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

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Top U.S. Travel Executives Arrive in Zimbabwe
Xinhuanet 2002-05-16 16:57:57
   HARARE, May 16 (Xinhuanet) -- A ranking U.S. travel delegation has
arrived here to explore opportunities in tourism in the southern
African country, local media reported Thursday.
   The visit by top executives from the American Travel Bureau,
one of the largest travel agencies in the world, came Wednesday
after the U.S. government lifted a warning against Americans'
traveling to Zimbabwe.
   The U.S. government on Monday advised its citizens to "exercise
caution and travel with a tour operator" while visiting Zimbabwe.
   The 11 officials are reportedly keen on sampling the country's
premier tourist sites, leading game sanctuaries and other areas of
   Their visit followed a recent appointment of three tourism
ambassadors to the U.S. by the Zimbabwean government aimed at
boosting the tourism sector, a major foreign currency earner for
the country.
   In March the government appointed a US-based Zimbabwean, James
Kamusikiri, senior American lecturer at a State University in
California Professor Van Garner and Mok Singh, Air Zimbabwe's area
manager for the Americas and Canada as tourism ambassadors.
   They are tasked with helping the country regain its glitter as
one of the most competitive tourist destinations in Africa, and
the move would complement efforts by other organizations and
embassies abroad.
   Tourism has over the past few years been weighed down by the
negative publicity the country has been receiving in the
international media.
   "You had a lot of choices before you but you chose to come to
Zimbabwe. We welcome you. I am humbled by your visit and will not
disappoint you. You will realize that Zimbabwe is such a friendly
country," Environment and Tourism Minister Francis Nhema told the
   The minister gave an assurance that Zimbabwe was still a safe
country to visit and allayed fears of political turmoil.
   The delegation will be visiting different tourist attractions
until the end of this month.
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Zimbabwe: new package for tobacco farmers to be announced
Zimbabwe’s Financial Gazette has reported that Zimbabwe’s financial minister is expected to announce a new package for tobacco farmers. This comes after the first tobacco auction of the season was disrupted by small-scale farmers protesting their pay package. The farmers held a meeting with the minister who promised that he would announce a new exchange rate package for the industry. The minister is reported to also have considered a meeting with Reserve Bank officials to consider proposals by the farmers. The main cause for concern is the current exchange rate in the country which is having a significantly negative effect on the quality of life of these farmers.
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Zimbabwe's Provincial Land Committees Ordered to Evict Illegal Settlers

Xinhuanet 2002-05-16 16:58:09
   HARARE, May 16 (Xinhuanet) -- A senior Zimbabwean police officer
has ordered provincial land committees to remove all illegal farm
occupiers to allow farmers to do their activities without
hindrance, the official Herald newspaper reported on Thursday. 
   Godwin Matanga, deputy police commissioner and also chairman of
the National Wheat Task Force, made the remarks on Wednesday at a
meeting in Bulawayo, the second largest city in the country.
   Matanga stressed the government does not tolerate new farm
occupation and
   "This will soon be stopped. Everything has been regularized by
the government and there is no reason to continue having this
invasions," he told provincial officials of the National Wheat
Task Force attending the meeting.
   However, the deputy commissioner said law enforcement agents
would give politicians a chance to remove people peacefully before
resorting to forcible means.
   "In the past we have been resorting to appealing to the
political leadership to deal with such cases but if we get to a
point where people refuse, machinery to deal with such cases is
available. Where it is necessary, we will bring in that machinery
to remove them," he said.
   "We can not allow a situation where the government continues to
be demonized because of the actions of a few individuals, " he
   The Masvingo provincial land committee started last Friday to
evict 12,000 illegal occupants on unlisted farms. Those who are
going to be removed occupied black-owned properties, de-listed
farms, conservancies, those protected under country to country
agreements and those owned by churches and essential institutions.
   Land occupiers, who occupied commercial farms before March 1,
2001, are protected by the Rural Land Occupiers Act and can not be
violently or unilaterally evicted outside their proper and
dignified relocation by the resettlement teams. Those who occupied
the farms after March 1, 2001 are going to be evicted. 
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Nigeria, S.Africa urge Mugabe to revive Zimbabwe talks

HARARE, May 15 - South African and Nigerian mediators have met Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe in a bid to revive stalled talks with the opposition
on easing post-election tensions, state media reported on Wednesday.

       Nigeria's Adebayo Adedeji and Kgalema Motlanthe of South Africa met
on Tuesday with Mugabe and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who is
leading the ruling ZANU-PF delegation at the talks.
       Negotiations had been due to resume on Monday, but Mugabe's ZANU-PF
postponed the talks pending a decision on the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change's (MDC) legal challenge to Mugabe's controversial March
election victory.
       The MDC has called the move ''a clear and complete ZANU-PF pull
       The Herald said Adedeji told reporters after the meetings that he was
optimistic the negotiations could be salvaged.
       ''It (the MDC court challenge) has added a new dimension to the
dialogue and we have to address it. The facilitation continues...there is
nothing which is impossible,'' Adedeji was quoted as saying.
       However, Chinamasa told the Herald that talks could only resume after
the court ruled on the MDC petition.
       The two parties had agreed on an agenda last month which included
issues of political violence and the disputed March 9-11 election.
       Mugabe's party insists the veteran leader, who has ruled since
independence from Britain in 1980, won fairly and has rejected opposition
calls for a re-run.
       Western governments and southern African parliamentarians, and dozens
of Zimbabwean groups, have condemned the poll outcome. But the Organisation
of African Unity, several African states and South African observers all
endorsed Mugabe's victory with varying degrees of approval.
       Commonwealth ministers will meet in Botswana this week with the
political crisis in neighbouring Zimbabwe high on their agenda, officials
said on Tuesday.
       The Commonwealth suspended Zimbabwe for one year on March 19 after
the group's observers said Mugabe's re-election in a presidential ballot was
neither free nor fair.

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12,000 evicted from land seized by Mugabe

Chris McGreal, Africa correspondent
Thursday May 16, 2002
The Guardian

The Zimbabwean government has begun evicting 12,000 poor black families from
"illegally" settled white-owned farms and other land, including property
owned by a cabinet minister and the church.
The state-owned Herald newspaper said the families must vacate the small
proportion of white-owned farms in Masvingo province not designated for
seizure under Robert Mugabe's land reforms.

Squatters must also leave designated wildlife conservation areas, church
properties and black-owned farms, including one owned by the speaker of the
Zimbabwean parliament, Emmerson Mnangagwa, a close ally of Mr Mugabe.

Evictions in other provinces are expected in coming weeks.

An agriculture ministry official told Reuters: "That has always been the
policy, that the government is not going to allow illegal resettlement. What
is going on now is simply that the land committees have been asked to move
against those who have settled themselves illegally."

About 95% of white-owned farmland has been designated for redistribution.
Last week, Mr Mugabe tightened laws governing the transfer by giving his
administration immediate control of those farms targeted for seizure. Any
farmer attempting to hinder the redistribution faces up to two years in
prison under the revised law.

Mr Mugabe says he wants to complete the land redistribution programme by
August. His critics say it has been a major contributor to a widespread
severe food shortage.

There was a further blow to the agricultural economy on Tuesday when angry
black tobacco farmers halted the first day of the annual auction of
Zimbabwe's biggest hard currency earner because of objections to exchange
rate controls in tobacco sales.

ZIMBABWE: ''Illegal settlers'' evicted

JOHANNESBURG, 16 May (IRIN) - Twelve thousand black families face an uncertain future as the Zimbabwean government on Thursday pushed ahead with the eviction of "illegal settlers" from undesignated land.

The move was seen as the government's first significant move against illegal settlers since a wave of state-sanctioned farm invasions began two-years ago.

The state-run newspaper, The Herald, reported that the eviction process was expected to last a month. The operation started last week following the issuing of eviction notices issued against illegal settlers.

The government's apparent turn around was received with mixed reactions.

The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), which represents the interests of white farmers told IRIN: "We are pleased at the news, however there hasn't been any activity. If followed through, it will sort out this mess. Until we see some action, it is just all talk."

CFU spokeswoman, Jenni Williams added that the organisation hoped the government had made "concrete plans for resettlement".

"It will not resolve the situation if the illegal occupants are simply shifted from one place to another. It will only create more problems. There needs to be a fundamental shift in the government's policy," she said.

But the timing of the eviction has raised eyebrows among some political analysts who suggested that the apparent "softening" could be a political strategy to appease foreign ministers of the Commonwealth Action Group meeting in Botswana on Thursday. Zimbabwe, suspended from the Commonwealth in the wake of controversial elections, was expected to be on the agenda.

Senior political analyst from the Johannesburg-based Africa Institute, Siphamandla Zonde, told IRIN: "The Zimbabwean government has never been shy about exploiting opportunities to renegotiate their position. In January, when the Commonwealth was assessing the situation in the country, there was a dramatic change in attitude of the government toward white farmers. Land invasions were scaled down and a more conciliatory approach was adopted."

Zonde added that the government's decision to evict illegal settlers had nothing to do with a change in its land policy.

"The decision appears to be bigger than it really is. In fact, it is a slight concession that really allays fears of a small but influential group of black farmers and black landlords," he added

Among those already evicted last week were subsistence farmers who had settled on a farm owned by Zimbabwe's Speaker of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa, a close aide of President Robert Mugabe, Sapa reported.

The Zimabwean government has scoffed at suggestions that the evictions were undertaken to appease the Commonwealth group.

Regis Chikowore, a senior presidential press secretary told IRIN: "What is going on now is not new. We have always maintained that we will not tolerate illegal resettlement. People will simply be moved to land that is government owned. The evictions are not in response to the Commonwealth meeting or in response to anything."

More than 5,000 farms out of an estimated 8,000 properties owned by Zimbabwe's 4,500 white farmers have been targeted for seizure under Mugabe's "fast track" land resettlement plan.

Some white-owned farms have been taken over by ZANU-PF officials and government ministers.

Last week, ZANU-PF used its comfortable majority in parliament to tighten a law governing the seizure of white-owned farms for blacks, passing an amendment giving the government almost immediate control of the farms targeted for acquisition.


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Moi accused of copying Mugabe with tough new press curbs
By Adrian Blomfield in Nairobi
(Filed: 16/05/2002)

President Daniel arap Moi of Kenya was accused yesterday of copying Robert
Mugabe in Zimbabwe after agreeing to a bill that will curb media criticism
of his government in a crucial election year.

As an unprecedented opinion poll showed that only 23.5 per cent of voters
approved of his government, there were further signs of a crackdown on
opposition after police beat up a leading rebel in the ruling party who
criticised the president at a rally.

Despite international condemnation, Mr Moi said he would sign the media bill
into law after it was rushed through parliament last week. The legislation
will effectively force various independent news publications, most of them
critical of Mr Moi, out of business by requiring them to pay a £9,500
security licence that is well beyond their means.

Two copies of every newspaper must be lodged daily with a government
registrar. Opposition MPs and media analysts say Mr Moi will be able to
excise any article that offends the government. The penalty is a five-year
jail sentence.

"The difference between here and Zimbabwe is merely one of style," said Paul
Muite, the parliamentary leader of the opposition Safina Party. "In Zimbabwe
they were more open about what they were doing. Here there is more
sophistication and more hypocrisy. Should it be necessary for Moi to be
worse than Mugabe, he will be."

The International Federation of Journalists and the Human Rights Watch
pressure group said the law was "repressive" and "potentially seriously
damaging to press freedom".

Aidan White, the federation's general secretary, said: "Systematic attacks
by the Kenyan government against freedom of expression sketch a grim picture
of the country."

Bookshops have removed foreign newspapers and books containing criticism of
the government after several were visited by plain-clothes police. The fate
of foreign newspapers under the bill is ambiguous.

Unless there is a change in the constitution, presidential elections must be
called by December. Mr Moi has been in power for 24 years, 14 of them as
leader of a one-party dictatorship, and does not intend to go quietly.

a.. Zimbabwe has begun evicting about 12,000 black families occupying white
farms and other land not listed for seizure under President Mugabe's land
reforms. White farmers welcomed the move, the first since the state
sanctioned invasions two years ago
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Tobacco sales suspended in Zimbabwe

Harare - Sales at two of Zimbabwe's three tobacco auction floors were suspended amid near-chaos when small-scale tobacco growers protested angrily at the prices offered by buyers. The small-scale growers were infuriated by what they saw as unrealistically low prices, though in US dollar terms the prices were little different from those on the opening day of the sales in the two previous years. At the largest of the three floors, where the volume of leaf sold was tiny, the price averaged 167 US cents a kilogramme, down 3.5 per cent from 173 cents last year. Sales were halted after small-scale growers protested at the prices paid and large-scale farmers tore up their tickets, designating rejection of the sale.

The problem is not the prices but the exchange rate. In 2001, the tobacco market was distorted by the yawning gap between the official exchange rate of Z$55 to the US dollar and the parallel market rate, which rose above Z$325 to the US unit during the tobacco sales season. This meant that buyers could source foreign exchange at the official rate and buy tobacco on the floors at prices well above those ruling in world tobacco markets. As a result the average floor price almost doubled last year from 169 US cents a kg in 2000 to 318 cents. But the actual export price averaged only 175 cents, so the apparent surge in prices was the result not of better tobacco or increased demand but currency manipulation. In a move to stamp out this practice, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has imposed new strict rules, so that all purchases are made in foreign currency.

Growers warned the government that even assuming prices rose to an average 200 cents in 2002, at the official exchange rate, the local currency price of Z$110 would be about half the cost of production. This grim reality on Tuesday dawned on the small-scale growers, who initially blamed foreign buyers and their agents but turned on the government after auction officials had explained the economics of the crisis. Some demanded the cancellation of the sales until Simba Makoni, finance minister, agreed to devalue the official exchange rate. Government spokesmen have repeatedly ruled this out, leaving Makoni to choose between a special, "devalued" exchange rate for tobacco (as is the practice for gold exports), or widening the country's exchange controls to stamp out the parallel market altogether. This latter strategy, while popular with government hardliners, would be self-defeating since it would undermine other export sectors that are still able to exploit the parallel market.

The stand-off between growers and the government is likely to be resolved by a devalued rate for tobacco exports. This, however, is unlikely to revive an industry that looks to be heading for a precipitous decline in 2003. Most commercial tobacco farmers have had their properties listed for compulsory acquisition by the state. By the end of last month, 85 per cent of Zimbabwe's 6000 commercial farms were listed, covering some 10.2m hectares (93 per cent) out of a total of just over 11m hectares. This suggests that if the government takes the vast majority of commercial farms, there will be a very small tobacco crop in 2003. This season's crop is estimated at 168m kg, 17 per cent down on last year and almost 30 per cent smaller than in 2000. Tobacco is Zimbabwe's largest export, earning an estimated US$500m last year out of total exports of US$1.7bn. It is small wonder then that in Harare yesterday both growers and buyers were warning that the sale of 2002 could mark the end of the Zimbabwe tobacco industry "as we know it".

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From The Scotsman (UK), 15 May

Riot gear sale to Mugabe was backed by Peres

Jerusalem - The Israeli government has endorsed the sale of heavy riot control vehicles to Zimbabwe, the state-run radio station, Kol Yisrael reported yesterday. The report, on the station’s respected international affairs programme, quoted foreign ministry sources as saying that Shimon Peres, the foreign minister, had authorised the transaction between the Beit Alfa Trailer company and the Mugabe regime, but had specified that it be delayed until after Zimbabwe’s March elections. Use of the equipment during the polling would have embarrassed Israel. The report quoted Mr Peres as saying the deal would boost the economy in the north of Israel, where Beit Alfa, a kibbutz turned weapons producer, is located. In Harare, opposition elements are worried that the new weaponry, which has reportedly already arrived, will be used to intensify the regime’s current crackdown. "The equipment is heavy and can crush any demonstration," a Zimbabwe police official was quoted on Sunday as telling the Zimbabwe Gazette. The paper said police were being trained by an Israeli in how to use the equipment.

After the deal was struck last year, Reuven Canfi, chief executive of Beit Alfa, declined to specify the number of vehicles or their price. The Gazette reported that the Israeli equipment included "customised anti-riot tankers, gas masks and microscopic laser guns". Beit Alpha’s web site,, shows the tanker as a vehicle that can have a machine gun mounted on top and features a ram. According to the website, Beit Alpha supplies chemical additives for the water cannons that can be used to restrain "dangerous inmate situations". These additives "demobilise" the inmate, it explains. Key details of the deliberations in Israel leading up to the sale remain unclear after a court ruled that it be kept classified. From documents that were released, it is clear that the defence ministry approved it. The deal proceeded after elections that were characterised by widespread abuse and prompted the Commonwealth to suspend Zimbabwe.

Since then, things have got worse, with eight local and foreign journalists charged under a new press law initiated by the president, Robert Mugabe. "The agreement has to be respected," Mr Peres was quoted as saying of the deal. A foreign ministry spokesman declined to comment on the matter. It is not the first time Israel has supplied weaponry to a state increasingly considered an international pariah. For years it shared an intimate strategic relationship with the apartheid regime in South Africa.

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From The Financial Gazette, 16 May

Alleged Nabanyama murderers set free

Bulawayo - The state has dropped charges against four war veterans implicated in the abduction and murder of Patrick Nabanyama, an opposition Movement for Democratic (MDC) election agent who disappeared without trace days before Zimbabwe’s June 2000 parliamentary elections. The four war veterans - Frackson Ndlovu, Ngoni Dube, Medicine Ndebele and Thomas Munyuki - were set free on Tuesday after appearing briefly before the Bulawayo Magistrates’ Court. State counsel Allan Mabande told the court that charges against the four were being dropped because of lack of evidence linking them to Nabanyama’s murder. The four were part of 10 war veterans accused of kidnapping and murdering Nabanyama, an election agent for MDC legislator David Coltart. Nabanyama was abducted from his Nketa home in Bulawayo five days before Zimbabwe’s landmark general polls in which the opposition nearly upset the ruling ZANU PF’s stranglehold on power. According to the state’s counsel, the four war veterans will now appear as state witnesses in the trial of Ephraim Moyo, Simon Rwodzi, Aleck Moyo, Howard Ncube, Julius Sibanda and Stanley Ncube, who are facing charges of murder and have been indicted for trial at the Bulawayo High Court on May 28. Ncube is the acting chairman of the Bulawayo chapter of the Zimbabwe National War Veterans Association, a position previously held by Cain Nkala, also implicated in the Nabanyama abduction. In an incident similar to the Nabanyama case, Nkala was abducted from his Magwegwe West home here last November and his body was later found in a shallow grave outside the city.

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From The Financial Gazette, 16 May

EU team jets in to act on Mugabe

A high-powered European Union (EU) delegation to pressure southern Africa to act on lawlessness and bad governance in Zimbabwe is expected to meet Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano and other regional leaders early next week. The delegation, comprising EU representatives from Spain, Denmark and its secretariat, arrives in Maputo on Monday and is also expected to meet influential regional leaders such as Malawi’s President Bakili Muluzi, the current chairman of the Southern Africa Development Community, and South African President Thabo Mbeki. The 15-nation EU has imposed smart sanctions on President Robert Mugabe and his close advisers after accusing the veteran Zimbabwean leader of stealing the highly contested March presidential ballot. Mugabe rejects the accusation. The 54-nation Commonwealth, which is led by EU member Britain, has also slapped Zimbabwe with a 12-month suspension after the group’s team to the poll reported that the election was neither free nor fair.

A spokesman for the EU in Harare this week said he was yet to be briefed fully on the delegation’s mandate and who else it would meet. It was not clear yesterday whether the team would visit Zimbabwe or meet Mugabe. The EU, the world’s largest trading bloc and a major aid donor to Zimbabwe, has withdrawn aid to the troubled southern African country citing corruption, skewed economic policies and a haphazard and violent land reform plan. Analysts this week pointed out that Brussels might be forced to widen its measures against Zimbabwean authorities, which are currently limited to travel bans against Mugabe and 20 other officials, to include full sanctions against the country. The experts pointed out that the EU hoped that it could pressure key Mugabe supporters such as Mbeki, Muluzi and Chissano to persuade him to restore law and order, start transparent and legal land reforms and at least agree to wideranging electoral law changes before it is forced to widen sanctions against Zimbabwe. The delegation is expected to read the riot act by making clear to southern Africa that the entire region risks losing crucial development aid and new Western investments if its leaders fail to influence Mugabe to change his management style.

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EU parliament calls for tougher Zimbabwe sanctions
STRASBOURG, May 16 (AFP) - The European Parliament called Thursday for even
tougher EU sanctions in order to bring about "an early improvement in the
situation in Zimbabwe."
In a resolution that is not binding on the 15 EU member states, the European
Union's parliament complained that EU sanctions against President Robert
Mugabe's regime were weaker than those imposed by the United States.

It called for a travel ban on Mugabe and 19 close associates to be extended
to include all of Mugabe's cabinet ministers, senior military and police
officials and "leading businessmen who have helped bankroll" the governing
ZANU-PF party.

It also urged the publication of details of frozen assets held by Mugabe and
his associates in Europe, and a review of Zimbabwe's foreign debt situation
and international drawing rights.

In addition, the resolution called upon South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki
"to show wholehearted and consistent support for the principles of
democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and accordingly to demonstrate
the quality of leadership that befits the powerful and crucial regional
position of South Africa."

The European Union, at Britain's urging, imposed personal sanctions against
Mugabe and 19 close associates, including an asset freeze and a travel ban,
prior to Zimbabwe's general elections last March 9-10.

It also yanked its election observers out of the country, after determining
that Mugabe's administration would not allow them to fan out across the
country and go about their work thoroughly.

Last month, EU foreign ministers -- reiterating their view that Mugabe's
re-election was rigged -- beefed up the sanctions to include a ban on
bilateral ministerial contacts "until further notice."

The EU travel ban did not, however, prevent Mugabe and his entourage from
making a stopover in Paris on his way to the UN children's summit in New
York earlier this month.

The European Parliament adopted its resolution ahead of a trip to southern
Africa next week by an EU delegation, which it said should push Zimbabwe's
neighbors "to take stronger action to bring about a return to democracy, the
rule of law and economic prosperity."


      EU team jets in to act on Mugabe

      5/16/02 9:29:14 PM (GMT +2)

      A HIGH-POWERED European Union (EU) delegation to pressure southern
Africa to act on lawlessness and bad governance in Zimbabwe is expected to
meet Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano and other regional leaders early
next week.

      The delegation, comprising EU representatives from Spain, Denmark and
its secretariat, arrives in Maputo on Monday and is also expected to meet
influential regional leaders such as Malawi's President Bakili Muluzi, the
current chairman of the Southern Africa Development Community, and South
African President Thabo Mbeki.

      The 15-nation EU has imposed smart sanctions on President Robert
Mugabe and his close advisers after accusing the veteran Zimbabwean leader
of stealing the highly contested March presidential ballot.
      Mugabe rejects the accusation.

      The 54-nation Commonwealth, which is led by EU member Britain, has
also slapped Zimbabwe with a 12-month suspension after the group's team to
the poll reported that the election was neither free nor fair.

      A spokesman for the EU in Harare this week said he was yet to be
briefed fully on the delegation's mandate and who else it would meet. It was
not clear yesterday whether the team would visit Zimbabwe or meet Mugabe.

      The EU, the world's largest trading bloc and a major aid donor to
Zimbabwe, has withdrawn aid to the troubled southern African country citing
corruption, skewed economic policies and a haphazard and violent land reform
      Analysts this week pointed out that Brussels might be forced to widen
its measures against Zimbabwean authorities, which are currently limited to
travel bans against Mugabe and 20 other officials, to include full sanctions
against the country.

      The experts pointed out that the EU hoped that it could pressure key
Mugabe supporters such as Mbeki, Muluzi and Chissano to persuade him to
restore law and order, start transparent and legal land reforms and at least
agree to wideranging electoral law changes before it is forced to widen
sanctions against Zimbabwe.

      The delegation is expected to read the riot act by making clear to
southern Africa that the entire region risks losing crucial development aid
and new Western investments if its leaders fail to influence Mugabe to
change his management style.
      - Staff Reporter

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Zimbabwean journalists arrested
May 16, 2002 Posted: 1:16 PM EDT (1716 GMT)

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- Three more independent journalists were arrested
and charged Thursday over reports in the latest issue of The Sunday Standard
that criticized the police, the newspaper said.

Editor Bornwell Chakaodza and reporters Farai Mutsaka and Fungayi Kanyuchi
were questioned at the main Harare police station before being charged under
strict new media laws, said assistant editor Brian Latham.

The charges related to two articles carried Sunday on the importation by
police of sophisticated Israeli-built riot control vehicles and on alleged
police corruption, he said.

The three are accused of "abuse of journalist privilege by publishing
falsehoods," an offense punishable by up to two years in jail. Chakaodza,
the editor, faced two charges for allowing the reports to be published.

Police had no immediate comment.

The newspaper said police had bought the anti-riot tankers, equipped with
state-of-the-art surveillance cameras and laser facilities, water cannon and
chemical additives, in anticipation of civil unrest related to the crumbling

Israel's state-run radio Kol Yisrael on Wednesday confirmed the Beit Alfa
Trailer Co. had sold the riot equipment to Zimbabwe.

Eight other journalists have been arrested under media laws enforced since
March on charges of publishing false information.

Andrew Meldrum, 50, an American citizen who is the Zimbabwe correspondent of
the British newspaper The Guardian, and Lloyd Mudiwa, a reporter with
Zimbabwe's only independent daily newspaper are scheduled to appear in court
May 22.

They were charged over a report in the Daily News about the killing last
month -- allegedly by ruling party supporters -- of a woman near the town of
Karoi, 200 kilometers (120 miles) northwest of Harare.

Police said the killing never happened, and the Daily News retracted the

Other journalists who have been charged since March, including a
correspondent of the British Daily Telegraph newspaper, are expected to be
summoned to court later.

New media and security laws were passed by the ruling party in the Harare
parliament before the re-election of longtime President Robert Mugabe in
disputed presidential polls March 9-11.

Human rights groups and opposition activists say the laws are intended to
muzzle the media and suppress dissent in Zimbabwe.

Chakaodza, a former government spokesman and editor of the state Herald
joined The Standard as chief editor on May 1. He was fired from the state
media in 1999 for criticizing the government.

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo castigated Chakaodza on Monday for
alleged incompetence when he edited The Herald and declared "editorial
matters at The Standard have fallen into the hands of fools."

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African mediators fail to salvage talks on Zimbabwe's disputed election


HARARE, Zimbabwe, May 16 - Nigerian and South African mediators headed home
Thursday after failing to salvage collapsed talks between the ruling party
and the opposition over Zimbabwe's disputed presidential election, officials

       Meanwhile, three journalists were arrested Thursday and charged with
''publishing falsehoods'' over reports in The Sunday Standard that
criticized the police, the newspaper said. Eight other journalists have been
arrested and similarly charged under tough new media laws enforced in
Zimbabwe since March.
       Zimbabwe's opposition is demanding a new vote be held under
international supervision, claiming the March 9-11 elections were rigged to
ensure President Robert Mugabe's victory. It also wants reprisals against
its activists to end. Mugabe's party has refused to consider fresh elections
and wants the opposition to stop holding inflammatory political rallies.
       Talks were convened last month at the request of Nigerian President
Olusegun Obasanjo and South African President Thabo Mbeki.
       On Thursday, officials said Kgalema Motlanthe, secretary-general of
South Africa's ruling African National Congress, and veteran Nigerian
diplomat Adebayo Adedeji were to report back that no progress was made in
getting the two sides together.
       Zimbabwe's ruling party canceled the dialogue last week, saying there
was nothing to discuss as long as the opposition was challenging the
presidential vote in court. The mediators from Africa's two most powerful
countries arrived Monday anyway in a bid to renew negotiations.
       The mediators met Tuesday with Mugabe and leaders of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change. Mugabe insisted that talks could not proceed
as long as court action was pending.
       The opposition on Thursday accused the ruling party ZANU PF party of
walking out on the talks.
       ''For now, it's over. You can write a death certificate for the
talks,'' opposition delegation leader Welshman Ncube said.
       No official comment was available from the ruling party.
       Mugabe, 78, led Zimbabwe to independence in 1980 and has vowed to
crush any protests against his victory. He ruled virtually unchallenged
until the economy collapsed and political violence erupted two years ago.
       Also Thursday, The Sunday Standard editor Bornwell Chakaodza and
reporters Farai Mutsaka and Fungayi Kanyuchi were questioned at the main
Harare police station before being charged for two articles the newspaper
carried in its last edition Sunday, said assistant editor Brian Latham.
       The articles dealt with the importation by police of sophisticated
Israeli-built riot control vehicles and alleged police corruption, he said.
The newspaper said police had bought the vehicles in anticipation of civil
unrest in the crumbling economy.
       Police had no immediate comment.

      Mbeki in last bid to save party talks

      By Sydney Masamvu Political Editor
      5/16/02 9:27:04 PM (GMT +2)

      FACILITATORS of talks between Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU PF and the
opposition MDC are now consulting South African President Thabo Mbeki and
his Nigerian counterpart Olusegun Obasanjo in a desperate bid to try to save
the negotiations from collapse, it was established yesterday.

      The facilitators' move comes a day after they failed in a last-ditch
effort to make President Robert Mugabe use his influence to revive the
talks, which aim to find a way out of a stalemate caused by Zimbabwe's
disputed presidential election in March.

      The talks, begun last month, are spearheaded by Mbeki and Obasanjo.
      Although they were due to resume on Monday, the talks foundered after
ZANU PF accused the MDC of negotiating in bad faith by taking the disputed
poll, one of the issues under discussion, to the courts.

      Authoritative sources said yesterday that Mbeki's emissary, Kgalema
Motlanthe, and Nigerian diplomat Adebayo Adedeji were now going to consult
their respective presidents after failing to break the standoff despite a
flurry of diplomatic consultations throughout the week.

      Mugabe told the facilitators during a closed-door meeting on Tuesday
that ZANU PF was not in a position to resume dialogue with the Movement for
Democratic Change against a backdrop of a pending court case challenging his
controversial re-election.

      Sources say Mugabe told the facilitators that the "rule of sub judice"
in Zimbabwe did not allow a case before the courts to be discussed outside
those parameters.

      He said he would put in writing the reasons outlining why his party
could not resume the talks, which the facilitators could communicate to
their respective leaders.

      The facilitators had been due to receive Mugabe's reasons by yesterday
      Welshman Ncube, leader of the MDC team at the talks who also met the
facilitators, said it was not true that the law of sub judice in Zimbabwe
prevented such issues from being discussed.

      Ncube, a constitutional lawyer, said as far as he was concerned the
talks were "dead and buried" and his party's executive would meet soon to
discuss what steps to take.

      He said the MDC would not withdraw its case from the courts and would
not also resume the talks at ZANU PF's convenience.
      "Our mandate which we were given by our party as the negotiating team
has expired and we are going to meet soon to discuss the way forward. But it
should be made clear that we are not going to resume these talks at the
convenience of ZANU PF," he said.

      He said according to the rules of procedure of the talks agreed by all
the parties, the shelving of the talks being sought by ZANU PF should have
been discussed at a formal meeting and a ruling made by the facilitators if
the two parties failed to agree.

      ZANU PF says it is only prepared to resume the talks after the
finalisation of the MDC's court case or if the case is withdrawn. It has
also accused the MDC of making false reports on alleged ZANU PF-instigated
political violence.
      The sources said Mugabe, incensed by the court challenge of his poll
win, had endorsed the decision to suspend the talks.

      They said Mugabe was angered by the lawsuit and had personally
concurred with the decision made by ZANU PF's supreme Politburo to shelve
the talks just before he left to attend a United Nations' Children summit in
New York more than a week ago.

      No date has been set for the hearing of the MDC case, which legal
experts say could see Mugabe being dragged to court to answer charges.
      In a 54-page affidavit filed in the High Court, MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai cites Mugabe as the first respondent and calls for the
nullification of the presidential vote because of charges of cheating. He
wants a re-run, but ZANU PF has refused.

      The failure of the talks could further strain Zimbabwe's already
crumbling economy, which is weighed down by a three-year economic crisis.
      Western nations, including the United States and the 15-nation
European Union, have also imposed smart sanctions on Mugabe and his top
officials because of their alleged promotion of lawlessness in Zimbabwe.

      South Africa and Nigeria had hoped that the inter-party talks could
help unblock international financial support, cut off by the International
Monetary Fund and other key Western donors in 1999 over unresolved
governance issues.
      The talks' collapse could also scuttle attempts by Mbeki and Obasanjo
to launch an ambitious economic development plan for Africa that is funded
by the West.
      The plan is predicated on African governments embracing democracy and
good governance, which the West says have collapsed in Zimbabwe.

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Starving Villagers Claim Ownership to Wild Fruits

The Daily News (Harare)
May 17, 2002
Posted to the web May 16, 2002
Sandra Mujokoro

Have you ever thought of owning a baobab tree, which grows wild in the bush?
The drought and starvation in the country has made such ownership necessary
among desperate villagers of St Mary's in Hwange District.

Many of them now own a variety of wild fruit trees, the most important being
the famous baobab.
A dry baobab fruit, known as muuyu in Shona, contains an off-white powder
used to make sour porridge for human consumption.
The powder can be consumed as a snack without cooking. The baobab fruit is
also a delicacy for elephants and is found predominantly in the Lowveld
Villagers in St Mary's said they often go for weeks without eating sadza as
their crops failed last season due to the drought.
To conserve the little maize-meal they might have, the villagers mix it with
powdered baobab fruit for sadza or sour porridge.
One villager, Methuseli Sibanda, said: "We only harvested about five bags of
maize from our plot and we were forced to sell three of them to get some
Now there is nothing at all left in our granaries. So we have learnt to
survive on the baobab fruit." The villagers said most of the wild fruit
trees, including the munyii which produces a small brown edible seed, are
now owned individually as families scramble to get the most out of them.
The area around the tree is swept clean by the owner to indicate the tree
belongs to someone. "It is now an offence for one to pick up wild fruit from
any tree, as the picker can be hauled before the chief or even be attacked
if caught red-handed," said another villager, Martin Tshuma.
He said gone were the days when a traveller could stop and freely pick wild
fruits from the bush. An elderly villager, Siphiwo Gadlula, said the hunger
in the area had pushed people to the extremes as they had to survive by all
"When I was young, wild fruit belonged to God and the ancestors but today
you find people owning wild trees. This means that the food situation is
very desperate," he said.
He said the baobab sour porridge was very popular with children who ate it
even before the maize shortage, helping to avert malnourishment.
"It is healthy, fresh and non-refined," said Gadlula. To earn money to buy
maize - when it is available - the villagers sell the fruits in Hwange and
Bulawayo. Youngsters too sell the baobab fruit along the Victoria Falls road
to passing motorists.
In traditional African culture, families can own kopjes and hills, but not
trees as is happening today. Norbert Dube, the director of Orap, an
organisation involved in the World Food Programme, said food distribution
exercises have been running in Insiza, Umzingwane and Tsholotsho for the
past four months.
But there has not been enough maize to feed the entire starving population
in rural Matabeleland North, where thousands of people face starvation.
According to a United Nations Development Programme report, Zimbabwe needs
about $83 million to prevent starvation. Three hunger-related deaths have
already been reported in Matabeleland North.

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Farmers Not Paid As Tobacco Sales Resume

The Herald (Harare)
May 16, 2002
Posted to the web May 16, 2002
Herald Reporter

TOBACCO sales resumed yesterday but farmers were not paid as all the auction
floors were waiting for the outcome of an emergency meeting between
Government and the industry to discuss an impasse over prices.
Although there were no demonstrations yesterday, farmers maintained a siege
mentality at all auction floors waiting for the outcome of the
The meetings involving the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development,
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board continued
late into the night at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
No comment could be obtained from the parties involved.
The tobacco marketing season got off to a poor start on Tuesday with two
auction floors closing as growers protested against low prices.
Indigenous Commercial Farmers' Union president Mr Thomas Nherera said a
lasting solution would be to increase the US dollar price.
"This will increase the 20 percent retention benefiting farmers. The move
will also influence the cost of producing and viability of the crop is
maintained," Mr Nherera said.
Yesterday some auction floors told The Herald that although they had been
asked to continue with sales, they were waiting for a signal from the
marketing and regulatory board to give direction.
However, Burley Marketing Zimbabwe managing director Mr Bruce Searles said
his floor had resolved to pay the farmers at the current rate, which would
be adjusted according to the outcome of the meetings.
"The growers want money to go back home. We have paid them and this would be
adjusted if there is a change following the consultations."
Those that were paid at BMZ had only sold at least a bale each to get money
for transport and other basic needs but there was a 49 percent rejection
rate at the auction floor.
The TIMB chairman Mr Njodzi Machirori and general manager Mr Stanley Mutepfa
were said to be attending the meetings yesterday.
Mr Machirori on Tuesday however confirmed that the board had agreed with the
auction floors to close pending discussions to break the deadlock.
It emerged yesterday that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development,
Dr Simba Makoni, had addressed the growers on Tuesday night.
A spokesman for the growers at the meeting, Mr Gift Madzorera of Hurungwe,
said Dr Makoni had assured them that the Government was looking into the
Mr Madzorera said that although the minister did not give a solution to the
impasse, he indicated that the Government understood their plight and that
it wanted the farmers to benefit from their crop.
One of the leading auction floors, Tobacco Sales Floor, had an almost 100
percent rejection rate as farmers anticipated a new policy on tobacco
Of the 3 451 bales laid for sale, only 47 were sold on an average price of
US$145,36 per kg before business closed.
TSF operations manager Mr Mark Impey said they would wait for direction from
TIMB, adding that no payment could be made.
At the indigenous-run Zimbabwe Industry Tobacco Auction Centre (Zitac) sales
were conducted.
However, managing director Mr Artwell Seremani said they could not process
the payments before the outcome of the meeting.
The poor prices remained unchanged for the greater part of yesterday at all
auctions floors. Farmers, who called for better prices, cancelled the sales
and withdrew their tobacco crop.
The growers, mostly smallholder and resettled tobacco growers, demanded a
stop on tobacco marketing at TSF after realising that they would not benefit
from the poor prices.
Zimbabwe Tobacco Association vice president Mr David Sandeman said it was
important to reward the farmers according to their efforts.
"We want good prices. We do not want the parallel market but we want to be
cushioned by adjusting the foreign currency rate".

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Farm Workers to Benefit From $3m Rehabilitation Programme

The Daily News (Harare)
May 17, 2002
Posted to the web May 16, 2002
Staff Reporter

FARM workers in Zimbabwe will benefit from a $3 million programme initiated
by the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC).
The money was set aside for the rehabilitation of about 20 000 internally
displaced people, particularly farm workers.
ICMC is the implementing arm of the United Nations High Commission for
Refugees in Zimbabwe.
Dr Ernest Maigurira, ICMC programme director in Harare, said they targeted
mainly farm workers who have been affected by the land redistribution
Maigurira said the displaced needed food, clothing, medical facilities,
drugs, prevention of malaria exercises and shelter outside refugee camps.
"We are rehabilitating them to start a new life in collaboration with other
non-governmental organisations (NGOs) under Partners in Action, a union of
organisations in development.
"These are extremely vulnerable individuals in desperate need of attention,"
Maigurira said.
Such people included orphaned children, aged farm workers and others who
desperately needed help.
Most of the internally displaced people came from Mashonaland East,
Mashonaland Central and Manicaland, where several farms were compulsorily
acquired for resettlement by the government.
The ICMC also assisted youths who were out of school to continue with their
education. NGOs and churches in their respective areas helped the ICMC to
identify people in need of assistance, according to Maigurira.
Children on the farms were exposed to illicit cohabitation and rampant
prostitution, Maigurira said

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Government to Guarantee $2 Billion Loan for Farming Sector

Financial Gazette (Harare)
May 16, 2002
Posted to the web May 16, 2002
Staff Reporter

THE government will guarantee a $2.1 billion loan by the central bank to the
Agricultural Bank of Zimbabwe (Agribank) to finance lending to the farming
sector, it was learnt this week.
Officials in the Ministry of Finance said the government guarantee would
enable the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to make the funds available to Agribank
for one year.
The money will be used to provide loans mostly to farmers resettled under
the government's controversial fast-track land reform programme and to
communal farmers who cannot secure loans from financial institutions.
"The government has issued a guarantee amounting to $2.1 billion to the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to finance Agribank's on-lending programme to
sub-borrowers in the agriculture sector," a ministry official said.
"This money is being provided in terms of the State Loans and Guarantees
Act, which enables government to guarantee such loans. The guarantee will be
valid for one year from the time of issue."
The official said the government was guaranteeing the loan to protect
Agribank's loan book because it realised that not all beneficiaries of the
bank's funds would be able to repay on time.
Under the government-guaranteed loan, newly resettled farmers will receive
varying amounts of money and successful applicants will repay 20 percent of
the loan within one year.
There was no immediate response to questions about the loan sent to Agribank
Agribank, which was established in 1999 but opened its doors to the public
in 2000, is 100 percent controlled by the government. It is the successor to
the now defunct Agriculture Finance Corporation, also a loan provider to
Ministry of Finance officials this week said the government was in no hurry
to commit itself to the privatisation of the bank, which it considers to be
of strategic importance to its agricultural land reform programme.
"The government will continue with its hold on the bank for now because it
(Agribank) is central to the land reform programme," an official said. "That
is why the government is moving to support the bank."

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Foreign Firms Top Bribe Payers

Financial Gazette (Harare)
May 16, 2002
Posted to the web May 16, 2002
Staff Reporter

FOREIGN companies are heavily involved in bribing public officials in
developing countries such as Zimbabwe in order to get preferential
treatment, according to Transparency International's Bribe Payers Index
The index, released this week and based on a poll undertaken by Gallup
International Association for Transparency, found that most bribe payers in
developing countries were from Asian and Western countries, some of which
have laws making corrupt payments to foreign officials a crime.
It found that companies from China, Taiwan, South Korea and Russia, which
are increasingly exporting to emerging markets such as Zimbabwe, were using
bribes on "an exceptional and intolerable scale".
The poll, undertaken between December 2001 and March 2002, singled out the
construction industry and the arms trade as the sectors with the highest
levels of bribery and corruption.
"The BPI shows that the most flagrant corruption is seen in the public
works/construction and arms and defence sectors, which are plagued by
endemic bribery by foreign firms," Transparency International said.
The Zimbabwean market has recently been flooded with products from China,
Taiwan and South Korea, while companies from these countries, especially
China, have been controversially awarded lucrative contracts in the
construction industry at the expense of local firms.
According to the BPI, companies from Taiwan, South Korea, China and Russia
were involved in bribery activities because their countries were still to
ratify the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in
International Business Transactions.
The convention, which was signed two years ago, outlaws bribery of foreign
public officials.

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EU Sanctions On Mugabe Start to Bite

Financial Gazette (Harare)
May 16, 2002
Posted to the web May 16, 2002
David Masunda, Deputy Editor-in-Chief

EUROPEAN Union-led international sanctions meant to hasten the departure of
President Robert Mugabe after the disputed March presidential election are
beginning to bite despite attempts by Harare to put on a brave face, experts
said this week.
While some pundits had predicted that Mugabe's beleaguered administration -
reeling from the combined effects of a devastating drought and an imploding
economy - would crumble within months after the imposition of the
international sanctions, Zimbabwean authorities this week continued to
pretend all was well.

"Their brave posturing is a strategy to create the impression that the
sanctions are not working and that all is well and yet all is not well,"
said University of Zimbabwe political analyst and newspaper columnist
Masipula Sithole.
ZANU PF strategists led by Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge this week hailed
Mugabe's foray last week into the United States, his first visit there since
Washington imposed smart sanctions on him and his close aides in March, as a
sign that the measures were ineffective.
Mugabe and his wife Grace visited New York to attend a United Nations summit
on children after American President George W Bush signed the Zimbabwe
Democracy and Economic Recovery Bill.
The Act is meant to coax Zimbabwean authorities to respect human rights,
restore the rule of law and deal with rampant corruption in return for vital
American aid for the economy and the current land reforms.
While the Mugabes escaped US censure during the visit to the UN because of
the immunity they enjoy under the Geneva Convention that established the
international body, their tour was hailed in Harare by the government media
as a triumph against the US smart sanctions.
Independent analysts however said ZANU PF and foreign ministry officials
were trying to put on a brave face because it was clear that the Mugabes had
been limited to the UN grounds while in New York and to the airport in
"The fact that Mugabe was only on UN grounds in New York and at the (Charles
de Gaulle International) Airport in Paris means that the smart sanctions are
serious," Sithole noted.
Another analyst who declined to be named said it was obvious that ZANU PF
would paint a picture of the sanctions failing to work as a strategy to get
the West to hold talks with the party.
Besides the US and the 15-nation EU, Switzerland - the world's favourite
destination for concealed profits - has also frozen any assets Mugabe, his
family and close associates might have in the Alpine country while others
such as New Zealand have banned them from travelling to their countries.
The West, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and independent
Zimbabwean election observers accuse the embattled ZANU PF leader of
stealing the hotly disputed March ballot, a charge he rejects.
As Mugabe and his entourage returned from their low-key visit to the US, one
of his closest advisers, Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri, appeared to
have defied the EU ban and travelled to EU member France last week.
Chihuri, Mugabe and 20 others - including almost all of Zimbabwe's defence
forces chiefs - are on the EU sanctions list that bans them from travelling
to EU states.
Didier Ferrand, the French ambassador in Harare, however said the EU had
permitted Chihuri's visit because the police commissioner was to attend a
meeting of the international police organisation Interpol that is based in
Lyon, France.
He said the EU sanctions on Zimbabwe specified that exemptions could be made
on some of the affected Zimbabwean officials if their visits to an EU
country were intended for humanitarian purposes, an international meeting or
for political dialogue.
"On behalf of France, I can say we are abiding by the European Union
decision on the sanctions on Zimbabwe," Ferrand told the Financial Gazette.

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Zim Spends $84 Billion Importing Essential Products

The Daily News (Harare)
May 17, 2002
Posted to the web May 16, 2002
Business Editor

Zimbabwe, facing severe foreign currency problems, last year spent close to
$84 billion (US$1,545 billion) importing various essentials including food
and fuel.
The estimate figures are for the period ending 31 December, 2001 and were
supplied by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) in collaboration with the
Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.
The figures, quoted in United States dollars, are an increase from the
US$1,517 million utilised during the year 2000.
Top of the list of the country's imports was machinery which took up
US$391,9 million, followed by fuel which stood at US$317,6 million.
Dr Simba Makoni, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, however,
said more could have been utilised for imports had the foreign currency
situation been normal.
Makoni said: "Exports are estimated to have declined by 4,3 percent in 2001.
Rising production costs and high inflation, against a fixed exchange rate,
compromised competitiveness and worsened performance of exports.
"Imports, on the other hand, are estimated to have grown by only 1,6 percent
in 2001, due to shortages of foreign currency."
Zimbabwe, on the other hand, earned close to US$1,714 million from the
exports of agriculture, mining, and manufacturing.
The country spent US$232,5 million importing manufactured products, a
decrease from the US$256,8 million used during the previous year.
The government also imported chemicals at a cost of US$221,1 million,
electricity (US$74,4 million), and food (US$127,6 million).
Bankers say the country needs at least US$300 million this year alone, to be
able to deal with the food situation.

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