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

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From: Trudy Stevenson
Sent: Monday, May 30, 2005 5:56 AM
Subject: Court challenge to house destruction and evictions from Hatcliffe
Extension - and more destruction.

Hatcliffe Extension residents, through Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights,
will be lodging an application in the High Court tomorrow Monday to permit
them to remain on their stands and re-construct their dwellings, and
reserving the right to sue for compensation.

Contact Otto Saki on 091 257 247 or Irene Petras on 011 619 747 for more

Note also that the police went to the Holding Camp at Hatcliffe Extension
today and forced all residents there at gunpoint to destroy their houses and
leave.  This was despite an assurance from the officer in charge on Friday
morning that Holding Camp would not be affected!  Another 300 - 400 houses
destroyed, and another 2000+ people now homeless and sleeping in the open,
in Harare North!  The fate of the clinic and government school is not
certain, police did not know this evening if they would destroy them or not.
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From The Sunday Independent (SA), 29 May

Justice does flip-flop in jailed MP's appeal

By Basildon Peta

There was drama in Zimbabwe's supreme court this week when the country's
most persecuted opposition parliamentarian, Roy Bennett, almost won his
freedom in court only to lose it two hours later when state lawyers did a
lunchbreak flip-flop. Bennett's tantalising brush with freedom came on
Thursday morning when top South African advocate Jeremy Gauntlett forcefully
argued before a five-member supreme court bench, sitting as a constitutional
court, that parliament had wholly abused its powers by jailing Bennett for
12 months with hard labour last year for shoving Patrick Chinamasa, the
justice minister, in the assembly during a heated debate. Bennett lost his
temper when Chinamasa accused his ancestors of being "thieves" and
"murderers". The sentence was not only disproportionate, it was determined
by a partisan parliamentary committee dominated by members of the ruling
Zanu PF who could not have afforded Bennett a fair hearing, Gauntlett
argued. Despite being the complainant in the matter, Zanu PF had assumed the
roles of "charging, investigating, convicting and sentencing" Bennett. This
was not only against the rules of natural justice but "transcended the
realms of the absurd", Gauntlett said, adding that the punishment was
inhumane and degrading. Gauntlett argued that the court should agree that
Bennett's sentence had been excessive and, as he had already been in prison
since October, he should be released. The other issues could be determined
later. Bennett's stay in prison then almost came to an end when state lawyer
Rumbidzai Gatsi, from the attorney-general's office, agreed with Gauntlett
that Bennett's sentence had been excessive. Chief Justice Godfrey
Chidyausiku then adjourned the court for a lunchbreak.

After lunch Gatsi did her flip-flop. "I have been instructed to withdraw my
earlier concession," she said. "I would like to submit that the sentence
that was passed was appropriate. The assault was on a government minister
who was also the head of his party in parliament." Chidyausiku quizzed Gatsi
about who had asked her to change her mind and she said it was the director
of the civil division in the attorney-general's office, Loyce Matanda-Moyo.
Gauntlett objected, saying that the concession had been made "by a trained
[legal] mind who is the legal officer of the state and should therefore be
upheld". But Chidyausiku accepted the withdrawal, so Bennett must remain in
jail while the merits of the case are heard. The flip-flop was a hard blow
to Bennett's family and friends, who are growing increasingly anxious about
his health. He is a shadow of his former stocky self; bearded, dishevelled
and half his former weight. His lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, said Bennett's
inhumane treatment was getting worse now that he had been moved into
Harare's Chikurubi Maximum Prison from a rural prison in Mutoko, 200km east
of Harare. "They won't allow him access to a doctor to check his poor
health. It's not good at all considering that conditions at Chikurubi are
far worse than at any other jail in Zimbabwe," Mtetwa said in an interview.
The court hearing has now been completed and so Bennett's lawyers and family
are waiting to see whether Chidyausiku reaches his own verdict on the merits
of the case before Bennett has served out his term. The sentence officially
expires in October, although he could be released in July for good

From The Zimbabwe Standard, 29 May

CIO agent shoots self

By our own staff

A senior Central Intelligence Organisation officer who shot himself to death
in Harare more than a fortnight ago might have been implicated in the
on-going spy saga that has sucked in some prominent Zimbabweans including
diplomats and ruling Zanu PF officials, The Standard has learnt.
Investigations by this newspaper have revealed that Elisha Muyemeki, a
senior CIO officer, who shot himself at his home in Mandara, Harare, two
weeks ago, was being investigated over possible links with a South African
spymaster being interrogated by Zimbabwean authorities. Muyemeki is believed
to have shot himself with his service revolver, at his home, after he had
been left alone on the premises. Zimbabwe was in December rocked by
allegations that a senior South African spymaster had successfully recruited
top government and Zanu PF officials to spy for Pretoria. Sources in local
intelligence services last week said Muyemeki, who was under surveillance,
was recently demoted from his post for making what they said was "an
elementary mistake" of not informing his CIO seniors that he had been
approached by the South Africans to spy for them. "He made an elementary
mistake of not informing his seniors when he was approached by the spies and
for that reason he had been going through a very tough time. I think he
noticed that there were some possible leads that would lead to his
incrimination," said one source. A family member last week confirmed that
Muyemeki had shot himself but could not give any more details. "He just shot
himself," said the family member, adding that she could not give out any
further details.

The Minister of State Security Didymus Mutasa declined to comment on the
incident, referring all questions to the police and Muyemeki's family. "Go
and ask those questions to the police and they will tell you what happened.
You can also go and ask the family members they are better positioned to
comment," Mutasa said before switching off his mobile phone. Police
spokesperson Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka said he was very busy and could
not give a comment. "I am very busy today with the operation (Operation
Restore Order) and it's very difficult for me to get information. Try next
week," Mandipaka said. Long-serving Zimbabwe diplomat Godfrey Dzvairo was
early this year sentenced to six years in jail, while Tendai Matambanadzo, a
banker, and Itai Marchi, a Zanu-PF director, were each sentenced to five
years, after they were convicted of breaching the Official Secrets Act. The
sentence came after the CIO trapped a senior South African intelligence
officer at Victoria Falls in December. The South African is suspected of
running a spy ring in Zimbabwe that involved the likes of Dzvairo,
Matambanadzo, Marchi and others. Sources said the spymaster might have
implicated Muyemeki - a former journalist in then Ministry of Information,
Posts and Telecommunications - after intense interrogation by Zimbabwean
authorities. Dzvairo, Marchi and Matambanadzo had pleaded guilty to the
charges at their first court appearance on 24 December, but later sought
unsuccessfully to change their pleas on the grounds that their confessions
had been extracted under duress. The trial of another suspect, Kenny
Karidza, is still before the courts.
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28th May 2005
Sharon Pincott, author of the book titled "In An Elephant's Rumble", is a primarily self-funded volunteer in her 5th year, working with 'The Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe' on the Hwange Estate, bordering Hwange National Park.
These two short stories, and accompanying photographs, just came in from Sharon, highlighting the terrible snaring problems currently being faced on the Hwange Estate.
If you would like to assist Sharon's ongoing efforts you can make a donation through the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, and we will be sure to pass them on to her.  Donations would be used for vehicle maintenance which I understand to be currently needed, and would also be put towards fuel costs.  If sufficient donations are received, additional veterinary drugs and antibiotics could also be purchased.
Please help if you can.
Johnny Rodrigues
Chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
Phone       263 4 336710
Fax           263 4 339065
Mobile       263 11 603 213

Like a Yoyo

20 May 2005

by Sharon Pincott

So many ‘ups’ and ‘downs,’ I feel like a yoyo - with a weakening string.

Further family groups have appeared. This time at Kanondo. A four-year-old elephant with a not yet too tight neck snare. Another three elephants with partially severed trunks. An innocent little three-year-old with the most horrific leg snare.

I am sickened and disheartened.

The next day, I wait at Kanondo, hoping that the ‘P’ family, with mother "Priscilla" and little "Plucka" with the horrific leg snare, will arrive once again. The day before, little "Plucka", thin and thirsty, could put no weight on her foot, her lower leg hideously gashed and raw, repugnantly swollen from the tight wire - but it was too late in the day to dart.

And arrive again the ‘P’ family did - without "Priscilla" and "Plucka". I stayed on for hours afterwards. I kept hearing new hopeful rustles, and looked longingly into the bush. But they never appeared. Somewhere there had been a few drops of ill-timed rain. There was a rainbow in the sky. A three-quarter moon already risen. The sinking sun had turned to purple the heavy cloud in the western sky. I just could not imagine "Plucka" already dead. After sighting her snared for the first time just yesterday, that would be too cruel. But where were they? The family had stayed around the Kanondo area for the past 24 hours. The tuskless adult, "Precious", who was always close by "Priscilla", was there. Something was very wrong that "Priscilla" and "Plucka" did not arrive to drink with the others.

Tomorrow I will try again, praying for no vultures.

"Pooky" had been there, with mother "Paula", to lift my spirit just a little. Three years ago "Pooky", then a young baby of only a few months old, suffered a dreadful head snare. "A wire wrapped tight under a chin, up to the ear, culminating in a disgusting bow of wire on top of the head," I wrote at the time. Mercifully, that snare somehow managed to break off without our intervention, no doubt with assistance from "Paula". Today "Pooky", now a young lady with small tusks, has only a badly scared left ear in memory of the merciless ordeal that she endured, at the hands of some despicable person unknown. She is one of the ‘lucky’ ones.

The ‘W’ family appeared too. "Whole" is beginning to look somewhat better, seemingly recovering - finally - from her three-year-old son, "Wholesome’s", death from a strangling neck snare last August. She would likely have been pregnant at the time of his snaring, but now with sagging, empty breasts, she is clearly no longer so. She lost her son, probably an unborn baby - and she lost her mother. "Wendy", I must now concede, is dead. She, too, had looked so unwell at the time of her grandson’s cruel death. She has not been sighted since September of last year. I kept hoping and hoping. But I can hope no more.


Losing Hope

25 May 2005

by Sharon Pincott

I tried again the next day, sitting alone at Kanondo waiting, hoping for injured "Plucka" to appear. It was too difficult to write, or read, or do anything other than wait. And the wait was long. At 4.40pm "Priscilla" appeared - without "Plucka". This was too much. Overcome by emotion, I watched "Priscilla" drink. She should not be without her youngest calf, and I imagined the worst. But at 4.50pm "Plucka", having difficulty walking now, appeared at the tree line. The wound was truly horrific. Without hesitation, I drove back to the Safari Lodge with reckless speed, to ring the darter. By then it was 5.00pm, the darter deciding that it was too late for him to get to Kanondo, prepare the darts required for mother and calf, and carry out the operation. It was, these days, getting quite dark by 6.00pm, and I cursed the onset of Winter with it’s shortened days.

I returned to Kanondo in the sunset, disappointed and dejected, but hopeful in the knowledge that the darter and rifle support had agreed to wait with me in the field the following day from 3.30pm. This was the only way to avoid delays in getting to any snared animal. I drove amongst the ‘P’ family, little "Plucka" standing beside her mother with her foot raised. Not one of the very habituated ‘Presidential Elephants,’ I wanted them to become more accustomed to my voice and my vehicle.

The next afternoon we waited as a team: myself and my vehicle, the darter, rifle support and a necessary second vehicle, ready to carry out the operation. Incessantly, I watched the sun lowering itself in the western sky. We could hear rustles in the bush. "What time is it?" I asked. "5 o’clock." Hours seemed to pass. "What time is it?" "5 past 5." More hours seemed to pass. "What time is it?" … "It’s three minutes after you last asked," he answered, smiling sympathetically at me.  … I got the message. The first of the ‘P’ family appeared at 5.20pm. If only little "Plucka" had appeared then, we were determined to try in the failing light. But there was no sign of her or her mother, although I felt sure they must still be around.

The following afternoon we all waited once again. The ‘W’ family appeared in the late afternoon, and in an attempt to add a little relief to our anxious wait, I took the darter to meet "Whole". This was an ex-National Parks employee, with many, many years of bush and elephant experience. He had shot many an elephant. It was he who I had rung for darting assistance just before "Wholesome" had died before my eyes. We approached within a few metres of "Whole", who reacted initially with a little concern at the sight and smell of this strange person in my vehicle. But I crooned to her, calling her by name. She approached the passenger side window to within half a metre. The darter froze, and looked at her only out of the corner of his eyes. "It’s toooo close," he whispered to me. I put my hand on his arm in reassurance, leaving it there whilst I continued to croon: "Hey Whole. Good girl Whole. Hey my girl" … The darter relaxed now and looked into "Whole’s" eyes. He was clearly awestruck. When eventually we pulled away from "Whole", his first words to me were: "Could I bring my family one day?" … This is what it is all about. These extraordinary ‘Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe.’ "Those pupils! We looked each other straight in the eye. Imagine!," he continued, still clearly spellbound. He would not forget in a hurry his encounter with "Whole", the first wild elephant he had observed at such close quarters.

The excitement subsided when the first of the ‘P’ family appeared. "What time is it?"… How I hated the answers to these questions. It was 5.30pm. It was too late again. We needed at least 45 minutes of daylight, and even by dark "Plucka" and her mother had not appeared from the bush. Were they merely moving slowly, impaired by the injury, well behind the other family members? Or had the family group split? Was "Plucka" still alive? It was unusual to sight the same family at the same pan for five days in a row, which was now the case. But then it was not unusual for elephants to restrict their wanderings when there was an injured family member. Nor was it unusual for a family to stay by a dead family member for several days before moving off. I simply did not know what to think.

Determined now to keep trying, we returned again the next day. But the same scenario repeated itself yet again. This time though, after yet another tragic sighting - a little two-year-old in the ‘F’ family with no trunk left to speak of, appallingly left behind in a snare - I waited alone with a spotlight after dark, to see if "Plucka" came to drink. The southern cross was already high in the sky when the full fiery moon rose to the right of a big old acacia tree. I wished that I could appreciate the beauty a little more, but my heart was heavy. The skittish buffalo which had arrived in the late afternoon finally drank at the pan. I could not see any wires, although I knew that six snared buffalo had previously been sighted, but in which herds, I could not know. Unlike the elephants, I did not know the buffalo herds well enough to distinguish between them. Eventually, previously snared "Pooky" with her torn left ear, arrived with her mother well after dark, as did other ‘P’ family members. By 8pm, my spotlight fading and me freezing in the cold night air, the members of the ‘P’ family who had arrived earlier were now out of sight. Perhaps other ‘P’s would still appear, but I decided dejectedly to go home. Although the moon was shedding light, it was now difficult to distinguish ear patterns, and therefore to make positive identifications. There was still no sign of "Plucka" or her mother, but the ‘P’ family were definitely still in the same area. At least some of them were.

The same thing happened on Day 7 when I waited alone at Kanondo once again, driving intermittently to close by watering areas and up and down nearby roads.

And now I am losing hope … but will not give up.

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South Bend Tribune

May 29, 2005

      City services are on the verge of collapse in Zimbabwe

      Institute for War & Peace Reporting

      HARARE, Zimbabwe -- In Tafara, one of Harare's working-class suburbs,
Cynthia Mutepfa wakes before dawn each day and walks a mile to fetch water
from a makeshift well alongside one of the capital city's heavily polluted

      Mutepfa, 22, with the 20-liter plastic container on her head, has to
walk gingerly to avoid stepping in the raw sewage from a burst sewer pipe
that has flooded her yard.

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

      Like the majority of Tafara's 100,000 residents, Mutepfa has resorted
to drinking water from streams contaminated by sewage and other pollutants.
She last had tap water a month ago.

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

      Mutepfa's story has become typical of that of Harare residents as
water, electricity, garbage collection and other basic services have begun
to collapse.

      Uncollected rubbish is even piling up in the central business
district. Side streets reek of rotting garbage.

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

      Most city roads are riddled with potholes so big that they could
swallow small cars, while other roads have been left impassable by the huge
holes dug by the council in its bid to repair the continuously bursting
water pipes.

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

      Angus Martens, a member of the residents' association in the
relatively affluent suburb of Arcadia, said that businesses and residents
alike had turned the small Mukuvisi River into a dumping ground.

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

      Schools are turning pupils away because there is no drinking water or
water to flush toilets. So desperate is the situation that a liter of
imported water is more expensive than a liter of heavily subsidized

      As the water crisis worsens, some of the emergency wells private
individuals had dug are beginning to dry up because the water table is

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

      The collapse of services in the capital and its suburbs coincided with
the national government's decision to take control of Harare after voters
elected a member of the opposition as mayor. Since then, municipal workers
and those controlled by President Robert Mugabe have constantly clashed,
leading to the steady deterioration of essential services.

      The situation is even worse in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city, which
also has an opposition party member as mayor. The ruling ZANU PF party has
refused him and his city council all borrowing powers, making it virtually
impossible to maintain minimal services.

      Few people see an end to what is now multiple crises resulting from
collapsed industries, non-functioning infrastructure and international
isolation and sanctions.

      The situation has led many residents to despair.

      "We won't live," said Constance Goredema, 36, carrying her 9-month-old
baby on her back. "We won't see next year. We are going to die," the Harare
resident said.

      Dzikamai Chidyausiku is a journalist in Zimbabwe who writes for the
Institute for War & Peace Reporting, Lancaster House, 33 Islington High
Street, London N1 9LH, UK; Web site:

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Zim police set to raze more shacks
          May 28 2005 at 02:20PM

      The Zimbabwean government has deployed 3 000 paramilitary police as it
begins an operation to demolish illegal settlements around Harare, state
television reported.

      On Thursday the television news showed a parade of hundreds of
officers in full riot gear preparing to be deployed to demolish 25 illegal
settlements in and around the capital.

      Footage showed a bulldozer demolishing a house in one illegal housing
settlement - Nyadzonia Housing Co-operative - whose owner "chose to ignore
the warnings", the report said.

      A police officer, who was interviewed, urged people living in illegal
settlements to pack up and leave before police demolition squads arrived.

      "We would encourage everybody to pack their own property, their
clothing, their furniture before the police arrive," he said.

      It is the latest in a campaign dubbed Operation Restore Order, which
was launched last week to crackdown on illegal activities in the country.

      So far, 17 000 people have been arrested countrywide.

      Those arrested have been fined or taken to court for offences that
include illegally dealing in foreign currency, hoarding of basic commodities
and selling scarce goods on the black market.

      On Thursday, police also announced they were beefing up police
officers in each of Harare's suburbs that have seen violent clashes between
police and traders furious over the destruction of their market stalls.

      Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) lawmaker Trudy
Stevenson said three truckloads of riot police had arrived in part of her
constituency in Harare North yesterday evening and started to demolish
houses in the informal settlement of Hatcliffe Extension.

      "They - the police - are just razing everything," she said. "They're
telling people to move off."

      She said there were 10 000 to 12 000 people living in the informal

      "That's a lot of people without shelter," she said.

      It was not immediately clear how many people risked being made
homeless by the imminent destruction of illegal housing.

      Official statistics put Harare's population at 1.8 million, but the
Combined Harare Residents Association said the figure is much higher.

      Those residents who lose houses and have nowhere to go will be taken
to a holding farm outside Harare, the television report said. - Sapa-dpa

          .. This article was originally published on page 4 of Cape Argus
on May 28, 2005

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MDC: Mobilise against Mugabe
29/05/2005 21:00  - (SA)

Harare - Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change on Sunday
urged Zimbabweans to "mobilise" against President Robert Mugabe's government
as a clean-up campaign continued across the country.

For a week and a half police have gone on a spree, demolishing and
flattening tens of thousands of illegally-built houses and market stalls in
urban and semi-urban areas and torching some of the properties.

The move sparked mini riots in two of Harare's working class areas last
week, but these were quelled by heavily armed security forces.

The country appeared calm at the weekend as police pressed ahead with the
controversial exercise.

"We call upon all Zimbabweans to mobilise against this assault on their
dignity, livelihoods and well-being," said the MDC in a statement.

Zimbabwe's informal sector has absorbed the majority of the country's
jobless in an ailing economy with an unemployment rate of over 70%.

The party said the people who have lost their property in the ongoing blitz
were "victims and yet are now being punished for trying to feed their
families and for being suspected of having voted for the MDC".

Without giving details, the MDC said it would "employ appropriate measures
to redress this tragedy" in addition to mounting legal campaigns.

Mugabe said he endorsed the exercise which has left over 17 000 people
arrested and hundreds of thousands homeless.

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Sunday Mirror, Zimbabwe

State wants fugitive bankers back
Kuda Chikwanda Chief Writer

GOVERNMENT is prepared to take back the six fugitive bankers who fled the
country in 2003 at the height of the banking sector crisis, to assist in
Zimbabwe's economic turnaround programme - but only if they confess to being
guilty of the crimes they are being accused of.

The six bankers are National Merchant Bank of Zimbabwe directors, Julius
Makoni, Otto Chekeche, James Mushore and Francis Zimuto; former Intermarket
founder and chief executive Nicholas Vingirai and Barbican boss Mthuli

According to Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick
Chinamasa, the six were free to forward proposals to government on
conditions attached to their return, but only if they first confessed to
being guilty of externalising foreign currency.

"If they want any amnesty, they should come forward with specific proposals
that detail the conditions they want and we can see if government will agree
to such proposals. However, they should be prepared to confess to their
crimes," said Chinamasa.

Lawyer, Johannes Tomana, said it was possible for the six to be granted
amnesty before the matter even went to trial.

"You don't have to be charged to be granted amnesty. Let's face it, these
guys face the possibility of being charged and put in jail. From that point,
it is of benefit they get amnesty. They are in a sticky situation, and
getting an amnesty at this point in time will mean they won't be charged,"
said Tomana.

Reliable sources say the desire by government to have the six fugitive
bankers back in the country and assisting in the economic turnaround
programme, is driven mainly by the realisation that the embattled bankers
know of all complex avenues used in externalising foreign currency.

"If those guys did indeed externalise foreign currency, they will be able to
track the trails of complex externalisation transactions and help the RBZ
retain foreign currency that would otherwise have found its way outside
Zimbabwe's borders," said one source.

Zimbabwe is currently suffering from a debilitating foreign currency crunch
that has seen the importation of basics such as fuel come to a standstill,
while most industries have since downsized operations to a large scale owing
to failures to access the much required external liquidity.

While Chinamasa said the matter was yet to be discussed in government, his
sentiments echoed statements made by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)
governor, Gideon Gono, who made veiled pleas during the presentation of the
2005 Post-Election and Drought Mitigating Monetary Policy.

Gono revealed that he had personally asked the individual bankers to come
back to Zimbabwe, but added that the fugitive bankers had attached
conditions to their return.

Top on the list of conditions was the repealing of the 21-day detention
provision under the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) (Amendments of
the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act), and a guaranteed amnesty that will
ensure they will not be prosecuted for all the economic crimes they are
alleged to have committed.

The Act which was promulgated at the start of 2004 and is the government's
chief instrument in its anti-corruption drive, provides that anyone arrested
on charges of externalising foreign currency may be detained for an
effective one month without bail.

Besides being described as a serious abrogation of human rights, the Act is
viewed as the major reason for the self-imposed exile of the financial
institution bosses.

"My simple response has been that the Governor is neither the Commissioner
of Police nor the Attorney General, but depending on each case, the Attorney
General and the Commissioner may, in their wisdom, decide to proceed by way
of summons instead of custody, but these are not matters for the Governor to
deal with," said Gono.

Speculation is rife that the six are avoiding any return to Zimbabwe as they
fear being imprisoned under the law for periods equal to or longer than
embattled ex-minister of Finance and Economic Development, Chris Kuruneri.
He has been languishing in prison for the past 13 months awaiting trial on
charges of externalising foreign currency.

Kuruneri was repeatedly denied bail since his arrest in April 2004 as the
State said that it was yet to gather concrete evidence.

The latest developments have also been interpreted by certain economists as
a move by government to harness the "intellectual power" of the fugitive
bankers in assisting in the country's economic turnaround programme. .

Moses Chundu, an economist, said the six fugitive bankers had the expertise,
which could be valuable to the country.

"Everyone wants the calibre of bankers that went. They may have had dirty
hands, but they certainly had the expertise to run business. In the economic
scope, it makes perfect economic sense for government to be after such
business intellectuals," said Chundu.

One prominent economist who declined to be named said the return of the
fugitive bankers would mean the return of externalised funds and a return of
confidence in the banking sector.

"If they have externalised funds, then when they return and work out an
agreement with government, those funds will return. This will go a long way
in helping the shortages of foreign currency in the country as these guys
are believed to have externalised substantial amounts of money," said the

While MDC spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi accepted the need for skilled
individuals in the mould of Makoni, Mushore, Chekeche, Zimuto, Vingirai and
Ncube; he took a swipe at the law that the six want repealed.

Said Nyathi: "It is an indictment on the judiciary that people considered
innocent run away from Zimbabwe before due process. They don't trust the
judiciary system enough to guarantee them protection from imprisonment
before being proven guilty." This is not the first time that calls have been
made for the return of the fugitive bankers.

Last year the Sunday Mirror carried a story in which certain Zanu PF Members
of Parliament (MPs) begged President Robert Mugabe to pardon the financial
executives who had fled the country, including the six fugitive bankers.

Amidst calls for investigations against the embattled financial executives
to stop, the MPs argued that the fugitives would not only repatriate
externalised funds, but would be instrumental in the revival of Zimbabwe's
crisis-ridden economy as they were considered "intelligent" individuals.

President Mugabe, however, remained steadfast in his stance of refusing to
pardon the executives on the run.

Zanu PF chief whip Joram Gumbo confirmed, at the time, pleas made by Zanu PF
MPs to the President, and defended the fingered executives. He said they had
dealt on the foreign currency market with hopes of enhancing Zimbabwean
business operations, which by inference meant an enhancement of the
Zimbabwean economy.

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      Power struggle rocks MDC

      Njabulo Ncube
      5/27/2005 8:48:11 AM (GMT +2)

      MOVEMENT for Democratic Change (MDC) president Morgan Tsvangirai this
week moved to assert control over his feuding party, after violent clashes
at the main opposition party's headquarters last week exposed a simmering
power struggle within the national executive.

      Tsvangirai dismissed 14 youth leaders from the party's Harare province
accused of assaulting MDC officials and attempting to seize vehicles
allocated to Welshman Ncube, the party's secretary-general, believed to be
in a power tussle with senior politicians coveting his post.
      The MDC leader yesterday denied there was internecine strife brewing
within his party's ranks.
      "I am in my office, there is no chaos," said Tsvangirai. "There was an
incident when we were away (in Mauritius) involving some of our youths. We
are dealing with it and hence some have been fired. The party does not
subscribe to chaos, it's not our culture so we can't allow such incidents to
      Tsvangirai said he was not aware of political machinations to oust
some members of his executive, saying that was ZANU PF's wishful thinking.
      "We are united as the MDC and we have shown that by disciplining the
      However, it has been suggested that deposed Harare executive mayor
Elias Mudzuri, Ian Makone and Tsvangirai's confidante Elphas Mukonoweshuro
are some senior MDC officials believed to be lining up to challenge Ncube
for the powerful position when the party holds its congress in January next
      The fissures in the MDC, according to insiders, are so serious that
Tsvangirai and his national executive council (NEC) are scheduled to meet at
the weekend in desperate attempts to thwart factionalism, which the sources
said bordered on tribalism and regionalism.
      The MDC, Zimbabwe's biggest opposition political party, is widely seen
as an umbrella party wishing to keep people of different views in its ranks.
It is a cluster of different political trends, which are often
contradictory - there is labour, capital, intelligentsia and a motley of
various interest groups.
      Sources at Harvest House said Tsvangirai had decided to move
resolutely on the potentially divisive affair involving the youths, some of
whom are believed to have come from as far as Buhera, Tsvangirai's home
area, and from Gutu, Mukonoweshuro's rural home area.
      Although party officials have sought to dismiss last week's debacle as
a mere case of indiscipline, there is widespread speculation that the
incident was indicative of underlying tensions as the party, which is yet to
recover from the March 31 election defeat in which it garnered only 41 seats
against ZANU PF's 78, grapples with issues of leadership renewal.
      "There is fear that Ncube will emerge as Tsvangirai's replacement at
the congress in January next year. So political machinations are already
underway to sideline Ncube. But Tsvangirai has come out strong. The
suspension of the youths is a signal that he will brook no nonsense," said a
source close to the MDC leader.
      "The future of the party depends on how he handles the issue. The
secretary general is a powerful position in the party so he cannot have
party youths and even other senior officials bulldoze into his home. Those
that accuse him of aloofness and arrogance are petty as he has the party's
interest at heart," the sources added.
      The infighting in the MDC, the biggest opposition party in the history
of Zimbabwe since the country attained independence from Britain in 1980, is
reported to be so serious that youths from Matabeleland descended on Harvest
House last week in a revenge mission and severely assaulted some officials
they suspected to be behind a campaign to discredit Ncube.

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      Army, CIO put on high alert

      5/27/2005 8:49:00 AM (GMT +2)

      THE government is said to have put the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) on
high alert and unleashed the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) in
Harare as tension mounts in the capital city following a spirited crackdown
against informal traders against a background of an acute transport crisis.

      Intelligence sources said the government had become jittery and
desperate as the deepening economic hardships push restive Zimbabweans
closer to the edge. They said members of the CIO had been unleashed in
Harare's suburbs as fears of a spontaneous backlash from angry and
disillusioned Zimbabweans mount.
      Well-placed sources said the government, which has the draconian
Public Order and Security Act (POSA) in its armoury to cow dissenting
voices, might press the panic button amid fears of civil unrest in Harare
      There are fears that tension could escalate to 1998 levels when
government launched brutal operations, backed by military helicopters,
against the people at the height of food riots that rocked the capital.
      The red alert order comes as the government intensifies "Operation
Murambatsvina", a blitz which has resulted in more than 10 000 street
vendors and flea market operators being arrested in Harare.
      Reports also say more than a million Zimbabweans could be rendered
homeless this winter as the government vows to clean up the capital, a
stronghold of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), by demolishing
illegal structures.
      Police this week fought running battles with residents in the volatile
suburbs of Glen View and Budiriro as angry Zimbabweans started hitting back
at what analysts have branded state brutality.
      "They are afraid of a backlash from the people. Government has become
very jittery and does not know how to deal with public anger except through
heavy handedness," said a well-placed source.
      "If tension continues like this, a curfew might be imposed but that
would only serve to worsen the situation," said the sources.
      The army, sources said, has also deployed some of its plain-clothes
members in the streets of Harare, to beef up the CIO and to act as
      Defence Minister Sidney Sekeramayi, who is reported to have issued the
'red alert' refused to comment. "I do not comment on speculation,"
Sekeramayi said in a terse response to The Financial Gazette's inquiries.
State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa could not be reached for comment.
      The opposition MDC this week accused government of fuelling
confrontations so it could declare a state of emergency before the people
took to the streets in protest against the continued economic malaise.
      "They are now going for broke. It is obvious these are all punitive
measures aimed at urban people who voted against ZANU PF," said MDC
spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi.
      Human rights activists have also warned that government's actions
might fuel public anger on a scale unseen since independence.

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      Zimbabwe faces uphill task in importing food

      Njabulo Ncube
      5/27/2005 8:50:17 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE, which is grappling with serious food shortages owing to a
devastating drought and lower productivity on the commercial farms, faces an
uphill task to raise funds for food imports, the latest report of the
US-based Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) reveals.

      The report, released on Tuesday this week, said the country would
struggle to ship in food as other requirements like fuel and electricity
continue to put a strain on limited foreign currency resources.
      "The food security problem facing Zimbabwe is of such a magnitude that
Zimbabwe will need to import substantial amounts of cereal during the April
2005-March 2006 consumption year to ensure sufficient food is available to
all," reads part of the FEWSNET report.
      "Given the current shortages, importing adequate food for the nation
in the current consumption year is going to be an enormous challenge," the
report added.
      Zimbabwe consumes 1.8 million tonnes of the staple maize annually.
      Only about 662 823 tonnes were delivered to the Grain Marketing Board
(GMB) during the last selling season, leaving a deficit of 1.2 million
      The situation has been exacerbated by the shortages of fuel and basic
commodities such as sugar and cooking oil.
      "The majority of farming households will harvest nothing and are
already dependent on the market for all their food requirements at a time
when own crop production would normally be their dominant source of food,"
the report said, adding that price increases continuously drained the meagre
disposable incomes of households.
      It classified the Zimbabwe situation as an emergence that needed the
interventions of the international community, the private sector and the
government in Zimbabwe.
      However, the government is yet to put out an international appeal for
food assistance although the executive director of the World Food Programme,
James Morris, is scheduled to meet President Robert Mugabe in Harare next
Wednesday .
      The US$420 million the country needs to import food includes US$125
million required to meet the 500 000 tonnes for the strategic grain
reserves, according to Reserve Bank (RBZ) of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono.
      In his 2005 grain mobilisation programme, Gono said due to the
seasonality of the country's major foreign currency inflows, he proposed
that maize importation be concentrated over the April-October months, which
coincide with tobacco inflows. The RBZ has put in place contingent measures
to import about 260 000 tonnes at a cost of US$ 75 million.
      In its efforts to restock depleted grain silos at the GMB, the sole
trader of grain in the country, the government has mandated the ministry of
state security to take charge of imports.

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      Mayhem and untold suffering in Harare

      5/27/2005 8:52:16 AM (GMT +2)

      VIOLENT law enforcement is a paradox by any definition. There is no
doubt that something is seriously wrong when a police operation mounted
supposedly to restore law and order results in mayhem and untold human

      But this is the only way to characterise the scorched earth policy
adopted by the police when they descended on vendors in the City of Harare
and its environs last week. The official reasons given for the massive
clampdown on thousands of men and women going about the serious business of
trying to eke out a living honestly in the prevailing economic shambles
hardly justify the heavy-handed manner in which the law enforcers approached
their assignment.
      It was claimed in official pronouncements that the reason for the
police raids was to flush out undesirable elements allegedly hoarding scarce
commodities such as sugar and large amounts of foreign currency.
      If this was the objective, how do the relevant authorities explain the
fact that the police left countless vending sites in ruins littered with
heaps of unsightly debris? Is the nation being told that Zimbabwean police
are incapable of conducting an operation and effecting the arrest of
suspects without burning down or dismantling structures?
      The vindictive manner in which the exercise was conducted suggests
that there was an ulterior motive for it other than the official
explanations being offered to justify the mounting of the tumultuous
"Murambatsvina" and "Restore Order" operation.
      The Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development,
Ignatius Chombo in a press interview on Monday said the vending sites that
had been destroyed in the clean-up exercise had become havens for criminals
allegedly involved in selling scarce commodities and engaging in black
market foreign currency dealings.
      Denying charges that the ruling party was being vindictive because it
had been rejected by urban voters in general elections held at the end of
March, Chombo said the authorities had taken such drastic action because the
situation in the capital had deteriorated to unprecedented levels.
      He said the government was aware that many people made an honest
living through street and flea market vending. "We do not want them to be
disadvantaged. Government will make sure suitable places are designated for
vending," he said.
      With all due respect, it must be pointed out that the minister's
pronouncements do not jibe with what is happening on the ground. If his
statement that the aim of the raids is to flush out criminals and
undesirable elements is to be believed, how does he explain the wholesale
and indiscriminate expulsion of all vendors regardless of whether or not
they were guilty of the offences cited as the reason for this drastic
      The arbitrary penalising of all vendors for the sins of a few amounts
to throwing out the baby and keeping the dirty bath water. The failure of
the commission running the affairs of the capital city to maintain efficient
service delivery can never be masked by these heavy-handed actions.
      No one can deny that the streets of Harare, blighted by heaps of
putrid garbage on almost every corner, have become an eyesore. But the point
has to be driven home loud and clear that the problem the city authorities
need to tackle is not the generation of garbage but its non-collection. The
city council has failed dismally to deal with garbage disposal not only in
the city center but in the suburbs as well.
      The streets of most major cities both in the West and East are made
more colourful and vibrant by the presence of hawkers and vendors selling
food, vegetables, spices, clothing, newspapers, books - you name it.
      These big cities, such as New York, Hong Kong, London, Tokyo, Beijing
or Bangkok do not keep their streets clean by getting rid of the people but
by having efficient mechanisms in place to keep things under control.
      It is a shame that in the prevailing economic situation characterised
by record unemployment rates and three-digit inflation, the industrious men
and women trying to earn a living on the streets of Zimbabwe's towns and
cities should be treated like criminals
      Moreover, vendors have been a feature of the urban scene for almost a
decade and have operated from officially designated sites. In Bulawayo, for
example, vendors and hawkers sell their wares from well organised and clean
sites, including one in the grounds of the city's Town House. Instead of
being an eyesore, it is a splash of colour celebrating diversity and
creativity, making it the favourite haunt of tourists.
      The vending sites being burnt or demolished in Harare did not sprout
overnight to justify the seemingly hasty and impulsive actions being
resorted to.
      Why should vendors in Harare be deprived of their only means of
earning a living and providing for their families because of the failure of
the City Fathers to proactively plan in accordance with new realities and
      In his statement on Monday, Chombo was at pains to stress that
suitable new sites would be established for the vendors to operate from. But
even if this were to be accepted despite knowing the snail's pace at which
government projects are implemented, the question still remains why the
informal traders were not notified in advance of these pending changes. How
do the authorities expect these people to keep the wolf from the door until
this infrastructure is in place?
      If the government was indeed sensitive to the plight of the thousands
of unemployed city residents who sustain themselves and their families
through vending, it would have allowed them to continue working from the old
structures until new premises were ready. It is rather odd for the officials
to expect vendors whose stalls they have burnt and whose goods they have
seized to believe that this is being done in their best interests.
      The seizing of goods, regardless of their being in short supply, from
people who are in the business of selling such commodities to survive, is
also bewildering.
      The lives of commuter omnibus users in Harare have also been
complicated by the banning of emergency taxis from their usual pick-up
points in the city centre in the ongoing blitz. In another display of gross
insensitivity, Sekesai Makwavarara, the head of the commission running the
city of Harare, only announced new terminuses designated for the various
suburbs on Monday, after three days of total confusion and chaos. It is
difficult to understand why commuters had to be inconvenienced this way when
the new pick-up points could have been announced in advance through official
notices in newspapers.
      Because of the complexity of the innumerable problems needing to be
attended to in this country, some officials have fallen into the habit of
resorting to stop-gap measures simply to postone confronting the issues once
and for all. But these time-buying tactics will not make the problems go
      United Nations projections show that rural-urban migration will
escalate between now and 2030 when the majority of the people in all parts
of the world will be living in towns and cities. The economic hardships
being experienced in Zimbabwe could already have triggered the beginnings of
this trend. Urban planners in Zimbabwe may need to begin now to improve and
expand infrastructure to cater for greater populations. Cities and towns
should be kept clean despite the large numbers of people living in them.
Banishing the people from city centres is not a long-term solution.

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      Mugabe demands action

      Staff Reporter
      5/27/2005 8:52:48 AM (GMT +2)

      PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe - under a barrage of criticism for swamping
his bloated Cabinet with recycled ZANU PF loyalists - met his economic
ministers last week to demand urgent action to mitigate the worsening
economic crisis.

      The ageing Zimbabwean leader, commanding a Cabinet of 59 ministers,
including 18 deputy ministers and 10 provincial governors, summoned key
economic ministers on Thursday last week to discuss a wide range of issues
related to the economy, which has been in accelerated decline since the
beginning of the year.
      Highly-placed government sources told The Financial Gazette after the
meeting that President Mugabe made it clear that he expected nothing short
of results in the face of resurgent inflation and widespread food and fuel
      The meeting, which was held before the presentation of the central
bank's monetary policy review, came at a time when the nation has started
experiencing a crippling fuel crisis and food shortages spawned by shortages
of foreign currency.
      President Mugabe is said to have indicated that efforts to address the
five-year economic recession demanded proper co-ordination between the
economic ministries of Finance, Agriculture, Economic Development, Industry
and International Trade to get the enfeebled economy out of the quagmire.
      Sources said the President was also worried about the agricultural
situation where the inaccessility of inputs such as fertilisers and seed as
well as tillage facilities have compounded the food shortage situation.
      They said acting finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa, was told to
ensure that farmers receive adequate financial support to make the coming
season a success.

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      Where did wheels come off, Gono asks

      Rangarirai Mberi
      5/27/2005 8:53:59 AM (GMT +2)

      RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono made a telling plea when
delivering his crucial monetary policy statement last Thursday.

      Commenting on recent disappointments on the inflation front that
followed a string of successes, Gono asked Zimbabwe to cooperate in finding
out, in his words, "where the wheels may have come off".
      The governor's question will have immediately raised debate on many
fronts, from the "learned economic players" he berated for failing to
correctly define inflation, to ordinary Zimbabweans who have been inspired
by deepening hardship to form their own theories as to why some of the hope
of last year has been lost.
      That the pace of Zimbabwe's economic decline has accelerated
dramatically since ZANU PF secured a commanding majority at the March 31
election has not been lost on commentators on both sides of the widening
political divide.
      Pro-ZANU PF commentators claim the "wheels have come off" because of a
plot by private business to punish the ruling party for winning the poll.
But critics of the government say the deepening crisis is an escalation of
the effects of years of mismanagement under ZANU PF, warning that a more
self-assured government spelt a deeper crisis for the economy.
      Critics say while Gono pushed a strict line to sustain what success
there could have been, government failed to pull its weight. In fact, there
were times when even government ministers seemed not to know where the
economy was going, looking to Gono for guidance just like everybody else.
      It is the trend of inflation over the past 17 months that aptly
illustrates how Zimbabwe initially looked to have pulled itself from the
brink, only to start backsliding towards ruin.
      Inflation hit an all-time high 623 percent in January last year before
slowing down to 132.7 percent in December on a cocktail of austerity
measures from Gono.
      Inflation had fallen beyond the most optimistic of forecasts, Gono
said, resulting in the RBZ twice upgrading its inflation targets. "Our
performance on the inflation front over the first four months of this year,
however, has been less than satisfactory and that performance cannot be
allowed to continue unchecked," Gono said.
      A sticky slowdown from November had given the earliest sign that
stiffer battles lay ahead, and indeed year-on-year inflation came in higher
in April.
      Apart from the drought, Gono said most of the setbacks this year could
be traced to what he admitted was a mistake by central bank in loosening
monetary policy - a development largely demonstrated by a bullish February 1
rate cut - as Gono took what he called a "more accommodative stance".
      Economists agree, saying the RBZ will now have to look at plugging the
holes in the monetary policy that could have contributed in increasing money
supply growth and hence inflation.
      Annual broad money supply (M3) growth has receded from 490.9 percent
in January last year to 177.6 percent in January 2005. According to last
week's RBZ projections, money supply growth will come below 90 percent by
December, and further down to 14 percent by the end of next year.
      However, economists say there is need for reforms in RBZ's liquidity
management if those new targets are to be met. Last year, the RBZ introduced
open market operations (OMO) as part of its liquidity management, and
recently, the bank briefly suspended 91-day Treasury Bills in a bid to
discourage investors from taking short-term positions on the money market.
      "Conversion of TBs issued for monetary policy purposes into ordinary
TBs and passing on the money to government negates the purpose of OMO
because when government spends the money, it goes back into the market and
the money has to be mopped up again. Ideally, money raised through OMO
should be sterilised, that is, RBZ should not spend the cash," a fund
manager told The Financial Gazette this week, declining to be named.
      Handing over the TB money to government undermines the effectiveness
of monetary policy, the analyst cautioned.
      Commentators say although the Productive Sector Facility (PSF) might
have been the right medicine needed to save industry from collapse, the side
effects were a rise in money supply growth, which had fuelled inflation in
the first quarter of this year.
      The PSF was funded by bank statutory reserve requirements, which
central bank had increased to cut back on inflationary excess liquidity.
However, that same cash would still return to the market in the form of the
cheap lending that industry used to protect themselves against pricey bank
      It is a fine balance that RBZ has to strike; supporting industry, as
with the new five percent lending for exporters, on one hand, while fighting
excess credit on the other hand.

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      Tsvangirai still all the MDC has got

      Charles Rukuni
      5/27/2005 8:54:26 AM (GMT +2)

      BULAWAYO - Politics is like soccer, award-winning sports journalist
Tendai Dindingwe says. "When a team loses, blame is heaped on the coach.
When it wins, credit goes to the players."

      After three election defeats in five years, knives are out for
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai's head.
      The MDC, which almost upset the ruling ZANU PF in the 2000 general
elections, winning 57 out of the 120 elected seats, only managed 41 seats in
the March 31 elections, scuttling high expectations for a regime change by
most urban voters.
      Critics, some from the MDC itself, now say Tsvangirai, the largely
self-educated trade unionist, doesn't have the intellectual capacity to lead
such a dynamic organisation especially since it is challenging a strong
ruling party that has been in power for more than 25 years and is full of
      Former Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, who some people thought
might join the MDC after his expulsion from the government and the ruling
party after being accused of trying to oust his former boss President Robert
Mugabe, said that he would not join the party because it was "immature and
ideologically shallow". He described Tsvangirai as "clearly not up to the
      But Dindingwe, a veteran journalist who was the sports correspondent
of the now defunct Parade magazine, differed. He said while Tsvangirai was
no match for his archrival President Mugabe both in terms of intellect and
inspiring his followers, he was all the MDC had at the moment.
      "He is the only recognisable leader that they have, both locally and
internationally. Despite his shortcomings, he is still their trump card,"
Dindingwe said.
      He argued that people were putting too much emphasis on the MDC
defeats because they were not thinking about Africa but about the West or
developed countries.
      He cited the case of British Prime Minister Tony Blair who had already
contested three elections in eight years and has had to contest against a
different Conservative Party leader each time, with those defeated stepping
      "In Africa, incumbency is long, so the opposition has to stick it out
longer," Dindingwe said.
      The same sentiments were echoed by the late political scientist,
Masipula Sithole, in his book about struggles within Zimbabwe's political
parties Struggles within the struggle.
      "In politics in general, incumbents are generally very hard to unseat
from power," Sithole wrote. "In the new nations it is near impossible to
unseat an incumbent by conventional political means."
      But by comparison, the MDC seems to have fared better than any other
opposition party in Zimbabwe's history.
      The Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) won 20 seats in the 1980
independence elections. Five years later it was down to 15. Two years later,
the party was "swallowed" by the ruling party following the 1987 unity
      Even in Rhodesia, Ian Smith used elections to weed out the opposition
or right-wingers who had broken away from his Rhodesian Front.
      Labour economist, Godfrey Kanyenze, sees things differently, however.
      He said people should not be focusing on Tsvangirai and the MDC but on
President Mugabe and ZANU PF.
      "The greatest threat to ZANU PF right now is ZANU PF itself, not the
MDC, so why should people focus on the MDC?" he queried.
      Kanyenze said ZANU PF was riddled with so many internal contradictions
that President Mugabe was not able to operate. That was the reason why the
country was in a crisis.
      "The economy is on its knees because of the internal contradictions
within the party. People in ZANU PF cannot agree on one thing. President
Mugabe wants the country to look East, while his colleagues argue that the
country cannot do without the International Monetary Fund. He wants price
controls while some of his colleagues say this is a recipe for disaster,
market forces must operate."
      Kanyenze said the only thing that was saving ZANU PF from collapse was
that civic organisations that should be helping the MDC to put pressure on
President Mugabe, had been weakened because funding had dried up. But he was
quick to add that this had nothing to do with the much-hated
Non-Governmental Organisations Bill, which President Mugabe has since
refused to sign.
      "Donors have simply left because they are disappointed with the
performance of civic organisations," he said.
      "They are saying that the civic organisations have been given plenty
of money but they have failed to deliver. Now they are saying, we will leave
you to fight with your bare hands."
      Dindingwe, however, still believes all is not lost. "People should not
treat elections like a cup game," he said. "They should look at them like a
league championship. A league is not won after a single match. A team has to
play consistently throughout the season to win the league."

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      MDC MP to sue over clean-up exercise

      Njabulo Ncube
      5/27/2005 8:54:59 AM (GMT +2)

      A MOVEMENT for Democratic Change (MDC) legislator is preparing a
lawsuit against the Harare City Council, the police and the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) over the wanton destruction and closure
of informal industries in what could prove to be a test case.

      This comes as it emerged this week that the council, working with the
Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) in the clean-up campaign, had not issued
eviction notices to some of the informal traders with lease agreements.
      "I am working on a class action with a view of seeking compensation
from the city council, ZESA and the ZRP for the demolition of tuck-shops,
hair salons and other so-called illegal structures because there is evidence
a majority of those affected in my constituency have been paying monthly
rentals and electricity bills," said Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, the
MDC Member of Parliament for Glen Norah.
      On Tuesday police, on an intensive campaign to beautify Harare and end
a blossoming parallel market, descended on the constituency unannounced and
razed to the ground hundreds of perceived illegal structures before seizing
property and goods estimated to run into millions of dollars.
      "The so-called campaign has not been limited to my constituency alone
but residents here have asked me to help them claim for compensation
considering that most of those affected had leases from the city council and
ZESA had sent engineers to connect electricity to their structures.
      "It is unreasonable for the government to now claim the structures
were illegal yet these people were paying rentals as late as last month,"
said Misihairabwi-Mushonga, a trained lawyer and journalist.
      She spoke as the government announced the operation would not end
until it brought to an end shady deals and other corrupt activities in the
country. The government has also put on high alert the police and the army
in anticipation of violent protests against its campaign code-named
"Operation Restore Order".
      The opposition MDC accuses ZANU PF of trying to provoke confrontations
so it can declare a state of emergency before the economic hardships facing
the population leads to violent riots. The blitz has already sparked clashes
between traders and the law enforcement agents.
      Misihairabwi-Mushonga added: "The police have no right to go about
beating up law-abiding citizens. In Glen Norah, residents suspected to be
hiding property removed from tuck shops and hair salons were assaulted by
the police. This is a gross abuse of human rights and that is why we are
also going to sue the police in the class action we are taking."
      About 400 residents are understood to have come forward with the lease
agreements signed with the city council to aid the legislator prepare the
court action.
      Comment was not available from the city council, ZESA and the ZRP at
the time of going to press.

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      Furore over Air Zim routes

      Nelson Banya
      5/27/2005 9:03:27 AM (GMT +2)

      THE far-eastern routes currently being serviced by national carrier
Air Zimbabwe (AirZim) in support of the government's "Look East" policy have
come at a cost that has brewed discontent within government and airline
circles, it has emerged.

      AirZim, once voted the best airline into Africa by a United
Kingdom-based institute in 1998, has been in rapid decline in recent years
because of mismanagement and an uneconomic fare policy.
      The national airline launched flights to China and Singapore last
November, but it is the flight to Dubai, launched last week, which has drawn
sharp criticism for its lack of viability.
      Sources told The Financial Gazette last week that management at the
airline were under pressure from politicians to service the far-eastern
routes, whatever the cost.
      Central bank governor Gideon Gono last week told the government to
ensure AirZim's viability by allowing the airline to charge economic fares.
AirZim, along with other parastatals, have been surviving on funding from
the central bank and the treasury.
      The government last month procured three aircraft from China to
service regional routes.
      Gono said the government should not subsidise passengers on the
flights because doing so would negate efforts to revive the airline,
certified one of the worst in the world by a parliamentary probe three years
      AirZim slashed air fares for the far-eastern routes by as much as 40
percent, but the airline has struggled to get the requisite passenger
numbers on its Boeing 737-200 and 767-200 ER planes, which have an average
capacity of 200.
      An AirZim board member said it was difficult to justify the decision
to service the Dubai route, adding that flights to that destination "should
cease forthwith".

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      ...And Now to the Notebook

      5/27/2005 9:24:22 AM (GMT +2)

      In style
      Starting last week, Zimbos begun celebrating their "25 years of
independence and democracy" in style. Yes, in style.

      The same Zimbos, especially those in Harare who in the past found
themselves too busy to simply go and vote! They should be happy to celebrate
the Silver Jubilee homeless, jobless and hopeless simply because a rancorous
government is settling grudges in a process of "restoring order".
      Like CZ has always said before, people get a government they deserve.
And this one is the government Zimbos more than deserve because they are the
ones who made it possible (by commission or omission) for it to extend its
stay in power. So they have to wear it like a peptic ulcer!
      They were busy in their illegal flea markets, busy in their illegal
tuckshops, busy in their illegal hair salons, busy engaging in illegal
activities at the road port, busy making babies in those illegal backyard
shacks when some of us were queueing up to vote, so today they cannot blame
anyone except their grandmothers for their predicament.
      We have told them for time with no number that this regime is no
better than its predecessor, and they thought CZ & Co had run out of
mischief to write about . . . and here we are witnessing one of the greatest
acts of wanton cruelty by a regime that claims to have the people at heart.
      The atmosphere throughout most of Harare's high-density suburbs is
that of a big funeral. CZ remembers the last time he experienced such an
atmosphere is some three years ago when he had the privilege to tour Germany's
Memorial Sites of Buchenwald, near Weimar, Adolf Hitler's largest
extermination camp during World War Two where millions of innocent people
were killed and/or detained under the most inhuman of conditions simply
because a human being wanted to show that he could be cruel if he so chose!
      Just inside a week, whole families have been rendered jobless, entire
households have been rendered homeless and full-time breadwinners have been
rendered hopeless by the same government that boasts about having fought a
war to bestow the dignity of the hoi polloi!
      Their crime? They have chosen to disagree with their liberators on how
best (or is it worst?) this country should be governed! Never listen to all
the hogwash and tripe about "restoring order" . . . it is nothing short of
mere posturing . . . like that of a spawning toad. The root of the matter is
that there are grudges to be settled and they have to be settled like
      The same government is entirely responsible for the madhouse scenario
obtaining in the country - the proliferation of illegal structures, illegal
flea markets, illegal forex markets, illegal people, illegal everything . .
. it is because the same government has not been able to deliver during the
25 years it has been hogging power.
      People build shacks because our irresponsible government cannot
deliver on its housing promises. People employ themselves in flea markets,
in forex dealing, in gold panning, in brothels - you name it - because our
irresponsible government cannot create jobs. People engage in criminal
activities because their irresponsible leaders teach and encourage them to
be criminals.
      Remember it is the same government that created and promoted this
situation - political expedience - when it used to batten it. It used to
encourage the youths to be resourceful and self-reliant. Some got small
loans from the same government to start the same illegal businesses that are
now being trashed. Some are "party cadres" who were rewarded with a stand or
two - for their various contributions to the overall election effort - in
the same housing co-operatives that are now being disowned.
      Some were allowed to play outside the law simply because their votes
were needed in one or two elections. So what has gone wrong now? Are there
no more elections in the future?
      Everyone is worried because, from the look of things, in the
not-so-distant a future we might be asked to get passes to get into the city
centre! This regime is richly capable of doing anything . . . banning all
queues, banning movement of people into "unpatriotic" urban areas, banning
people from thinking . . . anything!
      CZ's advice to whosoever conceived this heartless idea is that the
animal called a human being is mad and it gets madder if it is worked into a
corner - the same thing that has been done to Zimbos - so the fellows should
gird themselves for anything!
      FOLLOWING is a small poem-like contribution from one of CZ's loyal

      Living in Zimbabwe is liv- ing in Heaven
      We heaven got petrol,
      We heaven got diesel,
      We heaven got electricity,
      We heaven got water,
      We heaven got mealie- meal,
      We heaven got cooking oil,
      We heaven got sugar,
      We heaven got margarine,
      We heaven got jobs,
      We heaven got forex,
      We heaven got money,
      We heaven got good banks,
      We heaven got free and fair polls,
      We heaven got good gov- ernance,
      We heaven got honest leaders,
      We heaven got conscience,
      We heaven got common sense,
      We heaven got a better place to go,
      We heaven got a bright future,
      Fortunately we still have sense of humour!

      This is CZ. Hopefully you will survive the governement's blitzkrieg!

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      Name and shame

      5/27/2005 9:27:20 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWEANS have always hoped for full disclosures on those who are
destroying the economy through corrupt practices. Such an expose` would
constitute part of the national efforts to lower the boom on the now common
and widespread corruption.

      But up until now, all they have been getting from the authorities is
rhetoric and very little if any, action. The best the government has done so
far is to admit that corruption has reached alarming levels. Seemingly
blinded or intimidated by the prominence, wealth and power of those involved
in sleaze, government has, to a large extent, refused to move a step further
and has instead curiously kept a lid on the identity of the culprits be they
in the private or public sectors.
      That government would not be keen to lift the lid on the identity of
those involved in corruption was to us however as mysterious as a blocked
toilet would be to a plumber. It is not difficult to see why. While the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's sector-specific report on corruption indicates
that the corruption scourge is now a cancer affecting all sectors of the
Zimbabwean economy, it is an inescapable conclusion that some government
officials are implicated because corruption has for years been feeding on
the country's deeply-rooted political patronage system.
      This, in our estimation, partly explains why government has for a long
time been ignoring moral principles and any negative future ramifications
for political convenience through its reluctance or fear to expose all
involved in corruption. In government, it is seen as a double-edged sword
that would raise the ire of the enemy within just as the matador's red flag
would get the bull raging.
      All this means is that despite the hollow pledges to take the
anti-graft crusade to its full expression, there are red lines government
would not dare cross - that is where government officials or influential
senior politicians are implicated. This has justifiably created ill-feeling
over government's sincerity and commitment in exposing those involved in
corruption. Repeatedly threatening to name and shame those who have been
wallowing in corruption like rhinoceroses in the muddy pools of the country's
National Parks without doing so is, we are afraid, simply not good enough.
      The culprits need not remain faceless. But they have and are proud of
it because the government has not walked the talk. All it did was rev the
engine without moving into higher gear, so to speak. Until the more
pragmatic RBZ once again last week renewed threats to name and shame corrupt
individuals, many disillusioned Zimbabweans no longer had any hopes for a
lucid expose`that would really reveal the illegal, dishonest and shocking
behaviour of the corrupt in Zimbabwe.
      The government's bark has been more ferocious than its bite. And
indeed, despite the government's empty threats to expose the corrupt and
their ways, it would seem like the curtain was already coming down before
the theatre even began! Examples abound. Zimbabwe does not need any
reminders about the banana skins in the scandal-tainted land reform - the
deplorable multiple farm ownership which is corruption by any definition.
      The stinking corruption has reduced what was ostensibly meant to
correct an historic injustice into a senseless land grab orgy. Worse still,
most of the uncouth looters of the finite national resource that is land,
are reportedly digging in their heels, with impunity at that if we might
add, over a government directive that they hand back the farms they
illegally acquired at the expense of more deserving cases most of whom are
living below the breadline.
      Government itself has admitted that 300 influential individuals have
more than one farm each. These include a coterie of influential politicians,
their henchmen, gold-plated businessmen with whom they have back-scratching
relationships as well as some political streetwalkers. It is morally
repugnant that the Zimbabwean system has tolerated these self-centred
individuals who have plundered the national resource for self-aggrandisement
while the majority of the people who sacrificed all during the liberation
struggle are condemned to the dust bowls.
      There can never be any worse betrayal imaginable! This is why we
strongly feel that these people who are legally liable for the decisions
they made when they acquired multiple farms through greed and reproachable
actions should be exposed for what they really are - insensitive, selfish,
remorseless, uncouth and corrupt.
      The expose` should not be confined to one sector alone but should be
extended to all sectors of the economy. Quite a number of unresolved issues
involving some of the country's biggest political egos, stand out like sore
thumbs although the government seems to be now treating them like water
under the bridge. These include the issue of the unashamed social welfare
cheats who looted the War Victims Compensation Fund, the abuse of the VIP
Housing Scheme, corruption at the GMB which bordered on treason as a
significant number of people were threatened with starvation, the crony
capitalism perfected at the now defunct United Merchant Bank owned by the
late eccentric and self-proclaimed black-economic empowerment activist,
Roger Boka, as well as the rot at almost all the parastatals. The culprits
cannot remain faceless. We need to know who they are for us to effectively
deal with the decay. The need for the long overdue Anti- Corruption Bureau
that will adopt a punitive name and shame approach, as advocated by the RBZ,
can therefore not be over-emphasised.

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      New homes for vendors?

      Audrey Chitsika
      5/27/2005 9:20:22 AM (GMT +2)

      FACED with a barrage of criticism over the arrest of vendors, the
Harare City Council this week said it would build new structures on the
outskirts of the capital to house flea markets and bus termini to ease
congestion in the central business district (CBD).

      Sekesai Makwa-varara, the chairperson of the commission running
Harare, said "Operation Muramba-tsvina", the code name for the clean-up
exercise, would ban all informal trading in the city centre.
      Last week, a combined police and council operation drove out the
informal traders - many of them licensed stall operators - from the CBD,
ostensibly to restore Harare's "sunshine city" status, which has become
history after years of mismanagement.
      Several flea markets, vegetable stalls and illegal commuter bus ranks
were dismantled in the joint operation that has robbed thousands of Harare
residents of their sources of income.
      Critics say Makwavarara and her commission are trying to cover up for
their failure to ensure competent service delivery to residents.
      "No flea markets should be found in the CBD and we have developed open
spaces to construct legal flea markets and terminuses in the outskirts of
the city," the former Movement for Democratic Change councillor who switched
camp to join the ruling ZANU PF told reporters last week.
      Makwavarara said the Harare City Council had already identified open
spaces along Chitungwiza, Bulawayo and Mutare roads to accommodate informal
traders pushed from the CBD.
      "The vendors and flea market operators should not complain about their
confiscated property since they knew what they were doing was illegal. These
people were told to move out of town a long time ago. It seems the highest
population in Harare was that of vendors: you would wonder who was buying
from whom," Makwavarara said.
      Police Senior Assistant Commissioner Edmore Veterai said: "David
Karimanzira, the governor of Harare Metropolitan, has offered Caledonia Farm
for those people who do not have anywhere to go.
      "For those that are planning their mass action, we are waiting for
them. Cleanliness is nearer to godliness so we will not be afraid to fight a
holy war with them. We will not tolerate multiple trading in the city
centre; vendors and flea markets should leave everything to hotels,
supermarkets, banks and clothing shops," Veterai added.
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      Police operation most insensitive

      Vote Muza
      5/27/2005 9:22:58 AM (GMT +2)

      OVER the years the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has continuously
been haunted by allegations of corruption, bribery, torture of suspects,
malicious arrests and political partisanship.

      These allegations have heavily tainted the reputation of a force that
used to be the pride of the nation and the envy of the international
      Recently, in his monetary policy review, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
Governor decried the rampant corruption within the rank and file of the
police force that he said was hampering the national banks' efforts to steer
the economy to better performance.
      When such allegations of serious graft emanate from a credible and
respectable senior public officer like the Reserve Bank governor they need
to be believed.
      Our police force has a huge responsibility before it to shed off all
the notoriety it has gained over the years and transform itself into the
professional force that it was.
      It is public knowledge that, particularly in the last five years, the
ZRP has abandoned all semblance of professionalism and acted like a private
militia by indulging in overt political activism to the detriment of its law
enforcement responsibilities.
      The nation witnessed the apathy of our police force during the land
invasions when it refused to enforce court orders and allowed anarchy to
prevail on the pretext that the problem was political, and therefore beyond
its control.
      Such dereliction of its constitutional duties marked a serious turning
point in the deterioration of standards within the force.
      It also demonstrated the infiltration of the force by politicians from
the ruling party through the systematic purging of impartial, dedicated cops
who were accused of being sympathetic to the opposition. In the process
ethics were abandoned and graft crept in and took root.
      Again in the same period our police put their energies into chasing
after members of the opposition and journalists from the private media at
the expense of fighting crime and chaos.
      In view this it becomes obvious that ZRP played a significant role in
ensuring the degeneration of our community through the increase in the
levels of commercial crime, robbery, nepotism, and general social and
economic decadence.
      It needs to be reiterated here that together with the politicians the
police were an accomplice to the rise in the levels of general chaos. Had a
constant watch been maintained by ZRP the situation that is currently
obtaining in our economy, particularly the financial sector, could have been
      There is a disturbing trend in the behaviour of our police, which can
easily be confirmed by events happening now.
      The general public might have noted that soon after Gono's monetary
policy statement early in 2004 our police force awokened from its slumber
and went about arresting individuals with hysterical zeal for perceived
graft such as alleged externalisation of foreign. As the year progressed,
the euphoria that the police had hitherto exhibited gradually subsided and
the force relapsed into a deep slumber.
      Coincidentally, this time around, with the governor's latest monetary
policy review the police sprung into action and launched "Operation Restore
      Why this operation was not launched anytime prior to the central bank's
monetary policy statement boggles the mind. Does the fact not point to gross
ineptitude on the part of the police?
      Why do the police have to wait to get directives on policing from
politicians if their claims for independence are true? Is it not correct
that our police are now perhaps willing appendages of the ruling party from
where they now get orders.
      As relates the unfortunate mayhem that dogged Harare, the police have
only appeared lately to show a business-like attitude in routing illegal
activities. This intervention might after all be too late.
      "Operation Restore Order", it is respectfully argued here, is only a
short-term remedy to the monumental social, economic, and general decay in
the city.
      The pandemonium had reached alarming proportions and for the ZRP to
claim it has the capacity to restore absolute order might be wishful
thinking. The problem of the flea market traders, fruit and vegetable
vendors, various other traders, illegal foreign currency dealers, touts and
vagrants is a national cancer emanating directly from the broader national
economic decline.
      As such, the solution lies in adopting sound national political and
economic policies that will address the rundown economy. If the generic
economic pandemic is addressed everything will naturally fall into place
especially as relates vagrants, touts, and illegal foreign currency dealers.
      On flea market traders, the police appear to have acted wrongly. These
were people who operated with the full blessing of the city fathers. They
were licensed. The city council benefited from revenue especially from the
licence fees and rentals paid for the free space rented.
      However, in a shocking show of arrogance and insensitivity the city
fathers, in connivance with the police, swiftly and brutally evicted flea
market traders without regard to their economic and social well-being.
      In terms of natural justice it would have been fair to give reasonable
notice of the city fathers' intention to terminate their operations.
      Further, were the city fathers not supposed, by way of mitigating
people's suffering, to find alternative trading areas before unannounced
evictions were carried out? That the majority of these traders had not
committed any specific identifiable offence is not in doubt. Only a few of
these indulged in illegal forex trade.
      However, upon the arrest of the majority of these law-abiding citizens
the police made them pay admission of guilt fines. They further experienced
the wrath of the ZRP by being unnecessarily made to put up in filthy, cells
despite their having not committed any offence. By acting in connivance with
the ZRP, the city fathers betrayed their citizens. Perhaps these city
fathers have nothing to lose because they did not come into office through
the mandate of these citizens.
      The justification by the police was that flea market were havens for
illegal forex dealings but is it correct to ascribe collective guilt to each
and every flea market trader? It goes without saying that the police action
was merely based on conjecture and speculation.
      Why has the ZRP not targeted large corporate organisations known to
the RBZ and in the same manner harassed and evicted them from their
      This outrageous selective enforcement of the law raises once again
serious questions about the levels of professionalism within police force.
      One important question: Why did the police destroy the Harare informal
flea markets and leave the Chinese shops?

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