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Zimbabwe – Tyranny in Money Controls – “Bamba Zonke”
By: Julian D. W. Phillips, Gold-Authentic Money -


Capital Controls in Zimbabwe currently combines the very worst in people government is the classic example of how badly a nation can be governed under the guise of Capitalism and Democracy.   


In Shona, the language of the governing tribe in Zimbabwe and of Mugabe, a cry of a victory is “Bamba Zonke” – “Take all”.   No words better describe what happened to the old Rhodesia and the new Zimbabwe, previously the breadbasket of Africa.


It is appropriate to look at Zimbabwe just after another devaluation has occurred, this time of 45%.


In this article we look at the history of the country from the point of view of Capital and Commercial Controls as the country decayed down to this day.   We then look at the present system of controls and the future of mining and its foreign Investors as a conclusion.


Background and History


The nation of Rhodesia received its initial thrust into success after the second world, when returning British soldiers were offered a “golden bowler” by way of seed money for their future businesses or a parcel of land in the British Colony known as Rhodesia.   Many British families took up this award and turned this pleasant African nation into a most successful agricultural land.   So successful was it that it fed its African neighbours as well as itself, with ease.   Then Britain’s shrinking Empire required it be jettisoned from the Empire, so as it was about to be handed back to its indigenous people. The new Colonists objected, in the belief that all their hard work would be lost with its independence from Britain.   The Colonists declared a Unilateral Declaration of Independence, and the country became the pariah of the Western world.   Immediately, the monetary system of the country came under threat of a massive outflow of capital.  


Earlier Exchange Control systems


Externally, sanctions were imposed on the country, in an attempt to prevent international trade with Rhodesia.   The new government immediately imposed Exchange Controls to prevent this.   The new government under Ian Smith set up a Draconian Exchange Control system to manage money movements at every level.   International Trade was watched through a magnifying glass with every cent being monitored.   Even the foreign shares of the ex-U.K. residents were brought under the control of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.   Each resident was required to place his foreign shares into a Nominee name under the control of the Banks and sign “Form C”, a form requiring him to commit himself to selling his shares when required by the government and to bringing the proceeds of any sales of these shares back to Rhodesia.  


Capital inside the system was blocked with all transactions being filtered through the South African “Financial Rand” system.   This forced the capital values of foreign shares to be traded at a discount when bought, but regaining that discount when the shares were sold and the proceeds repatriated to Rhodesia/Zimbabwe.   It must be said that this rebellion had the full support of those with money in Rhodesia, even during the war with Zanu PF and Zapu.   Few of these [white] people sought to leave the country until the eventual handover of power to Mugabe.  


Once this surrender was complete the massive exodus of most white residents began in earnest.   So firm were the exchange controls that even ex-Rhodesians and ex-Zimbabweans living in South Africa could not access their capital invested in South Africa, without either ingenious, or illegal schemes to get their money out.   Upon their departure their bank accounts were frozen and their ability to make any transactions with their assets was halted.   The banks worked closely with the government on imposing these controls as they do and will do, if any financial decay in any country should occur along these lines.


Basic financial rules controlling any nation are:

q       No country can permit a brutal exit of capital from its system.   Similarly in banking, a bank will close its doors if there is a “run” on its deposits.

q       International trade must continue to be fostered as far as is possible, whilst exchange control must do all to ensure that this route is not used by capital to leak out of the nation, under siege.


What is more difficult to control is the export of second hand luxury assets, which attract a higher value outside the country than in, as the exchange rate deteriorates. [Capital good, bulldozers, cars, etc prices rise in value internally, as the difficulty of importing increases their value].


Thus the capital base of that country was held in a firm grip.   Despite this, the country’s economy remained largely healthy. 


To help us to keep our eye on the mechanics of Capital Controls and not to be distracted by the emotions of the situation [so we can see the impact of future Capital Controls should they appear elsewhere on the globe] we will look at the effects of these, after describing the mechanics of monetary controls in a collapsing economy.


The economy Booms under sanctions!


During the War years, the system held up remarkably well despite the leakage of capital through various routes, including international trade.   No, that is incomplete. The country actually thrived, as it had never done before.   Import replacement took business up to heights never seen before.   Even today cars from the early 1960’s can be seen, still in prime condition, are being driven around there.   The Rhodesian community showed a degree of entrepreneurial skills and innovation that made the country self- sufficient.   It became clear that all levels of community were required to support each other in any innovative compromise solution possible to ease the impact of sanctions and the freezing of capital internally.   This they did with enthusiasm!   The isolation of the country [except for the thriving passage of necessary goods up from South Africa and the sale of food to the African communities and Tobacco internationally] produced a successful internal economy, but one without imported luxuries.  


Controls become tyrannical but largely ineffective.


The Zimbabwe $ held its value remarkably until Mugabe took over and from 1980 onwards, the steady decline of the currency meandered on, taking it from Z1: U.S. $1 to the present and still quickly declining rate of Z$20,000: U.S.1 on the black market.  


When Mugabe, with the support of the British Government, finally took power from Smith and his party, these controls were maintained, but from now on without the support of the moneyed community.   After all, you can’t govern a people that don’t want to be governed.   So the money drain began in earnest.  


Amazingly, despite the steady withdrawal of capital from the country from the late 1970’s to today, initially by the fleeing Colonialists followed by the new African governmental classes, the country maintained a civilised air until the new Millennium, when the descent into starvation, the collapse of the bulk of the economy and the farming community took place under the scything sweep of corrupt, tyrannical, politics that we are seeing today.


With Mugabe in power, those with wealth realised their wealth was becoming a target of government as has been the case in so many African nations.   All who had liquid capital exported it through the following ways:


q       Through the legal use of the system, involving several countries and their Stock Exchanges and Tax havens. 

q       Through ‘weighted Invoicing’ [falsifying or disguising international trade transactions], a system that had been a structural part of ‘sanction-busting’.  

q       Many reputable companies, including legal and accounting firms as well as Stock broking firms, turned a blind eye and even profited from blatant forgery of externally stamped [Non-resident] stock certificates sold in London.

q       Expunging of assets from audited accounts.  


Understand please, that the Zanu PF government had no inkling of the bulk of these activities, nor had the competence to stop them.   They relied completely on those who had officiated under Smith to maintain the system and block their own ‘ilk’ from taking their money from the country.   The new government, in turn, was doing their best to take the wealth to themselves, a process that continues to this day.   They too sought to export much of this capital to other nations [in case of a change of government and to ensure their offspring had internationally based fortunes].  


Time magazine published an article on the enormous wealth that Sally Mugabe had acquired, in the form of hotels in Switzerland and Germany, among other assets.   Mugabe censored this article on its arrival in Zimbabwe.   A popular story after her death was that she left her wealth to her Ghanaian relatives, not to Mugabe, and there was nothing he could do about it.   [He was so angry he is purported to have walked round government house smashing all the windows].   Since then, he has amassed new fortunes overseas as has his government members. 


As always, Exchange Controls are effective on the bulk of a nation, but exceptions to the rules are not uncommon.   It is this facet that justifies the opinion of international monetary authorities that Exchange Controls are an illegal action by any nation and do not receive their support.


As the availability of capital diminished in the early 1980s, Mugabe required more.   He decided that he would go beyond controls, which maintained the financial health of the economy, to measures, which seized the wealth of the economy.   When we use this lesson of history in the future, this turning point in Zimbabwe is one we see as critical gauge of the ability of a nation to recover and maintain the title “civilised.”  Beyond this point, there was no turning back for Mugabe or Zimbabwe.


Misappropriation of overseas assets!


Mugabe’s next step was the confiscation of all foreign shares held in Nominees names.   With a veneer of reasonableness he ordered these shares to be sold to the government.   He paid for the issues with government bonds at a coupon rate of 4%.   With present interest rates in the several hundreds of a percent, and the exchange rate where it is, they have less value than a piece of blank A4 paper, were it to be imported to Zimbabwe today.


And what did the institutions do that had committed them in law, to hold these shares only to the order of the beneficial owner?   For a couple of hours, the Banks resisted this theft, but capitulated under the threat of imprisonment in the capital’s jail, Chikarubi.   Do not underestimate this action in the future instances of such pressure.   The Banks will ALWAYS obey their governments even if the command is an illegal one, should pressure be brought to bear.   


For those puzzled of gold’s value “in extremis”, contemplate the above situation if you had gold in your hands at home.   The decision as to what should be done to it would remain yours.   No so-called responsible intermediary would be able to hand over your wealth, in the first place.  


This happened at a time at which the bulk of the middle and upper classes had already left the country and only those who were clinging to their homes, or felt a strong sense of nationalism, stayed.   For the purpose of this article, it must be noted that such a measure is only undertaken when a certain ‘siege’ mentality takes hold and the consequences of such actions, including international relations, cease to be important.  


You are all no doubt aware of the takeover of the White Farms that has taken place over the last few years.   What is not so well known is that this was accompanied by the attempted takeover of the White owned businesses, seeing the virtual collapse of the business sector.   Inflation is running at nearly 200%, having improved from the level a year ago of 600%.   These are government figures, so take them from whence they come.   The exchange rate paints a much more accurate figure!


By 1990, the capital of the country that could be made liquid had gone from Zimbabwe.   The value of fixed assets has also collapsed despite their ability to produce income.   Evidence of this is that farmers who are still there are receiving less than the price of a low cost house in the U.K. for their entire farms.  Those left remain there because they have nowhere else to go.  


The Present Financial System!


Capital Controls: Travel allowances are given to residents for holiday and business purposes, which cover their expenses, little more.   All other capital payments outside the country require the permission of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.


Commercial Transactions: As the bulk of money movements are tied to commercial transactions, Zimbabwe has four different exchange rates for the Zimbabwe $:


These figures were those that persisted prior to the 45% devaluation which affected all exporters.   [Please adjust these rates down by 45% - increase the number of Z$ per U.S.$.   Of course the Z$ continues to decline so each day these numbers should be revised down].


1.      The “Official” exchange rate presently Z$824 to the U.S. $.   This is a rate used to allow the government to skim off foreign exchange from Commercial operators, in addition to other taxes and duties.

2.      The public “auction” rate, where foreign exchange released by the Reserve Bank, is auctioned to Zimbabweans presently around Z$6,000: $U.S.1 (see chart below).   [This has been moved down to around Z$9,000 post the 45% devaluation].   As the foreign exchange tightens, there have been times when Oil supplies have been delayed until the government pays for them with foreign exchange, not Zimbabwe $.   As we say below, there is a dire shortage even of this foreign exchange. Each week less than 5% of bids are successful in obtaining any foreign exchange, whatsoever!  The only place to turn to is the “Black” Market.

3.      The “Diaspora” rate, which applies to people who remit money to Zimbabwe, presently Z$6,200: U.S.$1 [this has also been dropped to just above Z$9,000].   Not only do those who have spent the bulk of their lives in Zimbabwe /Rhodesia want to return home to live out the rest of their lives there, but relatives send money in to support their relatives still there.   This way they can receive gifts allowances and pensions on which to survive.   As this rate rises as the currency decays, they are able to pay for the necessary items they survive on and that are still available in the shops.

4.      The “Black Market” rate currently around Z$20,000: $U.S.1 and climbing! [It was 12,500 when the research on this article began]   When you have to have imported goods to maintain machinery, companies, etcetera, you have to have it.   Hence, this is a rate paid for foreign currency that is not otherwise available.   Most needed imports are paid for this way.


Here is an extract from government regulations on the incoming foreign exchange to Zimbabwe:


16.3.6 Supply of Foreign Exchange to the Currency Exchange


(a) Supply of foreign exchange to the Currency Exchange will be from the following sources:

(i) Exporters' liquidation of F.C.A. s. Initially, there might be need to identify a critical mass of exporters, who would be ready to supply foreign exchange continuously.

The current 60-day period after which exporters are required to liquidate their F.C.A. s into the market is reduced to 21 days, effective 19th January 2004.

(ii) Receipts from tourists, sales by NGOs, Embassies and individuals are to be immediately forwarded to the Reserve Bank at the ruling auction rate.

(iii) Remittance from non-resident Zimbabweans will also be channelled to the Reserve Bank through Authorised Dealers at the ruling auction rate.

(iv) Other foreign exchange receipts from trade finance facilities and other capital inflows will also be sold to the Reserve Bank at the obtaining auction rate.

(b) Non-liquidation of F.C.A. s in the early stages of the auction system would result in a premium on foreign exchange, which would be reflected in a higher auction rate. This would represent an extra cost the country would need to pay in order to instil confidence in the foreign exchange market.

16.3.7 Auction Market Participants

(a) The participants in the auction system are the bidders or users of foreign exchange, which would mostly be importers, authorised dealers and the Reserve Bank.

Authorised Dealers would act on the currency exchange as brokers and would also ensure that bids are made for approved Exchange Control transactions. Authorised Dealers should ensure that the bidder has adequate domestic currency equivalent to the bid.


(b) Bidders should tender their bids through authorised dealers stating the amount of foreign exchange required, the exchange rate they are willing to pay as well as the purpose of the request.

Small bids of below US$5 000 are to be aggregated and presented to the currency exchange by authorised dealers. All foreign exchange bids would be for approved foreign exchange transactions, in accordance with Exchange Control requirements.


(c) Ideally, however, all legitimate current account transactions would need to be approved in order to avoid the emergence of yet another parallel market of foreign exchange.


(d) The intervals for auction will range from daily, twice weekly or weekly, depending on the circumstances.


The ultimate decision on the frequency will lie with the Currency Exchange.

(e) Foreign exchange is offered at each bidder's own bid rate starting from the highest bid rate.

This continues until all the foreign exchange supplied is exhausted.

Foreign exchange would be allocated on pro rata basis for those whose bid rate is equal to the minimum auction market-clearing rate.


(f) Table 1 below illustrates how the auction system would operate given an amount on offer of US$10 million. Table 1 Determination of Auction Exchange Rate



Amounts (US$)




1 000, 000

3 500

Allotted in full


2 000, 000

3 000

Allotted in full


4 000, 000

2 500

Allotted in full


3 000, 000

2 000

Cut-off price


4 000, 000

1 500



The weighted average exchange rate would be:

(0.1*3 500) + (0.2*3 000) + (0.4*2 500) + (0.3 * 2000) = Z$2 550 per US dollar

Exporters would, therefore, be paid at the weighted average exchange rate.


(g) After the auction, the auction exchange rate, the total number of bids received, and the number of successful bids will be announced.


The Auction rate weighted exchange rate applies until the next auction date to all foreign exchange transactions, including customs and intra auction purchases by the Reserve Bank.

Although the highest bid will be at the most depreciated rate, the weighted average auction rate will be lower.


Cross rates with other international currencies will be derived and published after each auction.



(h) Excess supply of foreign exchange in the auction market will taken up by the Reserve Bank at the auction exchange rate.


(i) A comprehensive set on the modalities of this scheme will be issued by Exchange Control within 24 hours of the delivery of this Statement.

The government describes the system, covering the handling of foreign exchange in Zimbabwe as [We quote the government regulations on this]: -



16.3.1 under this system, foreign exchange will be auctioned through a CURRENCY EXCHANGE - an independent body that will operate under the supervision of the Reserve Bank.


16.3.2 Foreign Exchange Management Under the Auction System

(a) Exporters will discharge CD1 forms on the basis of gross export proceeds and 50% of their foreign exchange earnings can be retained in FCA accounts.

Of the remaining 50%, 25% would immediately be sold to the auction market at the ruling auction rate.

The remaining 25% will be surrendered to the Reserve Bank, at the current exchange rate of Z$800 per US dollar for critical imports and other Government requirements.

External loan repayments will, thus, be met from the exporter's 50% share and other purchases from the auction.




These rates are applied in the following way:


§         Exports: - (except gold and tobacco) are paid for at a "blend" rate.                          i.e. 80% at Z$6,000 [now Z$9,000]: $U.S.1 and 20% at Z$824: $U.S.1 – approx. Z$4965: $U.S.1 today [now around Z$7400 today].                         Of this the 80% “auction” purchased foreign exchange may be retained in a Foreign         Currency Account [FDA] for 21 days during which time it may be used to import any inputs [spare parts, supplies only available outside the country for business.     -   If not utilised the 80% is surrendered to the Reserve Bank at the "auction" rate.                -   The 20% is surrendered at 824: 1U.S.$.


§         Gold miners: - are currently receiving approx.  Z$9,000: $U.S.1 today


      This is the government regulation governing their foreign exchange income:


         16.3.4 GOLD PRODUCERS


(a) Gold producers will continue to receive 50% of their foreign exchange earnings and the other 50% will be surrendered to the Reserve Bank.


Of the 50% surrendered to the Reserve Bank, 25% will be bought at the auction rate. The balance of 25% will, however, be bought at Z$800 per US dollar.


§         Tobacco farmers: - will get  +Z$7,500: $U.S.1 [now around Z$10,875 today.


This is the government regulation governing their foreign exchange income:



(a) With respect to tobacco, the Reserve Bank will buy 75% of all the foreign exchange from tobacco sold on the auction floors at the ruling foreign exchange auction rate.

This amount will be sold to the market for exchange. The remaining 25% will be bought at an exchange rate of Z$800 per US dollar for critical imports and other Government requirements.


This arrangement will result in a blend exchange rate, which ensures that tobacco growers are viable.


The Tobacco Growers Trust (TGT), thus, falls away since the constituency it was set up to look after i.e. the Tobacco Growers will be sufficiently rewarded and can also access foreign exchange from the auction.


On the other side:


§         Importers: [are supposed to] buy foreign exchange on the "auction".  


This is not available in sufficient quantities, indeed, this week less than 5% of bids were successful in obtaining any foreign exchange.   The rate recently was approx. Z$6,050: $U.S.1 [now above Z$9,000]. 


§         Most imports are via “black market” rates, impacting heavily on margins, hence the declining exports


As one can see, the commercial operators have to be able to gauge all their possible wants ahead of time and buy them during the 21 days permitted.   The level of ingenuity required to survive in this regime is remarkable.  As such, the entrepreneurs of Southern Africa are amongst the most, hard working and innovative in the world!   But the battles do not end there.   The government buys the exportable maize crop to sell on the world markets.   They are given a price for their crop, which can be as low as half the price the government achieves when selling to neighbours like Zambia.   Of course, this was in the days when the country had maize to export.  


The present disaster 


Right now, for the first time, the government has admitted to a food shortage.   There has been starvation for more than a year, which six months ago had cost the lives of 300,000 people then.   But food aid is arriving, largely under the control of the government.   With elections only a few days away, the food is being distributed to government supporters [ZANU PF] only.   Unless others change their allegiance, they face starvation!   Such is tyranny today.


The Future of Mining! 


The media has published the policy of Mugabe that they will be taking ownership of the mining industry, purportedly along the lines of the South African B.E.E. wherein Zimbabweans will buy a percentage of the company.   At first, Mugabe himself talked of a level of 50% of the mines, but one of his Ministers talked that figure down to stop the panic amongst foreign Investors.   Before one makes a comment on the situation, it is well to dwell for a time on the past.   The conclusion we draw is that if it has value internationally it will be the subject of continual acquisition by the present government.   If Mr Mugabe dies and he is old now, will his successor be any different?   As to payment for these shares, with what will he pay?   He used worthless government stock to pay for foreign shares, and he paid nothing for the farms, so on what basis can he be expected to pay for shares in Zimbabwean mining?


With the belief that Zimbabwean assets belong to Zimbabweans Mugabe is unlikely to change his established policies.   This becomes important when one considers the future of Zimplats, a major Platinum Producer contemplating a massive U.S. $750 million expansion there.  


On February 18th the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe laid down new rules governing foreign exchange in which miners were told to close offshore accounts and deposit their money in local foreign currency accounts by February 28, according to Zimplats. The accounts were to be held by Zimbabwean banks and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.   It has now been reported that the government has given a verbal concession that they need not comply with this new legislation.    The company, according to its advisor, is now reported to be going ahead with its capital development work, implying that foreign financiers have approved the go-ahead.


We can only point to this article and wonder, at what point does greed, overcome fear?


To all future Investors in the country we think this story may have its place:


“A scorpion wanted to cross the river, as he usually did, but found it was in flood.   He waited until he saw a turtle come by and asked the turtle if he could have a lift to the other side.   The turtle was reluctant saying, if I give you a lift you will sting me and I will drown.   The scorpion said no I won’t because if I did I would drown too.   Placated, the Turtle said OK; on you get and began to swim across the river.   Half way across the scorpion stung the turtle and they both died in the water.

Why did he do it?……………………………….It was his nature!




As the degeneration in Zimbabwe is occurring so quickly we give you the figures from there, [provided by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe – assess them from whence they come!] of the situation at the time of posting this article:


Weighted Average Auction rate:                          Z$7,355.82



Note:  Please note that the objective of the devaluation was to allow the farmers to earn an approximately 20% return on their crops.   This is eaten away during the year as the situation decays further.   Quite what their CPI number really is I do not know, but I guess it is around 500% per annum.


By: Julian D. W. Phillips, Gold-Authentic Money:,

-- Posted Wednesday, 25 May 2005
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New report assesses impact of fast-track land reform

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

JOHANNESBURG, 25 May 2005 (IRIN) - A new study points to critical policy
errors as the main reasons for food and nutrition insecurity in Zimbabwe, in
particular the government's fast-track land redistribution programme.

It is still unclear just how many Zimbabweans will face food shortages this
year, although aid agencies have put the figure at around 5.5 million. A
recent countrywide survey of communities indicated a sharply deteriorating
food security situation, with 82 percent of districts reporting widespread
crop failure after poor rains in the 2004/05 growing season.

The study, funded by the UK Department for International Development,
acknowledged the adverse impact of poor weather on the harvest, but argued
that poor policy choices were among the chief reasons why the food crisis
has dragged on since the crop-marketing year of 2002/03.

It noted that as large-scale commercial farms were taken over under the
controversial land redistribution programme in 2000, the area planted fell
dramatically - at one point to less than half the area previously tilled -
as did the use of hybrid seed and fertiliser.

Furthermore, state control of maize marketing through the Grain Marketing
Board (GMB) worsened the situation.

"The GMB set the buying price of maize but, given rapid inflation, this
price was unattractive, so farmers had little incentive to invest in
intensified production and generate a surplus of maize," the researchers

To illustrate the extent to which policy failures impacted on production,
the study used three southern African countries with similar weather
patterns and compared actual harvest figures for Zambia and South Africa
between 2000-04 with projected harvests in Zimbabwe over the same period,
had fast-track land reform not been instituted.

The results showed that Zimbabwe might have had a smaller harvest in 2001,
but after that its output would have been much larger: between 2001 and 2004
the actual harvest was 3.77 megatonnes; in the research model production
reached 6.24 megatonnes.

Had Zimbabwe performed as modelled, the regional harvest deficit in 2002
would have been fully one-third less, considerably reducing the amount of
international food aid needed that year.

However, Professor Sam Moyo, a Harare-based land expert, told IRIN it was
disingenuous to compare agricultural production among the three countries
without considering particular challenges facing Zimbabwe's economy as a

"Firstly, it is unfair to compare Zimbabwe's agricultural performance,
especially to that of South Africa's, where production is undertaken by
large-scale commercial farmers, who ... [have access to] heavily subsidised
irrigation schemes [and] drought conditions only occurred in parts of
Zambia. It would be fair to compare what Zimbabwe is going through with
countries such as Malawi and Swaziland, who have experienced equally severe
drought conditions," Moyo said.

He added that prior to land reform 75 percent of Zimbabwe's maize was grown
by small-scale farmers rather than the commercial sector, which focused more
on producing tobacco, wheat and dairy.

The slump in agricultural production was directly linked to overall economic
difficulties, Moyo argued, especially the lack of access to international
credit lines.

"The land reform programme really only had a major impact on five of the 15
major commodities produced by white commercial farmers," said Moyo. "And,
yes, food production has been disrupted, [but] mainly because of the lack of
access to inputs and the slow response to supporting newly resettled
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The Weekly Standard

      Zimbabwe's New Colonialists
      Robert Mugabe begins selling off his country to curry favor with the
      by Roger Bate
      05/25/2005 12:00:00 PM

            PARAMILITARY UNITS armed with batons, riot shields, and tear gas
patrolled main roads in Zimbabwe's capital last weekend as police warned
they would not tolerate protests against their crackdown on street
trading--the only livelihood for thousands of poor township dwellers.

            The police, under direct orders from Didymus Mutasa, the head of
the secret police (Zimbabwe's Central Intelligence Organization), have
brutally removed any competition to Chinese traders whose shops have sprung
up around the capital over the past few years. Mutasa said law and order had
to be preserved and Harare's Police Chief, Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka,
said 9,653 people were arrested in the five-day blitz on street vendors,
flea market stalls, and other informal businesses.

            This crackdown appears to be part of an orchestrated pro-China
initiative. Mutasa, who is now overseeing the distribution of land to the
Chinese, would not comment on charges that the Mugabe regime is giving
tobacco farming land to the Chinese in exchange for war planes and other
arms. What is certain is that the Zimbabwean government is buying these arms
and the only imminent threat to Mugabe is his own people.

            Police Chief Mandipaka said people were preparing to demonstrate
but that police were ready and commuter minibuses (the main form of
transport across Zimbabwe) were prevented from entering the city center. As
Zimbabweans fight off hunger and oppression, some have had the courage to
fight back. Angry demonstrators clashed with police over the weekend in the
most serious unrest since President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF party
stole a
            landslide victory in the March 31 parliamentary general

            But the violence by demonstrators may backfire, according to
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
He recognizes classic Mugabe tactics and is accusing the 81-year-old tyrant
of provoking conditions for declaring a state of emergency, which would give
him unlimited powers of detention, seizure, and censorship. Tsvangirai also
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

            Since western countries imposed sanctions on the Mugabe regime
three years ago for failing to uphold democracy, the rule of law, and human
rights, the Zimbabwean leader has responded by looking East. Mugabe himself
vigorously courted Chinese businessmen to invest in Zimbabwe, who in the
last three years have descended on Harare and the country's other major
cities, setting up shop at every street corner to sell cheap clothing and
electronic goods.

            But Zimbabweans have responded with cut-throat competition and
informal trading. Police Chief Mandipaka said operators of informal
businesses had been fined for operating without city council licenses or for
possessing scarce staple items such as maize meal, sugar, and gasoline
intended for resale on the black market. "Police will leave no stone
unturned in their endeavor to flush out economic saboteurs," said Mandipaka.

            One local academic joked that Mugabe had "yellow fever" since he
can only see allies in Asia, which he knows will not criticize his
oppressive policies. But the academic also raised a more serious point:
Mugabe is throwing his own political cronies off tobacco growing land and
oppressing street hawkers in towns to make way for the Chinese; and he is
selling out his country to the Chinese in order to cling to power. So far,
the West has done nothing to stem the tide of human rights abuse in Zimbabwe
and has steadfastly refused to push for a UN resolution or any military
solution. But what of Chinese influence in a destabilized region, is that a
possible national security threat? Perhaps it's time the State Department
took another look at Zimbabwe's new colonialists.

            Roger Bate is a resident fellow of the American Enterprise

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Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe

“If you put my name they will kill me"
Sokwanele Special Report: 25 May 2005

“If you put my name they will kill me”, said my informant, a rake-thin lady who wore a permanently anxious expression on her wizened face. So we agreed I would tell her story under a pseudonym and in the telling I would be careful not to relay any particular details that might assist the CIO to identify her (The Central Intelligence Organization being Zimbabwe’s much feared spy agency, the equivalent of Apartheid South Africa’s BOSS or Bureau of State Security). The fear in her voice was palpable which made the bravery of my informant – let’s call her Mai Mpofu – all the more remarkable in being willing to talk to anyone.

Mai Mpofu is a widow who lives near Avoca in the Insiza constituency of ZANU PF member of parliament, alias war lord, Andrew Langa. She is unemployed and has no regular income, which would make her task in providing for her five children in this dirt poor part of rural Matabeleland extremely difficult at the best of times. Emphatically these are not the best of times. On the contrary the area has not seen a good harvest since 1996, and the already stretched food supply has declined further over the last three years in the wake of Robert Mugabe’s disasterous land reform programme. To say therefore that for Mai Mpofu and others like her it has become a battle for survival is no mere figure of speech. And that was before the recent parliamentary elections …

Mai Mpofu’s difficulties were compounded when she attended an election rally addressed by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, shortly ahead of the March 31 election. She is now firmly classified by the ruling ZANU PF party as an MDC member, and by the same token “unpatriotic” and a traitor to her people, who must expect whatever retribution follows. In this Mai Mpofu is not alone for Avoca is well known as an MDC stronghold. In her village for example an almost equal number of families are classed MDC as ZANU PF. The misery therefore inflicted by the intolerant ZANU PF party is to be shared equally by all those associated with the opposition in any way. On a visit to the area shortly before the election Andrew Langa further widened the polarization that had been introduced by his party many months before. He spoke of “those who belong to Tsvangirai” and “those who are mine”, and so as to leave no room for doubt what was on his mind, added “I won’t feed another man’s children”. However at that stage while he was still hoping for a few extra votes he said it was not too late for MDC supporters to change their minds. “If you vote for me I will give you food”, he promised.

The kraal heads of the area, Mai Mpofu’s included, were charged by the ruling party with preparing lists of all their people in order to facilitate the division along party lines. The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) enjoys monopoly powers of procurement and distribution of the staple foods, and the GMB is now firmly under ZANU PF control, with retired military personnel and trusted party cadres appointed to all supervisory positions. Ahead of one of the few distributions of maize to the Avoca area villagers were invited to pay their $ 33,000 (the equivalent of between 10 and 15 rand, or just over one pound) for a 40 kilogram bag of grain – an obviously subsidized price. On the day the grain arrived the excited villagers gathered at the GMB premises to collect their desperately needed food. Mai Mpofu was among them.

When she entered the GMB building Mai Mpofu was troubled to see that ZANU PF youth militia were present in some numbers. The youth have a reputation for carrying out the dirty work required by the party, which frequently includes the use of violence. If the reason for their presence was not immediately clear it soon became so. A few elders at the front were calling out the names of the villagers who had paid in advance and were therefore expected to come forward and each collect a bag of grain. However the youth militia stood in the wings ready to pounce. Whenever a name was called out of a villager suspected by them of MDC sympathies they would swiftly intervene. They would block that person from receiving the food, take the money from the elders and return it forcefully to the poor villager concerned. Mai Mpofu was one of those who had her money thrust into her hands with an abrupt command to “Get out !”

Consequently Mai Mpofu never did receive her life-line supply of maize. Nor was there, or has there been subsequently, any other maize or mealie meal on sale in the area, let alone at the subsidized price it was made available to those villagers approved by ZANU PF. Having grown no maize of her own this season, Mai Mpofu and others like her are bound to rely on the kindness and generosity of anyone who might bring a tiny portion of food back from Bulawayo - some 80 kilometres distant. Not many in her area either had transport or could afford to be generous. The suffering of her family intensified.

Soon after the elections that saw Andrew Langa returned to parliament in one of the most dubious results of all ZANU PF’s dubious victories across the country, the swaggering politician returned to Avoca. Alas for the poor people of that area who had not heeded his warning to change their party allegiance. Langa had good reason to know that, whatever the official result, these people had voted overwhelmingly for the MDC. Retribution was swift. He simply withdrew all the grain previously stored at the GMB premises in Avoca and had it transferred to Mkwabeni, a region that his zealous supporters have ensured remains a ZANU PF stronghold. And there Langa planned and presided over a “victory celebration” in which the extra supply of food proved most useful. Needless to say only loyal ZANU PF party cadres were invited to the party. A few suspected of MDC sympathies who had the misfortune not to remove themselves quickly enough were, on Andrew Langa’s prompting, given a good thrashing by the youth militia. (One of those who were attacked by ZANU PF thugs, an MDC youth whose tragic story is told elsewhere, was actually beaten to death)

Since the election, some seven weeks ago, Mai Mpofu has not been able to purchase any maize or mealie meal locally. When asked how she and her family were surviving she shrugged her thin shoulders and remained silent. No doubt it was as much a mystery to her as to any inquisitive reporter. The fact is, as others living nearby confirm, that many such have been reduced to scavenging for berries and wild fruits to remain alive. How many meals does she have a day? The answer is one – if she is lucky. A neighbour who is fortunate enough to have a cow will let her have a little milk which she will have with pap, or another neighbour will give her a few vegetables gathered from a pathetic garden. Mai Mpofu admitted that hunger was now a permanent reality for her and it sometimes made her feel really ill. How were little children and the frail elderly surviving, I enquired. She replied that those in the community who still had a little energy left would somehow support them.

The spectre of famine is ominously close to these people. “Here,” said Mai Mpofu, “you will only see sad faces.” And it is true. Most people look like walking zombies. None dare talk about their misery with strangers. None that is save Mai Mpofu.

I had a final question for this brave, sad woman. I was curious to know whether ZANU PF and MDC shared equally in the suffering within a village designated like hers as MDC and therefore cut off from all food supply lines. “Oh no,” she replied, with the nearest she ever came to a smile during the whole interview: “the ZANU PF families are fed secretly at night.”

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25 May 2005
Africa Day Highlights Mugabe and Zanu PF’s Failure To Embrace The Process of Africa’s Renewal 
Today, we as Africans celebrate Africa Day and, collectively, we have much to celebrate. The tide of democracy and good governance is spreading across our beloved continent. Peoples’ basic rights and human dignity are being restored.
This pervasive concept of empowerment at the micro level is an integral part of Africa’s Renewal and is essential if we are to tackle poverty and inequality and meet the targets set out under the Millennium Development Goals.
The MDC’s vision for Zimbabwe is identical to the broader goals and objectives of the African Renaissance, enunciated under the progressive framework for action created by the AU and NEPAD. We want the people of Zimbabwe to have jobs, to be free from hunger and to have the skills and opportunities to realise their dreams and aspirations. We want for Zimbabwe what Africa’s progressive political leaders want for the continent: plural democracies build on the social democratic principles of solidarity, social justice, freedom and equality.
These progressive values guided liberation struggles across Africa. Regrettably, as in the case of Zimbabwe, these values have often been viewed in the post-independence era as subordinate to the exclusive forms of nationalism and narrow power interests pursued by ruling elites. The manifestation of such expedient political agendas has been increased poverty and the marginalization and disempowerment of the majority. 
It is the struggle to restore peoples’ dignity and basics rights, and to complete the unfinished business of the liberation struggle, that defines the crisis in Zimbabwe. And this crisis is getting worse.
The aftermath of the stolen parliamentary elections has been characterised by a campaign of violent retribution against those suspected of voting for the MDC. The arrest in Harare of over 10,000 street traders over the past few days, and the destruction of market stalls and tuckshops, represents a central plank of this retribution campaign.
The Government’s claim that such action is in the public interest is disingenuous. Street vendors are not sabotaging the economy; it is the government which is sabotaging the economy through mismanagement and corruption. Teachers, doctors, nurses, factory workers and people from all walks of life have been forced into becoming street vendors as it has become the only means of survival. They are the victims and yet are now being punished for trying to feed their families and for being suspected of having the temerity to express their own political preferences. 
A government that destroys the properties of people who are trying to make an honest living, is evil. It is people insensitive. Millions of Zimbabweans have been made poor and jobless by this regime. The people have sought ways to provide for their families. Not only have flea-markets and tuck shops been destroyed, the people’s belongings have been stolen by the government.
The government did not even have the heart to give people a notice period to salvage their belongings; it ploughed through their properties and looted their goods. That is unforgivable.
The MDC is fighting for these, and the millions of other oppressed and victimized people in Zimbabwe.  We are continuing to mobilise the people around our peaceful agenda for change. Our policies, as the turnout at our elections rallies demonstrated, inspires the people with hope for the future.
We have entered a new phase in the struggle for change in Zimbabwe. This is the social democratic struggle that will take many forms. That phase calls for the participation of all the people of Zimbabwe, in the same way that all national effort was mobilized for the liberation struggle. As a collective we will overcome this evil oppression.
Change, while it may not occur in the short-term, is inevitable and the MDC is making good progress towards leading the people of Zimbabwe to achieve this goal. 
Morgan Tsvangirai
MDC President
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Around the middle of March this year, we sent out a report about plans for a
40km long powerline to be erected in the Umfurudzi Safari Area to service
the Natural Stone Export Company which is quarrying for black granite in
this beautiful, pristine wilderness.

After our initial report went out, the plans for the powerline were put on
hold and we hoped they would re-route it so as not to destroy the beauty of
the Umfurudzi but we heard a few days ago that they have decided to resume
their plans.

I took a trip out to the Umfurudzi on Friday 6th May with Iain Jarvis,
Executive Director of Wilderness Africa Trust, Grace Kombora, a reporter
from the Independent Newspaper and Linette, a camera lady.

We paid entrance fees at the National Parks entrance gate and Linette filmed
mine entrance signs, felled trees, damage caused by mining activities etc.
Whilst we were filming at the quarry, we were confronted by the mine manager
who was extremely aggressive. He told us to leave the mine immediately, took
down our vehicle registration number and reported our presence to someone
via his radio.

Whilst driving through the game reserve, we saw signs marking mining claims
every couple of hundred metres. Once the powerline is functional, all these
claims, each of which covers an area of 10 ha, will be occupied by locals
and the Umfurudzi Wilderness will be destroyed. Already, extensive damage
has been done to the river beds which are dry at the moment. They are full
of rocks, loose soil and gaping holes. Over 200 square metres of the
Umfurudzi Wilderness has already been destroyed.

We have attached some of Linette's pictures of the piles of black granite,
digging sites and signs reflecting the blasting times. Also attached is a
report of our trip written by Iain Jarvis.


It was brought to our attention that the Harare drinking water which comes
from Lake Chivero is not fit for human consumption because raw sewerage is
being pumped into the lake.

Since the onset of the land reform programme, the people who previously
worked on farms in the rural areas have moved into the main centres in
search of employment and the sewerage system can no longer efficiently cope
with the waste of the increased population. The raw sewerage now goes
directly into Lake Chivero.  This has been the case for the past few years
but the problem is now critical reports of people being hospitalized for
stomach ailments are becoming more and more frequent.

I went out to the lake and took some pictures of the water which are
attached. There is a terrible stench of human excrement emanating from the

I contacted the Harare branch of the World Health Organization who passed me
from one person to another. In the end, I was told that they couldn't do
anything about it and I should contact the Government Water Resources Task
Force but I couldn't get through to them. I then tried the Municipality who
were not interested. In desperation, I contacted the media and took a team
of journalists and photographers out to the lake who published the story and
photos in one of our local newspapers.

We would like to urge Harare residents to boil all their drinking water
because there doesn't seem to be any solution to this problem at the moment.


We recently sent out a report about poaching in Lake Chivero and the outcome
of this was that National Parks did a raid and 15 poachers were arrested and
were fined 2.5 million dollars each. A large quantity of nets and several
boats which had been utilized in their poaching operations were recovered.


Dendales, formerly Eden Hunt Safaris is a 16 000 hectare game farm, 40 km
from Chihoyi on the Sanyati Road which is home to about 100 elephant and a
large number of plainsgame of varying species. The owner, Charles Ridley was
evicted and the ranch was taken over by a relative of a prominent ZANU PF

The new settler of Dendales is now selling hunts on the property and hunters
are invited to shoot as much as they want. No hunting quota has been issued
and 3 professional hunters have already been there and shot 2 elephants and
a substantial number of plainsgame. We have the names of these hunters on
record if anybody is interested. A simple phone call is all that is required
to hunt there.

Johnny Rodrigues
Chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
Phone       263 4 336710
Fax           263 4 339065
Mobile       263 11 603 213

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UMFURUDZI SAFARI AREA                     PROJECT NO. 07                                                          
On Friday 6th May, Johnny Rodrigues (ZCTF) had organised a media trip to publicise the construction of the powerline through Umfurudzi Safari Area. Up to date there had been no feedback from ZESA or National Parks as to whether an E.I.A had been done nor its findings. Environment Africa were handling this side of it and had undertaken to seek a court order to stop any further progress until the law had been complied with and stakeholders consulted
We proceeded to Umfurudzi in Rodrigues private 4x4 vehicle as this would be able to negotiate the rough roads and hills near the quarry. The participants consisted of Johnny Rodrigues as the driver, Linette doing the video filming, Grace Kombora from the Independent newspaper and myself representing  Wilderness Africa Trust and Hippo Pools .
We paid entrance fees at the National Parks entrance gate while Linette filmed everything of interest on the way including the entrance gate, mine entrance signs, the cut swathe, felled trees and holes dug for the poles.
We stopped for lunch at Hippo Pools after looking at the 3000 year, old 20meter circumference Giant Baobab. We also filmed Hippo Pools camp and the River line at T11
When we reached the quarry we went to various view points and filmed the very extensive destruction. The area has expanded a lot since I was last there about 3 years ago. No effort is evident at reclamation and the destroyed area would appear to cover at least 200hectares. Some of it goes right down to the Mazowe Riverbanks. The Mahoroba River running through the middle of the mine in this area appears to have substantially wrecked.
While moving around the quarry we were chased by the mine manager,Ben,a Romanian. He was very aggressive and wanted to know what we were doing “on his mine” He recognised me and asked me what I was doing. I explained that we had paid National Parks entrance fees and we are looking over the park. He asked us if we had been videoing and we agreed we had. He did not know what to do about this and told us to leave “his mine” immediately. In the meantime he took our vehicle number and started radioing
We left using their main access route to the west. We came across their boom but after radioing they let us through. As miners only have the right to the underground rock and minerals we were annoyed that they could block off the road and claim ownership rights to that particular area of the park. This also means that they are able to block off north, south and west access to the park as the original crossroads lie right in the middle of the mine. This does not seem at all right in a National Park area
We proceeded back to Harare, opting for the longer Bindura route as we realised these people were desperate and using their radios could organise a road block to be placed on the Shamva route with the purpose of confiscating the video equipment.
Prepared by I.S Jarvis
Executive Director
Date    6/5/05
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Zim Online

Human rights lawyers sue Harare, police over crackdown
Thu 26 May 2005

      HARARE - Zimbabwe's biggest association of human rights lawyers
yesterday said it was taking legal action against Harare city and police
authorities for committing gross human rights violations during the ongoing
crackdown against informal traders in and outside the capital city.

      In a statement, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said it
was "finalising" preparing papers to be filed at court against the
state-appointed commission running Harare and the police for what it said
was a dismaying and heavy handed campaign against defenseless residents.

      The group's statement reads in part: "ZLHR is finalising legal
proceedings, which shall shortly be instituted against all parties complicit
in the continuing violations on behalf of the affected individuals and
families, and will not hesitate to act in protecting the economic and social
rights of Zimbabwean citizens, which responsibility has been abandoned by
their state protectors."

      The ZLHR spoke as police widened the "clean-up" operation to most of
Harare's low-income suburbs in the south of the city destroying several
millions of dollars worth of property in the suburbs of Glen View and
Budiriro where they burnt down and demolished roadside household furniture
making informal industries.

      Over 10 000 mostly unemployed Zimbabweans trying to eke out a living
through informal trade have been arrested and property and goods worth
hundreds of millions of dollars destroyed since the operation began last

      With unemployment at 70 percent, the majority of Zimbabweans now
survive on informal trading with even those still with a formal job being
forced to engage in petty and informal trading to supplement their
inflation-eroded wages. Inflation is pegged at 129.1 percent.

      Combined Harare Residents Association chairman Michael Davies says
more than half of the city's estimated three million residents live in
makeshift housing which the city authorities and police have declared
illegal and are demolishing.

      The authorities say the clean-up is aimed at ridding the city of
criminals and foreign currency market operators masquerading as informal

      But the ZLHR said the move was illegal and a gross violation of human
rights particularly because the city and police authorities were acting
without any court order empowering them to evict the informal traders.

      Most of the traders forcibly evicted by the police were licenced to
operate at their various premises by the city council which also billed them
for such services as water supply and refuse collection.

      The ZLHR said: "These acts by the ZRP and municipal police are clearly
and manifestly illegal as they had no lawful order to evict mostly licensed
flea market operators and tuck shop owners."

      Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has accused President Robert
Mugabe of setting the police against residents in opposition urban
strongholds in a bid to provoke conditions that could enable him to declare
a State of Emergency and rule by decree.

      Intelligence sources also told ZimOnline earlier this week that the
army and police have been put on full alert amid fears by the government of
a possible spontaneous uprising by irate residents.

      Earlier in the week on Tuesday, only timeous intervention by Member of
Parliament for Glen Norah suburb averted violent clashes between the police
and residents of the suburb who had ganged up to retaliate after their flea
market stalls and other informal businesses were destroyed. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

UN envoy to skirt politics on Zimbabwe visit
Thur 26 May 2005
  JOHANNESBURG - James Morris, United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan's
special envoy, says he will visit Zimbabwe next week to assess the country's
food needs but will not involve himself in internal politics.

      Morris was addressing a press conference here yesterday at which he
faced questions about why he was visiting Zimbabwe despite President Robert
Mugabe's declaration last year that his government had enough food and
donors should take their unwanted aid elsewhere as Zimbabweans might choke
from it.

      He was also asked to comment on the political issues that were causing
food shortages in countries like Zimbabwe and on whether his visit had
followed a specific request from the Zimbabwe government.

      Morris declined to give clear-cut answers, saying his brief was
humanitarian. All he was interested in was ensuring that food aid reached
the needy and not the causes of the food shortages.

      In Zimbabwe, the WFP had fed about 1.1 million people, mostly
children, in April. An assessment was still being carried out and the figure
could rise. He said he did not expect interference from Mugabe's government
against the WFP's work.

      In 2003, the WFP suspended food distribution in some parts of
Matabeleland after ZANU PF supporters hijacked the UN agency's consignments
and distributed the food among themselves.

      Morris said he did not forsee any problems.

      "President Mugabe and I have a good understanding that there should be
no interference with our work, that we are able to take our food wherever it's
needed in the country and that we do our distribution through our NGO
partners ... I have no reason to believe that there will be anything from
the Zimbabwean government other than respect for the way we do our work,"
said Morris.

      Mugabe privately appealed to Annan for help after it became clear he
had lied about his government's ability to feed its people. It is understood
that Morris's decision to include Zimbabwe on his itinerary was a result of
Mugabe's talks with Annan. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

Prescribing fees at private schools will compromise quality, says teachers'
Thur 26 May 2005
  HARARE - Plans by the government to prescribe fees at private schools
could compromise quality at the only schools in Zimbabwe where learning
standards and facilities were still acceptable, teacher representative
unions and the opposition said yesterday.

      A new Education Amendment Bill to be brought to Parliament when it
resumes next month will empower the government to set fees and other levies
at privately-owned schools.

      Education Minister Aeneas Chigwedere, who last year temporarily closed
46 privately-owned schools over fees, accuses authorities at the schools of
fleecing parents of several millions of dollars by charging what he says are
unjustifiably exorbitant fees and levies.

      But Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary general
Raymond Majongwe accused the government of politicising the issue of school
fees which he said should remain apolitical and be left to school
administrators and school development associations (SDAs) and parents.

      Majonwge said the government was struggling to run its own schools and
its involvement with private schools would only help see standards at the
schools plummet to the same "disheartening levels" as at state schools.

      He said: "It will not only lower the standards but politicise an
institution that should have remained apolitical. The government is failing
to fully provide for the (public) school sector where standards have fallen
to disheartening levels."

      Veteran educationist and main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party shadow education minister, Fidelis Mhashu, called on the
government to abandon populism and consult widely before tampering with
private schools which he added were the only ones where learning standards
were a "little acceptable" after years of deterioration across the education

      "A wise minister is not going to rush such legislation which spells
doom for the little acceptable education standards presently existing in the
country," Mhashu said. He added: "The minister needs to consult extensively
with all stakeholders, in this case, the school development associations,
school boards, teachers and parents."

      The High Court earlier this year ruled that private schools could hike
fees and other levies without consulting the government.

      The state did not appeal the ruling but indicated it would go the
parliamentary route to impose control on the private schools. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Botswana wants Zimbabwean police officer extradited to face murder charge
Thur 26 May 2005
  GABORONE - Botswana has called for the extradition of a Zimbabwean police
officer to face a murder charge after he shot and killed a Botswana national
last week.

      The unnamed police officer, who was stationed at Pandamantenga border
post, illegally crossed into Botswana last month where he shot a Botswana
national, Mpho Lecha, before fleeing the scene. He was arrested in Dete,
Matabeleland North, last Sunday.

      The police in Botswana said they could not establish the motive behind
the murder. If convicted, the police officer faces the death penalty in

      Relations between Zimbabwe and Botswana are frosty with Harare
accusing Botswana of ill-treating its nationals who visit the country.
Botswana denies the charge and in turn accuses the Zimbabweans of stoking up
crime in the country. - ZimOnline

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UN leaders discuss solutions to Southern Africa crises

May 25, 2005, 18:00

Three top United Nations leaders, Unicef, UNAids and a UN special envoy
gathered to unleash facts that painted a grim picture for the Southern
Africa region. They discussed HIV/Aids and food shortages. "Things are worse
than they were a year ago, before the UN provided 3.5 million people with
food, now we will have to go to 7 million, said James Morris, a United
Nations special envoy.

The UN is visiting several countries in Southern Africa and say the hardest
hit areas are Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and parts of Zimbabwe. Food
shortages in the region have deepened because of the lack of rain in the
past five months. Morris says he will meet Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean
president and his cabinet next week to thrash out the current food shortage
crisis in that country. Aid agencies have estimated that around two million
to five million Zimbabweans could face starvation unless 1.2 million tons of
grain is imported.

The UN also touched on the treatment of people living with HIV/Aids, saying
the roll out programmes are to slow. But there is still hope, with the UN
leaders saying through an integrated approach the region can beat the triple
threat and this means meet its millennium goals in 10 years.
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Sunday Times (SA)

Zimbabwe's winter of discontent

Wednesday May 25, 2005 14:29 - (SA)

HARARE - Zimbabweans are spending hours in queues for petrol or waiting for
transport to return home, sometimes trekking huge distances as a fuel crisis
worsens in the wake of food shortages and blackouts during a bleak winter.

Commuters in the capital city of Harare, though more privileged than their
counterparts elsewhere, have been stranded for several hours since the fuel
crisis intensified over the past two weeks.

Meanwhile a police crackdown on private bus operators in Harare during a
sweeping operation to clean up the city and on car drivers offering lifts
for a fee, has made life difficult for residents of a city once rated among
the best places to live in Africa.

Many petrol pumps have not received supplies since two weeks while the lucky
few that have managed to get some are forced to ration supplies to a maximum
of 20 litres (0.6 gallons) per vehicle. The shortages worsened in the
aftermath of parliamentary elections in March, in which long-ruling
President Robert Mugabe's party won a crushing victory, and deepened this
week after the central bank devalued the already wilting local currency by
45 percent.

Zimbabwe imports all its fuel, mainly from neighbouring South Africa.
Drivers have to queue up for fuel for hours while the well-heeled rely on
the black market where it sells for 16 times the normal price.

Only state-run buses seem to have regular supplies while private mini-buses,
which transport the vast majority of commuters in Harare, have ceased
running because they have no oil or have been impounded by police for
allegedly not being roadworthy.

Some commuters are forced to trek to and from work for distances of up to 25
kilometres (15 miles).

"I had to walk home the other day after waiting for five hours,"

said John Bunhu, a worker at a plastic factory.

A woman travelling from Zimbabwe's second city Bulawayo to Harare said she
boarded a bus that ran out of diesel halfway through the journey.

"We had to hike to Harare," Millie Nyirenda said.

Zimbabwe has experienced serious fuel shortages since 1999 initially blamed
on corruption and incompetence at the state-owned oil company and later
attributed to a scarcity of foreign exchange.

Fuel supplies had improved after government deregulated the fuel sector and
allowed private importers to function. But the situation started worsening
and reached crisis proportions two weeks ago.

Gideon Gono, the governor of Zimbabwe's central bank, late last month
promised that supplies would improve within a fortnight and attributed the
crisis to a foreign currency crunch.

In his monetary policy last week, Gono accused some of the 120 private
petroleum importers of abusing foreign exchange they had been allocated by
the central bank to import fuel.

Meanwhile, the shortage has affected business operations with many
establishments opening late and closing early to give workers time to look
for transport.

Zimbabwe's once-model economy has been in a downturn for the last five
years, characterised by runaway inflation and perennial shortages of foreign
currency and basic commodities.

The situation has been blamed partly on controversial land reforms that have
compromised food production and the country's isolation from its traditional
trading partners in Europe, which followed the 2002 presidential election
that western observers charged was rigged.

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Mail and Guardian

      Zimbabwe in 'grip of a dictatorship'

      Michael Hartnack | Harare

      25 May 2005 10:30

            The government threatened on Tuesday to demolish squatter shacks
in what it calls an urban beautification campaign, following the arrests of
about 10 000 street traders in the capital, a stronghold of the opposition.

            The announcement of "Operation Marambatsvina," which means
"drive out rubbish," following the four-day police blitz against vendors and
flea market traders left the opposition accusing the ruling Zanu-PF party of
trying to provoke confrontations so it can declare a State of Emergency
before the tattered state of the economy leads to riots.

            The campaign against vendors has already sparked clashes between
traders and police and unrest has been reported elsewhere.

            "They are now going for broke," said Paul Themba-Nyathi,
spokesperson for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. "It is
obvious these are all punitive measures aimed at urban people who voted
against Zanu-PF."

            In the Harare cleanup campaign, the government set a June 20
deadline for demolishing unauthorised buildings unless the residents appeal
and receive a grace period.

            "The attitude of the members of the public as well as some city
officials has led to the point whereby Harare has lost its glow. We are
determined to get it back," said government-appointed Mayor Sekesai
Makwavara in a statement announcing the deadline.

            She said "Operation Marambatsvina" would see the demolition of
all "illegal structures".

            Lovemore Madhuku, a university teacher who leads an umbrella
group of bodies seeking radical reform, the National Constitutional
Assembly, warned the demolitions might ignite public anger on a scale unseen
since 1980 independence, when President Robert Mugabe, now 81, gained power.

            "I think now people are really going to react," he said.

            The cleanup ultimatum revives memories of the 1985 elections
when Zanu-PF mobs, reacting to comments by Mugabe, expelled thousands of
families suspected of supporting the opposition out of their township homes
until the bought ruling party cards. An unknown number of people were killed
while police refused to intervene.

            Township resident Petros Nyoni said the mood in Harare's
sprawling "high density suburbs" was tense on Tuesday, with workers already
angry at a police crackdown on the commuter minibuses that are the mainstay
of the transport system.

            Hundreds of the taxis have been grounded by lack of fuel at
filling stations while many more have been impounded at roadblocks for
allegedly being unfit to drive.

            "There is a very big crisis. People are so desperate they are
jumping through [minibus] windows or onto the roof carriers," he said.

            After seven years of unprecedented economic decline, 80% of the
workforce is unemployed and four 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.

            The government last week announced a 45% devaluation of the
Zimbabwean currency against the United States dollar, a ban on luxury
imports and heavy subsidies for agriculture and exporters.

            Michael Davies, chairperson of the Combined Harare Residents
Association, said more than half of the capital's population of two million
to three million people live in housing marked for demolition.

            He said in some cases rents from the buildings were the only
means of survival for elderly owners.

            Many of the houses marked for demolition date from the 1970s
when the embattled white Rhodesian authorities stopped enforcing hated
"influx control" laws to allow fugitives from rural fighting into towns.

            "They [Zanu-PF] are trying to remake the city in their image by
trying to drive people out, depriving them of their livelihoods and homes,
back to the communal areas where Zanu-PF is better able to control social
unrest, said Davies.

            "There is very little we can do. The country is in the grip of a
dictatorship. A clique has seized the state through lawlessness and this
rogue regime doesn't give a damn for legal niceties," said Davies. - Sapa-AP

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Broadcast Lands Brave Journalist in Trouble

The Nation (Nairobi)

May 25, 2005
Posted to the web May 25, 2005


A lone journalist took the battle to free Zimbabwe's media from the
stranglehold of a repressive regime literally to the airwaves - where no
soldiers arrest and no police harass and intimidate.

Gerry Jackson was working for the State-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation (ZBC) music station, Radio 3, until she committed what is
considered an ultimate sin in that country; she allowed views different from
the official position to go out on air.

Yesterday, she was honoured by the International Press Institute with the
Free Media Pioneer Award at the closing of the institute's world congress in
Nairobi yesterday.

The award was established in 1996 to honour individuals or organisations
that have fought against great odds to ensure freer and more independent
media in their country or region.

It is co-sponsored by the US-based Freedom Forum, a non-partisan,
international foundation dedicated to free press and free speech.

Talking to the Nation shortly after, Ms Jackson spoke of a bleak future for
the Press in Zimbabwe.

"There just no future for journalism in Zimbabwe unless you are working for
the government Press. Most journalists have fled to South Africa or England.
The oppressive regime has refused private media to operate. It is such that
four million citizens are now working outside the country and this
constitutes 70 per cent of the active work force," she said.

She hesitated a little and then said; "Zimbabwe is dying but something must
be done."

Gerry, now a veteran of 25 years broadcasting experience in Africa, had
taken the bull by the horns - by airing telephone calls from the scene of
the food riots that engulfed the country in 1997.

She was promptly fired from the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC)
music station, Radio 3, for "insubordination" after airing live telephone

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