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

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Zim Online

Armed police summoned to quell sugar, maize-meal stampede
Tue 17 May 2005

      HARARE - Armed police had to be called in while a woman fainted as
thousands of hungry people jostled and stampeded to buy sugar and maize-meal
that went on sale at two branches of a supermarket chain in central Harare.

      Hordes of people had begun gathering at the OK supermarket branches
along First and Rezende streets as early as 4 am after word got around that
the two shops would be receiving deliveries of sugar and mealie-meal. The
two shops had not received supplies of sugar and mealie-meal for weeks.

      The two commodities are among a long list of basic goods, including
fuel, electricity and essential medical drugs that are in short supply in
Zimbabwe as an economic crisis gripping the country for the last five years
grows in intensity.

    The crowds that had anxiously waited outside broke up into chaos as
shop staff attempted to begin sales of the two vital commodities. Several
were injured and only a quick reaction by officials at the two shops, who
summoned armed anti-riot police to restore order, averted worse injury and
possibly even loss of life.

      "What is the job of the government when we cannot get food, all this
commotion just for sugar tells you the government has failed," said an angry
Moleen Matora, almost naked after half her dress was torn away in the melee.

      Matora, who stays in the city of Chitungwiza, 21 km south-east of
Harare, said she had woken up at 3 am to join the queue after a neighbour
tipped her there would be sugar and mealie-meal on sale at OK.

      "It is unfortunate that most Zimbabweans take this kind of life as
normal but it is not. If this is what we have to go through just to buy a
packet of sugar or mealie-meal, then it means there is something seriously
wrong with whoever is running the country," Matora said before walking away.
She did not have the sugar after pulling out of the jostling crowd after her
dress was torn.

      Zimbabwe's food crisis worsened days after President Robert Mugabe and
his ZANU PF party's controversial landslide victory in a parliamentary
election last March.

      Basic commodities vanished from shops while in the few shops that had
stock, prices doubled or even tripled forcing the government to intervene
arresting shop owners for charging more than state fixed prices.

      But the government's intervention only helped fuel an illegal
black-market, which is now the main source of nearly every other basic
commodity from washing soap, to petrol, to birth control pills.

      Economists say Zimbabwe's food crisis can only worsen in the coming
months unless Mugabe addresses the problems that led to Zimbabwe's
ostracisation from the international community and the withdrawal of
financial aid vital to revive the economy.

      The United States, European Union, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand
and Canada have cut support to Harare and imposed targeted sanctions against
Mugabe and his top lieutenants for failure to uphold democracy, rule of law,
human and property rights.

      Mugabe accuses the West of only using human rights and democracy as a
pretext to sabotage Zimbabwe's economy to punish his government for seizing
white farmland for redistribution to landless blacks. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Top trade unionist to head civic coalition
Tue 17 May 2005
  HARARE - Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions secretary general Wellington
Chibebe was yesterday elected head of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
(CZC), an alliance of more than 40 civic groups campaigning for a negotiated
and democratic settlement to Zimbabwe's crisis.

      Chibebe's rise to the helm of the CZC is set to bring a more
grassroots level approach to Zimbabwe's problems different from former
chairman Brian Kagoro's more intellectual approach that focused more on
lobbying the international community to pressure President Robert Mugabe to
embrace democracy and abandon his controversial policies.

      The CZC is credited with helping raise in the southern African region
the profile of Zimbabwe's crisis particularly the negative impact of Mugabe's
policies such as his chaotic land reform programme that has largely
contributed to food shortages with poor black families the worst affected.

      The organisation has a representative office in regional powerhouse
South Africa but appears to have so far failed to convince President Thabo
Mbeki to abandon his quiet diplomacy approach towards Harare.

      Media Institute of Southern Africa, Zimbabwe Chapter director Rashweat
Mukundu was elected Chibebe's vice, while University of Zimbabwe lecturer,
Elizabeth Marunda, came in as spokeswoman of the organisation. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Former finance minister's defence wants trial postponed
Tue 17 May 2005
  HARARE - High Court Justice Susan Mavangira will decide today whether the
trial of former finance minister, Chris Kuruneri, for breaching foreign
exchange rules proceeds or is postponed as requested by the defence.

      Stand-in lawyer, Christopher Venturas, yesterday asked Mavangira, to
postpone the matter because Kuruneri's lawyer, Jonathan Samkange is out of
the country.

      Venturas also said the matter should be postponed because the defence
had not been given sufficient notice by the state that it wanted to amend
charges against Kuruneri, who has been in jail awaiting trial for more than
a year.

      The state opposed the application for postponement saying it has
summoned witnesses from outside the country and would incur huge expenses in
hotel and other upkeep bills for the witnesses if the matter is postponed.

      Mavangira said she will decide today on the application for
postponement of trial.

      Kuruneri, who was arrested in April last year, is accused of siphoning
out of the country 5.2 million rand, 34 371 pounds, 30 000 euros and US$582
611.99. He is said to have used the money to buy luxurious properties in
South Africa's Cape Town resort city and expensive vehicles.

      He is also accused of possessing a Canadian passport in breach of the
Citizenship Act which bars Zimbabweans from holding dual citizenship.
Kuruneri is denying all the charges.

      Former Jewel Bank chief executive and now central bank governor Gideon
Gono, who is accused of having personally facilitated the deal which saw
Kuruneri buy properties in South Africa, is scheduled to testify against the
former minister.

      The Jewel Bank facilitated the transfer of 5.2 million rand to
Kuruneri's lawyers in South Africa for the acquisition of properties in that
country in violation of Zimbabwe's tight Exchange Control Act. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

SA to prosecute suspected mercenaries
Tue 17 May 2005
  JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority has said it
will prosecute the 61 suspected mercenaries released from Zimbabwe at the

      Two other alleged mercenaries released a few months earlier and
another still being held in Harare will also be brought to court for trial
at a date to be set within the next 20 days, NPA spokesman Makhosini Nkosi
told the Press yesterday.

      "We have conducted exhaustive investigations and we believe we have a
strong case against them," Nkosi told the South African Broadcasting

      Under the country's Regulations of Foreign Military Assistance Act,
South Africans are prohibited from engaging in mercenary activity without
permission form the National Conventional Arms Control Committee.

      The 64 alleged soldiers of fortune, all holding 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 say 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 year in jail each.

      The men's 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.

      But Zimbabwe Attorney General Gula Ndebele yesterday told the Press
that Harare was ready to extradite Mann to Equatorial Guinea to face high
treason charges there. - ZimOnline

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Sent: Wednesday, April 27, 2005 5:24 PM
I am taking this opportunity to write personally to all MWEB subscribers. MWEB has recently completed its year-end and as General Manager of MWEB I would like to thank you for your loyal support throughout the years. It has been a year fraught with challenges for the telecommunications industry, but also a year in which we saw a significant upgrade in bandwidth provision by TelOne.  However I am writing to you today to appeal for support of a different kind.
Yesterday a tragedy unfolded, a tragic event that could have been avoided, one that led to the unfortunate loss of life.   I overheard a conversation at lunchtime at Royal Harare Golf Course. A woman was on her cell phone and was looking for a person whose blood group was B+.  My blood group is B+, so I approached her.  She said that someone desperately needed surgery, but there was no B+ blood available. The operation, unfortunately could not take place until a donor with that particular blood type was found.  I went to the Avenues and rushed up the stairs to ICU to donate my blood. As I arrived on the 3rd floor I was met by the family outside ICU and was told that the person needing the blood transfusion had passed away 3 minutes ago.  The family had been desperately searching for a donor since 10h00 that morning.
3 minutes!  That is tragic! If I had known about this desperate need for blood, I could have arrived at the hospital sooner, and managed to save a life.  Instead I was eating lunch, entertaining clients, when someone needed my blood less than 2km away!!  I could have made a difference if only I had known, more to the point - if only someone had known how to get hold of me.
The country is desperate for blood.  Even if one is a regular donor, this does not guarantee that there will be adequate stock when it's needed most.
The young man in need of blood had been involved in a car accident on Harare Drive earlier that morning. He had been hemorrhaging and they needed to operate to save his life but could not do so without blood. What I wish to propose is a three-point plan, which needs your support and action in order to make a difference;
1) Blood Donation Day. MWEB will arrange a blood donation day at Meikles next week. MWEB will provide you with free parking, tea and biscuits and a 10% discount on one month's subscription if you come and donate blood. Any new subscribers joining and donating on the same day will receive 1 month's service for free. So tell someone and bring them along!
2) Database. MWEB will collate a database of people's contact details, landline, cell and blood group, as well as their residential area.  If ever the urgent need for blood arises, this web-based database can then be logged into and the type of blood can be searched for.  The database will come back with a list of all the people with that particular blood group in the area nearest to you, and all their contact details. This facility could be the difference between life and death. Anyone with Internet will have access to it.
3) Capture your details online. Once preparations for a website dedicated to this blood donor database are complete, (a week from now) you will be able to log onto HYPERLINK "" and capture your details online.  All you then have to do is be available and prepared to donate blood to save a life in an emergency.
We will send out another email to let you know at what times and in what room at the Meikles Hotel, the blood donation exercise will be carried out. We hope to have this database up and running within the next 10 days, and we appeal to you to please help us to help save lives.
Lets make a difference through making this work. If you have any queries or require further information please contact us at MWEB on (04) 25 33 33
I look forward to your response and action.
Mike Ehret
MWEB Zimbabwe
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Harare Residents and Ratepayers
Did you receive a huge rates bill this month?  Do you believe this bill reflects the services you are supposed to have paid for?
If not, what are you going to do about it?
If you want to join others in pushing for value for money in Harare, and restoring Harare to top international city status, join the Combined Harare Residents Association.  CHRA is now a direct membership organisation, so you do not need to be represented by anyone - you can represent yourself!
Harare is the leading city in this counrty - let's maintain that status!
Act now.
Mail or for more information.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Zanu PF youths chase teachers

Clemence Manyukwe
issue date :2005-May-17

ZANU PF youths last week allegedly besieged two schools in Chihota,
Marondera District, and chased away nine teachers, accusing them of backing
the opposition MDC.
Eight of the teachers who fled from the schools have reportedly said they
would not return to the schools, alleging that their lives were in danger.
The Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture's Mashonaland East provincial
education director Vinah Kimbini yesterday confirmed that the teachers had
been ordered to leave Mbonje primary and secondary schools.
"The teachers were chased away by Zanu PF people from Mahusekwa. The matter
was not reported to the police. Eight of the teachers have since asked for
redeployment saying they no longer feel safe. They have since been
redeployed to other schools in Murehwa, Seke and Marondera," said Kimbini.
She added that one teacher had expressed willingness to return to his
troubled institution.
 Kimbini could not immediately say if the education ministry had found
replacements for the redeployed teachers, saying she was at a teachers'
workshop in Nyanga.
"At the moment I am not able to tell the extent of the disruptions or
whether things are back to normal as I am in the middle of presenting a
paper. Even if you call at our offices you will not be able to get the right
information as officers there are not sanctioned to comment," she added.
The Daily Mirror could also not verify if any teacher had been harmed in the
fracas, with Kimbini saying so far she had not received any reports to that
Contacted for comment, Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) chief executive
officer Peter Mabande said his organisation had been notified of the
teachers' plight, but referred all questions back to the education ministry.
" We have referred the matter to the ministry and it is now in their hands.
I cannot give the details. The specifics are with the district education
officer. If any member of staff finds some difficulties in operating from a
certain area, it is the ministry which deals with the issues," said Mabande.
Zanu PF's Mashonaland East provincial chairperson, Ray Kaukonde, who also
doubles as the province's governor and resident minister, said the incident
had not yet been brought to his attention.
" I have not been informed about the incident. I was with the MP for that
area Ambrose Mutinhiri on Saturday and he did not mention anything," said
Mutinhiri, who is the Minister of Youth and Employment, could not be reached
yesterday, and his secretary said the Marondera West legislator would be
unreachable for the whole day.
This is not the first time that teachers have been barred from carrying out
their duties in Mashonaland East.
Two days before the March 31 poll about 1 000 teachers from schools around
Harare were ordered to leave Mudzi where they had been deployed to help with
the running of the elections.
The teachers were accused of being MDC sympathisers.
However, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) later said the teachers had
been ordered back because they arrived at their station drunk.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Chombo suspends Chegutu deputy mayor, 10 councillors

Brian Mangwende Assistant Editor
issue date :2005-May-17

IN a bid to return normalcy to operations of the Chegutu Municipality, Local
Government, Public Works and Urban Development Minister Ignatius Chombo has
suspended without benefits deputy mayor Phineas Mariyapera and 10 other
The suspensions come against the background of continued problems that have
deprived the people of that town of much needed services.
The development comes almost two years after a government task force was
sent to Chegutu for an in-depth investigation into the problems plaguing the
local authority.
The task force recommended then that the council leadership - which had been
accused of untold interference in council affairs hiding behind Zanu PF - be
overhauled, but nothing was done-raising eyebrows regarding Chombo's game
A general pervasive reluctance or fear of the unknown to effectively tackle
and find a lasting solution to the alleged criminal activities in particular
housing scams and use of public funds seems to have engulfed and
subsequently crippled Chegutu municipality-a situation that could see the
local authority disappear into the financial woods.
However, impeccable government sources said Chombo dragged his feet because
of his cordial relationship with Mariyapera until the situation worsened and
thus left with no choice, but to suspend the deputy mayor.
Mariyapera has been accused of muzzling the municiaplity, interfering in its
affairs therefore hindering the operations of the executive.
He has also been pinpointed in the disappearance of about $150 million from
council's drying coffers by placing his disciples in key strategic positions
in the finance and recruiting departments whom he would then manipulate.
Mariyapera has since denied the allegations; which were tabled before a
parliamentary portfolio committee last year.
In a letter to Mariyapera dated April 25 2005, Chombo-who has also been
accused by the MDC among others of meddling in local council business
throughout the country, wrote: "It has come to my attention that certain
activities committed by yourself as you continue to interfere with the
management of council affairs are hindering the efficient operation of
council and subsequently the delivery of services to the people of Chegutu.
"It is in this regard that  I am suspending you from being a councillor of
Chegutu in terms of Section 114 (1) of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter
29:15) This suspension is with immediate effect."
The letter bore the names of other suspended councillors: J F Tenthani, M
Chikazhe, E Mvura, W Macheka, E M Nyemba, E Chihwanda, H Bangira, A
Dzingirai, M B Bhobho and P Mposhi.
Chombo then barred Mariyapera and his colleagues from conducting any council
business - during their suspension - within or outside council premises
before he advised them that another government team would be visiting the
small town to carry out a thorough probe into the problems bedeviling
Chegutu residents.
Chegutu executive mayor Francis Dhlakama said the government team arrived
last Monday and left on Friday.
However, he grumbled at their arrival saying if they had taken the matter
seriously two years ago, Chegutu would not have been plunged into the mess
it is in now.
"The team arrived last Monday and left on Friday. They interviewed council
officials, residents, a residents' association, the police and all other
interested stakeholders."
Asked why he thought Chombo took
his time in dealing with such a delicate
matter contrary to the speed with which
he dealt with Harare's former executive
 mayor Elias Mudzuri and his
councillors Dhlamaka replied: "It's all about politics."
On June 2 2004 Chombo put Dhlakama on forced leave for two months and
appointed an acting town clerk with the specific mandate to "turnaround" the
fortunes of the municipality, but that bore no fruits hence the need for a
second investigating team.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
Food queues resurface

Givemore Nyanhi
issue date :2005-May-17

FOOD queues, that were a nightmarish feature of the 2003 economic crunch, are resurfacing again in the country as the biting shortages of most basic commodities stretch into their second full month.

In a weekly survey carried out on Friday, three major retail supermarkets along Nelson Mandela in the central business district (CBD) still did not have maize meal, the country’s staple food, in supply while sugar, cooking oil and bread could be found at one shop and unavailable at the next.
At OK Supermarket at the corner of First Street and Nelson Mandela, there was a long and winding queue of more than 200 people early on Friday morning, as consumers patiently waited to buy a 2 kilogramme packet of sugar selling at $6 200 each.
The queue snaked from the back entrance of the supermarket, dragged along the entire length of the supermarket along Nelson Mandela and turned into First Street.
Other hopeful consumers could be seen standing or sitting on the supermarket’s pavement, while others were crowded right at the front of the queue that led into the supermarket’s warehouse, patiently waiting for a chance to sneak into the
Right at the front a man in a green shirt was trying to marshal a semblance of order into the queue, allowing only one person at a time into the back entrance.
Inside, consumers were allowed to purchase only two packets of the commodity so that the rest of the other people standing in the queue could get the product.
One of the guards at the entrance of the supermarket said it had been the same scenario on Saturday with a long queue for sugar being the order of the day.
Yesterday it was still the same, with about the same number of people waiting with patient, glum and long suffering expressions that now aptly capture the faces of the greater part of this country’s populace.
Less than 100 metres away, still along Nelson Mandela, there was a shorter queue inside TM supermarket, and this
time consumers were waiting for yet another commodity – bread.
About 40 people made up the queue that snaked in the passage between two shelves yesterday and it had been the same the previous Friday.
In the city centre, the majority of the working population go for teatime between 10 and 12, a very good explanation why the queue is usually long inside the supermarket during that time.
“It now takes more time to buy a loaf of bread in the city centre these days than before.
“Each time you go into a supermarket to buy bread you find that it is not available so you walk on to the next supermarket where you won’t find it. Its better to just wait here,” one consumer said.
It has not always been like this, at least in the past two years, but the shortage of basic commodities on the formal market and their sudden reappearance on the black market at inflated prices re-ignites unwelcome memories of the 2003 shortages.
In that year, the country was confronted by perhaps its biggest challenges ever when virtually everything, from fuel, foreign currency, basic commodities and cash ran out completely.
The shortage of foreign currency required to purchase raw materials and inputs led to low capacity utilisation resulting in less output meaning that demand became much higher than
The launch of a new monetary policy by the central bank in late 2003 brought tight regulation to the economy and placed emphasis on reviving the productive sectors of the economy, something that saw the shortages of basic commodities vanishing while prices
But following the March 31 polls this year, the shortages of basic commodities re-emerged and as a result food queues are now being witnessed with alarming
The shortages persisted in the entire month of April and two weeks into May, and nearly two months later, not much has changed.
The government’s verdict on the shortages has been clear and predictable; the shortages are a result of sabotage by the business community disappointed by the victory of the ruling party over the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
But the business community has been providing a more detailed response, blaming the shortages on economic fundamentals that have gone awry.
According to economic analysts and the business leaders themselves, the manufacturing and productive sector of the economy is operating at less than 30 percent due to acute foreign currency problems.
Secondly that the country’s exchange rate, at $6 200 to the greenback, is grossly undervalued and fails to compensate for high production, labour and import
With production falling and exporters failing to be adequately remit their foreign currency, the production of most basic commodities has plummeted resulting in the shortages.
This has seriously undermined local producers of basic commodities and as a result some of the supermarkets are even resorting to importing products such as cooking oil for salelocally.
For instance at TM, a 750 bottle of pure vegetable oil, manufactured by South African-based Epic Foods was selling at $19 700, with no local products in sight.

Commodity       OK           TM         FCG
Cooking Oil          -      $19 700       -
Sugar             $6 200           -         -
Bread                   -     $3 500     $3 500
Maize meal           -         -          -
Milk                      -         -          -
Meat             $49 500   $36 500  $55 500

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Kuruneri indictment vague, embarrassing: Lawyer

Constantine Chimakure Assistant News Editor
issue date :2005-May-17

THE defence counsel in the high profile trial of former Finance Minister
Christopher Kuruneri-which kicked off yesterday-have argued that the
indictment against their client was vague and embarrassing forcing the State
to appeal to the High Court for an amendment before proceedings continue.
Kuruneri has been languishing in remand prison in Harare since April 24 2004
for allegedly contravening exchange control regulations six times and
flouting the country's citizenship laws.
Kuruneri's lawyer Chris Venturas told High Court Judge Susan Mavangira that
last week, he requested the State to provide specific dates on two of the
alleged offences involving the externalisation charges, which they did not.
"We sought further particulars after realising that the indictment was vague
and embarrassing. At one stage the charge was that of smuggling... The State
claimed that the accused took foreign currency on a plane and smuggled it to
Cape Town... How can you allege that someone smuggled when you do not have
the dates?" questioned Venturas.
Prosecutor Joseph Jagada then argued: "In the indictment served on the
defence, the State alleged on count two that the period during which the
accused committed the said offence extend from March 2002 to March 2004 and
on count three the period extends from February 2002 to April 2004."
Jagada further argued that the law provides for the amendment of the
indictment if it appears that any particulars that ought to have been
inserted in the indictment, summons or charge have been omitted.
"It is respectfully submitted that the amendment of an indictment is
permissible so long as it does not prejudice the accused in his defence. It
is respectfully submitted that there is no prejudice to the accused in the
amendment being sought by the State."
Venturas did not respond to Jagada's application and instead applied for the
postponement of the case arguing that the lawyers needed to consult Kuruneri
on the way forward in the wake of the proposed amendment, as it was his
constitutional right.
Venturas then asked the court to adjourn to Wednesday saying Kuruneri had
requested to be represented by Jonathan Samukange, employed by the same law
firm to which Jagada argued that the defence was only buying time and a
postponement would be costly to the State.
But after Venturas indicated that Samukange was on business in Namibia,
Mavangira ruled the trial be continued today with or without Samukange.
The State says it will call 10 witnesses from South Africa to authenticate
its allegations.According to the indictment, between September 19 2003 and
January 4 2004, Kuruneri allegedly used a Canadian passport (number
BC149154) to travel from Zimbabwe to South Africa on six occasions without
written permission from the Minister of Home Affairs.
This, the State alleged was in contravention of the Citizenship of Zimbabwe
Act.Alternatively, the ex-minister is accused of breaching the same law
between January 31 2002 and March 13 2004, by using Zimbabwean diplomatic
passports (AD000475 and AD000937) to travel from Zimbabwe to South Africa on
42 occasions when in fact he held a Canadian citizenship.
The State further alleged that Kuruneri contravened the Exchange Control Act
between February 2002 and April 2004 at Harare International Airport when he
exported US$582 611,99, British Pounds 34 471 and Euros 30 000 to South
Africa, through Christopher Heyman, a director of Venture Projects and
Heyman is said to be Kuruneri's projects manager in South Africa.The money,
the State alleged, was meant to reconstruct and develop one of Kuruneri's
properties, 38 Sunset Avenue, Llandudno, Cape Town.
Alternatively, he is being charged for allegedly smuggling the said money in
contravention of provisions of the Customs and Excise Act.
On another count, Kuruneri is being charged of exporting R1 314 102, 92 from
Zimbabwe to South Africa where it was deposited in his ABSA Bank account
Kuruneri is alternatively being charged for flouting sections of the Customs
and Excise Act for smuggling the said amount of foreign currency.On the
fourth account, Kuruneri is accused of making payment outside the country
without the authority of the central bank.
Allegations against him are that on March 6 2002, Kuruneri "caused" the
Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe to telegraphically transfer R5,2 million to CB
Niland and Partners Trust Account number 5005800916 with First National
Bank, St Georges Mall Branch, Cape Town.The money, the State averred, was
payment to Dunmow Pty Ltd for the purchase of a property, house number 17
Apostle Road, Llandudno, Cape Town by the accused person.
Kuruneri, the State alleged, on April 22 2002 made a R2,7 million payment to
Tadant Pty Ltd to purchase a house, 38 Sunset Avenue, Llandudno, Cape Town,
without the authority of the RBZ.
On the sixth count, Kuruneri is again accused of paying R2,5 million to
Shelly Joy Bernstein for the purchase of Unit B Ocean View, Sea Point
without the authority of the central bank.
On the last count, Kuruneri on February 3 2004 allegedly made payment of
R547 743 to Mercedes Benz, Claremont, Cape Town, to purchase a Mercedes Benz
ML 350, again without the authority of the RBZ.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

UN ready to facilitate inter-party talks

Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-May-17

THE United Nations is prepared to resuscitate inter-party talks between the
two main political parties, Zanu PF and the MDC, to find a lasting solution
to Zimbabwe's problems.
The new United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) resident representative,
Agostinho Zacarias, made the remarks last week after his official
accreditation by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Simbarashe Mumbengegwi.
Zacarias, who is also the UN coordinator in Zimbabwe said, "President Robert
Mugabe indicated after the election his openness to dialogue with the
opposition and international partners. This is a positive sign for
establishing constructive dialogue necessary for Zimbabwe to move forward.
In my view, the UN will strive to facilitate a conducive environment
wherever and whenever possible for this confidence building process to take
Zacarias was appointed in March replacing the long serving Victor Angelo,
and came to Zimbabwe a week before the March 31 general elections.
Zanu PF and the MDC have been at loggerheads since the opposition party's
birth in 1999. The shadow government has constantly accused the ruling party
of fiddling with elections to retain power.
Efforts at talks after the 2000 parliamentary elections collapsed after the
parties failed to agree on the agenda while follow up efforts by several
brokers including local church leaders have been fruitless so far.
Attempts by South African President Thabo Mbeki and his Nigerian counterpart
General Olusegun Obasanjo to bring MDC and Zanu PF to the negotiating table
also came to nought with the ruling party insisting it could not talk with
the opposition as long as it maintained its court petition against the
outcome of the 2002 presidential election.On the other hand, the MDC accused
President Robert Mugabe's party of insincerity in their negotiations.
 The UN representative  pledged to use his influence to ensure Zimbabwe
received more money under the Global Fund to help alleviate the effects of
the dreaded Aids, which threatens to wipe whole generations.
"After only a short time in the country, I perceive one of Zimbabwe's main
concerns is HIV and Aids. This disaster takes the lives of 2 500-3 000
Zimbabweans every week.
 HIV and Aids undermine development and growth at all sectors and levels.
 To fight the epidemic efficiently the national efforts must be complemented
by regional and global initiatives.
"Currently Zimbabwe is in large missing out of ongoing regional and global
programmes and much of the resources directed towards the region. We are
pleased that the first round agreement with the global fund has been signed,
which means that US$11,3 million can soon be distributed from the Fund to
Zimbabwe, but we need to ensure that Zimbabwe can and will receive much
more," Zacarias said.
He said the UN was ready to chip with food aid if requested. He pointed out,
however, that long-term solutions in the agricultural sector should be found
to ensure food security in a country once regarded as the region's
Zimbabwe had a poor harvest this year due to erratic rains and need to
import substantial grain to cover the shortfalls.
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Country's airwaves still restricted, says media lobby group

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

 JOHANNESBURG, 16 May 2005 (IRIN) - A pioneering community radio station in
Zimbabwe has been refused a licence by the country's broadcasting authority,
but Bulawayo-based Radio Dialogue has vowed to continue its work.

The station was established in Zimbabwe's second city in 2001 but, without a
licence, Radio Dialogue has been unable to transmit its programming.

"What we do while we're waiting [for a licence] is make radio programmes and
record them on cassette for minibus taxis to play: we call those taxi tunes.
Each of the programmes focuses on a different theme, such as HIV/AIDS,
domestic violence, religion and politics, and so on," said Radio Dialogue
director Nigel Johnson.

Late last month the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) refused the
station's application for a commercial licence, saying in a letter that "the
invitation [for applications] was ... for a free-to-air broadcasting
[licence]. [Radio Dialogue's] application does, not, therefore, conform to
the licence for which the authority invited applications".

Even though it is a community station, Johnson explained that in desperation
it had applied for the commercial licence.

"It's the first time they [BAZ] invited [applications] for anything - we
felt we shouldn't just do nothing. We were hoping that if they were
well-disposed and genuine, they would find some sort of way around [the fact
that Radio Dialogue is a community station] ... at least start talking to

"We did this so at least they know we exist officially - they've known we
exist unofficially - and we felt we had to take some action," he added.

Johnson said although the existence of community stations was provided for
in law, "the problem is that there is legislation ... saying no licence can
be issued to any organisation that is partly or wholly foreign funded, which
we are, as we receive funding from international NGOs".

"You would find most community stations are [foreign funded], as to raise
funds locally is nearly impossible," he added. "It's a major stumbling block
to community stations."

Johnson vowed that "as long as we can, we'll continue what we're doing and
try to pressure authorities to give us licences", and commented, "but until
there is a fundamental change in policy I don't think they'll be issuing any
licences" to community stations.

Nyasha Nyakunu of the Media Institute of Southern Africa's (MISA) Zimbabwe
chapter, said his organisation would continue to "lobby and campaign for the
amendment of the Broadcasting Services Act ... to look at clauses that
inhibit new players from entering the broadcasting sector that is currently
monopolised by Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings, which is supposed to be the
public broadcaster".

Some radio stations, such as 'Voice of the People' have managed to get
around the restrictions by broadcasting programmes produced in Zimbabwe back
into the country on Radio Netherlands.

"Their transmission signals are not based here," Nyakunu noted, "therefore
they are not in breach of the Broadcasting Services Act."

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Year-On-Year Inflation Rises - CSO

The Herald (Harare)

May 14, 2005
Posted to the web May 16, 2005


ZIMBABWE's year-on-year inflation for the month of April 2005 rose slightly
to 129,1 percent, an increase of 5,4 percentage points on the March rate of
123,7 percent, the Central Statistical Office (CSO) announced yesterday.

This means that prices of goods and services as measured by the All Items
Consumer Price Index increased by an average of 129,1 percent between April
2004 and April 2005.

CSO acting director Mr Moffat Nyoni said it was important for people to note
that a fall in inflation did not translate to a drop in prices of goods and

"As long as inflation figures are above zero, it means prices are rising and
a drop in prices will only be reflected by expressing the inflation rate in
the negative," said Mr Nyoni at a Press conference in Harare yesterday.

"The annual inflation figure answers the question on how expensive goods and
services are in that month of the year compared to that same month in the
previous year."

He said in sampling the prices of goods and services across the whole
country, CSO officials did not take into account whether the price of a
commodity is controlled or not.

"We go where the products are found whether at the official or unofficial
market and get their prices and we stand guided by international principles
and our sampling is based on the scientific norms," he said, adding that
inflation figures are arrived at after sampling 338 items.

He was responding to allegations that CSO cooks up figures as their
statistics did not reflect the situation on the ground.

"That is very far from the truth. I challenge the media or any other person
with doubts to the objectivity of CSO to come to our offices and pick any
month he or she suspects that figures could have been cooked up and ask any
expert of his or her choice to analyse the figures," said Mr Nyoni.

He said CSO usually does the sampling during mid-month and any subsequent
changes to the prices of goods and services would be reflected or factored
in the following month.

Of the 129,1 percent for year-on-year inflation, food prices accounted for
43,6 percentage points while non-food items in the CPI accounted for 85,5
percentage points.

Food inflation prone to transitory shocks stood at 112,5 percent, gaining
7,6 percentage points on the March rate of 104,9 percent.

Non-food inflation stood at 139,5 percent gaining 3,7 percentage points on
the March 2005 rate of 135,8 percent.

The month on month inflation rate in April 2005 stood at 7,4 percent,
gaining 3,2 percentage points on the March 2005 rate of 4,2 percent.

This means prices as measured by all the items CPI increased by an average
of 7,5 percent from March 2005 to April 2005.

Of the 7,4 percent month-on-month increase in April 2005, food prices
accounted for 2,7 percent points and non-food items accounted for 4,6
percentage points. The CSO said the increase in prices from March 2005 to
April 2005 was caused by increases in the average price of beverages,
fruits, vegetables, meat and public transport.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor, Dr Gideon Gono has declared inflation as
the country's enemy number one and said he would work hard to tame it.
Notable victories have been scored in the war against inflation in the last
15 months, which saw it decline from a peak of 622,8 percent in January last

The success in taming the scourge has been attributed to the central bank's
tight monetary policy stance, increased foreign exchange inflows, fiscal
discipline on the part of Government, improving confidence in the economy
and a positive response by industry in capacity utilisation.

Dr Gono is expected to announce the much awaited post election monetary
policy framework expected to give direction to the economy next Thursday.
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Police Raid Black Market Traders, Confiscate $30m Worth of Goods

The Herald (Harare)

May 14, 2005
Posted to the web May 16, 2005


POLICE in Norton yesterday confiscated basic goods worth more than $30
million during a raid on black market traders in the town.

Mashonaland West police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Paul Nyathi said
they had arrested more than 20 black market traders.

"We arrested them for contravening Shop Licences Act Chapter 14:17, Section
4(1) (a) law that prohibits illegal business conduct.

"They have since paid a $50 000 fine for conducting business without
licences and overcharging," said Asst Insp Nyathi,

The confiscated commodities included sugar, mealie-meal, rice, cooking oil,
bread, washing soap and toothpaste. The goods were being sold at prices
higher than those gazetted by Government.

For instance a 2kg packet of sugar was being sold for $25 000, when it is
supposed to be sold for $11 000, a 10kg mealie-meal pack was going for $40
000 instead of the gazetted price of $12 620.

Asst Insp Nyathi said the raid, which followed a tip-off by people, was a
result of intensified patrols by the police. Police, he said, were
monitoring movements of the commodities from the manufacturers and retailers
to establish the point of divergence of goods to the parallel market.

They were also investigating where the traders were getting the goods from
and the possible relationship that might be existing between shop owners and
the illegal vendors.

He urged people to continue supplying information to police and help them
weed out crime.

The confiscated goods will be sold to the public at the gazetted prices by
police and relevant authorities.

Most of basic food and household items disappeared from the shelves of most
shops immediately after the March 31 parliamentary elections only to
reappear on the black market within these shops' vicinity.
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Daily News, SA

      Zim 'mercenary' to go on trial for murder
      May 16, 2005

      By Mbongeni Zondi

      One of the men released from the Zimbabwean jail along with 60 other
alleged mercenaries, will likely be tried for murder as early as August this
year in the Pietermaritzburg High Court.

      Simon Witherspoon, is out on R5 000 bail in connection with the death
of Paulos Mpangase, a suspected thief allegedly apprehended and assaulted by
Witherspoon and his co-accused and whose body was found buried in a Mooi
River forest in 2001.

      His co-accused are farm managers, Grant McIntyre, Owen Nelson from
Dargle Valley, Dennis Mchunu and Welcome Hlela, both of whom were members of
Enviro-watch security firm.

      Witherspoon is a former South African Defence Force member. He had
successfully applied for a court relaxation of his conditions to allow him
to travel to continue running his game darting business but surfaced as one
of the accused in the sensational Zimbabwe mercenaries case.

      The men, all but one of whom have South African nationality although
some are of Angolan or Namibian origin, were arrested in March 2004 when
their aging chartered plane landed in Harare on the way to oil-rich
Equatorial Guinea.

       Zimbabwean authorities charged them with plotting to overthrow the
government there.

      During a lengthy trial last year, they denied being part of a coup
plot and said they were bound for the Congo to work as security at a diamond

      The Zimbabwean court convicted them of relatively minor immigration
charges after prosecutors failed to prove more serious weapons and coup
conspiracy charges.

      It took more than five hours for the men, who had travelled all night
in trucks from Zimbabwe's notorious Chikurubi maximum security prison, to
clear immigration in South Africa for emotional reunions with family or
loved ones.

      South African officials said that checking that passports were genuine
was responsible for the delay.

      The concerns about delays in Witherspoon's murder trial at one stage
led to discussions about a court application to have the judge in the murder
trial go to hear evidence in the Zimbabwean prison where Witherspoon was
kept, but this did not succeed.

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      Future of 'mercenary town' threatened
            By Justin Pearce
            BBC News Website, Pomfret

       Pomfret has been dubbed a "mercenary town" - but few people want to
talk about the alleged mercenaries, many of whom have just been released
from jail in Zimbabwe.
      People there are more worried about the prospect of leaving the place
that has been their home since they came to South Africa 16 years ago.

     The former army base, hidden among the thorn bushes on the fringes of
the Kalahari, was given in 1989 to the veterans of 32 Battalion: the Angolan
soldiers who had fought with the old South African Defence Force during its
incursions into Angola in the 1970s and 1980s.

      Most of the 61 men released at the weekend from a Zimbabwean jail,
after being caught allegedly on their way to stage a coup in Equatorial
Guinea, were 32 Battalion veterans who had previously lived at Pomfret.

      With military training and few other ways of making a living, they had
turned to mercenary activity - or "security" as the people in Pomfret call

      After already having had their hopes raised and shattered when the
men's release was promised in March, families in the town were sceptical
about the most recent reports of imminent freedom.

      "We have heard this on the radio, but we haven't received a letter
yet," said the daughter of one of the captives, who did not want to give her

       Maria Fernando, the daughter of another captive, was in the dark about
why her father had ended up in a Zimbabwe jail.

      "I don't know what work my father went to do," she said.

      Her father, Agosto Fernando, had long since moved away from Pomfret,
and sent money back to the family from his place of work 600 km away in


      The people left in Pomfret are more worried about the future of their
community. The veterans and their families used to be housed in northern
Namibia, but have been at Pomfret since South African troops pulled out of
Angola, and Namibia gained independence in 1989.

     The streets still bear the names of generals in the apartheid-era
army; the houses are now shabby and some have been abandoned, but the place
still looks as orderly as you would expect from a village purpose-built for
officers' families.

      South African National Defence Force General Bobo Moerani confirmed
this week that residents would be moved from Pomfret, possibly by the end of
this year, and rehoused in various locations around South Africa.


      The government says Pomfret is unsafe because of contamination from a
nearby asbestos mine.

     But local councillor Domingos Kapanga believes the authorities have
other motives.

      "It is not asbestos that is stopping us from staying here," he said.
"They say the people are highly militarily trained and they become a problem
for security."

      Gen Moerani dismissed this view: "The [mercenary] issue surfaced only
last year. We have been consulting with the community longer than that."

      The general said the residents of Pomfret had been consulted and
informed about the plans, but people in the settlement seemed uncertain
about what the future would hold for them.


      The area is too dry for farming, and Pomfret is 200 km from the
nearest town. Men have left to do "security" work because there are no jobs
anywhere near Pomfret.

      But people who have spent the last 15 years among other Angolans in
this Portuguese-speaking enclave are nervous about leaving.

      "When we left Namibia, this was the place given to us," said former
soldier Francisco Chaban.

      "I won't say if it's good or bad, but this is where we are living - we
have our school, our clinic."

      Gen Moerani in turn accused councillors of being among those who were
resisting change because they were drawing government salaries in Pomfret.

      The general also said the South African government had been talking to
Angolan officials about the possibility of former soldiers returning to
Angola on a voluntary basis.

      The soldiers were granted South African nationality after they left
Angola, but, says veteran Francisco Chaban, "Angola is our mother and our

      Would he go back there?

      "If God so wishes."

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