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

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The Zimbabwean
A call to action – you CAN do it
HARARE - I have only got through half of The Zimbabwean and can read no more. I am very angry…..if fact, I’m furious and if I could swear I would. It is the anger of impotence. It is the anger of frustration. It is this anger I need to channel into positive action.
I am no saint – I left the country eight years ago because I saw no future for me in the Zimbabwe I saw. It’s the first time I have been sorry that I was right. I was a classic case of denial – when I got to the UK things were very hard and it was all I could do to feed myself.

At that time, I knew things were getting bad but I had problems of my own. Over the years, I finally surfaced and used to cry in my tea when I heard news from home. So much so, I stopped reading any coverage about Zimbabwe, regardless of what it was about because ‘it upset me too much’. I buried my head in the sand and kept it there for so long I didn’t realise what I had been doing.

Until about a year ago. I couldn’t protect myself from the information any more and I couldn’t pretend I didn’t care. I thought about what I could do but it seemed so limited. Also, I still had family in Zimbabwe and fearing retribution, ended up doing nothing.

But now, my family has left; my elderly father, who always had faith that ‘things will come right’, finally gave up on Zimbabwe. That shocked me. In fact, it took me a few months to work it out in my head – you have to remember, my ears were still filled with sand.

It was after watching the election results come in on my computer and then hearing the ‘result’ the next day that goaded me into trying to find out if anything constructive was being done about the situation.

I decided to log on to the Internet forums that I had subscribed to in an earlier fit of guilt and soon realised that there are people who care and would like to ‘do something’.

Unfortunately, many lack direction and most, the conviction that they can actually change anything. In addition, even here in the UK, there is a tangible fear for the safety of relatives back home and of jeopardising the opportunities to return.

In my search I learned about the Zimbabwe Vigil ( who have been active in the UK since 2002. I was humbled when I realised how much they had been doing for so little thanks for so very, very long.

Here were people who were actually doing something instead of talking about it all the time. It is clear that there are those who are not prepared to carry on crying in their tea.

So in answer to Jean Simon’s contribution to last week’s The Zimbabwean asking ‘What would it be like?’ Yes, we may have left but it doesn’t mean we don’t care and if anyone is in a position to help, it’s probably those who outside the country who have the ‘luxury’ of freedom of speech and choose to use it.

I am now working with the Zimbabwe Vigil to establish and maintain a communication network for the Diaspora because if ever there was a time for Zimbabweans outside the country to stand up and be counted it is now! In the past few months I have been hugely relieved to discover the number of Zimbabweans active on the Internet.

I was equally dismayed to read on the front page of The Zimbabwean this week about the government’s plans to invest heavily in equipment and software to monitor a number of communication ‘avenues’.

The government has suddenly realised the threat that free speech on the Internet poses to its propaganda and brainwashing schemes – let’s not let them win this surveillance battle!

My ‘call to action’ is this – if you are lucky enough to have Internet access, make the most of it while you can! Make contact with like-minded people, find ways of keeping in touch and if you want to know what we are doing here from the UK, or want to be a part of it, e-mail

We do not necessarily need to know your name but it would be helpful if you could tell us where you live so that we can send you the most appropriate information. We are currently assessing alternative (secure) Internet communication networks and will make these details available as and when necessary.

The time for apathy is past my friends – you are either part of the solution or part of the problem.
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International Herald Tribune
Election over, Zimbabwe is back to bad old days
By Michael Wines The New York Times

FRIDAY, MAY 20, 2005
BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe In the weeks before parliamentary elections last March, the leaders of this threadbare nation threw open the national larder, wooing voters with stocks of normally scarce gasoline and maize and a flood of freshly printed money.
It must have worked: The ruling ZANU-PF party was installed for another five years. But Zimbabwe's Potemkin prosperity has evaporated since the vote, swiftly replaced by penury and mounting signs of economic collapse.
Here in Zimbabwe's second largest city, lines of cars stretch half a kilometer at fuel-parched service stations, and drivers spend the night in their back seats lest they lose their place. Milk, cooking oil and most of all maize, the nation's corn staple, are a distant memory. At one city-center grocery, much-prized Colgate toothpaste is kept in a locked case.
Zimbabwe's currency, which traded on the black market at 120 to the dollar in April 2002, went for 6,200 to the dollar last December, 12,000 last April 1 and 17,000 in early May. By mid-May, a single American dollar brought as much as 25,000 Zimbabwean dollars - and the rate continues to climb.
[Zimbabwe's government had steadfastly maintained an official exchange rate of about 6,100 Zimbabwe dollars per American dollar until Thursday, when the nation's reserve bank announced a 45 percent devaluation. But the new exchange rate - 9,000 per American dollar - remains nearly two-thirds less than the black market rate, and business managers here say it is unlikely to have more than a brief impact on the economy.]
"It's running out of control," one Bulawayo manufacturer said.
"When you're going down a path of destruction, you can keep putting patches on the tires - patch, patch, patch - but eventually, the tire is going to burst," he said. "We're going down that path."
Of course, people regularly say that about Zimbabwe's economy, a chewing-gum and baling-wire affair long plagued by 70 percent unemployment, triple-digit inflation and a currency that no foreign creditor will accept.
Prosperity has been receding since the late 1990s, when the government's attacks on international creditors and its seizure of commercial farms triggered a cascade of economic backlashes.
Past economic plunges have provoked food riots, gasoline line protests and government crackdowns. This one is similar: The government has sent police to quell mobs outside groceries and gas stations, and begun a roundup of street merchants who were dealing too openly in black-market goods and selling currency at illicit rates.
Yet, some say that the current crisis, perhaps the worst since the economy began foundering, may mark a turning point. Zimbabwe's main economic problems - capital flight, a dire shortage of foreign exchange with which to buy imports, and turbocharged inflation - are now so severe that they are eroding what remains of the industrial and agricultural base.
Manufacturing has slowed to a trickle, hamstrung by shortages of fuel and imported components. Businesses have been driven into barter and the black market, fueling inflation. Appeals for government help are mostly fruitless: The government is all but broke.
One persistent critic, a former government economist named John Robertson, said the government apparently exhausted its reserves on a feel-good campaign before the parliamentary elections, and is now paying the price.
"The scarcities now are coming from manufacturers who can't deliver enough to retailers to fill their shelves," Robertson said in Harare, the capital. Initially, the problem was that manufacturers could not get enough supplies to make their products. But "now that there are more critical shortages in things like fuel," he said, "it's almost academic whether they can get the material, because they can't deliver the products anyway. The end result of the shortages is that prices are rising."
In Harare this week, rumors that a shipment of sugar had arrived created a line of shoppers nearly a kilometer long outside one suburban supermarket. Yet the problem, said Robertson, was not a shortage of sugar but one of the imported polyethylene bags that hold it.
Coca-Cola is being rationed because the gas that provides carbonation is in short supply, and the local bottler cannot find foreign currency to buy the imported syrup that makes a Coke a Coke. Virtually any product made of steel is in a parlous state because most rolled steel is imported from South Africa, and South African steel mills are demanding cash up front from their Zimbabwe customers.
"It's what I call a chain-link economy," said a Bulawayo maker of a basic steel commodity. "Company A manufactures parts for Company B, and Company B manufactures a part for Company C, and so on until company F makes the finished product.
"What's happening is that the links are falling apart. And when one link breaks, the whole chain doesn't work."
Reduced to a television-screen crawl, this is Zimbabwe's major problem: It has run out of foreign currency.
Over the last five years, Zimbabwe's parceling out of 5,000 commercial farms among squatters and peasants has decimated agricultural exports, an economic mainstay. When commercial farming collapsed, so did the businesses that supported it, from tractor sales - the nation needs 50,000, and has fewer than 400 working ones - to irrigation suppliers.
That only deepened the farming woes and the export tailspin: Zimbabwe tobacco production is down two-thirds in five years, and the quality, once world-renowned, is so poor that buyers are scarce.
Falling exports made foreign currency dear, causing exchange rates to rocket. But the government has generally refused to revalue its currency, choosing instead to print more money; Zimbabwe's money supply rose 226 percent in 2004. The result has been hyperinflation and a thriving black market in both money and goods. Hyperinflation and the artificial exchange rate, in turn, have crippled gold mining, Zimbabwe's other big exporter. Production fell 18 percent in the first quarter of 2005.
Starved for foreign currency to import crucial supplies, the government now requires all businesses to sell it 25 percent of their foreign income at the official exchange rate of 9,000 Zimbabwe dollars per American dollar.
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Subject: ZIMBABWE: Govt devalues currency in bid to ease forex shortages

ZIMBABWE: Govt devalues currency in bid to ease forex shortages

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

HARARE, 19 May (IRIN) - Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono announced the
devaluation of the Zimbabwean dollar by 31 percent from Zim $6,200 to Zim
$9,000 per US $1 in his quarterly review of monetary policy on Thursday.

Zimbabwe's flourishing parallel market exchanges currency at rates of up to
Zim $18,000 per US $1.

In his statement Gono portrayed an economy that had ground to a halt,
weighed down by crippling shortages and high inflation.

After its recent parliamentary elections, Zimbabwe was again hit by
shortages of fuel and other basic goods: electricity, water, maize, sugar,
milk, eggs and margarine have all been in short supply. But while basic
commodities are scarce in supermarkets, they can be found on the parallel
market at inflated prices.

On the eve of the governor's policy statement, long queues formed at fuel
stations in urban centres as private vehicles and commuter buses waited for
fuel deliveries.

Tired commuters queued for hours as they waited in vain for public
transport. Some opted to walk, while others with a bit of cash to spare
splurged on relatively expensive taxis to get themselves home.

"I made a fortune with the little fuel that I bought on the black market,
because I was charging very high fees because of the scarcity of transport,"
Nduna Dube, a taxi driver, told IRIN.

In his monetary policy announcement, Gono blamed the lack of fuel on
"unscrupulous middlemen" and said government would take steps to deal with

He also announced a programme to support the troubled agricultural industry,
which has had yet another poor season.

"In order to ensure maximum productivity levels, there's great scope in the
country for promoting and supporting joint ventures between the new
[resettled] farmers and progressive-minded former operators of horticulture
... as well as other new investors, so as to hasten the skills transfer
cycle," Gono said.

The Reserve Bank would also no longer allow foreign currency account holders
to withdraw hard currency; only those who could prove they were travelling
out of the country would be issued with travellers' cheques, and they would
have to account for the money spent.

Professor Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, a political scientist, described Gono's
policy statement as a reflection "of the levels of desperation" in
government as it attempts to ease foreign currency shortages.

"The fact that the government is prepared to monitor the small amounts in
foreign currency accounts of private citizens shows just how desperate they
are, and how they have run out of ideas," he added.

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Trying to save Zimbabwe's healers
By Steve Vickers
BBC News, Harare

Although the value of some herbs used in traditional African medicine is becoming increasingly talked about around the world, there are fears that the level of knowledge of the art is dwindling on the continent.

Ambuya Jessie Muzhange
Only one of Ambuya Muzhange's eight children knows much about traditional medicine

As more and more Africans adopt urban lifestyles, the interest and enthusiasm for traditional medicine seems to be declining, and many now prefer the pills of Western medicine.

I accompanied Ambuya Jessie Muzhange, an expert herbalist, to a bushy area on the outskirts of Harare.

Digging for roots and searching for different plants that have medicinal properties is an arduous task, requiring a great deal of skill.

Ambuya Muzhange, in her 70s, picked out leaves, branches and roots that most of us would not have even noticed were there.

Eight of her children are still alive, and only one of them has a reasonable level of knowledge of traditional medicine.


The art is passed on by walking in the bush with an expert on an almost daily basis, and most of her children live in the cities and are too busy for this.

"I've helped people with so many different diseases - backaches, nosebleeds, fertility problems, STDs, cancer, and even men who can't perform well in bed," claims Ambuya Muzhange.

"Most of my children find traditional medicine confusing, because it can be very difficult to distinguish the plants and to know their different uses."

The biggest problem with traditional medicine is a lack of quality-control - it is hard to know who is a genuine herbalist who has studied the powers of local plants and who is a charlatan out to make a quick buck.

But many Zimbabweans do appreciate the benefits of traditional medicine, particularly as it is far cheaper than visiting the doctor.

Some western-trained medics appreciate that some herbs may have some benefit but evidence supporting traditional remedies is sparse and medical schools show no sign of incorporating the traditional approach to what they teach.


"The problem with traditional medicine is that there are no prescribed dosages," said Obey Mawire, a final year medical student in Harare.

"We don't know all of the side-effects, and it needs purification, but there could be new discoveries if we incorporate traditional with modern medicine."

Ambuya Jessie Muzhange
Ambuya Muzhange uses leaves and roots which most people would ignore
"But I don't see a situation where I'll be using traditional medicine when I become a general practitioner."

But in the Western world, there is a growing interest in traditional medicine from Africa and the Far East.

As well as being a psychotherapist, Geraldine Kocroft is a fully-fledged traditional healer or n'anga.

She is currently working on a book documenting the benefits of traditional medicine and does not sure the doubts of many western medics.

"It's absolutely priceless, it really works, and God has given it to us, but unfortunately I feel it's a slowly dying art," she said.

"We're losing certain aspects of it, although we might gain some more."

Critics, of course, say that traditional medicine is dying out because there are so many conmen around and there is not enough scientific proof that the cures are effective.

Another reason for the decline is that it can be a secretive art, and knowledge is often not passed between herbalists and traditional healers.

"People tend not to want to share, sometimes they feel that they've been exploited."

A high level of skill is certainly needed to use the traditional medicines that the continent has been blessed with.

Who knows what remedies are yet to be discovered, if the dying art can be kept alive?

Traditional Zimbabwean remedies for common ailments:

Coughs and colds

Take leaves from a guava tree and rub them by hand to bring out the juices.

Put in boiling water and add lemon peel for flavour.

Leave to stand for 30-40 minutes.

Drink half a glass of the warm mixture three to four times a day, 30 minutes before food.

Continue taking for one week, by which time the cough or cold should have gone.


Take dry elephant dung from the bush.

If a nosebleed begins or if you feel one is about to start, burn a teaspoon-sized piece of the dung.

Inhale the smoke, taking deep breaths.

Ear infection

Take three or four grains of fresh maize and pound them.

Put the crushed maize on a clean cloth or handkerchief, tie it, and squeeze hard until juice comes out.

Put two drops of the juice in the infected ear.

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Press Statement from the Movement for Democratic Change (UK) May 19 2005
Tell Us Where You Stand on Zimbabwe
The UK arm of the main opposition in Zimbabwe, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) hereby calls on Zimbabweans and their supporters to demonstrate their rejection of last week’s Zimbabwe election results and calls on the international community to act.
It has become necessary to demonstrate because the international community seems to be ignoring the day-light robbery that took place in Zimbabwe on March 31 when Robert Mugabe’s Zanu(PF) purported to win the Parliamentary election.
As Zimbabweans based in the UK we have the opportunity of demonstrating peacefully without being tear-gassed and beaten up as happened to dignified church women in Harare when they gathered to pray for the country’s future.
Unlike our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe we are able to call on others to join us in demanding that Mugabe resign and leave Zimbabwe in the hands of an international body that will supervise a free and fair election.
Otherwise our country is doomed as no-one is allowed to freely express themselves, neither through the newspapers nor through radio and television, and, as it now turns out, neither through the ballot box.

Our own fathers and mothers set aside election day to go and vote, despite the daily struggle for survival, but their collective wishes were brushed aside in what has become an international embarrassment for the Southern Africa Development Community SADC.
The culture of human rights which was beginning to take root in Zimbabwe and the empowered and fearless political opposition has refused to accept continued fraud, thus the fraud was exposed in full view of local and international journalists – another persecuted lot.
Voter intimidation and candidate intimidation, coercion and attempted murder were as much a part of last week’s election as they were of previous elections. But more directly, electoral officials confirmed that about 10% of the voters were turned away; Zimbabweans outside the country, who probably surpass the number of those who voted in Zimbabwe, were denied the vote; and a senior government official has been arrested with a ballot box in his home.
While we are still able let us send the message to the international community that we are not happy at our brothers’ and sisters’ votes being abused, and that our only ally in this struggle is the international community, which we are now calling upon to act.
The British House of Commons, the House of Lords and indeed the Monarchy itself is now called upon to take a stand and join the rest of the world community on May 25, African Liberation Day, on The Strand.
Matthew Nyashanu
UK Information and Publicity Secretary
Attached (below) find Organising Secretary’s call to Zimbabweans in the UK; send by personal to all in the UK.
For Further Information Contact
Matthew Nyashanu  (underscore after m) tel: +44 (0) 7940308679 or mobile: +44 (0) 794 030 8679 or +44 (0)121 554 5910
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Time To Take A Stand
My fellow Zimbabweans
We have just witnessed our country take another major step towards the point of no return – the next stage will be gnashing of teeth if we don’t stop it. If Zanu (PF) can organise nationwide stuffing of ballots and rig an election, obviously they are planning to stay in power by whatever means.

Whether you are a refugee with your status, an illegal over-stayer, a student, a legal immigrant worker, or you are a professional, what happens in Zimbabwe will affect you.
If that madman Robert Mugabe is allowed to continue running Zimbabwe, we will soon end up with no country to go back home to, because either everybody will have died of hunger or been killed by soldiers who don’t even know what they are defending.
There is no more time for fence-sitting because it is still you who will have to rescue those people, either from hunger and starvation or from Mugabe’s militia who will be knocking on their doors saying, “you voted for MDC we are now dealing with you”.
All the pounds you send will not be able to cover the gap, because there is no food production as land has been taken by chefs and chiefs of this, that and the other who know nothing about farming and have no time for it  - as they are too busy with politricks and dealing in Harare.
There is no foreign currency earning as there is nothing to export, no mining, and Zimbabwean tobacco grown by the very indigenous farmers who selfishly supported Mugabe’s land reforms, is having to be sold on international markets at less than a quarter its price.
Food shortages have already been recorded and this is after mad Mugabe had already told the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation that Zimbabwe does not need any food hand-outs.
The UK wing of the MDC is inviting you to:-
1) demonstrate your rejection of last week’s purported election.
2) demand that Mugabe should hand over power to the UN which will then conduct a new election.
3) Call on the UK government, and the rest of the world to come out clearly condemning what is going on in Harare and taking action to save the innocent citizens.
4) Call on the UK government to cease deportations of Zimbabweans as they will face an uncertain future in Zimbabwe.
As Zimbabweans based in the UK we have the opportunity to demonstrate peacefully without being tear-gassed and beaten up as happened to dignified church women in Harare when they gathered to pray for the country’s future.
Let us do it for the millions in Zimbabwe who have tried to avoid confrontation and went and voted peacefully – only for the election to be stolen from them. We know how hard everyone has to work, but we are asking you to take this one day out for the sake of your country.
Let us also show the British people and the Labour Party which has sacrificed a lot of political mileage protecting Zimbabwean asylum seekers, that we do care about our home and that we do plan to go back home as soon as there is sanity – that we are not enjoying the exploitation that our lack of status is exposing us to.
Contact your local branch or myself and find out what transport arrangements have been made for your area, but most importantly book the day off now so that you will not have an excuse that you were working.
The demo is on May 25 on The Strand, London.
Evaristo Kamera
UK Organising Secretary
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Speaking on Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean exiles appeal to UN

Zimbabwean exiles in Britain are calling on the United Nations to intervene
in Zimbabwe to prevent catastrophe. They are to stage a demonstration on
Africa Day, 25th May, to protest against the stolen parliamentary elections
in Zimbabwe. They will gather outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand,
London from 1 pm – 5 pm in a call to the international community to support
intervention by the UN. ( Nearest Tube Station Charring Cross )
Africa Day is of great symbolic importance, marking the establishment of the
Organisation of African Unity (now the African Union) in 1963. It is
observed throughout the continent. The demonstration is organised by the UK
arm of the Zimbabwean opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), and aims to draw attention to the complicity of Zimbabwe’s neighbours
in maintaining Mugabe in power by their endorsement of the rigged elections.
Speakers to be advised. Interviews arranged on request.
PRESS CALL: 2.30 pm
PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES: Dancing demonstrators with posters, flags and drums.
Matthew Nyashanu MDC UK Secretary for Information and Publicity,
07940 308 679, 0121 554 5910
Makusha Mugabe 0121 567 5662, 07903 127 073
Washington Ali MDC UK Chair, 07786 646 071
Dennis Benton (on demonstration day only) 07932 193 467
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SW Radio Africa : The government is still jamming our shortwave broadcasts. To get around this we are broadcasting on more than one frequency. For the full 3 hours of our broadcast (6pm to 9pm Zimbabwe time) we are on 12145 kHz in the 25m band. We are also broadcasting on 15145 kHz in the 19 metre band from 6pm to 8 pm, on 11770 kHz in the 25 metre band from 8pm to 9pm, and on 4880 kHz in the 60 metre band for the full three hours. In the mornings you will also find us on medium wave from 5am to 7am on 1197 kHz. Outside the broadcast area, listen over the internet at .
VOA Studio 7: Broadcasts every evening from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Zimbabwe time. In Zimbabwe, tune in to 909 AM, and at 4930, 11975 and 17895 kHz shortwave. Studio Seven in the Morning broadcasts for a half hour Monday through Friday beginning at 5:30 a.m. Zimbabwe time at 909 AM and at 4930 and 6080 kHz shortwave. Listeners outside Zimbabwe can access the Studio 7 evening show and Studio 7 in the Morning on the internet at  .
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Archbishop calls for strong leader to oust Mugabe

Andrew Meldrum in Pretoria
Friday May 20, 2005
The Guardian

One of Robert Mugabe's fiercest critics, the Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube, has accused Zimbabwe's opposition of failing to give the strong leadership needed to overthrow the president's regime.

"Zimbabwe needs leadership of great moral stature. We need an opposition that will lead people to stand up against Mugabe's dictatorship, not an opposition that waits for people to go out on the streets and then will follow them," he told the Guardian.

He avoided naming the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), but the target of his criticism was clear.

"It is naive to think that this murderous regime will allow itself to be voted out of office by democratic elections. It is naive to think that people will rise up without leadership," said the prelate, who is the strongest critic of the Mugabe government in Zimbabwe.

Archbishop Ncube said Zimbabweans had failed to rise up against Mr Mugabe during the recent elections because most people were not prepared for sacrifice.

Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party claimed victory, but the MDC is challenging the result in 30 constituencies.

Despite the strong evidence of massive vote rigging the electoral court will not rule in the opposition's favour, the archbishop said.

He said: "The courts have still not ruled on the challenges lodged by the MDC after the 2000 elections. Why would it be any different in 2005?"

The Catholic prelate warned that any mass action against the Mugabe government faced a great risk of violence from government forces.

"It would be worse than Uzbekistan. Everyone knows the Mugabe government has police, army and youth militia who will inflict violence on the people. It is dangerous," he said.

The archbishop also said that there was growing hunger in Zimbabwe.

"There is no food in the shops in the cities. The shelves are bare. There is no petrol. I went to the rural areas last week and people are suffering. They say they will die without food," he said, adding that millions of Zimbabweans were at risk of starvation without food relief.

The government admitted the scale of its economic problems yesterday when it devalued the currency, the Zimbabwean dollar, and banned luxury imports in an effort to stem the haemorrhage of hard currency. The governor of the central bank, Gideon Gono, blamed foreign speculators for Zimbabwe's economic woes.

Economic convulsions have created food shortages, but Archbishop Ncube accused the Mugabe government of refusing food aid to areas that voted for the opposition.

"The government is taking revenge. They are going into villages and refusing to give food to hungry families, old women and families with young children, because they voted for the opposition. This is sinful," he said.

Mr Mugabe said he would welcome food aid from the UN as long as there were no political strings attached. This is a reversal from his previous stance that Zimbabwe had a bumper harvest and would "choke" on international food aid.

Archbishop Ncube said Mr Mugabe's land seizures and economic mismanagement had created the food shortages suffered by the country.

The archbishop was travelling to Scotland, where he is nominated for the Robert Burns humanitarian award, the winner of which will be announced tonight.

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Global Politician

Economic Collapse in Zimbabwe
Jan Lamprecht - 5/21/2005
I must admit that I am pleased to see that Robert Mugabe's Socialist experiment in Zimbabwe is causing chaos. Yet, so many brain-dead people, both inside Africa and outside of it, attacked people like myself, and the many others, who said in 2000 that his Marxist/Racist/anti-White madness would result in incredible suffering and chaos for everyone.

I recently saw a news headline in Johannesburg that Zimbabwe will devalue the dollar by 45%. It is already virtually worthless. In the 1970's, during the days of Ian Smith's rule, with comprehensive world sanctions (which, to my knowledge no other nation on Earth has ever experienced - not even Saddam's Iraq), and with raging internal/external war against the likes of current Zimbabwe leader Robert Mugabe - the Rhodesian Dollar was worth more than the South African Rand and was worth more than a US Dollar!

Yet, 25 years of peace and Mugabe at the helm, destroyed the country's economy for both Blacks and Whites. Driven by his hatred of White people, and his Communist-inspired lust for destroying land owners, Mugabe has brought his country to a ruin more complete than anywhere else in the world.

People are waiting in line for fuel and stampeding for food, while the Police has to arrest those who sell basic necessities on the "Black Market" (i.e. prices set by the free market, not government control).

The Zimbabwe Dollar is worth fractions of a South African cent - and this is the official "high" rate. They are going to devalue it by another 45%. and again, even that rate is far higher than the real free market trading rates.

I would like to point out, how, a mere few months ago, Mugabe and his Government were vehemently denying that the country was falling apart at the seams. They were claiming that inflation was slowing down, a bumper crop had been grown by Black farmers, etc. Clearly, once more... these have been big, bold, blatant lies. At the time, I expressed skepticism
about these positive pronouncements - and now we see - the country is collapsing even more than it was in the past.

Zimbabwe's economy has probably collapsed by at least 75% in the last 5 years. Let it be noted, once more, that White Africans predicted this clearly right from the beginning, while the Black Africans and everyone else on the planet dismissed such predictions. Virtually all of us Whites predicted, from the get-go, that Black people would be much worse off afterwards than before. But nobody ever listens to our views - even when we are proven right.

Meanwhile, Mugabe continues to confiscate property belonging to white farmers, causing more and more damage to the country's economy, with millions already at risk of starvation due to his policies.

Jan Lamprecht was born and raised in Zimbabwe, then called Rhodesia, during the "Bush War", which resulted in Robert Mugabe coming to power. He was educated in Harare, the capital of the country, before leaving for South Africa, where he spent some time in the Navy. He wrote a book called "Government by Deception" about African politics related to Zimbabwe and the effects Mugabe's policies may have on other countries.

He publishes a popular, highly "politically-incorrect" web site
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The Herald UK
Burns award honour for ‘the thorn in Mugabe’s flesh’
THE most outspoken critic of Robert Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe will tonight be honoured with the Robert Burns International Humanitarian Award.
Archbishop Pius Ncube, 57, is due to arrive in Scotland today to collect the accolade at a gala concert and ceremony in Culzean Castle, Ayrshire.
The religious leader is renowned as "a thorn in the flesh" of Mr Mugabe, whose draconian legislation and hostility to white commercial farmers has brought his self-sufficient nation of 11.5 million people to the verge of bankruptcy.
It is understood a panel of judges – which included Lord Steel, Lesley Riddoch and Magnus Linklater – selected the archbishop for the honour.
Other contenders included the sisters of Robert McCartney, the murder victim; Tom Hunter, the tycoon turned philanthropist; John Miller, the Church of Scotland minister nominated for his community work for the poor in the Castlemilk area of Glasgow; and Romeo Dallaire, a former head of the UN's peacekeeping force in Rwanda.
Lord Steel, the Scottish Parliament's inaugural presiding officer, is to announce the winner tonight.
More than five million people face starvation this year and the cash-strapped government of Zimbabwe needs to import at least 1.5 million tonnes of corn from South Africa and three neighbouring states it used to help feed until recently – Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
After this year's general election – a landslide win for Mr Mugabe's ruling ZanuPF – Archbishop Ncube, the Catholic archbishop of Bulawayo, called for a Ukrainian-style peaceful uprising to rid the country of Mr Mugabe, who has ruled the country with an iron rod since its independence from Britain in 1980.
This week, Archbishop Ncube has been in South Africa, where there are almost two million Zimbabwean refugees. He has been calling on his countrymen to kick the president out of office.
He said recently: "People in Zimbabwe have been too soft on this government.
"So people should pluck up just a bit of courage and stand up against him and chase him away."
Mr Mugabe has dismissed Archbishop Ncube as "a puppet of Tony Blair and the West", but to millions in Zimbabwe he is a living saint who daily defies death threats made by members of Mr Mugabe's out-of-control youth wing, the Green Bombers.
Archbishop Ncube recently organised other bishops and church leaders in Zimbabwe to produce a report on pro-government youth militias which are responsible for torture, rape and murders.
The report, based on the church officials' observations in the field, estimates 30,000 to 50,000 young boys have been recruited to play a part in these militias.
Before his departure for the UK, Archbishop Ncube met the press in South Africa to show them a video taken by a group called the Solidarity Peace Trust during the 2005 elections. He is anxious to show Scottish journalists the video to bring home to them what he believes is the full horror of Mr Mugabe's 25-year rule – including how he plans to take hold of all incoming food supplies from Western aid agencies and charities and send them to the starving rural areas as a "gift" to the people of Zimbabwe from himself and ZanuPF.
The humanitarian award ceremony comes as the fourth annual Burns An' A' That! Festival begins in earnest tonight with a traditional gala concert.
Lou Reed, the American rock singer and songwriting legend, will head the line-up at Culzean Castle in a programme that has attracted international coverage.
Other artists who will perform at the 10-day event, sponsored by The Herald and Sunday Herald, include Pete Doherty, the former singer of The Libertines, who will perform his own poetry in tribute to the bard.
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[ This article was printed from - home of the Sunday Times, South Africa. ]
Former finance minister convicted

Friday May 20, 2005 09:55 - (SA)

HARARE - Zimbabwe's former finance minister Chris Kuruneri, facing charges of funnelling funds abroad to buy a mansion in South Africa, has been convicted of breaching citizenship laws by holding dual nationality.

The high-profile trial opened in the Harare high court, with Kuruneri denying charges of exporting foreign currency to buy a mansion in a Cape Town suburb and buy a luxury car in South Africa.

Kuruneri faces seven counts of breaching Zimbabwe's exchange control laws by allegedly transferring $500,000 dollars, 37,000 pounds, 30,000 euros and 1.2 million South African rand to buy and renovate an eight-bedroomed mansion.

The former minister denied the charge, saying he built the house with proceeds from consultancy work he did outside Zimbabwe before he was appointed minister.

Judge Susan Mavangira convicted Kuruneri, on his own plea after he confessed to holding a Canadian passport in addition to a Zimbabwean diplomatic passport.

Zimbabwean law does not allow dual citizenship. The judge is due to sentence Kuruneri for flouting citizenship laws at the end of his trial.

Kuruneri denied charges of smuggling foreign currency to South Africa on various occasions between March 2002 and March 2004 and said the 5.2 million rand he had transferred to South Africa was "supervised by Dr Gideon Gono who was then Chief Executive Officer of Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ) at his own instance."

Gono is now governor of Zimbabwe's central bank and a current favourite of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

Kuruneri also argued that the Cape Town house was bought by a South African company, Choice Decisions, of which he was director.

"The house was purchased by Choice Decisions. Choice Decisions is not Zimbabwean... and therefore does not need the authority of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to enter into any transaction in South Africa," the defence said in its documents to the court.

The court heard testimonies of four South Africans, including two lawyers, involved in the sale of the Cape Town house.

The high court dismissed an application by defence lawyers that the state's charge sheet did not outline any offence and that the court should throw out the case.

Twenty witnesses, including 11 South Africans and Zimbabwe's central bank governor Gono, are lined up to testify against the former finance minister.

Kuruneri was arrested in April last year at the height of the Zimbabwean government's anti-graft crusade, becoming the senior most official to face charges of corruption. He has been in remand prison since.

The trial is to continue with testimonies from prosecution witnesses.


Zimbabwe ex-minister found guilty
President Mugabe
Critics accuse Mr Mugabe of using the anti-corruption drive as a witch-hunt
Former Zimbabwe Finance Minister Chris Kuruneri has been found guilty of breaking Zimbabwe's citizenship laws.

The country does not recognise dual citizenship, but Mr Kuruneri - who is on trial for corruption - admitted travelling on a Canadian passport.

He is accused of illegally channelling funds abroad to buy a mansion in South Africa, which his lawyers dismiss as "mere speculation".

Mr Kuruneri was arrested last year at the height of an anti-corruption drive.

He has spent more than a year in custody and is the most senior official to have been prosecuted during the campaign, launched by President Robert Mugabe.


On Thursday, Zimbabwe devalued its currency by 45% in an attempt to raise foreign exchange for food imports.

Zimbabwe is in the grip of an economic crisis, suffering fuel, food and foreign exchange shortages.

Zimbabwe banknotes
The Zimbabwe dollar has been devalued by 45%
Mr Kuruneri denied charges of smuggling foreign currency to South Africa on various occasions between March 2002 and March 2004, AFP reports.

His defence team argue the house in Cape Town was bought by a South African company, Choice Decisions, of which he was director.

"The house was purchased by Choice Decisions. Choice Decisions is not Zimbabwean... and therefore does not need the authority of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to enter into any transaction in South Africa," the defence said in its documents to the court.

Mr Mugabe launched an anti-corruption drive last January in an effort to tackle the crisis, which he also blames on sabotage by the opposition and foreign powers.

His critics say the anti-corruption drive was a cover for a witch-hunt against members of a faction of his Zanu-PF party which had fallen out of favour.

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The Scotsman   
Fri 20 May 2005
UN arrives to aid Zimbabwe


THE United Nations envoy Joaquim Chissano arrived in Zimbabwe for talks with the president, Robert Mugabe, yesterday, as the country plunged deeper into economic crisis, with mass arrests of black-market traders, long lines for petrol and stampedes for scarce food like sugar.

Mr Chissano, the former president of Mozambique, was due to hold discussions with Mr Mugabe on proposed UN reforms, according to Zimbabwe state radio.

The meeting was also expected to touch on growing food shortages in Zimbabwe, which used to be the "bread basket" of southern Africa.

James Morris, head of the World Food Programme, is due to visit the country, which has an estimated five million people in urgent need of food aid, next week.

Before parliamentary elections in March, Mr Mugabe insisted that the country had a "bumper harvest" of maize and would be self-sufficient in food. But shortly after the poll - won by the ruling Zanu-PF party with a huge majority amid allegations of the use of food as a political weapon to secure votes - the government said it would have to import 1.2 million tonnes of maize.

Reports from the city of Bulawayo said two women with babies on their backs were injured on Wednesday when shoppers stampeded for sugar, not seen in stores for many weeks.

Long lines also formed for bread, wheat flour and maize meal, the staple diet of Zimbabwe's 11.6 million people.

At a filling station in Harare owned by a government minister, motorists who had waited two days for petrol became angry when stocks ran out after preference was given to a last-minute "VIP" line of limousines, off-road vehicles and soldiers in private cars. The resulting near-riot caused gridlock on a major road.

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The Herald

Come back home, fugitive bankers told

Business Reporter
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor, Dr Gideon Gono, has appealed to all bankers who skipped Zimbabwe’s borders, following the blitz on non-permissible banking practices to come back home and help in the ongoing economic turnaround programme.

Presenting his Post-Election and Drought Mitigation Monetary Policy Statement yesterday, Dr Gono said the bankers should return and assist in the resolution of the challenges some of them left behind.

The governor said the Attorney-General, Commissioner of Police and himself were prepared to assist those wishing to come back.

"No other heart has ached more than that of your Governor and his team as we tried to reach out to victims of this turnaround programme in vain search of less fatal solutions to individual banking crises that characterised our economy last year.

"I have personally asked individual bankers who fled the country to come back home, for Zimbabwe is their only home, so we can discuss their predicament as Zimbabweans but they have asked your Governor to give them impossible assurances that are outside the competence of my office," said Dr Gono.

Among the high-profile bankers who fled the country following reports that the police wanted to question them on several allegations of financial impropriety are the NMB Holdings quartet of chief executive Dr Julius Makoni, his deputy Mr James Mushore, Mr Otto Chekeche and Mr Francis Zimuto.

The other bank directors who decided to become fugitives from justice are Barbican Holdings and Intermarket founder members Dr Mthuli Ncube and Mr Nicholas Vingirai, respectively.

The RBZ Governor added that these bankers had even asked him to repeal some laws passed by Parliament, such as the 21-day detention law, something that he unfortunately had no legal muscle to enforce, pointing out that only the bankers’ respective constituency Members of Parliament had the power to do so.

"They have asked that the Governor declares an amnesty for all economic crimes committed before the turnaround programme. Again, they have forgotten that the prerogative of such declarations and clemency resides outside the Governor’s office.

"They have asked for assurances that should they return, they will not be arrested," said the RBZ Governor.

However, said the RBZ boss, his response had been that he was neither the Commissioner of Police nor the Attorney-General to be able to make such determinations, but depending on each case, the responsible authorities might decide to proceed by way of summons.

"So there you are fellow bankers outside our borders, come home and assist in the resolution of some of the challenges some of you left behind and those bankers wishing to be assisted in their return should contact either the Governor, Attorney-General or the Police Commissioner," said the RBZ governor.

The fugitive directors from the three banks are wanted for questioning in connection with breaching exchange control regulations that saw them dealing in unauthorised foreign currency transactions as well as awarding themselves hefty non-performing insider loans which brought down their banks.

NMB directors are alleged to have externalised in excess of $30 billion, which they, however, deny. In fact, most of the financial institution directors implicated in financial scams have denied any wrongdoing.

Such wayward behaviour, that also included speculation, imprudent investments, unsecured lending and trade in foreign currency on the parallel market almost brought Zimbabwe’s financial sector to its knees as such forms of corruption had taken root in nearly every corner of the financial sector.

Mr Gilbert Mponda, one of the founder members of the collapsed ENG Asset Management, and business mogul Mr Mutumwa Mawere are also wanted in Zimbabwe by police for questioning on economic-related crimes.

The RBZ has since instituted several bold measures to stabilise and transform all banking activities, which has seen the creation of the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group into which three of the failed financial institutions — Trust Bank, Barbican Bank and Royal Bank — have since been incorporated.

The Governor, in direct condemnation of unfounded speculation that was doing the rounds a few weeks ago, declared that he and his compatriots will never retreat in surrender, put down turnaround weapons in capitulation or shrink from the determination to win the economic turnaround war.

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Mugabe slams law to bar foreign rights groups

    May 19 2005 at 12:33PM

Harare - President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has refused to sign a controversial new law that would have barred foreign rights groups from operating in the country, a newspaper said on Thursday.

The non-governmental organisations (NGO) bill, which also outlawed local groups from receiving outside funds, was passed by parliament last year after marathon debate and fierce opposition resistance.

The bill had to be signed by the president before it became law.

"The NGO bill was sent to the president for assent and he did not do so because of one or two issues he wanted to be addressed," Social Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche told a state-controlled newspaper.


The minister did not say what the issues were.

The proposed law, which drew widespread criticism from rights groups around the world, barred the registration of foreign non-governmental organisations if their work was purely for the promotion and protection of human rights.

Several human rights groups in Zimbabwe have since 2000 been chronicling alleged abuses by Mugabe's government.

Critics said the law would be used to shut down perceived opponents, just as a controversial press law passed in 2002 was used to shut down four independent newspapers critical of the government.

Parliament is set to resume next month, with Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front holding a majority of 78 seats to 41 for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. - Sapa-dpa
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the zimbabwean
UZ students arrested for singing
HARARE - More than 65 University of Zimbabwe students aboard a ZUPCO bus registration number AAA 0932 were arrested on Saturday morning at Rezende bus terminus. Trouble began when the student’s decide to entertain themselves by singing morale-boosting songs during the short ride into the city centre.
Unbekown to the students, a CIO Defender vehicle, registration number 750-027G, was right behind them. On arrival the Defender blocked the entrance into the bus and the security man in charge ordered everyone in the bus to stay put. The CIO vehicle then escorted the bus carrying the students to Harare central police station for questioning.

At the time of going to press, the fate of the students was still unknown. Officers at Harare central refused to shed any light on the issue, directing all questions to the police spokesman who could not be reached for comment.
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the zimbabwean
Bennett in max security prison
HARARE - The Zimbabwean authorities have moved Roy Bennett once again, without notice or justification, this time to the country's maximum security jail, Chikurubi.
His family has no idea why he has been moved or under what conditions he is now being held. Roy has spent the past six and a half months in prison after being sentenced by the Zanu (PF) members of parliament to one year in jail after he pushed the Minister of Parliament, Patrick Chinamasa during a parliamentary debate.

Chikurubi is notorious among Zimbabwean jails for the harsh treatment of prisoners and the appalling health and sanitary conditions. Diseases such as tuberculosis are rife, the water supply is often contaminated and severe overcrowding assist the spread of infection. ZW News
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the Zimbabwean
South Africa buys Zimbabwe
LONDON - While President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa’s overt support for President Robert Mugabe and his tyrannical, corrupt regime in Zimbabwe merely serves to make Mugabe more intransigent, it is having a profound effect on the fundamental fabric of the nation.
While the world is confused by all the politicking - endlessly debating Mbeki’s possible motives and employing futile isolationist tactics against the Mugabe regime - a quiet, but significant, transfer of ownership is taking place under our very noses.

A few week’s ago this newspaper highlighted the inroads being made into Zimbabwe’s economy by the Chinese. This is insignificant when compared with the systematic cherry-picking that has been taking place over the past few years as Zimbabwean companies collapse under the weight of government’s economic mismanagement and corruption.

The good-natured, neighbourly ‘rescue’ operations have been carried out in line with accepted good business practice all over the world. But the result has been, nonetheless, a transfer of ownership of the lion’s share of a once-vibrant, resilient and diverse manufacturing industry to South African business interests.

In the past five years, Zimbabwe’s economy has been in an ever-increasing tailspin, which has rendered it wide open to predatory cherry-picking. Weakened by price controls, forex shortages and insane economic policies, Zimbabwean business has been easy prey for the South Africans.

South African business is adept and aggressive and has been making notable inroads into the African continent ever since the end of apartheid. Just last week the news broke that a South African bank has come to the rescue of Zimbabwe’s fuel woes by providing foreign exchange for importation of precious commodity.

This week it is alleged that ZESA is paying the South African power utility Eskom for electricity in gold bars. Land, mines, shareholding in financial institutions, ivory and tobacco are just a few of the innovative ways in which the Government of Zimbabwe has paid its foreign debts recently. Why not gold bars?

As a prominent Zimbabwean businessman told The Zimbabwean: “South Africa could soon get the whole of Zimbabwe at a bargain price if the economic collapse continues, because our weakened state absolutely prohibits us from defending our much-trumpeted sovereignty.

“This could take the form of a Southern African Federation that leaves each federal state with its own governor. This would bring us under the South African Reserve Bank and the Rand would sweep aside the useless Zimbabwe dollar. It would be rather like West Germany's rescue of East Germany and it would probably cause South Africa rather less indigestion that West Germany is suffering now!” he suggested.
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the zimbabwean
Leaf of gold under threat
golden leaf
Tobacco - the golden leaf
HARARE - The tobacco-selling season opened 4 weeks ago. By now the outlook for the current crop and therefore the next crop should have been well established. In fact nothing of the sort has happened and if nothing is done about the present situation very soon, this could be the last year that Virginia flue cured tobacco from Zimbabwe makes any sort of contribution to the world market or to the Zimbabwean economy.
The Zimbabwe tobacco industry has an interesting background. Tobacco production was encouraged during the period when the country was part of the “Sterling Zone” and was able to trade with the United Kingdom in sterling as its own reserve currency.

At the end of the Second World War, thousands of ex servicemen were offered settlement grants in a number of Commonwealth countries and this country was a preferred destination for Air Force personnel who had trained here during the war.

Generally they were above average individuals and when granted land and financing in the then Rhodesia, many of these individuals took to tobacco. Much of the commercial farming areas settled were on poor, leached sand veld, which was not suited to much else.

However, it grew superb tobacco and in a few years, the country began to play a global role as a producer of light, flavored styles of low nicotine tobacco. This became a favorite in many blends and attracted a premium price on local auctions.

In the days of UDI the very nature of the crop made it a target for the sanctions imposed by the UN and the size of the crop fell dramatically. Traditional buyers withdrew and in their place a generation of new players who were themselves to become global tobacco merchants took their place.

After independence in 1980 it took another five years before the crop was again playing a significant role in the global market for tobacco.

In 1997, the crop was about 230 000 tonnes and was third in the world after the USA and Brazil as an export product. Then came the land invasions and the subsequent illegal expropriation of farm assets by politically connected individuals.

The size of the crop collapsed to 85 000 tonnes in 2003/04 and is expected to be about 65 000 tonnes in 2004/05. The quality deteriorated and today more than half the crop is designated as filler style tobacco that attracts a low price because of over production in the rest of the world.

Irrigated tobacco is down to 7000 hectares from 32 000 hectares in 2000 and this has further impacted on the crop. Yields have declined by over 50 per cent and while the number of registered growers has trebled – most are very small and are unable to handle the complexities of flue cured tobacco production and marketing.

The death knell, however, may come from another source: the Reserve Bank and the Ministry of Finance have not adjusted the official exchange rate for months and with the “official rate” to the USD standing at 824 to 1 and the so-called “auction rate” at 6000 to 1, the real rate is more like 22000 to 1 and reflects the real cost of tobacco production at this time.

For this reason and the poor quality of the crop, tobacco sales are currently yielding a price in local currency that is well below the prices received last year. With inflation at 250 per cent or more, this is the greatest threat to the industry in more than 50 years.
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the zimbabwean
Harare descends into chaos
Rubbish in Harare
HARARE - In Tafara, one of Harare's working class suburbs, Cynthia Mutepfa wakes before dawn each day and walks three kilometres to fetch water from a makeshift well alongside one of the capital city's heavily polluted streams.
Cynthia, 22, places a 20-litre plastic container on her head before tip-toeing through her back yard to avoid stepping into the maggot-infested raw sewage that has flooded from the local burst sewer tank.

She spends the best part of an hour jostling with other desperate residents for a few gallons of water from the unprotected well, which is just a mud hole dug deep to reach the water table beneath the city.

The majority of Tafara's 100,000 residents have resorted to drinking water from local streams fed mainly by water from burst sewerage and drainage pipes. Cynthia, like thousands of others, last had tap water a month ago.

"We have gone for months without guaranteed water. The burst sewer pipes have not been repaired for two months," she said.

Cynthia's story has become typical of that of Harare residents - both in the city centre and the outlying townships - as water, electricity, garbage collection and other services have entered freefall.

Uncollected rubbish is even piling up in the central business district. Side lanes and street alleys reek with rotting garbage that has lain untouched for weeks as the ruling ZANU PF-appointed council fails to collect the waste due to alleged mismanagement, which has been exacerbated by the country's crippling fuel shortages and power station breakdowns.

"We have no choice but to dump the rubbish anywhere we can as the council has not collected any for the past two weeks," said Tinarwo Makura, a resident of Highfield, one of the oldest of Harare's outer suburbs.

Most city roads are riddled with potholes so big that small cars could sink into them, while others are impassable because of huge holes dug by the council in its bid to repair the continuously bursting water pipes.

Raw sewage has been allowed to spill into Harare's main water sources such as Lake Chivero, to the west of the capital, posing serious health threats to all its residents. Environmentalists and health experts warn that Harare is sitting on a disease time bomb.

Angus Martens, of the up-market Arcadia suburb's residents' association, said companies and residents alike had turned the small local Mukuvisi river into a dumping ground.

"There are no council services to talk of," said Martens. "Homeowners and companies have had to resort to dumping their rubbish."

Schools are turning pupils away because there is no drinking water or water to flush toilets. So desperate is the situation that a litre of imported water is more expensive than a litre of scarce petrol, which was heavily subsidised before the recent parliamentary election as a tactic by the governing Zanu (PF).

Observers believe that the government is now frightened to end the subsidies for fear of accelerated inflation, already running at an estimated 400 per cent. One celebrated cartoon shows robbers holding up a man pushing a wheelbarrow-load of Weimar Republic-style cash. The crooks demand that their victim throw out the worthless banknotes and hand over the wheelbarrow.

Cars, buses and mini-bus taxis form long snaking queues at petrol stations in the hope that a tanker load of fuel might arrive. Zimbabweans have christened such lines of motorists "hope queues".

As the water crisis worsens, some of the emergency wells and boreholes on which people are dependent are beginning to dry up because the water table is receding.

Janest Museve, who lives in the suburb of Hatfield, said the water from her emergency well had suddenly turned cloudy. "We are suffering," she said. "The water we used to get from the well is now coming out very dirty."

Collin Gwiyo, deputy secretary general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, ZCTU, said, "Try to imagine waking up to go to work and there is no water for you to bathe, no electricity to warm your water up and cook food, then there is no transport to ferry you to work? How many problems can befall a person? That is the situation we arrived at in Zimbabwe."

The situation is a classic case of how failed governance and political interference have led to the collapse of services right across the country.

Similar stories are reported from many smaller towns. In the mining town of Zvishavane, 300 km southwest of Harare, the weekly Standard newspaper reports raw sewage flowing on the streets as a result of un-repaired pipes.

In Marondera, southeast of the capital, schools are closing because of water and electricity supply problems. "The water cuts are unexpected and unexplained, and trying to find anyone in authority prepared to talk about the problem, the reason or the expected duration, is a complete waste of time," said Marondera resident Cathy Buckle.

"A casual telephone enquiry about the daily power cuts to the local electricity offices resulted in a flustered employee giving some mumbled excuses about insufficient maintenance, no money for spares and no foreign currency."

Harare residents attribute their city's crumbling services to government meddling in the running of local authorities, which has seen elected councils being eliminated for political expediency.

The central government took control of Harare after voters elected Elias Mudzuri, of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, as mayor in 2002. All efforts by Mudzuri to run the city efficiently were blocked by the central government, which last year dismissed him and appointed its own commissioners, handpicked by Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo, to run the capital.

Since then services have been in freefall and nearly all the municipality's engineers have resigned and left the country. Combined Harare Residents Association, CHRA, an umbrella body for the capital's residents associations, blamed government's interference for the crisis in the city, saying politics have taken precedence over good governance in most local authorities.

"Since the appointment of the government commission, service delivery has reached its lowest ebb," a CHRA spokesman told IWPR. "Burst water pipes go un-repaired for weeks and the problem of street lights has not been attended to, plunging streets into darkness."

The commission's excuse for its failure to collect rubbish is the shortage of fuel and the expiry of contracts signed with private refuse collectors.

"The council has not collected refuse here for two months," Israel Mabhou, chairman of the Mbare suburb residents' association, said angrily. "Our last option would be to carry these bins and the rotting rubbish and dump them at [its headquarters]. We are sick and tired of their excuses."

The situation is even worse in Bulawayo, which has an MDC mayor. The central government has refused him and his city council all borrowing powers, making it virtually impossible to maintain minimal services.

Few people see an end to what is now a multiple crisis resulting from collapsed industries, non-functioning infrastructure and international isolation and sanctions.
Dzikamai Chidyausiku is the pseudonym of an IWPR journalist in Zimbabwe.
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