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

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ABC Australia

'Lying' media will be dealt with: Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe Information Minister Jonathan Moyo has warned that the country has
enough prison space for local journalists who peddle "lies" in the foreign

Mr Moyo told journalists that the media was the next enemy that needed to be
dealt with after the Government had finished with its anti-corruption
campaign in the financial sector.

"President Mugabe has said our main enemy is the financial sector but the
other enemy is the media who use the pen to lie about this country," he

"Such reporters are terrorists and the position on how to deal with
terrorists is to subject them to the laws of Zimbabwe.

"If there are any reporters who think they would effect a regime change here
they would find themselves in jail, we have enough prison room for them."

Reacting to a British Sky television crew which flew into the country this
week without prior accreditation to cover - among other stories - the
country's ongoing cricket saga, Mr Moyo said the crew did not conform to an
earlier arrangement with the Government.

"We had invited them (Sky TV) to do a co-production with
(state-television's) NewsNet and we had said we want to know who will be
part of their team and who will be on the NewsNet team but before we knew it
they were already in the country," Mr Moyo said.

"Those guys are trash and we do not need them and Sky TV is no exception,
whether it's CNN or whatever, we have no illusion that they have changed."

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Zim Standard

High Court throws Mudzuri a lifeline
By our own Staff

THE High Court has ordered that dismissed Harare Executive Mayor Elias
Mudzuri should stay at the council mansion in Gunhill - at least for another
month - throwing into disarray plans by Local Government Minister Ignatius
Chombo to forcibly evict Mudzuri and his family from the property.

High Court Judge Elphas Chitakunye on Friday also ordered Chombo to avail to
the former dismissed Harare Executive Mayor the reports of both the Jameson
Kurasha and Johannes Tomana commissions, which formed the basis of his
dismissal by the government.

Yesterday a defiant Mudzuri said he had ignored Chombo's directive to vacate
the Harare City Council mansion within seven days.

"I am still there. At times I might not sleep there for security reasons,
but I am still there," Mudzuri told The Standard.

The judge directed that Mudzuri, fired by President Robert Mugabe in cahoots
with Chombo recently, be allowed to stay in the council mansion in the
suburb of Gunhill for another month.

Mudzuri's lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa of Kantor & Immerman, said Chombo was
ordered to provide the two reports and the transcripts of the hearing of the
Tomana Commission by May 7 to enable him to challenge his suspension and

"The judge said it was unreasonable to expect Mudzuri to challenge his
suspension and dismissal without the two reports. He also said it was
unreasonable to give him seven days only to vacate the mayoral house," she

Mtetwa said she would use the reports and transcripts to challenge Mudzuri's
suspension and subsequent dismissal.

"We will definitely challenge because there were a lot of irregularities in
the dismissal and the process itself. Justice Chinhengo ruled that the
Kurasha commission had no powers to investigate Mudzuri but it went on to do
so," said Mtetwa.

In his affidavit, Mudzuri said the failure by Chombo to disband and
reconstitute the Kurasha Commission, which Judge Chinhengo had ruled out,
grossly prejudiced him.

Mudzuri said the Kurasha Committee made recommendations on the basis of a
process that was void and of no legal effect right from the start.

He also questioned the legality of the Tomana Commission because it relied
on allegations against him made by the Kurasha Committee.

Mudzuri said because the two committees were not appointed in terms of the
law and they proceeded on terms of references that do not accord with the
provisions of the Act his dismissal was therefore unlawful.

Mudzuri's dismissal letter written by Chombo stated that Mugabe had directed
that the former mayor vacates office with immediate effect.

The dismissal letter also directs Mudzuri to immediately surrender to acting
Harare Mayor Sekesai Makwavarara all council property in his possession as
well as vacating the council mansion in Harare's Gunhill within a week.

Makwavarara, a former Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) councillor,
resigned from the opposition party to become an 'independent' last month.
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Zim Standard

Mangwende recruits militia for council jobs
By Our own Staff

WITNESS Mangwende, the recently appointed Governor of Harare, has started
recruiting Zanu PF youth militia and supporters for employment in Harare
City Council's public works programme and other junior positions in the
council, sources told The Standard this week.

"The message came from Mangwende last week that we needed to recruit about
60 people from each constituency within the council. We are vetting the
names through our branches and cells," a Zanu PF official involved in the
recruitment programme told The Standard.

The official said the idea was to fill every council post with Zanu PF
supporters ahead of next year's parliamentary elections.

This would help destroy the Movement for Democratic Change's influence in
Harare City Council affairs, he said.

The official said the exercise was also expected to be carried out in
Bulawayo, where Cain Mathema was recently appointed Governor, and other
cities and towns.

According to the official, the council was supposed to recruit about 60
people - mostly youths and women - from Harare's 16 constituencies.

The recruitment exercise comes hardly a week after President Robert Mugabe
dismissed Harare Executive Mayor, Elias Mudzuri, on allegations of
corruption and mismanagement.

Mangwende, who has been in and out of Mugabe's Cabinet since 1980, could not
be reached for a comment.

The chairman of the Combined Harare Ratepayers' Association (CHRA) Mike
Davies deplored the partisan recruitment by Mangwende as well as using
ratepayers' money for political gain.

"Public works programmes are supposed to benefit all ratepayers irrespective
of political affiliation. The selection of those working under the programme
should be done by councillors and members of Parliament (MPs)," said Davies.

He said CHRA had written to Mangwende demanding his terms of reference but
the Governor referred all questions pertaining to his appointment to Chombo.

"We are not sure under what mandate the governor is operating. He appears to
have assumed the duties of an executive mayor. This is why we have written
to him," said Davies, who added that Chombo, the architect of Mudzuri's
dismissal, had not responded to his queries.

MDC spokesperson Paul Themba-Nyathi said Mangwende was desperately trying to
extend Zanu PF patronage by offering MDC supporters employment.
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Zim Standard

No major deals as curtain falls on ZITF
By Savious Kwinika

BULAWAYO - Visiting the 2004 Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) during
one of the traders' days, The Standard news crew was greeted by empty cattle
pens, grinding mills, deserted exhibiting halls and a chain of idle taxis
parked outside - a clear indication that the show was a now a pale shadow of
its former self.

Complicating the woes of the low-key ZITF, the exhibition show-ground was
dominated by soldiers, Zimbabwe Prison Service (ZPS) personnel, Zimbabwe
Republic Police (ZRP), security guards, drum majorettes and ice cream

Several struggling black business people mainly from the Small to Medium
Enterprises (SMEs) sector, who were hoping to clinch sound business deals,
returned to their respective towns and cities empty-handed and a
disappointed lot.

"Since I came here from Harare on Tuesday up to now Friday, there are no
meaningful business deals to talk about," said Harare businessman, who asked
to remain anonymous.

Bulawayo-based economist Eric Bloch pointed out that no genuine exhibitors
would come for a fair held under such a distressed economy.

"I made it clear before that no genuine foreign investor would like to
exhibit in a country that has such a bad image. Our economy is distressed
and its pointless to spend money on exhibition hence the poor turnout by
both local and international exhibitors," said Bloch.

Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) chairman for Matabeleland region, Mac
Crawford, said the country's agricultural performance had declined sharply
resulting in many people losing their jobs.

"The otherwise vibrant agricultural industry has been destroyed and it is
going to take some years to rekindle this important sector of our economy,"
said Crawford.

Meanwhile, there was chaos and confusion at the official opening ceremony of
the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) on Friday afternoon when hordes
of Zanu PF Women's League members forced their way into the VIP area,
shutting out officially invited guests such as diplomats and exhibitors.

Frantic ZITF officials and security officers from the army, police and
Central Intelligence Organisation tried in vain to stop the group of women
who were dressed in the ruling party's regalia.
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Zim Standard

Zanu PF thugs disrupt MDC rallies in Lupane

*Campaigning has moved into top gear quietly in Lupane where the ruling
party Zanu PF and the opposition MDC have squared up for a by- election set
for May 15 and 16. Our Bulawayo Bureau's Savious Parker Kwinika spent two
days in the rural constituency last week and below is his eye witness

IN a scene reminiscent of old gangster movies, a convoy of about eight
Nissan Patrol and Nissan Hardbody trucks clearly marked Zanu PF, DDF and
Lupane Rural District Council travelling at high speed, suddenly screech to
a halt in a cloud of dust at an open space in Gomoza Village, Chief Jiba
Jiba's communal area in Lupane on Tuesday.

The open space was the venue of a Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
rally, called to drum up support for its candidate, Njabuliso Mguni, who is
battling it out with Martin Khumalo of the ruling Zanu PF party.

As suddenly as they arrived, some of the vehicles - laden with war veterans
and Zanu PF youths - started moving fast in a circle right round the open
space entrapping hundreds of MDC supporters who were listening to a fired up

Mguni, a veteran educationist, was urging them to shun the ruling party in
the by-election set for May 15 and 16 and instead vote for the MDC.

At the same time, other vehicles with menacing looking occupants, were being
revved, making such ear-shattering noise that it was obvious this was a
deliberate ploy to make it impossible for Mguni to communicate with his
audience. Apart from that, the vehicles also raised so much dust that
engulfed the gathering within seconds.

Confronted by this frightful scenario, it didn't take long for the
faint-hearted to take to their heels escaping from what turned out to be the
Gomoza circle of despair. Among those caught up in the stampede were elderly
men, women and children

Only a few people, mainly MDC officials and ex-Zipra combatants stood their
ground and remained at the venue until the hullabaloo died down. Out came
the leaders of the war veterans and the militia who announced that the
meeting was illegal and everyone had to disperse.

"Abandon your rally and get away now," said a fierce looking war veteran
threateningly, as he and his mates pranced about like prize fighters. A lone
policeman, who had been assigned to the rally, simply watched the scene like
a bemused spectator.

"I am alone here. I can't do anything about it," he said to some fear
stricken villagers who had appealed to him to intervene.

The unannounced arrival of the intruders marked the end of the MDC rally.

Although nobody was assaulted or injured during the melee that lasted for
about 15 minutes, the incident was certainly meant to send shivers down the
spines of hapless villagers who had hitherto been attending a peaceful

It also reminded them of the dangers associated with attending MDC rallies.
According to some villagers, this was surely a sign of bad things to come
and they were afraid to take chances.

"The memories of Gukurahundi are still fresh in our minds. You can never
under-estimate what these people (war veterans and Zanu PF militias) can do
to ensure that they secure a victory for Zanu PF in Lupane," said a village
elder, shaking his head.

The elder told me he had witnessed some of the worst atrocities committed by
the Fifth Brigade when it butchered over 20 000 civilians during the early
1980s, during the so-called Gukurahundi campaign by the army.

As a result of these frightening experiences, several families - especially
those that are well known for their support for the MDC - are having
sleepless nights fearing possible attacks from militias who have established
several bases in this rural constituency.

When they go to sleep these days, many say they gather huge stones around
them for protection in the event of a night raid.

The incident at Gomoza Village was one of the many such occurrences now
common in Lupane where the ruling party quickly disrupts any rallies called
for by the MDC. This has made it virtually impossible for the opposition
party to campaign effectively.

However, despite such tactics, - which have become the hallmark of Zanu PF's
campaign strategy in the run up to elections - the determination of the
villagers to support the opposition party is clearly evident. They do not
seem deterred by the fact that the MDC campaign is hamstrung by lack of

Apart from religiously turning up at every meeting called by Mguni and his
campaign team, the villagers bring their own pots and plates to rallies so
that they can prepare food afterwards.

Even though news of the Gomoza raid filtered through to the other villagers,
surprisingly, thousands more turned up at yet another MDC rally at Bubi
Resettlement Scheme, about 170 kms north of Bulawayo the following morning.
Among them were nearly a hundred of youths armed with stones and knobkerries
meant to fight off any Zanu PF attacks.

One MDC youth leader, obviously excited about the huge attendance, said the
ruling party, which failed to meet its promise in the 2000 general elections
to pay youths in the area, had now alienated many young people in Lupane.

"We have been used, cheated and taken advantage of by Zanu PF and this time
around we have to turn against Zanu PF. As you can see today, this meeting
has been attended by both youths, elderly men and women who want to express
their grievances through the ballot box," said Xolani Nyathi, a 22-year-old
and unemployed MDC supporter.

Four MDC parliamentarians, Esaph Mdlongwa (Bulawayo), Abednigo Bhebhe
(Nkayi), Ndlovu Mzila (Bulilima North) and Jacob Thabani (Bubi Umguza)
attended the meeting which ended without any incident.

But there are still tales of many villagers who have been brutally attacked
in Lupane in violence linked to the by-election.

Two people in Gomoza are battling for their lives after being assaulted by a
group of war veterans and Zanu PF supporters who accused them of funding MDC
rallies in the constituency.

The two - Jacob Tshuma and his wife Sicingeni - who had come from South
Africa to see relatives, were being treated at St. Luke Hospital early last
week before they were moved out of the hospital by MDC Lupane officials "for
security reasons".

The attack occurred a few days after the nomination court sat last month to
confirm Mguni (MDC) and Martin Khumalo of Zanu PF as the two official
candidates for the by-election.

MDC district secretary for Lupane, Temba Dlomo, said the injured had nothing
whatsoever to do with his party or local politics except that their
relatives belonged to the MDC.

"We need peace and tranquillity in Lupane but if the worse comes to the
worst then the local villagers will say enough is enough and perhaps
retaliate," said Mdlongwa.

The Lupane seat was left vacant following the death of the MDC MP David
Mpala, who is believed to have died as a result of injuries sustained from
attacks by Zanu PF supporters and war veterans in the run-up to the 2002
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Zim Standard

Planned mining rule scares new investors
By Kumbirai Mafunda

THE ruling Zanu PF government, accused of plundering economic resources in
the last 24 years, has set its targets on the mining sector which could
crumble if the "politically correct" 49% empowerment requirement is not
revised, analysts have said.

The government recently drafted a white paper - through the Ministry of
Mines and Mining Development - aimed at accelerating the economic
empowerment of the majority blacks through acquiring equity in the
profitable mining industry, dominated by foreign companies.

President Robert Mugabe's government defends the initiative to grab 49%
shareholding of all major mines as a means to allow for the involvement of
black nationals in key mining ventues.

The planned legislation - entitled "Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill,
2004" - states that in order for private companies to hold a mining title,
49% of the shares must be ceded to "historically disadvantaged persons"
within three years.

Bigger and ZSE listed foreign-owned mining houses such as Rio Tinto and
Falgold would need to cede 25% of their shareholding to black entrepreneurs.

The government has however abruptly stopped plans to launch the draft paper
through a national road show after complains from the private sector.

Standard Business understands that big mining houses are now frantically
trying to arrange a meeting with Mines Minister Midzi over the leaked white

They say the manner in which government intends to acquire the 49% is in
itself shroud in secrecy and could be just another ploy to benefit
government and Zanu PF supporters as happened with the widely criticised
land reform programme.

Local economists say government's intended moves might also be hampered by
the complex financial arrangements needed to fund empowerment deals due to
Zimbabwe's current capital constraints.

They point at banker Mthuli Ncube's failed attempt to buy out Zimplats
minorities in a multi-million Australian dollar bid in 2003. Ncube, who is
now in self exile, abandoned the plans after he failed to raise the hard
currency needed offshore.

Other major companies that could be affected by the empowerment arrangement
include South Africa's Impala Platinum Holdings (Implats) - the world's
second biggest platinum producer - which currently holds an 82% stake in
Zimplats with the small remainder in minority hands.

"Borrowing money to acquire a stake in mining is high risk and the return on
investment does not always cover the cost of borrowing. Something easily
gained is not always appreciated," said Roy Pitchford, Zimplats' former CEO.

Chamber of Mines President Ian Saunders said there were already ripple
effects that were being felt because of the intended Bill. Fresh mining
projects had been terminated following the circulation of the white paper.

"The form and content of the proposals - in particular Section 28, which
deals with indigenisation of the industry - has caused considerable
consternation among both current mine owners and potential new investors,
both locally and abroad," said Sanders.

"It has already been reported to the chamber that new projects have been put
on hold, primary and secondary listing partners have withdrawn from future
financing activities and existing mines may soon develop a wait and see
strategy before embarking on expansions," he added.

Analysts said many foreign investors in mining were likely to be caught
napping on the issue of local shareholding as they have already indicated
that they are not keen to release a substantial stake to new black
investors - as demanded by government - who might not have invested a cent.

Zimplats recently had to issue a statement to shareholders trying to clarify
the chaos caused by the draft mining Bill.

Newly appointed Zimplats' CEO Mike Houston however told Standard Business:
"We are looking at it as a draft document. Until we know exactly what the
contents will be, we will not comment."

Government efforts to increase the involvement of a black elite in mining
sector have gathered momentum following the implementation of a similar
drive in South Africa and Nigeria.

Nigeria - the world's sixth largest oil producer - is planning to increase
oil production to four million barrels per day by 2010 and its government
has indicated that it wants more black players in the oil industry.

South African President Thabo Mbeki's government - which proposed the sale
of half of its local mines to blacks in 2002 - is this month set to pass a
mining legislation that demands 15% of local mining operations to be held by
blacks within five years and 26% after 10 years.

In Zimbabwe though, efforts by influential blacks to gain a controlling
stake in the major mines have failed largely because of their inability to
raise foreign currency to buy equity.

During the last five years, a number of local consortiums have been formed
to venture into the capital-intensive mining sector.

These have included the snapping up of a strategic 30% stake in Independence
Gold Mines (IndepGold) by Manyame Consortium, a local investment syndicate
that includes Mthuli Ncube, Zimre Holdings' chief Albert Nduna and
businessman John Mkushi.

Metallon Corporation, led by South African business magnate Mzi Khumalo, and
Zimplats have actually promoted black empowerment arrangement on their own
but many of the local businessmen invited into these deals have found the
going to raise funds tougher than anticipated.

For example, an indigenous consortium called Needgate Investments and led by
businessman Macdonald Chapfika is struggling to raise Australian $46 million
(about $150 billion) needed to pay for shares offered by Zimplats.

Besides Metallon and Implats, other big mining firms that have operations in
Zimbabwe include the world's biggest platinum company, Anglo American
Platinum - which is planning to develop the giant Unki project - and Ghana's
Ashanti Goldfields, which was recently acquired by AngloGold.

Ashanti owns Freda-Rebecca gold mine in Bindura which produced 98 255 ounces
of gold in 2002.

Analysts who spoke to Standard Business said investor confidence in the
mining industry was dependent on several factors that include peace and
political stability, good management of economic fundamentals and an
enabling fiscal regime.

For many Zimbabwean blacks trying to enter the capital-intensive mining
industry, hurdles have been encountered over the government's poor credit
rating, the limited avenues for local funding and the lack of technological
know how.

Although many miners said they were in agreement with the principle of
indigenisation, they were not happy with the government's intended quota of
49% and the timing of the programme.

"Whilst empowerment is a concept that is supported, the process and
implementation should be discussed in detail with all stakeholders to ensure
empowerment succeeds and the mining industry is not set back as it was in
South Africa," said Pitchford.

Others feared the new legislation - if pushed through without proper
consultation - would affect Zimbabwe's production of key minerals such as
platinum, gold and other precious metals.

One of the projects that might be affected is the planned Mimosa joint
venture mine in which South Africa's Implats and Australia's Aquarius
Platinum each own half of the shares.

They would, if the Bill is passed, be compelled to share some of their stake
with indigenous businessmen in deals that would result in them shedding off
25% of their present equities in Mimosa.

Other analysts however said the 49% empowerment requirement in mines might
just be another election ploy by the government as it tries every trick to
win the 2005 election.

Pitchford however blamed the insufficient debate between government and
stakeholders in mining over the draft paper.

"This should have taken place prior to any document being sent out to the
industry as a discussion paper," he said.

"Such documents always find their way to the media and once made public,
create the wrong perception in the minds of both local and foreign
investors," added Pitchford.

Other analysts said the empowerment programme could work if a formula that
pleases everyone is worked out.
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Zim Standard

CAT boots out Paul Chingoka
By Lloyd Mutungmiri

PAUL Chingoka, an icon in sports administration in the country, has been
kicked out as president of the Confederation of Africa Tennis amid
allegations of financial irregularities concerning the coffers of the
continental tennis-controlling body.

Chingoka relinquished the powerful post at CAT's annual general meeting on
April 18 in Cairo, Egypt, and was immediately replaced by Tunisia's Tarak

Yesterday Chingoka dismissed reports that he was forced to resign, insisting
he quit on his own accord as he wanted to concentrate on his new role in
local sports where he is now the president of the Zimbabwe Olympic

"I left CAT because I felt I had to give my full attention to ZOC. The other
reason why I had to cut ties with CAT is there has always been pressure from
North African members of the organisation who have never been supportive
right from the day I was elected CAT president last year," Chingoka told

"What really made me quit was the directive that the CAT offices be moved to
Morocco, which is clearly against the CAT constitution, which clearly states
that the head office should be located in the resident country of the
president, which in this case should have been Harare," said Chingoka.

He added: "In any case, if there were any financial irregularities as is
being alleged, I would have been removed from the ITF board, where I am
still a director."

International Tennis Federation president Ricci Bitti and ITF executive
director of development Dave Miley attended the CAT AGM.

According to the latest ITF news bulletin of April 26, Chingoka resigned his
post, which the CAT executive committee accepted, resulting in the elevation
of first vice-president Cherif to the top post.

The CAT AGM's agenda was discussed but according to the ITF bulletin Issue
17, "some points, including financial reports were deferred to a next CAT
meeting in Barcelona during the ITF AGM in June".

The executive committee decided at the meeting to immediately move the CAT
offices to London on a provisional basis. Chingoka confirmed yesterday the
CAT offices, which had been moved from Dakar, Senegal, to Harare, were
closed on Wednesday last week.

Chingoka, then Tennis Zimbabwe president, was elected CAT president in April
2003 in Johannesburg, beating Senegalese business mogul Mamadou Diagna

StandardSport understands Chingoka's detractors were member states of the
Western Zone or Zone 2 (15), who accused the Zimbabwean of doing little
since assuming office.

Particularly vocal was Issa Mboup, the president of Senegalese Tennis
Association, who is quoted in a Senegalese newspaper, The Soleil of April
22, lambasting Chingoka for inaction during his yearlong spell.

"It is necessary to underline quaucun na report/ratio studied ultimately
and, c'est even the day before lassemblée general quil was taken along to
resign. In fact, nothing navait made during its mandate," declared Issa

Chingoka is being condemned for failing to provide supporting documents for
expenditure but an audit carried out by a local firm, which the charismatic
former administrator of the year showed StandardSport, has since exonerated

"It is simply a smear campaign," Chingoka said.
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Zim Standard

Zanu PF chefs getting free prison labour
By our own Staff

SENIOR officials in Zanu PF, the Cabinet, the military and the judiciary are
using prisoners to work on their commercial farms for no pay, The Standard
has established.

The move has however been condemned by the largest trade union in Zimbabwe,
the ZCTU, as a "clear case of abuse".

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, whose ministry controls prison
operations, was recently reported to have said the government wanted to
introduce the use of prison labour on newly-resettled farms in a move aimed
at alleviating labour shortages on farms.

Chinamasa said the programme would also help expose prisoners to normal
life, which was important for their "re-integration back into society",
besides equipping them with farming skills.

Some prison officers in Harare said although any newly resettled commercial
farmer could benefit from the scheme, influential members in the governing
party were conniving with prison officials to have prisoners work on their
farms for free.

A journalist from The Standard - pretending to be a newly resettled
commercial farmer in Beatrice - was last week told by a Zimbabwe Prisons
Services official that it was easy to obtain prisoners to work on his farm.

A prison officer who answered the telephone and provided his name gave an
insight on how to obtain prison labour:

"What you have to do is to make an application to the officer-in-charge
requesting the services of prisoners. Since you said you are farming in
Beatrice, you have to apply to the prison closest to you and in your case it
will be either Chivhu or Harare Central Prison."

The officer continued: "In your application, you have to indicate when you
want the prisoners, how many you want to work at your farm and the exact
location of your farm."

He said those who wanted to use prisoners on their farms needed to provide
transport to and from the farms.

"We provide security while the prisoners are working at the farms and we
also provide food. Asi kana muchida kuvauraira mbudzi zvirikwamuri." (But if
you want to slaughter a goat for the prisoners, it is up to you).

When asked if the payments for the labour were made to the prisoners, he
responded: "The officer-in-charge will explain everything to you but the
payments are made to prison authorities."

Probed further on how the prisoners received their payments for working on
farms, the officer said: "They are not paid anything."

The deputy secretary general of the General Agriculture and Plantation
Workers Union of Zimbabwe, (GAPWUZ) Gift Muti, said their union had
conducted their own investigations on the issue of prisoners working on
commercial farms.

"Our investigations indicate that after working on farms, the prisoners are
not paid as the money goes to the State. This is a very disturbing
development because if the new farmers are going to get cheap prison labour,
it will affect the welfare of our members who are working on farms," said

He said meetings between GAPWUZ and prison authorities had established that
prison authorities were charging $2 000 per prisoner per day.

Concerned prison authorities have also complained that the regular raids on
prison complexes for prison labour would affect the agricultural performance
of the Zimbabwe Prison Services whose farms depend on prison labourers.

Last year, prisoners working on prison farms produced 15 000 tonnes of
tobacco which was sold for $20 million. Other ZPS farming projects that are
threatened by the loaning out of labour include a joint venture maize seed
production with Seed-Co at Chikurubi Farm and Pednor Farm in Bindura.

In Mazowe and Kadoma farms, the ZPS has a 40 hectares devoted to the
production of wheat.

The ZPS also has plans to commission an abattoir in Manicaland where it is
engaged in the production of beef and pork.

Retired Brigadier Paradzai Zimondi, the commissioner of the ZPS, was not
available for comment.
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Zim Standard

Accommodation shortage haunts Harare residents
By Nyasha Bhosha

HARARE residents are facing serious accommodation shortages and rentals
because the few available properties have skyrocketed in the last few

Renting a single room in the high-density areas of Harare now costs between
$35 000 to $50 000 while those in the low-density suburbs are around $100
000 to $120 000, excluding electricity, rates and water bills.

"Some of us are now in a dilemma because we cannot afford either to buy a
house or to rent one. The rents are totally unaffordable and beyond the
reach of many," said Jonathan Gweje of Harare's Kuwadzana suburb.

Many landlords, capitalising on the shortage of houses and flats for rent,
are imposing enormous rentals on their properties, a Standard survey found.

"Landlords are charging whatever they feel like because they know people are
desperate. Some are even charging rentals in forex particularly for flats in
the Avenues," said one tenant.

Desperate tenants complained that the house owners were increasing rentals
willy nilly without even consulting the Rent Board.

"Landlords are increasing rentals anytime they feel like. They don't care
whether they raised the rent the previous month or even if you say you
cannot afford it.

"Failure to pay the increment means a short notice from the house owner to
vacate the house or flat," said a woman from Avondale, who preferred

An official from the Rent Board told The Standard that aggrieved tenants
could seek a rent order from the board to stop the house owner from
increasing rent for a given period of time.

"Tenants should come to our offices and report cases of overcharging
although as a board we are not there to impose specific rents or decide
rates at which landlords can increase rentals, but we try to ensure a fair
deal for both the tenant and the landlord.

"We also take into consideration the location of the house and issues like
insurance, building materials and facilities being offered," said the

On the issue concerning rentals being paid in foreign currency, the Rent
Board official said this was illegal and such landlords risked being

Some tenants said the shortage of accommodation was the result of house
owners opting to sell their properties to companies which are turning them
into offices, a move they said was unlawful.

Harare City Council Public Relations Manager Leslie Gwindi said, however,
that house owners were entitled to do whatever they wanted with their
properties, even turning them into offices.

"They own the houses so they can do what they want with them," said Gwindi.

He added that the council was servicing a number of stands, which would help
ease the accommodation crisis in the capital.

Most tenants who spoke to The Standard hoped the Ministry of Local
Government, Public Works and National Housing would allocate more affordable
land for housing stands and promote housing co-operatives.

Accommodation shortages have also seen the mushrooming of wood and plastic
shacks at the back yards of many houses in the high-density areas of Harare,
exposing many to health hazards associated with overcrowding and poor

Also as a result of the housing crisis, many desperate home seekers have
fallen victim to conmen and unscrupulous house owners. In a number of
reported cases, a single house has been sold to two or more people.
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Zim Standard

State plan on airwaves exposed
By our own Staff

THE government is deliberately delaying to free the airwaves to suit its
political ambitions to win the 2005 general election at all costs.

This came out of a meeting between Parliamentarians and broadcasters in
Harare recently.

Despite rushing through the Broadcasting Services Act two years ago which
was meant to allow new radio and television stations, the Parliamentary
Portfolio Committee on Transport and Communications heard that the new law
in fact, impeded the establishment of new broadcasting firms.

Among participants at daylong meeting were representatives of Voice of the
People Trust - who operate the only national private radio from within
Zimbabwe - the Media Monitoring Project and the newly formed Zimbabwe
Association of Community Radio Stations.

The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Communications is
investigating the delay by the government-appointed Broadcasting Authority
of Zimbabwe (BAZ) to invite and issue licenses to new players in the
commercial and community-broadcasting category.

Among the concerns raised was that the Broadcasting Services Act continued
to be source of frustration for prospective broadcasters, independent
producers and BAZ itself.

The new law, it was pointed out, prohibits foreign funding of new
broadcasters and imposes harsh restrictions for potential broadcasting
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Zim Standard


Moyo: An assassin of Press Freedom

TOMORROW, Zimbabwe joins the rest of the world in commemorating World Press
Freedom Day. This is a day set aside in recognition of the sacrifices made
by the media and private individuals to influence governments that continue
to deny their citizens the vital freedom of the media.

It is important to recall that the decision to celebrate the World Press
Freedom every year was made in December 1992 by the General Assembly of the
United Nations at the request of Unesco. The idea had been born 18 months
earlier in 1991, in Windhoek, Namibia during a seminar on Promoting an
Independent and Pluralistic African Press organised jointly by the United
Nations and Unesco.

Since then, the day has been marked with one focus: Reflecting on the state
of the media in the world and gains made towards full press freedom. Indeed,
the day has over the years increasingly gained significance as freedom of
the press takes centre stage in national and international politics.

But as we celebrate this important day with the rest of our colleagues
globally, in Zimbabwe there is little, if anything at all to celebrate.
Zimbabwean journalists may well be moaning the death of press freedom in the
country and we have Jonathan Moyo to thank for the demise of small but a
once vibrant media industry.

Clearly, Jonathan Moyo is the worst thing to happen to Zimbabwe's fledgling
media industry. That is how the journalistic community in this country will
remember him. He has not only assassinated the broadcast media in Zimbabwe
but he has rendered all the newspapers in the Zimpapers stable impotent and
useless pieces of government information sheets.

With the closure of the only independent daily, The Daily News and its
sister paper The Daily News on Sunday, an independent alternative voice to
the daily dosage of State propaganda churned out by Zimpapers and Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation, was lost to the reading public not only in
Zimbabwe but abroad as well. The few remaining independent weekly newspapers
are virtually under siege with daily threats if they do not toe the line all
the time.

It is, indeed, a strange irony that at a time when much of the world is
opening up and seeking to democratise and diversify their media, Zimbabwe is
hurtling in the opposite direction. Laws that are inconsistent with an
enlightened, open and democratic system of governance have been promulgated.

The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa) and the
Public Order and Security Act (Posa) are symbols of a primitive society that
has turned its back on basic tenets of civilised government. Not only do
they severely limit democratic space but they make the work of journalists
difficult. Needless to say, the end victims are obviously the people of

We have stated in and out of season that any law has to be demonstrably and
reasonably justified in a democratic society because laws are founded on the
premise of the just governance of man. There is little if anything, to
justify laws such as Aippa and Posa whose primary import is to emasculate
free interaction among Zimbabweans. These laws only serve to suppress free
speech and to stultify a vibrant and dynamic press.

Freedom of the press and of expression - to borrow a famous expression is
the mother of all freedoms. Once a government muzzles the press, then all
other freedoms are suppressed. Jonathan Moyo has evangelised against freedom
of the Press and such evangelism can only be counter - productive in the
long run. In fact, we know of no government in the whole world which has
benefited from such obnoxious laws.

Among the natural human urges is the will to survive and the will to
express. Experience has shown through history that governments which trample
on Press freedom pay a price in the end. It is folly to take people for
granted. People are not stupid. A constant barrage of propaganda may fool
some of the people some of the time, but it will not fool all of the people
all of the time.

As a man of considerable intellect, Jonathan Moyo ought to know this.

It is monumental self deception for Moyo to imagine that he alone knows what
is best for the people of Zimbabwe.Witness how he sets the parameters of
what people should look at, read or listen to at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation and Zimbabwe Newspapers.

But even he must realise that global trends make this a gigantic exercise in
futility. The world of the Internet and Satellite communication makes State
control of information well nigh impossible. Indeed, the coverage and
staying power of independent journalists as well as a strong and vibrant
civil society are essential ingredients in the good fight against those that
seek to circumscribe the people's rights and freedoms.

It is difficult to understand why the powers that be do not realise that far
from enhancing the image of government, what Jonathan Moyo has done has been
more damaging to Zimbabwe.

A more sophisticated approach to the media could have served the cause of
government much, much better. The role of government information officers is
to explain government policy and practice, promote the positive aspects of
that policy and get those policies understood and supported by the people on
whose behalf or in whose name they exercise their stewardship. Arrogance,
confrontation, and a superiority complex will only achieve one thing -
alienation of the rulers from the ruled.

It is our conviction that any government has no business in regulating the
media. A simple statement: People must be able to print what they want
subject to the moral norms and principles that govern that society should be

Whatever activities the various media organisations and countries hold
tomorrow to mark the World Press Freedom Day, our parting shot with
political dinosaurs like Jonathan Moyo is that the days of dictators are
truly numbered. Life with dictators is never boring, some say, but their
days are nevertheless numbered.

That is the bottom line.
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Zim Standard

Go to jail, do not pass go
overthetop By Brian Latham

IN what some spin-doctors have laughingly called a "crack down on
corruption" a deeply troubled finance minister from a troubled central
African basket case found himself in police custody.

The troubled finance minister thought he was above such things. He thought
he was an inner member of the just ruling Zany Party. Now he knows he isn't.

Only inner members of the just ruling Zany Party are exempt from
inconveniences like time spent in cells.

Still, being an "outer member" of the Zany Party may not protect him from
lice, dirt and disease, but it will protect him from a sound beating at the
hands of the democratically minded central African police force.

That's more than the rest of the troubled population can expect. For those
who sensibly prefer not to associate with the Zany Party at all, lice, dirt
and disease are the least of worries. Far more troubling is the beating of
feat and wiring of genitals to the national grid. Two hundred and twenty
volts does wonders when it comes to concentrating the mind on how dreadful
the troubled central African police state has become in recent years.

Still, it does seem a bit unfair. Much as OTT relishes the prospect of a
finance minister scratching lice from his armpit like a monkey, his crime is
pretty measly when compared to the untouchable inner Zanies.

While the deluded min of fin might have thought he'd get away with a little
R30 million mansion in a plush Cape Town suburb, there are those above him
who've robbed the exchequer of far, far more. But of course, they're inner
Zany andS untouchable.

SoS what the overwhelming majority of troubled central Africans want to see
is a few of the untouchables languishing in cells and scratching lice from
their armpits. Especially at this time of year when the nights are getting
colder and the police have liberated all the blankets for their own use.
(Firewood is expensive these days.)

That won't happen, of course, or not until the More Drink Coming Party
resuscitates itself from its current coma. And even then, nothing might
happen because in true troubled central African fashion, it's been decided
that forgiveness should be the order of the day.

A quick survey conducted by OTT showed that the More Drink Coming Party's
philosophy of forgiveness was deeply unpopular in the troubled central
African capital.

Everyone interviewed by OTT suggested that corrupt Zany politicians should
have their tongues (or worse) nailed to the pavement in First Street.

"It would certainly stop the minister of misinformation from talking
nonsense," said one interviewee, only rather less politely.

Another said democracy and human rights were one thing, but there was no
point in trying to demonstrate to the Zany Party how they worked. Far
better, he suggested, to take back from them all the money, diamonds, food
and fuel they'd stolen and then deport them to their beloved undemocratic
Congolese republic where they could learn what it is like to live without
laws, money, food or hospitals.

OTT thinks the Congo would be too good for them. Far better to pack them off
to Libya where the Great Colonialist and King of the Sand People knows all
about justice. He'd strap a belt of explosives around their heads and give
them a day to pay their long outstanding fuel bill.

Not that they'd be able to, of course, because all the money accrued from
dodgy petrol has been spent on S mansions in Cape Town.
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Zim Standard


Kuruneri arrest shows Zanu PF's true colours

ZANU PF's corruption trail soap opera goes on unabated and it now appears to
be on auto-cruise.

The towns, growth points and the usual meeting points - the watering holes
are abuzz with the big rumour of the Zanu PF big wig who has been escorting
chief executives of the party's companies to airports to escape the
corruption net.

The most trusted corrupt chief of the "angels" of the Pan-Africanist and
revolutionary party is still exporting the agents of corruption to the
capitals and cities of the most imperialist, racist white-supremacist
countries, the known and avowed enemies of Zimbabwe. The agents of Zanu PF
corruption are escaping in droves to the white Commonwealth. The directors
of Zanu PF companies are now in Britain and we understand that after all
they are British citizens.

Not surprising, the most trusted servants of Zanu PF , after all have never
been patriots. No patriot can loot his or her motherland, persecute the
children of his nation, kill, rape and maim their sons and daughters. These
can be the acts of some self-imposed enemies of the people.

The chief executive of Tregers, another Zanu PF company were quickly whisked
out by the same Zanu PF big wig, first to South Africa. The rumour is that
the company bought him and his family air tickets, and they are now safe in
another Commonwealth country - Australia.

As if this is not enough, Minister Kuruneri, a devout Catholic in Zanu PF is
also a citizen of one of the most detested imperialist countries, another
white Commonwealth member, that cold Canada.

Initially, I had this strange feeling that such a person would be both a
Zanu PF chief, strong defender of his fatherland's "Sendekera mwana wevhu"
slogans and yet still have the passion of investing in Cape Town, a place
where only "white South Africans; those avowed enemies of Zimbabwe live.

Chris Kuruneri's arrest reveals that this "mwana wevhu", a trusted Zanu PF
emerging big wig is not only being accused of externalising the country's
foreign currency, a law he helped to put in place, as a top government
official. He is also, like that notorious Ben Manashe, a Canadian citizen, a
situation we believe should be a taboo in the Zanu PF government.

Again like Ben Manashe he makes his money in the Zanu PF ruled country but
invests it elsewhere. We now know who the thieves and crooks who masquerade
as patriots during the day but are in fact secretly citizens of the very
countries they denounce. Anyway why should the Zimbabweans get surprised?
Where are the children of these "patriots" being educated?

Certainly not in Zimbabwe's decaying educational establishments, or in some
black Commonwealth country or SADC State or in a Border Gezi training
college. No, the children of Zanu PF big wigs study in white Commonwealth
countries, namely Britain, Canada and Australia.

Only the abused and impoverished Zimbabweans are treated to "sendekera
jingles" which they are supposed to dance, twice an hour 24 hours a day.

Back to Chris Kuruneri: will ZANU PF dig out the truth about where the money
being externalized by the accused came from? I strongly suspect that this is
yet another cover up. How can Kuruneri be tried when Zanu PF big wigs are
still assisting other top criminals to cross border posts, in order not to
incriminate the more equal than equal comrades. What is only significant
about Kuruneri's case is that it is symptomatic of the cancer Zimbabweans
have known for the past two decades.

There is hardly any honest and clean individual in that group. Their
anti-corruption spokesperson in Parliament was non other than Philip
Chiyangwa, a colleague of the 'Honourable' Minister of Finance.

While they continue tittering on selective justice, the truth is that the
few revelations that are being exposed reveal that they are all thieves
masquerading under high sounding noises of Pan Africanism and the "mwana
wevhu" façade.

This is their true colours.

Marwirei Mafuvike

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Zim Standard

Murerwa bounces back as Acting Finance Minister
By Rangarirai Mberi

FORMER Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa has been appointed acting Finance
and Economic Minister, replacing the jailed Chris Kuruneri, official sources
have said.

Finance Ministry sources said last week Murerwa, who was appointed Minister
of Higher Education in February, had been sent back by President Robert
Mugabe into the Finance Ministry on Monday.

The sources said Murerwa is going back in an acting capacity, but could be
appointed as the substantive Minister of Finance and Economic Development

"He has been in office since Monday. He was only asked verbally, there's
nothing written down at present. We have however heard that he will be
appointed substantive Minister soon," a source in the Ministry told
StandardBusiness last week.

There was no comment from Murerwa. There was also no official word on his
appointment from the government but some analysts say was meant to move
would scuttle the current spate of lobbying that started when Kuruneri was
arrested last week.

If Murerwa's return to the Ministry is made substantive, it would be the
third time inside four years that he is re-appointed to office.

In 2000, Simba Makoni replaced Murerwa as Minister, but returned to the
ministry after Makoni was sacked two years later.

Last year, Murerwa met International Monetary Fund boss Hoerst Koller in
Washington, hoping to win back aid for the country. This was despite senior
government officials, including Mugabe, saying they would sever all ties
with the IMF.

Makoni had been brought in as one of a number of "technocrats", but fell out
with Mugabe after he pushed for the devaluation of the dollar and campaigned
for wider economic reforms.

Kuruneri was arrested in the early hours of last Saturday on charges of
externalising various amounts of foreign currency to South Africa. He is
also alleged to have externalised US$1 million, 37 000 British pounds and 30
000 euros.

The charges arise from payments he allegedly made to Venture Projects and
Associates to build a seaside mansion in South Africa. The court heard on
Monday how Kuruneri had also allegedly used foreign currency to buy a luxury

Revelations that Kuruneri was found in possession of a Canadian passport
could however prove most damaging to the Minister.

State daily The Herald last week ran reports in which it quoted unidentified
lawyers calling for Kuruneri's ouster over his alleged Canadian citizenship.

"Even if he (Kuruneri) is cleared of the externalisation charges, with the
Canadian passport issue, I don't think the Minister will be back," sources

Before his arrest, though, Kuruneri had tried to allay fears that the
Ministry of Finance had become largely ineffective having surrendered its
roles to the new all powerful Reserve Bank team of Governor Gideon Gono.

Analysts however say Murerwa's return to the Ministry would be a "case of
musical chairs" and unlikely to change anything since Mugabe actually runs
the key aspects of economic planning and development and allows ministers
just to rubber stamp orders from State House.
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Zim Standard

'Chinese too dominant'
By our own Staff

ZIMBABWEAN contractors have criticised the government's procurement board
for awarding key contracts to Chinese companies ahead of local firms.

The Zimbabwe Building Contractors' Association, which represents the
country's black-owned construction companies, said contracts should be
awarded to "competent people" but the tendering process needed better

"Where people start asking questions is when a company comes up with a
higher bid but still wins the contract, or when the bid is very low but
there is no bid bond," ZBCA president George Utaumire told StandardBusiness
last week.

A bid bond binds a company to its offer and the bidder is penalised if they
adjust or withdraw their offer.

Utaumire however responded with caution to industry concern that local firms
were being crowded out by the Chinese contractors, saying the threat to
local industry was not yet cause for alarm.

"We are convinced there is a trick here. They indicate the least price on
tender bids but make up for the actual price and profit in the variations
allowed in contract agreements due to cost fluctuations," a contractor said.

Most recently, Chinese company China Giansu was awarded a tender for the
construction of Lupane Provincial Hospital.

Documents show that the company underbid the lowest offer of $106 billion by
$7,8 billion. China Giansu last year also won a deal to build the Lupane
Government Composite office block. The company's winning bid was not covered
by a bid bond.

Another Chinese company, Hualong, has been awarded a contract to supply
relocatable scanners to ZIMRA at the Beitbridge Border Post.

Hualong is also reportedly leading bids for the construction of the Chinhoyi
Magistrates' Court, after putting in a bid that was $3,6 billion lower than
the lowest bid of $21,1 billion.

Officials in the construction industry last week said they suspect the
companies could be part of a single syndicate. There was no comment from the
Procurement Board last week.

The government has also recently made tax concessions to cement maker Sino
Zimbabwe, a Zimbabwe-China joint venture, exempting the company from
non-residents' tax on fees.
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Zim Standard

Our Government discourages voluntarism
Sundaytalk with Pius Wakatama

FOR more than a year I and many of my neighbours cursed the responsible
authority for not doing something about the potholes on our main road,
Tynwald Avenue.

They were getting deeper and deeper and, this year, had become a real hazard
for motorists. In 2002 the residents wrote to the Mayor, Engineer Elias
Mudzuri pleading with him to attend to the problem.

The Mayor replied in 2003 explaining that council had problems securing
fuel. He promised that the potholes would be covered as soon as fuel was

By 2004 the potholes were now small dams in the road. Whenever a vehicle
approached, pedestrians had to jump into the grass on the verges of the road
to avoid being splashed with muddy water.

One day I noticed a gang of men covering the potholes with rubble and soil.
Finally the authorities had responded to our pleas, I thought.

Upon scrutiny, I noticed that these were personal employees of one of our
neighbours. He had taken it upon himself to repair the public road.

I just had to go to his house to thank him for his public spiritedness.

"Well," the neighbour, said. "We wrote to the council, didn't we. And, what
happened. Nothing. Someone had to do something. I just decided that I must
be that someone.''

We went on to discuss how the councillor we elected in 2002 had not even
bothered to visit our community to find out about our needs and aspirations.
Both of us couldn't even recall his name immediately.

I didn't vote for the man because I knew him. I voted for him because he
came in the name of a political party which I believe is on the side of
God's truth. I just hope the MDC will not put him up as a candidate again in
the next election because he will surely lose.

We then talked about how the broken sewerage pipe next to Tynwald Avenue
which has been discharging raw sewerage into a nearby stream for almost a
year now. The stench is terrible. You have to hold your nose or put a
handkerchief to it when passing the place.

The now polluted stream runs into the Marimba River, near Kambuzuma, which
in turn feeds Lake Chivero which supplies drinking water to Harare. People
also boat, swim and fish there. I hope this contribution will move someone
in the city council to do something about this health hazard despite all the
problems they are having with the Minister of Local Government, Public Works
and National Housing, Ignatious Chombo.

The voluntary action by my neighbour made me to dwell on voluntarism in
Zimbabwe in general.

Voluntarism refers to actions or services willingly performed by people
without external persuasion or compulsion and without reward. Some people do
voluntary work because of religious conviction and fervour. Others do it out
of sheer human public spiritedness and a deep desire to help others.

Such people either work alone or organise themselves into voluntary
organisations known as non-governmental organisations (NGO).

The focus of NGOs is mainly on welfare activities targeting the disabled,
the orphaned, the old-aged, as well as development projects in rural areas
and relief interventions. They also include culture, human rights and
information in their work.

For any democratic country to develop steadily there must be two systems for
handling public problems.

One is government which forces people to pay taxes for its work. If one
refuses to pay he or she is arrested and put in jail.

The other is voluntarism which appeals to the good in people and persuades
them to work or to pay for worthy humanitarian causes. Some of them like the
Boy Scouts, YCMA, YWCA, World Vision, Rotary, Christian Care and many others
have become international and are doing much good worldwide. Some are right
now feeding thousands of our own starving people.

My conclusion is that our government has all but killed the spirit of
voluntarism. Voluntarism promotes self-help and self-development through
various projects. Our government promises to do everything for people. Our
vote-seeking politicians promise a utopia which they can never deliver even
if they wanted to. They just don't have the resources.

Our government is broke because it tries to do things which people should be
doing for themselves. It, therefore, over- taxes people who in turn resist.
Most tax-payers spend a lot of time figuring out how they can pay as little
tax as possible. They don't believe that government is capable of using
their money wisely especially when given the amount of corruption among
government leaders today.

On the other hand a volunteer will go without certain pleasures in order to
save money to help "the poor starving people in Gutu''. He or she will
bequeath a whole fortune to a voluntary organisation which is trusted to
further the charities close to his or her heart.

Instead of promoting and encouraging voluntarism, our government has created
a culture of dependency and begging.

It did this by handing out prime land to people who either had no
inclination, knowledge or resources to farm successfully. I laugh each time
a newly resettled farmer is interviewed on television. They all end by
saying, "Dai hurumende ikatipawo chakati nechakati" (If only the government
will give us this and that).

The problem with totalitarian governments like ours is that they want to
control everything. They are jealous of anyone or any organisation which may
seem to be gaining influence among the people. They feel threatened because
they are afraid of having their absolute power challenged.

Hence any public spirited individual who tries to organise his neighbours to
help themselves is held in suspicion. He or she is discouraged by threats or
even force if he or she does not work through the ruling party's structures.
And, woe betide you if you belong to the opposition MDC. You are not even
allowed to organise a football match.

The army and police will descend upon you in full force because our
totalitarian government is suspicious and afraid of NGOs, which it cannot
control; it keeps a hawk's eye on them. It, in fact, tried to take-over the
distribution of food sourced by the NGO's but they gallantly resisted.

That food would have been handed out in exchange for political support. That
is, the little that would have been left after the rest would have been
stolen by corrupt officials.

Earlier I said for a country to steadily develop, government and
voluntarism, also known as civic society, need to join hands. In our case I
have concluded that most issues of development are better left to the
citizenry. Governments role should as much as possible, be that of providing
for their physical safety.

Our ''public servants'' whether elected or unelected, have proved to be
corrupt charlatans. The whole lot of them need to go.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
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Time to declare, Mr Straw

The Foreign Secretary should show some political guts and call off our
cricket tour to Zimbabwe

Mary Riddell
Sunday May 2, 2004
The Observer

Cricket is for blokes. Women, unless addicted to laundering grass-stained
flannels, tend not to like it much. My colleague, Clare Balding, has
suggested that only men have time to park themselves in front of the
television for hours, computing runs and maiden overs, but the culture of
misogyny goes wider.
Rachel Heyhoe Flint, the only female cricketer of whom anyone has heard, has
just become the first woman in 217 years to be elected to the general
committee of Marylebone Cricket Club. Like coarse fishing, lap-dancing,
plasma screens and urban variants of the Humvee armoured personnel carrier,
cricket is a male fantasy, in which any female observer gets to loiter on
damp sidelines or, more usefully, to turn out salmon and cucumber sandwiches
like a one-woman Pret A Manger.

Cricket's testosteronic nature has left it steeped in sentiment and
politics. Norman Tebbit's cricket test was supposed to set the boundaries of
national fealty, and John Major, in an echo of Baldwin, defined a future
Britain as 'the country of long shadows on county grounds'. Even the Butley
flower show match, Siegfried Sassoon's idyll of village green heroics, has a
Westminster edge. Sassoon's pro-Tory Aunt Evelyn, on her way to judge the
vegetables and sweet peas, says she 'can't understand what that miserable
Campbell-Bannerman is up to; but thank heavens the Radicals will never get
in again'.

And here we are, seven years into a Labour government and in the throes of
potentially the worst cricket crisis ever. Suddenly, the sport is on the
agenda of all men and women who care for human rights. At the heart of the
row is the Zimbabwe national team, ruled by Robert Mugabe and full of young
players hardly up to Butley flower show standards, let alone fit to face the
crack squads of the world. Unless the Zimbabwe Cricket Union agrees to
arbitration by Tuesday, the banished captain, Heath Streak, and his 14 rebel
colleagues who objected to political interference will continue to stay

On Friday, a Sky TV crew was reportedly thrown out of Zimbabwe, in the
latest ban on British media. On a recent visit, international lawyers urged
that Mugabe be brought to trial for state-sponsored torture, murder and
rape. According to Stephen Irwin, head of the Bar Council and a member of
the delegation, many senior judges are being granted farms under the land
resettlement scheme. The justice system has 'been very severely
compromised,' he says, which is legalese for devastated.

Land seizures have reduced 7.7 million people, or nearly two-thirds of the
population, to near-starvation, and opposition politicians are having their
houses burned, their cars stoned and their relatives abducted or killed in
advance of next year's parliamentary election.

England, meanwhile, is off to play cricket there. The International Cricket
Council (ICC) demands that the English Cricket Board (ECB) meets its
obligations. If not, then it could impose a £1.4m fine, plus a year's ban,
which would cost £50m in lost revenue and bankrupt the national game. The
ECB writhes, unable to find a way out of its folly in signing up to this
fiasco. Des Wilson, the former Liberal Democrat president trying to find a
'moral' way out of the mess, resigns.

The players cannot be expected to carry the weight of their administrators'
failure and refuse, en bloc, to go. That leaves Jack Straw, the Foreign
Secretary, to confront the ancient question of how much politics meddles in
sport. Not nearly enough, some might think. The swastikas waved at White
Hart Lane during the Germany-England game of 1935 and Hitler's conversion of
the Olympics into a Nazi rally were hardly high spots of national glory.
Conversely, the cricketing boycott of South Africa illuminated the evil of
apartheid. Obviously, some politicians get it wrong. In advising Olympians
to stay away from Moscow in 1980, Margaret Thatcher was using sportsmen and
women as political stormtroops. But whereas trade sanctions generally hit
poor people worst, sporting ones can, at the least, be a gesture of disgust
on behalf of the oppressed.

Zimbabwe is, at one level, a no-brainer, since no one, bar the ICC, wants
the tour to go ahead. The trouble is that Mr Straw has, up to now, explained
his wish for our cricketers to stay away in the manner of someone expressing
a preference for a pink wafer biscuit rather than a chocolate Hobnob. The
English board needs something stronger. Only a clear refusal will be count
as the force majeure needed to get it off the hook with the international

Late last week, Mr Straw began to stir. Conscious that the buck now stops
with him, he let it be known that he cannot forbid the tour because our law,
unlike that of other cricketing nations, does not allow it. He's right. The
common law, with its blessing on free movement, is different from civil
versions and would have to be controversially, and probably dangerously,
amended. Nor, Mr Straw says, must the taxpayer be liable for any bills
incurred in a cancellation. That, in his mistaken view, lets him off the

In private, his reasoning might go like this. Destabilising Mugabe would
best be done by Thabo Mbeki, but that will not happen while many in the ANC
still admire Mugabe as a black liberation leader. For the Government to
weigh in might be pointless or counterproductive. That is the icy diplomat's
logic. If it is also Mr Straw's, then it shames him. This government has
pronounced on sport before. It has also proved itself willing to act
decisively, not to say recklessly, in the face of brutal regimes. Surely
those determined to attack Iraq, no matter how devastating the price, could
dignify the dead and dispossessed of Zimbabwe with a cancelled cricket tour.

Stephen Irwin, just back from Harare and speaking personally rather than on
the Bar's behalf, told me that, in his view, the meltdown in Zimbabwe is now
so grave that the tour is indefensible. 'The Government should do everything
it can to prevent it going ahead,' he said. Mr Straw should tell himself the
moment has come for the West to act. Sometimes the sporting wing of a
democracy can shape the way in which nations change, and sometimes it has no
option but to try.

When Mugabe dabbles in every stratum of his national cricket team, short of
applying blanco to the pads, the last bulwark is shattered. Sport is
politics, and politicians who deny their responsibilities will look like

Mr Straw should talk up a parliamentary debate. He, or Tony Blair, must
declare that the Government deplores this tour and would be disgusted if our
players took part. He should say that, but, for the confines of the law, he
would issue an outright ban. Toughness is the best hope of sparing the sport
a ruinous financial penalty.

But if there is a bill, Mr Straw will have to pay it. Taxpayers may not be
delighted, but doing the right thing in an age of aggression can seem a
comparative bargain. At least cricket wars come cheaper than the real thing.

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May 1, 2004 5:45 PM

Zimbabwe unions threaten protests

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's main labour body has called for a series of
anti-government protests to push for higher wages, tax cuts,
union rights and better management of the economy.

Zimbabwe is struggling with a severe economic crisis, which critics largely
blame on President Robert Mugabe's policies, with one of the
highest inflation rates in the world and widespread unemployment.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president Lovemore Matombo said the
opposition-allied labour movement would organise
street demonstrations to protest low wages for workers hit by an inflation
rate of more than 580 percent and a crumbling public health system.

"We are going to organise more protests this year. We will be calling you to
demonstrations soon, in the coming weeks and days," he told
a May Day rally in Harare on Saturday.

Matombo said the ZCTU had an obligation to fight for worker rights, but said
many Zimbabweans appear to be cowed by Mugabe's
government which routinely arrests union leaders and deploys police to crash
anti-government protests.

The ZCTU, which backs the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change,
has failed to lead any significant protests in the past year
in the face of massive deployments of security forces.

"I know you don't want to hear this...but the truth is that many of you are
overwhelmed by fear," Matombo told the rally attended by 5,000

Mugabe's critics say the economy, once the breadbasket of the region, has
been severely damaged by his seizures of white-owned farms
for redistribution to landless blacks.

Mugabe denies mismanaging the economy and says it is a victim of sabotage by
domestic and foreign opponents angry over his land
reforms, which he says are meant to empower Zimbabwe's poor black majority
and to correct colonial injustices.

On Saturday, Matombo accused Mugabe -- in power since independence from
Britain in 1980 -- of grossly mismanaging the economy,
"brutalising" his political opponents and of selectively applying the law
against his foes.

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