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

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Zimbabwe's economy seen on brink of collapse
Mon May 23, 2005 9:22 AM BST

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's central bank governor is ringing an alarm for
the country to fight "bravely" to save an economy on the brink of collapse,
but analysts say his plans may fail on President Robert Mugabe's
controversial politics.

The southern African country is struggling with a deepening economic crisis
dramatised in fuel, food and foreign currency shortages, which many critics
blame on mismanagement by Mugabe's 25-year-old government.

On Friday fuel pumps in Harare were dry, as public transport operators
queued up for hours for fuel at the few outlets selling the commodity. On
Thursday evening many people were forced to walk home from work in the
capital Harare.

Supplies of most basic commodities like the staple maize mealie, cooking oil
and sugar have been erratic in both rural and urban areas with supermarkets
out of stock for days on end.

Central bank Governor Gideon Gono devalued the currency by 31 percent on
Thursday in a bid to raise foreign exchange for vital food imports after a
devastating drought.

He also slashed interest rates for exporters and warned he may escalate a
crackdown on corruption as part of measures to bring the economy out of a
six-year recession. Growth forecasts for 2005 were revised lower.

But analysts said Gono's economic recovery programme would not succeed
unless the government reviewed some of the policies partly blamed for
damaging the economy, once regarded as one of Africa's most vibrant and

"The political framework for economic recovery is outside Gono's influence,
and although the situation is desperate, there is nothing to suggest that
the government is going to do the right things at the right time," said
Lovemore Madhuku, chairman of political pressure group National
Constitutional Assembly.

"Mugabe has staked his public pride on some of the policies that Gono says
need to be revisited ... and if there any reviews Mugabe will want those to
be done slowly while maintaining an impression that he is sticking to his
position," he said.

Gono said on Thursday he was disappointed in poor output among Zimbabwe's
new black farmers and called on the government to allow the return of some
white commercial farmers who lost their farms during Mugabe's controversial
land reform programme.

Agriculture, particularly tobacco, was once a key earner of foreign currency
for the country's now struggling economy.


But Gono -- clearly aware of the implications of his statement -- said this
did not mean there was going to be a reversal of Mugabe's redistribution of
white-owned land to black farmers.

The central bank governor also said Mugabe's government had promised to
reaffirm to the world that it respects the sanctity of private property

Critics say these were undermined by the land seizures and by the
confiscation of some black-owned businesses during a recent state crackdown
on corruption.

In a lengthy statement, Gono said Zimbabwe was working hard to repair
relations with Western donors, including the IMF and World Bank, which along
with the European Union and the United States, have cut aid to the country
over Mugabe's policies.

Leading Zimbabwean economic commentator Eric Bloch said Gono's statement
contained some solid and practical plans to rescue the economy which has
shrunk by more than 30 percent in the last five years.

"The big question is whether the authorities and all the other key economic
stakeholders are going to do their bit because if they don't do, we are
doomed," he said.

Besides devaluing the Zimbabwe dollar to 9,000 to the U.S. dollar from 6,200
Gono said the central bank would come down hard on black market traders
thriving on shortages of food, fuel and foreign currency.

The 31 percent adjustment was within a range predicted by analysts but well
below the black market rate of up to 18,000 to the dollar demanded by

Mugabe, 81, and in power since independence says the Zimbabwe economy is
being sabotaged by foreign and domestic opponents trying to oust him over
his nationalist policies.

Gono said on Thursday the economy was on the crossroads.

"We are going to swim or sink together," he said.

Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.
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May 23, 3:04 PM EDT

Zimbabwe Police Target Street Vendors

Associated Press Writer

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- Paramilitary units armed with batons and tear gas
patrolled Harare's main roads Monday as police warned they would not
tolerate any more protests against their crackdown on street trading - the
only livelihood for thousands in Zimbabwe's shattered economy.

Police Chief Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka said 9,653 people have been
arrested in a five-day blitz on street vendors, flea market stalls and other
informal businesses.

The roundup of street traders - who include teachers and other professionals
unable to make a living at their old jobs - came as the government took
drastic measures to address an economic crisis it once denied.

The crackdown is aimed at crushing the black market for scarce staple goods
such as maize meal, sugar and gasoline. The government claims the traders
are not licensed and blames them for sabotaging the economy.

Angry demonstrators clashed with police over the weekend in the most serious
unrest since President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF won a landslide
victory in March 31 parliamentary general elections, widely condemned by
Western governments for alleged vote-rigging and intimidation. Mugabe, 81,
has been in power since independence in 1980.

During the election campaign, the government had scoffed at critics who said
the economy was on the verge of collapse. But since winning, it has taken
drastic action, last week announcing a 45 percent devaluation of the
Zimbabwean currency against the U.S. dollar, a ban on luxury imports and
heavy subsidies for agriculture and exporters.

After seven years of unprecedented economic decline, 80 percent of the work
force is unemployed and 4 million of Zimbabwe's 16 million people have
emigrated. Agriculture, once the mainstay, has been hard hit by Mugabe's
seizure of 5,000 white-owned farms for redistribution to blacks.

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change,
accused Mugabe of trying to create conditions for declaring a state of
emergency, which would give him unlimited powers of detention, seizure and


Zimbabwe faces disastrous harvest, WFP warns

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Tsvangirai accused Mugabe of ordering the crackdown in response to pressure
from newly arrived Chinese businessmen to stop secondhand dealers
undercutting their cheap imports.

"The country has been mortgaged to the Chinese," Tsvangirai said in a
statement. "How can we violently remove Zimbabweans from our flea markets to
make way for the Chinese? The majority of Zimbabweans depend on informal
trade to feed, clothe and educate their families."

Under Mugabe's "Look East" policy, the country has acquired airliners and
jet fighters from Beijing, rejecting calls to restore links with the
International Monetary Fund and World Bank severed in 1998 over chronic
budget indiscipline.

Police chief Mandipaka said police were deployed and commuter buses were
banned from the city center to prevent protests.

He said street vendors had been fined for operating without licenses and for
possessing staple items such as maize meal, sugar and gasoline they planned
to resell on the black market.

"Police will leave no stone unturned in their endeavor to flush out economic
saboteurs," said Mandipaka.

One fruit vendor, Wilbetson Ndou, 60, said police raided his stall Saturday
and confiscated everything in sight.

"I am cross. They just took everything. I've had a license for a year ...
but they say they don't care," said Ndou. "I have been selling like this on
the street for 35 years."

Crackdowns also were launched in the cities of Gweru and Bulawayo,
strongholds of the opposition. In Harare's Mbare township, police seized 40
tons of sugar. Ten filling station attendants were arrested with 7,900
gallons of gasoline.
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Informal traders hit back at govt crackdown

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

HARARE, 23 May 2005 (IRIN) - Human rights activists in Zimbabwe have
condemned the police for their heavy-handed tactics in an ongoing crackdown
on crime.

In a campaign code-named Murambatsvina (a Shona word for "clean-up"), police
officers last week arrested and detained unlicensed street-vendors, accusing
them of dealing in foreign currency.

Urban centres like Gweru, Bulawayo and Harare, the capital, were the hardest
hit, with thousands of unregistered business owners arrested and their
commodities confiscated. Public transport operators were also rounded up in
the police blitz and asked to explain where they had acquired the forex to
import their vehicles.

A total of 9,653 people have reportedly been arrested so far, and 30 mt of
sugar, 8,000 litres of diesel and 13,500 litres of petrol recovered.

The government has defended the clampdown, arguing that illegal trading on
the parallel market was contributing to rising crime rates in urban areas.

"A lot of illegal activities were flourishing around Harare and the rest of
the country, and that is what we want to eliminate," police spokesman Oliver
Mandipaka told IRIN.

The clampdown has elicited retaliation from some traders, who fought running
battles with police.

Law enforcement officers found themselves on the receiving end of a barrage
of stones when the residents of Chitungwiza, a satellite town 35km from
Harare, resisted attempts to demolish their informal 'tuck-shops' at the

Otto Saki, a project officer with Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
said it was unfortunate that the police had allegedly used strong-arm
tactics to tackle small-scale traders, and ZLHR had met with representatives
of the street traders to help them challenge the police action in court.

The leader of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan
Tsvangirai, alleged that the clampdown on vendors was the ruling party's
retribution for the opposition having maintained its control of urban areas
in the 31 March parliamentary elections.

"It is unfortunate that a government that claims to have been legitimately
elected by the people can descend on its own citizens with such brutal
force - it does not make sense to shut down the informal industry, because
that is the main form of trade left in the country: the economy has been
mauled," Tsvangirai told IRIN.

Zimbabwe is facing its worst ever economic crisis, characterised by the
flight of investors and donors, runaway inflation and shortages of fuel and
foreign currency.
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Communities report widespread crop failures

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

JOHANNESBURG, 23 May 2005 (IRIN) - A survey of communities across Zimbabwe
points to a sharply deteriorating food security situation, with 82 percent
of districts reporting widespread crop failure after poor rains in the
2004/05 growing season.

"[This] is atypical for this time of year, and compares with 29 percent of
districts reporting this [rise in food insecurity] in April 2004. In
previous years April has been ... the period with the highest share of
districts reporting improved food supplies, as harvest yields boost
household supplies," said the latest report by Food Security Network
(FOSENET), a national NGO.

Although reports of deteriorating food supplies were received from all 45
districts surveyed, the worst-affected districts were situated in a central
arc within Matabeleland North, Masvingo and Midlands provinces.

Supplies of the staple maize meal also began to fall at urban sites in

Early harvest yields usually contribute to improved food availability from
March onwards, but "a large proportion of households are reported to be
sourcing food from commercial sources, both in rural and urban areas," the
survey found.

"Reports from sentinel sites indicate that the share of households sourcing
food from [their] own harvest is low, with 20 percent of districts reported
to be using this as a food source in April 2005. This has fallen since
September 2004, when 52 percent of districts reported this as a food source,
and compares unfavourably to the 44 percent reported in April 2004," FOSENET
pointed out.

The lack of rain meant "three-quarters of districts (72 percent) reported
that households in the wards planted maize - and nearly two-thirds (62
percent) of these districts reported that the crop yield is poor to none".

Apart from a greater reliance on the open market for food, communities have
also turned to the state's Grain Marketing Board (GMB).

"GMB deliveries were reported in sites in 49 percent of the districts in
April 2005. This is an increase compared to the 23 percent reporting this in
September 2004, and significantly higher than the 21 percent reporting this
in April 2004," the researchers discovered.

However, a rise in the GMB's controlled maize price has also been
highlighted as a problem for the poor. "Communities report that households
have had difficulty affording GMB maize, with prices of Zim $10,000 [US
$1.11] per 10 kg of grain being reported. Prices of GMB maize are reported
to have risen by an average of 90 percent since April 2004," FOSENET

Prices of commercial maize meal have also increased since last year, with
the reported price in both formal and informal markets averaging Zim $24,000
($2.66) per 10 kg, just over double the price of GMB maize grain.

"Higher prices remain a problem for the urban poor, as they are primarily
dependent on commercial sources for food. Monitors in half of the sites
reported that 49 percent of households in their sites cannot afford these
commercial maize meal prices," the report added.

Commercial supplies of maize meal were also significantly less than April
2004, a reflection of the "overall production shortfalls".

Relief activities were reported in just 12 districts, including the
government's cash-for-work programme and some NGO feeding of school
children, pregnant women and people living with HIV/AIDS.

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New Zimbabwe

Archbishop Ncube slams Britain over asylum seekers

This is the full text of an acceptance speech delivered by Archbishop Pius
Ncube on being awarded the Robert Burns International Humanitarian Award in
Scotland last Friday
By Archbishop Pius Ncube
Last updated: 05/24/2005 03:40:31
I WAS surprised to be nominated for this award because I did not expect
anyone to know me in Scotland. I stand here today feeling very happy to
receive this beautiful Robert Burns International Humanitarian Award. I feel
I am undeserving and unworthy of this great honour.
I say I am undeserving because the cause for justice, rule of law, the
respect for human rights, and decent living, have not been realised yet in

The President of Zimbabwe is also called Robert, like the celebrated
Scottish Poet Robert Burns - yet he is lacking in compassion and feeling for
others, unlike the poet, who was a compassionate and considerate man.

Of 53 countries in Africa, Zimbabwe had the second best economy to South
Africa. Since 5 years ago our State President Robert Mugabe has become
authoritarian. He lawlessly grabbed 2000 commercial farms in order to
destroy the newly formed opposition party - the Movement for Democratic
Change - which was a challenge to him, and to strengthen his political
position, thereby destroying the economy of the country.

Of the 12 million people in Zimbabwe, 5.5 million are now in need of food
aid. Many spend 4 days without food, thousands of babies and young children
have died of malnutrition each year, because those who possess the farms do
not know any farming. The inflation rate is 400% per annum. Unemployment is
over 80%, industry closes down, 2 million Zimbabweans are infected with AIDS
and do not get any proper treatment because our hospitals have no medicines
and the doctors and nurses have left the country in big numbers.

It is known that 3.4 million Zimbabweans have left the country. Mugabe has
rigged 3 elections to his advantage since the year 2000. He has banned 4
newspapers and all media is reduced to propaganda. The people are hounded by
state intelligence and police and the President uses torture to intimidate
the people and keep them afraid.

It also saddens me that the British Government since September last year has
embarked on forced repatriation of Zimbabweans who are asylum seekers. They
fled from harassment, torture, and a threat to their lives and they will be
made to suffer when they are returned. Some Zimbabweans are handcuffed,
jailed and badly treated here in Britain. And as Great Britain is a highly
respected country in the world, I am afraid that this attitude will be
followed in other wealthier Commonwealth countries, as happened with the
imposition of the visa on Zimbabweans in November 2002. I plead that you be
patient with Zimbabweans till the situation normalises.

The little I know about the celebrated Scottish Poet, Robert Burns, shows
that he had a hard life and understood the lot of the common man. He wrote
the poem: 'A Man's a man for a' that' to portray the dignity of the common
man. He calls on human beings to be brothers and sisters and to support one
another through respect, love and service. There is no greater message in
all the world than that.

In receiving this award, I do it on behalf of many others who work for peace
in Zimbabwe. I also receive it on behalf of the suffering people of

Finally, I thank Lord David Steel and the Award Panel for electing me to
receive this Award. I have discovered that Scotland is a beautiful place
with warm-hearted lovely people. I receive this award on behalf of those who
suffer from repression in Zimbabwe. I thank you all.

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Business Report

Gono urges Zimbabwe to lure back horticulturists
May 23, 2005

Harare - Zimbabwe, the sixth-biggest rose producer until 2001, may offer
leases to resume farming to the former owners of flower and vegetable farms
whose land was seized by the government.

Central bank governor Gideon Gono said late last week he was disappointed in
poor output by new black farmers and called on the government to allow some
white commercial farmers, who lost their farms during the government's
controversial land reform programme, to return.

"New investors, or skilled former operators, would be given special
dispensation and guarantees of uninterrupted productive tenure of five to 10
years," Gono said in a statement on Thursday.

The government began seizing commercial farms in 2000 in a controversial
land redistribution drive, forcing many white farmers to emigrate, but Gono
said they might be invited back because of their technical knowledge.

"There is great scope for promoting and supporting joint ventures between
the new farmers with progressive-minded former operators of former
agriculture estates, as well as other new investors, so as to hasten the
skills transfer cycle," Gono said.

The state would protect farmers from disruptions by landless people who had
invaded many of the commercial farms, he said.

But Gono said this did not mean there would be a reversal of the land
redistribution programme.

In 2000 Zimbabwe earned $87 million (R569 million) by selling flowers,
mainly to traders in Amsterdam. Vegetables were also exported to UK firms
such as Tesco.
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UN to check on Zimbabwe food crisis

Andrew Meldrum in Pretoria
Monday May 23, 2005
The Guardian

A special United Nations envoy is to visit Zimbabwe this week to assess the
country's critical food situation.
It is not clear what reception James Morris, director of the World Food
Programme (WFP), will get from the Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, who
curtailed UN food distribution last year.

Mr Mugabe said last week that he would accept UN food aid, so long as it
came with no political conditions.

He admitted that Zimbabwe, once known as Africa's breadbasket, would need
international food aid for the fourth consecutive year.

Mr Morris's visit comes as Zimbabwe is in the throes of severe shortages of
food, fuel and other basic commodities. Mr Morris is going as a special
envoy of the UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan, with a brief to look at the
availability of food and the impact of Aids on food production.

He is also charged with assessing the role of weak government in food

Zimbabwe needs to import 1.2m tonnes of grain over the next 12 months at a
cost of $250m (137m), according to new government figures.

The government announced on Friday that it was drastically revising its
budget to find the funds for the imports.

Mr Mugabe blames drought for the crop failures. The World Food Programme
says that the impact of Aids has also decreased Zimbabwe's agricultural
productivity, as the country has an HIV infection rate of more than 25%.

However, independent agricultural experts place the blame for the drastic
drop in food production on Mr Mugabe's land seizures and the ensuing chaos
which has hindered cultivation.

Mr Mugabe's government is refusing food to desperately hungry families
suspected of supporting the opposition, human rights campaigners said last

The Roman Catholic archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube, showed videos of
several poor Zimbabweans who accused the government of denying food to them.

It is not clear if Mr Mugabe will insist that his government distributes all
United Nations food aid. In the past all UN food assistance was distributed

Several former white farmers in Zimbabwe yesterday told the Guardian that
they were not giving serious consideration to the suggestion made by Mr
Mugabe's key economic aide that some white farmers could return to farming.

In a wide-ranging statement on emergency economic measures on Thursday, the
Central Bank governor, Gideon Gono, proposed that selected white farmers
could go back to farming on 10-year leases.

His proposal is widely viewed as a further admission that the land seizures
have provoked Zimbabwe's recurrent food shortages. But white former farmers
rejected Mr Gono's proposal.

"It is a fiction and a fraud," said Joe Whaley, who was thrown off his
tobacco farm in Norton three years ago. "The government would have to make
fundamental changes before anyone in their right mind could look at the

"It is a lawless situation right now. People get land for political
patronage. It is rotten to the core."

Mr Whaley is starting to farm in neighbouring Zambia, at the invitation of
Lusaka government.

A leader of former white farmers said the new land proposition was only on
offer to those farmers who give up their title deeds.

"It is like someone stealing your car and then coming back and asking you
for the registration papers in order for you to lease the car back," said
John Worsley-Worswick, chief executive of Justice for Agriculture.

"Even as Gono makes this suggestion, there are dozens of farmers who are
being thrown off their land.

"What is happening on the ground is a direct contradiction of Mr Gono's
propaganda. He is trying to put a face of respectability on to the
government's land policies."

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The Herald

Tourism sector under probe

By Paul Nyakazeya and Martin Kadzere
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has turned to the tourism sector in its
crackdown on perpetrators of speculative and corrupt practices that are
threatening to cripple the economy.

This was part of the ongoing clean-up campaign by the central bank to
restore sanity in all sectors of the economy and ensure the turnaround
programme succeeds.

Other sectors which are going to be thoroughly scrutinised and monitored by
RBZ include manufacturing, fuel importers and agriculture.

The tourism sector accounts for 6,5 percent of Zimbabwe's Gross Domestic
Product (GDP), but the country has not registered any tangible benefits
despite evidence of a sharp improvement in tourist arrivals.

According to statistics from the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, tourist
arrivals went up 30 percent to 452 111 during the first quarter of the year,
up from 349 121 during the corresponding period last year.

However, investigations by RBZ revealed irregularities perpetrated by senior
officials in the sector who deliberately opted not to remit foreign currency
generated by their respective organisations.

Some hotel operators have also been deliberately charging foreign visitors
in local currency while some visitors were not accounted for in their books.

Resultantly, the country was prejudiced close to US$244 million during the
past five months against the US$6 million remitted to the RBZ.

Responding to the allegations, Zimbabwe Council of Tourism (ZCT) president
Mr Paul Matamisa vigorously defended his organisation, saying although
tourism was a "limping animal" allegations against the sector were
"baseless" as tourism arrival figures were subject to manipulation.

He said that some lodges and hotels were operating without licences,
prompting them to find other means of disposing of their foreign currency
earnings or resorting to charging in local currency.

"It appears as if we are not following the proper procedures as far as
remitting foreign currency is concerned. What people should know is that
statistics of tourist arrivals are less than what is presented to the
public," said Mr Matamisa during a breakfast meeting on the monetary policy
review held in Harare on Friday.

"There is a situation where guests make some pre-bookings and pay in
advance. Such amounts are not recorded at hotel receptions and the
outstanding balance is the one which is recorded at the

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reception and forwarded to the Reserve Bank.

"With the big figure presented to the public, it would appear as if
something fishy is going on since foreigners are required to pay in foreign
currency," he said.

However, Dr Gono was quick to dismiss Mr Matamisa's claims, saying: "The
books are in police hands and will see the long arm of the law extending
towards senior managers who are the major culprits.

"You might not be aware of what is happening under your umbrella because how
would you account for hotels that are not registered while you are supposed
to monitor your sector?

"You are playing games with the economy and we have discovered that some
hotels have been charging at little as US$5 per night for accommodation
while others are charged in local currency.

"Your governor has three volumes of all the corrupt acts that were happening
in the tourism sector. It is now in the hands the police. A number of
individual hoteliers would be prosecuted.

"I am not afraid to tell you that you could see one of these five-star
hotels closing down soon because that infrastructure is not benefiting the

"This is the sector that always complains about foreign currency shortages
and fuel yet they are pulling in the opposite direction with the turnaround
strategic," said Dr Gono, who was clearly in a no-nonsense mood.

However, the governor pointed out that the central bank would not spare
other sectors which were engaging in corrupt activities.

"We are going to work tirelessly to ensure sanity reigns in the economy. We
have witnessed deliberate vandalism of agricultural equipment.

"Plantations are being harvested in their infancy while airliners and
transporters are also used to export foreign currency," he said.

Acting Minister of Finance Mr Patrick Chinamasa echoed Dr Gono's sentiments,
adding legislation would soon be enacted to deal specifically with
unscrupulous business people in the economic mainstream if sanity was to
prevail in the economy.
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The Herald

New farmers to get 99-year leases: Mutasa

By Zvamaida Murwira
GOVERNMENT will soon issue 99-year lease agreements to all farmers
officially resettled under the land reform programme, a Cabinet minister has

The issuance of the lease agreements, it is hoped, would give farmers the
much-needed security of tenure and put to rest speculation by detractors
that the land reform programme would one day be reversed.

Minister of State Security, Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement Cde Didymus
Mutasa said Government was in the process of making final verifications on
the beneficiaries to ensure the lease agreements were not issued to the
wrong people.

"The issue of a 99-year lease is certain for the new farmers as that is
Government policy. Resettled farmers would be issued with leases as soon as
we are satisfied that the land they accessed was given to them properly and
above board," said Cde Mutasa in an interview yesterday.

"We would also want to satisfy ourselves as to whether the farmer concerned
is capable of productively utilising the land given to him or her."

The minister's remarks come in the wake of concerns by most farmers that the
absence of the leases created uncertainty.

They complained that it was difficult for them to make meaningful long-term
investments and developments on the farms in the absence of leases.

In his Post-Election and Drought Mitigation Monetary Policy Statement, the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor, Dr Gideon Gono, said it was important to
address the issues of tenure and title to make farming a viable business.

"It is imperative that the banking sector is encouraged to partner with
Government in financing agriculture. It is for this reason that the issues
of tenure and title are imperative so as to make farming a bankable
business," said Dr Gono.

Cde Mutasa said the Government would continue to compulsorily acquire land
for resettlement and allocate it to those in need.

He reiterated that it was not Government policy to reallocate farms owned by

"We will continue gazetting farms for resettlement but it is not Government
policy to take land from black farmers. We will continue identifying land
for acquisition and give it to those who have applied for it," he said.

The minister said the slow pace at which the Government was apportioning
land was due to the bottlenecks arising from legislation.

"The court process is the greatest stumbling block. We need legislation that
will make any acquired land automatically belong to the State.

"We have already started working on that legislation which will soon be
tabled in Parliament," said Cde Mutasa.
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Zim radio faces likely closure
23/05/2005 09:38 - (SA)

Nairobi - An award-winning Zimbabwean radio station in exile on Sunday
warned it could be forced to close down by the end of this month if pledges
of donor funds are not delivered, its manager said.

In April, the Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI) awarded SW
Radio Africa, which broadcasts to Zimbabwe on shortwave from London, the
2005 "Free Media Pioneer" prize for being a "voice to the voiceless".

The radio will receive the price on Tuesday at the end of the ongoing IPI
general assembly in the Kenyan capital.

"If the funds promised by our donors do not arrive before the end of the
month, we will be forced to stop our activities," said Gerry Jackson, the
founder and manager of radio.

However, it was not clear how much money the exiled station needed in order
to continue operating.

Jackson, a Zimbabwean journalist, set up the station in December 2001 after
being forced to leave Zimbabwe following the closure of an independent
station he set up after being fired from a public radio station.

According to IPI, the radio, which has nine employees in London, "remains a
rare independent voice" in Zimbabwe.

The Harare government regularly jammed broadcasts in the months before the
March legislative election, and continued after them, according to the press
watchdog, which also in its report in March chided the Southern African
nation for limiting press freedom.

Previous winners of the prize, created in 1996, include the Russian NTV
television station and the Serbian B-92 radio station.

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Business Day

Posted to the web on: 23 May 2005
Bennett kept in 'inhuman' conditions
Jonathan Katzenellenbogen


International Affairs Editor

ZIMBABWEAN human rights lawyers said they were "gravely concerned" by the
conditions in which jailed former opposition MP Roy Bennett was being held.

They said they were "horrified by the conditions that Bennett was being
subjected to in his detention", including physical and verbal abuse by
prison guards.

The lawyers said last week that Bennett has lost nearly a quarter of his
body weight while in prison, and warned that "his condition is bound to
sharply deteriorate further if no immediate measures are taken".

Bennett - who was one of two white MPs of the main opposition party in
Zimbabwe, the Movement for Democratic Change - is serving a year-long prison
sentence with hard labour for pushing Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa,
who had insulted his family in parliament.

Although Bennett later apologised for the incident, he was charged and
jailed for contempt of parliament.

The lawyers have asked the African Commission on Human and People's Rights -
which is part of the African Union - to rule that Bennett should be released
immediately as he was only tried and sentenced by a tribunal and not a
competent court of law. The right to due legal process is provided for under
the African Charter on Human and People's Rights.

According to the lawyers, Bennett reported to them that one of the guards
had poked him in the eye, and said he would make him suffer while in prison.

The statement said he had been subjected "to all sorts of humiliating,
inhuman and degrading treatment".

The lawyers group has also requested the commission to recommend that
hostilities by the Zimbabwean government towards Bennett, his family and his
workers cease and that his property, including a farm, be returned to him.

Bennett was recently transferred from a rural minimum-security prison to
Chikurubi Farm prison, which the lawyers said was a congested
maximum-security jail used to hold hard-core criminals. No reason was given
to Bennet's family for the move.

He was made to sleep on the floor without blankets, but was later given
blankets by other prisoners. Inmates who were seen fraternising with Bennett
have been threatened or harassed by prison guards, the statement said.

The lawyers also charge that Bennett had not been given a change of clothes
and had been denied clear water to wash.

This had often meant he had to resort to washing in toilet basins using
water meant for flushing. They say he has been made to squat on a painful
knee as indirect additional punishment and contrary to recommendations of
the prison's doctor.

The lawyers said in the statement that over the past few weeks the Zimbabwe
government had been involved in a search for an alleged arms cache on
Bennett's farm.

This, in addition to Bennett's move from a rural prison to a high security
facility, raised the possibility that the authorities intended to find a
pretext to further detain him as he neared the end of his prison term, the
lawyers say.

Separate from the Bennett case, Zimbabwean human rights lawyers challenged
what they charged were inhuman conditions of detention two years ago, but a
judgment has yet to be delivered by the supreme court.
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Zim Standard

Angry residents beat up police
By Foster Dongozi

FRUSTRATED residents of Chitungwiza rose up on Friday, after enduring days
of brutality and intimidation and fought running battles with police
officers who were demolishing tuck-shops and confiscating goods from

Police and residents, as well as children were engaged in running battles,
resulting in the stoning of a ZUPCO bus and a supermarket in the area.
MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai, lashed out at the government, saying the
ongoing clampdown in urban areas to flush out alleged illegal foreign
currency dealers, flea market and tuck shop operators was a government
sponsored exercise to punish urban dwellers for voting for the MDC in the 31
March general elections.

The police blitz was also unleashed on other MDC strong-holds of Harare,
Bulawayo and Gweru.

Other areas that were also targeted include Harare's Kuwadzana Extension,
Highfield and Epworth.

Unconfirmed reports said some police details may have sustained injuries
when they faced a barrage of missiles from the defiant residents of St

Job Sikhala, the Member of Parliament for the area, confirmed the skirmishes
in the volatile constituency but was quick to distance himself from the

'Kwakagwiwa hondo inohlisa muSt Mary's." (There was a fierce fighting in St

Sikhala said: "It was not something that was organised. It was the people's
combined eruptive anger."

Police spokesperson, Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka, was said to be "busy"
according to a person who answered his cellphone when The Standard sought
his comment.

A small detachment of police details also reportedly ran for dear life as an
angry mob bayed for their blood. Re-enforcements came to their rescue at

A resident from St Mary's who spoke to The Standard said: "We could not
allow the police to confiscate goods sold by our parents because the money
that they earn sends the children to school."

Speaking in an interview with The Standard, Tsvangirai said the government
wanted to provoke urban residents into resisting the brutal campaign as an
excuse to declare a State of Emergency.

On 10 May, Police struck at the Registrar-General's Office and arrested 94
people in a "clean up" campaign of people accused of creating artificially
long passport queues.

On Wednesday, police descended on Harare and arrested nearly 7 000 alleged
illegal foreign currency dealers and stall-holders at licensed flea markets.
Among the people arrested were those accused of using "abusive language",
public drinkers and touts.

Tsvangirai said: "It defies logic that the Zanu PF government can arrest
legally licensed flea market operators when they know that they have
destroyed the economy to an extent that 80 percent of the population is not
formally employed.

"The majority of Zimbabweans depend on informal trade to feed, clothe and
educate their families. Despite the creation of a ministry responsible for
informal traders, the government wants to force hard-working and honest
citizens to resort to criminal activities for survival."

He said the time had come for Zimbabweans to engage the "dictatorship" in a
new struggle. "Each person must ask themselves what they have done each day
for the struggle although we emphasise that this is not an armed struggle,
but a social revolution."

He said the MDC's intelligence wing had informed him that flea markets were
being cleared up to make way for Chinese traders.

"The country has been mortgaged to the Chinese. How can we violently remove
Zimbabweans from our flea markets to make way for the Chinese?"

He said the Chinese would be handed the flea markets in appreciation of the
free MA 60 plane which the government received from China.

Flea market operators interviewed by The Standard said they were puzzled why
they were being been beaten up and evicted.

A stall holder who identified herself only as Joyce said when they asked
police for an explanation of the evictions, their questions were met with
further beatings.

"We have licences and we don't deal in foreign currency. If they want
foreign currency they should ask Chinese traders where they are getting the
foreign currency to bring in cheap goods which have flooded the markets."

Sikhala added: "The government's actions are a punitive act of vengeance
against urban dwellers. By taking away their only source of livelihood, they
want to starve them as a form of punishment because of the electoral

In Kuwadzana Extension, residents were left traumatised after all the
tuck-shops in the area were demolished. There are no supermarkets in
Kuwadzana Extension and this means residents have to travel long-distances
in order to get basic groceries like sugar, bread and milk, if they are

By Friday morning, commuter bus drivers were instructed to drop off
passengers on the outskirts of the Central Business District, forcing them
to walk the rest of the way into town.

Yesterday residents of the capital were still battling to come to terms with
the combined police and Harare city council blitz.

As they struggled to get transport to their homes, the shortages of basic
commodities still awaited them. Fuel, electricity, grain, sugar, water,
beer, medical drugs, foreign currency, cigarettes and matches remain in
short supply.
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Zim Standard

Industries threatened as fuel crisis deepens
By Bertha Shoko

THE fuel crisis continues to deepen, literally grinding everything from the
transport sector, small to medium businesses and industry in general to a
halt, while the government has remained mum on the worsening situation.

Fuel supplies ran dry in Harare and many parts of Zimbabwe last week with
most service stations reporting that they last received the commodity a
fortnight ago.
Transport problems worsened in the capital from Wednesday, leaving thousands
of commuters stranded in the city centre until late hours of the night.
Hundreds of others trudged home on foot to far away destinations such as
Chitungwiza and Mabvuku.

Other commuters could be seen scrambling for places onto any form of
transport available with little regard for their safety.

The story was the same in major towns such as Mutare, Masvingo, Gweru and

On Wednesday army trucks were also spotted in the city ferrying passengers
to their various destinations.

From mid last week, many people failed to report for work on time while
others failed completely as the fuel crisis worsened for the second time in
as many months.

The situation was further worsened by a combined government and Harare city
council "clean up" campaign, which has resulted in the relocation of
commuter bus drop off and pick up points to the outskirts of the city.

Also not spared by the fuel crisis are small businesses and industry in
general. Most companies and industries that depend on fuel for their core
business had their operations disrupted as fuel supplies dried up.

Even government agencies such as the Agricultural Rural Development
Authority (ARDA) were also grounded by the fuel shortages.

The fuel shortages affected essential services such as bread and milk
deliveries while the long-term effects on industry and the economy at large,
are profound.

Economists last week attacked the relevant authorities for not coming out
clean to the nation about the fuel crisis, saying it is national disaster
that should be dealt with as a matter of urgency.

Even as the fuel crisis deepened the Ministry of Energy and Power
Development has failed to issue a statement to explain to the nation the
extent of the problem.

In his monetary policy review Reserve Bank Governor, Gideon Gono skirted
around the issue but failed to provide solutions to the crisis.

Economist Daniel Ndlela said he was irked by the hypocrisy of industrialists
after the monetary policy review.

Ndlela said: "Industrialists were shaking Gono's hand and congratulating him
on the policy review at the breakfast meeting but failed to raise the fuel
issue yet they know how it has had adverse effects on their operations. I
failed to understand it.

"This should have been a contentious issue. Gono never talked about it
really in his monetary policy. The devasting effects on industry and other
essential services need to be calculated and action taken quickly to solve
the crisis."

Ndlela said the reduction in forex earnings that Gono spelt out in his
policy review gives a measure of the seriousness of the problem at hand.

Mike Bimha, chairman of the Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ),
said the reduction in productivity as a result of time lost in transport and
petrol queues was profound.

"This is obviously not a good situation because disruption of production
because of this fuel crisis has adverse effects to the economy in the long

Asked about the losses industry has suffered as a result of the fuel crisis,
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) economist Joseph Malaba told The
Standard they were calculating the losses and will release them this week.

The Minister of Energy and Power Development, Mike Nyambuya, was not
immediately available for comment by the time of going to press. His mobile
phone was constantly not reachable.
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Zim Standard

Gono warns foreigners on forex deals
By Kumbirai Mafunda

EXASPERATED central bank Governor Gideon Gono on Thursday lashed out at
foreign nationals in Zimbabwe accusing them of aggravating the illegal trade
in foreign currency that has now ballooned.

As Zimbabwe's six-year-old hard currency crunch bites, Gono took the podium
to shift the blame game from banks, individuals and the tourism industry to
foreigners living in Zimbabwe whom he accused of abusing the government's
hospitality by engaging in illegal foreign exchange transactions that
threaten his economic turnaround programme.
"Some of the purveyors of this trade are non Zimbabweans who have come all
the way from their mother countries in the region, some from West Africa,
South East Asia, and beyond, under the banner of the friendly relations
existing and being forged between Zimbabwe and their countries," said Gono.
"We cannot, and will not, allow any shadow forces to interfere with, or
derail our turnaround programme, which we are putting back on the rails with
immediate effect," Gono declared in a sermon that lasted nearly three hours.

Gono's furious outburst came a day after police intensified a crackdown on
foreign immigrants by invading flea markets and confiscating goods and
wares, ostensibly in search of hard cash. Dwindling supplies of hard money
in the central bank's coffers, official sources said, precipitated the

Foreigners of Asian and West African origin have cornered Harare's CBD
putting most Zimbabwean traders out of business. Some of the foreigners have
opted to pay their rentals in hard currency pushing locals to the outskirts
of the city.

Zimbabwe has adopted the so-called "Look East" policy under which the
government is awarding multi-billion tenders and investment projects to
friendly countries such as China and Malaysia ahead of Westerners. President
Robert Mugabe argues that Washington and London have ulterior motives such
as trying to effect a regime change, a charge both deny.

Apart from the illegal dealings that the Nigerians and Chinese nationals are
allegedly committing, Zimbabweans also condemn their cheap quality products,
which have flooded the local market and have driven local traders and
businessmen out of business. Gono warned that law enforcement agents would
ruthlessly deal with the foreigners.

"Our dream is to see those foreign national joining Zimbabweans and being
given picks and holes to till the land for the damage they are causing to
our economy," said the RBZ chief, tongue-in-cheek. The central bank has come
under fire from government officials for failing to clamp down on a thriving
black market for foreign currency where the Zimbabwe dollar is trading at up
to $26 000 to the American greenback compared to an official rate of $6200.

But economists say the blame game and the seizures cannot bring in enough
foreign currency to alleviate the fuel, food and electricity crisis.

"Gono is running a police State from the Reserve Bank. The crackdown and
intimidation is a clampdown on individual freedoms," said Eddie Cross,
economic advisor for the opposition MDC.
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Zim Standard

Minister Matonga in fresh farm invasion
By our own staff

THE newly appointed Deputy Minister of Information and Publicity and Member
of Parliament for Ngezi Constituency, Bright Matonga, has invaded Chigwell
Estate in Chegutu.

Sources said Matonga visited the farm last Saturday and declared his
interest, advising the current owners to vacate the farm premises by the end
of this week.
Last week a group of Zanu PF supporters demonstrated at the farm, calling
for the owners to vacate.

Matonga already has another farm in Banket and if he succeeds, he would have
two farms, defying President Robert Mugabe's call for one-man one farm.

Matonga was allocated the 670 hectares Mupandaguta farm at the height of the
government's land redistribution exercise.

Tom Beattie, the current owner of the farm, told The Standard his son's
property was violently removed from the farmhouse and is currently stashed

He said two men were guarding the house to make sure that no one enters.

"The first day he (Matonga) came and told us that we should leave the farm
without showing us any proof that he had been allocated the farm. He was
very violent and told farm workers to stop working," Beattie said.

He said, Matonga in one of his many trips to the farm last week, came with
police details.

"The police officers did not say anything, but were just watching as the mob
was removing my son's property from the house," he said.

On Wednesday more than 100 contract workers from Chegutu, who used to work
at the farm, vowed to attack anyone who would come to disrupt activities at
the farm in solidarity with the commercial farmer.

Matonga was not immediately available for a comment yesterday, while the
Minister of State for Special Affairs responsible for Land and Resettlement
Programme, Flora Buka, was also not available for a comment by the time of
going to print.

The 4 000 ha Chigwell Estate has most of the land under wheat, tobacco,
oranges and soyabeans.

The latest invasion comes at a time when the government has long declared
the land reform over. It therefore, highlights the chaos that characterises
the exercise that started in 2000, with the seizures of commercial farms by
war veterans under the excuse of seeking to correct historical land
imbalances and injustices.

The numer of white commercial farmers has dropped from 4 000 in 2000 to less
than 1 000 and this has affected overall agricultural production.

So far the government has been able to resettle about 140 000 beneficiaries.
However 1 513 plots totaling 164 000 ha remain unoccupied (vacant).
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Zim Standard

World Bank debt soars to US$347 million
By our own staff

BULAWAYO - ZIimbabwe's debt to the World Bank (WB) has ballooned to a
whopping US$347.2 million (about Z$624,9 billion), throwing the economic
revival programme into disarray, as the country battles with a crippling
fuel, food and foreign currency shortage, The Standard established.

World Bank's senior social development specialist for Zimbabwe, Dr Ebrahim
Jassat, confirmed on Friday that the southern African nation owes the Bank
US$347.2 million in arrears.
"The government paid to the World Bank US$3 million in 2004 and no payments
were made so far in 2005.

"The stock of Zimbabwe's arrears to the bank reached US$347.2 million as of
April 1, 2005," Jassat said.

He, however, pointed out that the Bank was in the process of finalising
proposals to access funding from a trust fund to support Voluntary
Counselling and Testing (VCT) outreach programmes.

Jassat said the world's financial institution would explore making treatment
available through a United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS currently being
developed, and that institutional capacity support for Monitoring and
Evaluation would also continue.
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Zim Standard

GAPWUZ ordered off Wa Mutharika's farm
By Foster Dongozi

THE government has ordered officials from the General Agricultural and
Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ) to leave a Kadoma farm owned
by Malawian President, Bingu wa Mutharika where they were representing farm
workers in their dispute over wages, The Standard can reveal.

Wa Mutharika's Bineth Farm is located some 20 km outside Kadoma along the
Sanyati - Gokwe Road.
The farm workers' union was threatened with arrest if they continued to
visit Bineth Farm to assess their union members' working conditions and

The GAPWUZ national organising secretary, Justin Wachi, told The Standard
that the incident happened recently at the GAPWUZ offices in Milton Park in

"A person who claimed to be a government official who was in the company of
the manager at Bineth Farm approached me and warned us against intervening
on behalf of farm workers at the Malawian President's farm," Wachi said.

He said the person who claimed to be a government official said the Malawian
President's farm should remain off limits for GAPWUZ and that officials who
violated the order would be arrested.

Workers at the farm have complained about poor wages, housing and lighting.

Wachi said he now lived in fear following the threats.

"I am now afraid. How can I not be afraid when an official claiming to be
from the government threatens me with arrest?

"However, we will continue to represent our members in their fight for
better working conditions," he said.

The move was immediately attacked by the secretary general of the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions, (ZCTU) Wellington Chibebe, who described the
action as 'ludicrous'.

"It is shocking that the government can come up with that position. The
impression being created is that Bingu wa Mutharika is a first class citizen
ahead of other Zimbabweans. A worker is a worker whether he works for
President Robert Mugabe or President Wa Mutharika."

He said the Labour Act did not exempt the Malawian President from treating
his workers like other human beings.

Chibebe said the ZCTU was waiting for a formal approach from GAPWUZ before
making its next move.

The Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Nicholas Goche,
was not immediately available for comment.

The Malawian president is reported to have acquired the farm in 1994 after
marrying a Zimbabwean woman, identified only as Ethel.

Wa Mutharika has a small vegetable patch, a small beef and dairy herd and
several goats.

Among the workers' major complaints are the dilapidated pole and mud huts,
and late payment of wages.


Call for Mudede's arrest

By our own staff

HIGH Court Judge Justice Yunus Omerjee last week reserved judgement in the
2002 Presidential Election petition case in which the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) is calling for Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede to
be charged for contempt of court.

Justice Omerjee said the court needed some time to analyse the submissions
made by both parties.

Advocate Adrian de Bourbon, who is representing the MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, said Mudede should be charged for contempt of court.

In his submissions last week, De Bourbon said Mudede had on a number of
occasions defied court orders that ordered him to avail the court with
voting materials as evidence to show that the results he announced just
after the 2002 elections were not manipulated.

"Mudede has deliberately ignored the orders of this honourable court over a
continued period of time and this must be seriously considered. He has
defied a number of court orders and in my submissions this must not be taken
as a simple matter," De Bourbon said.

He said the registrar general's office should have reprioritised its budget
in light of the court orders.

To strengthen his argument, De Bourbon made reference to the matter of
jailed former Member of Parliament for Chimanimani Roy Bennett, who was
sentenced for 15 months for contempt of Parliament.

The court also heard that Mudede defied seven court orders that ordered him
to bring all ballot materials that were used in the hotly contested 2002
Presidential Election.

State lawyer, Virginia Mabhiza, for Mudede, had earlier on argued that the
first respondent had failed to comply with the court orders because of
economic hardships.

"We greatly appreciate the importance of obeying court orders but the lapse
of time is evident that it was very difficult for the respondent to comply,"
Mabhiza said.

It took more than 18 months for the opposition's challenge to come to court
despite the MDC being confident that their lawyers had uncovered evidence of
electoral fraud.

The MDC said there were glaring discrepancies in the figures recorded at
polling stations and those announced by the registrar general's office.

International observers said the presidential election in March 2002 was
marred by a climate of fear, and violence targeted against opposition
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Zim Standard

Hungry villagers arrested after confronting chief
By our own correspondent

FILABUSI - AT least 300 villagers from Silalatshani area in Filabusi were on
Friday arrested for demanding that the local chief address them on
government's food relief plans for the area in light of the current drought.

Stung by the reality of imminent hunger and starvation due to poor harvests
in the area the villagers, among them an 80-year-old-woman, thronged the
chief's homestead for a solution.
However, The Standard understands that the local chief then told them not to
bother him. He allegedly told the hungry villagers to go and get food from
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.

The Insiza seat was won by Andrew Langa of Zanu PF.

Four people were first arrested on Thursday after they were also allegedly
told not to bother the chief. This resulted in the other 300 villagers
turning themselves in the next day, in solidarity with the other four.

MDC secretary general, Welshman Ncube, confirmed to The Standard that the
villagers were arrested for putting pressure on the chief to honour his
pre-election promise of obtaining food for the villagers.

Ncube said the hungry villagers stormed the chief's homestead to remind him
that they had 'voted wisely' for Zanu PF.

"My understanding of the issue is that these people are without food. They
have completely run out and they approached the chief about this," said
Ncube, adding that, "as of Friday the villagers were still detained."

"They went to remind the chief that he promised them food if they voted
wisely and they had now come for the food. The result, however, is that the
chief has a very short memory and tells them to go away because he can't
help them.

"To ward off the pressure he called the police and they started beating up
people and arresting them."

Ncube said he did not even know under what law the villagers were arrested.

Contacted for comment, Officer-in-Charge of Filabusi police station, who
identified himself as Inspector Shoko, said he could not confirm the arrests
referring all the questions to Gwanda, "where they have authority to

Shoko said: "I am not in a position to comment on the issue. We have
protocol here and you can only get the information from Gwanda police."

Meanwhile for 70-year-old Tariro Shoko in the drought-prone Mwenezi district
of Masvingo province sometimes it can be extremely difficult to make ends

For Gogo Shoko the burden is not to find food for her alone but for six of
her grandchildren orphaned by the Aids pandemic.

She wakes up as early as 4 AM everyday to prepare her grandchildren for
school and do other household chores.

On one such day, Shoko woke up only to find there was nothing to cook for
the children.

In a desperate effort to make sure that the children feed before going to
school, the old lady rushed to two of her nearest neighbours but they were
in the same predicament.

Her last hope was the local traditional leader. But the traditional leader
quickly dismissed the old woman because she was a known opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) supporter.

Shoko was told that food assistance could only be given to supporters of the
ruling party.

Traditional Chiefs, headmen and village heads acted as agents of the ruling
party during the recent parliamentary elections, force-marching villagers to
vote for Zanu PF.

The predicament of Shoko mirrors the plight of hundreds of villagers in the
arid area of Mwenezi district where maize meal deliveries have been erratic
for the past two months. Most of the villagers did not harvest any crops
during the last season.

The regional GMB depot is always empty and villagers struggle to get a bag
of maize meal whenever a delivery is made.

For some, even if the maize is delivered, they are not allowed to buy the
maize meal because they belong to the opposition party.

When The Standard visited the drought-hit province last week, some villagers
said they were surviving on wild fruits.

Tichaona Mukandi, one of the villagers, said: "The current situation is a
disaster for us. We have not been receiving maize deliveries for the better
part of the last two months. We have resorted to eating wild fruits
especially 'Chakata' so that we don't die of hunger."

Chakata is normally a favourite with donkeys. Villagers said they make sure
that their donkeys do not get anywhere near Muchakata (parinari
curatellifolia) trees.

A village head, who spoke to The Standard but declined to be named, said
there were fears that if the situation continued for another month, some
villagers could die of hunger.

"The situation is bad and if this continues many people will die, especially
those with extended families. The HIV and AIDS pandemic that has left so
many orphans in the care of grandparents," said the village head.

Addressing journalists recently, Mwenezi MP and Zanu PF Masvingo provincial
chairman, Isaiah Shumba, confirmed the situation was worsening in his

"We have already sent an SOS (Save Our Souls) message for food to the
government as Zanu PF provincial executive because the situation is bad. We
need at least a truckload in each of the 32 wards in Mwenezi, to avert

"The food problem is widespread, affecting the whole of Masvingo province.
Grain is now coming from Bulawayo and I think it will be wise to move the
grain to Rutenga via the railway line," Shumba said.

Other areas affected in Masvingo province include Gutu, Chiredzi, Zaka and

Apart from Masvingo, most provinces in the country such as Matabeleland
South, Matabeleland North and Manicaland are also in need of food

The World Food Programme (WFP) last week said it fed about a million people
in April up from 900 000 people four months ago. International aid agencies
have said more than 5 million need food aid in the country, a figure the
government has disputed.

Police spokesperson, superintendent Oliver Mandipaka said he could not
comment because of the on-going "clean up operation" spearheaded by the
police, that has seen flea markets and home industries being destroyed.
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Zim Standard

'SA reaping from Zimbabwe chaos'
By Foster Dongozi

THE South African government is happy with the political and economic
upheavals in Zimbabwe as continued chaos benefits the South African economy,
political analysts have said.

Since the year 2000 when Zimbabwe economy began to slide following violent
land seizures by the country's liberation war veterans, South African
President Thabo Mbeki has been engaged in what he described as 'quiet
diplomacy' which cynics say is an excuse for doing nothing to try and assist
resolving Zimbabwe's deepening crisis.
Last year, he told visiting USA President George W Bush that by June of the
same year, there would have been a solution to Zimbabwe's problems. Many are
aghast that nothing became of these assertions.

Cynics have labelled Mbeki's policy as 'cash cow diplomacy' as his continued
aloofness ensures that his country benefits as an alternative investment

When asked what role he can play in resolving the Zimbabwean crisis, the
South African President has always said it is up to Zimbabweans to solve
their problems without interference from outsiders.

During the struggle against Apartheid, Mbeki's young brother, Moeletsi, was
exiled in Harare, while the future president of South Africa was himself a
frequent visitor to Harare. He operated from Lusaka, where the majority of
the ANC leadership was based.

President Robert Mugabe played a crucial role in brokering peace between the
warring Mozambican government and RENAMO.

University of Zimbabwe Lecturer in Political Science, Professor Eliphas
Mukonoweshuro, said when Mbeki speaks about letting Zimbabweans solve their
problems, he would be doing so in bad faith.

"When Mbeki says Zimbabweans should be responsible for solving their
problems that is a very welcome statement but made in bad faith and full of
deceit. He seems to forget that the South African independence came not
because political parties sat down and came to an understanding, but because
there was external pressure for a political settlement."

He said the South African President was happy to let "Zimbabwe burn while
his country prospers".

"From an economic standpoint, it is to the advantage of the South Africans
for Zimbabwe to remain on its knees because this would result in companies
and Non-Governmental Organisations relocating to that country because of
economic and political turmoil in Zimbabwe."

Mukonoweshuro said industries, which lost confidence in the investment
climate in Zimbabwe, would naturally relocate to South Africa and hence
creating jobs and wealth for Zimbabwe's southern neighbour.

"In addition, Zimbabwe has now become a supermarket for South African goods
because we can not produce most of the basic requirements and in the end we
have to import from South Africa, which sustains their economy."

Mukonoweshuro said that Zimbabwe, which was the only credible competitor for
South Africa in the area of regional investment, had fallen behind its
neighbour, which had ventured into regional markets unchallenged.

"What this means is that South Africa can go and invest in emerging markets
like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and Angola, knowing that
it has no challenge because Zimbabwe is busy battling with its internal

Raymond Majongwe, the secretary general of the Progressive Teachers Union of
Zimbabwe concurred with Mukonoweshuro.

"South Africa would favour a situation whereby Zimbabwe continues to
deteriorate because the Zimbabwean economy was until a few years ago, one of
the strongest in the region, posing a direct threat to South African

He said if Zimbabwe continued to have problems, it would be to Pretoria's

"If the status quo continues, no serious investor would even think of
investing in Zimbabwe. They would just go to South Africa."

Majongwe said it was therefore not surprising that Zimbabwe's southern
neighbour, although widely expected to take the lead in helping solve the
country's problems, in reality, Pretoria had instead opted for a back seat.

"Furthermore, the reason why South Africa is not happy with a political
solution in Zimbabwe is that if it leads to MDC assuming power, then Cosatu,
a labour movement would pose a threat to the political fortunes of the
African National Congress."

MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai said the South Africans could not be
impartial in mediating in the Zimbabwean crisis.

"We will continue to engage the South Africans but we can not regard them as
impartial mediators. Anybody but South Africa," he said.

South Africa's labour minister, Membathisi Mdladlana disgraced his country
last month when he declared before hand that the 31 March elections would be
free and fair."

While the South African economy is growing, Zimbabwe is currently
experiencing a crippling fuel, electricity, maize, and sugar and beer
shortage among many others.

So desperate are the authorities in Harare for every scrap of foreign
currency that massive resources have been committed to raiding not only
illegal foreign currency dealers, but also sections of the hospitality
industry such as hotels and lodges which trade in foreign currency.

Last week, police launched a blitz against flea market operators widely
suspected to be fuelling the currency black market in the Harare.
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Zim Standard

Changes to Labour Act could scuttle investment hopes

BULAWAYO - The latest round of proposed amendments to the Labour Relations
Act could render Zimbabwe an unattractive investment destination in the long
term, a labour expert has warned.

Bulawayo-based labour consultant, Davies Ndumiso Sibanda, told The Standard
that the proposed amendments gazetted in March need to be revised as they
are skewed in favour of workers.
"The proposals have responded more to concerns of unions than employers. For
workers it's good. For employers, that flexibility in management of labour
is further taken away. The cost of labour management will go up, rendering
Zimbabwe a less attractive investment destination in the long term."

A case in point is the gazetting of new minimum wages for domestic workers,
which saw them earning from $850 000 to $1.2 million. The new wages were
supposed to be effective from the beginning of last month.

There was an immediate reaction from employer organisations, with the
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) calling on the government to
revoke the statutory instrument prescribing the new wages because the effect
would have been to push salaries across the board as other workers pressed
for similar and comparative increases.

Industrialists argued that this is not what had been agreed to during
discussions with the government, but others suggested that the reason for
the increases was the 31 March parliamentary poll in which the government
had hoped this would sway urban votes in its favour. They also said the
government had simply been late in gazetting the wages and that is the
reason why this was done in April and not March before the Parliamentary

But this month the government backed down with the Secretary for Labour,
Public Service and Social Welfare, Lance Museka, announcing: "The concerns
from stakeholders have been noted. The concerns are genuine and there really
is need for a rethink. The Ministry is currently working on a paper for
presentation to Cabinet."

Despite the misgivings, Sibanda said once legislated; the proposals would
bring the country in line with International Labour Organisation standards
on conditions of service and employee rights.

He said a big plus for the Bill was that it clears inconsistencies where
different pieces of legislation addressed the same issue.

Some of the major issues the Bill addresses include:

Clarifying the issue of notice for casual and seasonal workers. The Bill
proposes a day's notice and probation from the current two weeks.

Introduction of a model employment code that outlines disciplinary and
grievance procedures for organisations without codes of conduct.

Sibanda described the proposal as a "step forward." The proposal eliminates
labour officers from disciplinary and grievance handling procedures. "

Maternity leave is increased to 98 days from the current 90 days. Maternity
pay will be 100 %, among other provisions.
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Zim Standard

Lawyer sues chief for $150 million
By Godfrey Mutimba

LOSING opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) candidate for Nyanga,
Douglas Mwonzora, is suing Chief Saunyama for $150 million after the
traditional leader allegedly "detained" the Masvingo prominent lawyer at a
campaign rally he addressed in January, The Standard has established.

In his affidavit dated 11 May, Mwonzora says that Chief Saunyama should pay
him $150 million for the unlawful arrest, harassment and deprivation of
The High court has since served Chief Saunyama of Saunyama village in
Nyatate, Nyanga, with summons and ordered him to respond within 10 days,
failure of which will lead to prosecution.

Mwonzora alleged that on 29 January this year Chief Saunyama, also known as
Chikwesere, disrupted his campaign rally at Nyatate Business Centre and with
the help of nine other people pounced on him.

In the affidavit, Mwonzora said the Chief claimed that the he had detained
him because he held the rally without the approval of traditional leader.
The police, said Mwonzora, had sanctioned the MDC rally.

After he was "arrested" by Chief Saunyama, Mwonzora said that he was taken
to Nyanga Police Station, where he was later released.

Mwonzora is the vice president of the National Constitutional Assembly
(NCA), a coalition of non-governmental organisations calling for a new

In the last parliamentary elections, the Masvingo-based lawyer lost to Paul
Kadzima of the ruling Zanu PF party.

The ruling Zanu PF used traditional leaders to thwart campaign rallies by
the opposition party in the rural areas in the run up to the 31 March
Parliamentary elections.
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Zim Standard

Devaluation no panacea to forex crisis - RBZ
By Bertha Shoko

RESERVE Bank Governor Gideon Gono on Thursday said devaluation was not a
solution to the country's worsening foreign currency crisis arguing that it
would deepen the parallel market and stoke up inflation.

Presenting his Post Election and Draught Mitigating Monetary Policy
statement, the central bank Governor said "considerable debate" had been
generated over the past months about introducing a sustainable exchange
Gono said although the subject of devaluation has been discussed
particularly in relation to exporter viability and foreign currency
generation, he strongly differed with the argument that this was the sole
solution to the country's economic problems.

The Reserve Bank Governor said "proponents of perpetual exchange rate
devaluation as the sole panacea" were not taking into consideration numerous
issues such as the illegal exchange rate and inflation.

"Over the past 17 months of the turnaround program, considerable debate has
been generated on the subject of sustainable exchange rate management,
particularly in relation to exporter viability and foreign currency
generation," said Gono.

"As monetary authorities, we are vividly conscious of the need to maintain
exporters' viability as a necessary condition to uplift the country's
foreign exchange generative capacity."

He said as long as there is widespread indiscipline in the economy where
market players "are bent on making quick gains through rent-seeking
activities as mere trading of foreign currency", devaluation will only fuel
the black market."

"Any unguided exchange rate depreciations will turn out to be short-lived
respites which are sooner torpedoed by bouts of speculative attacks," said

Defending his anti-devaluation stance Gono also said total devaluation would
unduly increase the price of imports. He also said he had taken into account
the social responsibilities of government such as importation of HIV and
AIDS drugs in a refusing 100% devaluation.

Despite his strong anti-devaluation stance, the central bank Governor moved
to revise the Diaspora rate from $6200:US$1 to $9000: US$1 against a
parallel market rate of about $24000 to $28 000.

The reduction of forex inflows for the first four months of 2005 have
dwindled significantly compared to the same period last year and market
analysts attribute the reduction to this unattractive exchange rate compared
to the black market.

The central bank had set a year-end target of US$3,1 billion. In his
monetary policy review Gono said the country had only managed to raise
US$385,7 million in the first four months compared to US$448,6 managed in
the same period last year.

Gold exports in the same period only US$80,4 million in the last four months
compared to US$90,7 million in the same period last year. Diaspora earnings
in the same period recorded US$49,1 last year compared to a meagre US$13,6
this year and thus the central bank governor's decision to review the
exchange rate.
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Zim Standard

MDC responds to leadership criticism
Sundaytalk with Paul Themba-Nyathi

YOUR editorial titled "MDC's mass action threat questionable" refers:
Without wanting to appear to quibble over words I take issue with the
implication that mass action as a form of struggle to achieve a democratic
dispensation in the country can be characterised as a "threat" as you put

I also disagree with your contention that the movement prescribes solutions
it does not believe should apply to its leadership.
The people of Zimbabwe have a right, enshrined in the Constitution, to
enhance their democratic struggle through a variety of activities including
strikes, stay-aways, demonstrations and many other forms that the current
confines of the law allow.

By opting for mass action, which the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
does not define as narrowly as your editorial does, the MDC is merely
availing to the people of Zimbabwe another possible avenue out of the
current tyrannical environment.

The leaders of the MDC are at the forefront of this struggle. The records of
arrests, detention, torture and imprisonment of most of the leadership of
the MDC, indicate that contrary to your assertion MDC leaders have always
led from the front.

The proposed mass action is not just in response to a culture of stealing
elections in this country; it is a concerted effort to exert a heavy price
on dictatorship. This regime has to learn that keeping people under the yoke
of oppression has a price and that it will pay that price. Mass action,
carried out in different forms, not just through strikes or demonstrations,
which your editorial seems to confine itself to, can restore a sense of
worth and pride to an oppressed people.

There is no direct relationship between the disputed elections and the
proposed mass action. The battle for electoral reforms will be fought in
other fora, including the courts. You will recall that the MDC campaigned
vigorously for electoral reforms through its RESTORE document.

Most of the SADC Mauritius guidelines for the conduct of free and fair
elections in the region can be traced directly to the MDC's RESTORE

I do not know from where you pick the notion that the MDC seeks to replicate
the Ukranian situation in Zimbabwe. These are different situations, separate
historical as well as separate cultural environments. Of course, one can
learn a lot from a different environment for application in one's own
environment. What would be disastrous is to attempt to parachute "holus
bolus" another experience into one's environment.

The MDC cares immensely about the unfair incarceration of Roy Bennett. You
are being unkind to both the MDC and the Bennett family when you insinuate
that the MDC is not caring in this respect. A lot of practical things
through many committed individuals have been done in the furtherance of Roy
Bennett's freedom. We regret that a lot of these attempts have not been

It is precisely because people are concerned with bread and butter issues
that we as a party are convinced that the people of Zimbabwe should engage
in various forms of democratic resistance to enhance their opportunities of
accessing bread and butter.

Zanu PF has reduced our people to "hunter-gatherers" who spend 24 hours of
their day looking for food, in the process, losing out on things that render
life more meaningful and complete. Participating in democratic resistance
will give our people more meaning to their lives.

The entering of a third force, as your editorial suggests, is a development
that cannot and should not be used as some form of blackmail against the
MDC. Anyone who seeks to join the political foray is entitled to do so in
their own right, the MDC does not determine who seeks to form a political

The power of opinions should be the ability of such an opinion to give
everyone an opportunity to measure theirs against those on offer. When you
opine that the opposition is "failing to demonstrate that while it lost the
elections, it still remains relevant to the search for solutions to a better
Zimbabwe", your opinion is inaccurate and unfair to the MDC.

We have done as much as reality allows us as a party to offer solutions to
the country's woes, our RESTART document is testimony to this fact. We are
convinced that a combination of various forms of political pressure will
make Zanu PF come to its senses. It is not an easy process. It is difficult
but it has to be done. All those engaged in the struggle for democracy in
this country need to come together and give form to their collective desire
for a better Zimbabwe.

Paul Themba-Nyathi is the spokesperson for the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC).
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Zim Standard

Zim crisis: people vs the State
Sundayopinion By Marko Phiri

WHILE Zimbabweans are overwhelmed by growing food shortages, and a host of
other hardships, questions that emerge about their continued silence
inevitably form everyday discussions among people who would like to see the
country get back to its feet.

This has also brought to the fore, what role the country's opposition is
supposed to play in coming with a road map that will see Zimbabwe's
recovery. Two major players in the debate about the country's return to
civilisation have emerged - the people themselves and country's foremost
political opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
That the MDC was born out of people's frustration with the politics of the
party that has hogged political space for a quarter century should have then
meant a quick return to international dialogue with countries known to have
been the country's development partners since the coming of independence.

But this did not happen with subsequent elections. Besides pointing to the
ruling party's disputed victories, the answers are not simple. The Movement
for Democratic Change is being criticised for not providing the leadership
the people need for a way forward. The party is seemingly lost for
solutions. What the people need is for the party, to which they have sworn
allegiance, to point them to alternatives that will not merely effect regime
change, but create constructive engagement which will see an end to many
years of arrogant rule.

But the issue considering the nature of the politics that have been seen
here becomes; how would anybody brave enough - much as seen through the
atmosphere the MDC has had to operate, from the pre-Jongwe days to the
present day Roy Bennett debacle - have fared? How would anyone of us have
approached an opponent like Zanu PF?

In part, the answers to these questions explain why many Zimbabweans have
left the country's fate to be decided by higher forces than mere mortals. It
shows the extent to which solutions outside the failed ballot are hard to
come by.

But then it is not only within the country's frontiers the crisis, which has
sought to seemingly establish itself permanently here, will find solutions.
Amid all the criticism of the opposition, how would anybody have approached
this issue considering that the multilateral approach that defines
international relations has been solely absent?

Could the planned visit by the United Nations chief be part of the Gods'
plan to redeem us? The opposition has had the unfortunate position of
virtually being left alone to deal with the issues here. The globetrotting
of the party's leadership since the disputed 2000 legislative poll is yet to
bear any fruit.

Which countries have lent their voices to pragmatic approaches to the crisis
here in the light of calls for South Africa to literally crack the whip and
tell President Robert Mugabe to behave?

Besides the so-called smart sanctions whose effect has not helped
Zimbabweans to live better lives, what can be pointed out as serious
attempts to engage the MDC and the people of Zimbabwe with real efforts to
deal with the Zimbabwe crisis? That some people have suggested that
Zimbabweans resolve their own problems is ample evidence that the "interior
settlement" of issues here is much larger than the simple analysis that has
emerged here vis--vis the MDC's competence.

Why is it that the people who took to the streets in the famed 1998 food
riots have not repeated that feat in the past few years when life has
continued to be extremely tough for many here?

The latest round of food shortages and obscene price increases that has seen
the emergence of a flourishing parallel market has provided fertile ground
for any protests. But this has not happened, why? Thus it has been intimated
that only the gods will save this country.

The hazards of taking to the streets are many, and looking at how many
opposition party supporters have lost their lives in the past years and with
their families failing to seek legal recourse - never mind that their
grievances are supposed to be justifiable - is reason enough for many to
elect to suffer silently.

All things being fair, they would take to the streets, but the ever-looming
security and "law" enforcement forces have been enough to stop short in
their militant tracks any aspiring activist.

It has been known in the struggle for democracy that academics also become
the vanguard of protests, but has this happened here? University student
activism has helped push reforms across the world and has sparked
revolutions since World War One. In Zimbabwe all forms of militancy have
been suppressed, and therefore the opposition cannot be treated as typical
fall guys to be blamed for failing to lead the people not to the Promised
Land, but a life where the people can demand accountable governance.

If a regime can torture an individual like a legislator or interestingly a
human rights lawyer like Gabriel Shumba and get away with it, what then
about the ordinary man, woman and child with no clue about their rights? But
these same people would still claim a fundamental right, a right to life.
Because all traces of militancy have been successfully stymied by the
regime, it is then curious to have criticism heaped at the feet of the
opposition that they have failed the people.

The challenges this country faces are gargantuan, and any pretence that they
will be over through the ballot or the MDC taking the people by the hand and
swarming the streets is futile.

Amid all the cul-de-sacs that the MDC has met, with the most fundamental
being apparent judicial dependence on the executive, the question becomes
whither Zimbabwe? Obviously the people are not ready yet to take bullets
from trigger-happy defenders of the regime, and unless real pressure is
exerted from outside it could be another 75 years before salvation comes.
And nobody knows in what form it will come.
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Zim Standard

Some things defy logical explanation
By Dumisani Mpofu

IT was amazing. The whole country was abuzz with the news - that is the
underground or parallel news. The official media never so much as even
vaguely hinted at it: the Don of Freedonia's revolution meeting who?

What fuelled the parallel news was that the Don had been absent from the
public view for days, but in an eastern suburb of the capital there were a
lot of activities and it was the movement in this suburb that got the
underground news into overdrive gear.
Things had not been going as well as expected for Freedonia, but others said
such descriptions were diplomatic platitudes, because in their view, things
had turned disastrous. Others with a penchant for recklessness abandon
described the State as in intensive care.

But it was this disaster that had moved the Don of Freedonia's revolution to
do what barely months ago was unthinkable, perhaps in his view treasonous.
He was in secret talks with the leader of the Freedonia Freedom Front (FFF),
the official opposition.

Freedonia had a surfeit of people who let it be known they knew everything
and had ready explanations for this and that which afflicted the nation.
According to these watchers, they had seen a flurry of traffic as emissaries
drove in and out of the imposing villa in the eastern suburbs of the

Some of the more outlandish watchers even suggested that they had seen the
leader of the Freedonia Freedom Front drive into the villa and moments later
the Don of Freedonia's revolution arrived in an unmarked vehicle, without
his ostentatious security entourage. This was being done because they wanted
to be discreet.

But so much for discretion. The underground news travelled the length and
breadth of Freedonia at lightning speed. It was running a live commentary on
who had been seen where with who and doing what or how ponderous so and so
looked when he/she came out and therefore this must suggest such and such.
The only people who thought what they were doing was secret were those
visiting the villa. Otherwise the whole of Freedonia waited with bated

It was as if this was being captured live on television - the television of
the mind.

Some things are not that easy to fathom. They are as puzzling as things from
my childhood.

I recall one day when villagers gathered at our home. I never knew there
were so many people. Up to this day I cannot glean what the purpose of the
gathering was. But I do know that later in the day, sometime just after
lunch, I saw something that frightened and still frightens me.

By the footpath to the river, there stood a cluster of trees. In one of them
something very unusual was happening, even the elders gathered at our home
could not explain the meaning of this. It was an extraordinary spectacle.

In this one tree, different snakes of various colours rested themselves. The
elders came, gawked at the spectacle and retreated in hushed tones.

Night fell, but by next morning, the snakes were gone - as mysteriously as
they had come. I don't recall what happened to the elders who had gathered
at our home. I do not recall them bidding us farewell.

Several days later, we went down to the river - one of the tributaries of
Munyati River. We swam and played in the river with reckless abandon, until
we decided we had enough for the day and were preparing to leave. Then
something terrified the hell out of us.

A brown snake with white stripes along its eyes reared itself from the same
pool we had been swimming merrily. Like a periscope, it started what I
believe was a backward movement but still staring in our direction. We stood
speechless and transfixed, just as Freedonians watched the spectacle in
front of them unfolding.

Some things just do not have immediate explanations, just as the underground
news that the Don of Freedonia's revolution was meeting the leader of the
Freedonia Freedom Front.
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New Zimbabwe

A 100 reasons why Gono should resign

By Patrick Mlambo
Last updated: 05/24/2005 04:28:04
AFTER reading Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono's monetary policy statement,
I have been left wondering whether indeed this man knows what he is doing.
In fact, the long and short of it is that he should resign. He can see he
cannot change things. He has no solutions to the current problems. His
resignation is the most useful decision he should make under the present
circumstances. He should bite the bullet and let go of the governorship.

Gono's monetary policy statement is nothing more than hogwash. It does not
promise anything to the ordinary man. It does not say anything positive. It
gives nothing to look forward to. It sends shivers down the spines of those
he promised to pin down. It is full of retribution. It offers nothing to
look forward to for the ordinary man. The ordinary man has no interest in
Gono's retribution, because he gains nothing from it. The men whom he wants
to descend on are not excited either. Gono wants to name and shame those
involving themselves in corruption. What will that achieve? We witnessed
this kind of retribution in the late 80s through the Sandura Commission.
Maybe Gono never learnt something - that they were all pardoned except for
those who had already died. What therefore does Gono think he will achieve
by this act of retribution? This is senseless as it will achieve nothing. I
never expected it from the RBZ governor.

This man fails to understand his role. Can he be told that he is the RBZ
governor and not a politician. He should learn to leave politics to
politicians. Politicians determine fiscal policy and that should be left as
their domain. His role should be to convince them, and lobby them on the
merits of aligning their fiscal policy with his monetary policy. It is not
his duty to spell out fiscal policy. I am sure no one gave him a job
description when he took over. It is not his territory. Little wonder there
are reports of certain sections of the ruling party calling for his head.
Yes, they cannot leave him alone because he is growing bigger than a simple
governor. He is usurping ministerial powers. He is slowly becoming a
Jonathan Moyo of the previous parliament and cabinet and for that he should
step down or get the kick.

As if the above is not enough, the nature of retribution he proposes for
exporters resembles a lot of folly on his part. It shows a lack of vision.
Exporters are the source of meaningful inflows of foreign currency. More of
these people are required to get Zimbabwe from where it is. It is their
foreign currency that we require as a country, and not the diaspora dollar
or pound. I am not sure what their response would be, in a country without
that currency, to a policy statement that promises to deal with them
viciously for 'wrongs' that they do. They are smarter than Dr Gono by all
means. And a crackdown on them would worsen things. He can take all the
exporters to jail, all Zimra officers and officials to jail, all corps to
jail etc, but the ones who replace them will be equally corrupt if not
worse. It's not about retribution Dr Gono. It is about a change in mindset.
It is about a change in values. It is about teaching children to grow up as
good citizens. It is about teaching children in homes. It is not about
teaching them 'not to steal because if you are caught you will go to jail'.
It is about teaching them to be 'good citizens' and also that 'good citizens
do not steal because stealing is bad'. Gono is teaching the former and it is
a pity he is teaching adults and not children. Such requires a national
approach, not one of violent enforcement as is the case now. It requires the
efforts of everyone, not the RBZ chief's single-handed approach. As he does
not understand this, I call for his resignation.

See now he has been sucked into the Kuruneri saga. Maybe it is true he in
fact facilitated the transfers, in which case he is likely to be found
guilty. Any full investigation of his tenure as CBZ chief will bring out a
lot more things against him - remember he should have been responsible for
the activities of his direct reports. Who knows, he might end up behind bars
for flouting the same rules he preaches right now. In a previous article I
said Dr Gono needed to give government some explanations regarding the
Zimbabwe/Malaysia Bilateral payment arrangement and how that money made
available by government to the 'productive sector' to buy stuff from
Malaysia was utilized in procuring stuff from our neighbours South Africa.
In his position he is not only expected to be free from corruption, but must
be seen to be free from it. The Kuruneri saga will cast a lot of doubt about
him despite what the final verdict on his involvement would be. It would
therefore be gracious for him to step down now.

In addition, we read about Dr Gono having sanctioned the purchase of 50
state of the art cars for use by the RBZ in fighting corruption. I am told
those cars are at the RBZ depot in Msasa. Imagine, 50 cars for the RBZ when
the Ministry of Health is using ox-drawn ambulances in Seke. Yes, 50 cars to
enforce his retribution when people are dying enroute to hospitals in
ox-drawn ambulances. It beats all reason. These are cars that will be parked
kwaMereki during weekends and at rural homes over holidays. Corruption has
suddenly become more important now than before to the extent of sidelining
dying people in preference for spelling out policies and holding conferences
in hotels regarding how best the RBZ can harness the corrupt business
people. While fighting corruption is good, it might as well be left to the
government through responsible ministries and not the RBZ. Yesterday Gono
was complaining about the size of the cabinet and today he is on a
recruitment drive and spending mission for a department that will have more
court cases than any positive returns to the economy. For this lack of moral
fibre, I ask Gono to step down.

And after buying the RBZ vehicles and hiding them in Msasa, the man has the
guts to tell Zimbabwe that he is going to be restricting the importation of
luxury goods into the country - because he has brought in his. This too is
corruption and he should step down for it. Why did he not say it prior to
that mega purchase?

He has also failed to close the parallel market. For as long as there is no
foreign currency available to all bidders at the auction floors, there will
always be a parallel market. Everyone in Zimbabwe prices their goods based
on parallel market rates. We need no explanations on this - that is how
things are. But exporters are expected to convert their foreign currency
holdings at the auctions at the RBZ stipulated rates. The implication is
that they will be subsidising the importers. If there should be any
subsidies, then government is supposed to be responsible for that. The RBZ
forex subsidies to importer is not proper. Look at it this way. An importer
gets USD at the auctions (on a day he is lucky, usually he buys USD at the
parallel market rates) for ZWD9000.00. He gets his stuff in the country and
does his costings at ZWD25000.00 and sells to the market. The next day, the
importer goes again to the auctions and buys again at ZWD9000.00 and the
exporter continues to be forced to sell his forex at the ZWD9000.00 and the
cycle continues like that. It is not sustainable for the exporters. The
parallel market is there because there is a demand for the forex. If the
parallel market had been absent, then all the manufacturing and other
importing companies would have been 'dead' by now and Dr Gono would have
fewer companies for his 50 brand new cars to monitor. Because he could not
destroy the parallel market as promised on his ascendancy to governorship,
he should step down.

In his policy statement, he decries the drop in tobacco output as
contributing to the drop in foreign currency inflows. Till when will
Zimbabwe be pinning its hopes on a crop that everyone the world over is
campaigning against. There are anti-smoking campaigns everywhere and in many
countries people are no longer allowed to smoke indoors in restaurants ,
pubs etc. Even if the tobacco hectarage goes up, the inflows from it may not
be that newsworthy. For this lack of vision, I ask the governor to step

I am not trying to be too negative about Gono. He simply has no clues as to
what to do. He has no solutions to the current problems from the RBZ's
perspective. He is not aware of where he starts and ends. He has turned the
RBZ governorship into a political post and wants to do everything and be
everyone. It is a total recipe for disaster. He should leave politics to
politicians and lobby them for alignment of their policies with his. This
governorship is beyond him. Retribution has never achieved anything
anywhere. It has only brought bitterness and resentment. It does not change
anyone's mindset and Gono is better told to leave that route. In his prayers
to God for answers, let him seek wisdom to get everyone to share his values
and not incarcerate anyone as the Zim jails are not enough to accommodate
everyone involved in the sins that Gono would like to use the 50 state of
the art cars for.

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New Zimbabwe


Pius Ncube: the making of as struggle icon

Last updated: 05/24/2005 03:48:52
THIS past week I had the rare and wonderful opportunity of attending a
press conference that was jointly addressed by Bishop Phillip Rubin and
Archbishop Pius Ncube. The event was held in Johannesburg, South Africa, and
organised by the Peace and Solidarity Trust.

The trust was formed in 2003 to help develop a joint strategy for
Christians in both Zimbabwe and South Africa who are concerned about the
worsening crisis in Zimbabwe. Bishop Rubin and Archbishop Ncube are the
current co-chairpersons of the trust.

Bishop Rubin is the leader of the Anglican Church in KwaZulu-Natal. He
is well known for his celebrated role in the fight against the apartheid
regime. At present, Rubin has emerged as a key leader of the Zimbabwe
Solidarity Forum.

The forum is a loose coalition of diverse South African civic & human
rights groups, social movements, youth and student organizations, together
with the various national faith based alliances such as the South African
Council of Churches. The forum is presently involved in concerted efforts to
galvanize a strong national coalition fighting for the restoration of
democratic space in Zimbabwe.

Archbishop Ncube is the most eminent prelate of the Roman Catholic
Church in Zimbabwe today. He is presently well known and respected as the
leader of the Catholics in Bulawayo.

However, it has not been due to his clerical services that Ncube has
been hitting the headlines of late. In recent years, Ncube has emerged from
the religious obscurity of Sunday mass services at the St. Mary's Cathedral
and taken centre stage in the national agenda. Ncube has of late become
somewhat of a growing myth and legend in the eyes of many long suffering
millions of Zimbabweans.

The rise of Ncube to national significance and influence has been so
spectacular. The popularity of the soft-spoken cleric has soared at such a
very high rate that can only be compared to the nation's meteoric inflation

It, however, comes not as a surprise that Ncube has now become to be
seen as a phenomenal struggle icon. Many Zimbabweans know very well that
Ncube has found his largely critical voice after realizing that as a church
leader he has a moral role to play in the escalating crisis in Zimbabwe.
Ncube has repeatedly said that he is not an aspiring politician and neither
is he motivated by a personal hatred of the Mugabe regime.

He has persistently said that he regards himself as a key church
leader as part of the prophetic voice of the nation. He believes that the
church leaders can not remain silent while their congregations face the
worst terror of their lives at the hands of an increasingly desperate

Ncube also insists that he will not keep silent as long as he has to
face the hungry faces of his congregation every time he tries to deliver a
mass service. There is such a huge socio-economic crisis as represented by
the widespread shortages of basic food commodities that he as a church
leader has to come out and be vocal about it.

Ncube has also lashed out at the Mugabe regime for its poor human and
political rights records. He has been very critical at the regime system of
unjust and repressive laws such as AIPPA and POSA. He has also attacked the
abuse of young Zimbabweans as represented mainly by the notorious Green
Bombers from the national youth service programme.

But it is against Mugabe's failure to step from power that Ncube has
reserved his most arsenic and rabid attacks. He has repeatedly called for
Mugabe to step down for the good of his nation. In particular, he has lashed
out at Mugabe for using all fraudulent means to undermine the electoral
process of the country. Ncube has lambasted the nation's past three major
polls as illegitimate and not the express will of the people of Zimbabwe.

Ncube's ever increasing role in the struggle for a new democratic
dispensation have however, not gone unnoticed. Apart from Zimbabwe where he
has already achieved folklore status, Ncube has started to receive
recognition all over Africa, especially in South Africa where his visits are
keenly covered by the local media.

But Ncube's influence has also reached overseas recognition. Last
year, he was given the ultimate recognition when he was hosted by the former
American Secretary of State Collin Powel in Washington DC. The seal of
approval from the USA and Europe only served to increase the vitriolic
attacks and rhetoric from the Mugabe regime and its lapdog media outlets
such as the ZBC, Herald and the Chronicle.

But in spite of the ever increasing threats on his life from the
Mugabe regime, Ncube appears undeterred. If anything, he seems to have
intensified his public criticism and outspokenness against the regime. He
has continued to look up to his heroes such as Martin Luther King, Desmond
Tutu, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and Archbishop Oscar Romero.

Many political observers and analysts of the crisis in Zimbabwe now
regard him as the most controversial and outspoken critic of the Mugabe
regime today. As it is, the die is cast and there is no more turning back
for the cleric. He has crossed his own Rubicon and thrown the gauntlet
against the regime. Many in Zimbabwe are praying that he never gives up on
his seemingly impossible mission to reign in on the errant Mugabe regime.

It is against this background that I take this opportunity to join the
nation of Zimbabwe in congratulating Ncube for being the winner of the 2005
Roberts Burns International Humanitarian Award. The award is Scotland's most
famous international award.

It is meant to honor the actions of an exceptional individual who in
he past year has put humanitarian concerns above all others. The late Burns
was a legendary Scottish poet who was assassinated for his role in promoting
the rights of the Scottish people.

Ncube is indeed a worthy winner of this year's award. Congratulations!
Makorokoto! Amhlophe athe nke!
Daniel Molokele is a lawyer and a former student leader. He is
currently based in Johannesburg, South Africa. His column appears here every

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