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Embattled Zimbabwe delays inflation data


Mon 19 Nov 2007, 11:50 GMT

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe on Monday delayed the release of
inflation data and said it might not be available "for a while", fuelling
concerns the government had failed in its bid to hold back runaway prices.

President Robert Mugabe has made the battle against inflation the
cornerstone of his government's effort to reverse a deep economic slide that
many blame on mismanagement and his controversial policies, including
seizures of white-owned farms.

But Zimbabweans have seen the price of milk, bread and other basic items,
when available, continue to rise this year despite the anti-inflation

Analysts had expected annualised inflation for October to jump to 15,000
percent, from nearly 8,000 percent in the previous month.

Zimbabwe's Central Statistical Office (CSO) was due to issue the figures
last week. CSO acting director Moffat Nyoni, however, told Reuters on Monday
they were not ready because commodity shortages had affected the collection
and calculation process.

"I am afraid the figures are not yet ready, and they may not be available
for a while," Nyoni said.

"We have some problems -- a computing problem -- in that we have to find a
formula of measuring prices of goods, some of which are not available on the
(formal) market and which are in short supply in the economy," he said.

Nyoni declined to comment on a newspaper report last week that suggested the
year-on year inflation rate for October had risen to a record 14,840.6
percent from 7,982.1 percent in September.

The delay followed a government-ordered price freeze in June, which was
designed to protect Zimbabweans from runaway inflation. It led many
businesses to stop stocking shelves, worsening the food shortages that have
been a part of daily life for millions for several years.

"Inflation is out of control, and I think the authorities are again getting
uncomfortable with releasing the official figures even when these are
already in dispute," said John Robertson, a leading private economic
consultant in Zimbabwe.

The CSO previously has rejected suggestions by international officials that
it is bowing to government pressure to suppress inflation figures that would
put the 83-year-old Mugabe's government in a poor light.

An International Monetary Fund official accused Zimbabwe's government last
year of releasing data that did not accurately reflect the economic
situation there, particularly by using price controls to artificially
distort inflation.

Zimbabwe's government has cited inflation and corruption as the biggest
stumbling blocks to efforts to revive an economy devastated by chronic
shortages of food, fuel and foreign currency, soaring poverty and
unemployment of about 80 percent.

Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, blames the crisis
on sabotage by political opponents at home and abroad, who he says want to
punish him for seizing thousands of white farms and redistributing the land
to blacks.

Agricultural production in the once prosperous southern African nation has
fallen sharply since the land seizures, forcing Mugabe's government to rely
on food imports to feed the country. (Editing by Paul Simao and Giles

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Mugabe regime to grab 25 percent stake in mining firms

By Lance Guma
19 November 2007

The government on Monday published a draft bill that will give them the
power to grab a 25 percent shareholding in mining firms, without paying a
cent. This new bill is an addition to the general Indigenisation and
Empowerment Bill passed in September this year, which provided for a 51
percent stake in foreign owned firms for locals.

Companies who will bear the brunt of the takeovers include the world's
second biggest platinum producer, Impala Platinum (Implats). Anglo Platinum,
the world's largest primary producer of platinum is currently developing a
mine project near Gweru on the Great Dyke and will also be affected, as will
diamond producer Rio Tinto. South Africa's Implats, who are the leading
foreign owned firm, insist their structure already conforms to the
requirements of the new bill. Their Chief Executive Officer David Brown told
Reuter's news agency that they have not yet seen the, 'latest documentation,'
and cannot comment until they have seen it.

Analysts say the Mugabe regime is failing to address the real political and
economic issues that are affecting the country and is engaging in publicity
stunts aimed at trying to win sympathy from ordinary people in Zimbabwe and
the third world in general. They argue the new policy will only scare away
foreign investors, the majority of whom are already reluctant to invest in
the country. Other countries with investor friendly climates are likely to
benefit at Zimbabwe's expense.

Businessman Mutumwa Mawere who lost his Shabani Mashaba Mines (SMM) to a
government company-grab, said the new bill was strange given that, '100
percent of all mineral exports are controlled by the same state so why take
a shareholding when in fact you control access to earnings of all minerals?'
Zimbabwe is reported to have 22 mining companies with 10 of them in the
hands of foreigners.

According to the Reserve Bank, 42 percent of the country's foreign currency
earnings come from the mining sector where diamonds, platinum, chrome,
palladium and gold are produced. Any disruption of this sector will have
catastrophic effects for the country, as happened with the violent farm
invasions that disrupted and destroyed the entire agriculture sector.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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EU to give "tough message" to Mugabe at summit


Mon 19 Nov 2007, 14:53 GMT

By Ingrid Melander

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union governments agreed on Monday to give a
"clear and tough" message to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on human
rights at a summit of EU and African leaders next month.

The Dec 8-9 summit in Lisbon will be the first between the two continents in
seven years. Previous efforts to meet have stumbled over whether Mugabe,
whom the West accuses of widespread human rights violations, could be

EU president Portugal has said Mugabe will be invited this time -- despite
threats of a British boycott -- and had been working on finding a way to
alleviate the concerns of EU states opposed to inviting him.

An EU official said Britain, Sweden and the Netherlands had insisted on "a
real discussion on human rights and governance in Zimbabwe"

"We will organise a debate (at the summit) so that he can receive a clear
and tough message," the official said after foreign ministers discussed the
summit on Monday.

A spokesman for the Portuguese EU presidency declined to say what that
message might be.

Britain has for years led opposition to inviting Mugabe to EU summits, and
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said he would not attend the Lisbon summit
if Mugabe shows up.

A British official said London has pushed the EU to give a strong message on
human rights, but Monday's agreement to do so would not change the plan to
boycott the summit if Mugabe comes.

"The message from the prime minister was clear, neither he nor any senior
official will attend if Mugabe does," the official said, adding that raising
concerns at the summit was the least the EU could do.

African leaders see the Zimbabwean president as an independence hero but
Western critics accuse him of ruining the economy, rigging elections and
violently suppressing opposition.

The Czech Republic has also said boycotting the summit was an option, while
the EU Nordic countries renewed calls last month for Mugabe not to come.

Denmark's Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said he could only attend
if human rights in Zimbabwe were discussed.

The EU has imposed sanctions on Mugabe's government, including a visa ban on
top officials, which can be lifted for Mugabe to attend the meeting.

Mugabe denies he has wrecked the economy with policies such as seizing
white-owned farms for blacks with little experience, and he blames Western
pressure for hyperinflation and hunger.

Zimbabwe delayed on Monday the release of inflation data and said it might
not be available "for a while", fuelling concerns the government had failed
to hold back runaway prices.

The 27-member EU is Africa's largest trading partner with trade totalling
more than 200 billion euros last year.

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Army on alert to prevent British invasion: Zimbabwe

HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe said Monday it had put its military on high alert
against a possible British invasion after the former armed forces chief of
its old colonial master revealed London had considered such a move.

"We are aware of plans by Britain to invade our country and assassinate our
leaders and we are not going to lie down and take this as just threats,"
deputy information minister Bright Matonga told AFP.

"We take these threats seriously and our armed forces are always on high
alert. We are aware and confident of our capability and we will deal with
them swiftly and effectively if they dare invade our territory."

Matonga's comments come after the former head of the British armed forces,
Lord Charles Guthrie, revealed in a newspaper interview that the possibility
of invading Zimbabwe had been discussed during Tony Blair's premiership.

Guthrie said that "people (in Blair's administration) were always trying to
get me to look at" the possibility of invading the southern African country.

"My advice was: 'Hold hard, you'll make it worse. You won't have a single
African country on your side'," he told the Independent on Sunday newspaper
earlier this month.

Matonga said that Mugabe, in power since the former Rhodesia won its
independence in 1980, had been on Britain's hit-list for a long time.

"They have always targetted African leaders opposed to their imperialist
policies and they want to do that with President Mugabe. But we have a
robust army ready to defend the country and its leaders."

Zimbabwe's relations with Britain were strained after Zimbabwe launched
controversial land reforms in 2000, seizing farms from white farmers -- the
majority of them of British descent -- to give to black farmers.

Mugabe was one of Blair's most virulent critics before the British premier
stood down in June, frequently accusing him of trying to force regime change
and telling him to "keep his pink nose" out of Zimbabwe's internal politics.

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In Zimbabwe, dissent wears the mask of theater

Los Angeles Times

A rich culture of protest theater flourishes in the country, despite the
constant risk of censorship or arrest from President Mugabe's regime.
By Robyn Dixon, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
November 19, 2007
HARARE, ZIMBABWE -- The stage was a small room in the Harare Central Police
Station. The audience, about 20 bored policemen and plainclothes
intelligence officers.

The two actors were shaking, not with stage fright but the real thing.
Anthony Tongani stammered and forgot his lines. Silvanos Mudzvova was so
afraid that he didn't dare make a mistake.

They stumbled to the end. Then they were ordered to start again.

And again.

They performed their political satire, "The Final Push," 12 times in two
days at the station, while police and officers from the feared Central
Intelligence Organization argued over what charges to press against the
actors and fired questions about who had funded the show.

"The first time, the officer in charge was not there. When he came, he
demanded his own performance. Then the superintendent came, and he demanded
his own performance," Mudzvova said. "It got worse when the CIO came in. One
of them was actually sleeping during the performance. Then he'd wake up and
say, 'Are you through?' "

A rich culture of protest theater has sprung up in Zimbabwe, but artists are
under increasing pressure from President Robert Mugabe's security forces as
he crushes dissent. In recent years, most independent newspapers have been
shut down, opposition parties have been infiltrated by CIO spies, and
activists have been arrested, beaten and sometimes killed. The 2002 Public
Order and Security Act bans political meetings of more than two people
without police permission, outlaws statements that incite "public disorder"
and makes it an offense to insult the president.

Mudzvova and Tongani were arrested at the premiere of "The Final Push" in
late September. Tongani was arrested before he could take his final bow, and
Mudzvova immediately after taking his.

The play, written by Mudzvova, is about the chairman of a building called
Liberty House (a thinly disguised Mugabe) and his political challenger
(presumed to be opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai) trapped together in an
elevator during a power failure. At one point, the two duke it out in a
boxing match.

In Zimbabwe's repressive climate, artists and actors find creative ways to
protest. People crowd into clubs to drink beer and laugh at stand-up comedy
poking fun at Zimbabwe's problems. They turn out for the opening nights of
political plays, even though police often raid theaters and close
productions before the first lines are spoken.

Zimbabwe's underground arts culture is thriving, taking hard-hitting
political messages to the masses in the crowded black townships, the engines
of their cars running in case they need to make a quick escape from the
authorities. Filmmakers recently secretly shot an underground movie based on
a banned political play in Harare, the capital.

The two nights Mudzvova and Tongani spent in custody had elements of the
kind of surreal political play in which they might perform. Police laughed
in all the right places, especially when the chairman gets knocked out by
his opponent. But the CIO men were outraged.

"The CIO guys tried to convince the police that we were actually talking
about the president being knocked down," Mudzvova recounted in an interview
the day after his release. "But the police did not see it in that way. To
them it was just a simple, straightforward story.

"The police did not know what to do with us. But the CIO kept insisting that
we be charged. The question was, with what?"

In the end, Mudzvova and Tongani were charged with inciting the masses to
revolt, a statute that carries a 20-year penalty. Twice, police modified the
charges, first to criminal nuisance, and then breach of the censorship laws.

Mudzvova says that with media freedom hobbled, it is up to artists to take a
message of protest to Zimbabweans.

"Artists, like everybody else, fear for their lives. But the moment you have
that fear, you won't get anywhere. People are saying, 'If you guys have that
fear, where are we going to get the correct information from?' "

The night after their release, the two men were back onstage in the small
circular Theatre in the Park, modeled on an African hut, in Harare. But they
modified the script to satisfy the CIO: The knockout in the boxing scene was
gone. A day later, after debate with colleagues and actors, they restored
the scene, without drawing further visits from the police.

An unlikely career

Bulawayo-based satirist Cont Mhlanga grew up in a village with no theatrical
tradition. His father expected him to be a farmer. Mhlanga didn't intend to
become an actor, because he didn't even know what it was.

Even today in Zimbabwe, the idea of a career in the theater is unthinkable
for most people. It is seen as a last resort for beggars and failures,
people incapable of producing something real to eat or sell.

He was introduced to theater by accident when a group wanted to hold a drama
workshop in the hall where Mhlanga practiced karate. "I said, 'What is
theater?' " But he joined in, got hooked and has been writing political
satire since Zimbabwe won independence from Britain in 1980.

Stepping into Mhlanga's cluttered Bulawayo office is like visiting the
inside of an inspired but chaotic mind, crammed with yard-high stacks of
books, yellowing newspapers and scripts, drafts of his latest protest letter
to the government, and pieces of old broken, unidentifiable equipment, with
a sleek laptop basking happily in the middle of it all.

Wiry, with piercing eyes, he speaks in a tumble of words. He does not look
old but declines to give his age, shrugging scornfully at the question.

"Everyone around here calls me Grandfather," he said dryly.

His plays are so bluntly political that he and his actors frequently get
into trouble.

In May, the officer-in-charge at Bulawayo Central Police Station went
through Mhlanga's play about AIDS, "Everyday Soldier," deleting lines with a
red pen, offended because one character disappears as part of the plot.

"He said, 'You can't have this because you are implying that people
disappear in Zimbabwe.' I said, 'I'm not going to remove the lines. It will
play as it is.' He said, 'It will not play as it is. I'll close it down.' "

He did prevent public presentation of the play, but Mhlanga found a way
around it: "We started to run the play for closed audiences. We just make
sure there are no police in the audience."

Mhlanga's latest play, "The Good President," inspired by beatings and
arrests of opposition members in March, was shut down on opening night in
June, and riot police surrounded the theater for a week to prevent the
actors from staging the play.

To evade arrest or censorship, artists run underground projects. Mhlanga
invented what he calls Invisible Theater in bars, trains and the commuter
minibuses called taxis.

In Invisible Theater, several actors plant themselves in a group and
improvise a conversation.

"People don't know they're actors. The dialogue might be: 'This government
is terrible. Look at those kids in the street. They should be in school but
they're carrying water.' Then another actor will say, 'Don't start with
that. You'll get us all beaten. There are CIO guys everywhere.' Then a third
actor will say, 'The way we're living in this country is more than a

"Then other people will join in," he said, referring to the unsuspecting
people around them. "The actors will keep directing the conversation, and
the moment they think they've made a point, they will get off the taxi and
get onto another one.

"The thing we are challenging is fear, because we know that people are
afraid of discussing these things in public."

'Hit-and-run' shows

In Harare, a theater organization named Savanna Trust does "hit-and-run"
street performances in volatile areas such as Mashonaland West, where actors
risk arrest by police or violence from ruling party thugs.

They're designed to reach people in poor, crowded neighborhoods who
otherwise would never see theater. The performance must be quick, sharp and
funny, and the actors ready for a quick getaway.

"When you do hit-and-run theater, you beat drums and the people gather. You
have a car there with the motor running," Mudzvova said. "Your heart is
beating very fast. You are full of fear that you are going to be arrested at
any minute. You know the exact message that you want to give. You make sure
the people get the message in the shortest time. As soon as you see that
people are getting the message, you disappear.

"Afterwards the actors go, 'Phew! That was extreme!'

"We escaped by a whisker in Bindura," he said, referring to a stronghold of
the ruling party. "We only escaped because the car we had was far more
powerful than the car the police had."

Mudzvova is not the only one producing controversial material. The
low-budget underground film "Super Patriots and Morons," produced by
British-trained Zimbabwean actor Daves Guzha, was filmed secretly over nine
days in Harare. It includes real scenes of Harare street life, bread queues
and crushing poverty.

Filming without permission is banned in Zimbabwe, and the filmmakers,
questioned by police while they were working, were lucky to escape arrest.

The film's portrait of an isolated, paranoid president haunted by dreams of
a bloody hangman's rope is unlikely to hit cinema screens in Zimbabwe. The
best its makers can hope for is mass production of DVDs that could be
distributed free. But there is no money for that, so the film's future is

The director, Tawanda Gunda Mumpengo, is critical of what he sees as
self-censorship by artists terrified of arrest and violence.

"It's up to us as citizens of this country to demand our freedoms if we feel
they are being curtailed and to assert ourselves," he said, "because no one
will do it for us."

In his jumbled office, Mhlanga gestured at the mountains of papers around
him, the fruit of 27 years of labor. "No one will shut me up," he said.
"There's only one option to shut me up and that's to kill me. But they can't
kill what I stand for."

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Violence erupts outside MDC meeting

By Henry Makiwa
19 November 2007

It has become increasingly difficult to report on the situation on the
ground in Zimbabwe because of the deliberate mis-information that is being
used at every level.
The reports of violence at the MDC Harvest House headquarters on Sunday show
this clearly. It is clear that there was a violent incident but the details
differ depending on who you speak to.

There are allegations that at least 20 female MDC supporters were injured as
followers of President Morgan Tsvangirai clashed with youths loyal to Lucia
Matibenga, the former head of the party's women's wing, ousted in a
boardroom coup. Other reports can only confirm 3 injuries.
MDC National organiser Elias Mudzuri said the party is yet to establish
exactly who caused the violence and just who was attacked. Mudzuri confirmed
that a reporter was assaulted outside the party headquarters, but could not
give any details.

Mudzuri said: "We are aware that a Studio Seven journalist was assaulted and
that there were some other assaults which we cannot confirm until we have a
proper report to the party.
"If our youths were responsible then we will deal with them accordingly and
if they are just hired thugs then we cannot do much."

The reports said violent scenes ensued outside the party's Harvest House
headquarters where Tsvangirai was meeting provincial leaders, after a group
of about 100 Matibenga supporters converged on the offices. The women
chanted slogans and demanded an audience with Tsvangirai whom they
challenged to explain why Matibenga was ousted and replaced by one of his
alleged loyalists.
Matibenga is challenging the election of Theresa Makone who replaced her in
a poll she alleges was out of order, after many of her supporters were
barred from participating.

Two journalists, John Nyashanu of the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation
and freelancer Frank Chikowore, allege that Tsvangirai's supporters harassed
them and prevented them from interviewing Matibenga.

Chikowore said: "We were accused as the media of fuelling infighting within
the MDC with our reports. The youths loyal to Tsvangirai shocked us when
they charged menacingly, we only escaped by running away."
Neither Nelson Chamisa, the MDC's spokesman, nor Matibenga - who was said to
have flown to South Africa - could be reached for comment.

Earlier the Standard newspaper had suggested that Tsvangirai had mellowed
over his stance on Matibenga, and was refusing to endorse Makone as the new
head of the party's women's wing.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Harare residents sleep in bank queues as cash shortage intensifies

By Tererai Karimakwenda
19 November, 2007

On Thursday last week scores of soldier hoping to receive their salaries and
bonuses were forced to go to banks as early as 3am. But many left empty
handed as the cash ran out.
The shortage of actual hard cash in Zimbabwe has reached such critical
levels that the Reserve Bank is reportedly failing to supply the banks with
enough to cover salaries.

Our Harare correspondent Simon Muchemwa has been making the rounds in the
central business district of the capital and reports that people are
sleeping in bank queues trying to be first to get the scarce notes.
Unfortunately many are being turned away without any luck.

Muchemwa said soldiers and other uniformed officials have been taking
advantage of their status and skipping to the front of the queues. People
who have tolerated this so far seem to have lost their patience, and riot
police have been brought in to control some situations.
The nation's economy is crumbling at the fastest rate in the entire world,
particularly for a country not at war. The latest figures leaked from the
Central Statistical Office, show that prices were up 136% in October alone.
Economic experts put the inflation rate close to at least 15,000%.
The experts accuse government of pursuing stop-gap measures that will have
no effect on the economy. Along with the opposition and civil groups, they
insist the only solution is wholesale constitutional change and a resolution
of the broad political crisis.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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ZANU PF youths chase MDC supporters from homes

Zim Online

by Regerai Marwezu Tuesday 20 November 2007

MASVINGO - Ruling ZANU PF youths have evicted scores of opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters in Bikita West in Masvingo
province in a fresh wave of political violence to hit troubled Zimbabwe.

The youths, with tacit backing from ZANU PF legislator, retired
colonel Claudius Makova allegedly chased away at least 15 MDC supporters
from their homes in the southern Bikita district last week.

The ZANU PF youths allegedly told the MDC supporters to leave the area
as they were supporting a “puppet party that wants to reverse the gains of
the liberation struggle.”

The evictions come hardly a fortnight after a delegation of the MDC
told Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi that ZANU PF had stepped up a
campaign of violence against its supporters around the country.

The government, which is engaged in talks with the MDC that are aimed
at finding a negotiated settlement to Zimbabwe’s eight-year political
crisis, rejected charges that political violence was on the rise in the

Among those evicted together with their families are Simbarashe
Sinawacho of Mamutse Village in Bikita’s ward 12, Anna Chapu of Chunyamatura
irrigation scheme, Solomon Marumura and Rangarirai Nesvinga.

The villagers told ZimOnline yesterday that they also had their newly
planted crop destroyed by the marauding ZANU PF youths.

“We were ordered to pack our belongings within an hour by the ZANU PF
youths who said they had been sent by the local MP (Member of Parliament

“Makova later openly told us that we are not wanted in the area. We
have since left our homes and at the moment we are surviving on charity,”
said Sinawacho.

MDC Masvingo provincial chairman Wilstaff Sitemele condemned the
evictions adding that this was further proof of ongoing harassment of their
supporters by ZANU PF.

“What disturbs us most is the fact that these villagers were evicted
because of their political affiliation. They were never given a chance and
defend themselves. This is a clear case of harassment being perpetrated by
President Mugabe and his supporters,” said Sitemele.

Masvingo central MDC legislator Tongai Matutu said the party had
already filed a court application to allow those evicted to return to their
homes as well as bar ZANU PF supporters from effecting further evictions.

Contacted for comment, Makova refused to comment on the evictions.

“I do not comment on issues concerning MDC supporters,” said Makova

The MDC and major Western governments have in the past accused Mugabe
of using violence at election times to stay in power. ZANU PF, in power
since the country's independence from Britain 27 years ago, denies the
charge. – ZimOnline

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Zimbabweans sell money as shortages hit banks

Zim Online

by Wayne Mafaro  Tuesday 20 November 2007

HARARE - "Do you have a plastic carrier bag sir?" asked the smiling bank

I did not expect such a question from a bank official.

To ease my confusion, she explained: "We are giving out only $500 and $1 000
notes, so for the amount you want to withdraw, you really need somewhere to
put it because you will get quite a number of 'bricks'."

I was eventually handed out 20 "bricks" of $1 000 notes amounting to $10
million, and 40 "bricks" of $500 notes totaling $10 million.

The "bricks" were just reward for more than five hours of queuing for a
chance to withdraw money from one bank after another.

It is 1430hrs and since eight in the morning, I had hopped from one
financial institution to another, hoping to access my hard earned few

The queue at the first building society I visited meandered, with some
people going as far as 20 metres outside the banking hall. You could hardly
see where you were going.

Upon realising there was no hope of getting anything at the building
society, I moved to another bank, a commercial bank this time, and too bad,
I found soldiers, mostly young, who had formed this snake-like-queue.

It was difficult to join them as they uttered unsolicited obscenities to
bank tellers as if they were responsible for the crisis.

There was a glimmer of hope at the financial institution as there was a
large deposit from security guards. I expected that my problem would be
solved there.

Unfortunately when there were only two people ahead of me, the chief teller
came out to address us and I knew my problems were far from over.

"I'm sorry, we have run out of cash," she announced with a long face.

All hell broke loose. Some blamed Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor
Gideon Gono for giving all the money to companies manufacturing cheap
quality farming implements while some said this was a sign of a deep-rooted

"This is a sign that we are in deep crisis. The government wants to play it
down but we are in trouble," said an old woman as she walked out of the

Some business ladies exchanged contact details as they advised each other
that there was a supermarket, which was selling cash at 15 percent interest

They went out together to sample the new idea.

As for me, I could hardly afford transport for the day, let alone buy cash
at a premium.

As I trek back home that day with my 60 bricks of bearer cheques, I could
not stop wondering how many more able-bodied Zimbabweans were spending the
better part of their days queuing for money at banks.

Zimbabwe does not have real currency and uses bearer cheques introduced by
the RBZ in 2003.

Bearer cheques are promissory notes that were first introduced by the
central bank at the height of another shortage of cash four years ago.
Bearer cheques are used in the same way as money.

Because I was carrying so much money, I had to phone the office to inform my
bosses that I was not reporting for duty to ensure the safety of my money.

I shuddered to think about the number of productive hours lost while queuing
for money, and the implications of that on an already struggling economy.

Zimbabwe is facing a serious cash shortage, resulting in long queues forming
outside banks.

The shortages have worsened in the past week, forcing some financial
institutions to limit the amount of cash they give to depositors.

At one bank in the capital, Harare, corporate customers were being allowed
to withdraw only $10 million a day - just enough to buy around seven litres
of petrol on the black market.

The allowable withdrawal limits are $40 million for companies and $20
million for individuals.

At other banks, there will not be any cash and depositors have to wait for
deposits from other people before making withdrawals. If there are no
depositors there is no cash for withdrawals.

"We have not received our allocation from the reserve bank and in such
situations we wait for depositors, then we share the available cash among
the many withdrawals," said a bank manager at one commercial bank in central

No comment could be obtained from Gono who has twice so far postponed the
launch of a new currency to replace the bearer cheques.

Gono announced earlier this month that the central bank was shelving the
introduction of a new currency initially set for this year, arguing that the
bank first wanted to address bottlenecks in the supply of goods and services
before the launch now set for next year.

Economists said the only way out of the current cash crisis was for the RBZ
to print higher denomination notes, arguing that available denominations
could not cope with the hyperinflationary climate in the country.

Zimbabwe has the world's highest inflation estimated at more than 14 000
percent in October.

"Because the value of the notes is too small, the government cannot print
money fast enough to beat inflation levels," said consultant economist John

The highest denomination of $200 000 is not enough to pay for a one-way trip
on a commuter omnibus in Harare. A trip now costs around $300 000 per

"So there is need for more notes as prices continue on the upward trend. The
government must introduce $1 million or even $5 million notes to ease the
current problems but they think introducing higher denominations will be
inflationary," said Robertson.

Former president of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce Luxon Zembe
said the cash shortages were a result of lack of confidence in the banking
sector by restive Zimbabweans.

He said people were no longer banking but holding on to cash in case they
stumbled upon scarce basic commodities available mostly on the black market
where only cash transactions obtain.

"All the cash is in the informal market because people are no longer
banking. The hyperinflationary environment discourages people from keeping
money in the bank as most of the transactions have become cash," said Zembe.

He urged the central bank to review withdrawal limits that were making it
difficult to use their hard earned cash.

"People are now moving around with cash because they know that they cannot
easily access it when they want to while prices keep going up. By the time
one accesses the money in tranches prices of the goods they want to buy
would have gone up," he said.

Another economist who could not be named for professional reasons said the
demand for cash had significantly gone up while the central bank has no
capacity to print enough notes to cover the surge in demand.

"A lot of cash is moving from the central bank to the banks then to people
but not back into the system," he said.

He predicted that the situation was likely to worsen in the next few weeks
as most workers receive annual bonus payouts.

The parallel market exchange rate has shot up to $1.2 million for every
United States unit as the government fails to solve the seven-year crisis.
Fuel prices have also tracked the parallel market rate, rising up to $1.2
million a litre.

There have been unconfirmed reports that limiting cash was an attempt to
reduce spending and eventually inflation but some say the central bank is
likely to waylay those who hoard cash as what happened when it introduced
new bearer cheques last year after chopping off three zeroes from the old
bearer cheques. - ZimOnline

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White farmer's land case pushed to next month

Zim Online

by Own Correspondent  Tuesday 20 November 2007

JOHANNESBURG - The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal
has rescheduled to December a case in which a Zimbabwean white farmer is
appealing against seizure of his land by President Robert Mugabe's

The matter, the first to be brought before the Tribunal since its 2000
formation, was set for today but could not proceed apparently because Harare
had not been notified of the matter.

The farmer, William Michael Campbell, 75, wants the Tribunal to interdict
Mugabe from interfering with operations at his Mount Carmel Farm pending a
full hearing on the legality of Harare's controversial programme to seize
land from whites for redistribution to landless blacks.

"The office of the Tribunal's Registrar, which was tasked with the
responsibility of serving the notice, is unable to provide proof of service
(of the notification) on the respondents," the farmer's lawyers said in a
statement. "All attempts are being made to set the matter down for December
4," they added.

Zimbabwe Attorney General Sobuza Gula-Ndebele was not immediately available
for comment on the matter.

Campbell wants Harare's land reforms declared racist and illegal under the
SADC treaty adding that Article 6 of the SADC treaty bars member states from
discriminating against any person on the grounds of gender, religion, race,
ethnic origin and culture.

Zimbabwe is a signatory to the SADC treaty.

The farmer also wants the Tribunal to rule that the government of Zimbabwe
is in breach of its obligations as a member of SADC after it signed into law
Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No.17 two years ago.

The constitutional amendment allows the Harare government to seize farmland
without compensation and bars courts from hearing appeals from dispossessed
white farmers.

Campbell has already appealed against the amendment at the Supreme Court of
Zimbabwe, but the court reserved judgment on the matter last March.

Harare's controversial farm seizures have resulted in the majority of the
about 4 000 white farmers being forcibly ejected from their properties. Only
about 400 farmers have retained their farms since the land reforms began in

Meanwhile Campbell, who is facing charges in Zimbabwe for refusing to vacate
his farm which the government says has been earmarked for expropriation, was
at the weekend assaulted at his farm by suspected poachers.

However, in a bizarre twist the police have pressed charges against Campbell
for allegedly pointing a firearm against the suspected poachers. - ZimOnline

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Lots of talk but very little gain

Mail and Guardian

Mail & Guardian reporter

19 November 2007 11:59

      The last stretch of talks mediated by President Thabo Mbeki will
be a key test of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change's
(MDC) ability to press meaningful concessions from Zanu-PF.

      Already under pressure from supporters after agreeing to
constitutional amendments in September, the MDC now finds itself four months
away from crucial elections without having made any real gains in the talks.

      The two sides met again recently but the talks were informal, as
Sydney Mufamadi and Frank Chikane, Mbeki's mediators, were in Harare to
attend the funeral of the son of Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, one of
the Zanu-PF negotiators.

      As bitter divisions undermine opposition support, there are
questions as to whether the MDC has the muscle to wrest any real concessions
from the process.

      Getting Zanu-PF to agree to broader reform would help the
opposition to rebuild its damaged credibility. This realisation alone puts
its negotiators under immense pressure.

       Zanu-PF has benefited the most so far from the Mbeki-led
negotiation process. The amendments agreed upon in September, while bringing
some reform to electoral laws, essentially keep Mugabe's core powers intact.

      In fact, the amendments significantly expand the size of
Parliament, long a desire of Mugabe's, and allow the president to appoint
supporters to the upper house. A raft of repressive pieces of legislation
remains in place to buttress Mugabe's rule.

      People involved in the talks say negotiating about legislation
has been the easy part. The tougher battle will be discussions about how
Zimbabwe is governed, they say.

      For either side, winning that last stage of the battle will
depend largely on how much leverage it has over the other.

      The only tool the MDC has -- and one which Tsvangirai has
employed at seve­ral stages of the talks -- is the threat to boycott
elections. The MDC knows Zanu-PF is desperate to gain legitimacy in the
election next March and a boycott would damage the credibility of the polls.

      But threats to boycott "can only be used so much", according to
a senior opposition official close to Tsvangirai. "The problem is once you
make that threat two, three, four times, you risk losing both the respect of
the mediators and confusing your own supporters."

      A key test will be the MDC's ability to resist pressure from
impatient supporters. Tsvangirai has conceded that hostility to the
September agreement arose from widespread "mistrust of the Zanu-PF
dictatorship and a lack of a proper and full brief of the various stages in
the negotiation process".

      In fact, the secretive nature of the talks was one of the many
issues at the heart of recent MDC infighting. Mbeki has forced both sets of
negotiators to sign a non-disclosure agreement, the terms of which are such
that the teams can report only to the most senior officials in their
respective parties.

      This has not been a problem for Zanu-PF, where power is tightly
concentrated around Mugabe. But in the MDC a crisis meeting had to be called
last weekend after officials protested that only Tsvangirai and his
secretary general, Tendai Biti, were privy to the details and progress of
the talks.

      Biti and Welshman Ncube form the MDC negotiating team.

      Lovemore Madhuku, head of the National Constitutional Assembly,
a pressure group that campaigns for a new constitution and has severed a
longstanding alliance with the MDC over the talks, doubts the opposition has
the stamina to push Zanu-PF to the wire and force it to yield on key issues.

      "The MDC has so far not extracted any concessions from Zanu-PF
at all. What they have simply done is capitulation. Everything they have
agreed to so far was brought to the table by Zanu-PF," Madhuku said.

      The MDC's internal fighting, which erupted in 2005, has gravely
diminished its threat to Zanu-PF, a fact of which Mugabe's negotiators -
Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche - will be fully aware when it is their turn to
give something away.

      "They [MDC] are unable to get anything out of Zanu-PF. To be
able to do so, they needed to be in a position to put Zanu-PF under
pressure. At the moment they are nowhere near that position," said Madhuku.

      At the start of the negotiating process in April, both factions
of the MDC created four committees to give their team research support.
However, little has been done, as leaders were preoccupied with the internal
strife, the crisis meeting of Tsvangirai's faction heard last week.

      Zimbabwe Election Support Network chairperson Noel Kututwa says
the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), which runs elections, is behind
schedule with the delimitation process. In the past demarcation for 150
constituencies usually took at least six months, but a ZEC crippled by low
staffing levels is expected now to take less than three months to mark 210

      Meanwhile, Edwell Mutemaringa, chief accountant for the country's
registrar general, told a parliamentary portfolio committee that his
department, which runs the voters' roll, has received less than a tenth of
its budget requirements.

       The Zimbabwean police, which in terms of the law should provide
at least four officers per polling station, wants to double its size for the
elections. But deputy police chief Levy Sibanda has said the police force is
so broke it can no longer even supply uniforms for recruits.

      Director of the Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust David Chimhini
feared the talks were fast running out of time.

      "We still need to get information [on the result of the talks]
relayed to the electorate and we don't see sufficient time at the moment to
do that," he said.

      Divisions in the MDC
      On October 12 2005 a meeting of the Movement for Democratic
Change to discuss its participation in elections ended in spliting the party
into two factions. Arthur Mutambara (pictured) heads one faction, of 22 MPs,
with Gibson Sibanda as his deputy and secretary general Welshman Ncube.
Other key figures in this faction are Paul Themba Nyathi, Renson Gasela,
Fletcher Dulini Ncube and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga.

      Morgan Tsvangirai leads a faction of 21 MPs, with Thokozani
Khupe as his deputy, Tendai Biti as secretary general and Lovemore Moyo as

      The Tsvangirai faction now faces a further split after
Tsvangirai sacked Lucia Matibenga, head of the influential women's wing,
last month. Tsvangirai has the support of his chair, Moyo, and a group of
personal, powerful advisers, key among them businessperson Ian Makone.

      Tsvangirai faces opposition from most of his senior MPs,
including Tapiwa Mashakada, the deputy secretary general, and Elias Mudzuri,
a popular and ambitious former Harare mayor. Mudzuri has called Tsvangirai's
recent actions "unacceptable".

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Calf recovering from rhino Imire rhino massacre

Tatenda's first walk about with Reilly, dogs and warthog

19 November, 2007

Bless you for the wonderful email we have had from you.
Its been beautiful receiving all this incredible mail...there is so much
love, support,prayers and words of massive comfort, its been an incredible
sharing of agony.We have also found so many special friends that have come
out of the woodworks, its quite fantastic.Zimbabwe will always remain a
community where ever we are, and when the chips are down our friends stand
up. Thankyou for everything and still being around, even though there are
seas between us.

The loss of our four rhino's, the fourth rhino being, the little unborn
calf. have woken up the rest of the world ,as to how out of kilter man has
become with his greed.
The world are in tears, there is an out cry for justice, there is a feeling
of extreme anger from all four corners of our planet.

Those rhino have given so many people including us on Imire, the most
wonderful privilege of sharing incredible moments with them.Their hugeness,
their presence, their gentleness we all took for granted, it was a its gone!

I cant quite describe the feeling of loss and grief we are in...Today a week
from when it happened is a very low day...there is a silence that hangs over
us in a still form.
The energy of Imire has gone for now.

We are devastated through to the very core of our hearts.Its painful.
We will gather ourselves up again and move on, but today its not
easy,thankgoodness we still have so much here on Imire, we have the
elephant, the babes, we have the magic world of wildlife.
All these creatures need our love and time, so we do move on, we don't sit
still, but that space of our beautiful Amber, DJ and Sprinter will never be
filled again.
Thankyou for sharing this moment with us, its been so special.
Tatenda is filling up the hours in a day. We are going to move him to our
house, as the run up to the bomas is endless.John also needs to have me back
snuggled in his bed..The haystack,Reilly and I have been sharing with Mishek
and the rats, has had its time.
Please keep in touch, I'm so sorry we haven't been able to write sooner, but
together with no phones, powercuts, and feeding Tatenda seems to keep us
away from all comms.
Thankyou again for all your support and letters, its taken us all through
the worst.
All our love from us on Imire
Judy and John

PS The next day.. as I'm finishing off this letter,Reilly has just radioed
to say he and Mishek have walked Tatenda 7 kms to our home. He is enchanted
by everything, and thrilled with life brillant is that? we now
have him safe in our garden together with the warthog and dogs.He also seems
to have found the sitting room a social place to be.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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SA Defence Minister repeats Mugabe's line on regime change

By Tererai Karimakwenda
19 November, 2007

The role of South Africa as the regional appointed mediator on the Zimbabwe
crisis has been questioned from the beginning, given President Mbeki's
refusal to even criticize the Mugabe regime and the harsh treatment of
Zimbabwean refugees in South Africa.

Recent comments by South Africa's Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota, have
undermined the country's mediation role even further, because they are
reminiscent of language used by Robert Mugabe himself when defending his
failure and brutal policies.

The Cape Times (SA) reported last Friday that Lekota said regime change was
one of the "external threats" faced by countries in the region. Speaking at
the opening of the ministerial session of the SA-Zimbabwe Joint Permanent
Commission on defence and security, Lekota is quoted as saying Southern
African countries face a "very real challenge" of regime change, encouraged
by foreign powers.

Professor Mukonoweshuro, the Secretary for international affairs in the
Tsvangirai MDC, described Lekota's statement as "reckless and unfortunate."
He explained that it raises all kinds of suspicions and renewed concerns.

He said: "We would have expected that South Africa, playing that kind of
role, ought to try by all means to demonstrate its even-handedness in
dealing with belligerent parties."
The Professor went further to say that mimicking the language of paranoia
used by ZANU-PF does not encourage or build up confidence in the process
that South Africa is mediating.
Regarding the issue of state-sponsored violence, which has continued while
the mediation process is in progress, the Professor said it had reached
critical levels and the MDC should not be blamed if the violence situation
becomes a talks breaking point.

Asked if Mbeki should be insisting strongly that the Mugabe regime put an
end to the violence, Mukonoweshuro said: "The irony of the whole situation
is that South Africa, whilst it pontificates about issues of democracy,
human rights and good governance, as long as they pertain to the South
Africa situation, when they cross the border they are blind to glaringly
brazen issues of violence."
He added : "They are in actual fact even ready to forget their own history,
when the international community created a context in which reasonable
dialogue could take place between the ANC and the Nationalist Party."

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Zimbabwe gets Malawi fuel courtesy of Bingu-Mugabe pact

Nyasa Times, Malawi

Thom Chiumia on 19 November, 2007 12:53:00
A number of oil tankers destined for Malawi are being diverted to Zimbabwe
in a top level deal between Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika and his
Zimbabwean counterpart, Robert Mugabe.

Drivers working for local transport companies confided to Nyasa Times that
they have been to Zimbabwe on several occasions to deliver fuel especially
diesel to the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM).

A top Malawi government official, on condition of anonymity, has confirmed
the matter.

"Officially I would say that it is not true - unofficially I can confirm,
yes this is happening," he said.

'' It is not a deal as such but rather just a brotherly gesture between
Presidents Mutharika and Mugabe -- as you know the two are good friends,''
said the source.

Zimbabwe, whose tyrannical 83-year-old leader enjoys good relations with
Mutharika, is facing increasing international isolation for abuse of human
rights and autocratic rule.

The deal is meant to cushion Zimbabwe's acute oil shortages, which for some
years have been precipitated by economic turmoil and recent acute shortages
of foreign currency.

However, Malawians have expressed fear that the development may cause fuel
scarcity in Malawi. Indeed, press reports last week indicated that the
southern region of Malawi was facing diesel shortages.

The price of fuel in Malawi has recently risen by 20% with subsequent
similar increases in minibus fares.

This is not the first time Malawi is helping Zimbabwe in a deal that raises
suspicions. Mid this year, Malawi sent tonnes of maize to Zimbabwe but the
payment for it has not yet been remitted to Malawi.

However, the list of debtors to the National Food Reserves Agency does not
show any indebtedness by Zimbabwe. The impression given by this anomaly is
that Zimbabwe got the maize for free following a hush-hush deal between
Mugabe and Mutharika.

The maize-to-Zimbabwe issue sparked a lot of debate in the Malawi Parliament
where members of the opposition accused the Mutharika administration of
bartering maize with sugar.

Malawi Government officials were coy to comment on the matter describing it
as "sensitive".

Foreign Affairs Minister, Joyce Banda, declined immediate comment.

The Zimbabwe High Commissioner to Malawi, Thandi Dumbutshena, could not
immediately comment as well on the matter but she is on record as calling
for positive reporting about the issues concerning Zimbabwe's current

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US think-tank urges shift in policy on Zimbabwe

Journal Chretien

lundi 19 novembre 2007

An American think-tank has called for a shift in United States policy on
Zimbabwe, to focus on recovery and reconstruction support, when the southern
African country emerges out of its current economic and political crises,
APA has learnt here.
A report by the Council on Foreign Relations made available Monday here said
US and overall Western policy should now shift to creating conditions for a
smooth transition in the event that there is a change of government after
next year's elections.

Zimbabweans go to the polls in March to choose a president, members of the
National Assembly and local government councillors.

Council on Foreign Relations international affairs fellow and author of the
report, Michelle Gavinargues, said focusing on the future could influence
the thinking of important Zimbabwean political players and possibly hasten
President Robert Mugabe's exit.

"Having been unable to stop Zimbabwe's slide into crisis, the United States
has a much better chance of being effective in helping to point to a way
forward for the country - one that might galvanise influential Zimbabweans
into action by making plain that there will be tangible benefits associated
with reform," Gavinargues said in the report.

Mugabe's critics at home and abroad say he has suffocated the opposition in
a bid to hang onto power and plunged the country into political and economic
turmoil through a policy of land redistribution using intimidation and

Mugabe has accused the US and her allies of working to effect regime change
in Zimbabwe by replacing him with someone they can easily manipulate.

Seen by many in Africa as a hero, the Zimbabwean leader accuses the US,
Britain and other Western countries of trying to foment discontent in the
country by sabotaging the once prosperous economy.

The Council on Foreign Relations called for a multilateral approach to
rebuild confidence in the post-Mugabe era.

"By working multilaterally to build consensus around governance-related
conditions for re-engagement, and by marshaling significant reconstruction
resources in an international trust fund for Zimbabwe, the United States can
help establish clear incentives for potential successors to Mugabe to
embrace vital reforms," the report said.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice named Zimbabwe alongside Cuba,
Belarus, Myanmar, Iran and North Korea as « outposts of tyranny » in 2004.

JN/nm/APA 19-11-2007

© APA News

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Zimbabwe to establish diamond processing plant

Journal Chretien

lundi 19 novembre 2007

Zimbabwe's mineral marketing body says plans are advanced to establish a
diamond polishing and cutting plant as the country moves to take advantage
of recent discoveries of large deposits of the precious mineral, APA has
learnt here.

The Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) said the proposed
plant would play a significant role in ensuring the country does not lose
revenue by exporting unprocessed diamonds to other countries.

"We believe that with our own diamond cutting and polishing plant, we will
be able to retain most of the money being lost to non-diamond producing
countries, especially in the West, that are reaping the benefits of the
multi billion dollar industry," MMCZ chief executive Onesmo Moyo said here

So far only South Africa and Botswana have such plants in southern Africa.

The diamond processing plant could help Zimbabwe stem a smuggling tide and
assist the country emerge from an eight-year economic crisis highlighted by
shortages of foreign currency and electricity.

Zimbabwe has since last year discovered large deposits of diamond in its
Eastern Highlands area but mining has been haphazard, with reports that a
lot of diamonds produced from this new field were being sold to black market
traders from as far afield as Israel.

More than 20,000 illegal miners were arrested early this year after they
descended on a diamond field in the Marange area of the Eastern Highlands,
more than 300 km northeast of the capital, Harare.

The diamond rush was also accompanied by accusations of illegal dealings in
"blood diamonds" brought into the country from the Democratic Republic of

Both the United Nations and the World Diamond Council suspected that DRC
warlords could have taken advantage of the confusion in Zimbabwe's diamond
industry to smuggle their own "blood diamonds" into Zimbabwe for export to
other countries.

JN/nm/APA 19-11-2007

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Press Statement: the MDC must denounce violence against the Media


19 November 2007

THE Zimbabwe Journalists for Human Rights is shocked by the thuggish behaviour of youths aligned to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) under Morgan Tsvangirai after they beat up freelancer Frank Chikowore and South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) reporter John Nyashanu at Harvest House while carrying out their journalistic mandate on Sunday 18 November 2007.

The overzealous youths accused the two journalists of negative reportage on Tsvangirai in respect of the ongoing disputes within the Women’s Assembly.

The journalists were among a dozen others who were at Harvest House to cover Tsvangirai’s meeting with his provincial executives to brief them on the ongoing talks with Zanu PF and the preparedness of the party ahead of the 2008 elections. It is ironic that during the meeting he reiterated his party’s demands for access to the public media while demanding that the independent media must be allowed to operate.

It is alarming that a party that constantly denounce the ruling Zanu PF, the police, and other security apparatus of the Robert Mugabe regime for being violent with its opponents, the MDC has become an equal partner in attacking the freedoms of the media.

The ZJHR holds no brief for the MDC or Zanu PF but stands for the rights of journalists to discharge their mandate without fear or favour. An attack on any journalist carrying out his duties is an attack on the freedom of the press. That is unacceptable and we denounce the use of violence to settle differences in opinion.

The MDC President and his National Executive Council must discipline their youths and all other structures to respect the independence of journalists to write factual and truthful news without resorting to violence to coerce our members to write favourable articles.  That is not our responsibility to create positives out of negatives. Journalists, working for the State-controlled or private media should denounce whoever wants to coerce them to write favourable articles about certain issues.

As the nation prepares for the harmonised Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government Elections, the safety of the media is paramount. Both Zanu PF and the MDC cannot be entrusted to guarantee the safety of the press. The ZJHR urges journalists to maintain their neutrality in cases of intra-party disputes as this trend creates unnecessary divisions within the media and the party concerned.

We therefore recommend that journalists take a principled stand against political violence and avoid risky political situations. The ZJHR will continue to lobby all stakeholders to seriously look into the issue of the security and safety of journalists ahead of the harmonised elections in 2008.

Options available for the media include;

Boycotting the MDC press briefings until the party makes a firm commitment to the security of journalists attending their functions.

Continue to play a watchdog role of all political parties without being silenced by acts of thuggery and intimidation.

Advocate and lobby Parliament for a policy framework that guarantees the safety of journalists covering the 2008 elections.

For more information and comments please write to or call us on 0912 869 294, 0912 266 430.

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Six die in bus crash in Zimbabwe

Afrique en ligne

Harare, Zimbabwe - Six people were killed and 13 others injured in a
bus crash in northern Zimbabwe, police said on Monday.

Police spokesman Makhosana Ncube said some of the injured were in
critical condition and the death toll could rise.

He said the accident was caused by a tyre burst, but survivors claimed
the driver and conductor, both of who died in the crash, were drinking beer
on the way.

Police blame speeding and drunk-driving for many accidents in

Harare - 19/11/2007

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Tyranny unrependent

The Zimbabwean

Monday, 19 November 2007 06:15
Andrew M Manyevere.

Politics is the mastery employment of power to instill legitimacy,
democracy and good governance by a civilian political party elected through
a national electorate.

I outline similarities in the two countries, Pakistan and Zimbabwe,
despite different location, climate, and continent and socio religious

Both are ruled by dictators, be it of civilian or military bred, does
not matter.
Both are a brain child of the British tutelage and once belonged to
the commonwealth family of nations, now they no longer, due to human rights
abuse and poor governance that is managed with impunity.
The military wields an upper hand in security matters and work at will
to detain, brutalize and make people to loose their life without remorse.
Despite that Zimbabwe authorities masquerades as a civilian government, they
are substantially headed by a top high command committee who literary have
the power and not the window dressing parliament, cabinet or so-called
political party.
Both regimes work and pander to international opinion with a view to
pull wool over international leaders on who runs the country, parliament
under democracy or dictatorship. The world has uniquely granted concessions
to these regimes and prolonged human suffering under pretext the problem is
for the nationals to resolve.
Both use terrorism as a tool to reduce international criticism on why
they are so ruthless with the ordinary citizens in their countries. It has
since shown citizens of these countries that the western nations themselves
play safe with tyrant regimes and have no faith of political opposition as a
successful tool for a democracy in order to uphold parliamentary democracy.
Democracy is therefore put to mockery, in the eyes of Africa and growing
economies. The need to eradicate violence and terrorism is used as pretext
to 'kill' the development of genuine political opposition that, when elected
to power, will substitute poor governance for good efficient governance.
Instead of urging for the removal of draconian laws that thwart achievement
of democracy the contrary is promoted at the behest of western nations to
seek for a regime change most amenable to big power politics.

These similarities share in the truth that tyranny respects no culture
or opinion. Whereas, for example, the USA presidential campaign message
addresses issues in Pakistan, Iran, and Iraq as their corner to foreign
policy, they are silent on Sudan's Dafur suffering and Robert Mugabe's poor
governance  and cruelty to people issues.

From America one hears the call on Musharaaf having to retire from the
military, to stop ill treating opposition, remove force and violence, and
hold free and fair elections in January 2008.On another hand, there is
complete silence on Mugabe's intransigence to release many detained
opposition politicians for trumped up charges ranging from treason to simply
insulting the person of Mugabe. With elections, in Zimbabwe, to be run in
March 2008 Mugabe still kills at will and gets away with it. Despite the
SADC initiative on mediation Mugabe has not shown any good will at all but
rather animosity with a view to getting rid of opposition.

May be unlike Ms Bhutto of Pakistan, what has lacked in Zimbabwe is a
consistent voice to call on the Mugabe government to resign and have
supervision of election under a world body, even if it may mean arrests,
detention and brutalization together. The cost to resist tyranny is very
expensive and normally run into big amounts which should not be counted but
taken head on by leadership, in order to wake up international support and
sympathy; while at the same time pulling local crowds solidarity. Otherwise
be it Pakistan or Zimbabwe, tyranny never repents until dealt a blow
politically through civilian resistance.  - Andrew Manyevere is a human
right activists, a political science analyst and an adent believer in
democracy through none violent means.

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Double agent 'close to killing Robert Mugabe'

The Telegraph

By Sebastien Berger in Johannesburg
Last Updated: 1:40am GMT 19/11/2007

A double agent in Robert Mugabe's secret police has told how close he
came to assassinating the Zimbabwean president - only to change his target
to ANC leaders in apartheid South Africa.

Like a true professional, Kevin Woods was very matter of fact about
planning Mr Mugabe's murder.

A senior officer in Zimbabwe's Central Intelligence Organisation, who
met the president regularly, he was also a double agent for South Africa's
secret services.

He spent 20 years in Zimbabwean prisons for murder, five of them on
death row, after being unmasked.

It is the first time since being pardoned and deported last year that
the 55-year-old has spoken of his activities.

He was asked to plan the killing by Maj Gray Branfield, a South
African military intelligence officer - killed in Iraq last year - to
coincide with a visit by Mr Mugabe to a trade fair in Bulawayo.

"In all reality, the assassination of President Mugabe would have been
easy," he wrote in his autobiography. "I directed the affairs surrounding
his personal security.

"All the while he and his entourage would follow a pre-determined
route that I had worked out, done a reconnaissance on beforehand, checked,
timed and planned.

"It would have been a piece of cake to direct him past a roadside
bomb, in a dustbin for instance.

"I would sort of drop back a few metres, detonate the bomb at the
critical moment then rush forward to help out and protect the president.
Because of my seniority, I would then automatically take charge of the bomb
scene and the immediate reaction and investigation. So it would have been
beautiful cover.

"It wasn't a game we were playing up there - making plans for the
assassination of a head of state was part of the job."

At the time, he refused the assignment. "I knew what an evil guy he
was - it wasn't a major moral problem for me. I was supposed to be fighting
the ANC and Mugabe was not a legitimate target."

In the event, an alternative plan was drawn up, he says, but was
vetoed by PW Botha, South Africa's then leader.

Nonetheless, while waiting to be hanged, he reconsidered his position
several times.

"On death row, I said take me back there and I will kill him - I would
have prevented a lot of suffering."

Now, however, he says: "I have no feelings for him. I don't love him,
I don't hate him. I'm free.

"Mugabe's sitting in his own jail there, he's behind a wall of razor
wire and guns. He's not free. I take a lot of joy from that. It's fantastic
to be free."

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Abuses unacceptable - McKinnon

New Vision, Uganda

Monday, 19th November, 2007
By Milton Olupot

THE Commonwealth Secretary General Don McKinnon has urged human rights
organisations to speak out against abuses, saying the practice is
unacceptable in the Commonwealth.

"You must do so dispassionately, independently, thoroughly, but at heart
there must be passion in what you do, because the basic rights to a vote, to
a fair trial, to an education are just that: they are fundamental human
rights," he said.

McKinnon was speaking at the opening of the first meeting of the
Commonwealth Forum of National Human Rights Institutions at Hotel Protea in

"Let me make it clear that we could point fingers at just every country, and
show instances of the same things happening to a greater or lesser extent,"
he said.

Only a few weeks ago, McKinon noted, Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Sir
Michael Somare said he was ashamed of the high level of domestic violence in
his country. He said in Pakistan's Provisional Constitutional order of
November 3, various fundamental rights were suspended by President Pervez

He recalled that the Commonwealth helped to end apartheid in South Africa.
He also pointed out that Fiji was suspended last December for the
unjustifiable overthrow of a democratically elected government.

On Zimbabwe, McKinnon said: "It was certainly sad and difficult for us to
see Zimbabwe go beyond suspension to withdraw itself from the Commonwealth
in 2003."

Since then they had encouraged people-to-people links. "I certainly want the
Commonwealth's people-to-people links to continue. But engagement with the
government is another matter."

He regretted that Zimbabwe did not see value in belonging to the
Commonwealth and had not accepted their approaches in recent years.

On the political level, McKinnon observed that the Commonwealth members
still fell short on subscribing to the basic creeds of human rights. He
noted that 20 members had not ratified the convention against torture, while
nine had not yet ratified the convention on the elimination of all forms of
racial discrimination.

Uganda Human Rights Commission chairperson Margaret Sekaggya proposed to
have an independent forum for Commonwealth human rights institutions.

She also noted human rights groups were faced with new challenges of
terrorism, weak state institutions, civil wars, humanitarian and natural

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Zimbabwe Teachers Union Threatens Strike If Members Are Politically Harassed


      By Jonga Kandemiiri
      19 November 2007

The head of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe said Monday that the
organization will strike if its members are harassed on political grounds in
the runup to national elections which the government has slated for March

PTUZ officials said many members of the union have been subjected to
politically motivated harassment in the country's rural areas.The strike
warning emerged from a congress held by the union on the weekend.

PTUZ General Secretary Raymond Majongwe told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of
VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the union planned to petition President
Robert Mugabe to inform him on the plight of the country's teachers.

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'Stolen Cattle Smuggled Into Mozambique'

The Herald (Harare)  Published by the government of Zimbabwe

19 November 2007
Posted to the web 19 November 2007


MOST of the cattle stolen in Mashonaland East Province are being smuggled
through illegal crossing points into neighbouring Mozambique, where the
beasts are sold in foreign currency, police have said.

Acting Mashonaland East provincial police spokesman Assistant Inspector
Godfrey Mubaiwa said there was a disturbing rise in cattle rustling in the
country as the festive season approaches.

"We are concerned that the incidence of rustling is increasing as the
festive season nears, with the beasts being smuggled into Mozambique where
they have a ready lucrative market in foreign currency.

"Of major concern to us is the fact that once the cattle are smuggled
outside the country, it would be very difficult to trace them as there is a
lot of red tape concerning the issue of permission to do so," said Asst Insp

He said villages along the border with Mozambique in Mudzi, Mutoko and
Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe had been particularly vulnerable to rustling and
encouraged them to establish common communal pens where they would take
turns to guard their livestock overnight.

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