The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Lawyers say Zimbabwe evictions were crime against humanity, urge international prosecution

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: May 23, 2007

THE HAGUE, Netherlands: The mass evictions of hundreds of thousands of
Zimbabweans two years ago constituted a crime against humanity and the U.N.
Security Council should send the case to the International Criminal Court,
lawyers said Wednesday.

U.N. officials estimate at least 700,000 people lost homes or livelihoods,
and 2.4 million more suffered related losses in 2005's Operation
Murambatsvina, the government's so-called urban cleanup operation in which
homes, shacks and market stalls were destroyed.

"What happened in Zimbabwe was akin in magnitude to the Asian tsunami,"
Zimbabwean human rights lawyer Alec Muchadehma told reporters in The Hague.

The government insisted its drive flushed out criminals and illegal black
market traders whose activities were fueling record inflation in the ailing

Since the operation, Zimbabwe's crippled economy has only plunged deeper
into crisis. Inflation now stands at a staggering 3,714 percent.

Malcolm Langford, of the Geneva-based Center on Housing Rights and
Evictions, said the evictions fitted the international court's criteria for
a crime against humanity known as forced displacement.
"We believe it is now time for the Security Council to take up this issue
and we are calling on all 15 members ... to put it on the agenda and
officially debate it," Langford said.

The Hague-based International Criminal Court cannot independently launch an
investigation in Zimbabwe because the government of Robert Mugabe has not
ratified the Rome Convention that created the court.

But it could act if the Security Council were to refer the case to the

So far, the only case sent to the court by the Security Council has been
Darfur, where an estimated 200,000 people have died since 2003 as a result
of fighting between rebels and government-backed Arab militias.

Amnesty International reported last year that a government rehousing program
had provided just over 3,325 new homes to replace at least 90,000 homes
demolished in May-June, 2005. Most of the new homes were still incomplete,
without sanitation facilities, doors, windows, floors and roofs, Amnesty

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Pressure builds for no-strings all party talks on Zimbabwe crisis, says opposition

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: May 23, 2007

HARARE, Zimbabwe: Momentum is building to start South African-brokered talks
to resolve Zimbabwe's deepening crisis, opposition officials said Wednesday.

But the opposition Movement for Democratic Change has again refused demands
that before talks proceed, it recognize President Robert Mugabe as the
nation's legitimately elected leader. That condition stalled two previous

The opposition alleges it has been robbed at parliamentary and presidential
by violent intimidation of voters and ballot rigging. The opposition also
has demanded the repeal of sweeping media and security laws, electoral
reforms and an end to state-orchestrated political violence.

Both main opposition parties were now considering setting aside their
demands in a bid to get to the negotiating table, where the demands could
likely be tackled later, said opposition officials.

"There must be an environment where there are no conditions and no issue is
taboo in negotiations," said one official who asked not to be identified.

South Africa has insisted none of any likely participants in talks,
including representatives of civic groups, air their negotiating positions
through the media and has enforced a news blackout, saying the new
initiative will not be conducted through the media.
President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, appointed in March by the Southern
African Development Community to mediate on Zimbabwe, was given until the
end of June to return with concrete proposals on narrowing the wide
differences between President Robert Mugabe's ruling party and the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

"The pressure is on. The situation here is impacting on the whole region and
President Mbeki has a deadline to meet," said the official.

Mugabe's fellow African leaders have heard repeated calls to do more to
press Mugabe to embark on reforms. But at the summit at which Mbeki - who
has longed advocated quiet diplomacy over confrontation with Mugabe - was
appointed to mediate, the Southern African Development Community voiced full
support for Mugabe.

At another regional summit in Kenya Wednesday, Mugabe had harsh words for
his opposition and his critics in the West, and was applauded by fellow
African leaders.

Earlier this month, Mbeki sent a delegation headed by Sydney Mufamadi, a
Cabinet minister, to Harare for talks with Mugabe.

Mufamadi did not meet with opposition leaders in Harare, but several top
aides of Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of one opposition faction, and rival
faction leader Arthur Mutambara have shuttled to and from South Africa in
recent weeks.

Mutambara, his secretary general Welshman Ncube and Ncube's opposite number
in the Tsvangirai group, Tendai Biti, have met with South African officials
in South Africa.

In line with the South African news blackout, none has confirmed reports of
a meeting in South Africa with Mugabe's Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa,
the ruling party's chief negotiator in previous failed inter-party talks,
when he was en route to the just-ended gathering of the continentwide
African Union in the west African nation of Ghana.

Opposition officials dismissed as "rubbish" media reports that secret talks
were already on track.

But "something has to be done to find a way forward and it has to be done
urgently" said one official.

There were suggestions for at least initial talks in June for Mbeki to
deliver to regional leaders, he said.

No comment was immediately available from Chinamasa or the ruling party.

Ronnie Mamoepa, South African Foreign Affairs spokesman, would not confirm
any details of the mediation process.

"There will be to-ing and fro-ing between Pretoria and Harare. Mediation is
a process not an event. We are not going to comment except to say that
mediations remain on course," he said.

Zimbabwe's economic meltdown worsened this month as inflation spiraled out
of control to a record 3,714 percent, the highest in the world. Consumer
prices doubled in April, according to the official Central Statistical
Office, putting many basic goods out of the reach of ordinary Zimbabweans.

In formal businesses, unemployment has soared to more than 80 percent.
Scores of businesses have closed down and most main factories operate at
around or less than 30 percent of their capacity.

Power and water outages occur daily and shortages of food, hard currency,
gasoline, medicines and other essential goods are acute.

Health and social services have crumbled in a nation with one of the world's
highest rates of HIV/AIDS infection. An estimated 3,000 people die each week
from AIDS-related illnesses.

Mugabe blames the crisis on successive years of drought and Western economic
sanctions, but critics say corruption, mismanagement and the often-violent
seizures of thousands of white-owned commercial farms since 2000 disrupted
the agriculture-based economy in the former regional breadbasket.

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Zim opposition threatens to pull out of Mbeki-led talks

Zim Online

Thursday 24 May 2007

By Farisai Gonye

HARARE - Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party on Wednesday said it could pull out of talks with President Robert
Mugabe's government unless security forces called off a crackdown against
its supporters and officials.

South African President Thabo Mbeki, charged by the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) two months ago to broker talks between the MDC
and Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party to resolve Zimbabwe's crisis, last week
told his Parliament that the mediation was going on "very well".

Subsequent Press reports, not denied by Mbeki's office, suggested that
South African officials had already met with representatives from ZANU PF
and the MDC for talks about talks.

But Nelson Chamisa, spokesman of the main wing of the splintered MDC
led by Morgan Tsvangirai, told ZimOnline that the party was under pressure
from grassroots leaders and supporters bearing the brunt of the government
crackdown and who are "asking us why we are talking to people who want to
bludgeon the party into extinction".

"Our national council met last Friday and already reports from the
provinces are that members want us out. They think Mugabe is using the SADC
initiative to buy time. As a leadership we also have to listen to our
constituencies," said Chamisa.

He said scores of MDC activists were arrested over the past few months
on trumped up charges while the party's supporters in many parts of the
country were living in fear of arrest by state agents.

Chamisa said the MDC remained committed to dialogue but added the
party could not allow itself to be "crippled and at some point, maybe sooner
rather later, we may have to say enough is enough. We are out (of the

ZANU PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa however scoffed at
the MDC threats to pull out of talks saying the ruling party was not
"desperate" to talk to the MDC and that it had in the first place only
agreed to talks out of courtesy to SADC leaders.

Mutasa said: "Let them (pull out of talks). We are not desperate to
talk to them. We are accommodating them because we are being courteous to
our SADC brothers who have shown a lot of support to us."

Mbeki's disclosure that mediation was progressing well was seen by
many as positive and an indication of Pretoria's desire to see resolution of
the crisis across its northern border.

But the security forces' continuing crackdown against the MDC has left
the opposition party's leaders and independent analysts deeply suspicious of
Mugabe's intentions and far from convinced that Mbeki will be able to
pressure the Zimbabwean leader to conduct free and fair elections next year.

The two factions of the MDC that have taken a common position in the
talks are pushing for an end to political violence, appointment of an
independent commission to run elections and a new constitutional and legal
framework to ensure free and fair elections. Mugabe and ZANU PF have not yet
publicly set their terms.

Zimbabwe is in the grip of a severe economic crisis marked by
inflation of more than 3 700 percent and the highest in the world, shortages
of medicines, fuel, electricity, hard cash and just about every basic
survival commodity.

The economic meltdown has fuelled political tensions in the southern
African country as the government resorts to brutal force to keep public
discontent in check. - ZimOnline

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Mugabe attacks West at summit

Mail and Guardian

Katie Nguyen | Nairobi, Kenya

23 May 2007 06:09

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe celebrated a landmark
agreement by Africa's biggest trade bloc on Wednesday with a favourite
pastime -- attacking the West and justifying his actions.

Charged with giving a vote of thanks at the end of a meeting to
approve a landmark deal on harmonised tariffs, Mugabe roused an audience of
the Comesa (Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa) trade bloc, poking
fun at Europe, which relies on imports for many of its goods.

"Where does Europe get all the cotton it wears and the tea the
British call their own -- English tea? I want to know in which part of
Britain tea is grown and to this day I have not found it," he said to an
outburst of applause.

His critics may regard him as a pariah whose policies have
ruined what was once one of Africa's most promising post-independence
economies -- but Mugabe's off-the-cuff speech won boisterous clapping and
laughter from many fellow Africans.

The 83-year-old was also defiant about the government's
suppression of a rally in which scores of his opponents, including
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai,
were beaten.

"Of course the police gave it to him, they bashed him as they
would anyone regardless of their status. If you challenge the police with
violence, they will meet you with violence," he said.

Mugabe, whose country takes over the Comesa chair next year,
accused the West of taking advantage of Africa by buying its raw commodities
and trying to dictate events.

"That's why we are always saying to imperialists ... keep away,
we are married to Africa. Britain and Europe, you have your own territory.
America, Bush, your own territory, hands off Africa. If you are friends,
come with clean hands," he said. -- Reuters

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A shame that Zimbabwe leader was allowed to deface summit

Daily Nation, East Africa

Publication Date: 2007/05/24 In hijacking the Comesa Heads of State and
Government Summit to deliver his pet tirades against his critics, Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe erred gravely.

He probably embarrassed his hosts and fellow leaders gathered in
Nairobi for the Comesa summit.

That President Mugabe was given the opportunity to deliver the vote of
thanks and was also elected vice-chairman of the giant trading bloc is a sad
reflection of how African leaders close their eyes to the excesses of their

A leader such as Robert Mugabe should be shunned, not welcomed into
gatherings where his very presence signals approval of his dictatorship and
the methods he has used to destroy his country.

The African Union was formed specifically to signal a break from the
cozy club of dictators that was its predecessor, the Organisation of African

Under the AU came the New Partnership for African Development (Nepad),
which through the African Peer Review Mechanism undertook to shun dictators
and promote leadership based on democracy and respect for human rights.

It is presumed that regional groupings such as Comesa and other
political and economic blocs on the continent subscribe to the virtues and
principals the AU claims to uphold.

And that means people such as Mr Mugabe must be persuaded to change
their ways, or shunned.

Comesa Summit

If the virtues and principles espoused were to be upheld, Mr Mugabe
would never have been allowed anywhere near the Comesa Summit.

And he would never have had the opportunity to defile the serious and
sober gathering with a defence of his dictatorial ways.

Mr Mugabe, it must be acknowledged, faced very serious land issues in
Zimbabwe, which needed to be resolved with drastic action.

It was simply unjust and untenable - whatever the US, Britain and
Australia may say in defence of their kith and kin - that a small racial
minority owns 90 per cent of all the land.

The problem is that Mr Mugabe was never part of the solution; he was
the biggest problem.

In the first decade of Zimbabwe's independence, he spurned a land
buy-back programme that would have seen an orderly transfer of land from
White to Black hands.

He was clocking to decades in power when for crass political purposes,
he designed the forcible land grab that has had the effect of turning the
breadbasket of the region into a basket case.

And Mr Mugabe has presided over destruction of the economic powerhouse
that was Zimbabwe; he has turned to increasingly brutal and dictatorial
methods to silence all voices of reason and dissent.

So, when we find reason to cheer Mr Mugabe for his attacks on the
white West, let us not forget that we are cheering on a man who has
systemically destroyed his own country and impoverished his people under the
guise of standing up for Zimbabwean and African rights.

It is a real shame that Mr Mugabe was allowed yesterday to deface the
Comesa Summit.

Those African leaders who sat through his address should do what they
can to disassociate themselves from the tirade. And, to deny him the
opportunity for a repeat performance, Mr Mugabe must be shut out of all such
gatherings in future.

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Zim's white farmers report new land invasions

Mail and Guardian

Nelson Banya | Harare, Zimbabwe

23 May 2007 12:59

Zimbabwe's white commercial farmers have reported an increase in
invasions on their farms ahead of a deadline for them to leave land due to
be taken by President Robert Mugabe's government.

Mugabe's government, which went on a drive to acquire white-held
land to resettle landless black people in 2000, has given hundreds of white
farmers until August to vacate the farms.

White commercial farmers and black people illegally occupying
some farms were given deadlines between July and August to leave.

The Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU), which represents the
interests of most of Zimbabwe's remaining white farmers, says its members
had reported new invasions ahead of the deadline.

"There has been an increase in purported new beneficiaries
coming into farms demanding that farmers leave immediately, leaving
equipment, which is contrary to ongoing court proceedings and guidelines
issued by the ministry," CFU spokesperson Emily Crookes said.

Crookes said the government's district land committees were
going around farms "conducting inventories of crops and equipment".

"We hope this will lead to the issuance of offer letters to
farmers who applied for land many, many months ago."

Mugabe's government has told farmers whose land has been listed
to apply for new land, with allocations being done through offer letters
issued by the Lands Ministry.

The first wave of farm invasions in 2000 was marked by violence
that left several white farmers dead as veterans of Zimbabwe's liberation
war and Zanu-PF supporters moved on to farms in chaotic attacks.

No violent incidents have been reported in the latest round of

Official figures say between 500 and 600 white farmers remain,
down from about 4 500 when the programme began.

Crookes said although not all white farmers had been given
notice of eviction, disturbances on the farms had hit the sector, with the
crucial winter wheat crop being most affected.

"The planted commercial wheat crop is under 10 000ha this year
because of the ongoing disturbances, Zesa power-supply problems and less
water in the dams due to the poor rains."

Mugabe's government says Zimbabwe, which has a huge maize
deficit after another poor summer season, faces bread shortages as farmers
planted only 10% of the country's wheat requirements in part because the
majority of new black farmers lacked farming inputs.

Agriculture Permanent Secretary Shadreck Mlambo last week told a
parliamentary committee that only about 8 000ha of the targeted 76 000ha had
been put under wheat ahead of the May 31 planting deadline.

Mugabe defends his land policy, saying it was necessary to
redress colonial imbalances that left 70% of Zimbabwe's prime land in the
hands of a small white minority. -- Reuters

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Dollar sheds more than 60 percent in four weeks

Zim Online

Thursday 24 May 2007

By Wayne Mafaro

HARARE - Zimbabwe's currency has lost more than 60 percent of its value in
just four weeks on the parallel market for foreign currency, where the bulk
of hard cash is traded.

The parallel market is illegal but remains the only sure source of hard cash
in crisis-hit Zimbabwe with individuals, companies, government departments
and sometimes the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) itself sourcing foreign
currency from the thriving black-market.

The dollar - which is shedding value faster than any other currency in the
world - has tumbled from 25 000 to one American dollar to 40 000 against the
greenback since April 26 when RBZ governor Gideon Gono made an interim
monetary policy review statement he said was meant to help revive the
economy and shore up the embattled local currency.

The official exchange rate that Gono in April shifted from 250 to 15 000
dollars to one American unit remains unchanged.

Demand for foreign currency on the parallel market, where it is readily
available, has continued to rise as hard cash inflows from the export of
tobacco and minerals fail to meet requirements.

Bulawayo-based economist Eric Bloch predicted that the dollar will continue
sliding on the parallel market over the next four months because of
increased demand.

Bloch, who is also an adviser to RBZ boss Gono, said: "The rate on the
alternative (parallel) market will continue to spiral upwards for the next
four or so months. The shortage of foreign currency on the formal market has
led to increased demand on the alternative market."

He said the little foreign currency trickling into the formal market was
going towards the importation of food, anti-retroviral drugs, electricity
and fuel, all in critical short supply in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe is in the grip of a severe economic crisis, which has left the
majority of the country's 12 million people mired in poverty as unemployment
rockets amid shortages of food, hard cash and every basic survival

Critics blame the crisis on repression and wrong policies by President
Robert Mugabe such as his controversial seizure of white-owned farms to give
to landless blacks, which derailed the commercial agricultural sector that
was the largest employer, chief foreign currency earner and backbone of the

Mugabe, in power since Zimbabwe's 1980 independence from Britain, denies
ruining the economy and instead blames his country's problems on sabotage by
Western governments opposed to his land reforms. - ZimOnline

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Police refuse to vacate invaded farm in Matabeleland North

By Tererai Karimakwenda
May 23, 2007

We reported last week that the eviction of white farmers had intensified and
become militarized in the last few months, with police and army officials
increasingly becoming the new beneficiaries of this illegal campaign. The
Zimbabwe Republic Police took over a farm in Matabeleland North province two
months ago. And they have refused to leave despite a High Court order to
vacate the premises. According to recent reports, the police have not only
ignored the courts, but they have moved more people onto the property, named
Portwe Farm.

The order was issued last week by High Court Judge Francis Bere. It called
on the police to stop interfering with operations at Portwe Farm and to
return guns and farmhouse keys which were taken illegally from the owners,
Dave and Margaret Joubert. It turned out Joubert's neighbour is the former
governor of Matabeleland North, Welshman Mabhena. He told us the police were
still living on Joubert's farm but were not growing any food. Mabhena said
the foreman told him all the farm workers had been chased away and many had
gone back to their communal lands.

The former governor said he was shocked that an institution of government
was involved in the taking of land from civilians. He explained: "These are
the people who should see to it that the law is observed where there is
dissatisfaction, and justice can be allowed to play its role. You should be
running to them, not from them." According to reports, Joubert's lawyers are
preparing to file a contempt of court suit against the police.

Mabhena said farm evictions are being reported all over the province of
Matabeleland North. He believes when it is the police doing it, orders must
be coming from the uppermost levels of government. In the case of Portwe
farm, the police first arrived last March in a convoy of 20 marked police
cars. They shut down a safari lodge that is on the farm, and chased away
foreign tourists.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Journalist summoned by police as media harassment continues

By Tererai Karimakwenda
23 May, 2007

Continuing the harassment of journalists working in Zimbabwe, the police
last week summoned photographer Boldwill Hungwe from The Standard newspaper
to turn himself in. But knowing the recent violent treatment of his
colleagues by the police Hungwe did not go to Harare Central station. He
informed the officer who contacted him that he was consulting with a lawyer.

Hungwe believes he became a target after The Standard published pictures of
the injured lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, who had been abducted by police at a
protest march and assaulted publicly earlier this month. Mtetwa is also
director of the Law Society of Zimbabwe. Hungwe said the call came from an
inspector Chinemberi last Thursday. He added: "Knowing the conditions that
journalists are working under here I knew I could not afford to go without
talking to a lawyer." The inspector then threatened to send a police officer
to collect Hungwe and escort him in. Nothing has happened since.
The conditions Hungwe refered to have seen the harsh treatment, arrests and
even murder of journalists in Zimbabwe. Cameraman Edward Chikomba was
abducted from his home in Harare last month and his badly beaten body was
discovered in the bush days later. In another case, photographer Tsvangirai
Mukwazhi was arrested and assaulted in March as he tried to cover a prayer
rally that was blocked by the police.
But Hungwe said he would not give up his chosen trade. He explained that he
was aware there might be dangers when he pursued journalism, and accepted
that this is the nature of the work.
Meanwhile the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) on Wednesday
called on the Zimbabwean government to end its attacks and harassment of
journalists and to stop police harassment of Hungwe.

Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa Office, was quoted saying:
"Violent attacks on journalists and other media workers are having a
chilling effect in Zimbabwe and sending a message that the government will
use force to silence journalists that publish news it wants to keep out of
public view."

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Millions reportedly missing at Zimbabwe's public service ministry

Monsters and Critics

May 23, 2007, 9:43 GMT

Harare - Zimbabwe's public service ministry is unable to account for
millions of dollars supposed to be used to create jobs and pay school fees
for disadvantaged children, it emerged Wednesday.

A parliamentary portfolio committee has recommended that a police fraud
squad should move in to investigate ministry officials, the official Herald
newspaper said.

Details are only just emerging of the scale of mismanagement at the
ministry, where no audits have been carried out for the past eight years.

The money missing from the Social Development Fund (SDF) amounted to 46
million Zimbabwe dollars in 1998 (now equivalent to 184,000 US dollars, but
worth considerably more nine years ago) and another 30 million advanced by
the African Development Bank.

The fund was established to provide support for employment- generating
initiatives in the wake of the controversial Economic Structural Adjustment
Programme (ESAP) in the early 1990s, which left many jobless.

During the course of investigations by the portfolio committee, it emerged
that the public service ministry's principal secretary Lancaster Museka was
grossly uninformed about goings-on in the fund he was supposed to oversee.

'In reply to the questions put to him by your committee, the accounting
officer conceded that the only time he received briefings on the fund was a
week before his appearance at the committee,' the committee's report said.

He was not even aware that he had signed the 1998 accounts which contained a
disclaimer by the Comptroller and Auditor General, it continued.

In further evidence of mismanagement, two vehicles belonging to the SDF had
been stolen while other fund vehicles had been transferred to the parent
ministry without approval from the treasury,the Herald said.

Senators including those from the ruling ZANU-PF party say ministry
officials behaved 'in a criminal manner.'

'Your committee was dismayed to note that the SDF had the capacity to spend
but none to account for the funds spent,' the report said.

A report in Tuesday's Herald said the Home Affairs Ministry had also failed
to submit accounts and was overspending.

Melusi Matshiya, the ministry's secretary, blamed frequent by- elections,
the report said.

Matshiya said the ministry had to 'fork out for police uniforms and
allowances for officials during the by-elections, forcing it into the red.'

© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur

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Zimbabwe gold production decimated - now down to only eight tonnes a year


Zimbabwe's gold output has plunged down to only 8 tonnes, the biggest fall
recorded since 1916, the Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines said Tuesday.

Author: Tawanda Karombo
Posted:  Wednesday , 23 May 2007


In the 12 month period to March 2007, Zimbabwe's gold production was a
meagre 8 tonnes. In the peak year of 1916, the country recorded production
of 29 metric tons of gold and in a recent mini-peak in 1999 of 27 tonnes.
Calendar 2006 output was around 16 tonnes.

Jack Murehwa, the chairman of the Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines, said Zimbabwe
remains the only country yet to gain from the current high global mineral
prices. "Our industry continues to experience declines in volumes despite
the very buoyant mineral prices which have prevailed for the past 18
months," he said.

Murehwa said the world price of gold rose from about US$275 an ounce in 2001
to more than US$600 last year. He added that nickel, platinum and copper
prices also rose significantly.
He bemoaned "policy inconsistencies" in the economy that have spurred
hyperinflation, acute shortages of gasoline and hard currency for equipment
and spare parts. Power outages and an exodus of most of the country's
skilled mining personnel for greener pastures in other countries are the
other reasons cited.
He said despite the high world prices, investors in mining were staying away
from Zimbabwe.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has reported that foreign investment in the
country declined from $444.3 million in 1998 to $50 million last year. The
central bank cited "perceived risk" and worries over security of ownership
as the main drivers of scepticism by investors.
President Robert Mugabe has in the past hinted that his government will
claim about 50 percent local ownership of all mining concerns to further the
country's black interests.

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Zimbabwe's diamond mine ownership wrangle takes new direction


As previous owners are arrested, the dispute between River Ranch and Bubye
Minerals over the diamond mine in southern Zimbabwe appears to be moving in
favour of River Ranch, the current mine operator.

Author: Rodrick Mukumbira
Posted:  Wednesday , 23 May 2007


All seems to be lost for Bubye Minerals in the wrangle to control a diamond
mine near Beitbridge, in southern Zimbabwe.

Wednesday marked the third day in police custody for its husband and wife
founders Michael and Adele Farquhar, who were arrested Monday, two weeks
before they were due to appear in court in answer to a charge of stripping
the mine's assets stemming from the period when they were in charge of the
contentious River Ranch diamond mine.

The latest twist comes three years after Bubye Minerals was evicted from the
mine, in a move that has resulted in a long legal battle and accusations of
diamond smuggling with the company claiming that it was militarily and
forcibly evicted by current operators River Ranch Limited - a company in
which Solomon Mujuru, the husband of Zimbabwe's vice-President Joyce Mujuru,
is one of the directors.

"We understand that Mr and Mrs Farquhar have been arrested and will appear
in court early next month. The charges are that whilst they were managing
the Mine they sold assets at the Mine which belonged to River Ranch Limited,
and that they breached Exchange Control regulations," George Kantsouris,
managing director of River Ranch Limited, told Mineweb.

But the Farquhar's lawyer, Terrence Hussein, said his clients had not been
notified of the charges they face.

"Such charges, we believe, stem from a period when the Farquhars were in
fact the owners of River Ranch, thus they are going to be prosecuted for
stealing their own property," Hussein was quoted by Rappaport as saying.

Bubye Minerals has also lost with costs a legal action against River Ranch
filed with the Supreme Court application to regain control, claiming the
mine was taken without just cause, and it was so awarded after, in 2006,
Minister of Mines Amos Midzi permitted Mujuru's group to hold ownership the
same court ruled in favour of the River Ranch occupants.

The Supreme Court application sought to block River Ranch Limited from
"mining, working or extracting" diamonds from River Ranch mine.

The application also sought to block Zimbabwe's mineral market arm Minerals
Mining Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) from "selling, exporting or in any way
dealing with precious minerals" from River Ranch mine.

In his judgement dated 22 May, a copy of which is with Mineweb, Justice
Gowora ruled that there was no legal basis to justify the order that Bubye
Minerals sought and that the company had taken the respondents to court

According to press reports, Bubye Minerals was appointed to run River Ranch
mine in 1998 after government liquidators set to restore the operations
which had been suspended after previous owners experienced financial

The company brought in investment partners, including Saudi Arabia's Adel
Abdulrahman al Aujan, and mining commenced. In 2000, the mine experienced
several problems, including a hurricane-induced flood that impacted
negatively on production.

Bubye Minerals approached Aujan for more financing, which brought his stake
to 30 percent at that time. Relations soured resulting in 2004 with it
calling in past loans of over US$1.16 million, which Bubye Minerals failed
to repay.

Aujan, who currently owns 80 percent of the company through Rani
International Limited, brought in Kupukile Resources, owned by former ruling
ZANU-PF legislator Tirivanhu Mudariki and Mujuru which acquired a 20 percent
stake and took control of the mine, thereby sparking the on-going legal

While the tide seem to have turned against Bubye Minerals, River Ranch
Limited remains in the spotlight for allegedly smuggling diamonds to South
Africa using UN vehicles.

Last week the UN's legal department had began investigating the UNDP offices
in Harare following March complaints by Bubye Minerals that the body was
funding River Ranch and allowing its vehicles to be used by the latter to
smuggle diamonds out of Zimbabwe.

Bubye Minerals claimed that it had gathered evidence that River Ranch
Limited used UNDP vehicles, "which contravenes Zimbabwean law and
international diplomatic protocol." The company said it has affidavits
alleging that at least one of the vehicles was used to take diamonds off the
mine and into South Africa, which it can more easily be done since
diplomatic registered vehicles are exempt from search at border posts.

The UNDP however confirmed funding River Ranch Limited through the African
Management Services Company (Amsco), a company formed together with the
World Bank's private sector arm, the IFC.

Amsco is a UN capacity building scheme for African firms.

It was quoted in press reports saying apart from supporting River Ranch
Limited, Amsco has also availed assistance to other local companies such as
Bindura Nickel Mine and Shearwater, a tourism and leisure company.

In a twist of events this week, however, River Ranch Limited denied
receiving funding from Amsco saying it pays the UN capacity building scheme
for African firms for services rendered.

"At no time has River Ranch ever received funding from the UN or any of its
agencies. Three senior employees at River Ranch are Amsco employees. River
Ranch pays Amasco for its services. It is not funded by Amsco," said its
managing director, Kantsouris, in a statement to Mineweb.

He added, "One of the three employees did import a dark green Toyota Land
cruiser into the country and it has a diplomatic registration number. It is
not used at the mine. The so-called evidence gathered by Bubye Minerals is
clearly fictitious. All diamonds produced at the mine are reported on a
monthly basis to the mining commissioner."

On further enquiry on the mine's production, Kantsouris however could not
reveal this to Mineweb for confidentiality reasons and only the production
from Rio Tinto's subsidiary, Murowa Diamonds, is public knowledge.

"We are a private company, unlike Murowa Diamonds which is a subsidiary of
Rio Tinto PLC, and we do not wish to publish our production statistics at
this early stage of the Mine resuscitation and evaluation process. To date,
we have effected no sales and have dutifully reported our monthly production
to the mining commissioner, as required by statute," he told Mineweb.

He added, "As regards the life of the Mine and resource estimates, the
records relating to these aspects for the period 1992 to 2004 have been
"lost or misplaced" by Bubye Minerals when it leased the site."

Meanwhile a review team from the Kimberley Process is scheduled to arrive in
Zimbabwe shortly and assesses the country's compliance with the
Certification Scheme.

The Southern African Press Agency (SAPA) reports that the Antwerp-based
World Diamond Council (WDC) says in its May 22 Antwerp Facets that Zimbabwe,
together with Venezuela, have not been cooperating with the Kimberley
Process in the international effort to stamp out trade in conflict diamonds.

It reports that the chairman of the Antwerp-based World Diamond Council
(WDC) Eli Izhakoff had told a meeting of Kimberley Process members in
Jerusalem that both countries had asked for his help to become compliant.

Rappaport reports that Kimberly Process secretariat Stephane Chardon has
hinted that the legal goings on at River Ranch may well be beyond the scope
of the Certification Scheme. While the review team is most likely to visit
River Ranch, he is quoted by Rappaport, its mandate is to assess whether the
system in Zimbabwe as a whole meets the minimum requirements of the scheme.

The agency reports that earlier this year WDC's Izhakoff cautioned that the
WDC would not get involved in any internal disputes between private parties.

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Zim's bank chief goes back to basics


    May 23 2007 at 04:44PM

Harare - Desperate to see Zimbabwe's farming fortunes improve, the
central bank has come up with an ambitious new project: setting up technical
colleges that will produce at least half a million ox-drawn carts and
ploughs, it was reported on Wednesday.

Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono has become increasingly frustrated
with the slow pace of recovery of the agricultural sector, thrown into
disarray by the launch of a controversial land reform programme in 2000.

Gono, tipped as a presidential hopeful, has overseen the importation
of tractors and the disbursement of countless funds in a bid to encourage
new black farmers to produce good yields.

But there has been little improvement. Zimbabwe, once the breadbasket
of the southern African region, has been reduced to the status of food

This year less than one tenth of the targeted wheat crop has been
planted due to a shortage of tractors among other shortages of equipment and

Now the central bank chief has gone back to basics. He wants to
provide traditional animal-drawn carts and ploughs for black peasant

Zimbabwe's farming areas are divided into communal lands which have
long been farmed by subsistence farmers and resettlement areas, which used
to be farmed by whites before 2000.

The farming implements to be manufactured by 62 new technical
institutions - will be distributed to the communal farmers.

"Communal farmers contribute to the country's food security so we
decided to recognise them and assist them [to] improve their traditional way
of farming through the provision of these implements," Gono said.

"Its time now that we stopped importing maize and even wheat, wasting
the little foreign currency that we have. We have to produce and this we can
do as we have the capacity," he added.

Zimbabwe this year faces a critical shortage of more than a million
tons of the staple maize crop. - Sapa-dpa

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Zimbabwe mulls elephant cull

Yahoo News

Wed May 23, 8:39 AM ET

HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe is considering culling a ballooning elephant
population that it is struggling to control, an official said Wednesday.

"The elephant population is increasing at the rate of five to seven percent
annually," Edward Mbewe, spokesman for the parks and wildlife management
authority, told AFP.
"We have about three options to consider which include culling, but the
international world will not accept this."

The decision came after Mali and Kenya proposed to lobby for a complete ban
on the ivory trade for 20 years at the upcoming Convention on International
Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) summit.

The move has won the backing of six other African countries.

"We will be in a dilemma if that proposal by Kenya and Mali goes through,"
Mbewe said.

Besides culling Zimbabwe's wildlife, authorities are also considering
contraception and translocation to control the rising elephant population.

But Mbewe said "translocation is very expensive and will not solve anything
as we will transfer problems to another area."

The southern African country has an elephant population of more than 100,000
but has the capacity for only 45,000.

Mbewe said if the ivory trade ban is endorsed it will lead to conflict for
territory between humans and elephants as the beasts grow in numbers.

Elephants have been protected under the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species (CITES) since 1989, but in 1997 rules were relaxed
allowing Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe to sell a portion of their ivory
stocks under regulated trade.

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Archbishop of Canterbury still considering Lambeth Conference invitation for Harare bishop

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: May 23, 2007

LONDON: The archbishop of Canterbury has not yet decided whether to invite
Bishop Nolbert Kunonga of Zimbabwe to next year's Lambeth Conference, a
global gathering of Anglican bishops, a church official said Wednesday.

Archbishop Rowan Williams is seeking further advice on Kunonga's case, said
the Rev. Jonathan Jennings, a spokesman for Williams.

He declined to discuss the issues in Kunonga's case, but said it was not
related to the Anglican Communion's divisions over homosexuality which led
to two U.S. bishops being excluded from the more than 850 invitations sent

Kunonga, an outspoken supporter of President Robert Mugabe, was elected
bishop of Harare in 2001.

In 2005, regional Anglican bishops dropped charges against Kunonga of
alleged incitement to murder and besmirching the name of the church.

He appeared before an ecclesiastical court in August 2005 after being
accused by parishioners of intimidating critics, ignoring church law,
mishandling church funds and bringing militant ruling party politics to the
pulpit. Kunonga was accused of urging a priest to instruct ruling party
militants to kill 10 of the bishop's opponents in the local Anglican
The ecclesiastical court hearing collapsed when Judge James Kalaile of
Malawi refused to continue presiding after a dispute over the admission of

Archbishop Amos Malingo of Zambia informed church leaders throughout the
Province of Central Africa that the case against Kunonga "is closed and
cannot be revived."

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Amnesty: Corruption and poverty rampant in Africa

Mail and Guardian

Johannesburg, South Africa

23 May 2007 12:42

Widespread corruption continued to plague Africa in 2006,
exacerbated by abject poverty that left a precarious human rights situation
on the continent, Amnesty International said on Wednesday.

"Weak, deeply impoverished and often profoundly corrupt states
have created a power vacuum into which corporations and other economic
actors are moving," said Irene Khan, the head of the London-based
organisation, in the foreword of its annual report.

She said Africa -- long the victim of greedy Western governments
and companies -- was facing a new challenge from China, whose had shown
scant regard for its "human rights footprint" on the continent.

"Their deference to national sovereignty, antipathy to human
rights in foreign policy and readiness to engage with abusive regimes are
all endearing China to African governments," Khan said.

The report noted that the presence of oil and vast mineral
resources in countries such as Angola, Chad, the Democratic Republic of
Congo and Sudan "continued to blight rather than enhance people's lives
because of conflicts, corruption and power struggles".

Meanwhile the body -- while recognising armed conflicts were
decreasing -- bemoaned the fact that at least a dozen countries were still
affected, yielding millions of refugees and internally displaced people.

The African Union was said to have failed to promote human
rights in errant member countries like Zimbabwe, showing a lack of political
will that left millions at the mercy of belligerent governments.

"The AU continued to demonstrate a deep reluctance to publicly
criticise African leaders who failed to protect human rights," it added,
citing Zimbabwe's woes under president Robert Mugabe.

Hundreds of Zimbabweans have been arrested for engaging in
peaceful protests while many whose homes were destroyed in Operation
Murambatsvina (Restore Order) continue to suffer as a programme to build new
homes faltered.

"By May [2006] one year after the programme's launch, only 3 325
houses have been built, compared with 92 460 housing structures destroyed in
Operation Murambatsvina."

While abject poverty led to the problem of unregulated
migration, forced evictions as a result of new development was "one of the
most widespread and unrecognised human rights violations on the continent."

"More than three million people have been affected since 2000,"
said the report.

The report also criticised African states for suppressing

"Some governments authorised or condoned extrajudicial
executions, arbitrary arrests, torture ... or harassment of opposition
political activists, human rights defenders and journalists," it said.

Aids was still a major threat, with 24,7-million infected on the
continent, but national responses had been scaled up with more than a
million receiving ARVs by June 2006, 23% of those needing it.

South Africa and Swaziland were singled out for wide-spread
violence against women and girls, as was the continued practice of female
genital mutilation in states like Sierra Leone.

Cameroon was fingered for convicting 13 people for practicing
homosexuality, Equatorial Guinea for jailing government opponents, the
Gambia for torturing detainees, Kenya for harassing journalists and Libya
for the killing of demonstrators. -- Sapa-AFP

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Safe house for exiled journalists

Wednesday, 23 May 2007, 13:27 GMT 14:27 UK

By Dickon Hooper
BBC News

A safe house for journalists who have been forced out of their home
countries and arrive as asylum seekers in the UK is to be piloted in

The project is the brainchild of the Bristol-based Exiled Journalist Network
(EJN), and is based on the 15-bedroom Maison des Journalistes in Paris.

It provides accommodation and assistance.

Zimbabwean Forward Maisokwadzo, speaking from his office in the University
of the West of England, said: "In the last year, we've been mobilising for
the refuge.

"Now we are in the implementation phase. It would be ideal for it to be in
London, where the media is. But we're also planning to have a pilot in

The 34-year-old married father-of-two left his native country in 2002 after
being abducted and beaten while working for The Independent.

He said he was lucky to escape and initially came to the UK for medical
treatment through the National Union of Journalists.

After studying for an MA in Journalism at City University, Mr Maisokwadzo
joined MediaWise, a journalism ethics charity also based in Bristol, and
helped set up the EJN.

It now has more than 200 verified members.

We have 15 media outlets signed up, including The Guardian, The Daily
Mail and Reuters

Dr Ibrahim Seaga Shaw
"The idea was to find people who could speak on behalf of asylum seekers,"
he said.

"We wanted to dig into stories and look at the inaccurate reporting around
asylum seekers. And promote press freedom."

It also looks after the interests of exiled journalists - whether they have
just arrived and need help processing their asylum application or are
residents here and are trying to rebuild their lives.

The refuge, called Press Freedom House, would have about six to eight beds
and would link into this humanitarian work, providing medical and
psychological support, web access and training opportunities

"It needs a year to get on its feet and we would evaluate as we went on",
said Mr Maisokwadzo.

Among its supporters is Channel 4's Lindsey Hilsum, who is also a patron of
the EJN, and The Independent's Yasmin Alibhai-Brown.

'Support network'

Dr Ibrahim Seaga Shaw, former editor of ExpoTimes in Sierra Leone and
founding member of the EJN, added: "We have 15 media outlets signed up,
including The Guardian, The Daily Mail and Reuters.

"Now we need to meet local authorities and identify a building.

"I was in Paris when they set up the Maison des Journalistes.

"I saw how it helps a lot: it avoids people getting thrown out [of the
country] because of the lack of a support network."

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Days of 'super profits' long gone for Zim transport operators

Zim Online

     Thursday 24 May 2007

By Pfudzai Chibgowa

BULAWAYO - Conjwayo Mzimande, a 28-year old commuter omnibus driver, shakes
his head in utter resignation.

"Business has never been this bad," says Mzimande gesticulating at a fleet
of empty buses lined up at the Third Street terminus on the outskirts of
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second biggest city.

A fare increase by transport operators last week has triggered some form of
"consumer resistance" in the city with commuters only traveling when it is
absolutely necessary to do so.

A single trip from Bulawayo's working class suburbs into the city now costs
Z$10 000, up from Z$7 000 commuters used to pay previously.

Transport operators say they had no choice but to hike fares to stay afloat
in Zimbabwe's tough hyper-inflationary environment that last month saw
inflation zooming beyond 3 700 percent, the highest in the world.

A rank marshal at Third Street terminus, Perfect Mlilo says business has
never been this low and the days of "super profits" transport operators in
Bulawayo used to enjoy are long gone.

"Buses are hard to fill these days and there are so many of them running
half empty. One considers himself lucky if they can fill five buses a day,"
says Mlilo.

As if to confirm the lack of business here, ZimOnline witnessed a group of
rank marshals killing time at the terminus by engaging in mock boxing while
another group sat down playing checkers.

Mlilo says business is only relatively good in the mornings when workers,
those that are still lucky to hold a job in the city, and students get to
work or school. This is followed by a boring lull from mid-morning until
lunchtime when school children return home.

Mlilo says it is now common to see touts at times  physically dragging
commuters to board buses because of sheer desperation.

Zimbabwe is in the grip of a debilitating seven-year old economic crisis
that has manifested itself in massive shortages of foreign currency and
run-away inflation. The economic crisis has left no sector untouched.

A shortage of foreign currency to buy spares and replenish an ageing fleet
has left the transport operators basically operating dangerous vehicles on
the roads resulting in horrendous traffic accidents on Zimbabwe's roads.

Apart from the ageing fleet, the transport operators must also contend with
a severe shortage of fuel that has forced most of them to buy the commodity
on the illegal parallel market where it is usually available.

Emily Ncube, a mother of two who works in a local shop in the city, said due
to last week's increase in fares, many parents could be forced to pull
children out of school.

"These regular fare hikes have indirectly increased the cost of education.
Most children might not last till the end of the school term because of the
fare hikes," said Ncube.

"My two children need $800 000 in bus fare alone a month which is almost
twice the amount I pay for school fees a term," Ncube says.

She says were it not for a brother in South Africa who normally chips in by
sending foreign currency which they change on the illegal parallel market,
her children could by now be roaming the streets.

President Robert Mugabe, a former teacher himself, seems aware of the plight
of civil servants and most other workers in Zimbabwe who are battling to
make ends meet.

His government this week said it will introduce a special facility - state
buses - to ferry civil servants to and from work at reduced fares as a means
of lessening the plight of government workers.

The decision to introduce 'state buses' came after teachers, who are among
the lowest paid workers in Zimbabwe, threatened to work only 10 days per
month unless the government offered them a 'more reasonable salary increment'
to cover daily expenses.

The lowest paid teacher earns about Z$400 000 a month.

"Where are the buses they say will carry us to work?" asked a nurse riding
on one of the commuter omnibuses earlier this week.

"It (government plan) is illogical because we live in different suburbs and
there are no buses to cater for all of us. It is not like we work at
centralised points like the police and the army," she said. - ZimOnline

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Operation Murambatsvina continues though ZANU PF has

African Path

Trust Matsilele

May 23, 2007 09:47 AM

IN HARARE: May 25 which is supposed to be celebrated as Africa day has
shifted its meaning to over 1, 5 million Zimbabweans who have been left as
street dwellers both in and outside Zimbabwe following the Africa day's
operation Murambatsvina launch by Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe and his
Housing Minister Ignatius Chombo. To Zimbabweans it is now called the
International day of anti-evictions.

The United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, Miloon
Kothari has described the "non-response" by the African Union (AU) and
Southern Africa to the "oppressive" Zimbabwean government as "shocking" and
unhelpful". The attack comes two years after the official launch of
rendering homeless to over a million Zimbabweans.

The rapporteur said the government's promises to provide the deserving
displaced with decent and affordable accommodation in subsequent campaign,
Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle (Live Well), had been a "failure".

The recent election of Francis Nhema (48) by fellow African brothers
to become chairman of the UN's Commission on Sustainable speaks volumes
about the nature of African leadership.

Nhema who was also part of the cabinet which rendered such a volume of
people homeless does not only bring shame to Mugabe and Zimbabwe but to the
entire electorate (those who elected him) which fails to acknowledge that it
is illegal to destroy people's houses.

The most worrying thing is that Operation Murambatsvina meant to
instill fear and expel citizens alleged to be urban opposition supporters
has become a permanent problem to the entire survivors some still scavenging
for a living elsewhere. Thousands of children who dropped out of schools
face a bleak future.

Zimbabweans are now confronted with a definition crisis of what is
meant by Africa day, is it the commemoration of atrocities committed by the
Zimbabwean geriatric or a celebration of the liberation of the entire

In just this week the Zimbabwean government has been elected in the
post of vice chair of Common Market of East and Southern Africa (COMESA) the
largest trading body in the continent. Without considering evils perpetrated
by Mugabe and his cousins, Zimbabwe has fallen in trade and market as
agriculture which had registered the country in the world's atlas has fallen
shamefully. The only commodity being exported from Zimbabwe is cheap human
labour, what a shame.

Operation Murambatsvina is one thing that will go down in history as a
scar that will not fade in the minds of many as thousands of those suffered
criminals committed by ZANU PF thugs still roam around the streets of Jozi
begging for remains so as to survive.

Last word is to president Mbeki that one condition which ZANU PF and
Mugabe should adhere to for talks is a public apology to over a million
citizens who have been rendered homeless. The 25th May celebration will be
commemorated in Zimbabwe and neighbouring South Africa by civil society
organizations as part of shaming process to African leadership.

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JAG open letter forum No.484

Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with  "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.

JAG Hotlines:
+263 (011) 610 073 If you are in trouble or need advice,
 please don't hesitate to contact us - we're here to help!
+263 (04) 799 410 Office Lines


Letter 1 - Cathy Buckle

Dear Family and Friends,

The last time I had occasion to call the fire brigade was in March 2002. It
was just a couple of weeks before the Presidential elections and a house a
few doors away was petrol bombed. Windows exploded, the roof collapsed and a
raging inferno turned night into day. The fire brigade didn't answer their
phone so I dialled the police. They said they couldn't help as they didn't
have a vehicle and were unable to alert the fire brigade as the police
telephone was not able to make outgoing calls. The fire raged out of control
and finally I got through to the fire brigade. They said they couldn't send
a fire engine as it was busy picking up  a sick person in a high density
suburb. Despite my best efforts to explain that I wasn't asking for an
ambulance but a fire truck with hoses and water, the fire brigade never

About eighteen months later, without any explanation, a new charge suddenly
appeared on rate-payers municipal accounts. It was called a 'fire levy' and
it had been added to our monthly accounts along with a massive increase in
all municipal services ranging from 475% for something called a development
levy, to 1600% for water. On my account for that month I wrote in big
letters: "NOT PAID:
Public Protest; To be Reduced. " A hastily convened and heated public
meeting, a protest by residents to the Municipal offices and it was all
over. Victory came swiftly! The accounts were withdrawn and the increases
were slashed by over 50%.

The 'fire levy,' however, became a permanent fixture on the bill.

This week Marondera residents received their monthly Municipal accounts and
were staggered to find that charges have increased by one thousand two
hundred percent. Phoning for an explanation residents are being told they
can "pay in instalments." How do you pay a monthly bill in instalments if
the account is higher than your entire monthly wage, one resident asked?
'Just pay what you have" came the reply; "pay in bits and pieces" the man

 Another asked if the increase had been advertised in the press as required
under the Urban Councils act. The municipal employee said that they didn't
have to advertise in the press because they had consulted their
'stakeholders'. Asked who these stakeholders were, the  employee declined to
answer and said the Town Accountant would know but he wasn't available. When
the resident asked if he was
a 'stakeholder' as he lived in the town, owned property and paid rates, the
municipal employee said  "aaaaah" and laughed but did not answer.

 Another resident who tried to complain declined to reveal his exact address
because he is well aware of the recriminations which accompany all forms of
protest in Zimbabwe these days. He met with a very hostile response. The
Municipal employee, whose salary is paid with our rates, said: "If you don't
want to tell me where you stay, I no longer want to talk to you" and slammed
the phone down. Hardly professional behaviour for a  senior municipal
employee who has clearly forgotten just exactly where the money comes from
to pay his salary.

Dialogue and plain common sense have left the caretakers of this bankrupt
town. People are complaining, more will speak out. A small picture of the
bigger picture. Until next week, thanks for reading,
 love cathy

Copyright cathy buckle 19 May 2007


Letter 2 - Pro Lege Australia

Dear JAG,

Makorokoto to Robert, Gideon and their muijbas on being world leaders - the
highest inflation rate in the world, and above all it had all been planned
since February 2000. They are still pretending to the world that they are
victims of circumstance! I wonder what they all smoke these days!

Not satisfied with 3 700% inflation, Glorious Gideon has now set his target
higher by openly stating he will print more money as directed by Robert -
more trees to be chopped down for more useless paper.

The new currency will no doubt have the words: "I promise to steal from the
bearer, on demand" Dr. G. Gono, World Economist, RBZ Jim Holland has just
given Australians a very good account of exactly how his 64 yearold wife
Sekai was beaten by Gideon's hired thugs breaking her arm and leg amongst
other things.  Interestingly Jim pointed out that Sekai was a fellow student
with the Zimbabwean Minister of Foreign Affairs.  That is to say, the
Minister has had the privelege of a first class education - just as Gideon
aspires to for his children - also in Australia. These muijbas have been
taught how to behave in a civilised non Barbaric society, but have actually
chosen to steal, torture and murder anybody who believes in human rights to
retain power and money. And now Thabo says he is going to talk to them about

I suggest that John Howard and Alexander Downer set the Australian
authorities the task to deport all Zanu affiliated people and their families
who are living on illgotten gains.

To boycott Zimbabwe cricket is morally sound but to then give the same
perpetrators of genocide (and their families) sanctury in Australia is at
the very least diabolical.

Pro Lege


Letter 3 -  A.N. Other Mother

To Ben Freeth and 'A Mother'

Go guys! High time we ALL took leaves out of your books and stood up on our
hind legs against the black-on-white RACISM and told it like it really is,
here in Zimbabwe.

Maintain the pressure at every quarter, spread the word, stand up on your
soap-boxes at every given opportunity and at every possible forum, verbally
and in writing - TELL THE TRUTH - and let none of us, with our pride and
dignity be beaten into submission ourselves - whether physically, mentally
or verbally.




Letter 4 - Ade Williams

Dear JAG,

Re-The Christian Science Monitor (US) 16 May, by Scott Baldauf.

Whilst I have no criticism of Mr Baldauf I must say I am bemused by the
comments -which of course we have heard previously-that Africans and African
nations are sympathetic to Mugabe and the actions of the Zimbabwean
Government because of the legacy of post colonial and racist regimes........
and support the bold moves taken.

This surely must mean logically that Beatrice Mtetwa, Grace Kwinja, Sekai
Holland, Gift Tandare, countless other victims of torture, killings,
beatings, many of whom are  members of MDC or supporters are NOT African.

If free and fair elections are held and strongly supported by UN peace
keeping forces let us see how many Africans will show their support of the
bold moves of Mugabe.

Ade Williams.


Letter 5 - A mother

To Jaqui Gulliver from A Mother

You are both a Rhodesian and now a Zimbabwean, you are one of the blessed
survivors who live in this beautiful country. You are one of the spirited
few of this world who are sill tryng to live the good life God destined us
God bless

A mother


Letter 6 - Stu Taylor

Dear JAG,

The other day I happened to be in the office of the field sales manager of a
local seed-house when a land thief from one of the former more productive
commercial farms in the Bindura area phoned enquiring after 2,5 tonnes of
wheat seed. Having been involved with agriculture for several years, and
knowing the particular farm, I shuddered in dismay at the ignorance and
stupidity of someone wanting to plant wheat in this area so long after the
1st May. That's why Zimbabwe will never regain its status as a top
agricultural producer, if the "government" continues doling out former
commercial land to ignorant loyalists of the abhorrent regime.

Stu Taylor.


Letter 7 -  Eddie Cross

Real Leadership at Last

The past two weeks have seen significant developments in the field of the
SADC sponsored talks to try and resolve the ongoing crisis in Zimbabwe. We
cannot say too much about this, as we are under instructions to keep the lid
on things until the facilitators can report progress.

I must say I am surprised by recent developments - and pleased. They
represent an example of real leadership by Africa's leaders in powerful
positions and if we can keep this up we may actually see an African crafted
solution to the Zimbabwe situation. It is about time and watching the
international community wring its hands over the situation in Darfur just
makes me wish we could act multilaterally on a more constant and principled
basis. But then this is politics!!

Various forces have helped in this process, the final outcome of which is
still very uncertain, but at least it is under way. Among these forces must
rank the economy. Last year the fiscal deficit was over 60 per cent of
estimated GDP. Inflation figures just released reluctantly by the local
statistical office were 3 700 per cent - over 100 per cent in April alone.
It is at least double that in reality but all the same, most commentators
still use the official numbers and they are bad enough.

The impact of this on the local economy and on everyone is difficult to
describe to anyone who lives in a normal environment. Here business can be
literally wiped out in weeks if you do not move with speed. That is
impossible with Government and the collapse of all State controlled
institutions and organisations are now very rapid. Most can barely function.

For the average person life is a nightmare. Prices change by the hour and
you must spend your money as soon as you get it or watch it simply fade
away. People on fixed incomes are long since eliminated, as they simply are
unable to cope. This week saw thousands of workers in all spheres go on
strike - demanding wages that would in a small way reflect what it costs to
live. The numbers are just impossible to comprehend.

The regime has finally given in to the realities of the situation and raised
the price of maize meal by 600 per cent. Even so 65 per cent of the cost of
a bag of maize meal is reflected in distribution and packaging costs. Enough
maize meal to feed the family now costs more than the total wages of 70 per
cent of all workers. Transport to work will cost as least as much. Talking
to strikers last week they said they did not care if they were fired - they
would pack up and go to South Africa.

Then there is the food situation. We have grown 20 per cent of our needs -
world stocks of grain are down to six weeks supply and prices have doubled
in the past year. We will have to import 2 million tonnes of grain under
desperate conditions - no foreign exchange, high prices, poor infrastructure
and low transport capacity.

The great majority of the urban population is in the position where they
cannot feed themselves let alone buy food for "home". In rural areas the
situation is much worse - there are no stocks in the south at all - a total
crop failure from Chegutu south has ensured that. Government sees this food
crisis as simply a chance to control the population. Orders have gone out
that no food distribution is to take place without political controls being
in force. These instructions are being ruthlessly enforced. Free and fair
elections are impossible under such conditions.

Then there is the new pressure from the global community. I sense a new
resolution to be tough with rogue States like ours. The EU has toughened its
stance and last week we got refreshingly frank statements from the Prime
Minister of Australia when he took the unusual step of banning the
Australian Cricket team from visiting Zimbabwe. He called Mugabe a "grubby
little dictator" and said the he was running a "Gestapo style regime." Tough
truth from powerful and influential people.  At last those countries that
are providing shelter to the children of those on the list of targeted
sanctions as well and other human rights abusers are now being threatened
with eviction and a humiliating return home.

The new approach adopted by the SADC and the AU has also raised the
temperature. They have recently made statements that suggest that they are
no longer prepared to tolerate the behavior of the Harare regime and are
calling on it to reform or face sanctions.  At long last the AU Human Rights
Commission has debated its own report on human rights abuse in Zimbabwe.

Despite a defence put up by Zimbabwe Ministers they adopted the report and
called for change. The same happened last week at the Pan African Parliament
sitting in Gauteng where a full inquiry was ordered.

Such events were unthinkable a few years ago, even last year. The African
block at the UN supported by South American States succeeded in getting
Zimbabwe appointed as the Chairman of the Commission on sustainable
development - but that simply highlights the weakness of the UN system and
its inability to act on a principled basis. Still at least the Commission
gets a Chairman who knows what does not work - from personal experience.

Yesterday the National Council of the MDC met in Harare and adopted its
basis for action over the next 10 months. We agreed our goal was to "restore
hope", "overcome fear" and "make every vote count". I thought that was a
clever bit of work by our National leadership because it really does sum up
what we, as a Nation need.

We need hope that all is not lost and some form of a solution is now under
way. One that offers us a chance to rebuild our lives and country from the
bleak ashes of what we have left. We must overcome fear - fear of being
associated with the MDC, fear of what the State will do to me if I join the
struggle or step out of line, fear of what the future holds, if anything.

Then we have to reestablish a belief that our votes will count. We have
voted in 2000, in 2002 and in 2005 and in each case watched as our desires
and wishes were crushed by violence, vote rigging and coercion. We are now
in that place where we wonder if our votes will mean anything. That is what
the talks are all about and when the outcome becomes know, I am sure there
is going to be an explosion of new enthusiasm for the electoral process. If
we can persuade people that their vote will be counted and will make a
difference, we can trust the rest to the people.

I for one, am looking forward to that day, its now coming soon, do not

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 18th May 2007

All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions of
the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice for

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