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Mugabe's ministers loot scarce maize for resale outside country

Zim Online

Mon 21 November 2005

      HARARE - Senior government and ruling ZANU PF party politicians have
since last November siphoned more than a million tonnes of scarce maize from
the state's Grain Marketing Board (GMB) for resale, in most cases outside
the country, according to a confidential government report.

      The report that has been kept a closely-guarded secret but was shown
to ZimOnline at the weekend, was compiled last month by the government's
Ministry of Anti-Corruption and Anti-Monopolies.

      In what could be the most callous and shocking abuse of power yet by
Zimbabwe's ruling elite, some ministers in President Robert Mugabe's
Cabinet, top ZANU PF officials, the party's Members of Parliament (MPs) and
state security commanders used their political clout to buy maize from the
GMB at heavily subsidised prices.

      The politicians later resold the maize at highly inflated prices or
exported it mainly to neighbouring Mozambique where there is a thriving
black-market for the staple grain.

      The Anti-Corruption Ministry report reads in part: "Political gurus
are buying maize imported by the government for the people (they later)
resell the maize at highly inflated prices. Some of it is sold outside the

      "In most instances, political heavyweights just demand maize from GMB
officials, who are usually too afraid to challenge people with political
weight and perceived political connections."

      The GMB sells maize mainly to poor hungry villagers at Z$600 000
(about US$10) per tonne, which is way below the true market price. The
wholly state-owned GMB, which is the only firm permitted by law to trade in
maize in Zimbabwe, also mills the staple grain and sells it as maize-meal to
urban residents.

      The confidential report does not mention names of the officials who
stole maize from the GMB. But in a vivid illustration of the extent of the
scam, the report says to prosecute the officials would "mean arraigning the
whole government, from security chiefs, MPs, ministers and party officials
to court".

      Instead, the authors of the report recommend that Mugabe's office or
the President himself orders his officials to stop looting GMB silos.

      They state in the report: "Because of the magnitude (of the scam), it
would be advisable to involve the President's Office or even his person. A
copy with all names of those implicated should be given to the President for
censure while GMB officials should be told not to entertain any one of these
people (government and ZANU PF officials)."

      Anti-Corruption Minister Paul Mangwana confirmed that his ministry was
probing the looting of grain from the GMB but would not be drawn to discuss
the report.

      Mangwana said: "Whether we have done a report or not is not an issue
yet. But my ministry is working on stopping people from abusing grain meant
to avert starvation. There were loopholes that needed to be plugged and we
are working with other ministries concerned in that regard."

      Zimbabwe is in the grip of an acute shortage of food after a poor
harvest of its main staple foods, maize and wheat, last season. The United
Nations estimates that at least three million people or about a quarter of
the 12 million Zimbabweans require more than a million tonnes of maize
between now and the next harvest around March/April 2006 or they will

      While erratic rains may have contributed to causing food shortages in
Zimbabwe, agricultural experts say Mugabe's chaotic and often violent land
reforms are largely to blame for the 60 percent drop in food output over the
past five years that has seen the country virtually dependent on food
handouts from donor groups.

      Mugabe's government denies its controversial land redistribution
programme is behind the food deficit and has also so far barred food groups
from feeding hungry Zimbabweans.

      The World Food Programme and other aid groups have been limited to
feeding only vulnerable groups such as the elderly, orphans and people
living with HIV/AIDS with Mugabe's cash-strapped government insisting it has
enough resources to import grain through the GMB.

      But corruption and mismanagement at the GMB has hampered efforts by
the state grain utility to import enough food for hungry Zimbabweans. None
of the powerful government or ZANU PF politicians accused in the past of
stealing maize from the GMB have ever been jailed.

      Only last week one of the President's nephews, Leo Mugabe and his wife
Veronica, who were accused of smuggling 30 tonnes of wheat flour to
Mozambique, were freed by the courts after the state declined to prosecute.

      Leo and his wife were arrested last month after a truck carrying the
smuggled flour was involved in an accident at a spot on no-man's land on the
border between Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

      Investigations by the police later revealed that the flour was from
wheat bought from the GMB by Leo's firm, Fresh Breeze and that the firm had
smuggled the flour out of Zimbabwe.

      Declining to prosecute, the state said it did not have enough evidence
to mount a strong case against Leo, who is the son of Mugabe's sister,
Sabina. - ZimOnline

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MDC faction says will haul Tsvangirai for disciplinary hearing

Zim Online

Mon 21 November 2005

      BULAWAYO - Zimbabwean opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party vice-president Gibson Sibanda  yesterday said the party planned to
take disciplinary action against its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, a move that
could mark the beginning of attempts to oust him from the party.

      Keeping up the name-calling that has become a favourite pastime of an
MDC on the verge of splintering, Sibanda accused his leader of being a
dictator and of undermining the party's constitution when he rejected an
October vote by its national council to contest the November 26 senate poll.

      Tsvangirai has opposed the poll saying it is a waste of resources for
a country that should be focusing its energies on fighting hunger. He has
also said the MDC should not participate in a poll that is sure to be rigged
by President Robert  Mugabe and his ZANU PF party.

      Sibanda told the about 3 000 MDC supporters in Bulawayo: "As
supporters, what you should simply do is to go and vote, don't be bothered
by the goings-on in the party because it's a passing phase. After the
elections, we will certainly  take disciplinary measures against Tsvangirai
for rising above the constitution. It shall definitely catch up with him."

      The MDC vice-president, a long time friend of Tsvangirai before the
present fall-out, did not say what sanctions the disciplinary committee that
he heads could impose on the party president who was elected by congress and
is considered by many as the public face of party.

      Tsvangirai and his spokesman William Bango could not be reached for
comment on Sibanda's statement. They were said to be out addressing rallies
calling MDC supporters to boycott the senate poll.

      The opposition leader addressed a rally in Bulawayo the previous
weekend at which he told his supporters that Sibanda and his faction were
bribed by Mugabe and ZANU PF to destabilise the MDC.

      MDC national chairman Isaac Matongo, who is supporting Tsvangirai in
the party wrangle, was also quoted by a Zimbabwean newspaper yesterday
claiming that Sibanda and his faction were working with ZANU PF to try and
sideline the hard-line Tsvangirai and replace him with a dovish leader who
could lead the opposition party as a junior partner in a government of
national unity.

      But Sibanda denied the charge saying instead it was Tsvangirai who was
working with ZANU PF to ensure the MDC candidates lost in the senate poll.

      He said: "Tsvangirai says the pro-senate faction was bribed by ZANU PF
which I think is ridiculous. If we happen to lose these elections, he will
be the first to celebrate and surely no one can revel in our loss, unless
they are ZANU PF."

      The MDC, which until it began tearing itself apart after disagreeing
on the senate vote, had appeared Zimbabweans' only alternative to Mugabe's

      The opposition party came closest to unseating ZANU PF and Mugabe from
power after narrowly losing in a parliamentary election in 2000 and a
presidential poll two years later. Both polls were however widely dismissed
by the MDC, Western governments, local and international non-governmental
organisations as having been heavily rigged by Mugabe.

      Analysts say the raging in-fighting may have already inflicted a
mortal wound on the party from which it may never  recover - at least not to
its former formidable self when it shook Mugabe's government, forcing a
redrawing of  Zimbabwe's political landscape. - ZimOnline

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Economic crisis forces Zimbabwean schools to abandon exams

Zim Online

Mon 21 November 2005

      HARARE - Several government-run secondary schools in Zimbabwe have
abandoned internal mock examinations saying they are too broke to run the
exams in yet another example of how the country's severe economic crisis has
crippled its once esteemed public education sector.

      Some teachers and students told ZimOnline at the weekend that the mock
exams, used by schools to assess students' progress before they sit for
national exams, had been abandoned as most schools can no longer afford to
conduct the exams. The schools buy their own stationery for the exams.

      MacDonald Maungazani, the acting secretary general of the Progressive
Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), said:  "Most schools that are run by the
government are broke. Stopping internal mock examinations is a way of saving

      An official from the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA), the
largest union for teachers in the country, also confirmed the development,
which he described as "disturbing".

      "I can confirm that we have received reports of that nature. Many
schools have abandoned internal examinations. The money to buy paper and to
print the examination papers is not there," said the official.

      Education Minister Aeneas Chigwedere however said he was unaware that
schools had abandoned internal mock examinations because they do not have

      Critics accuse Chigwedere of presiding over the collapse of Zimbabwe's
education sector, which together with the health sector, was the pride of
the achievements of President Robert Mugabe's government in power since
independence from Britain 25 years ago.

      The education sector, like Zimbabwe's every other economic or social
sector, is in the doldrums after a six-year economic recession that has also
spawned severe shortages of food, fuel, electricity, essential medical
drugs, hard cash and several other basic commodities.

      A mass brain drain that has seen thousands of teachers leave the
country for better paying jobs in neighbouring countries and beyond has only
helped cripple further Zimbabwe's education system. - ZimOnline

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Human rights group says Harare has ignored African Commission's recommendations

Zim Online

Mon 21 November 2005

      HARARE - Zimbabwean human rights groups will next week tell the
African Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR) that President
Robert Mugabe's government had ignored recommendations by the continental
body to uphold  human rights and democracy and had instead intensified

      In a report to be submitted to the ACHPR at the continental human
rights watchdog's annual meeting in the Gambian capital of Banjul next week,
the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum said the Harare administration had
tightened further repressive laws against the media, civic society, the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)  party and other perceived
political opponents.

      Mugabe's government, which three years ago purged independent judges
from Zimbabwe's bench replacing them with its allies, had also not moved to
enhance the independence of the judiciary in line with recommendations by
the ACHPR, the ZHRF says in its 57-page report.

      The ZHRF report reads in part: "The unduly restrictive provisions of
the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and  Public
Order and Security Act (POSA) have been reinforced rather than repealed, and
together with the Broadcasting  Services Act, they form the backbone to
legislation that unduly and controls Zimbabwe's print and electronic media
and gags the public voice."

      Under AIPPA, journalists require government licences to practice in
Zimbabwe while newspaper companies must also be registered with the
government's media and information commission to publish. Journalists face
up to two years in jail  for practising without the state licences while
newspapers face closure for breaching the registration law.

      The report by the ZHRF - which is a coalition of the leading human
rights and pro-democracy groups in Zimbabwe - attempts to demonstrate
failure by the Harare authorities to implement recommendations by the ACPHR.

      In a report accepted by the African Union earlier this year, the ACHPR
among other things, called on Mugabe's government to amend laws that
suppressed freedom of expression and the media. It also called on Harare to
ensure the independence of the judiciary as part of steps to reinforce the
rule of law in troubled Zimbabwe.

      But the ZHRF says the judiciary remained, in the eyes of the legal
profession and ordinary Zimbabweans, a captive of Mugabe and his ruling ZANU
PF party.

      The forum calls for external mediation between Mugabe's government,
its political opponents and civic society groups. -   ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe will process newly found uranium deposit

Boston Herald

By Associated Press
Sunday, November 20, 2005 - Updated: 12:57 PM EST

HARARE, Zimbabwe - President Robert Mugabe said Zimbabwe will turn to
nuclear power by processing recently discovered uranium deposits to resolve
its chronic electricity shortage, state radio said Sunday.

     Mugabe, who has close ties with two countries with controversial
nuclear programs - Iran and North Korea, spoke of his intention Saturday,
the radio station reported.

     It was not clear how Mugabe intended to use any uranium deposits since
the country does not have a nuclear power plant. The president announced
plans in the 1990s to acquire a reactor from Argentina, but nothing else was
ever heard about the proposal.

     "Zimbabwe will develop power by processing uranium, which has recently
been found in the country," Mugabe said, according to the radio. "The
discovery of uranium will go a long way in further enhancing the government
rural electrification program."

     Zimbabwe was not previously known to have any workable deposits of

     South Africa has the region's only nuclear power station at Koeberg.

     Zimbabwe has been plagued by a chronic shortage of foreign exchange
since Mugabe's seizure of 5,000 white-owned farms and the collapse of an
export-oriented agricultural industry. It currently falls short of
generating the 2,100 megawatts it needs daily by 400 to 450 megawatts.

     Zimbabwe has had great difficulty meeting bills from Mozambique, South
Africa and Congo for imports from the regional electric power grid.

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Intelligence ministry denies NGO-spy allegations


November 20, 2005, 18:15

The intelligence ministry denied reports that South Africa's spy services
were co-operating with Zimbabwe on the monitoring of non-governmental
organisations (NGOs).

Lorna Daniels, the ministerial spokesperson, said the issue of NGOs had not
come up in bilateral talks with Zimbabwe last week. The Sunday Times
reported that according to Aggrey Maringa, the Zimbabwean director of
intelligence, South Africa was sharing with Zimbabwe intelligence on NGOs
operating simultaneously in both countries.

This prompted the Democratic Alliance (DA) to ask "whether what Maringa has
said is in fact the case?" Rafeek Shah, the DA spokesperson, said South
Africa had to treat with the greatest reserve any information given to them
by Zimbabwe.

DA concerned about strenghtening relations
Shah said the DA was also concerned about South Africa strengthening its
relations with "a military that is responsible for ongoing human rights
abuses by bringing in Zimbabwean trainers to teach South African pilots."

There were serious questions about whether the Zimbabwean trainers were
suited for the job. "The Zimbabwean Air Force, for the most part, uses
Second World War-era planes, it is not clear whether their trainers would be
able to help our trainee pilots to use the technologically advanced European
aircraft, the South African Air Force has recently acquired," said Shah. -

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Zimbabwe unions call for senate poll boycott


          November 20 2005 at 05:29AM

      Harare - Zimbabwe's main trade union body and rights groups on Sunday
called on workers and political parties to oppose next week's controversial
senate elections.

      In press advertisements published in private papers the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) called on its members to "find something
better to do" next Saturday, rather than vote in the senate polls.

      "The ZCTU would rather have the billions budgeted for senate to be
channelled towards the improvement of salaries for teachers, policemen,
soldiers and nurses in government hospitals," the labour body said.

      The senate is being introduced under constitutional amendments voted
in by President Robert Mugabe's party earlier this year. The amendments also
allow the authorities to confiscate passports from opponents and to
nationalise all agricultural land.

       In a separate statement published in the private press on Sunday, the
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CCZ), an umbrella body for local rights
groups, called on political parties and ordinary people to boycott the
senate polls.

      The coalition called the constitutional amendments a "gross abuse of
power" by the ruling party "to guard its political and economic power at the
expense of real national development."

      The looming election has created a deep rift in the main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is
campaigning for a poll boycott, while other senior party officials want to

      Only 26 MDC candidates, who defied Tsvangirai and registered to
contest the election, are to battle it out with Mugabe's Zimbabwe African
National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party in Saturday's poll for 50
senate seats.

      The ZCTU, a close ally of the MDC, and many civic groups are in favour
of Tsvangirai's call for a poll boycott. Pro-senate opposition officials
however say trade union leaders are angling for senior party posts by
supporting the boycott call.

      Zimbabwe is suffering major economic problems, with triple-digit
inflation, shortages of fuel, power and foreign currency and spiralling
levels of poverty and hunger. - Sapa-dpa

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Harare Hospital faces closure

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Clemence Manyukwe
issue date :2005-Nov-21

One of the country's largest referral health institutions, Harare Central
Hospital, faces closure due to a massive staff exodus and other problems,
amid revelations that some patients are being left to die due to lack of
drugs and medical equipment.

This grim picture was painted by an official last Friday during a
Parliamentary Health, Child Welfare and HIV/Aids committee tour of the
government medical institution and the Harare City Council-run Beatrice
Infectious Diseases Hospital, generally referred to as Gomo and Nazareth,
Harare Hospital Principal Nursing Officer, Eupharasia Marufu, said the major
cause of the staff exodus was low remuneration, with nurses getting a salary
of $2,5 million after tax, resulting in 30 of them leaving in the past two
Marufu added that it was expected that between 60 and 90 more nurses would
leave the institution by the end of the month.
"Their take home salary is $2,5 million per month. Night shifts are not well
paying, yet they are 12 hours per night.  If the issue of remuneration is
not looked into, I think we will be closing down," said Marufu.
The health facility's medical superinte-ndent, Dr Chistopher Tapfumanei,
said as a result of the problems, some patients were being left to die.
"Anotofa hake. (The person will just die). We do not want to say that, but
it's happening," said Tapfumanei.
So severe is the staff exodus that some key positions have been left vacant.
Out of the 51 medical specialists needed, the institution has 17, creating a
shortfall of 33.
In the casualty department, there are 10 vacancies, while the X-ray
department has only three people - out of the more than 30 that are needed.
The hospital's nurse training school has two tutors out of the required 32,
while the school of midwifery, which requires 30 tutors, only has the head
who is conducting all the lessons.
Harare Hospital needs 271 general sisters and 82 state certified nurses, the
committee was told.
  To underline the exodus of the locals, the institution's acting pharmacist
is a Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) national who is assisted by a Cuban,
who is expected to leave the country soon.
Staffers are said to be flocking to the Harare City Council, the private
sector, neighbouring countries and overseas where remuneration is better.
When the government was told that the hospital was losing nurses to the
local authority due to the salary issue, its response was that it would urge
council not to recruit from the referral centre.
The chief hospital equipment technician, Beauty Gandiya, said the
institution last received medical machinery 15 years ago.
The most affected area was the X-ray department where the hospital is now
restricting itself to general radiography, while abandoning specialised
procedures, considering that it is a national institution.
The hospital is faced with an acute shortage of drugs, with stocks at below
30 percent against the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended minimum
of 70 percent. Adding to its woes, the institution requires more than $3
trillion for next year's budget, but it was told that it would get around
$1,4 trillion.
The tender system for the procurement of the hospital's needs is said to be
bearing no fruits as companies fail to deliver, citing lack of foreign
currency or fluctuations in prices.
The institution's Anti-Retroviral Treatment Clinic's Sister in Charge,
Rosemary Simao, said they had stopped accepting new patients for its
treatment programme due to the shortage of ARVs.
The clinic's future hangs in the balance if new drugs are not delivered by
January next year.
Twenty thousand people had been earmarked to benefit from the treatment
programme by year-end, but only 2 050 have been enrolled.
At Beatrice Infectious Diseases, the Acting Director of Health Services, Dr
Prosper Chonsi said they have run out of tuberculoses drugs. At its TB ward,
some patients were lying on the ground while others slept, as if dead, and
visibly with no signs of hope on their faces.
The council-run institution, which has only two doctors out of the required
10, is the referral centre for Harare's 56 clinics.
The city's acting health director added that the two doctors are divided
between the TB ward and the fever ward, which caters for dysentery,
hepatitis and other patients. In the afternoon, one of them has to cater for
patients at the outpatients department; some of them would have come in the
"Ideally we need 10 doctors, but we have two. Yesterday they even came to me
and said: 'We are now tired'. Zvinhu zvacho zvava zvokungo joinidza (it is
now management by crisis)," he said.
Three-quarters of equipment at the council's clinics is not functioning,
while essentials such as sterilisers are in short supply.
The utility is also said to be facing a critical shortage of vehicles,
resulting in food and dirty linen for patients being carried in the same
The majority of toilets at the hospital are broken down, with their
maintenance said to be taking too long.
Nurses were said to be experiencing housing problems after Operation
Murambatsvina drove them out of the lodging places.
This has resulted in some of them living far away from the hospital, a
development that has seen them arriving late or failing to report for duty
due to transport problems.
The city council was urged to consider prioritising the allocation of houses
to its health personnel.
The committee was ledby chair-person MDC Kwekwe legislator, Blessing
Chebundo.  Other members  were Murisi Zwizwai (MDC Harare Central), Paul
Madzore (MDC Glen View), Edward Chindori-Chininga (Zanu PF Mazowe East),
Kumbirai Kangai (Zanu PF Buhera South) and Jonathan Chandengenda (Zanu PF

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Water shortage hits Chitungwiza courts

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Court Reporter
issue date :2005-Nov-21

THE prevailing water crisis in Chitungwiza has turned the town's magistrates'
court into a hell for officials there as the toilets have gone without
proper cleaning for the past two months.
A strong stench coming from the public toilets can easily be detected from
the courtrooms, with no immediate solution in sight for the water crisis.
Some officials at the courts told The Daily Mirror that they had contacted
local authorities for their as the water shortage is apparently negatively
impacting the justice delivery system there. "We suggested that the local
authorities give us a water bowser here but it seems the local authorities
merely paid lip-service when they promised us a daily supply," said one of
the court officials.
Since the beginning of last month the same courts were forced to close down
business at midday because of the water crisis.
This has resulted in several trials being postponed, as the courts would be
unable to accommodate the cases.
This has delayed trials and some of the incarcerated suspects reportedly
have to stay longer at the remand prison before their cases are concluded.
Last week some trials were postponed to March next year because of the
accumulating backlog of cases, including serious ones like rape involving
Some court officials called upon government to intervene and rescue the
courts and normalise the situation.
"As you know, justice delayed is justice denied. We have no option here but
to postpone the cases.
"We are forced to accommodate a few cases in the morning," said one
Efforts to get an official comment from the justice ministry were fruitless
at the time of going to print.

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Wheat price hiked to $9m

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Godfrey Mutsago
issue date :2005-Nov-21

GOVERNMENT has for the second time within a month reviewed upwards the price
of wheat from $6,9 million to $9 million a tonne with effect from this week.
When farmers started delivering their winter crop in September, the Minister
of Agriculture Joseph Made announced that wheat would be sold at $6,9
million up from last season's price of $2,9 million.
Sources said the new price was announced at a meeting organised by the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) last Tuesday, which was attended by various
stakeholders in agriculture.
The president of the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU), Davison
Mugabe confirmed that the new price was announced during a meeting that was
chaired by central bank governor Gideon Gono.
"We had been expecting Minister Made to announce the price but he has not
done so yet," Mugabe said.
"I believe he will be announcing the new price soon but the central bank
governor informed us that this will be the new price."
Meanwhile, wheat producers have welcomed the new price although they still
believed that the price was not viable.
The chairman of ZCFU's Grains and Cereal Producers Association (GCPA)
Denford Chimbwanda said farmers were happy that government have realised
that the price of $6,9 million that was announced when the selling season
started was not viable.
"We had earlier on suggested that the wheat producer price be pegged at $14
million per tonne," said Chimbwanda.
"When government had offered farmers $6,9 million we expressed our concern
over the figure.
"We had been sending some representatives to persuade government to consider
reviewing the price upwards and we are happy that this has been done."
Farmers had argued that their costs of production had significantly
increased because of the recent farm workers' wages hikes and fuel secured
at exorbitant prices on the black market.
In April when the winter wheat planting season kicked off, farm workers were
then receiving $190 000 per month. The workers are now earning $1,2 million
per month.
Although government offers fuel to farmers at concessionary prices as a way
to keep farmers on the land, farmers have had no fuel for a long time and
have depended on fuel procured on the black market.
Fuel for farmers was then selling at $5 000 per litre. The price has since
gone up to $15 000 per litre.
Chimbwanda said most farmers who had been deliberately withholding their
crop were expected to start making deliveries soon.

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CHRA lobbying rate boycott

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Nov-21

The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) says it has started
lobbying for a rate boycott by residents of Harare in protest against poor
service delivery by the commission running the affairs of Harare.
CHRA spokesperson Precious Shumba told the Daily Mirror that residents had
resolved to starve the coffers of the Sekesayi Makwavarara- led commission
by not paying up rates.
"We have actually started lobbying residents to ensure that they do not pay
their dues at the end of this month. We do not want to be confrontational
but we want to starve them of financial resources.
"We cannot pay rates when there is no water, refuse is not being collected
and street lights are not being repaired. Where is the money going to?
"They (commission) think we are a nuisance and say we are making noise about
nothing," fumed Shumba.
He added that the water rationing recently introduced by the Zimbabwe
National Water Authority (Zinwa) was of no use.
He said: "How can they ration something that is not available?"
City of Harare spokesperson Leslie Gwindi could not be reached for comment
as his mobile number went unanswered. The Makwavarara-led commission has
lately been accused of poor service delivery in the wake of persistent
economic challenges that have seen the grounding of a substantial fraction
of its refuse collection fleet.
Mayors have warned that councils around the country face collapse due to
viability problems.

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Ratepayers clash over mayoral probe

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Netsai Kembo
issue date :2005-Nov-21

RATEpayers and pressure groups in Mutare have clashed over recommendations
by the committee appointed by Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo to
probe suspended city executive mayor Misheck Kagurabadza and three other
officials seeking their dismissal.
Chombo appointed the Misheck Mugadza-led committee in July soon after
suspending the mayor together with city treasurer Kudzanai Mumbengegwi, his
deputy Silas Mapindu and chamber secretary Denford Madekufamba on
allegations of financial mismanagement, maladministration and
Despite other allegations levelled against the council leadership, the basis
for its suspension was the over $1,5 billion in car loans given the three
officials with the blessing of the mayor without the minister or Manicaland
Governor Tineyi Chigudu's consent.
Following the completion of its investigations about two weeks ago, the
committee reportedly recommended that the mayor and the concerned officials
be fired.
But the move has since drawn daggers between the Mutare Residents and
Ratepayers Association (MRRA) and the Mutare Ratepayers Association (MRA)
with the former fiercely opposing the move.
Said MRRA chairman Geoff White: "The recommendation is highly condemnable
and unacceptable. This is because the committee never represented ratepayers
as it comprised of people hand-picked by Chombo."  He further suggested that
an impartial committee would have embraced stakeholders, different academics
and professionals as well as civic organisations for an authentic outcome.
But the MRA had sharply differed with the MRRA and accused it of trying to
undermine the committee's findings for an unspecified political agenda.
"This is a mere recommendation and to us it is politics at play for the MRRA
to now cry foul over the composition of the committee while it (MRRA) had
already blessed the mandate of the team by giving evidence to it on 27
October," said MRA spokesman Tedius Sahumba.
He further stated that over the years, the local association had called for
a probe into operations of previous councils. For the MRRA to now say that
it was against the probe really raised eyebrows, Sahumba added.
"Does it mean that it was only previous Zanu PF-led councils they wanted
probed?" he asked.
According to a document in possession of The Daily Mirror which the MRRA had
attached as its basis for exonerating council, the pressure group had
between 25 June 2000 to 27 April 2002, written to central government
inviting it to probe the outgoing city fathers on similar allegations.
The MRA said it was only after the present MDC-led council came into office
in August 2003 that the association stopped inviting the wrath of the Local
Government ministry.

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Trust seeks new strategy to resolve political impasse

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Nov-21

THE Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust (Zimcet) says it will embark on a
programme to educate the public on ways to engage the government without
confrontation to resolve the political and economic challenges facing the
Zimcet director, David Chimhini said they had adopted this strategy at a
weeklong regional confidence- building and capacitating workshop held
recently in Durban, South Africa.
"As Zimbabweans, we need positive solutions to our problems. We should
appreciate the need for concerted efforts to engage at grassroots level. And
we have the capacity to do so peacefully.
"We should look at the sources of our problems and try to influence the
powers-that-be from grassroots level. This must then lead to political
dialogue with everyone's input," said Chimhini.
He said it was not advisable for people to adopt a confrontational attitude
when lobbying for change.
Instead, said Chimhini, people should start talking with councillors, then
MPs, before engaging ministers and other relevant offices.
He added that Zimcet would soon start lobbying church  and traditional
leaders, civic groups and other non-governmental organ-isations to help
implement the public awareness campaign.
Civic groups and NGOs from Southern Africa attended the workshop and
resolved to adopt similar strategies in their respective countries.

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Jumbos wreak havoc in Hwange

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Pamenus Tuso
issue date :2005-Nov-21

AN ENVIRONMENTAL catastrophe due to elephant overpopulation is unfolding in
the Hwange National Park where the jumbos are disturbing the ecosystem.
The 14 000 square kilometre park, which has a carrying capacity of 14 000
elephants at any given time, currently carries more than 75 000 jumbos which
have besieged the park, depriving smaller animals of food and water.
"The ideal situation is supposed to be one elephant per square kilometre but
as you can see we have a situation where we have more than 10 elephants on a
square kilometre.
"The normal ecosystem balancing mechanisms are failing to cope", said
retired major Edward Mbewe, Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority
(ZNPWMA) public relations manager during a tour of the park last week.
The evidence of the impact of the jumbos' unsustainable population is almost
everywhere within the massive park.
Upon entering the park, one is greeted by uprooted trees, shrubs and a
denuded landscape.
"The elephants are competing with and endangering the natural vegetation;
they change the eco-system and affect all that depends on and lives within
it. This is really a threat to our wildlife and wilder-ness," said Mbewe.
He said under the current circumstances culling of the animals would be the
ideal solution but a Hwange-based wildlife conservationist, Clive Robbison
disagreed with him. "If you cull the animals, the scale of waste is beyond
belief, considering that Zimbabwe, under the Convention on Inter-national
Trade on Endangers Species (Cites), is not allowed to trade ivory and
elephant skins.
"Apart from that, parks do not have the money and facilities to embark on
culling, considering the fact that when you cull you have to kill the entire
herd of family, " said Robson.
A herd or family of elephants normally consists of 20 to 30 animals.
Robson said the other option, common in Southern Africa, is an expensive but
valuable way of restocking reserves with small and rare animals.

He added: "To leave a park to develop its own supposedly natural balance in
a laudable attempt to minimise human interference is an irresponsible
decision under these circumstances. Having taken it upon ourselves to
establish parks, we have a responsibility to actively manage them, maintain
the healthiest environment with the greatest natural diversity", added
The elephant crisis facing Hwange National Park has sparked off debate among
wildlife conservationists both inside and outside the wildlife fraternity.
Ecosystems have finite productivity and can support limited number of
Beyond such limits the system totally collapses, as happened
with Kenya's Tsavo Game Park, which is now a virtual dust

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SA, Zimbabwe share spy notes

From The Sunday Times (SA), 20 November

Brendan Boyle

Zimbabwe's intelligence service is spying on aid organisations and
"comparing notes" with South Africa in terms of a year-old pact. Zimbabwe's
Director of Intelligence, Aggrey Maringa, said in an interview this week
that some non-government organisations were under the microscope of his
agency. "It's not every NGO. It's some NGOs that we have identified," he
said. Maringa told the Sunday Times that Zimbabwe shared information with
South Africa on NGOs simultaneously active in both countries. "This is an
exchange of information - (South Africa) would have some information, we
would have some and we would compare notes," he said. The deal was revealed
in the wake of attacks on foreign-funded non-government organisations by
President Thabo Mbeki last month and Zimbabwe's Minister of National
Security, Didymus Mutasa, this week. Mbeki told African editors and an
African Peer Review conference he was worried about the influence of some
NGOs because their agendas were set by donors and not by the needs of
Africa. Mutasa said after Thursday's inaugural meeting of a joint commission
on defence and security that foreign NGOs and journalists were the greatest
threats to Zimbabwe's stability. "We would like Europe please to keep your
NGOs to yourselves," he said.

Hassen Lorgat, of the umbrella South African National Civics Organisation,
said a "paranoia psychosis" was developing in Africa towards NGOs. Mutasa
and South African Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils signed two new
accords at the meeting attended by ministers, military chiefs and officials
from the two countries. They agreed to improve co-operation in defence,
border control, environmental management, security and intelligence.
Zimbabwe will send air force instructors to train South African fighter
pilots and buy the airframes of South Africa's ageing Alouette helicopters.
A senior air force official said the Alouettes would be sold without
weapons, but might be flight-capable. Kasrils told the Sunday Times that an
intelligence-sharing deal in place since July last year was reaffirmed. "It's
about international terrorism ... syndicated crime, drug smuggling, human
smuggling, money laundering," he said. Kasrils said the parameters of the
co-operation were clearly defined in an exchange of notes, but Maringa said:
"We have not given each other any prescription as to boundaries."

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One killed in Mliswa farm wrangle

From The Daily Mirror, 19 November

Daily Mirror Reporter

One person died and another is in hospital following the bloody riot that
erupted on Thursday at Temba Mliswa's Karoi Spring Farm whose ownership
wrangle has also sucked in one deputy minister and deputy police
commissioner in charge of crime, Innocent Matibiri. Police spokesperson
Chief Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka told The Daily Mirror yesterday that
the deceased who was employed by Wedzera Service Station was struck on the
head and died in a Harare hospital while his alleged attacker was
recuperating in hospital following the ugly scenes which broke out on the
farm. The two officials have been implicated in the bitter land dispute with
the former Warriors fitness trainer and ex-interim Dynamos boss over the
ownership of a service station situated on the prime farm in Mashonaland
West. Violence broke out at the farm on Thursday, after the proprietor of
Wedzera Service Station, Eric Nodza who was evicted by Karoi police from the
property early this month, allegedly sent some youths led by an employee to
reclaim the filling station.

In an interview, Mliswa claimed that the deputy minister (name supplied),
who apparently had an interest in the service station, had orchestrated the
incident in which four of his (Mliswa) workers were injured. He claimed that
the deputy minister was abusing the police through Matibiri who was exerting
pressure on him to leave the service station he bought from global fuel
giant, Mobil. "Since the days he was deputy minister of energy, (name
supplied) he made an arrangement with Wedzera for them to sell his diesel on
his behalf. After Wedzera was removed from the farm, he has been abusing the
police through Matibiri," Mliswa said. He further said that two weeks ago,
Matibiri phoned him saying he had heard that he had a fake offer letter he
obtained by bribing Ministry of Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement
officials. "I went to see Matibiri the next day and showed him my offer
letter that I was given on October 4. I told him that the police were free
to investigate the issue," the fiery Mliswa said.

Matibiri confirmed that violence broke out on the property and some people
had been arrested but dismissed Mliswa's allegations. "I have been informed
by the officer commanding Mashonaland West that there was violence and some
people were injured. Police have also made arrests from both sides," the
deputy commissioner said. On allegations that he had been approached by the
deputy minister, also a Zanu PF MP for a constituency in Mashonaland West,
Matibiri said there was nothing amiss as the latter was a deputy minister
interested in the maintenance of law and order. He also said Wedzera owners
had approached him querying Mliswa's ownership of the land, saying he had
advised them that they should take the matter to court. "I understand that
the matter was in court yesterday, but l do not know what transpired,"
Matibiri said. An order from the Karoi Magistrates Court that The Daily
Mirror has in possession, reveals that the court refused to handle the
matter saying "it was of the view that it was being dragged to deal with a
land dispute" and referred the matter to Didymus Mutasa's ministry for
arbitration. Mutasa is the State Security minister and is also in charge of
resettlement. The documents also show that the latest court judgment
rescinds a temporary relief granted on November 9 ordering Mliswa's removal
from the service station. The temporary relief against the eviction followed
another order the proprietors of the service station were granted by the
Magistrates Court in September saying Mliswa could not evict them from the
farm as his offer letter had been invalidated by the passing of constitution
of Zimbabwe Amendment (No.17) Act. Mliswa was subsequently offered another
offer letter.

Asked if he had asked whether the deputy minister had interest in the
matter, the deputy police commissioner said he did not question orders from
his superiors. On his meeting with Mliswa on the offer letter he is said to
have alleged was fake, Matibiri said there was no investigation under way as
Mliswa's offer letter was genuine. Efforts to reach the deputy minister
yesterday were fruitless as his mobile phone was unreachable, while a person
who answered the phone at his home situated at The Grange in Harare said:
"He would not be available until Monday." He also refused to state whether
the deputy minister was in or outside the country. In a letter dated October
24 addressed to Mutasa, Mliswa states that he sought permission from the
ministry to sanction his purchase of the property on the farm from Mobil
Zimbabwe. Part of the minister's letter to the businessman dated November 7
reads: "My ministry has no objection to your contracting with Mobil, for the
purchase of that service station. Consequently and by this letter,
permission is hereby granted to you to buy the service station as your sole
and exclusive property."

From ZWNEWS: Themba Mliswa is the same person who recently physically
threatened the Zimbabwe cricket captain Tatenda Taibu and his family. The
deputy minister whose name is withheld in the above article is the current
deputy minister of home affairs, Reuben Marumahoko.

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