotsho South,
which borders Hwange National Park to the north and Botswana to the east, to
kill at least two elephants each month.
The move was taken so that the clan, which still leads a very traditional
way of life, could supplement their diet with game meat.
Vice-President Joyce Mujuru delivered the news during a tour of a medical
camp at Tsholotsho District Hospital last week.
She said during her visit to this drought prone-area towards the March
parliamentary elections, Sans had complained to her about hunger.
"When I visited the area these people were saying to me 'we are asking for
game meat' and as government we have decided that something should be done,"
she said.
Mujuru, who was accompanied by the Speaker of Parliament John Nkomo and
Matabeleland North provincial governor Thoko Mathuthu, said the procedures
and formalities of slaughtering the elephants would be soon communicated to
the governor.
She asked the governor to make sure that the facility would not be abused.
Attempts have also been made by the villagers to poach the elephants, which
they accuse of destroying their crops.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Soft drinks shortage looms

issue date :2005-May-15

A CRITICAL shortage of soft drinks is looming in the country with reports
alleging that the sole supplier, Delta Beverages, has scaled down
production, allegedly in an effort to force the government to review the

The price of soft drinks is controlled by the State and manufacturers have
to first negotiate with the government before effecting price increases.
The state controlled retail price of a 300ml of a soft drink is $2 000 while
that of litre is $5 000 but the little that is found on the market from
vendors is going for $6 000 for a 300ml while a 500ml pet drink is being
sold for $12 000. However, New Ziana is reliably informed that the company
has vowed to keep production low until the government reviews the price of
the commodity.
Some retailers who spoke to New Ziana said they last received supplies some
three weeks ago as Delta officially notified them that it was having
difficulties in sourcing foreign currency to buy inputs.
"Their official position to us was that they are facing foreign currency
problems to import important chemicals that are used to manufacture soft
drinks," said an official from a leading supermarket. - New Ziana
 "We last got supplies some three weeks ago and we are reliably informed
that Delta vowed not to manufacture soft drinks until a review of the price
is effected."
Delta was the first manufacturer to notify the government and the nation
that it was reversing its prices to the gazetted ones. The Ministry of
Industry and International ordered a reversal of prices after manufacturers
and retailers hiked prices of most basic commodities immediately after the
March 31 parliamentary election.
The move caused an outcry from the public as it was viewed as a way of
protesting against the outcome of the poll, which the ruling Zanu PF won
with an overwhelming majority.
Most basic commodities like sugar, cooking oil, toothpaste, mealie-meal,
milk and a host of other essential products vanished from the market
immediately after the election.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

By-election date set

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-May-15

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has sat June 18 as the polling date for the Mudzi
east by-election.
The seat fell vacant after the appointment of its holder, Ray Kaukonde to
the governorship of Mashonaland East.
The date was set in a proclamation by the President in the Government
Gazette of May 13.
In an interview yesterday, Kaukonde in his capacity as Zanu PF Mashonaland
East provincial chairperson, said the party had not yet started discussing
the issue of who would represent it in the by-election.
The MDC has indicated that it will retain Essel Machemedze as its candidate.
Machemedze was beaten by Kaukonde during the last general elections on March
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Zim Online

FEATURE: In search of a different type of salvation
Mon 16 May 2005
  MANICALAND - Sixty-four year old Mavis Matunge of Nyafaro village in
Zimbabwe's eastern Manicaland province is not the typical devout Christian.

      But for the last two months, Matunge has attended every Sunday service
at the small church near her home - to seek a different type of salvation.

      With hunger deepening across Zimbabwe and international food agencies
still prohibited by the government from distributing food aid, the church
has become the only source of help for Matunge and her fellow villagers here
at Nyafaro.

      The white priest, who comes down from Mutare city, 140 km away, every
Sunday to minister to the flock here, regularly brings food supplements
which he freely distributes to the most needy such as Matunge, who is a
widow and looks after four orphaned grandchildren.

      "The white missionary routinely comes here and when he comes he brings
packets of food for his congregation," Matunge told a ZimOnline news crew
that toured Manicaland province last week.

      She added: "Our fear now is that the priest has not been here for the
past three weeks. If he doesn't come with more food, we will die because the
government is not giving us anything while the NGOs (non-governmental
organisations) that used to give us food went away a long time ago."

      Matunge and her fellow villagers here at Nyafaro are not alone in
their plight. International and local food relief agencies estimate that
four million Zimbabweans or a quarter of the country's total population
could starve unless President Robert Mugabe lifts a ban on donor groups and
allows unfettered delivery of food aid to his country.

      Malnutrition-related illnesses are rising sharply across the country
as families cut on consumption to save on little food reserves. In Zimbabwe's
second largest city of Bulawayo, at least 20 deaths from
malnutrition-related illnesses have been recorded since the beginning of the

      Mugabe, who last August told donor groups to take their help elsewhere
claiming Zimbabwe had enough food, only admitted five weeks ago that his
country was facing serious food shortages. But then he vowed he was not
going to go around with a begging bowl insisting his hard cash-strapped
government had enough resources to ensure no one starved.

      But the government last week appeared to have changed its stance on
appealing for food aid with Social Welfare Ministry permanent secretary
Lancaster Museka telling the state-owned Herald newspaper that the
government will ask for help once it finished assessing the numbers of
people in need of assistance across the country.

      Museka did not say when exactly the government was going to finish the
hunger assessment and send an SOS for food aid. But whenever that is, in the
meanwhile, Matunge and her fellow villagers here at Nyafaro will have to
resort to the only alternative they have if the white priest does not pitch
up again with food by the end of next week.

      "We will go up the mountain to pick up some wild leaves. In the old
days, people used to eat them during times of famine, they are bitter but
edible and not poisonous," Matunge explained, as seven-year old Chipo, the
youngest of her grandchildren, thirstfully drank from a soft drink bottle
one of our crew members had given her. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

FEATURE: Buried in piles of own garbage
Mon 16 May 2005
  HARARE - Fifty-two-year old Zorodzai Chokudisa of Glen View, a poor
working class suburb of Harare, turns the half-burnt heap of garbage with a
long handled garden fork.

      She can hardly bear the pungent smell from the rubbish heap, but she
has no option. Slowly, she stokes the smoldering fire in one last attempt to
torch the heaps of uncollected garbage which have piled at a small open
space near her home.

      "It has been weeks since we last saw a municipal truck carting away
garbage along this street. Things cannot be worse than this. It is a shame
on those running the city," lamented Chokudisa.

      "Soon residents might boycott paying rates if the situation continues
like this," she adds, fanning smoke from the smoldering rubbish pile with
her hand.

      Sadly, the uncollected garbage is having an unfortunate knock-on
effect down the chain. For 40-year old Tinodaishe Munatsi, also of Glen
View, living off the city dumpsite has never been as difficult as it is

      Munatsi is among hundreds of Zimbabweans who eke a living at the
dumpsite. The 40-year old father of four re-fashions the plastic and other
waste materials he collects at the site into decorative artifacts and
hand-made toys for resale in the city.

      But life is no longer that easy anymore.

      "Business is bad. We cannot get material for use in our trade. We are
lucky to get a truck coming here once a week," he says, throwing his hands
in despair.

      Harare, a great city which glittered like a jewel in the jungles of
Africa, has fallen to great depths. It is a city in a state of advanced
decay. Residents say the "revolution", with its promises of political
regeneration, appears to be off the rails in Harare.

      Fuel pumps are dry. The water taps are also dry. Residents of the city
have now resorted to digging unprotected wells for their water needs,
exposing themselves to disease. Power cuts, due to lack of hard cash to pay
foreign suppliers are also a common occurrence here.

      But much more distressing to the residents are piles of uncollected
garbage that lie on the streets for weeks on end without anybody in position
of authority raising a finger!

      With things appearing to veer wickedly out of control in the capital
city, residents have now been forced to burn their dirt or dig pits to
dispose their garbage.

      "We have to do it ourselves to save our children from contracting
diseases. These rubbish piles are a hazard to our families' health. They
breed mosquitoes and flies," says Ishamel Njodzi of Mufakose suburb, one of
the oldest in Harare.

      The crisis facing the city is emblematic of the general decay of
Zimbabwe's economy after five years of a severe recession many blame on
President Robert Mugabe's wrong policies and downright mismanagement.

      But Mugabe, the only ruler Zimbabweans have ever known since
independence 25 years ago, denies mismanaging the economy, instead blaming
the country's economic crisis on sabotage by Britain and other Western
governments to punish his government for expropriating land from whites.

      Five years ago, Mugabe presided over the violent seizure of farmland
from mostly British-descendent white farmers for redistribution to landless

      The chaotic land reform exercise, which Mugabe says was necessary to
correct historical imbalances in land ownership, resulted in the
ostracisation of Zimbabwe from the international community besides
triggering off food shortages in the country as the land seizures disrupted
the key agriculture sector.

      "We are being made to suffer for the ineptness of those at Town House
(council offices) who seem to have no clue whatsoever on what to do with the
collapsing services," says Caswell Ndira of Warren Park suburb, standing
shoulder-deep in a pit he and 15 other men were digging.

      Mike Davies, the chairman of Combined Harare Ratepayers Association
(CHRA), a civic organisation fighting for better governance, says residents
are fed up with the city administrators.

      "We want an elected council that will engage us in plans to turn
around the fortunes of this city. The commission is an illegal entity
running the city on political patronage," Davies says.

      The government fired the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) party led council in 2003 allegedly for inefficiency and appointed a
commission to replace the elected council in what analysts said was an
attempt to regain control of the politically vital capital city through the

      The commission dominated by ZANU PF activists is led by Sekesai
Makwavarara who defected from the MDC last year to join the ruling party.

      But the frequent water shortages, mounting refuse, collapsing council
infrastructure and facilities eloquently testify how the Makwavarara
commission has failed dismally to run the capital and let alone restore
Harare residents' faith in ZANU PF and the government.- ZimOnline

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Sent: Sunday, May 15, 2005 9:49 PM
Subject: CHRA STATEMENT Service Delivery Protests by Residents on 10th &
11th May 2005

Combined Harare Residents Association

Press Release 15 May 2005

Service Delivery Protests by Residents on 10th & 11th May 2005

The spontaneous protests in Harare's eastern suburbs of Tafara and Mabvuku
on Tuesday 10 and Wednesday 11 May included residents of all political
persuasions and members of both the MDC and Zanu-PF. The demonstrations were
not primarily political but were an expression of the anger and frustration
of residents who have suffered from a lack of service delivery for many

The heavy handed response of the police to their legitimate grievances was
excessive and unprovoked. The alleged looting and destruction of property
that allegedly occurred after the demonstration was a direct consequence of
the authorities' refusal to engage in dialogue with residents. As such, it
is the police and the regime who must bear responsibility for any anarchic
acts by undisciplined residents. The physical assaults upon citizens were
brutal and intimidatory. The charges laid under Section 17(1)a of the POSA
against those arrested carry a prison sentence of up to 10 years and are
blatantly at odds with the gravity of the alleged offences.  The
imprisonment of those detained extended beyond the 48 hour legal limit.

For a modern city like Harare to be unable to provide essential services
such as potable water and waste removal to its inhabitants is an indictment
of both the political appointees currently occupying Town House and their
political masters. To add to the woes of residents, they have been informed
by ZESA that there will be no electricity supplies until July following
damage to a local transformer. It is intolerable that residents of the city
are forced to live like this, fetching water from contaminated streams,
burning firewood for heating and cooking and using candles for lighting. If
this is the only existence that this regime can offer our citizens, it
should step aside and allow others to tackle these crippling problems

If citizens continue to be abused by the who are responsible for the
delivery of essential services, if residents continue to be marginalized and
denied their democratic rights to elect representatives of their choosing to
run the City of Harare, if the human beings living in Zimbabwe continue to
be treated with the utmost contempt, the future of our country can only be
one of continuing violence and misery.

CHRA calls for
* the suspension of increased rates and
* an end to the imposed Makwavarara Commission
* the restoration of a democratically-elected
Executive Mayor and Council,
* dialogue between residents and Municipal
officials to seek a way forward

CHRA did not organize the demonstrations or participate in any way but we
recognize and support the inalienable right of citizens to protest against
injustice. CHRA salutes those residents who have the courage to stand up to
this brutal and repressive regime. Their example should encourage residents
in other areas to take action to demand acceptable service delivery.


For further information, contact:
Combined Harare Residents Association
Mike Davies
Chairman <>
tel: 498792
mobile: 263 4 [0]91 249 430

The Public Order And Security Act (POSA)

Section 17 Public Violence

(1) Any person who, acting in concert with one or more other
persons, forcibly-

(a) disturbs the peace, security or order of the public
or any section of the public; or
(b) invades the rights of other people;

intending such disturbance or invasion or realising that there is a risk or
possibility that such disturbance or invasion may occur, shall be guilty of
public violence and liable to a fine not exceeding $100,000 or imprisonment
for a period not exceeding 10 years or both.

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St Petersburg Times, Florida

Arafat Inc.
  The search for money once controlled by the dead Palestinian leader leads
to a Manhattan bowling alley, an African coffee plantation - and possibly to
terrorist accounts
By DAVID BALLINGRUD, Times Staff Writer
Published May 15, 2005


Was he the visionary father of a new nation? Or was he the Palestinian
godfather, boss of bosses over terrorists and thieves, a corrupter who stole
billions and used the money to buy the loyalty of his supporters and line
his own pockets while his people suffered?

Or was he some of both?

Yasser Arafat is dead, and the Middle East peace process has made headway in
his absence. For a man whose name dominated headlines for as long as his
did, Arafat disappeared without a trace, leaving most of the world guessing
at what caused his death in a Paris hospital last November.

But some people are trying to answer what may be an even more important
question: What became of his money?

Near the end of his life, Arafat controlled an estimated billion dollars, at
least, in a tangle of secret accounts around the world. He used a holding
company called PCSC, the Palestine Commercial Services Co., to buy interests
in profit-seeking endeavors - from almost $300-million in the Egyptian
mobile phone company Orascom Telecom Holding SAE, to almost $30-million in
private holdings in the United States.

According to Bloomberg News, Arafat's U.S. holdings included $3.2-million in
Virginia-based Simplexity Inc., which makes electronic commerce software,
$2.1-million in New York- and Boston-based Vaultus Inc., which makes
software for wireless computers, and $1.3-million in New York-based Strike
Holdings LLC, which owns the Bowlmor Lanes bowling alley in Manhattan's
Greenwich Village.

Arafat was 75 when he died Nov. 11, surrounded by aides, government
officials and his wife, Suha, who did her best to keep the others at a
distance. Suha, who lived comfortably in Paris with the couple's daughter,
accused the official Palestinian entourage of trying to gain control of
money that belonged to her husband, and therefore to her, when he died.
After Arafat died, it was widely rumored that Suha was paid to keep quiet
and disappear.

So what did happen to the money? Has it been returned to the Palestinian
people, many of whom have lived for years in the squalor of refugee camps?
Or is much of it still hidden in secret accounts throughout the world,
controlled by militants in Arafat's inner circle, available to buy guns and

The money hunt
With the Palestinian people badly in need of housing, schools and hospitals,
and with money available from donor governments around the world, Arafat and
his money men instead rolled the dice on a long list of venture capital
gambits. They invested mostly through Ramallah-based PCSC, which Arafat
controlled through his financial adviser, Mohamed Rashid.

The investments were made with tax money diverted from the Palestinian
Finance Ministry, according to auditors and a report by the International
Monetary Fund.

U.S. auditors, hired by the Palestinian Authority, have located and returned
to the government the money in about 200 of Arafat's secret accounts.
"That's about 90 percent of them," said Jim Prince of the Democracy Council,
the California nonprofit hired by the PA to track down the money. Prince is
president and founder of the Democracy Council and serves as director of the
council's financial "transparency" project in the Middle East.

So far, so good. But the auditors have not been able to examine the accounts
of the Palestine Liberation Organization, or PLO, the political organization
that was, until the 1993 Oslo accords, the Palestinians' de facto
government. That's important because Arafat was the head of both bodies and
maintained tightfisted control over the funds of both.

When Prince and his team got inside the PA books, they found they could
separate the 200 or so accounts into categories. "Many were carryovers from
the old PLO days, when they were a subnational (quasi-governmental)
organization and there was a reason for secrecy," he said.

"Another group of accounts were plainly corrupt, or were used to support
militant activities," he said. "And the last group was personal money for
Arafat, his friends and his wife."

How detailed were the books? Not very.

Until 2002, when donors began demanding more accountability, the Palestinian
Authority's budget just referred to "outside accounts," said Prince. "The
people who were responsible for them said to us "we told the head guy
(Arafat) everything.' I blame the (international) donors for giving money
when there wasn't even a treasury to put the money into."

Prince said about 90 percent of the PA's commercial assets "have been
"captured.' That means located, identified and legally taken over."

But there remain the assets controlled by the PLO. Its accounts have not
been examined. "I'd love to go look at the PLO accounts," Prince said, "but
I doubt there is very much interest on their part to have us do that."

Despite his curiosity about PLO finances, Prince said he thinks it is
probably a "threadbare" organization these days. "It still has so-called
embassies around the world, and it still owns businesses and charges
membership dues," he said, "but I'd be surprised if their assets were

But not everyone agrees. "I know well-informed people who still believe the
PLO has billions hidden around the world," Prince said. He identified Dennis
Ross, former special Middle East coordinator and now director of the
Washington Institute for Near East Policy, as one of those people. Ross
declined to comment.

Is the money in the right pockets?
For years, the world's donor nations - including the United States and the
European Union - have given much to ease the difficult conditions of the
Palestinian people. But they fretted about Arafat's secretive handling of
the money. In 2002, to ensure the money would not be used to fund terrorism,
the donors finally demanded more accountability. The result was the
Palestinian Investment Fund, set up to take money from the frequently
corrupt government ministries and use it to stimulate economic growth.

It made Palestinian finances more transparent. It did not outflank Arafat,

DEBKAfile, an Internet publication devoted to analysis of Middle East
political and military issues, reports that Arafat soon maneuvered around
this little obstacle by appointing two chums to important PIF committees.
Investments thus remained largely in the hands of this group of three.

The French government recently opened a tax and money-laundering
investigation into the deposit of about 11.5-million euros (about
$15-million) into the accounts of Mrs. Arafat between July 2002 and July
2003 - about the time the PIF was getting off the ground.

Auditors later found PIF money in companies in Guinea-Bissau's national
airline and a coffee plantation in Zimbabwe, to name just two investments.
The PIF, however, gradually has come more and more under the steady hand of
Palestinian Finance Minister Salam Fayyad, a respected former official of
the International Monetary Fund, chosen under pressure from the United
States and EU.

That did not end the worry over missing money, however.

Edward S. Walker Jr. is president of the Middle East Institute. He
previously served as assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs,
as U.S. ambassador to Israel and Egypt and as deputy permanent U.S.
representative to the United Nations.

Last November, Walker warned there was a struggle being played out behind
the scenes to control billions of dollars Arafat had stashed away in private

"Arafat ran the finances of his main political faction, Fatah, as a personal
bank account. . . . (He) rewarded his allies and bought the loyalty of his
opponents," Walker wrote on the Middle East Institute's Web site.

"In the mid 1980s, Arafat was estimated to control some $7-billion in
numerous secret bank accounts and in widespread commercial investments. By
2003, the estimate had been lowered to about $1.3-billion. Even at that
level, the funds could feed the Palestinian population for over a year and
leave a considerable amount left over for social welfare projects.

"The money that was used by Arafat to corrupt and bypass the system and to
sustain the conflict is now up for grabs. In the wrong hands, these secret
funds will continue to support terrorism and will be used to undercut any
effort to moderate the Palestinian position."

In an interview with the St. Petersburg Times a few months later, Walker
said his concern has eased somewhat. "It would be very surprising to me if
the PLO did not have some resources we don't know about," he said, "but it
would also surprise me if they had been able to hide a lot. A lot of the
new, younger members are insisting on more transparency in the
organization's finances.

"It's a new game there. Abu Mazen (Arafat's replacement as PA chairman, also
known as Mahmoud Abbas) can't afford to have a lot of secret accounts, or
anything that could be used to accuse him of corruption. I'm feeling pretty
positive. There is nobody in the position that Arafat was in - able to
manipulate both people and money."

A would-be godfather
Arafat may have controlled more than $1-billion, but he didn't use it to
live well. In his final years, he remained holed up in his bombed-out
compound in Ramallah, his life frequently threatened by his Israeli
counterpart, Ariel Sharon.

"This was not about personal greed," said Nathan Brown, an expert on
Palestinian politics at the Carnegie Endowment. "He did not live in
comfortable settings, he did not frequent the haberdasher."

Arafat's interest was in power more than money, Brown said. "He was the
Palestinian godfather," he said. "If you needed medical treatment, or
housing or whatever, you went to PLO headquarters and asked for help. Most
often you would get help. Maybe it wouldn't be as much as you hoped for, but
you got something. He also loved to give expensive gifts to friends and
their families."

His wife, Suha, was another story, Brown said. "She lived in Paris until
recently and did have interest in the finer things in life. There have been
a lot of rumors, but rumors with firm foundations, that she has been given a
handsome allowance so she would go away." Israeli officials have said Suha
received $100,000 a month before her husband's death.

Nadim Shehadi, a Middle East scholar from the London-based Chatham House,
formerly the Royal Institute of International Affairs, likened Arafat's
survival skills to the winner of a children's game. "In England we call it
"pass the parcel,' " he said. "I believe it is called "hot potato' in the

"The parcel is passed from one to the other, and the one who gets it when
the music stops loses. This was the case in Egypt, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon,
Tunis and finally Palestine. Wherever Arafat went, there was trouble. He had
to be devious to survive having so many enemies. I think money was an
instrument for him, not the object."

"Was Arafat a thief? Absolutely," said Prince, who audited the Arafat
accounts. "But not in the manner of other despots like Saddam Hussein, who
had palaces built for himself and set up personal bank accounts. People who
say Arafat did that kind of thing are simply wrong. He stole, but not for
his personal benefit."

What killed the Palestinian leader may remain a secret for a long time.
French doctors have said he was not poisoned, at least by any poison they
are aware of. Meanwhile, Suha has reportedly taken the 558-page medical file
with her to Tunis.

As with many things in the Middle East, the issue is clouded by "thousands
of rumors, dozens of facts," said Brown.

Times staff writer David Adams contributed to this report, which includes
information from Times wires.
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