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

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Harare police clamp down on shop owners
          May 18 2005 at 07:54PM

      Harare - Police in Zimbabwe have arrested scores of shop owners in the
central town of Murehwa for overcharging on basic foodstuffs, the
state-controlled Herald newspaper reported on Wednesday.

      The shop owners were arrested last week as the authorities battle to
contain rising prices and food shortages.

      A police spokesperson said they had broken price controls and were
made to pay fines, the report said.

      "Some unscrupulous retailers are trying to get rich at the expense of
consumers, which is very unfortunate," police spokesperson Lamington
Mushawevato said.

      "Gazetted prices remain in force and in our role as police, we have
re-organised ourselves into teams at station levels and will continue
pouncing on those overcharging or hoarding basic commodities thereby
creating artificial shortages," he warned.

      Food shortages resurfaced following parliamentary elections at the end
of March, which were won by President Robert Mugabe's party.

       Many vendors have been arrested for hoarding and overcharging since
then, and several Harare supermarkets have been fined.

      The government says the shortages are mostly "artificially created",
but manufacturers say they are operating at only 30 percent-capacity and are
unable to import vital raw components due to biting shortages of foreign

      They say the prices fixed by the government on some basic foodstuffs
are too low.

      Shop owners who repeatedly overcharge could have their operating
licences revoked, the Herald said. - Sapa-dpa
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Mugabe 'will accept' food aid
18/05/2005 14:34  - (SA)

Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has agreed to meet with the head
of the World Food Programme (WFP), state-controlled Herald newspaper
reported on Wednesday.

The Herald quoted Mugabe's spokesperson George Charamba as saying the
81-year-old head of state had agreed to a request by United Nations
Secretary-General Kofi Annan to meet WFP head James Morris when the UN
official visits Southern Africa to assess its emergency food aid needs.

Morris was expected in Zimbabwe and several other southern African countries
"soon", according to the Herald.

The WFP official was last in Zimbabwe two years ago, when the WFP was
involved in feeding millions of people in the country.

However, last year Mugabe ruled out receiving food aid, claiming the country
has recorded a "bumper harvest of 2.4 million tons of maize".

Mugabe's spokesperson said the Southern African leader was now prepared to
accept food aid as long as it did not come with political strings attached.

"The president is very clear that whilst Zimbabwe welcomes drought
mitigating assistance from other countries of goodwill, it remains firmly
opposed to any food handouts that are predicated on political
conditionality," Charamba said.

"Equally, the Zimbabwean government is clear that the primary responsibility
of ensuring Zimbabweans are provided with food is its own," he added.

Zimbabwe says it needs to import 1.2 million tons of the staple maize in
order to make up for shortages.

Widespread shortages have become the order of the day in most urban centres,
where shops have run out of basic commodities such as maize meal, bread,
sugar, cooking oil and milk.

The government blames recent poor harvests on drought, but aid agencies and
government opponents say the shortages are a direct result of a
controversial land reform programme.

That programme, launched five years ago, saw most white-owned commercial
farms seized for redistribution to new black farmers.

The government says just 1.5 million of the country's 11.6 million people
are in need of food aid, but aid agencies put the figure much higher.

Zimbabwe needs 1.8 million tons of food each year to feed people and
livestock. While official figures are not yet available, this year's harvest
could be as low as 500 000.

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Remittances - govt hopes they can save economy

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

HARARE, 18 May 2005 (IRIN) - In a bid to boost foreign exchange reserves,
the Zimbabwean government has attempted to persuade its citizens abroad to
channel their remittances through formal transfer agencies.

It is estimated that over the past five years, more than three million
Zimbabweans have left the country in search of greener pastures - mostly to
the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, South Africa and Botswana -
as the result of an economic crisis that has created record unemployment and
inflation rates.

A recent study by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) on
Zimbabwean expatriates in the UK and South Africa found that "nearly
everyone maintained regular social contact with family members in Zimbabwe
(96 percent)".

IOM noted that "Around three-quarters of respondents (74 percent) sent
economic remittances, and of those that sent these remittances, 85 percent
said the main reason was to support family members."

The money was more likely to be fowarded via "the informal routes of family,
friends and personal visits to Zimbabwe than through formal financial
institutions", the survey found. Clothes (85 percent) and food (43 percent)
also ranked high as non-monetary gifts sent home.

Eighteen percent of respondents said they remitted on average US $565 per
month from the UK and South Africa. Another 18 percent said they sent
between $377 and $563.

Thirty-seven percent were sending between $188 and $375 a month, while 27
percent remitted less than $188.

Because these remittances were being transferred informally or via
independent money brokers, rather than financial institutions, "they do not
become part of the balance of payments and foreign exchange reserves" of
Zimbabwe. [Expatriates an untapped development resource, IOM]

Last year central bank governor Gideon Gono visited the US and UK, where he
met with Zimbabwean expatriates in an effort to persuade them to remit their
foreign currency through registered money transfer agencies (MTAs), using a
scheme called Homelink.

"The new money transfer system [Homelink] was put in place to facilitate the
transfer of funds from Zimbabweans living abroad, many of whom want to send
money home to help their families or to invest for when they eventually
return home themselves," the reserve bank noted on its Homelink website.

The MTAs are located all over the world, "although there is a greater choice
in some [countries] than others", with the UK having the largest spread of
transfer agencies due to the high number of Zimbabweans living there.

When he became governor in December 2003, Gono acknowledged that there was a
need to improve the foreign currency reserves after years of biting
shortages precipitated by the withdrawal of financial support by the
International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

The foreign currency sent from abroad through the Homelink scheme is not
taxed in Zimbabwe and is payable to recipients at the official exchange
rate, but those with foreign currency accounts can receive it in the form
sent. Foreign currency coming in from remittances goes to the currency
exchange, where it is auctioned, and then used by the buyers to import goods
and essential raw materials.

The central bank said there had been an overwhelming response from
Zimbabweans abroad, resulting in an increase in foreign currency reserves.

"Many people have been quick to take advantage of the new MTA system.
Already, the Reserve Bank has received US $4.6 million from both bank and
non-bank MTAs. There have been long queues, at money transfer agencies, of
people wanting to receive money sent to them from abroad. There have been
long queues, too, at banks, of people wanting to change their foreign
currency into local currency," the reserve bank noted.

Various service providers, such as construction and funeral insurance
companies, "have expressed their desire to take advantage of the benefits
inherent in the money transfer mechanism", the bank added.

Saviour Munyoro of Harare, a 60-year-old pensioner, said, "My sons [a
policeman and a former teacher in Zimbabwe] quit their jobs and went to the
UK [in 2002] because they felt they could earn a better living there. Even
though they complain that they work long hours and hardly have time to rest,
I am happy that they regularly send the money they earn to me," he told

"We are in the process of starting a chain store in the central business
district, while there is enough left for my wife and me," he said proudly.

In October 2004 the Reserve Bank started a scheme to provide loans, in local
currency, to Zimbabweans abroad to purchase or build houses. The loans could
be serviced in foreign currency - a move analysts said was also meant to
boost reserves.

Since its launch, the Homelink Housing Development Scheme (HHDS) has
received about 1,400 applications for loans from Zimbabwean expatriates.

The official New Ziana agency quoted the chairman of HHDS, Herbert Nkala, as
saying the scheme had set up a construction programme, which had resulted in
120 houses being built in Harare, while more projects would be opened

According to the local government ministry, the country had a national
housing backlog of 1.5 million in 2004, although analysts believe the number
of people in need of houses is much higher.

Economist John Robertson acknowledged that ordinary Zimbabweans receiving
money from the abroad were enjoying the benefits, but said the central bank
was not getting as much as it had hoped.

"When you consider remittances going to ordinary Zimbabweans, you would say
they are benefiting. However, the same cannot be said about money going to
the currency exchange, since the reserve bank is failing to capture enough
foreign currency to boost its reserves," he commented.

"When the programme started, there was an enthusiastic response from those
living abroad, but that zeal has lessened. The main reason is that there is
a huge gap between the official selling rate of forex and the parallel rate.
It is important for the government to devalue the local currency, in order
to narrow the gap between the two rates," Robertson told IRIN.

The official exchange rate is currently Zim $6,200, while on the black
market the US dollar is being sold for Zim $15,000.
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Millions of Zimbabweans need food aid - Ncube
          May 18 2005 at 07:54PM

      Johannesburg - A fierce critic of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe,
Roman Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube, on Wednesday lashed out at his
"criminal" government for refusing to ask for food aid to help at least two
million needy Zimbabweans.

      "The most criminal thing which the Zimbabwe government is doing is
that they have not declared that we are in need of food," said Ncube, the
archbishop of Bulawayo, at a news conference in Johannesburg, South Africa.

      "If the government does not allow food distribution, we are going to
die this year, the people are saying," said Ncube, who has been one of the
most vocal opponents of Mugabe's policies.

      His remarks came amid reports in Harare that Mugabe was ready to meet
with the head of the United Nations World Food Programme to discuss aid for
his country where food and fuel shortages have worsened in recent weeks
along with power and water outages.

      Ncube estimated that over two million Zimbabweans are in need of
emergency food aid.

      He reported "gross shortages of basic foodstuffs", saying that people
were forced to purchase products such as sugar on the black market at six
times the shop price.

      He said that Mugabe had ensured that fuel supplies were available in
the run-up to the March 31 elections that his ruling Zimbabwe African
National Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) party won, but that the situation
since had become "disastrous."

      "Such a hypocritical government," Ncube lamented: "They tried to see
to it that there was as much fuel as possible before the elections because
the journalists were there but soon after the elections, the cars were
waiting bumper to bumper."

      Ncube, who is due to travel to Scotland later this week where he has
been nominated to receive the Robert Burns humanitarian award, accused the
government of waging a campaign of revenge against regions, like Bulawayo,
that elected opposition lawmakers to parliament.

      "There is a kind of revenge," he said, citing as an example a township
where a Zanu-PF lawmaker lost her seat that was subjected to power cuts.

      "Trucks of food are going to those places where the government has got
support while the people of Bulawayo are not given any sugar and any mealie
meal," he said, referring to cornmeal, the national staple food.

      Zimbabwe's economy has been in a tailspin over the past five years due
mostly to a collapse in agriculture production caused by successive droughts
and the seizure of thousands of white-owned commercial farms for
redistribution to landless blacks.
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      Step up anti-Mugabe campaigns,says Zimbabwe cleric

      Wed May 18, 2005 5:30 PM GMT+02:00
      By Gershwin Wanneburg

      JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Zimbabweans should stand up more to President
Robert Mugabe as a deepening economic crisis blamed on the ruling party's
policies continues to take a devastating toll, a top cleric said on

      Zimbabwe's main opposition party said last month it would consider
"political action" in protest at the result of a March general election won
by Mugabe's ZANU-PF party but which the opposition and several Western
governments said were rigged.

      But the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) did not
specify what kind of action it might take over a poll result largely
endorsed by regional leaders and there have been few protests.

      "It seems they (the MDC) are expecting people will rise up without
leadership and then they will just follow on that," said Pius Ncube, the
Roman Catholic Archbishop of the country's second city Bulawayo and an
outspoken Mugabe critic.

      "There is a lot of fear, yet ... in Zambia, civil society, they were
able to tell (former President Frederick) Chiluba you will not have a third
term. They just need a bit more courage".

      Ncube said legal bids to reverse poll results were futile as
challenges to past elections had yet to be resolved.

      A five-year-long economic crisis in Zimbabwe saw inflation peak at 623
percent last year and international aid groups have said four million people
could suffer from food shortages this year, as drought compounds the impact
of a production slowdown.

      Aid agencies blame controversial land seizures for the sharp drop in
food production. Mugabe in turn accuses Western countries of sabotaging his
country's economy through sanctions, as payback for his drive to give the
farms to landless blacks.

      Ncube said the situation in Zimbabwe had deteriorated since March.

      "After the elections it was clear that they (the government) were
trying to save face. There were a lot of journalists around and the
government did try and keep things in an impressive state," Ncube told

      "Immediately after the elections prices had gone up by 70 percent all
around ... There's no petrol or diesel. All you find is a kilometre or so of
cars waiting in a petrol station."

      Ncube said the MDC and ordinary Zimbabweans had been too passive in
the face of a crisis that critics blame on government mismanagement and its
seizure of white-owned farms.

      He was speaking as the South African-based Solidarity Peace Trust
unveiled a film documenting claims by Zimbabweans that food was used as a
political tool in the run-up to polls -- a charge made by rights groups
which Mugabe's government denies.

      Ncube said this practice had continued after the elections, which
extended the 25-year rule of ZANU-PF.

      "Now you find trucks of food going to those places where the
government got support while people of (southern pro-opposition city)
Bulawayo will not be given any sugar or mealie meal".
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From SW Radio Africa, 17 May

Shumba torture twist

Human Rights lawyer Gabriel Shumba, who was brutally tortured by Zimbabwean
police in 2003, took his case to the African Union Human Rights Commission.
In a shocking development, Shumba has learnt that his case could now be
heard in Zimbabwe where the Commssion's next sitting is due to take place in
November. Shumba, who is suing the government for torture at the African
Union Human Rights Commission, got the shock of his life on Monday when he
realized the next sitting for the court is in Zimbabwe. Shumba, who was
tortured by police in detention. Says the government probably knew this and
deliberately sought a postponement of the hearing from April to November.
The latest move is aimed at securing a default judgement if he fails to
attend. He fled to South Africa with his wife and children after constant
harassment and threats to his life by state security agents. A furious
Shumba says he is currently writing a letter of protest to the African
Union. He is convinced former Attorney General Andrew Chigovera, who is now
the special rapporteur on freedom of expression at the AU, probably gave the
government inside information on where the next hearing was scheduled for.
Asked what he would do if his protest failed, he insisted he would travel to
Zimbabwe provided the AU gave guarantees over his safety and that of his
lawyer and any journalists that wanted to cover the case. He is amazed the
accused in his case, the government, will be providing the court room.
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Zim Online

Harare runs dry as fuel crisis reaches unprecedented levels
Thu 19 May 2005

      HARARE - Harare was virtually dry of fuel yesterday as importers
refrained from placing new orders with suppliers until Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe governor, Gideon Gono, announces his monetary policy review
statement today.

      Fuel industry sources said importers are hoping that Gono will devalue
the local dollar to attract more hard cash into the official market which
they could tap to pay foreign suppliers. A devaluation, coupled with a
hiking of the pump price by the government, would ensure profitability for
fuel importers.

      Alternatively, oil firms want Gono to revive a foreign currency
support facility for fuel importers that was abandoned last year amid
allegations of gross abuse of the facility.


      "It is difficult for private players to bring in fuel at the moment.
We will be forced to sell at a loss because of the exchange rates," said a
senior executive with one Harare-based fuel firm, who did not want to be

      He added: "For example, let's say one imports petrol from South Africa
where the pump price is about five rand or more, which multiplies to about
Z$5 000 at the official exchange rate, they will have to sell the petrol
here at not more than $4 000, which is a huge loss."

      An official of local garage chain, Exor, said the firm's garages had
last received petrol supplies a week ago. "All our garages have no petrol
and there are no indications that the situation will improve immediately,"
he said.

      In a survey of garages in and near Harare central business district,
ZimOnline could find no petrol at nearly every filing station while only a
handful of garages in the city's outer suburbs were selling diesel

      Most of the illegal fuel black-market traders, who usually provide a
lifeline for stranded motorists, also did not have petrol. The few illegal
fuel traders who had the commodity were charging 10 times more than the
official pump price, as Zimbabwe's five-year fuel crisis reached
unprecedented levels.

      One of the fuel black-marketers operating along Leopold Takawira
street in central Harare offered to sell a five-litre gallon of petrol to
our news crew at $150 000, which translates to $30 000 a litre. The official
pump price for a litre of petrol is between $3 400 and $3 700.

      Energy Minister Mike Nyambuya refused to disclose measures his
department was taking to ensure fuel supplies to the country. Nyambuya, a
former soldier, would only say: "The government is working out solutions to
the fuel problem and it will be resolved soon."

      Zimbabwe has grappled severe fuel shortages for the last five years
because the country has no hard cash to pay suppliers.

      Essential medical drugs, electricity, food and chemicals to treat
drinking water for city dwellers are among the vital commodities in critical
short supply in the country because of the lack of hard cash to pay for
imports. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

Newly-elected civic group leader vows to take struggle a step further
Thur 19 May 2005
  HARARE - Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary general
Wellington Chibebe this week took over as chairman of the Crisis in Zimbabwe
Coalition (CZC), a key alliance of more than 40 civic society groups
campaigning for a democratic and peaceful solution to Zimbabwe's crisis.
ZimOnline yesterday spoke to the trade unionist to find out what programme
of action he intends to pursue to push the struggle for democracy forward.

      QUESTION: President Robert Mugabe appears so much in control after
their landslide victory last March, now what is your programme of action as
chairman of CZC? What specific steps are you going to take to bring pressure
on Mugabe and his government to change course?

      ANSWER: Well, the issue is that as a new leadership of CZC, we have to
understand what programmes were there before we were ushered into office
this week. We cannot simply declare as early as this week what programmes or
strategies we plan to implement. People have to appreciate that we have to
sit down as a new executive with the old executive and other stakeholders,
including the grassroots, to work out the new course of action.

      Q: But the perception is that since you took over at the ZCTU you have
failed to provide inspiring leadership - that the labour union has lost the
vibrancy and cutting edge it had under former secretary general and now
opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, and there is fear in some quarters
that you will bring the same contagious lethargy to the CZC?

      A: People that are talking like that do not know the political
situation on the ground. We as ZCTU have been in the CZC for a very long
time. ZCTU is part and parcel of this civil organisation. To say the ZCTU is
weak is missing the point. We are not afraid at ZCTU neither are we dormant.
We are also not cowards. What has been happening is that this regime is
using draconian laws to suppress us. We simply have not been given the space
to organise.

      Q: Which is exactly the point, that the ZCTU is not challenging the
barriers created by the system as was the case during the Tsvangirai era,
what is your comment?

      A: During the Tsvangirai period at the ZCTU that you say people are
saying the union was more effective, the political situation was different.
There was no Public Order and Security Act (a security act used by the state
to harass labour and opposition leaders). People and organisations did not
require permission (from the police) to stage or hold meetings. There was no
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (restricting the media
and freedom of expression); newspapers reported trade union issues without
fear or favour.

      It is people that are selfish that are raising such silly comparisons.
Everyone knows the situation then was very different from today. The
situation now requires that we find new strategies and ways of confronting
the regime. But as I have mentioned earlier, we cannot disclose such (we
have for the CZC) since we are still to sit down with the past and present
executive and other stakeholders to chart the way forward.

      Q: And how do you and your executive intend to do it differently from
the former Brian Kagoro-led executive that is credited by many for helping
raise the profile of the Zimbabwe crisis in the region and international
community at large?

      A: Our intention is not to do it differently from how the outgoing
leadership used to do it but to complement whatever they did during their
reign. In the game of human rights and in the struggle for democracy that we
are pursuing, we do not want to create enmity or rivalry between activists.

      We do not need to compete and say this executive failed here and we
are going to succeed here by taking this path to fight and push the struggle
for democracy and human rights forward. What we are going to do when there
has been a smooth handover and takeover process is to look into the
strengths of the past executive and possibly how we can improve on
weaknesses, if there are any, of which I doubt.

      Q: In a nut shell how do you see Zimbabwe's political and economic
crisis being ultimately resolved? Do you think there is need for a
negotiated settlement to the crisis?

      A: We have always been hoping that common sense will prevail one day,
that all stakeholders in Zimbabwe will come to realise that there is a
crisis of high proportions or magnitude. If people come to realise this,
then the way to resolve the political impasse and economic crisis would be
for politicians from both sides of the divide to swallow their pride and
reach out for a compromise that will benefit not only their political goals,
but the generality of the Zimbabwean population.

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      Cash-strapped Zimbabwe to devalue currency - analysts

      Wed May 18, 2005 4:09 PM GMT+02:00
      By MacDonald Dzirutwe

      HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's central bank looks set to devalue the
country's currency on Thursday to boost the fledgling export sector in a
desperate bid to raise foreign currency for food imports, analysts said.

      But they expect Governor Gideon Gono to stop short of making a major
change in the value of the Zimbabwe dollar when he presents the central
bank's monetary review, for fear of fuelling inflation running at well over
100 percent.

      "Exporter viability will top the governor's priority which will enable
him to raise money for food, electricity and fuel," Zimbabwe National
Chamber of Commerce head Luxon Zembe said.

      "We are going to get a higher exchange rate but managed in a gradual's a question of how fast and how far because I don't see any
other choice."

      The southern Africa nation has been desperately short of foreign
currency since being shunned by global donors, including the International
Monetary Fund, over policy differences with President Robert Mugabe's

      The economy has contracted by more than 30 percent over the past five

      Mugabe's critics blame the economic crisis on government
mismanagement. Mugabe says the economy is being sabotaged by opponents of
his policy of seizing of white-owned farms for redistribution to the
landless black majority.

      The central bank's managed auctions have failed to meet importer
demand for foreign currency. The Zimbabwean dollar is pegged at 6,200
against the greenback. One U.S. dollar fetches up to 18,000 Zimbabwe dollars
on the black market.

      Analysts reckon Gono will devalue the currency to 8,000 per dollar.

      Zimbabwe requires 1.2 million tonnes of food imports at a cost of $250
million over the next 12 months. It needs more foreign currency to boost
erratic fuel and intermittent electricity supplies.

      Companies are operating far below capacity, worsening the country's
unemployment rate estimated at more than 70 percent.

      Analysts expect Gono to relax the inflation target because of wage
pressures, increases in municipal fees and other price hikes, which were
delayed until after the March 31 parliamentary elections, won by Mugabe's
ZANU-PF party.

      They said the 20-35 percent target for this year was unrealistic.
Zimbabwe's annual inflation quickened to 129 percent in April from 123
percent in March.

      "Those (inflation) targets will not be realised and as well as that
envisaged economic growth of 3 to 5 percent. There are many inflationary
pressures," Kingdom Financial Holdings chief economist Witness Chinyama

      Adding to inflationary pressures is the government's domestic debt
which shot to 8.3 trillion Zimbabwe dollars in April from 2.7 trillion
Zimbabwe dollars in mid-January.

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UN envoy on southern Africa's humanitarian needs begins fifth trip
18 May 2005 - As Southern Africa moves into another year of intensified
deprivation because of drought and HIV/AIDS, the UN Special Envoy to
spotlight the region's humanitarian needs prepared to start his fifth trip
there on Sunday.

"It is already evident that in addition to regional food shortages, funds
for non-food items, such as medicines, health care, education, water and
sanitation supplies, will be critically needed in the year ahead," said the
World Food Programme (WFP), the UN's emergency feeding agency.

During the mission, the schedule of James Morris, who is also WFP Executive
Director, will be 22 to 24 May in Zambia, 25 May in Johannesburg for a
review conference, 26 and 27 May in Malawi, 29 and 30 May in Botswana, 31
May back to Johannesburg for a donors' meeting, and 1 June in Zimbabwe.

The new Executive Director of the UN Children's Fund ((UNICEF), Ann Veneman,
who will be taking her first field trip since taking the job at the
beginning of the month, will join him in Malawi, which is heavily impacted
by the drought, rising malnutrition rates and HIV/AIDS.

She is scheduled to also visit Swaziland, said to have surpassed Botswana in
having the highest rate of HIV infection in the world.

Mr. Morris and Ms. Veneman will hold the review meeting with the Executive
Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Peter Piot, and 10
UN country representatives in southern Africa about increasing the
humanitarian response as the competition for resources becomes more intense.

Mr. Morris was appointed UN Special Envoy in July 2002 just three months
after becoming WFP head.
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Excerpt from  Fox: A positive, outward looking and optimistic foreign policy

      Queen's Speech debate on Foreign Affairs and Defence in the House of

[I have only included the bit where Zimbabwe is mentioned...]

On the 12th of May 1997, the new Foreign Secretary, the Right Honourable
member for Livingstone, launched his mission statement. He stated "the
Labour government does not accept that political values can be left behind
when we check in our passports to travel on diplomatic business ... our
foreign policy, must have an ethical dimension and must supported the
demands of other peoples for the democratic rights on which we insist for
ourselves. The Labour government will put human rights at the heart of our
foreign policy." To that Mr Speaker, I say just one word. Zimbabwe.

On Africa, the many speeches and endless photo opportunities of the Prime
Minister and Chancellor have generated more heat than light. In his speech
launching the report of the commission for Africa on the 11th of March, the
Prime Minister managed to not mention Zimbabwe at all-yet it is surely the
greatest stain of all on Africa's fragile democratic record. For all his
talk, the Prime Minister has achieved little. When robust action was
required, the Prime Minister looked the other way. Robert Mugabe has
destroyed the rule of law, contravened human rights in the most appalling
way and destroyed his country's prosperity with a casual indifference. Yet
this British government has stood idly by. They have bottled out of
confronting President Mbeki over his tacit support for Robert Mugabe.
Zimbabwe depends upon South African energy supplies yet this Labour
government has seemed afraid to demand action from President Mbeki. The New
Partnership for African Development requires President Mbeki, to promote
democracy in southern Africa, and he should have been reminded of that. The
consequences of inactivity, have not only been continued suffering in
Zimbabwe, but tacit encouragement to other southern African countries to
consider similar land occupations, as we saw in Zimbabwe with such damaging

Of course, none of this has been helped by consigning the Commonwealth to
the periphery of British foreign policy. It is one of our most valuable
resources for exerting influence in the world. Yet this Labour government
regard it with disdain.
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Zim Standard (issue dated 15 May but only now available on the internet)

RBZ purchase of new vehicles raises eyebrows
By Bertha Shoko

AT a time when nearly half of the country's population faces widespread
shortages of basic commodities, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has
purchased more than 50 new top-of - the range vehicles worth billions of
dollars The Standard can reveal.

The luxury vehicles, which are presently kept under tight security at the
RBZ's burning plant along George Drive in Msasa, are meant for the central
bank's top management.
The vehicles include expensive models such as Wolfs and Mitsubishi Colts and
Peugeot 406s.

When The Standard news crew visited the premises, there was heavy security
guarding the cars.

Said one of the guards, when approached: "This is a no-go area, so please
say what you want quickly and go away." The guards threatened the
journalists with arrest for "intruding".

Critics last week accused RBZ governor Gideon Gono of extravagance at a time
when the country needed to preserve the little financial resources

They said such resources should be channelled towards more pressing issues
such as maize imports for starving Zimbabweans.

Economic analyst Peter Robinson said such spending makes a mockery of the
bank's objectives in so far as turning around the economy is concerned.

Robinson said such extravagance was the underlying cause of inflation and
was not expected of Gono, who has been preaching restraint on spending.
"This squandering of national resources through buying of individual
vehicles makes a mockery of the RBZ's objectives for the economy," he said.

Another economic analyst, Daniel Ndlela, said it was wasteful and morally
wrong for the RBZ to buy luxury cars at a time when the economy is literally
on its knees.

"Instead of spending money on posh vehicles for an unproductive staff, at
this point what the RBZ should be focusing on is bringing food to the table
for Zimbabweans, ensuring petrol and oil is available and power supply is

"RBZ put an end to such unproductive expenditure during the 'asset
management clampdown' and why is it now doing what it has discouraged in the
past?" questioned Ndlela.

However Eric Bloch, who is also one of the advisers to the RBZ, said if
there was genuine need for the vehicles then it was justified.

Gono last week also defended the purchases saying they were meant to give
logistical support for new staff employed to fight economic crimes.
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Zim Standard (issue dated 15 May but only now available on the internet)

Parents, educationists blast Zimsec
By Nqobani Ndlovu

THE Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council (Zimsec) has not announced the new
examination fees, although it is less than a month before students write
their June Ordinary and Advanced level examinations, The Standard has

Parents who spoke to The Standard said they were disappointed at the way
Zimsec was handling the issue. In the past Zimsec used to announce the fees
during the course of the first term.
Gift Mpofu, who intends to write examinations in June, said the late
announcement of the fees was a clear indication of the rot that has gripped
the education system in the county.

"This only shows the lack of preparedness on the part of Zimsec to
effectively run our examinations and also the fact that our education has
been destroyed," Mpofu said.

His sentiments were echoed by Mrs B Sikhosana, who said some students could
fail to write their June examination.

"Abanye abazali balabantwana ababili kumbe abathathu and bayabe bezayithola
ngaphi imali yokubhadala amaexam fees njengoba esedula (Tell me, where would
parents with two or more children writing their examinations get the
money?)," Sikhosana asked.

However, Aeneas Chigwedere the Minister of Education, Sport and Culture, on
Wednesday said he saw no peculiarity in the late announcement of the
examination fees.

Chigwedere said they were still consulting as a Ministry and the
examinations would not at all be disturbed by the delay.

"The announcement is coming very soon and the start of the examinations will
not be delayed. We instructed the schools to register the students before
payment as we are still deciding on the amount," said Chigwedere.

Raymond Majongwe, secretary general of the Progressive Teachers' Union of
Zimbabwe (PTUZ) said the politicisation of the education system was the
reason why the ministry was delaying announcement of the new examination

"Education has been politicised by the government and they realise that if
they allow current market rates to dominate and effect an increase in exam
fees, they might commit political suicide. They will make sure that they
remain cheap," Majongwe said.

Fidelis Mhashu, the Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) shadow
minister for education, attributed the current fiasco to mismanagement and

He called for an overhaul of the education system. "They are incapable of
running our education system. It has been destroyed beyond repair.

"First of all, it was disastrous for the Ministry to have delayed the
issuance of the 'O' Level certificates. The delay destroyed a lot of
opportunities for most children who had planned their future.

"Secondly, the registration of the June exams was not officially announced.
That is not the way to run the ministry," said Mhashu, a former lecturer at
Seke Teachers' College in Chitungwiza.

Zimsec, which took over from the Cambridge Examinations Board in 1999, saw
the standard of education in Zimbabwe plummeting, with the result that a few
well-to-do parents started sending their children abroad.

Since the localisation of examination, Zimsec has lurched from one problem
to the other. These range from the issuance of wrong results, corruption and
mix-up of examination advisory slips.
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Zim Standard (issue dated 15 May but only now available on the internet)

Lawyers blast Zanu PF over retribution
By Nqobani Ndlovu

THE ruling Zanu PF party has come under fire from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for
Human Rights (ZLHR) over increasing cases of retribution against supporters
of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the aftermath of
the 31 March parliamentary elections.

ZLHR said the retribution, carried out using State resources around the
country and perpetrated against defenceless citizens, was a gross violation
of human rights.
The lawyers blamed traditional chiefs and headmen, whom they described as
the "chief drivers of the retribution machinery".

The rights organisation said: "ZLHR is deeply concerned by the retributions
by Zanu PF on MDC supporters going on around the country. It seems from the
incidences reported so far that the Zanu PF supporters have the support of
the government machinery in this sordid agenda.

"The use of State machinery and resources towards these fanatical and
bigoted activities by overzealous chiefs bent at stripping fellow citizens
of their humanity should be condemned by all peace-loving Zimbabweans."

The lawyers said Headman Samaringa of Hauna north of Mutare in Manicaland,
summoned MDC supporters to his homestead and quizzed them on their links
with the opposition party. The meeting is said to have been attended by two
police officers while other MDC members who wanted to attend were barred,
the ZLHR said.

"Ordinary Zimbabweans are deeply concerned by such rabid gross violation of
human rights perpetrated against a defenceless citizenry," said the lawyers.

However Zanu PF spokesperson, Nathan Shamuyarira, last week dismissed as
false the allegations that their supporters in the rural areas were hunting
down MDC supporters.

"That's not true," Shamuyarira said.

Assistant Commissioner, Wayne Bvudzijena, when contacted for comment, said:
"I'm sorry I'm not prepared to give you anything."
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Zim Standard (issue dated 15 May but only now available on the internet)

Worsening maize shortage exposed
By our own staff

BULAWAYO - Haulage truck drivers are spending several days queuing for grain
at the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) in Bulawayo amid reports that the depot
has not been receiving enough maize to cater for the increasing demand, The
Standard has discovered.

A snap survey conducted by this newspaper last week revealed that truck
drivers were spending nights at the depot in the hope of getting maize but
to no avail.
Truck drivers, who spoke to The Standard on condition of anonymity, said
they had spent days at the depot, awaiting their turn.

"I spent the whole of Wednesday night in a long queue. The maize is coming
in, but in small quantities," said one of the drivers, who refused to be
identified for fear of victimisation.

The drivers said they come from as far as Gwanda, Esigodini, Mzingwane,
Nkayi, Lupane and Plumtree.

Sources said the grain delivered to the depot was quickly distributed,
leaving the silos empty.

The Standard was not able to establish the amount of grain in the GMB silos
because personnel at the depot insisted that they needed clearance from
their superiors in Harare.

The GMB Bulawayo assistant depot manager, a Mrs Malango referred all
questions to Harare.

The Bulawayo Metropolitan Provincial Governor, Cain Mathema, refused to
speak to The Standard saying he was busy.

Both Bulawayo Provincial Administrator (PA) Isaac Ndebele and Mathema had
not responded to questions faxed to them by the time of going to print.

But the World Food Programme (WFP) says it assisted more than a million
people in April alone as the food crisis worsens.

Four months ago, the organisation provided food assistance to about 900 000
people, mostly children and people living with HIV and AIDS around the

The WFP said the neediest were children from the dry region of Matabeleland,
which is one of the drought-prone areas in the country.

WFP spokesperson Makena Walker said Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South
provinces, Masvingo and some parts of Manicaland and the Zambezi Valley,
were the worst affected areas.

Reports from international aid agencies estimate that about five million
people in the country need food aid.

The Minister of Home Affairs and Zanu PF MP for Beitbridge Kembo Mohadi told
The Standard that thousands of villagers in his constituency needed food

"The drought is still on us and we are making do with the little we have.
Beitbridge has always been experiencing droughts, and the government has
always been assisting," said Mohadi in a telephone interview.

The home affairs minister, however, refused to comment on whether the
government would allow Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to start
assisting people with food.

The government has banned NGOs from distributing food saying they were using
it to campaign for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Presently, food distribution to the needy is being handled largely by the
Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.

Bulawayo City Council is feeding more than 13 000 school children a month
and the figure is believed to have risen.

Several villagers from Matabeleland region, who spoke to The Standard last
week, said they had run out of maize and sorghum.

Rodger Siziba of Tsholotsho said the food situation was critical and there
was need for urgent food relief from the international donor community.

Patrick Ncube of Silobela under Chief Malisa urged the government to ask for
help from the international relief agencies.

Meanwhile supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in Zaka
district of Masvingo claim that Zanu PF officials, who control the
distribution of grain handouts, are denying them food as punishment for
voting for the opposition party in the 31 March parliamentary elections.

They claimed that their names were deleted from the list of grain
beneficiaries, thereby exposing several villagers to starvation.

The most affected wards in the constituency are Mushandirapamwe, Muuyu and
Masimbaevanhu in Zaka East.

The supporters said a Zanu PF councillor and two Zanu PF officials were
spearheading the retribution.

An affected villager, identified as Makwindi, said he tried to buy maize
from the local grain distribution centre but his money was returned
allegedly because he was a known opposition supporter in the area.

Another victim Jenika Chiringa said Zanu PF officials in charge of grain
distribution were victimising her because her son campaigned for the MDC

The villagers said the situation was exacerbated by the fact that there was
a critical shortage of maize meal in the country. When it is available, a 10
kg of maize meal sells for about $40 000.

Efforts to contact Tinos Rusere, Zaka East MP and losing MDC candidate,
Misheck Marava, were fruitless.

However, MDC spokesperson Paul Themba-Nyathi said he has been receiving
reports of politicisation of food from various parts of the country.

Nyathi also added that his party was pressuring the government into ensuring
that Zanu PF stops partisan food distribution.
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Zim Standard (issue dated 15 May but only now available on the internet)

MDC's mass action threat questionable

THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change seems to be very fond of
prescribing solutions it does not believe should apply to its leadership.

The latest such decision relates to yet another proposed mass action, even
though it announced recently that it was contesting the outcome of the 31
March Parliamentary elections in court. The general view was that after
trying for five years and failing to have their challenge to the 2000
Parliamentary elections finalised, there was no justification for the
opposition to seek recourse in the same courts.
The proposed mass action can only have relevance if there is belief within
the opposition that it has a weaker case, which begs the question why it
bothered to take legal action if that is the case. More significantly, this
could mirror the extent and desperation within the opposition. But this
could also suggest signs of disagreements. There are some people who are
pushing certain agendas because they have no constituencies they are
answerable to, while others recognise that the people who voted them into
power would like to see representation and not pursuit of failed strategies.

However, the fact that the opposition could deliberate over two days and
come up with a strategy that has failed in the past, as its best strategy,
suggests a serious deficit of creative thinking or that the input of the
best minds in the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has been excluded.

The opposition's failure to draw up creative responses to the crisis facing
the country, lends credibility to suggestions that perhaps it is time a
third political force entered the arena.

But the reason why mass action will fail is not just that people have other
priorities. It is simply that when the MDC's leadership calls for mass
action, they conveniently disappear.

The Viktor Yushchenko revolution in the Ukraine that the MDC believes it can
re-enact here will fail because, unlike Zimbabwe, the Orange revolution in
the Ukraine was led from the front. Yushchenko was there in the trenches
with the troops. Many lives were lost in 2000 and 2002 because people
believed there was something to fight for, but the leadership of the
opposition believes that is a role that should be played out by the foot

Whoever is advising the opposition clearly wants them to stage the most
humiliating defeat they have ever suffered since September 1999 when the MDC
was formed. Right now people are concerned with bread and butter issues to
engage in mass action or ill-thought-out battles.

Last week the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries warned of a deepening
crisis saying it will spawn a fresh round of company closures. It meant more
job losses on the way.

There is still a cause, but perhaps the opposition has not thought this
through in appearing to overlook the impact mass action will have on the
suffering that people are enduring everyday. There can never be effective
mass action - thanks to a combination of factors - and little is likely to
change, at least as long as things remain as difficult as they are.

The plight of one of the MDC MPs illustrates a point about the apparent lack
of commitment within the MDC. Roy Bennett, the former MP for Chimanimani
continues to languish in prison and yet the MDC or its leadership have been
ambivalent in raising hell about the injustice of his continued
imprisonment, even as the suspected mercenaries are being freed.

The MDC should have launched a concerted "Free Bennett Campaign" and ensured
they secured his release. The fact that they have not is a measure of how
caring the MDC can be about one of its own. Therefore, it is important not
to trust its leadership to care more about ordinary people.

The MDC thrived and fed on the anger and discontent people felt about the
situation in the country. It is possible the same people that rallied around
it are disillusioned because none of the leadership is prepared to move away
from the protest politics.

The MDC needs to define its response to the challenges of scarcities of
basic commodities, water, fuel, electricity, drugs and foreign currency. It
promised responses to these challenges during the run up to the 31 March
Parliamentary elections. Was the promise conditional upon winning?

The MDC must push the government into implementing approaches that will
change the course of the history of this country. Zanu PF realises that
while it has won the elections it is clearly incapable of tackling the
enormous challenges ahead, on its own. Zanu PF probably requires the
opposition more now than it cares to admit publicly.

But the opposition is failing to demonstrate that while it did not win the
elections, it still remains relevant to the search for solutions to a better
Zimbabwe. It is not the function of an opposition to help its competitor,
but neither is it to stand by while the country suffers.
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Zim Standard (issue dated 15 May but only now available on the internet)

ZNCC to assess ZESA power failures
By our own Staff

THE Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) is conducting a research to
assess the amount of losses suffered by industry over the past few weeks due
to the intermittent power cuts effected by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority (ZESA).

ZNCC CEO, Innocent Makwiramiti said as industry they were concerned by the
power and water shortages, which had negatively impacted on the battered
"We are carrying out assessments to find out how much was lost by industry
due to the water and power cuts and within a month we would be able to
comment on how much we lost or we are losing due to these water and power
cuts," Makwiramiti said.

The country's industry is estimated to have lost hundreds of billions of
dollars due to the heightened power cuts by ZESA over the past month.

The shortage of foreign currency has resulted in regional suppliers of power
cutting supplies to ZESA resulting in a power deficit in the country which
has also been exacerbated by the break down of generators at both Hwange
Thermal Power Station and Kariba Hydro-Electricity Power Station.

The Harare City Council has been effecting water cuts that have severely
affected industry, especially beverage manufacturers and construction

Makwiramiti also said his organisation was worried by the biting foreign
currency shortages and the unfavourable foreign currency exchange rate which
has seen exporters suspending exports.

He said capacity utilisation in the local industry which was around 60%
before these fresh problems had been significantly reduced and radical
measures were needed to jumpstart the economy.

"The government should bite the bullet and re-engage the international
community because the country's exports only generate 33% of our foreign
currency needs with the rest coming from international credit lines and
balance of payments support," Makwiramiti said.

The little foreign currency that is trickling into the country is being
diverted to import grain and also pay for our energy needs.

The ZNCC CEO also said that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe should devalue the
local currency by more than 100% to close the differential gap between
Zimbabwe and its major trading partners such as South Africa.

"Another option for the central bank if it does not want devalue is to
subsidise exporters to reduce lended costs of local products and make them
cheaper and favourable on the international market."

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Zim Standard (issue dated 15 May but only now available on the internet)

RBZ comes to Hwange's rescue
By Allen Tichaona

HWANGE Colliery Company (HCC), the country's sole cole miner is to receive a
US$4 million loan from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to replace ageing
equipment, Standard Business has learnt.

John Nkala, Hwange spokesman, confirmed to StandardBusiness on Friday that
that colliery is expecting the money from the RBZ this week as the central
bank had already approved the loan.
"We are going to get US$4million funding from the RBZ this coming week and
the money is going to be used to replace our ageing equipment," Nkala said.

He said the money has been set aside by the RBZ because of the strategic
importance of HCC in the country's electricity generation programme. Hwange
Power Station (HPS), the country's biggest thermal power station, is the
biggest consumer of coal from HCC and this makes the coal miner an important
player in power generation.

The money from the central bank to HCC is going to be used to purchase coal
haulers, among other equipment.

Zimbabwe has over the past few months been hit by crippling electricity
shortages due to a severe foreign currency squeeze that has resulted in the
country failing to pay for power imports.

The break down of electricity generators at both the HPS and Kariba
Hydro-Electricity Power Station has also compounded the situation, which has
also severely handicapped commerce and industry.

Zimbabwe generates 65% of its electricity needs and the rest comes from
imports from South Africa, Cahorra Bassa in Mozambique and the Democratic
Republic of the Congo.

HCC early this year also bought a $265 billion continuos miner from South
Africa which has now been installed at its new underground mine. Nkala said
HCC had managed to increase its monthly coal production by more than 50 000
tonnes since the commissioning of the new underground mine.

The US$98 million 3-M mine started full-scale operations early this year and
HCC said coal from the mine was attracting a lot of interest from
international buyers - especially coke manufacturers - because of its low
concentrations of phosphorous and sulphur.

"Some are even asking for forward contracting but we turning down offers in
case of a mishap at one of our mines," Nkala said.

Before the new underground mine, HCC produced around 300 000 tonnes of coal
per month and total production this year is now expected to exceed 2,5
million tonnes.

The country's main coal miner embarked on a major turn-around strategy to
revive its waning fortunes. The government, which is the majority
shareholder in the Zimbabwe, Johannesburg and London Stock Exchange listed
company, decontrolled coal prices but is still monitoring coal price

The controlled prices were hurting HCC because it was being forced to sell
coal at non-viable prices and the decontrolling of prices was a major relief
to the company.

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Zim Independent (issue dated 13 May but only now available on the internet)

Turnaround effort backfires for Zimbabwe

ZIMBABWE'S business confidence has plumbed new lows as government's efforts
to turn around the embattled economy have sparked a fresh wave of food, fuel
and foreign currency shortages, analysts said Monday.

"The latest shortages and government's response have knocked down business
confidence to such a low level, maybe the lowest level we have seen in the
past year," private economic consultant, John Robertson, said.

"It's extremely difficult to have a positive outlook when things look so
depressing and when the responsible authorities spend most of their time
blaming everyone else."

The economy has been in recession for the last six years, a decline critics
blame on President Robert Mugabe's fiscal policies, including the seizure of
white-owned farms, which has disrupted the country's commercial agricultural

In the past year, the economy seemed to be headed for recovery under a
turnaround programme driven by central bank governor Gideon Gono, which saw
inflation slowing to 130% in January from over 620 % the year before.

But analysts say in the last two months, the southern African country -
whose economy has contracted by 30% in the past five years - has suffered
severe fuel and power supply shortages blamed on a lack of foreign currency
for imports.

The central bank has said the latest round of fuel and electricity
shortages, which have crippled public transport and industrial operations,
resulted from state spending in the run-up to general parliamentary election
on March 31.

Those polls were won by the ruling Zanu PF amid charges of vote-rigging.

Mugabe, 81 and in power since Independence from Britain in 1980, denies he
has rigged the last two major parliamentary polls and the 2002 presidential
election to stay in office against an opposition challenge fuelled by the
economic crisis.

Mugabe's government accuses its domestic and foreign opponents of a "vicious
economic sabotage" campaign to undermine national confidence.

Last week his government accused "some sections of the media" of
spearheading a crusade against its economic turnaround programme after
reports that Gono was facing resistance from Mugabe's cabinet over plans for
a big devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar against the US dollar.

A Ministry of Information statement said Gono "enjoys the full and unstinted
support" of the government, and negative reporting on Zimbabwe's economic
revival programme "is meant to dampen, dishearten and divide through gossip".

Political and economic analysts say Mugabe will struggle to turn around the
economy without massive external support from Western powers, which cut aid
and imposed sanctions on his government over Zimbabwe's election issues and
land seizures.

Mugabe said he has adopted a "Look East" policy and added that his
once-prosperous nation is poised for an economic rebound with assistance
from countries such as China, Iran, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

For now, Zimbabwe is struggling with food shortages, affecting about a
quarter of its 12 million population, caused by drought and problems in its
agricultural sector, and has seen a resurgence of a black market in foreign
currency and fuel.

The US dollar is trading at about $20 000, compared with $6 200 on the
official market.

Zimbabwe's main business bodies, wary of the government's sensitivity to
criticism, have over the past two months been calling on "the authorities"
to step in to stop the slide.

"Both the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries and the Zimbabwe National
Chamber of Commerce know the political problems and cannot speak too loudly
and openly ... but they will tell you privately that business confidence in
the turnaround programme has collapsed," one Confederation of Zimbabwe
Industries member said. - Reuter.

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Zim Independent (issue dated 13 May but only now available on the internet)

Zanu PF studies graft report
Conrad Dube
ZANU PF is still examining recommendations of the party's Committee on Party
Investments whose investigations unearthed gross mismanagement of the ruling
party's companies, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.

The report, which was debated by the party's politburo last year,
recommended that law enforcement agents undertake further investigations to
establish any prejudice to the party on its investments.

Former administration secretary Emmerson Mnangagwa, who supervised the party's
companies, featured prominently in the report, which revealed gross

Party spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira said the matter was still under
discussion and referred further inquiries to finance secretary, David

Karimanzira refused to comment saying the information contained in the
report and the politburo's deliberations were not for public consumption.

"It's confidential. It's an internal party issue and not for public
consumption," Karimanzira said.

The report revealed that Zanu PF companies were riddled with managerial
corruption and incompetence, which could have prejudiced the ruling party of
billions of dollars in cash and assets.

The report said some of the companies had virtually collapsed while others
had not been audited for years and their financial accounts were a complete

For instance, the report revealed, that a $650 million Tregers Holdings
cheque for dividend declared on February 18 2003 for the year ended December
31 2002 could not be accounted for.

The report said it was "inconceivable" that Tregers, in which Zanu PF has a
41,96% shareholding, managed to declare a $1,2 billion dividend in four
years when its annual turnover was about $150 billion.

There were further queries over the murky investment of $120 million in the
portfolio investment company, M&S Investments, by Zanu PF's wholly-owned
investment arm, M&S Syndicate (Pvt) Ltd.

Zanu PF has interests in public and private companies held through M&S
Syndicate. The ruling party has invested in Treger Holdings, Mike Appel,
Catercraft, Fibrolite which closed down last December, Zidlee, which failed
to take over Delta in 1989 and now runs duty-free shops, Southern African
Re-Insurance Company, Zidco Holdings and First Bank, whose Congo investments
have collapsed.

Another company, NamZim, was "closed due to mismanagement and the property
was looted by unknown people", the report says.

Zanu PF also had interests in National Blankets, Woolworths and Ottawa
Building, which were disposed of in unclear circumstances.

Mnangagwa, who sits on nearly all the party companies' boards, supervised
M&S Syndicate with Manharlal Chiunilal and Jayant Chiunilal Joshi. The party's
secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa and former secretary-general
Edgar Tekere linked the two to Zanu PF in 1979.

However, the Joshi brothers and Dipak Pandya fled the country in April last
year shortly after the probe began. Several Zanu PF officials were quizzed
about their escape.

Mutasa said the three ran way to avoid arrest and were in regular contact
with him. He said Jayant was believed to be in Dubai, while Manharlal was in
Manchester, England.

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Zim Independent (issue dated 13 May but only now available on the internet)

Land reform becomes Zim's curse
Ray Matikinye
WHEN President Robert Mugabe retires, as he has promised to after 28 years
in office, he will bequeath to the country he led to Independence from
Britain in 1980 the heritage of a populist, yet calamitous agrarian reform

When he goes one of his notable legacies to posterity will be a country
shattered by an economic crisis that direly needs a latter-day Marshall Plan
to get it back on its feet.

At Independence, Zimbabwe held a donor conference called Zimcord to
rehabilitate the economy after 15 years of sanctions.

But such goodwill from the international community has shrunk owing to
widely-documented human rights abuses and lawlessness that accompanied the
land occupation programme.

Exactly a year ago this week, farmer organisations and union leaders,
agricultural economists and government, were all upbeat in predicting a
bumper 2,4 million-tonne maize harvest.

A year ago this month, Agriculture minister Joseph Made broke a record in
stretching the truth beyond its trading limit by applauding the capability
of newly-resettled farmers to produce a harvest 15 times more than that of

Made's misplaced optimism stemmed from crop forecasts made on the
mathematical assumption that each hectare planted, including land in
marginal rainfall areas such as Matabeleland, Midlands and Masvingo
provinces, would yield 1,5 tonnes of crop.

Such skewed forecasts fooled President Mugabe into telling international
food agencies not to "foist food on us" and to take their largesse elsewhere
because Zimbabwe did not need them.

The embellished forecast triggered a wave of delusory enthusiasm from farmer

Said Silas Hungwe, president of the Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU): "We are
not going to import maize despite the late rains. All crops -maize, millet
sorghum - have done well."

Cleophas Mandebvu of the Indigenous Commercial Farmers Union (ICFU) parroted
similar sentiments: "Even the late rains have not been a hindrance," he

One year down the line and countless financial resources poured out to shore
up the chaotic land redistribution programme, food experts estimate that 5,5
million people are in dire need of food aid.

In its latest report on food, the US-based Famine Early Warning Systems
Network (Fewsnet) said the harvest will not be sufficient to carry the
nation through to the next harvest in 2006.

The current food deficit can be traced to government's ill-conceived land
redistribution programme that has rendered, according to experts, an
estimated $15 billion in land capital worthless, as large tracts of
agricultural farmland lie fallow.

Along the nation's major highways evidence of a failed agricultural
revolution is commonplace.

Drive along the Harare/Beitbridge highway or the Bulawayo/Harare trunk road
and witness how pole-and-mud huts squatting in the midst of a sad-looking
maize patch have blighted prime agricultural land.

Or agonise at the sight of a scraggy herd dwarfed by tall grass wandering in
what was once prime cattle ranching land now transformed into a wasteland.

Zanu PF national chairman John Nkomo, who presided over unsuccessful efforts
to bring a semblance of sanity to farm occupations, still believes land
redistribution in its current form remains the bedrock of economic

"We must create conditions that allow Zimbabweans to participate in economic
development and control in order to restore the people's dignity and real
sense of self-respect," he says.

Unmoved by the disaster his party wrought on the land, Nkomo adds in his
weekly message to party supporters: "The same colonial hand we defeated on
the farmlands still holds significant leverage in commerce and industry. We
must move to domesticate the private sector."

Nkomo's statements are a worrying demonstration of liberation- war tenets
that celebrated a philosophy of "destroying in order to rebuild".

Few doubt that Zimbabwe's economy is agro-based but the disorganised

redistribution programme has destroyed the source of raw materials for
industry to function properly and generate much-needed foreign currency.

Shortages of beef, milk and other dairy products, bread and sugar loom large
as do other primary products that drive commerce and industry.

Recently Mashonaland East governor Ray Kaukonde lamented the marked decrease
of dairy farmers in his province from 156 five years ago to only 10 as a
result of displacement to make way for new farmers.

Principal director for the Department of Veterinary Services Dr Stuart
Hargreaves says Zimbabwe's livestock sector needs more than $10 trillion to
rebuild the national herd that has dwindled over the years mainly due to the
slaughter of breeding stock for commercial meat.

He told a local daily that if the vast grazing land lying idle were utilised
the country's potential to rebuild its stocks would be realised.

Zimbabwe Herd Book still has about 45 registered cattle breeders, which
translates to a 90% decrease of what there was five years ago. With the
virtual collapse of the communal sale system, the authorities are determined
to control or prevent private cattle buyers from operating freely in the
communal areas, citing stock theft and the spread of disease as the major
reasons for this.

Government could have taken seriously wise counsel from former minister
Jonathan Moyo who attributed part of the disaster unfolding on the land to
inexperienced civil servants who stampeded to grab land without the
financial wherewithal to sustain agricultural production.

Most exaggerated their financial status when applying for land.

Moyo complains of the dereliction of duty and shoddy services provided by
public servants saying: "A majority leave their offices unattended while
they pursue personal business on their farms at the expense of serving the

At Kintyre Estates, a few kilometers outside Harare, an estate that used to
be a lush green showcase, lies mottled by dry patches and swathes of
uncultivated land overgrown with weeds. Idle irrigation equipment remains
stacked on the road verges against a backdrop of a stunted maize crop
despite the availability of prolific boreholes.

In sharp contrast, nestled behind the desolate part of the estate, a
thriving horticulture project run by an indigenous commercial farmer stands
out like a beacon of hope. "The owner has focus and the resources to achieve
what you see here," says one of the workers at the horticultural project
that came on stream last September.

Of the more than 4 000 commercial farmers who were on the land in 2000,
there are now probably between 500 and 700 who are either fully or partially
operational. So far 6 897 farms with a total area of 11,6 million hectares
have been targeted for resettlement.

But with hindsight, government is now intensifying efforts to reverse some
of the damage by inviting commercial farmers specialised in horticulture,
wheat, barley, dairy farming and seed-maize production to return to the land
they were evicted from.

Before eviction the specialist farmers produced high-value crops for export
that boosted foreign currency inflows into the national coffers.

Economists say Zimbabwe's foreign currency reserves are critically low at
the moment, hence the widespread swoop on hotels and other institutions that
generate foreign currency to mop up any hard currency in their possession.
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Zim Independent (issue dated 13 May but only now available on the internet)

Gono retreats from public limelight
Dumisani Muleya
RESERVE Bank governor Gideon Gono, currently under intense political and
work-related pressure to quit his job, failed to attend two crucial business
meetings this week after snubbing the recent trade fair in Bulawayo.

Gono, now entangled in Zanu PF factional politics, failed to attend a
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries breakfast meeting with economic
ministries on Wednesday as the economy slips into new depths of recession.

He was also unable to attend the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe annual
congress in Bulawayo yesterday where he was expected to share the platform
with Vice-President Joice Mujuru.

Last month Gono - due to present his delayed monetary policy review on May
19 -- failed to attend the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair although the
RBZ had booked a stand there. None of the RBZ management team attended the
country's premier international business showcase.

These incidents have increased fears Gono is disengaging from his duties due
to sustained pressure. When he came into office in December 2003 amid a
blaze of publicity, he was all over the media and held numerous public
meetings. He even visited fuel and foreign currency black markets to see the
situation for himself.

Contacted for comment, Gono said: "I'm busy at the moment. I will speak to
you as soon as possible." Asked when, he retorted: "I said I'm busy!"

Gono has denied reports that he wants to resign. Government has said it
supports him "unstintingly" and blamed the media for writing about his

However, sources say Gono is under growing pressure from a Zanu PF camp
headed by retired army General Solomon Mujuru, husband of the
vice-president, to quit because of his alleged link to a faction reportedly
led by Rural Housing minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Members of the Mujuru clique claim Gono - understood to be related to
Mnangagwa - has been associating with their rivals and has undermined their
business interests in various ways.

The CZI meeting and the hospitality congress that Gono failed to attend came
as the economy lurched into a fully-fledged recession in the aftermath of a
hotly disputed general election in March that was supposed to resolve the
country's problems.

An upsurge of shortages of foreign currency, fuel, electricity, water, food
and basic commodities has dashed Gono's claims that the economy is
recovering and that it will grow by 5% this year after a cumulative 30%
contraction over the past five years.

Gono, who recently declared there was no room for failure in his job, has
also made a series of other unsustainable assertions - including that the
wrecked agricultural sector will grow by 28% - as evidence of recovery.

He is expected to reverse some of his more optimistic predictions next week.

The CZI meeting would have provided Gono with an opportunity to interact
with captains of industry ahead of his monetary policy review on Thursday,
and face reality away from his comfort zone.

The CZI warned Gono's achievements on inflation and foreign exchange
receipts were now being reversed by the current resurgence of problems. It
said more companies would close down unless decisive measures were taken to
address the foreign currency crisis.

Sources said government also blocked the International Monetary Fund's visit
last week because economic fundamentals are now topsy-turvy after a
temporary halt in economic decline last year.

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Zim Independent (issue dated 13 May but only now available on the internet)

Mujuru tours hostile Tsholotsho
Shakeman Mugari in Bulawayo
VICE-President Joice Mujuru yesterday visited Tsholotsho, the scene of
fierce Zanu PF factional infighting in the run-up to the ruling party
congress last December, supposedly to see Cuban doctors based in the

Mujuru went to Tsholotsho, Matabeleland North, whose MP is former
Information minister Jonathan Moyo, after addressing the Hospitality
Association of Zimbabwe congress in Bulawayo.

She was initially expected to travel to the district where Zanu PF got a
severe drubbing in the March 31 parliamentary election last Sunday but
changed the visit to yesterday.

Sources in Bulawayo said Mujuru, who was in a rival faction to Moyo in the
Zanu PF power struggle for the presidium which her group won, was trying to
widen her self-marketing campaign to build a personal profile as a national

"The Cuban doctors story is just a cover-up for her visit which in reality
is part of her roadshows to raise her national profile," a source said.

"The Tsholotsho visit is symbolic because Zanu PF is now intensely unpopular
there and she is offering an olive branch to the people in the area while

Zanu PF factions clashed last November over a Tsholotsho meeting held at
Dinyane high school by a faction reportedly led by Rural Housing minister
Emmerson Mnangwgwa, apparently to block Mujuru's ascendency while promoting
Mnangaga and his lieutenant's rise.

l Meanwhile, Mujuru yesterday officially opened the Hospitality Association
of Zimbabwe congress where she admitted the tourism industry was in the

"Without doubt, the hospitality and tourism industry in Zimbabwe today is
among the most challenging industries to manage, particularly because it is
one driven by perceptions and image," Mujuru told delegates.

She lashed out at the international media, claiming there had been a
"concerted war over the years to fuel negative publicity designed to
discourage visitors from coming to our country".

She, however, said people should not concentrate on denials but work hard to
address the issue of negative publicity to ensure recovery of the sector.

"We should not concentrate on denials as cases of travel bans and warnings
against visiting our country can be cited in certain key source markets,"
she said. "We must work together to address these issues."
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Zim Independent (issue dated 13 May but only now available on the internet)

Tourism sector slumps 18%
Susan Mateko & Shakeman Mugari
CONTRARY to official claims that the tourism industry is coming out of the
woods, statistics from the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) indicate the
sector slumped by 18% last year alone.

ZTA officials revealed the figures at the ongoing Hospitality Association of
Zimbabwe congress in Bulawayo. Givemore Chidzidzi, ZTA acting chief
executive, told delegates yesterday tourist arrivals suffered a 18% plunge
last year and an attendant loss of foreign exchange earnings.

He said there were significant losses in tourist arrivals from the African
and regional markets, showing the sector remains badly depressed despite
government claims that it was recovering.

In his last monetary policy review, central bank governor Gideon Gono said:
"Hotel occupancy began to recover in 2004, with occupancy rates ranging from
40% to 60%. Current efforts to market the country in East Asia while not
neglecting the traditional markets are expected to yield positive cumulative
results in 2005 and beyond."

The hospitality industry accounts for 15,5% of GDP and 11% of the country's
foreign exchange earnings. Tourism on its own makes up 6,5% of GDP. Its
receipts between January and September 2004 were US$152 million.

While ZTA said there was a 6% increase in international arrivals, this did
not translate into increased real earnings. It said there was an improvement
in the first quarter of this year with a 30% increase but this did not lead
to improved occupancies in the hotels around the country.

Chidzidzi admitted to the delegates that there was "something wrong with the
tourism numbers" that they have produced because they were marred by
inconsistencies and sometimes confusion.

"There must be something wrong with the computation of our figures. It is
not clear how the arrivals could go up while hotel occupancies remain
depressed," Chidzidzi said.

Industry players point out that arrivals and hotel occupancies in tourism do
not logically tally for various reasons including that some people recorded
as tourists are returning residents or visitors who stay with friends and

The tourism industry has been on the slide since the government launched
violent land seizures five years ago. A number of countries have warned
their citizens not to travel to Zimbabwe because of security concerns.

The sector plummeted by more than 60% over the past five years as
international tourists continue to shun the country partly because of the
country's battered image.

Although the government says arrivals from China went up 392% as a result of
its "Look East" policy, official documents indicate that the rise was from a
paltry 4 960 in 2003 to 24 437 last year.

The Malaysian market also grew from 1 030 in 2003 to close to 3 400 last
year. The rest of Asia rose by about 3 500 arrivals from 428 in 2003, a huge
rise in percentage terms but insignificant in real earnings.
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Zim Independent (issue dated 13 May but only now available on the internet)

Politics plunge Zesa into darkness
Vincent Kahiya
AT the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa)'s Harare Power Station
there are three shifts of workers manning the plant which was built to
ensure the capital is not affected by power failure at the country's main
generation plants. There are also people working round the clock at smaller
thermal stations at Munyati in the Midlands and in Bulawayo.
The three small coal-powered plants have the potential to produce 375
megawatts (MW) of power. That is almost 20% of the country's electricity
But the three power stations are not producing any energy of significance.
In fact, they have become monuments whose tall steaming chimneys are
reminders of a distant past when infrastructure was kept in functioning
order. The power stations have become shells which are a huge cost to the
parastatal and ultimately to the taxpayer.
Zimbabwe today is faced with a power crisis. Zesa has in the past three
weeks been forced to effect load-shedding because of a power deficit. The
company last week said its generators at Kariba and Hwange were down,
resulting in the loss of 250 Megawatts and 220 MW respectively. The
generators will be out for the next six weeks during which period the power
utility is expected to find foreign currency to purchase replacement parts
and ship them to Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe has a peak power demand of 2 100 MW while local generation stands
at 1 200 MW, giving a supply imbalance of 900 MW which is imported. Zesa's
total installed capacity is about 2 000 MW.
Other than the small power stations, the country also has two larger power
stations; a hydro-electrical plant in Kariba (666 MW) and a thermal
generator in Hwange (920 MW). The country's power stations have the
potential to produce more than 1 900 MW which is adequate at the current
depressed consumption. But the plants are not functioning at full capacity
and the country has to import to make up for the deficit.
Zesa has been forced to import 250 MW of power from Hydro Cahorra Bassa
(HCB) of Mozambique, 150 MW from Eskom of South Africa and 150 MW from Snel
in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
But in 2007, Eskom is expected to terminate electricity exports to the
region because the anticipated economic boom in that country should result
in increased demand.
Zesa has said it will need to set up new plants or expand existing ones in
anticipation of that gap. The country will need at an extra 1 200 MW to cope
with the demand.
The need for new infrastructure can be lessened if Zesa can optimise the use
of existing facilities. The country, analysts say, will find it difficult to
source funding for new projects when it is failing to repair and maintain
existing plants.
There have been plans to expand Kariba power station so that it produces an
extra 300 MW. Zesa entered an ill-fated deal with Malaysia's YTL in the hope
of expanding generation at Hwange by an extra 333 MW but nothing came of it.
There has been talk about developing two new projects at Batoka HEP plant
along the Zambezi River and the Gokwe North thermal power station next to
the vast Sengwa coalfields. The Batoka project, with a potential of 800 MW,
was expected to go on stream in 2010 but that will not happen now. Plans to
develop the 1 400 MW Gokwe North plant, in which Zesa was in partnership
with Rio Tinto and government, has also been deferred.
The project, analysts say, is enmeshed in controversy as government is
reluctant to see the private sector constructing and running such a
strategic resource.
"The power station should have been built 10 years ago," said economist John
"For Gokwe, Rio owns coal deposits at Sengwe. If it is given the go-ahead,
it will finance the cost of the power station," he said. "Government fears
that Rio will enjoy the profits and externalise them. If Rio were to
externalise the profits it would be less than we are externalising every
month paying Eskom, HCB and Snel," he said.
Investors shied away from the two projects because of the uncertainty in the
country wrought by the land invasions and President Robert Mugabe's quarrel
with the West. The failure of the two huge capital projects to get off the
ground typifies the state of industry in Zimbabwe. There is no new
investment of note coming into the country.
The attempt to sell part of Hwange Power Station to Malaysia's YTL, as part
of an earlier "Look East" - or rather South-South - policy was a disaster.
It scared away other potential investors in the country's power sector. This
was the first major show of the government's lack of foresight in developing
the country's power sources.
As analysts forecast five years ago, demand for electricity would outstrip
supply unless new plants were commissioned. Power stations require huge
capital outlay to construct and vast sums of foreign currency to maintain.
Last week Zesa said it required US$2 billion to put its house in order. That
is a huge sum which will not be coming to Zimbabwe soon as long as there is
no balance of payments support. Pledges from Zimbabwe's friends in the East
have come in few and far between.
The power sector, like all major facets of the economy, has been hit by the
suspension of financial assistance from international organisations such as
the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund because of concerns over
the erosion of the rule of law and property rights, as well as the
government's fiscal policy. Zesa is a victim of the country's bad politics.
Considering the strategic position electricity occupies in industry and
commerce, the energy deficit that has been exacerbated by the shortage of
petrol and diesel is a major threat to economic regeneration.
Piecemeal measures that have been proffered by the parastatals and
government have not made an impact. Zesa proposed that local exporters pay
for electricity in hard cash, a short-term measure that only increased
overhead costs for an already struggling export sector.
With limited resources to hand, the parastatal has been left to use its own
limited resources or wait for handouts from the fiscus resulting in
inadequate upgrades and network maintenance. The results are manifest in the
broken-down plant and equipment.
Also, the company is unable to raise its tariffs to meet rising operating
costs, ostensibly because the government is keen to protect consumers from
further price increases and the rising cost of living.
But Zimbabwe's energy sector is not suffering simply because the country is
broke. The parastatal has been riddled with controversy since its
unbundling. It has gone on a huge rural electrification drive without
developing new power sources. It has sought deals with the Chinese, the
Malaysians and Iranians with very little to show for it.
Zesa has become a political playing field where prudent business decisions
have been superseded by political posturing. No energy minister in the last
15 years has been able to solve the country's energy crisis. It is bound to
get worse and bring the economy down with it.

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Zim Independent (issue dated 13 May but only now available on the internet)

Watching DStv as the country burns
By Rejoice Ngwenya
ELLEN G White, arguably one of the most prolific religious and health
writers of the 19th century and founder of the worldwide Adventist Movement,
says in her book, Education: " . the greatest want of the world is the want
of men . who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are
true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men
whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will
stand for the right though the heavens fall."

As I was writing this item, I was holed up in a petrol queue for the third
consecutive day - a time when my family and I should be either relaxed at
our city home or socialising in rural Esigodini with in-laws. My life is in
turmoil, a crisis - no petrol, no cooking gas, no electricity and, most
frighteningly, no water for the past four weeks.

What difference, I ponder in the chilly early morning breeze, is there
between myself and the beautiful person with breasts and long hair I
abandoned in my bed? She sleeps in passive serenity and I queue in passive
stupidity - no resistance, no change, no difference. Saka ndiri murume payi?

I am not alone in this collective stupor - there are another hundred or so
men freezing in their cars, waiting and hoping that the Zanu PF government,
one day in distant time, will get its governance formula right and deliver
on its electoral promises.

King Solomon, the renowned architectural genius and wealthy "multigamist"
around 935 BC, writes in his Ecclesiastes: "I saw the tears of the
oppressed - and they have no comforter; power was on the side of the
oppressors - and they have no comforter. And I declared that the dead, who
had already died, are happier than the living who are still alive."

The question then being: when a nation is in crisis, who wields the
responsibility to emancipate people from the shackles of repression. Moses,
the Jewish captive who grew up in the stately home of Pharaoh around 1530 BC
remembers: "The Lord said, 'I have indeed seen the misery of my people in
Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am
concerned about their suffering."

Yet divine intervention does not come when man shows no initiative in the
desire to set himself free. Moses first proved his mettle, potential and
zeal for freedom by defending the rights of the oppressed. More often than
not, the rest of five million Zimbabwean male adults have been routinely
accused of being lethargic cowards. We allow ourselves to be cowed into
submission by a dynasty that has entrenched its rule with a false sense of
indispensability - a Kamuzu Banda scenario.

The critical mass of anger, distress and dissatisfaction is wasted on hours
of patient and pseudo-intellectual debates in queues of petrol, bread, sugar
and water. My submission is that this is no manifestation of a peace-loving
male population, no! It is but collective stupidity.

Perhaps, like the prophet Samuel wrote, we are waiting for a judge:
"Whenever the Lord raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and
saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for
the Lord had compassion on them as they groaned under those who oppressed
and afflicted them."

The greatest want of the world is the want of men . like Joshua: "Be strong
and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I
swore to their forefathers to give them."

Solomon reminds us: "If you see the poor oppressed in a district, and
justice and rights denied, do not be surprised at such things; for one
official is eyed by a higher one, and over them both are others higher

The swansong of typical contemporary Zimbabwean defeatism: "We have no
leader, we need real leadership. Why was there no Plan B? How come they are
failing to deal with Zanu PF's political chicanery?" What Plan B? There is
only one plan, Plan A - freedom and justice.

My heart bleeds. Why you and me? What wrong have Zimbabweans done to deserve
this, this barbaric treatment? Who gives this dynasty the supreme right to
dispense "liberty" as one act of gigantic benevolence? What is it that is
going to take you and me to wake up and realise that we are on a trajectory
to annihilation?

Yes, we all voted. They voted too at UMP but they still remain poor, hungry
and weak. Voting that does not manifest itself in true liberty and effective
democracy is all of it meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

King David, the author and musician, writes: "The Lord is refuge for the
oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. He will rescue them from
oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight."

Perhaps I am asking for too much. We are too busy surviving, trying to make
ends meet. It's all politics, not for us, but for them. It is a dirty game
and we want to play clean. That is what our parents said in the 70s: going
to Zambia and Mozambique is for them, the dull ones - madofo. Our children
have to continue with "real" education at Fletcher, University of Rhodesia
and Oxford. Leave the camps to them.

This self-delusion also continued in the 80s: voting is for them, the women's
league, we have professions and businesses to run. Look at where we are
now - hiding in our big cars, ventilated offices and watching DStv as the
country goes up in flames.

Prophet Isaiah reminds us of our responsibility: "If you do away with the
yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you
spend yourself on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the
oppressed, then your light will rise in darkness."

My submission is that most Zimbabweans are now too weak to defend their
liberty, but you and me can use the energy that we expend on queuing for
fuel and buying coupons to fight for justice. Only because we deserve better
than this.

I am tired of being spat at by Tswanas, the Mozambicans and Malawians - who
only a few years ago could only dream of being like me. Now they jeer from
the terraces while Zanu PF kicks you and me like a human ball in the arena
of political naivety. Brother, wake up.

*Rejoice Ngwenya is a Harare-based freelance writer.

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Zim Independent (issue dated 13 May but only now available on the internet)


Can the MDC provide a lead?
MABVUKU and Tafara residents this week took to the streets to protest
incessant water cuts by the inept authorities running Harare. On Sunday at
the National Sports Stadium there were skirmishes after Harare soccer side
Dynamos lost a third league match on the trot.
If popular mass action was ever going to grip the capital, thirsty residents
of Mabvuku and Tafara or angry Dynamos supporters should have provided the
trigger. It didn't happen because there has not been sufficient popular
support for the water or football cause.
Discontent with Zanu PF's suspected theft of the March 31 general election
did not provoke a spontaneous mass uprising either.
Six weeks after Zanu PF was declared the winner, the opposition MDC, it was
reported this week, are still brainstorming on the idea of mass action.
A meeting held by the party's leaders, we hear, did not come up with a
definite position on how popular discontent can be ratcheted up to drive
people onto the streets.
There is definitely disenchantment with the present regime. The March
election, other than handing President Mugabe a two-thirds majority, has not
solved anything. In fact, the situation is degenerating fast, yet people are
not massing on the streets.
The MDC would like to see the Zanu PF government under some form of popular
pressure; something akin to the velvet revolution in Georgia.
But this requires leadership and the capacity to organise and direct. This
is not apparent in the opposition set-up and the so-called broad alliance
encompassing civic groups. The fact that the party is discussing mass action
when the main impetus to trigger popular response - a stolen election - has
evaporated, does not inspire confidence in the party's ability to take the
lead in raising public consciousness.
Any attempt to pressure Mugabe and Zanu PF should focus on the manifest
shortcomings of the establishment. The MDC should identify the chinks in
Mugabe's armour. But no, the opposition would like to use its most
ineffectual weapon to tackle Zanu PF's strongest front - repression. No
amount of international condemnation and censure will stop Mugabe from
unleashing the army and paramilitary police onto demonstrators in the
high-density suburbs. Instruments for that exercise are available and honed
to perform the task effectively.
The MDC, if it is indeed keen to use the confrontational route, has to
perform better than it did in the past. Mass action in Zimbabwe has
unfortunately taken the form of youths throwing stones at the police and
running away. The mass action of 1998 was hijacked by criminals who looted
supermarkets for food, clothes, television sets and even beds.
Any popular demonstration of discontent should be cleansed of these actions
which only give the police and the army justification to crush skulls.
Compare this with the 1980s protests in South Africa where demonstrators
linked arms and marched against the apartheid regime in a well-organised and
disciplined way led by bishops and other notables. Can Zimbabweans achieve
that level of commitment and discipline in expressing their displeasure with
Mugabe if there is no strong leadership?
The planned March on State House - dubbed the final push - two years ago did
not get very far. Repetition of that would be disastrous for the opposition
as it exposed inherent weaknesses in its structures which are in great need
of revamping and reorganisation so that the party remains relevant.
In politics the parties derive strength from the weaknesses of their
opponents. A weak opposition movement in Zimbabwe will hand Zanu PF the
opportunity to consolidate, sit back and do nothing.
The opposition, which is scheduled to hold its congress in the second half
of this year, should start to think strategically about leadership renewal.
This should not just be an exercise in shifting around personnel but putting
together a team that can articulate the party's position on key areas
in-between elections.
Successful parties require people who can carry the vision of the leadership
to the voter. That is partly the reason why British premier Tony Blair
reappointed Gordon Brown as chancellor before the heat of the election
But for starters, the party requires vision. It needs to be more than just a
government-in-waiting. Sometimes we sense a lack of cohesion in the party's
"Top Six' and this reverberates through the party structures.
The era of a loose amalgam of students, trade unionists, civic activists,
business owners, academics and eccentrics glued together by their distaste
for Mugabe's rule is over. There is an aching need for leadership on how the
nation can move forward. Zanu PF evidently can't provide that. Can the MDC?
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Zim Independent (issue dated 13 May but only now available on the internet)

Eric Bloch Column

Command economy is not the answer
AFTER an immensely prolonged period of extolling and enthusing the alleged
tremendous success of Zimbabwe's land reform programme, the government has
finally begun to acknowledge that the agricultural sector is in a state of
great distress.
For many decades that sector was the foundation and mainstay of the economy.
It employed more workers than any other economic sector. It was the
principal source of foreign currency which, for a heavily import-dependent
country, is its lifeblood.
That foreign currency was earned from the export of very considerable
quantities of high quality tobacco, of the world's foremost cotton, of maize
and other grains to neighbouring territories, of sugar, citrus and much
other produce. It generated vast amounts of expenditure into the downstream
economy, distributive, financial and services sectors.
But all that was in years gone past. Progressively, as the government
pursued its programme of land acquisition, redistribution and resettlement,
and especially so as it intensified its pursuit of that programme from 2000
onwards, agricultural productivity declined more and more. Much of the
previously very extensive agricultural infrastructure was destroyed.
While some new settlers had genuine desires to work the lands acquired, to
achieve economic empowerment through agricultural production, and to play a
meaningful role in the advancement of the Zimbabwean economy, greater
numbers either sought to "get rich quick" by demolishing the improvements
that former commercial farmers had effected, at very great cost, or were
without either skills or, in the alternative, resources necessary for
productive land usage.
Those desirous of rapid enrichment dismantled fencing, power lines, pumps,
sheds, irrigation systems and much else and sold them in complete disregard
for the negative consequences to the future usage of the lands they had
And those lacking the skills or resources required looked to the farmers
they had displaced, and to the government, to enable them to prepare the
lands, plant, cultivate and harvest crops. But most of the displaced farmers
had been deprived of the means to assist the new settlers.
Moreover, having been robbed of lands which they had lawfully acquired, it
was unrealistic in the extreme to expect their support. They had been
deprived of their source of livelihood and dispossessed of not only lands
they had legitimately obtained, but also of the improvements they had
effected to those lands, and of their machinery, equipment, irrigation
systems, stores and crops.
The justification of the state for these actions was the allegation that the
lands had been stolen from the indigenous population of yesteryear. This was
almost wholly devoid of substance and credibility for, when the colonial era
commenced, the indigenous population was of a size that most of the lands
which are now Zimbabwe were uncultivated, unutilised, and unoccupied. In
such circumstances, to expect evicted, poverty-stricken former farmers to
aid the new occupants of their lands was unrealistic in the extreme.
But, year after year, the government would not admit the failure of the
programme and in particular, the responsible minister and public servants
for agriculture, and the cabinet, dared not acknowledge that the programme,
which they had so loudly acclaimed, was a disaster. Instead, each year
excuses were imaginatively created to explain away the failure to produce
the bountiful crops that had been foreshadowed, but which had not
So great were the annual expectations that in 2004 the government
grandiosely informed the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the
World Food Programme (WFP) that Zimbabwe no longer needed food aid, save for
Aids orphans, as it was wholly food sufficient. Projected crops were
heralded of at least 1,8 million tonnes of maize, and 600 000 tonnes of
other grains, being volumes not produced in any of the previous four years.
Equally far-fetched projections were ascribed to other crops, including a
forecast of a tobacco crop of at least 160 million kg (albeit early a third
less than the record 2000 crop of 237 million kg.) By early 2005 the
government admitted, with some embarrassment, that the crop would, for
various specious reasons, be between 120 million kg and 135 million kg. And,
furthermore, at least 60% of the crop is low "filler" quality.
In like manner, Zimbabwe is faced with chronic shortages of milk and other
dairy products, necessitating the imports by Dairibord. Many other
agricultural scarcities exist, including beef.
However, being a past master at denying responsibility and blame, and
attributing fault to causes beyond its control, the government has had no
hesitation at ascribing the disasters of the latest agricultural season to
drought. A low quality tobacco crop of half the originally projected size, a
maize crop of about one-third only of the nation's need and of prior
assurances, and similarly great differentials between other crop forecasts
and actual outturn, are now attributed by the government to drought.
It cannot be denied that drought has had some significant effects, but not
to the extent that the government pretends, for substantial crops could have
been produced under irrigation if a sufficiency of seeds had been planted,
irrigated, fertilised, properly tended and brought to a harvestable state.
However, seeds that are not planted cannot grow, importation of fertilisers
after crops are fully grown and the like cannot yield crops.
The government should stop prevaricating and acknowledge facts. It should
vigorously pursue the very commendable and down-to-earth statements of Vice
President Joseph Msika that the government needs white and black commercial
farmers, working side-by-side, cooperating, and although not specifically
stated by him, that must be in an environment of security, justice, equity
and mutual respect.
That would be the first and decisive step towards restoring agriculture to
its former glory. But doing so must be timeously followed by compensating
for destroyed infrastructure and misappropriated equipment, and by equally
timeous enablement of importation of essential inputs as required for the
2005/2006 agricultural season.

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Zim Independent (issue dated 13 May but only now available on the internet)

Workers' unrest at Mazowe Estates
Roadwin Chirara
MAZOWE Estates, horticultural concern Interfresh's main subsidiary, is beset
by fresh problems after workers this week downed tools to protest poor

The workers are demanding a re-grading to a salary range for agro-based
employees instead of the current farm workers salary classification.

Workers classified as general farm workers are paid $192 000 per month while
those employed in the agro-based sector are paid $289 656,25 per month.

The stalemate between the employees and the company is reported to have
spilled over to the National Employment Council who ruled in favour of the

The decision, however, has not gone down well with senior management at
Interfresh, leading to an appeal being lodged with the National Employment
Council for Agriculture.

Operations on the estate ground to a halt on Wednesday over the salary

Interfresh chairman Lishon Chipango confirmed the strike and the disruption
to operations at the Mazowe Estates.

"We are aware of the strike and we have sent the chief operations officer
with a labour relations officer to the estates," he said.

Chipango said there was no reason for the employees resorting to industrial
action when the matter was before the National Employment Council for

"The matter is before the NEC and we are awaiting the determination of the
council on what action the company should take next," said Chipango.

On whether the company had appealed an earlier decision handed down by the
employment council in favour of the workers, Chipango said they were
contesting the judgement.

He however downplayed the action by the workers, saying only 25 employees
were involved in the industrial action.

"It's only the juicing factory that is on strike as far as we know. This
constitutes only 25 workers out of over 3 000 employees on the estates,"
Chipango said.

Interfresh was last week raided by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe amid
allegations that it had failed to account for thousands of dollars in
foreign currency.

The irregularities involving cash receipts have seen the company's chief
executive Evan Christophides leaving his job.

Contrary to Chipango's claims that Christophides was staying on for six
months after tendering his resignation, he is said to have immediately
severed ties with the company.

The central bank has for the past month been pursuing every outstanding
foreign currency remittance issue in a desperate bid to squeeze forex to buy
fuel, food and other imports.

Interfresh is heavily involved in citrus production and marketing to the
local and international markets. It also produces flowers for the European

The company has however fallen victim to the land reform programme, losing
some of its productive land to settlers in the Mazowe area where it has its
main citrus plantations.

The company has also undergone several board and management changes since a
consortium linked to former Kingdom Financial Holdings executives took over
the group.

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Zim Independent (issue dated 13 May but only now available on the internet)

Editor's Memo

Where's Chen?

I CAME across an uninspiring essay by Chen Chimutengwende this week titled
In Defence of Pan-Africanism and Socialism.

It called for a second liberation struggle to "transform Africa into being
the main base for the total liberation of the rest of the Black World".

In his Communist rant, Chimutengwende proffered socialism as the most
effective way of dealing with the continent's problems.

"It is true that socialism is the only serious alternative to capitalism,"
he wrote.

"It is also the only force that can defeat neo-colonialism in economic,
political, cultural and in all other relevant fields.

"Socialism is the system which can seriously be engaged in a planned and
systematic movement for the speedy reduction and eventual elimination of
mass poverty, squalor, unemployment, illiteracy, corruption, injustice,
rural neglect and ethnic wars. It can decisively confront HIV/Aids and other
endemic diseases."

He added: "The immediate objective of the second liberation struggle should
be the urgent establishment and the speedy socio-economic development of a
socialist united new Africa which is sometimes referred to as the United
States of Africa. This will transform Africa into being the main base for
the total liberation of the rest of the Black World."

Chen is the president of an obscure organisation called the United New
Africa Global Network. I have also learnt that apart from being its leader,
he is its financier.

The network's activities are funded mainly from his business, Africa Star
Holdings Ltd. The network's website says Chen's line of business is in
agriculture, mining, telecommunications, trade and business consultancy.

"These funds are provided to the network as a family contribution to
Pan-Africanism and the realisation of a United New Africa," the website

I am sure we all still recall that a month ago Chimutengwende was sworn in
as Minister of Public and Interactive Affairs. Was that a presidential
thank-you to a committed cadre who eschews all forms of neo-colonialism and

But what is Chen's day job? It's definitely not dancing to rhumba music and
I would like to believe that it is not authoring leftist literature for his

Since his appointment he has not said a word on what his ministry is all
about. He has not uttered a policy statement. His portfolio has remained an
enigma. The silence is a loud confirmation that he is not expected to do
much or that he is still waiting for a job description from the president.

Chen has to explain to us what interaction he is involved in. Is he going to
help the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the current craze - the Look East
policy - or how to forge closer ties with Cuba's Fidel Castro and Venezuela's
Hugo Chavez? Chen believes these two are model states which African nations
should emulate. Chen's portfolio could also be an acculturation institute to
replace the former Department of Information which Jonathan Moyo used to
cleanse the nation of neo-colonial influence. Hopefully that does not entail
Kanda Bongoman or Yondo Sister replacing Hondo yeMinda.

Instead of the tired Pan-Africanist rhetoric which most influential African
countries have dropped in preference to Nepad, Chimutengwende should be
telling us how his ministry will contribute to President Mugabe's
development agenda. How does he plan to stage his revolution this time and
what was his contribution in the last revolution? Someone is playing
catch-up here.

Can Chen be more interactive and tell us exactly what he does at the Office
of the President because at the moment he is a redundant appendage in Mugabe's

Remember the president also has other extras on his stage in the form of
Elliot Manyika who does not have a portfolio, Webster Shamu, whose job is
described as policy implementation, and Sithembiso Nyoni, brought in to
achieve gender balance in cabinet. Nyoni does not even have a constituency.

This circus is happening right under the noses of the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change and civic society groups which have lost their voices
after the election. To remain relevant, the opposition in particular has to
adopt a more robust position against these political ills.

Parliament will be sitting soon and it is incumbent upon the opposition to
question the role of Chen and others. As Minister without Portfolio, what
does Manyika do for example other than compose songs and push the party

What policies has Shamu implemented since his appointment? Where is the
Anti-Corruption Commission which we were told last year would be appointed

These are pertinent issues which should concern opposition MPs, unless the
MDC is contemplating appointing a Shadow minister of Interactive Affairs!

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